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to themselves, to be indefatigably active in prosecuting their particular designs, and impatient of every thing that stands in their way.
Very much depends on the appointment of a teacher of the female school. If that affair is settled to their minds, their influence here is well established. They are sensible that affairs depend very much on this simple point, and therefore this is the point they drive at with all their might. The wisdom of the Commissioners will easily discover, that this is the juncture, in which the foundation is to be laid of the future state of things in Stockbridge : of their prosperity or adversity ; and perhaps with no opportunity of future redress. I look upon myself, as called upon to speak somewhat freely, at such a juncture; and therefore I hope my so coing will be candidly interpreted by the Commissioners. I do not think that our affairs will ever prosper, if they must be under the hands of the resident trustee and his friends."
In the month of September, Mr. Edwards went into New Jersey, and, on the '28th of that month, preached a sermon from James ii. 19, before the Synod at Newark, entitled, “ True Grace distinguished from the Experience of Devils;" which was published at their request. It is a clear, condensed and powerful, exhibition of the differences between real religion and its counterfeits, and will be found eminently useful, as a criterion of christian character.
In the unhappy controversy, between Mr. Woodbridge, and his opponent, perhaps no one circumstance had been more mortifying to the latter, or had had a more direct tendency to defeat all his measures, than the fact, that the white inhabitants of the town, (his own immediate family connections excepted,) as well as the Indians of both nations, were, to a man, opposed to himself, and friendly to his antagonist. This rendered his daily life uncomfortable; it discouraged every attempt to forward his plans at the public meetings of the town; and when any point in controversy was to be decided, or any measure attempted, at Boston, he found that Mr. Woodbridge had a host of substantial witnesses on the spot, who gave in their testimony without fear. In this way, hitherto, every important design had been frustrated.
The winter, that was approaching, was regarded by both parties as a most important and interesting period;
during which, in all probability, the affairs of the mission, and of the town, would be brought to a crisis. Those opposed to Mr. Woodbridge, were not ignorant, that, if Mr. Edwards were continued as the missionary at Stockbridge, such was his influence at Boston, and his general weight of character, there was too much probability, that Mr. Woodbridge would be continued the school-master of the Housatonnucks, and Mr. Hawley of the Iroquois. In that case, there was
but little chance of the female school being placed in the desired hands; if that failed, the stewardship of all the schools would fail; and then the whole system of measures, apparently so happily conceived, would be defeated. But if Mr. Edwards could be removed from Stockbridge, the removal of Mr. Woodbridge would be attended with less difficulty ; that of Mr. Hawley, a young man, would follow of course, which would make way, for the son of the resident trustee; these changes would almost necessarily ensure the female school, as well as the stewardship and agency, in the family; and then the other objects in view, could scarcely fail to be accomplished. As so much depended on the fact, whether Mr. Edwards was continued at Stockbridge, or not; there seemed to be held out, to minds capable of being influenced by them, very strong inducements, to make one vigourous effort to effect his removal. This was accordingly resolved on, and, by some of the persons concerned, incautiously proclaimed.
One of the steps, taken to accomplish this so desired object, is mentioned in the following letter. Whether it was one of the measures concerted, or was the self-suggested plan of the individual, who attempted to execute it, does not certainly appear. Could he have succeeded, could the English inhabitants of the town have been changed, and a new set of inhabitants have been introduced, all of them his adherents ; no event probably would have so much furthered the objects in view. The almost utter impossibility of its success, connected with its total and immediate discomfiture, rendered the attempt supremely ridiculous, and covered the individual making it, and his party, with confusion. "To Andrew Oliver, Esquire.
Stockbridge, Oct. 1752. " SIR,
“Since my letter of Aug. 27, various things have occurred among , us, of which it may not be improper to inform you. It seems as though there was a resolution, in the people on the hill, to carry their schemes into effect, though the earth should be removed for it. The opponent of Mr. Woodbridge has lately made a vigourous and vehement attempt, suddenly to change the English inhabitants of the town, by buying out, at once, the old inhabitants in general. To this end, he arose very early in the morning, and went out before day, and called some of them out of their beds, offering to buy their farms. In this manner, he went from one to another, until he had been to almost all the inhabitants, in that forenoon; offering very high prices, and cash in hand ; vehemently pressing that the bargain should be immediately closed, and the writings drawn, and the affair completed, without delay; urging it most pressingly on each one. One of the inhabitants completed and finished the affair with
him. Some others came to a 'verbal agreement, on conditions. But, notwithstanding the great and extraordinary vigour, with which this matter was carried on, yet the design was discovered, betore it could be completed, and so disappointed; and then his friends, and he himself too, were glad to lay this conduct to distraction.
“ A scheme is plainly laid, entirely to thrust Mr. Hawley out of the schools; let his friends and constituents do what they will to prevent it. The resident trustee has told Mr. Hawley, that it is the design of Mr. Hollis' former school-master, to set up a distinct independent school, under another teacher, whom he shall provide to keep the school on Mr. Hollis' behalf, and that he intends to take up all boys who come, to board thenr and clothe them well, better than heretofore. Probably he presumes, that the clothing and presents that will be offered, will tempt them all to subject themselves to himself, rather than to Mr. Hawley.
“I have lately been a journey to Newark, in New-Jersey, where I saw Mr. Hazzard, a merchant in New York, who told me that he, the last June, received and answered two bills from him, drawn on Mr. Hollis, of £80 sterling apiece.
By this, it appears, that he has drawn full pay from Mr. Hollis, for the two
, years past, as much as he had in the preceding years, without clothing the boys in the least : imposing on Mr. Hollis, in an almost unprecedented manner, considering the greatness of the injury, the plainness of the case, and the obstinacy with which he has proceeded to such a step, after this part of the country had been, so long a time, so full of objections to his being here at Mr. Hollis' expense, without being engaged in the business to which Mr. Hollis appointed him, and for which, he agreed to send him his money. In the beginning of the year before last, he professedly threw up Mr. Hollis' school, and dismissed all his boys, supposing that Mr. Hollis was dead; it having been long since he heard any thing from bim. In what he did afterwards, in teaching the Mohawks, he did not pretend to proceed on Mr. Hollis' plan, or with any expectation of any pay from him.
And he never pretended to take up any boys on Mr. Hollis' account, till about a year afterwards, viz. the last autumn, after he had received a letter from Mr. Hollis; and it is but little he has done since. The charge he has been at, in clothing the boys, is but a trifle. He has never really kept any school
a at all, though sometimes he has pretended to teach some children to read, in a most confused manner. But, through a great part of the last year, he has not done even that. He has been absent, at least one third of the year; and the greater part of the time that be has been here, he has not had so much as the shadow of a school, nor been in any business whatsoever.
“I some time ago wrote a letter to Mr. Hollis, giving him some account of the state of his affairs bere, accompanied with letters VOL. I.
from some of the inhabitants of Stockbridge. I desired Mr. Prince to show those letters to some of the Commissioners.
“One of the Trustees has lately been here, but staid only two or three days. While he was here, there was little else but altercation, and warm contest, between his colleague and him, concerning the mode of managing affairs, and concerning the female school. And he is gone away cntirely discouraged, with a resolution to have no more to do with the affairs of Stockbridge, which, he says, are blown up already. If it be not altogether so, yet I think it is high time the Hon. Commissioners had full information of the state of things among us. We have long waited for an opportunity to send, but none has presented. Mr. Hawley meets with many things to discourage him; his circumstances here are very difficult and precarious; he greatly needs the advice of the Commissioners; he has a strong inclination to see the Commissioners himself, and to confer with them, freely and fully, about the affairs in which he is concerned; and it appears to me necessary that he should do this, both for the public interest, and on his own account.
He is kept out of business, and probably very good business, in which he might settle elsewhere, and I do not wonder that he is uneasy,
; and thinks it necessary to talk with the Commissioners. We have had thoughts of his staying, until Mr. Woodbridge went to the General Court, the necessity of whose going appears more and more apparent; but the Court being prorogued, and we not knowing for how long a time; and the important matters of intelligence to the Commissioners, and to Mr. Hollis, having been so long delayed for want of opportunity, which so much require their speedy notice; ; our calamities also continuing, and growing worse and worse; and it being now a time, wherein most of the Mohawks are gone, and so a time in which Mr. Hawley can be absent, with far less inconvenience than some time hence, when many of the Mohawks are expected down, in consequence of the want of provisions in their own country; and considering that probably the Commissioners might have a more free opportunity, to hear and consider Mr. Hawley's representations now, than in the time of the sitting of the Court; and likewise, that it might be some convenience to the Commissioners, to have notice of the state of our affairs, so as to ripen their thoughts with regard to them, before the sitting of the Court;-I say, considering these things, it was thought advisable for Mr. Hawley not to delay his journey. That the Most High
. would give wisdom, and counsel and success to the Commissioners, in their consultations on our affairs, and direct and aid those who are here employed, in so important a service, is the humble and earnest prayer of “ Their most obedient servant,
From these scenes of unsuccessful intrigue, and disappointed avarice, all notice of which, could the life of Mr. Edwards, as a missionary at Stockbridge, have been fairly exhibited without thus detailing them, would have been most gladly dispensed with ; the reader will turn with pleasure, even for a short interval, to communications prompted by friendship, and relating to the more general interests of the Church.
Some years before this, through the kindness of Mr. Erskine, he had received the writings of some of the more considerable Arminian writers, particularly of Dr. Taylor of Norwich, and Dr. Turnbull; which, with those of Dr. Whitby, and those of Chubb and Tindal, already in his possession, furnished him with the means of examining their whole system. This examination he commenced, in form, a considerable time before he left Northampton; and in the summer of 1747, as we have already seen, he ancounced, in his first letter to Mr. Erskine, the general plan of a Discourse on the Freedom of the Will, and Moral Agency. This subject drew his attention, even while he was a member of College; and, from an investigation of the nature of Power, to which he was led by reading the article, in the Essay on the Human Understanding, relating to that subject, he derived the all important principle, That Men, IN A PROPER SENSE, MAY BE SAID TO HAVE POWER TO ABSTAIN FROM SIN, AND TO REPENT, TO DO GOOD WORKS, AND TO LIVE HOLILY; BECAUSE IT DEPENDS ON THEIR WILL.-After Mr. Edwards had thus announced his plan, his attention was necessarily diverted from its execution, during his residence in Northampton, by the controversy respecting the Qualifications for Communion_his Treatise on that subject, and the many perplexities and embarrassments, which terminated in his dismission. His removal from Northampton, the establishment of his family at Stockbridge, the Answer to Mr. Williams, and his ordinary duties as minister and missionary, and the unhappy controversy subsisting respecting the mission, engrossed his whole time, until July, 1752. In August following, he entered upon the work, and pursued it a short time; but the violence of that eontroversy, and the attempts of the party hostile to Mr. Woodbridge, to force him from Stockbridge, compelled him to intermit his labours. Some of these circumstances are alluded to, in the following letter to Mr. Erskine, in which the reader will also find some interesting details, relative to the Dutch Church, and to the state of religion in New-Jersey.
“ Stockbridge, November 23, N. S. 1752. - REV. AND DEAR BROTHER,
" In August last, I wrote to you, and sent away the letter, (with