her husband has removed from Northampton, and dwells in Stockbridge, has also very lately been very sick, but is in a considerable measure restored. My daughter Esther's marriage, with President Burr, of Newark, seems to be very much to the satisfaction of ministers and people in those parts, and also of our friends in Boston, and other parts of New England.

"As to the state of religion in America, I have but little to write that is comfortable; but there seems to be better appearances in some other colonies, than in New England. When I was lately in New Jersey, in the time of the Synod there, I was informed of some small movings and revivals in some places on Long Island, and New Jersey. I there had the comfort of a short interview with Mr. Davies of Virginia, and was much pleased with him and his conversation. He appears to be a man of very solid understanding, discreet in his behaviour, and polished and gentlemanly in his manners, as well as fervent and zealous in religion. He gave an account of the probability of the settlement of a Mr. Todd, a young man of good learning and of a pious disposition, in a part of Virginia near to him. Mr. Davies represented before the Synod, the great necessities of the people, in the back parts of Virginia, where multitudes were remarkably awakened and reformed several years ago, and ever since have been thirsting after the ordinances of God. The people are chiefly from Ireland, of Scotch extraction. The Synod appointed two men, to go down and preach among these people; viz. Mr. Henry, a Scotchman, who has lately taken a degree at New-Jersey College, and Mr. Greenman, the young man, who was educated at the charge of Mr. David Brainerd.

"The people of Northampton are in sorrowful circumstances, are still destitute of a minister, and have met with a long series of disappointments, in their attempts for a re-settlement of the ministry among them. My opposers have had warm contentions among themselves. Of late, they have been wholly destitute of any body,to preach steadily among them. They sometimes meet to read and pray among themselves, and at other times set travellers or transient persons to preach, that are hardly fit to be employed.

"My wife joins with me, in most respectful salutations to you and yours. Desiring your prayers, that God would be with us in all our wanderings, through the wilderness of this world,

"I am, dear Sir, your most affectionate brother, in the labours of the gospel, JONATHAN EDWARDS."

THE chagrin and mortification, and entire loss of influence and respect, consequent upon the indiscreet attempt to force Mr. Edwards from Stockbridge, by buying out all the English inhabitants, and upon its utter discomfiture, had, in its connection with the infirmities of age, such an effect upon the individual who made it, that he was, soon after, induced to part with his property in that

town, and remove to a distance. His children, though somewhat disheartened by so untoward an event, and now assured that, if help came to them, it could not come from Stockbridge; appear, however, to have resolved, that they would not lose all their labour, and all their hopes, without a struggle. The Commissioners in Boston, of the Society in London, were now to a man, firmly opposed to them, and resolved to resist them to the utmost. But their kinsman, who was a member of the Society in London, was well acquainted with its Board of Directors, and had written to them in behalf of his cousin. He had also applied to Mr. Hollis, to secure to her husband the management of his benefactions. The latter gentleman, also, and the brother of the former, had considerable influence at Boston, and this influence had now been exerted for a considerable period, to procure the removal of Mr. Edwards. At the opening of the General Court, in the autumn, all the influence and all the efforts of the family, and its friends, were brought to bear on this one point; and representations, most unfavourable to the character and qualifications of Mr. E. were made to many of the principal men of the province. The Annual Report of the resident trustee was drawn up with a direct and immediate reference to this subject, and was read to the Legislature, when Mr. Edwards knew nothing of its contents, and when, being at the distance of one hundred and fifty miles, he, of course, could not at once answer it. Mr. Woodbridge, however, was on the spot, as were the Honourable Commissioners of the Society in London, and they made such counteracting statements, as the circumstances rendered proper. Of this Report, we shall take notice further on.

While Mr. Woodbridge was at Boston, he was informed, and that too most incautiously, by the son of his opponent, who went thither in company with his brother-in-law, the author of the Report, that the latter had solicited his Excellency, Sir William Pepperell, Governour of the Province, to write to England, and to use his influence, with the Corporation in London, that Mr. Edwards might be removed from the office of missionary; and that Sir William had engaged to do it. On this information, coming so directly, Mr. Edwards felt himself bound, from a regard to his own reputation, and to the welfare of his family, to address Sir William on the subject; which he did in a letter, bearing date January 30, 1753.* In this letter, after reciting the preceding facts, as his apology for writing it, and mentioning the great disadvantage, under which he lay, in attempting to defend himself, at such a distance, when he did not know what had been said to his prejudice, he states, among other things, the following: That, since the revival of religion in 1734, the family, with which the writer of the Report was now

*This letter is too long for insertion.

connected, had discovered an unceasing hostility towards himself, and his own family, notwithstanding the best endeavours he could use to remove it; that they deeply engaged themselves in the controversy, at Northampton, on the side of his opposers, upholding, directing, and animating them, in all their measures; that two of them, especially, had been the confidential advisers of the opposition, in procuring his dismission; that when his removal to Stockbridge was proposed, the whole family, there and elsewhere, opposed it, with great vehemence, though, when they saw an entire union and universal engagedness in all the rest of the inhabitants, both English and Indians, for his settlement there, and that there was no hope of preventing it, they appeared, as though their minds were changed;-that the author of the Report, during the whole controversy at Northampton, in direct opposition to the family, with which he was now connected, had remained his zealous friend and advocate; that he warmly advocated his removal to Stockbridge, and expressed a strong desire of living under his ministry; (for the evidence of which facts, he refers Sir William to two of the most respectable gentlemen in the Province;) that this confidential friendship lasted, until his connection with that family, and then was suddenly changed, first into secret, and afterwards into open, opposition; that he had personally blamed him for preaching to the Mohawks, as intermeddling with what was none of his business, although Mr. E. produced the Note of the Commissioners, expressly desiring him to preach to the Mohawks, until a distinct Missionary was appointed over them: that the reason, openly assigned for the very great resentment of the author of the Report, and that of his friends, against Mr. Edwards, was, his having opposed the appointment of the wife of that gentleman, as teacher of the female school, although he neither said nor did any thing respecting it, until his opinion was expressly desired in writing by the Commissioners, and then, that he opposed it on the ground, that it was impossible for an individual, who had the care of two numerous families of children, to instruct and govern the children of an Indian school;-and that, as to his qualifications for the business of a missionary, his communicative faculty, etc., which were now denied, he could only appeal to those, who had the best opportunity of judging, from their own experience, particularly, to every man, woman and child, in Stockbridge, that had any understanding, both English and Indians, except the families of the opponent of Mr. Woodbridge, and of the author of the Report. Mr. Edwards then adds, "Now, Sir, I humbly request, that, if you had resolved on endeavouring to have me removed from my present employment, here, you would once more take the matter into your impartial consideration. And, I would pray you to consider, Sir, what disadvantages I am under; not knowing what has been said of me in conversation; not knowing, therefore, the accusation, or what to answer to. The ruin of

mny usefulness, and the ruin of my family, which has greatly suffered in years past, for righteousness' sake, are not indeed things of equal consideration with the public good. Yet certainly, I should first have an equal, impartial and candid, hearing, before I am executed for the public good. I must leave the matter, dear Sir, to your justice and christian prudence; committing the affair to him, who knows all the injuries I have suffered, and how wrongfully I now suffer, and who is the Great Protector of the innocent and oppressed; beseeching him to guide you in your determination, and mercifully to order the end."

In the month of February, 1753, the building erected for the instruction of the Mohawk boys, usually denominated the boardingschool, took fire in a way unknown, and, with considerable furniture in it, was reduced to ashes. Mr. Hawley had furnished a chamber in the building, and resided in it. By this calamity, he lost his clothing, books and furniture. It was supposed, with some grounds, to have been set on fire by design; and its destruction was, for the time, a very serious interruption to the labours of Mr. Hawley.

The Report of the Indian Agent was read early in the session. It contained various insinuations and charges, of a general nature, against Mr. Edwards. Other charges were busily circulated among the members, with the hope of procuring his removal. But it was well understood, that Mr. Edwards was at a great distance, and had had no notice of these charges. He had likewise a character for integrity, too well established, to be shaken by general insinuations, or covert attacks. Mr. Woodbridge, and the Commissioners, were also on the spot, and took care that the real state of things should be made known, and the conduct of Mr. Edwards adequately defended. So effectually and satisfactorily was this done, that, when Mr. Edwards received a copy of the Report by Mr. Woodbridge, he appears also to have been apprised, by his friends in Boston, that the design of his enemies, in this attack, had been completely frustrated. What these insinuations and charges were, we learn from his letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, written for the purpose of being communicated, if he thought necessary, to the Legislature. It deserves here to be mentioned, as a singular and very kind dispensation of Providence, that the author of the Report had, some time before, addressed a letter to Mr. Edwards, while he was his friend, and when he hoped for his co-operation; particularly, in the appointment of his son as school-master to the Mohawks; in which, he had either furnished the means of contradicting the statements made in the Report, or had expressly requested Mr. Edwards to do the very things, which he now complained of, and made the VOL. I.


ground of complaint. Of this letter, Mr. Edwards enclosed a copy; offering to forward the original, if desired, and, at the same time, to substantiate every part of his own statement, by numerous witnesses, of the most unexceptionable character.

[ocr errors]

From his letter to the Speaker, it appears, that the writer of the Report charged him--with introducing Mr. Hawley into the school;-with introducing a master, in his absence, and when there was reason to expect his return;-with doing this, when he had been at the expense of a journey of his son of 260 miles, to procure Mr. Hawley as master of the boys;-with introducing Mr. Ashley, the interpreter, as assistant instructor;—and with opposing the appointment of his wife, as teacher of the female school;-and that he also alleged, that the school was in very desirable circumstances, until Mr. Hawley took it, and that it then declined;-that the Mohawks had been discouraged, through the conduct of the agents of the mission; and that Mr. Edwards was not qualified for his office, because, on account of his age, he could not learn the language of the Indians.

To these charges, Mr. Edwards replied,-that he introduced Mr. Hawley, because he was directed so to do, by the letter of the Commissioners, of Dec. 31, 1751;—that he introduced a master, in the absence of the author of the Report, for two reasons, 1, Because he knew not when he was to return; and, 2, Because the author of the Report, himself, in a letter sent him by his son, requested him, at that very time, to introduce a master into the school; of which letter he inclosed a copy, with the offer of forwarding the original, if desired;-that, when the author of the Report sent his son on the specified journey, it was not to procure Mr. Hawley, to be a master for the boys, but it was, that the son himself might be the master; for evidence of which, appeal is also made to the copy of the same letter;-that, as to the appointment of teacher of the female school, he said nothing about it, until expressly requested to give his opinion by the Commissioners;-that so far was the school from being in desirable circumstances, before the introduction of Mr. Hawley, that the author of the Report had, himself, represented it as having been, until that time, in most lamentable circumstances, in the very letter of which he enclosed a copy, in which he requested Mr. Edwards to introduce his son into the school, in the room of the former master;-that the school continued to flourish under Mr. Hawley, until his opposers used their utmost endeavours to destroy it; for evidence of which, he offers the testimony of the substantial inhabitants of the town ;-that Hendrick, and the other Chiefs, and the Mohawks generally, had expressly assigned their dissatisfaction with the conduct of these individuals, as the reason of their leaving Stockbridge; for evidence of which, he offers the same testimony; and, as to his learning the 'Housatonnuck language, that the author of the Re

« ElőzőTovább »