“New England in Old England” 1681–1691

    As the Stuarts tried to regain more direct control over their colonies, worries about Plymouth’s future position in the empire appeared frequently in Cotton’s letters, which often included information about the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonies’ ongoing negotiations with the Crown. Beginning with the suggestion that the king expected New England’s agents to present themselves in London,577 Cotton’s correspondence reflects his understandable concern that Plymouth was not pursuing her own charter aggressively enough. Cotton chronicled Plymouth’s official request for a charter in June 1685;578 reported the arrival of Sir Edmund Andros and the fact that he commandeered a Boston church for Anglican worship;579 detailed Edmund Randolph’s attempted land-grab;580 and described Increase Mather’s journey to England and back as the agent for Massachusetts.581 Indeed, as late as June 1689, Plymouth did little more than send a petition to the Crown requesting a charter. Considering that Plymouth, unlike Massachusetts Bay, had never been chartered, this inaction seems surprising. Gov. Thomas Hinckley tried to raise funds to support Plymouth’s petition, but the General Court refused to support the proposal. By 1690, Plymouth’s future seemed to hang precariously in the balance of power between New York and Massachusetts. In February, the Massachusetts government paid for Ichabod Wiswall to join Mather as its agent. Wiswall was the settled minister in Duxbury, so he naturally represented Plymouth Colony’s wishes as well when he sailed for England that year. Plymouth’s decision not to send agents on her own behalf nearly guaranteed the colony’s absorption by Massachusetts Bay or New York. As early as 24 June 1690, court records reflect Plymouth’s delicate situation as she tried to retain her independence: “This Genll Court having information from England that the colony of Plimouth had been joyned to the government of New Yorke, but the same was prevented by the Reverend Mr Mather, who gave an accompt to Governr Sclater [Sloughter] how little service it would be to the people; we are also informed that after we were like to be annexed to Boston, but the same hindered by Mr Wiswall for the present; being also informed there is a possibility that we may obtain a charter for ourselves if we speedily address to their maties imploy a suitable person to manage & rayse sufficient moneys to cary the same an end.” The Plymouth Court seemed doubtful that it would succeed and considered the request an opportunity to forewarn Plymouth colony residents about the imminent demise of their autonomy so that they could not claim ignorance later: “the Court thinking it their duty to informe the several inhabitants in the severall towns in this colony thereof, that they may not hereafter say they had no notice.”582 Mather, trying to protect Plymouth from New York, included the Old Colony in a draft Massachusetts charter in early 1690. While the letters below clearly illustrate Cotton’s wish that Plymouth would actively pursue her own charter, he ultimately agreed with Increase Mather’s decision to push for Plymouth’s absorption into Massachusetts Bay. Cotton’s support for Mather’s efforts in London earned him many enemies in Plymouth, despite the fact that most Plymouth residents much preferred that the colony would become part of Massachusetts rather than join New York. Cotton’s very public support of the resulting Massachusetts charter even caused him trouble years later, at least in his view. Concerns over the charter were reflected in later correpondence as well; see the letter of 31 January 1691, in which Cotton tried to envision the advantages of a union with New York. Cotton’s penchant for rash talk, meanwhile, flourished throughout the charter crisis. For example, in a frank letter to Hinckley of 6 February 1691, Cotton goaded the governor to “stand forth & play the man.” Convinced that Plymouth would be joined to New York, Cotton implored Hinckley to go to England to plead their colony’s case directly with the Crown. Cotton wrote, perhaps disingenuously, that he might have overstepped his place with such candor: “Good sir, I have quite forgot myself.” (Cotton’s willingness to “forget himself” seems to have presented frequent problems throughout his life.) The three counties of Plymouth Colony were included as part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the latter’s new charter, approved in London on 7 October 1691.

    This group of letters also illustrates Cotton’s considerable role as an “international news correspondent.” His friends and colleagues clearly looked to him for information about the wider world beyond Plymouth Colony, especially nonconformist brethren who remained in England during the Restoration and faced increasing pressure from the Crown. Many letters in this section highlight the means by which Cotton shared information broadly, quickly and often with little comment. For example, Cotton nearly fully transcribed Cotton Mather’s 20 December 1683 correspondence in a letter that he wrote seven days later to Thomas Hinckley.

    Pastoral concerns reverberate throughout this collection, and in this section, news of Baptists,583 a drunken excommunicate,584 a surly group of parishioners,585 an apology from a church member guilty of fornication,586 letters of advice to and from ministerial colleagues,587 and clerical salary concerns588 reveal a minister busy with the quotidian concerns of a growing congregation and a mature network of colleagues. In addition, Cotton continued his mission among Native Americans in southeastern Massachusetts and worked on some new translations of Eliot’s bible and catechism for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.589

    As always, Cotton’s naiveté about his correspondents’ ability or desire to keep his words private evinces itself in these letters, as when he reminds Cotton Mather: “I would not have my name mentioned.”590 Surely Cotton knew that his letters traveled far beyond their intended readers, but he indulged in some lobbying efforts that highlighted both his stature within ministerial circles and his gossipy side when he tried to convince Jonathan Pierpont to accept the pulpit in Sandwich;—he even called Pierpont’s father “the old man” with a “sullen temper” in one letter, only to supplicate to him in the next.591 For all Cotton knew, the “old man” was reading it all.

    From Jonathan Tuckney,

    5 March 1681

    Dear & much respected Cousen

    yors of September [. . .] I received,592 whereby I am glad to understand yor family [. . . .] accession of a son to it;593 and of my Cousen Mathers594 then [. . . .]: It hath been a very sickly time all latter [part?] of last summer hereabouts. All of us in our family Except one child had been visited with a disease between an ague & fevor & some it hath returned to after intermisions. but blessed be God he hath made no breach upon us in our family. Though within these 2 years last past here in Hack[ney] 5 or 6 of our eminentest Godly men that were men of states too, & one faith[ful] minister Mr Jn Thomas Senior by name have been removed. The Lord [help us?] to improve these strokes aright. How publick affairs are you may bett[er] [be?] informed by Mr Epps:595 but [wt?] great feares we are of Popery getting [. . .] Parliaments are so prorogued & dissolved that would do any thing [. . . .] it, & to promote union amongst ourselves. A Parliament that had [. . .] to sit octob. 1679. were not permitted to sit till octob. 80 & after they [. . . .], many Bills of Publick use were Jan. 19 dissolved by Proclamation596 [. . .] of 5 Popish Lords clapt up about the Plot in 1678 one was tried & Executed597 [. . .] now there is a Parliament summoned to meet at Oxford the 21 of this month598 against which time there is no doubt but Plotts are laying to take them off there, & to set upon London too, as one house was fired Munday night last & thr[ee] or 4 burnt in it, a flax shop in Breadstreet. Our hope under God is in the City—Magistrates which this year are very couragious & resolute men. And what will be at oxford we must wait on God in reference to. there are in most places chosen those that were in the Last Parliament & were faithfull & zealous then. God send a supply to your Churches that were desolate, which I [should be?] glad to heare of as also of my Cousen Mather’s perfected recovery. with our hearty salutations to you & yors, craving mutuall prayers, & mutual intercourse, I rest

    yor affectionate kinsman

    Jonathan Tuckney

    Hackney March 5th 1680/81

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “To his much respected Cousen Mr John Cotton Pastor of the church at Plimouth in New England These.” Endorsed “From my Cousen, Mr Jonathan Tuckney March, 5: 1681: Received, June 4: Answered, September, 20:” Staining along right margin, two small holes in top third.

    From James Keith,

    22 March 1681

    Bridgwater March 22.—80

    Reverend & dear Sir

    Whether it be more strange to your self or to me that no letters have passed between us for so long a t[ime] I cannot tell. Although I reckon you owe me a letter, if I mistake not in my account yet I would have you to beleive that the reason why I have not written to you hath been want of opportunity, & if the reason of your not writing to me be the same (as I would hope it is) I am the better satisfyed: it is our comfort when other wayes of correspondence are denyed yt we may meet at the throne of grace & pray one for another which I hope hath been our mutuall care according to the measure of grace received: it is the holy will of god yet to suspend me from the full exercise of my ministry as in times past by continued languishings & infirmityes of body, I have had but a [?] winter, though god hath upheld me in my worke in some measure throughout the winter, excepting one sabbath or two: I acknowledge my self unworthy to be improved in the lords vineyard, if it be his pleasure to lay me aside, & to cast me out as a dry branch, I must adore his soveraignty & unspotted justice: I hope it is my care & endeavour to understand the minde of god, both as to what concerns my self & his people under these solemn dispensations, O yt our hearts might be humbled & yt it would please god to return wt loving kindnes & mercyes according to the years wherin he hath been [affecting?]. I do very much marvell yt the honoured court hath appointed me to preach our next election sermon:599 I would not decline any call of god, through unbelief, but if I should be no better than I am at present, it would be high presumption for me to undertake such a service, I desire to observe what may be of god in the call of his servants, but my bodily strength being so low I dare not at present give encouragment to expect yt service from me which is desired, I know our dear Newman600 did labour under much bodily weakness [when?] he gave his last publiq testimony, but hade he been then under such an indisposition to speak as I am at present, he could not have performed: that little which I do is [with?] great difficulty, I have elder Breths help constantly in prayer before sermon I am hardly able to speak to hearing in this little congregation, it is therefore very improbable I shall be able to preach an election sermon. Sir I have made bold to write to good Major Bradford601 yt you may be spoken to, to prepare for yt service, I presume there will be no hesitancy as to your order from authority, I must [?] acknowledge it is too much for me to desire yt you should stand as a [. . .] of my failure, but I hope your Respect to your freind, & much more your love to the work & service of christ will carry you above what inconveniences may therin attend you. I will endeav[our] to resolve you of at or before the election at Boston, it will be your wisdom to fixe upon a subject before, however things fall it will be no damage, I know your promptnes is such yt you may, by the help of the spirit of god, draw up in a short time that which may be suitable to such an occasion: dear Sir I beg your instant & fervent prayers to god on my behalf yt all the changes wc are appointed to me, may turn to my advantage through the supply of the spirit of Jesus christ, yt if god hath further service for me in the world I may be prepared for it or if otherwise he be calling me of the stage, I may be fitted for glory & eternall life: I have been long waiting for my change, & desire to be still waiting even all the dayes of my appointed time. I have nothing now to acquaint you with as to our affairs, our offenders are in statu quo theire freinds left them, the Lord forgive those who have been an occasion of theire hardening. my true love & respects presented to your self & Mrs Cotton, I must take leave, commending you to the grace of our Lord Jesus in whom I am

    Sir Your assured freind & affectionate brother

    James Keith

    Sir present my respects to elder Cushman602 to Mr Secretary & other freinds

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “For The reverend Mr John Cotton pastor of the church of christ in Plimouth These/.” Endorsed “From mr Keith March, 22: 1681:” Several small holes, frayed bottom edge.

    To Cotton Mather,

    19 April 1681

    Plimouth April, 19: 1681:

    Endeared Cousen

    I have ever cause to acknowledge your love & care of my dear child;603 & for that alone I oft owe you a letter of gratitude which though it be slender requitall, yet being the best I have at present I desire may be accepted: The immediate occasion of now writing is by you to acquaint your father, that this day past I spake with John Cooke,604 who was a member & Deacon of this church in Mr Rayners605 dayes, but for scandalous persisting in offense, he was Excommunicated; he hath since Joyned himselfe to the Anabaptist-society in Road Island of which Mr Clarke606 was Pastour: I asked him, who sent him that booke superscribed To Brother John Cooke of Dartmouth (Russels booke607) he answered one of them in Boston; I asked him, whether he had ever bin at their Lords supper? His Answer was, Noe, but he had twice taught amongst them on two meeting-dayes, & that the church of which he was at the Island & that at Boston did hold Communion together upon all occasions; this J: Cooke never sought Reconciliation with this Church, Joynes to the Anabaptists at R: Isle, holds communion with them at Boston, I would not have my name mentioned, but doubtlesse it is an aggravation of their sin, who can admit a Justly Excommunicate to preach amongst them.

    Due respects & salutations to your parents etc

    Praying that you may increase with the increases of God, I rest,

    your Affectionate uncle

    John Cotton

    Newes from o: E: would be a kindnesse:

    Mather Papers 4:9, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For his Endeared Kinsman, Sir Mather, at his father’s house, in Boston, ddd.” Some unrelated notes by Mather on the address leaf.

    To Thomas Hinckley,

    16 August 1681

    Plimouth August, 16: 1681:

    Much Honoured

    These letters from o: E:608 I found at Leift: Haywards at Boston & have had noe opportunity hitherto for safe conveyance, but I expect by Elder chipman609 you may soone receive them: The Batchelors Theses I now send you, the masters Questions at present I have not,610 the Salutator much lamented the death of Govr winslow611 in his oration, & had prepared due gratulations for your Honour, but your absence prevented expression of them. old mris stoughton612 was buried last wednesday: It is soe neere your going into the Bay, that I am the lesse sollicitous to insert newes from o: E: that most remarkeable is, the Petition from the Lord Mayor, Alderman, common councill of London to the K: for a Parl: etc: the Answer is very sharpe & reprehensory, bespeaking the strong influence of Popish Counsells; some other petitions were presented, stuffd with Adulations from southwark etc & had very gratious answers for their loyalty:613 The Drought very considerable in England, Holland, France: I crave excuse for noe more inlarging with forraigne newes, you will be fully satisfyed at Boston shortly:

    August, 31: is a day of Humiliation to be at Cambridge, carried on by divers ministers with mr Nath: Gookin,614 Mris Kingsman is shortly to be married to Deacon Sanders, who tells me he is but 75 yeare old:615 I hope you will order your coming to Plymouth, soe as not to returne home till you have bin at the Commission-court; Mr shove616 desired me to present his service to your Honour, soe did Mr Keith,617 from whom you will heare a very satisfying answer to take off the many lyes & slanders in the Petition: my wife is not yet returned home; with my humble service presented to you & mris Hinckley, craving your prayers for me & mine, I rest, Sir,

    your Honours obliged

    John Cotton

    The death of your son Rawsons child618 I suppose is noe newes, the Lord doe them good by it: old mr Jackson of Cambridge village,619 blessed Mr oakes620 was at his funerall a few dayes before his owne, Proh dolor!621

    Hinckley Papers, appendix 1:7, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “For the Honourable, Thomas Hinckley Esquire, Governour of Plymouth-Colony, these in Barnstable.”

    To Thomas Hinckley,

    13 January 1682

    Plymouth January, 13: 1681:

    Much Honoured Sir

    one Latine sentence from a Governour622 Justly merits from me many sentences in way of Retaliation; & though at present I cannot send soe fully as I would, (my son being not to returne till the morrow) yet duty obliges to give you a hint of what from uncertaine rumors is this day turned into reall certainties by Capt Thomas, (whom I even now spake with, & who came lately from Boston) The King in his letter623 doth take notice of their not sending messengers, but imputes it not to their disloyalty, yet expresly requires their attending his Command in that respect, & will not have his Authority slighted: It is taken for granted by Godly-wise, that the Immediate cause of the diversion of further harshnesse, was an Embassadour from the States of Holland, who (as God ordered it, & (as some suppose) was contrived by some Religious Protestants of the Councill) came in the very Instant when great Motions were on foote for regulations (or rather subversions) of Massachusets, & solemnly demands in the Name of the States, that his Majesty would forth with declare whether he were for Protestantisme yea or noe, they had waited long to know his resolution in that respect & could not, would not tarry any longer for his answer, they had suffered much by delayes, & now call for a speedy result; hence it was noe time to destroy N: E:624 a place of Protestants, our peace is yet lengthened out & our pleasant things not taken away, upon this account publick thankes is given in sundry congregations in the Bay: Mr Randolph hath complained, that violation of the Kings Lawes respecting trade is connived at,625 & that when he sues any on that account, he is forced to pay monyes (which is not the custome in such cases in o: E:626) & that he hath not Justice etc: the King writes on his behalfe, that they be carefull to doe him Justice, that he be heard without demanding mony of him, that his appeals to o: E: be allowed in case he be not satisfyed with any verdict etc. The Duke of Yorke hath as much acknowledgment in & from Scotland as his heart desires;627 Papists have great hopes that the King will declare for them; the French King goes on doing mischeife:

    old Mr Ting is dead:628 the Awful hand of God in permitting Scandalous sinnes to breake forth here (I presume) is noe newes to you; Samuel Dunham,629 a poore old Drunkard, God gave the church strength to purge him out; the Case of George Watson & his wife630 was before the Church last Sabbath, & last wednesday, they show some signes of the beginning of Repentance, yet wee are generally agreed this next Sabbath to proceed to censure, & have appointed Feb: 8: for a day of Humiliation (the church alone) on the account of such sad outbreakings; pitty, Good Sir, & pray for this poore Church, that upon it may be engraven, Holines to the Lord.

    My selfe & wife present our humble service to you and mris Hinckley, begging to be continually remembered in your prayers,

    I rest, sir your Honours to Love & serve,

    John Cotton Senior.

    Mr Saltonstall hath a printed booke in vindication of the Protestants, & Capt Thomas hath many printed peices of newes, could I obtaine them I would soone transmit them to your Honour.

    your letter to Mr Randolph I this day received, & shall send by the first.631

    Hinckley Papers 1:27, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For the Honourable, Thomas Hinckley Esquire, Governour of his Majesties Colony of New Plimouth, living at Barnstable.”

    From Cotton Mather, 19 January 1682

    Boston 19d 11m 1681/2

    Worthily Respected Uncle—,

    I promised to send you an Acct of what considerable News comes in ye late ships from England—I might have continued almost silent, & yett have kept my promise: there is so little Remarkeable that occurs;—The old word, yt wee were wont to have as ye First in Every seaman’s mouth, in answer to ye Q. What News,—is still used,—All peace, & quietness—The story of ye Insurrection in scotland which wee had by Way of Holland,632 is yt whereof I may say, as a scotchman upon another occasion did, It is but a Fable—As to what concerns N. E. in O. E.633 The King hath sent a pretty favrable letter,634 wherein yett Hee saies, Hee don’t so accept or Excuse for or Not sending Agents, but that Hee expects wee should within 3 moneths (I think) yett do it, or incurr ye blott & guilt of Disloyalty—That which made Exceeding well for a moderate letter sent to us from His Majty, was, yt ye states of Holland sent over to England a somewhat rugged Embassadr who declared their Expectations yt ye King should now manifest Himself, whether Hee would join Cordially in ye protestant League,—or be a Friend to ye French Ks Interest635—This putt ye Court into an huge perplexity; & coming just at ye Time when or N. E. business was under Debate, it did so divert them yt they had not leisure to take Rigid notice of us—

    In all other respects so farr as I can learn, things continue in statu quo prius636—Randolph is come with his family,—& has hired Mr Hez: Ushers house,637—where the Ministers wre wont to meet:—Heu! Domus Antiqua638 &c—Of ye state of ye Colledge my Cousin will (I suppose) give you fuller Information in some Respects then I can—Si Vales, bene est,—ego [quoque] Valeo639—Excuse these Hasty Lines—written currente, & calente calamo,640—accept this small service, as from one not having an opportunity to do greater—present my service to my Aunt,—love to Cousens—and Continue to pray for


    C. M.—

    Miscellaneous Manuscripts, The New-York Historical Society. Addressed “These For the Revd,—my Hond Uncle Mr John Cotton Pastor to ye Church in Plymouth.” Endorsed “From my Cousen, mr Cotton Mather, January, 19: 1681:.”

    From [Zechariah] Walker,


    RevD & Dear Bror

    Yrs of ye 19th of January last I Recd & both by ye Contents & Dimensions of it, I perceived that it was a Winter Production, being of very little Growth. However I value it at a high Rate, ye Market always rising as things grow scarce. And just now it comes to Mind that the last Epistles of John are very short—You say that a great sum of Money should not have prevailed with you had you been within 40 Miles of Woodbury, to have returned home till you had seen me, I verily believe it—but you have taken sufficient Care yt none shall have the Temptation, by keeping at a greater Distance. It’s a fine easy Way to set still & appoint Others yr Work. You add that you forbear Censuring &c And you do very well for—it is not safe for him who hath many Glass Windows, to throw stones at his Neighbors house, besides yt Bulletts do Execution by a Rebound. At length You make a Master of your Martial spirits, & threaten to beat up my Quarters: but when? why so soon as you can get a convenient supply for your People: very ambiguous! If You mean only a supply for Ministerial Work, while you are abroad upon that Expedition, there may be some hope yr Valour may be brought upon Proof: But if it must be deferred till all yr Batchelors be supplied with convenient Wives, & your Maids with convenient Husbands, & such as either do, or think they want it with a convenient supply of Money, I shall not fear an Assault. In plainness I have so long in vain Expected a visit, yt when you write of it, I Conclude you write in Jest, & yrfore have answered accordingly, that ye Comment might Agree with ye Text.

    Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University.

    From Josiah Rosseter,642

    14 February 1683

    gliford february 14: 1682


    I sent to you643 by henry wise644 but he heard not whether you had Resevead it while he was there or not: I was drove to a short time in getting my Letters Ready for henry wise to bring to boston he being the Last opertunyty that I could heare of: what I did in hase or through weakenes pray pardon: I heare nothing conserning our ingland buisenes if doctor waldin645 dos intend to try for if in england it will be very nesesary that you take some securyty from under his hand for his delevery of the mony to us if he gaine it or to delever up the writing to us if he gaine not the mony this is the Argment of those that understand those matters therefore if it be not to Late when this comes to your hands pray mind it: I have noe newse but could be glad to heare the sertainty of newse from england by your hand soe far as we can heare if it is Like to goe heard wt boston and soe wt us alsoe if the Lord prevent not the greate desines of the world: what neede have wee to prepare for those times that we may not be taken unawares the Lord help us soe to doe: I should be glad to heare from you by the bearer heare of Augustin: williams646 an almonack647 would be welcom: we are all prity well at this time my self wife and good thomas crittenden648 Present our Respeckts to your self and wife our Love to all our cosens that are wt you cosen betty649 intended to be maryead before now and soe possibly shee may have left you. not els but Rest yours to comand

    Josiah Rossetter

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “For mr John Cotten pastor of the church of christ att plimouth.” Endorsed “From Brother Rosseter February, 14: 1682:”

    From Cotton Mather,

    28 February 1683 [28 March 1682]650

    [. . . .]82

    Honrd Syr!

    Your Last651 was very welcome: for it brought mee nothing but good Newes.—The Increase of Christs Church among you, must increase ye Joy of every well-principled Heart yt knowes it.—Really! The Report of one souls being brought to renounce Idols.—& Draw near to God in Christ, is to say no more, Worth hearing.—Happy N. E! where or gloriose Master has not yet broke up House!—

    But will you not wonder that I <have> could find nothing but good Newes in your affectionate Lines, when some of ye first of ‘em are, I have tasted deeply of ye cup of affliction this winter!—Nay.—but I don’t recall ye word.—For you as well as David, will say,—It is good for mee yt I have been afflicted!652—Surely! You have many a Time given yourself, & yours, & all your concerns, into ye Hands of God in Christ Jesus! What? And will you not Stand to His managements? Or will you imagine any other, but that, as not a Sparrow in your field, no, nor an Hair on your Head, falls to ye Ground without a concernment of His ever-watchfull Providence about ye Same,653 So, Hee yt has performed all things for you, has dispos’d of ‘em ten thousand times better then if you had carv’d for yourself—oh! for such gallant, & Lofty attainments, as to Love No creature wth a Distinct Love from ye Love of God.—& to have No Will distinct from ye Will of God!—But—facile omnes cum Valemus recta Consilia egrotis [damus]654.—

    Nay,—I do but pour water into ye sea, when one of my Low, & Dirty Spirit, goes to revive in you ye Noble Inclinacions, wherein doubtless you abound.—Only then, in ye upshot.—I can hear of No Ill befallen you,—for, Say to ye Righteous, It shall be well wth Him! &, or Light afflictions Work more glory.—&, Blow High, Blow Low, tis an ill wind indeed yt will not Blow good to them, When ye Promise sais, All things work together for good unto.—yea.—[. . . .] Comfortable Conclusion, yt Speaks [. . . .] reported to your sick Family, is yt [. . . .] [a]bundently confirm what has already [. . . .] ye rather, because of—Isa. 33. 24655—[. . . .] indeed, & ye whole Town almost, has been Visited wth ye Epidemical Cold.—(of which or youngest is now somewt dangerously ill—)—And I have myself smarted under it somewhat more then many of my Neighbrs.—for, I was kept a prisoner by it a matter of Three weeks.—& to my good Drs apprehension, when I was first siezed wth my illness,—I was in some Likelihood of bidding my friends in this wearisome {I most truly, & feelingly call it, Wearisome} world, Good Night!—Nevertheless, I am abroad agn, tho: Labring (as a better Young man once did) under often Infirmityes.—& Likely (&, I sometimes think,—tho: I thank christ, without any a sticking affection—) to drop away when it is not expected.—only lett mee be found so doing.—& no body will be a Looser.—

    So my pen Rambles!—But I must check its motions.—& only add.—That there is nothing of Newes stirring.—No, Not from England, in ye Last Vessels.—No, Not in one yt is now arriv’d from Rochel.—wth but Two moneths passage.—All things remaining as they were.—(h.e. The Earth removing.—& ye mountains carrying into ye midst of ye Sea,—& ye waters roaring & being troubled.—) Except I should say, That London has Lately been forc’d to part wth their Libertyes so far, as to admitt sherifs not of their own, but ye Courts Choosing.656—& what shall wee poor shrubs expect, when ye stately cedars crack!

    Tomorrow, there is a Day of Prayer kept in or south-meeting-house.—& which bodes well, there is indeed a mighty Spirit of Prayer among us.—

    I should be glad to hear from my Cousin Jno,—& should be willing enough to write to him, would he give mee any occasion.—or Church did about two moneths ago Pass an unanimous Vote.—desiring a Day might speedily be appointed for ye ordination of yt Same sorry Soul,657 who, I Suppose, will no wayes comply wth ye mention’d address. But Who, I am sure does both need, & crave your daily prayers.—For I need not tell you,—my paper will Scarce give mee room, to tell you, Tis,

    Your C Mather

    William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Addressed “to the Revd (my Hond Uncle,—) Mr Jno Cotton Pastor to ye Church of Christ, in Plymouth.” Endorsed “[. . . .]en Cotton Mather [. . . .], 28: 1682:.” In a later hand: “(the date is probably March 28, 1682.)” Tear at top of page.

    From James Keith,

    6 March 1683

    Bridgewater March 6 ‘82

    Reverend & Dear Sir.

    I received yours of Jan. 3.658 & your last also of Feb.9659 both which came to my hand diverse weeks after their date I thank [you] with all my heart for your affectionate remembrance of me under my affliction. I acknowledge myself a deep debtor to you & should have made some returns before this time, but that I have been shut up under many sorrows, being bereaved of diverse of my choicest friends. The death of our precious elder660 is an irreparable breach upon this poor church & upon me. God hath removed him in judgement to this place. O that we were sensible of the Lord’s controversy, & that it would please God to awaken us unto true repentance before the decree bring forth. I feared his removal some considerable time before God took him from us. His eminency in grace did prepare him for Glory. My hands are now much weakened in my work. How the Lord will dispose of me I cannot tell, but desire to roll the care of all my concerns upon him. I have been upheld this winter in some measure above expectation in my ministry; though I am still laboring under much infirmity of body. If the Lord will again suspend me from his work, I desire to submit to his sovereign dispose. My soul mourns for those abominations and grievous scandals which have lately broke out among your people:661 but I rejoice to hear that God hath strengthened your heart and hands in the exercise of discipline and that you have been carried through such difficult work with Union & unanimity. The great affair of my dear friend, who is to me more than a father is not yet brought to an issue. The notion is earnestly followed by those who are concerned, but whether he will accept is a great question. Let us pray for him. I thank you heartily for my long and liberal election entertainment the last year. I cannot enlarge, being now going to Waymouth; heartily remembering Mrs Cotton, earnestly desiring your prayers for me, & commending you to the grace of christ, I rest

    your real affectionate friend & unworthy brother in the work of the Lord

    James Keith

    John Davis Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “For the Revd Mr. John Cotton pastor of the Church in Plymouth.” Endorsed “From Mr. Keith march 6. 1682.” From a manuscript copy of the original.

    To Cotton Mather,

    13 December 1683

    December, 13: 1683:

    Deare Cousen

    The enclosed662 I received but yesterday, I hope it comes not too late for the presse; the two sons mentioned came to untimely ends, Thomas drowned by casting away of the boat in which he was; Benjamin663 slaine with Capt Peirce;664 concerning ought remarkeable towards the death of mr & mris southworth665 I write not, only, I know there was a dismall darke cloud & a terrible thunder clap within halfe an houre of his death, mr southworth himselfe observed the great darkness & heard the thunder, for he asked if that noise was not thunder; <but> The Relation of this man is faithfull, he is a child of godly parents, both dead, his father but lately; I conclude your Revd father will give the substance of this Narrative an Imprimatur:

    I hope you will hand me a few lines of winter-newes from Gen: Court, Elec: Preacher etc & something of my son John, if you heare of him, I cannot heare a word concerning him since I left Boston; my wife is at Taunton; Due salutations to your selfe & parents & my Cousens; The Lord delight more & more to blesse you with the best blessings; Pray for me & mine,

    I am, your Affectionate uncle

    John Cotton

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These for his Esteemed Kinsman, Mr Cotton Mather, Preacher of the Gospel at Boston.”

    From Cotton Mather,

    20 December 1683

    Honrd Syr

    These Lines wait upon you to Thank you for yo [. . .] & to request you that since Mr Ws Narrative of [. . .] storm666 is imperfect as to ye circumstance of ye [. . .] of ye Bricks by it you would please to Enquire of That, so as to [inform?] us ye next week, if it may be, because ye Boock at ye press will, I suppose then be finished.

    I know not what else to add, But that persecutions of the Dissenters do Encrease in England667 & to a marvellous heighth & many persons of all Ranks are forc’d to fly; A gentleman, a Deacon of Dr Annesleyes Church,668 yt is arrived here Last week, told mee, That there are Warrants out for Every Non-conformist Minister in the city of London. Two or Three Religios Noblemen are sd to have absconded in Scotland lately; In London, ye Common-Council having an Instrument sent them by ye King for them to sign their Resignation to His pleasure, retracted their old Vote of Compliance; & refused to do what was required in ye matter of submission.669 Upon which His Majesty has Entred Judgment against ye Charter, & appointed instead of ye Mayor a Custos Civitatis, & in stead of ye Aldermen, a Number of pickt Justices to Supply their place.

    In Hungaria there is ye most signal Revolution which this Last Age hath brought forth. The Male-contents, as they’re called, have made most honourable Articles with ye Turks,—to pay them forty Thousand crowns annual acknowledgement, & for this to command on all occasions ye whole Turkish power to assist them—Hungary is not upon ye matter all Theirs. The Jesuits are not only banished That Kingdome but perpetually exiled from all ye Turkish Dominions. Count Techli is a King & ye Hungarians after his Death are to choose whom they please for his successor.670 The churches have ye Libertyes of ye gospel againe & so have ye scholes. The suffering protestants return from all Quarters to their Ancient possessions. The Witnesses stand upon their feet, & prophecy [hear.] ye Great Voice from Heaven & the [light.] which is risen in that most Eastern part

    [illegible line]671

    The Turks had allmost carried Vienna when an Army of germany, & Polanders with great losse to themselves, forced them to raise their siege.672 Nevertheless in their march away they swept ye Countryes horribly & are Like to be at it again Early in ye Spring—

    At piscataqua just now the Governr & Council have passed an Act That all above 16 years old shall not be debarred the Blessed Sacrament & That all children shall be christened & this after ye Liturgy-way, if it be desired by ye parents. and half a years Imprisonment, without Bond or Bail, is ye penalty of Transgressing ye sd Act.673

    Here’s enough to bespeak, & quicken your prayers &c&c&c

    Who is to preach or Election sermon is not yett determined.674 Neither is it, Whether [wee shall?] have above one Election more—

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “To the Revd mr John Cotton Plimouth.” Noted in another hand: “From my Cousen Coten Mather 20: Dec: 1683:” Hole in first page.

    To Thomas Hinckley,

    27 December 1683

    Plimouth December, 27: 1683:

    Much Honoured Sir

    Having lately received tidings of great import from a solid hand675 I take my selfe obliged to present your Honour therewith.

    “Persecutions of the dissenters doe increase in England etc to a marvellous heighth & many persons of all rankes are forc’d to fly, A Gentleman, a Deacon of Dr Annesleyes Church that is arrived here last weeke told me that there are warrants out for every Non-conformist-minister in the Citty of London; Two or three religious Noblemen are said to have absconded in Scotland lately. In London the Common Councill having an Instrument sent them by the King for them to signe their Resignation to his pleasure, retracted their old vote of compliance & refused to doe what was required in the matter of submission, upon which his Majesty hath entered Judgment against the charter & appointed instead of the mayor, a custos civitatis, & instead of the Aldermen, a number of pickt Justices to supply their place.

    In Hungaria there is the most signall Revolution which this last age hath brought forth: The Male-contents, as they are called, have made most honourable Articles with the Turkes, to pay them forty thousand crownes annuall acknowledgment & for this to command on all occasions the whole Turkish power to asist them; Hungary is now upon the matter all theirs; The Jesuites are not only banished that Kingdom, but perpetually exiled from all the Turkish dominions: Count Techli [Tekeli] is a King & the Hungarians after his decease to choose whom they please for his successour; The churches have the liberties of the Gospel againe & soe have the schooles; the suffering Protestants returne from all quarters to their antient possessions; the witnesses stand upon their feete & hear the great voice from heaven, & the light in which is risen in that most Easterne part of Europe is longed for westward by many, more than the day by the morning-watchers.

    The Turkes had almost carried vienna, when an Army of Germany & Polanders with great losse to themselves, forced them to raise their siege, Neverthelesse in their March away they swept the Countreys horribly, & are like to be at it againe early in the spring”

    God is doing great things in the world, he in mercy prepare us to meete him; With due service from me & mine to you & yours, requesting your daily prayers, I rest, Sir

    your Honours servant

    John Cotton

    Hinckley Papers 1:54, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For the Honourable, Thomas Hinckley Esquire, Governour of New Plimouth Colony, living at Barnstable.”




    Our trialls are increasing now upon us, our Zions travell-throws are now upon her, she begins to be in paines, o pray for us who are become captives in our owne land, our persecutors are resolute, they study our ruine every day, they have invented noe lesse then 15 shamefull plots to turne upon us if they could, but have fixed them without any shew of colour, by which our signes doe hang in doubt over our heads day & night, sometimes they are putting one statute in force against us, sometimes another, sometimes our friends are indited for not coming to church by the twelve penny an[d] sometimes by the act of ten pounds a moneth, thousands excommunicated & many arrested upon it, wee are a prey to our common bayliffs who without any order can make lists of names & pretend them as orders from the sessions on purpose to make their advantage upon the feares & ignorance of our countrey christians:

    In many places they are rifling the houses of the Lords people for being at meeting, pulling away goods from some unto whom bread should be given for their wants; our prisons they fill with the bodyes of the saints, they catch up our ministers whereever they find them within 15 miles of a corporation, two ministers are at this time in our Countrey prison, one of them made a prisoner for visiting the other; our charters of our corporations are given up in many places by a prevailing party with plans to alter the goverment of the place that it may convert to their proper purpose; In all our sufferings wee are denyed the benefit of all Law, & those statutes which were made against the Papists are turned upon us, & wee doe feare as soone as they can ripen things the Papists shall stand in our complexion & wee in theirs:

    Bristoll is almost undone through the length of the troubles which have fallen upon them, they are forced out of the citty to worship God, 3 miles & more from the place, & cannot meete in quiet there neither; Lately as they met by a Rivers side to avoyd the pursuers which came out of Bristoll after them, the minister & one more run into the River, the man which run in with the minister is drowned, & the minister lay in a dying Conidtion for a moneth after, but I heare now he is Like to weather that point: Wee have the Act of Conventicles prosecuted against some for bare family-duties, such is the debauchery of the Informers & the readynesse of some Magistrates to receive their Informations; In many places they have sworne Commissions upon persons that could proove they had bin at the church in publick the same time, but noe redresse will be affoarded them upon any appeale; There is but one thing more wanting to compleat our misery which is endeavoured after as soone as things can ripen, & that is a Parliament & then wee expect totall banishment & confiscation.

    Our misery is, that these things have made many to goe back againe that were once asistant to us in our wildernesse travells, which greatly raiseth the spirits of our adversaries, & straitens our hands that are left behind;

    Our misery is, that wee draw not one way in our yoke, but have many of our brethren employed against us to plead Conformity Lawfull, who study to say more for our adversaries cause then they can say themselves;

    Our misery is, that our late church-members which have left their fellowship through feare, are ready to accuse the rest, which stand as criminall;

    our misery is, that wee dare not deal with our offending members for feare that in soe doing wee shall be indited in our publick Sessions for being offenders our selves;

    Our misery is, that wee cannot visit our imprisoned brethren (in some places) for feare wee should be prisoners our selves;

    Our misery is, that our ministers in private meetings are afraid to preach all truths lest treasonable passages should be sworne against them; our misery is, that our ablest sort of christians who have much of this world are pickt out one after another, & for words spoken are fined,677 one twenty thousand, another 15000,678 another 3000 pounds, & all to bring them to a condition not to be helpfull one to another; And Lastly (if I could tell when to write the Last evill of our misery) our misery is, that Arminianisme & Socianisme is like to be the prevailing Religion of our times; Oh where are the sounding of our New English bowels for old Englands ruines, our teares could drop for you in your late misery,679 & our prayers were at worke for you in your then calamities; O pitty us, O pitty us in our straites, for the hand of God is greatly gone out against us, O that the eyes of our New English brethren would looke toward our [. . .] of our goods, O Looke upon our broken churches & bleeding ordinances, our imprisoned members & scattered ministers, oh that the cryes of our dying liberties & dying Gospel might fill your eares as loud as ever did the thunder from the clouds over your heads; oh the time was, when you had an Eliot680 amongst you that could write to us in the Image of his bowels, styling it New Englands teares for old Englands feares; o bretheren are not our feares as great as ever, but where are your teares? May not a new calamity againe breake out upon you, which should it once more make you our debtors for prayers & teares on your behalfe, would you not count it a mercy that wee are your Lords remembrancers for you; O now pay your old debt to us first & for ought you know it may be a meanes to prevent your running upon a new score to us; o beg for strength & faith & patience for us, o beg that God would not make his Corrections any more tokens of his wrath to us; o beg for a spirit of Reformation among the Lords owne people, o wee cannot preach downe the pride of apparell amongst professors, o wee cannot preach down their worldlynesse & their Covetousnesse; o never were a people more glued to these sins then the professing people of old England are at this time; o that you might pray downe that which wee cannot preach downe; o beg a spirit of prayers & union for us, & that our God would not leave us in the Land of our nativity which by our sins wee have made the land of our Captivity; o the God of heaven stirre up your hearts for us & that you our friends would give him noe rest till he hath once more made us his praise in the earth.

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    To Mary Hinckley,681

    10 January 1684

    Plimouth January, 10: 1683:

    Honoured & Deare Friend

    A due sympathy one with another in affliction is a Gospel-duty; Gods bowels yerne towards his in distresse & could wee shew our selves the children of God by bowels of affection to the distressed, it would well become our christian profession; I am not able to doe or say what my heart is willing to expresse in this case; but, hearing that you are deeply dejected under the late bereaving stroake of Gods hand in your family,682 I cannot but in Conscience of my duty to God & in compassion to you, whom my blessed father loved, & whom I much respect in the Lord, speake a few words that may by divine blessing tend to allay that excessive greife that hath taken hold of you; Consider, I beseech you what is done, & who hath done it, & why is it done? you have lost a deare gran-child by an ordinary desease, what is there in this more than the Common portion of the children of men; yea & of the children of God, you are not the first afflicted in this kinde, my owne deare mother besides the death of her owne, passed under this rod in the death of a pleasant gran-child of 8 yeares old, on whom her heart was exceedingly set; if God deale with you as with a child, you have hereby an evidence of your Adoption, you will not be cast downe because God seales his fatherly love to your soule by this Correction; God hath done what is done, & he did you noe wrong, his right was greater to that litle one then yours, it was Covenant-seed, & God hath made haste to accomplish all covenant-mercy to it, I hope this will not greive you; a babe embraced in the armes of Jesus christ, the Redeemer & shepherd of these Lambes, lyes safer & more comfortably then in the bosome of the most tender-hearted Gran-mother, will this greive you? What did you intend in the keeping of this child, if it had lived, certainly you meant, while it was with you to traine it up for the Lord; & did you not often pray for it, that its soule might be accepted in the Covenant of grace, all your good purposes, desires & prayers are answered in this, that it is safe in heaven, your worke is rewarded to the utmost of the wishes of your heart; & who can tell <how much> (but he that knowes all our hearts) how much you needed this Affliction & how much spirituall good God intends to your soule hereby; Weaning dispensations are very mercifull to a child of God, our hearts cleave too close to earthly injoyments, God, who is well worthy, would have more of our Affections; & happy is that affliction that is sanctifyed to cause the heart to be more in Love with God: upon my thoughts of your present visitations, I thought of Psal: 30:683 & see noe reason but to thinke, that good David when he came into his new house had a dangerous fitt of sicknesse, which God sent to season his heart with more ardency, life & strength of grace & holinesse to dedicate himselfe & house unto the Lord, & I am verily perswaded, that is the worst harme God intends you by your present trialls, & when tried, you shall come forth as gold: I pray pardon my boldnesse with you, from you & your Mate, I have bin comforted & directed in an evill day, & therefore I owne myself your Debtor, though unable to discharge it; Thinke of Psal: 42: last:684 the Father of mercies be your comforter & supporter, Soe prayes,

    yours affectionately in our Lord Jesus

    John Cotton

    Hinckley Papers 1:57, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For his Worthily Esteemed Friend, Mris Mary Hinckley, living at Barnstable.”

    From Bithia Sandy, 27 February 1684

    To the Reverend Mr John Cotton, & Mr Thomas Cushman to be communicated to the church of xT at Plimouth,

    I received a letter from you,685 to warn me of my Sin, & call me to repentence in that, I had conjugal communion with him, who is now my husband, before our actual marriage, which letter I take kindly, at your hands, & I hope wil have a good effect upon me, though before that letter, I was under, plain & undeniable convictions, yt in that matter I had sin’d against god, & broke his rule, & notwithstanding al endeavours from my owne heart, (or otherwise) to excuse it, yet I am conscious to my selfe, that I did evil in it, And after al my thoughtfulnes about it, I have no way left but to beg pardon, & look to him who hath said, yt such as confesse & forsake their sin, shal obtaine mercy. I desire to greive & mourn for my sin herein, & to be greatly humbled under it, as it is a dishonnour to god, a scandal to the gospel, & greife & offense to you in perticuler, or any other christians. I desire the pitty & prayers of the whole church, to god for me, yt my repentance may be sound, & that I may be found in Jesus xt who doth sometimes wash & sanctifye, & accept of great sinners. I am thankful to the church, & elders for their care of me, & should be heartily glad to hear any further direction or counsel from you, & whether your care, & love towards me may be renewed, after so great a fall.

    Bithia Sandy

    Bristol Feb: 27: 83. 84

    What is above written, & subscribed, is written & subscribed at the desire of her whose name is [underwritten?] as attests Benj: Woodbridge686

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Cotton’s note: “This letter was read to the church, may, 2:1684: & well approoved of.”

    To Cotton Mather,

    11 March 1684

    Most Deare Cousen

    you make me in your debtor by soe great a readynesse to comply with my desires in any thing, & sending me such good Epistles;687 had your 2ond page had noe worse Intelligence then your first, I should have had lesse cause of greife then now I have; the Lord heale those breaches, & ours also: our Govr & Magistrates, being desired by the Church, did give some advice to us in a paper worthy to be written in letters of Gold (me Judice688), but our contentious Lord-bretheren deemed it not worthy of hearing the 2ond time or of desiring a copy to be left of it, which our Mag’s did take notice of; the ch: went apart, & have chosen 5 ches to meete in Councill, 18th Instant, Barnstable, Taunton, Bridgwater, Duxbury, Marshfeild,689 your & your fathers prayers will not be wanting, oh let them be more then ordinary, that I may finde mercy from God in this day; what further proceedings you heare of my Brother690 & how it is with our son691 there, please to informe; our salutations are respectively to each of our Relations with you; our fathers God love you, when will you come to us?

    I am, yours Affectionately

    John Cotton

    Plimouth March, 11: 1683:/84:

    I hope Mr Eppes hath my letter I left with you for Cos: Tuckney.692

    Mather Papers 5:55, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For his much Endeared Kinsman, Mr Cotton Mather, Preacher of the Gospel, at Boston.”

    From Edward Rosseter,

    20 March 1684

    Reverend duly & dearly Honod Cousen I do with great Integrity assure yu that I take it as a very great and remarkable favour of the Lord to me to be thought fitt to have Correspondence with so worthy a person as your selfe which have had for some years together your letter of the 20th of Nov last693 Came to my hands the 21 of ffebruary Which made a deepe as well as a double impression upon me some part I read with much delight & sattisfaction and other Could not read without many teares & much griefe should I take notice of every thing in yors to give answer to it & a narative of what have accurred here & in ye nation since my last to you it would fill a very great vollume I may hint at some things which must not speake plainly to. But the Tables are turned In march the next moneth after mine to you A great persecution arose thorow out the land tho the storm was greater & more violent in some then other places and few places have had a greater share therin then this poor Town the rage & fury of very ill men upon very great mistaks to my personall Knolege have appeared exceeding great Its true to the Lords Everlasting praise be it we Enjoyed our blessed ministers and libertyes much longer then many other places did yt were so numerous as we being abt 1500 yt did meet & We were disturbed most Lords-dayes after March began but in Aprill thinking yt heat over we ventured to the meeting House againe but prsently ye Mayor Came with his officers694 who in fury brake down the great doores of the House & Wall yt leads to it yt was agt ye street & then laid all open after this his officers watcht it most Lords dayes yt could have no meeting there & no other place would hold us for all to hear yet this House was built by his Matys Encoragment and we had his License for our own ministers and administering ye ordinances in our way which is not Contrary to yt of ye Church of England for we had praying reading ye Scriptures & preaching as they have but have not the Service of the Church as they call it, But those Gratious blessed Glorious times are over for ye prsent And miserable dayes come Oh yt I had A more deep sence of ye wrath of the Lord in this dispensation tis through the anger of the Lord yt this Calamitous Missery is come we may read our sinnes in our punishmt We had not such a due sence of the invaluable worth of ye great blessing of the Gospell and our unthankfullness and unfruitfullness for it & under it, such great stupendious Judgments are ye proper fruit of sin though it is true the Wisdom of God many times brings much good out of those Evills The good Lord helpe us to Consider our wayes and repent of all ye Evill found amonge us you know God Sometimes Executes judgments by way of Retaliation bringing a mans wayes upon his own head I may say without vanity no place in ye Land (in ye Land did I say) hardly in the world yt enjoyed more then this place for Ministers I am sure for piety Holiness and Exemplary walking for all ministerall abillitys indifatigable indefatigable labours It is no Hyperbolicall Expression to say if any did Equalize none Exceeded them and there are yet a very Serious gratious people which as my dear ffather Alleine in his life you may se tells ye world yt Considering how few Embrace ye wayes of Christ in good Earnest there were not a few such in yt Towne But Alas Alas the greater part have gained no saving fruit upon there hearts which have often made me fear a dismall sunset of the day of Grace and Oh what Endless missery if grace in God & repentance in them prevent not are such like to fall into for such as are ye Lords All is well with them & must be so forever It must go well with the Righteous as the blessed God have promised.

    In June a most astonishing (I wish it were not a Contrived) mischiffe happened to to all dissenters in the Land a Company of vile men I doubt some discourses to murder the King three of yt number were tried & Executed695 therefore you may well say that the life of his Maty deserve prayer & praise Which I very heartely joyne in dayly & will say what in humane probabillity must looke for if his Life should be taken from the Earth before things are better setled the protestant Religion together with the lives of multitudes of its sincere & Zealous professors may go with it; Those will be rufull dayes indeed tho all yt are gotten into ye Arke before such a deluge will be safe there were two great persons upon this accasion also tried & Executed perhapps you have there last speeches the first was the Excellent Lord Russell Son696 & heir apparent to the great Earle of Bedford after him Coll: Sydny697 the old Earle of Lecesters Son brother to him yt is Earle now both deny the Treason charged on them Living & dying which you will see the plott of the three Executed with others not yet taken Oh the mischiffe it hath done to all ye serious dissentrs among us tho they were none & ye other Executed were Church men & not dissentrs yet because the dissenters chose them for the Severall last Parlamts it is charged all on them and they are looked on & caled many of them as Enemies to the King and Goverment and Counted disloyall & I know not what not worthy to live tho when Bourne one of the Witnesses agt the three being asked at the Tryall of one of them if the nonconformist Ministers were not Concerned in this business He answered on his Oath yt he asked Wist a Counseller another Witness if he should speake to them abt it the said Wist answered no for that they had hindered all things of yt Nature Ever since Constantine the Greats time and truly I know none yt are more serious in praying for the Kings life then they are And which is more Its there & dissenters declared principles so to do & to be subject to yt Authority God in his Providence shall set over them I doubt no too many Rejoyce in this Providentiall dispensation having hereby an advantage to manifest their Rage & fury (that for want of accasion lay latent within) against better men then themselves you know the allwise God whose wayes of Providence are Allways Righteous tho often secret & unsechable for his wayes are in the darke & his footsteps are not known have made it the Constant Lott & portion of his people in this world to be following of the Lamb in the bearing his Cross & Suffering hard things upon mistakes as he did yet I would not be understood to laye ye blam but where I ought who Ever be ye Instrumt God is ye Authur of all afflictions ther is no evill in the Citty yt he hath not done it & allwayes Man suffereth for his Sin The great famine of hearing ye word purely preacht yt is now upon us ye Lord hath brought on us for I trust gratious ends He takes away the naturall stay & staffe of bread as you intimate yor harvest to be much thined this last year And He may justly take away ye stay & staffe of our spirituall bread 0049ts ye Lord yt have the placing & displacing our ministers those in ye Nation yt take not ye Oxford Oath must not live in five miles of any towne yt sends burgesses to Parlamt if they are taken the Justice have power to Commit them without Baile or maineprise for six monthes to prison & are liable to be sued by any person for [?] also for every offense So yt those Revd persons related to me not being Sattisfied to take the Oath must not live here but if you please to writ to them I will take Care it shall Come to there hands Great thoughts of heart were in my selfe & many others for N.E. when heard of a Quo Warranto being sent agt your charter fearing it might be to yr prejudice of yor Goverment not only in ye state but church also Indeed ye Great Citty of London & many more & Severall Townes have had ye like their old Charters broken698 New given and such persons put out as some thinke were for ye happyness of K & Kingdom & others put in yt prtend to be so tho I doubt it as well as multitudes besides. Tis Levelled agt dissenters all ye Land over such are in as have private meeting for ye worship of God I do not say Play Houses nor Whor[. . .] tho enough theire are of such in some places Even in oure Happy England and [. . .] many Ale Houses as now all dissenters are turned out (& those yt have no[. . .] for them put in) of all places of profit honour or trust I had allmost said yt [. . .] name off & might be blotted out from amonge us it grievs me for what you writ of a place Eastward of you where yr son ye minister was699 It is a time here of great difficulty & my Bro yt often spake of going to N: E. is with others discouraged by what is seemigly Coming on you also for though things yet are faire & Calme & ye Generalty seem sattisfied yet if chang happen in yor Magestracy farwell to yor Glorious priviledges I Confess it would greatly comfort me to live neer yor selfe & my other worthy Relations with you if Could carry those here with me yt we might Love & Enjoy all together This year my youngest Sister Dorothy was married to a Scotts man a marchant Living now in this Town He is (as well as she) I trust one yt feares ye Lord they may do well together I may well sympathize wth you for ye Loss of your dear Sam700 I have often known how sharpe a tryall yt is have had 4 one after another taken from me for I never had two sons living together My dear Sam Lives & is like so to do blessed be God Its one of my greatest Comforts to read in yor letter how many of my flesh & blood fears ye Lord with you some such are here also I thanke God I am truly agreived for my Aunt Hart701 not knowing such a person as was in the world I am forward to helpe her all I can for her welfair & happyness both for time & eternity I give you my most affectionate thanks for your xtian Compassion to her in taking her into yor House may the gratious God make it [. . .] in Temporalls a tho[u]sand fold to you & yors if things were with me as formrly would do what become so neer a Relation but I have nothing really of my own but what is truely my Sonns left him by his Mother with whome I had 500ll but by bad debts & Losses in ye Trade of a mrcht to wch was bound have lost a thousand pounds in a few years & tho have as said yet I am in no want another relation of ye first degree affords me full support pray writ of her when you writ againe,

    The Last Term Ending ffeb 12 many Excellant Gent in bonds about ye late Plott were discharged nothing being agt them but a Cry of ill men & the popish Lords in the Tower702 there abt 5 years were admitted to Baile with ye Earle of Tyrone & Earle of Darby to appear the next Parlamt I might spend a [sheet more marques?] here but must forbear I forgot to mention in its right place what a Cry was agt this Towne in ye late plott severall were taken up & let go againe but hither Comes ye High Sheriffe of this County Lords & Govt & much ado here was searching up & downe for Armes in many dissenters Houses but nothing found & ye House I live in was searcht twice first for Armes & then my chamber Trunks & Chest for papers by said sherife & a kt & Baronet yt lives nere yt I opposed when he stood for Parlamt man but nothing but innocency found with me God forbid I should designe ye hurt of ye meanest man in ye world much much lesse ye King or Govermt I pray for ye happyness of both ye Kt Carried away many of my papers but nothing is in them to my prejudice they being abt Religion so that nothing have happened to me but for going to meetings to worship ye Lord & yet this seems ye great business now of this Kingdome Scarse a weeke passeth but we heare of meetings broken up & people Carried to prison Cirtainly for Conscience sake I prsume your patience almost tired to read such a long hasty scrible yet could not thinke fitt to omitt [any?] of it as I said Could fill a vollem to tell only matters of ffact I have given [. . .] hints of what might have been larger in & my letter may be opened as I think yor last was to me before receved it & some are suffering deeply for writing speaking & printing nothing but truth my Relations brother in Laws 2 sisters with my selfe all Concurr in prsenting you & all yors & all or Relations in your Country our very dear Respects and intire Love & fervently pray an aboundant blessing from ye Lord may rest on your yors and all relations as on my selfe which ends this from

    Yor assurred most affectionate Kinsman in what may to serve you

    Edw Rosseter

    the 20th of March 1683

    reading over my letter I observed yt I neglected to tell you yt in July after ye late Plott & ye Cry yt was agt this place first the mayor a Knight & others got into ye meeting House takeing the advantage of yt Criticall season brake down ye Pulpit & one Gallery & a litle while after ye same Mayor & other Gent Came & broke downe all ye 4 Gallerys in ye House yt cost ye building besides ye House above 100ll & brought it on ye Cornhill & there burnt it with many a health to ye Confusion of dissenters and much hooping & roaring there was as you may read ye like Psa: 74:703 And it was done in many other places as here burning the materialls of the Houses yt there might be no more meetings yet ye House stands tho much threting to destroy it wholy

    J. Davis Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To the Reverend his duly honored Kinsman mr John Cotten minister of the Gospell at Plymouth In New England.” Endorsed “From my cousen, Mr Edward Rosseter, March 20: 1683:/84: Received, July, 9: 1684:” Note in a hand other than Cotton’s or Rosseter’s: “A Long letter abt State & church affairs in Eng-.” Several small holes.

    From Joshua Moody,

    7 April 1684

    Revrd Sr

    Your double visit Epistolar704 recd wth treble thanks. The Epistle of John ye Divine transcribed yt it might not be lost, & kept by mee as a Grande Deposition, & remitted the Original by the same Bearer by whom yourself ventured it. I have need of all such Help & the Help of all the prayers of those that are [concerned?] in Sion. My poor pineing flock I pitty, not a sermon now for 9 Lrds Daies705 but God can give Manna from heaven while food by [. . .] ordinary ways [. . .] suffering is hard, [. . .]706 than sinning. I desire I [. . .] able more [sensibly] & [feelingly] to speak of the App[. . .]of those Prison-Cordialls yt the Scripture promises are full of. Tis easy to say, but hard to doe & feel, the Lord only can teach to profit, upon whom to cast his whole Burden is a Prisoners work. It is my lott to bee first, whose turn is next here only in whose hand or Breath & waies are knowen. Yor Bro. has been threatd707 but I believe will not be [so picked?]; either they’l let him alone or he will remove. Of yor Son, there is no Danger, hee does service safely, you need not fear his coming wthin theyr reach.708 I wait for an Opportunity for safe conveying yors to him, expect to see him the week, haveing but once lookt on mee these 9 weeks. If he comes not shall send his Letter, thô would rather see him. I see no way out (nor doe I use many thought about makeing a Way) [. . .]709, and perhaps not then [. . .] if they in whose house I am may obtain. But I [await] al theyr Wills thô in theyr hands. I much lament the sicknes of yor pious, prudent, hearty, kind Yoke fellow for whom I have a great Kindnes, & unto whom I am a great [Dr]. I heartily beg for yorsake (especially thô for every good woman a change for ye best [. . .] eligible) ye healing of her diseases & lengthening out of her life, having by wofull Experience known the Damage of such a bereavemt710 & [possebly] yu may feel it more in some respects if it bee yr Lot. I [. . .] at the healing [or preserving rath] the breach in yor church. Tell them its now an ill Time to quarrell, I would rather doe anything, part wth any thing,

    yea stoop [. . .] only excepted) than be at strife at any Time but more eminently now as things are circumstanced [. . .] arise from or lusts, a little stooping [. . .] or Wills, [. . .] & a little yielde, selfe [. . .] especially at ye beginning wd prvent such [. . .] of Mischief by strife (wch is in ye [. . . .]) yt possibly much labr & expence & may not cure. The good Lord give prudence, [. . . .] A [seald-Head] is soon broken. The God of Peace be with yu, & ye peace of God [Rule over] yu all. Remembr my [Bones] I am


    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “To the Revd Mr John Cotton Passor of the Church of Christ at Plymouth prst. per mr Sam Prince QDC.” Endorsed “From Mr Moody April: 7: 1684.” Several holes and stained portions along fold lines.

    From Jonathan Moodey,

    8 April 1684

    From ye Prison 8 (2) 1684

    Revd Sr

    After the sealing & before ye deptr of ye Bearer your son came down to give mee a visit & dd mee your first letter, & recd yours yt came enclosed to me.711 I thank you for yor formr letter also, & yor Affection[ate] Resentment of my Condition. I hope God will make it [. . .], & further his Gospell by my Confinemt thô it looks very sadly to see a flock of sheep wandering for want of a Sheprd. I have often thought God has been angry wth us all in N.E. both ministers & people for not due prizeing & improving or choice Liberties nor walking worthy of or [. . .] I am now in Prison preaching on ye text (Eph. 4.2)712 the Lord help all his people to meet him seasonably; hee is in ye way & who can tell where he will stop? the Alarm is given, happy they yt take it & stand upon theyr Guard. Sufferings are rightly called Trialls. What further ye [. . .] has to exercise mee with I know not, but hitherto [. . .] not left mee destitute of his Mercy, & I hope he will perfect wt concerns mee. Praise God & pray to him for mee. I shall not forget yu nor yors. Renewd remembces to yor good yokefellow to whom I & mine are so mch engaged, the Lord visit & revive her & doe for her in Body & souls al ye [. . .] & does require.

    I have discoursed yor son, and advized him to goe away to meet yu [. . .] Election, wch yu may expect, & hope he may return agn [. . .] people—

    The Lord be with you, Rememt my bonds

    yr Sr

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “To ye Revd Mr Jno Cotton.” Endorsed “From Mr Moodey April: 8: 1684:” In a different contemporary hand “while in Prison.” Several stains, and holes along left margin.

    From Jonathan Tuckney,

    29 August 1684

    Deare Cousen

    yors of May 9713 being occasionally at Cos. John

    Whitings Hose or in the Bell in Lawrence714 lane a very good man

    I mett with having been there left by mr Epps715 a few dayes

    after[.] I [. . .] last wrote you in July.;716 & having troubled

    you so lately I may be the shorter now

    That Breach you intimate made upon yor liberties in Mr

    Moodey by Governour Cranfeild shews, what sence [. . .]

    would be at. [see it . . .] in psal 74.6,7717 &c But tho if you read on that

    [p]salm, you’l see ye faith & prayer of the Church begins to be [. .] the 12th

    verse.718 & now we that ar zealous in prayer & humble &

    holy in or lives as those good people of God then [. . .] that, yea

    what <not> not might we expect at the hand of our gracious

    & Almighty Father who speakes as you have in Joel 2.

    2c.719 see the rest of the chapter. & Chapter 3d720 of the same

    Prophecy. I am bold with you to point you [onely to places] by citing them, not

    having time indeed at present to [. . .] them.

    Though well my time is but scarce [. . .]mentioning

    yo r Brother Seaborn hath drawn [. . .] this

    <en> enclosed to him, which I [. . .] in con-

    -veying of & sending me in [Pli???] [. . .] I may

    for the future direct to him.

    No <mor> more at prsent, but mutual salutation &

    prayers. from

    Dear Cousin yor affectionate kinsman

    Jonathan Tuckney

    Hackney Aug:29 1684

    D. Cous. I am bold (in this to yorself) to insert this short Note to my good Cousin (yor Bro Seaborn721). I <had> knew not how more conveniently to get it conveyd than by an own Brothers hand. Therfor I pray do me the kindnese. I would gladly maintain correspondence & with yor good Bro Seaborn, as also my old Cous. Sam whitings eldest son;722 I think he is of Bilerica. I had a letter from him in 1681. But my occasions pmit me not (in [?] train of time) to write to [ ] at this <Govt?> Govt. But [. . .] it

    God [ ]

    [ ?] vale in [ ] (mi ) A [ ]


    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “For his deare & much respected Kinsman Mr John Cotton Preacher of the Gospel [torn].” Endorsed “From my Cousen, Mr Jonathan Tuckney, August, 29:1684: Received, November, 19:” Original is partially water stained, with a one-inch square hole in the middle patched on the back with a piece of printed text.

    From Henry Wainwright,723

    October 1684

    Reverend Sr.

    yr: over Exact description of ye way Caused me to Erre ye day I Left yu, for Comeing to ye hithermost house five miles on this side plimouth, I observed ye way on ye Left hand att ye Corner of ye fence, wch Led me into a Wildernesse where I wandred among swamps & dismall solitary places, ye space of two houres or more, haveing Lost all manner of path, although ye Entrance (Like ye ways of sin) seemed to be a greatt beaten way, when I found my selfe so Bewildred, I would faine have returned to ye place where I Entred, But was altogether in a Confution, insomuch yt I almost dispaired of Ever getting out, fearing ye night might overtake me & there I might perish so I sought ye Lord for direction, & itt pleased him (by my observation of ye Sun) in a Litle time, to bringe me out, att ye very same place yt I Entered, sr I humbly Begg yu would not any way take itt amisse, yt I Acquaint yu yt ye Benefitt I received from yt providence in ye spirituallizeing itt did Infinitely recompence ye trouble I sustained under itt, sr I shall only satisfye yu yt I delivered yr desires to ye mr Baylyes,724 & Earnestly Intreat to be accoumpted & alwais to Remaine, Sr

    Yr most Humble & ready servt to Command

    Henry Wainwright

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To the Reverend mr Cotton, Minister of ye Gospell In Plymouth.” Endorsed “From m r. Henry Wainwright Received, November, 1: 1684:”

    From Thomas King,725

    3 October 1684

    To the Church of Christ at Plymouth the Church, <The church> upon the North River in sittuate sendeth greeting in our Lord Jesus Christ wishing an increase of grace and peace in him,

    Reverend and beloved The occation of these lines is To acquaint you: that the 15th day of this instant october is the tyme appointed for the calling & ordination of Mr Thomas Mighell726 into the office of the ministry among us: if god permitt: And therefor desire the help of the Reverend Mr John: Cotton your Pastor with your <other> messengers to be helpfull to us: in that worke & wittnesses of our proseedings there in, thus desiring your Earnest prayers to god for us: in blessing & succeeding us in this weighty affair, we rest your brethren in Christ Jesus::

    Tho: King: in the name of the church;

    Sittuate october the 3d 1684

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To the Reverend Mr John Cotton, pastor to the Church of Christ at Plymoth dd these.” Cotton’s note: “In answer to this letter, the church chose, the Elder Cushman, & Mr Joseph Bradford to accompany the Pastour, which they attended:”

    From William Hoskins,727

    8 November 1684

    Reverend & dearly beloved Pastour, with ye beloved aged Elder the whome I dearly respect in christ Jesus, I had good hopes to have enjoyed your Commuion in ye ordinances of Christ in his publick worship this day, but am dissappointed my horse being out of ye way Haveing had seriouse thoughts in my selfe in refference to my wives Condition being weake & troubled with many Infirmities. I have endeavored to ease her & my selfe also of our remote living soe far from ye worship of god which is with much difficulty & sore destractions, & have removed her to Taunton, & I am following speedily if god will, I hope we are in gods way, & therefore doe earnestly request ye prayers of ye Church & people of god for us that we may have his presence with us & blessing upon us, that wee may walke close with god being stedfast in ye faith of ye gosple serving ye Lord & doing our generation worke that we may glorify his name: my heart is with ye Church of Christ at Plimouth. but ye providence of god leads another way. I desier to retaine my Communion still with my old brethren & sisters and remaine a member of ye Church of Plymouth. soe for ye present I take my leave of all you my bretheren. desiring truth & peace Love & union may still abide with you, & ye god of peace still remaine amongst you. which is ye earnest desier of him

    Who is your poor brother in ye faith of the gosple

    William Hoskins

    Lakenham 8th 9mo: 84:

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To ye Reverend Elders of ye Church of Christ at Plimouth these Prsent.”

    To Cotton Mather, 6 January 1685

    Plimouth January, 6: 1684:

    Much Endeared Cousen.

    I conclude you have had expectations to heare from me long before this time, & indeed if I had noe other buisnesse but to thanke you for your late courteous entertainment in your bed, good manners would have ingaged me ere now to have returned greatfull acknowledgments; but I deferred till I had used all lawfull meanes to obtaine the 50 pd for you, the unsuccessfullnesse of which I was not assured of till friday last; I am sorry that I cannot obtaine that which would have bin good for me to <receive> part with & you now to <part with> receive, but I am in hopes by March or April to obtaine that summe for you of one or another, yet dare not promise; Last weeke was with us very hard winter, & wee were ready to hope it was the very Quintessence & vitalls of it, but this weeke is as the last & hath brought us the greatest storme of snow of any this winter.

    Through mercy, our family is well, & the towne generally; divers townes northward neere of us have lost an old good man or two this winter, as yet ours escape: I long to know what acceptance Mr Bernard728 had amongst you, last weeke I heare he was very sick with feavour & ague at swanzey; they that call themselves the church there are soe offended that the towne were first in calling him that they will not heare him, but meete apart at Mris Myles’s:729 Due salutations from us to your parents, with your selfe & cousens, I rest, your Affectionate uncle,

    John Cotton

    If the Almanack-maker forget to put in when its full sea in Boston, it will be a great losse to us, as is the present want of it in the present Alm: for Jan: & Feb:

    Let our prayers be Mutuall:

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For his Deare and much Esteemed Cousen, Mr Cotton Mather, Preacher of the Gospel, at Boston; ddd.”

    From The General Court of Plymouth,

    6 March 1685

    To the Reverend Elders Mr John Cotton pastour & Mr Thomas Cushman elder of yE Church of Christ at Plimouth these to be comunicated to yE congregation

    This Court taking into Consideration ye state of affaires in this Colony & countrey as also of ye churches of Christ abroad in ye world & being deeply sensible of or manifold provocations of ye most <high> holy & mercifull God & [?] obstinancy therein notwithstanding all ye mercyes of God to melt & other means to reclaime & reforme us, as also of ye solemne dispensations of God whereby he seems to be saying, that as we are going on in or sins, so he is going on in ye way of his Judgments, so that we may justly feare no lesse in ye issue then a totall deprivation of or pleasant & pretious things which are so valuable & so necessary to or enjoyment & glorifying of god, but have been woefully slighted & undervalued by us—Doe therefore Commend it to all ye Churches & people of this Colony to observe wensday being ye 18th of this Instant as a solemne day of fasting & prayer; wherein to humble our selves before ye Lord for all or declensions & Aposticyes & sinfull deportments towards ye God of or mercyes & neglecting in so great a measure ye end of or fathers Coming into this wilderness. & also to implore from God, that he Would poure out upon his people a spiritt of grave & supplication & thorough reformation, & divert Judgments impending, & yet own us as his Covenant people & bestow upon us ye blessing of this ensuing yeare in ye seasons thereof according to or necessities, & that all ye Lords people & intrest throughout ye world may be gratiously minded & secured as ye matter may require,

    By order of Court

    Nathaniell Morton Secretary

    Plymouth 6th March 1684/5

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    From Edward Rosseter et al (fragments)

    April 1685[?]

    friends as particularly named, [illeg.] leter to Cos Gilbert yor [. . .] a Candid answer. Concerning what I wish all due & most affectioan[ate] love and service to you I rest your very much obliged & very affectionate Kinsman

    E. R.730

    Reverend Sr731

    For mee to bee large and particular, in giving you an account of our circumstances here, would be [. . .] [I reading?] my brothers, I find, have saved mee that labour. I heartily thank you for those gratious and affectionate lines you sent us, and doe greatly rejoyce to hear that your libertys are yet continued, and that the Gosple of Christ, is yet owned and countenanced among you[.] Our case in this respect, is most deplorable. Our liberties are gon, and all our pleasant things [ta]ken from us. Wee are a people in all probability upon the very borders of confusion. Wee are [re]duced to a red-sea distress, and truly (Sir) nothing less then a miracle can save us. For we [are] beset on every side, with as black and bloody a generation, as ever the sun saw, And I [fear?] in a few month time, you will hear of such a tragedy acted in England, that noe [chron]icle can hardly parallel. Popery and slavery severely threaten us. Mass is publicly [. . .] the kings chappel,732 and if it were to bee confined within those walls, wee should [. . .] circumstances far better then now they are[.] What God will doe with us we know not. [. . .] to think, what dismall calamities are [st]ealing in upon us. Wee need your [. . .] owe to us, you are flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone, and therefor[e] [. . .]733 [p]romise you to ma[ke prayer]s dayly at the throne of grace, and [. . .]734 not enlage at present

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To the Reverend & highly esteemed man mr John Cotton Minister of the Gospel In Plymouth in New England [. . .] at mr Shipways house [. . .].” Most of Edward Rosseter’s letter is torn off and missing. The remaining letter is mutilated at the left and right margins and torn unevenly along the bottom. A fragment of another letter, in a third hand, is attached at the top of the document, apparently by Prince, with his note, “conclude ye 1st of April.” This fragment seems to be part of a report of news from Europe but is not substantial enough for one to conjecture a single sentence.

    General Court of Plymouth to King James II,

    4 June 1685735

    While wee your Majesties Loyall subjects of the Colony of New Plimouth, the most antient plantation of your Majesties dominions in this wildernesse are reflecting upon our great unhappynesse in the death of our late soveraigne your Deare Brother, who deign’d to looke upon us with a more propitious eye then on some other of these westerne Plantations, evidenced by his gratious letters of Febr:12th in the yeare of our Lord, 1679/80: whereby wee were incouraged to make our humble Application to him, & have received noe other then favourable returnes from him, giving us hopes to obtaine his Royall Charter etc as in said letters tendered, till the fatall death of his said Majesty put a death on those our expectations;736 Wee say, while sorrowing over these things, wee could bethinke our selves of noe way under God soe rationall for the revivall of our hopes as by humble addresse to your Majesty, who being his Brother & successour may reasonably be thought Heire also to his favourable intentions & Royall purposes & promises by him declared in our favour;

    Wee therefore take this opportunity being the first Generall Court of your Majesty held in New Plimouth since his late Majesties <decease> decease to congratulate your quiet accession etc & to signify our ready obedience to the order wee received from your Honourable Councill for your Majesties Proclamation:

    And wee now become your Majesties most humble Suppliants, that in compliance with said Royall declarations & promises by soe gratious a Prince your Predecessor & Brother, you will gratiously please to grant us your Royall Charter, containing such Rights, Franchises & Priviledges, espetially religious, (which wee esteem more deare then our lives) as May be necessary for the good Government of this your Colony, & have bin humbly desired by us in former addresses, in which wee humbly crave your Princely clemency, & professe our selves <your> humble Petitioners on your Majesties behalfe to him by whom Kings reigne, that your Majesty may be under a Confluence of such divine blessings as may make your Reigne long & prosperous, soe pray

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. This is a draft in Cotton’s hand. Prince notes, “K Charles II Died Feb.6. 1684/5. Suppose this was drawn up at Plim Court in June 1685. The writing of ye Rev Mr John Cotton of Plimouth.”

    From Cotton Mather,

    25 September 1685

    But now,

    my Ever-honrd Uncle,

    Now some people will hang their Harps upon the Willowes. The great god hath given them the Wine of Astonishment to drink. The Newes wch was so fresh at your departure hence was a grievous abuse putt upon ye silly doves. First a Vessel comes in from England, which lying at ye Isle of Wight, & at Falmouth, received certain Intelligence that ye D. of Mommouth is utterly routed,737 taken a Prisoner, and on ye 15th of July beheaded on Tower hill, undergoing his death with much magnanimity, refusing to make any answers to what was asked him on ye scaffold, saying, That hee came there not to speak but to Dy. Hee never had much above ten Thousand men most unarmed; had once beaten ye Ks. forces, but ye second time thro’ ye illmanagement of ye Lord Gray, hee was over-powered—thô hee himself, tis said, fought in his own person with incredible Valour till hee Lost ye Day. Tis suspected that Gray738 was treacherous; for hee and one or two more be reserved for Discoverers of all that had any hand, and so much as a Little finger in ye Conspiracy. Rather for his Great Estate wch upon his Death wou’d have gone to his Brother.739 And what use is now made of this attempt to ruine all Protestants, is obvious to any Considerate person, nor is it to be thought on wthout bleeding Lamentations. But since there comes in another Vessel from Scotland which brings hither some of Argyles men to be sold for slaves and they inform us That the Earl landed in a place where hee never could get much above a thousand men;740 the forces of ye Kingdome being raised against him before he came on shore, & intercepting all passages so that they who had promised him their Assistence, fail’d him. Hee had a Little brush or two with his Enemyes—<but> once over-night, but their hearts were so taken from them, that before morning they Every one went to shift for himself. Argyle was taken in ye Disguise of a Grazier. and on ye Last of June, hee was beheaded at Edinburgh.741 Some that are come over were present at his Execution. Wee have here a copy of his speech,742 wch doth abundantly Justify & Augment the Opinion that wee had of him. I am sorry I cannot gett a copy of it to send unto you; but in due time expect it. His Death had this odd circumstance in it, that after his head was off, hee rose up on his feet, & had like to have gone off ye scaffold, if they had not prevented it.743

    A standing Army is that wch both Kingdomes are now kept in subjection by. C. Kirk,744 [. . .] is at Taunton; and there in cold blood hath butchered five-hundred people in that Fanatic Town.

    You know what to think of those things and you are no doubt so much of a Protestant as to make this use of ye hideous calamities wch these things will occasion to all protestants, that you will quicken ye Importunate groaning prayers of your own people, and those that are in ye Neighbour Towns with due privacy and Discretion. Lift up prayers—Hee that does not now Arise & call upon god, & cry mightily is one of those sleepy sinners who make ye Times perilous. But you need not mee for your Monitor.

    Remember mee with my due services to my Aunt & Respect to my Cousins; and to all Friends that Enquire after my welfare, especially to ye good [agd?] Simeon; your Elder to whom Tell my wishes, that he may not think of Departing till his Eyes have seen ye salvation of God.

    I am, Your observant Kinsman

    C. Mather

    Boston, 25d 7m 1685.

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed and endorsed in a hand other than Cotton’s or Mather’s, “From Mr Cotton Mather Sept 25: 1685: For ye Revd John Cotton Plimouth.”

    From George Shove,

    8 November 1685

    To the Elders & Brethren of ye Chh In Plimouth The Chh in Taunton wisheth grace Mercie, & peace from God ye father & or Lord Jesus Christ.

    Reverend & Beloved

    We are certified that or sister Mrs Joan Hart,745 now residing among you, doth desire letters of recommendation from us to you, in order to her fellowship with you in the holy ordinances of Christ: we do therefore here signifie to you that she was here orderly joyned to this Chh in full Comunion, & during the time of her continuance among us her Conversation was blameles, & since her removall from us to R Island we have not been acquainted with any thing scandalous concerning her, except her living so long without Comunion with any Gospell Chh; The evill wherof she being sensible of so farr as accesorie to any Neglect therin, & now willing to Continue no longer in such Neglect: we do cheerfully recommend & resign & Dismiss her to yor Comunion, beseeching you to receive her in the Lord as becometh saints for her edification, & Consolation, & we pray God on your behalfe that he will make his grace to abound towards you, to your enriching in goodnes, establishmt & perseverance to the end, in which respects we dsire your Constant prayers for us also who are

    Yors in the Lord

    G Shove746 with the Consent of ye brethren

    Taunto Nov.8. 1685

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    To Cotton Mather,

    21 December 1685747

    [. . . .] me 6 of the [. . .] Almanacks now [. . . .]ing, I will send you the mon[ey]

    Dec: 21:

    Deare Cousen

    The Boat is long wind-bound, I request your care of all the enclosed,748 but in spetiall this to M: Dennis,749 I beseech you take care that it be given into her owne hand, for if her sad son get it, she will never see it, a poore, idle, lying, drunken wretch he is, & wee are forced to discard him, I pray, let some body give this letter into his mothers hand:

    A sloop about 50 tun is soe cast up about mannamoiett, as that the Rogues are likely to be seized by our Authority, one of the men almost drunk, spake, a[s] the goods belonged to one Lord from Antego, whose neck they tyed a grin[?] about & threw him in to sea; it i[s] probably Richard Lord of Hartfor[d]750 guns great & small are aboard 10 men & 2 boyes; majer Freema[n] & Capt Thacher are by our [illeg.] gone to them: a further account look for daily:

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For the Reverend, Mr Cotton Mather, Pastour of a church, in Boston.” Prince’s note, referring to Mather: “ordained May. 13. 1685.” Top and right side of letter torn.

    From Cotton Mather,

    28 December 1685

    Boston 28.D 10.M 1685.

    Reverd Syr; and much honrd Uncle.

    Many are ye Thanks Which myself, wth my Relations, have to return to or good friends at Plymouth for their many kindnesses to us. Thank Mrs Clark for her Fowls, & tell her that my Prayers for her are that shee may be gathered among the chickens under ye Saving Wings of ye Lord Jesus. My little Sister would Write her acknowledgements to her cousin & Name-Sake751 for her pullet, but shee has not yett so pluck’t it, as to gett a Quill from it, Wherewth to do her duty.

    I send you a few Almanacks,752 for which you shall pay mee in countrey-pay, I mean, with acceptance and love. God make ye next year as peaceable & plentifull to us, as this hath been. & obtain from us such an other Thanksgiving as or late freewill-offering in that kind; then wch never any was better attended in N. E. Wee have No Newes among us, but ye good Newes, that wee have None at all. Many Tokens for good there are in ye midst of us; Heaven grant daily more & more. One thing I find, to my own Joy unspeakeable. Since my beginning in a course of Catechising-Visitations, I find That there are more serious Young people far away then I could have imagin’d o lett Divine mercy increase ye Number of them. But no greater Joy could I easily have then that my Cousin, my Sister, my child, (What shall I call her?) your daughter Eliza Walked in ye Truth.753 Present my hearty Love to her and tell her that I wish this sentence of her Lords were dwelling in her mind as if Written by ye point of a Diamond there, I love them that love mee, and they that seek mee Early shall find mee.754 I have a Motion of a Match some time or other to propound unto her; a Match (for shee is old enough to be [timely?] married long ago) unto ye Lord of Lords, ye perfection of beauty, ye Joy of ye whole Heaven, ye immortal King, who is altogether Lovely; but my time at present is strangely devoured. Lett not my good Mother be forgotten in my salutations; tell her that I have sent her a peece of Honey-comb,–it came from ye upper canaan and flowes with milk & honey; and I Wish that shee would suck out every drop of the vast sweetness wch [is] in it; it is This. Our light Afflictions here, wch are but for a Moment, work for us a far more Exceeding & Eternal weight of glory.

    I have Now a Jog to Leave off my scribble. I began wth Thanks to other people, I end wth some to you. I thank you for ye Blessings wch you bestow upon a poor, & yett painfull, Laborious, & yett disconsolate kinsman. Continue them; they are very gratefull, & I hope will not be altogether thrown away upon,

    Syr, Your

    C. M.

    Autograph Letter Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections Division, McGill University Libraries. Addressed “To the Reverend Mr John Cotton.” Endorsed “From my Cousen, Mr Cotton Mather, December, 28: 1685:.”

    From Seaborn Cotton,


    Dearest Brother I have at last sent yr son756 home but I do request you to send him again, never was a man better belovd of a People than he is—I think You can’t do God better service than to supply the Hungry souls of Exeter wth his Ministry—still Importuning yr prayers wth Fasting for me—I am yrs verily

    Seabe Cotton

    Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University.

    From Seaborn Cotton,


    Dear Bror

    Pray for us, as we desire to Pray for You—Many sick & dy about us, Pray, Pray, Pray, set apart one Day of Prayer at least for yr Dear & Distressed brother—Deaths of our good Men I Mention not—Only it is Matter of Awful solemn Consideration wn the Righteous are taken away from ye evil to come, I hope many of us lay it to Heart—Dear Bror Pray for us as You do for yr own; I am undr great Presures bodily & ghostly, but my Hope & Confidence is in God All sufficient from whom I beg Help, To whom I commend You & Yours heartily; Our Fathers and Our Mothers God be our God & ye God of Ours for his Name Sake, & Let us all say, Amen–

    Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University.

    To Cotton Mather,

    21 January 1686

    Plimouth January, 21: 1685:

    Revd & Deare Cousen

    your last was very welcome, as every thing is that comes from you; The good effects of your being here are & are likely to be such, that I am sure you will never have cause to repent your last coming to Plimouth; blessed be God, you left a pretious savour that will render your next appearance amongst us a Joyfull day; your Almanacks I accept with thanks & love, the pay expected: wee sit longing (& yet trembling) to heare what newes Mr Jenner757 brings, who this time 12 mo: brought tidings of the condemnation of the Charter etc but God can make, 86 as peaceable as 85: hath bin, Amen; the Lord increase tokens for good, a spirit of prayer is eminently soe; I rejoyce greatly to heare that God smiles upon your Catecheticall worke, I have, through grace, found a rich blessing in it. My ____ Eliza your ____758 hath bin lately & is still exercised with bodily illnesses, but I trust in free grace, soule-health will follow, Mr Love’s last sermons759 are her constant companion, keep her neere your heart when you are at prayer, she presents due love & Respects to you, & very thankfully accepts your tender Respect to her soule;

    Y[our] good mother (as you are affectionately pleased to style her) threatens much to assault you by a paper-representative, I hope the good mood will shortly come upon her, you have her & my hearty Love by these presented, with due Salutations to parents & our Cousens; our Fathers God fill you more abundantly with his holy Spirit,

    & crowne all your holy & painfull labours with that successe & blessing that your soule desires, & give you a cup brim-full of consolation in your most disconsolate houres; He will doe it; oh pray for him, (my Endeared Kinsman,)

    who is, yours as his owne in neerest & strongest bonds

    John Cotton

    Cos: Dennis letter, deliver as the former.760

    Mather Papers 6:1, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For the Reverend, his Deare Cousen, Mr Cotton Mather, Pastour of a Church of christ at Boston.”

    From Cotton Mather,

    5 February 1686

    Reverend Syr

    In answer to your Athenian Enqueryes these Lines shall tell you That ye Last Vessel from England brings us these Accounts;

    Concerning France. That ye persecution is grown horribly violent & bloody there. This one instance of popish cruelty Lately given will show ye rest—About forty persons (of some Quality, as tis sd) having privately shipped themselves to escape out of ye Kingdome were pursued & overtaken by some of ye Kings Frigats who immediately sett ye vessel on fire consuming it, & ye poor people in it. But which are worse Tidings far away, wee are certify’d That in Last September ye Number of French protestants wch had burn’d Roman-Catholics since ye beginning of this persecution is amounted to five-hundred-eighty-three-thousand and some add scores.

    Concerning Home; That Multitudes of ye Rebels are Expected (one Alsop of Taunton in particular condemn’d to Dye) A woman that lived in Wapping, whom some of or people that know her are so vain as to rekon a Devout Religious person was burnt to Death for concealing some obnoxious folks. But in one Town (as this Ship receiv’d Intelligence when it lay at ye Cowes) a company of ye Rebels not yett siez’d being assaulted by ye Kings forces, made a sturdy Resistence till ye whole town came to their Assistance, & wickedly beat His Majestyes souldiers out of ye Town. What this may occasion wee can’t yet understand.

    Concerning orselves; That the Rose-frigate was ready to sett out, and Randolph haveing a commission for himself to be vice-president, Mr J.D. to be president and eighteen more to bee a council was gone as far as Canterbury in [much]state towards shipping himself therein.—

    These are ye cheef things wch wth my service to my mother, & respects to my cousins, I have to gratify you with this information about

    I am still yours as formerly

    [no signature]


    5d 12.m 1685.

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “For The Revd John Cotto Plimouth.” Endorsed “From my cousen, Mr Cotton Mather, February, 5: 1685:.” Slight staining along fold.

    From Samuel Treat761 and Samuel Freeman,762

    12 February 1686

    Reverend & Dearly Beloved in our lord Jesus.

    Wee Greet you Respectively in the lord wishing grace mercy & peace to be multiplyed towards you from god our Father and our lord jesus christ, incessantly praying & bowing our knees before the father of mercyes, that he would grant that you and <illeg.> poor Weaklings our selves may stand and abide perfect and compleat in all the will of god and be found stedfast and unmoveable in the work of the lord in this hour of the passion and tribulation of the gospel and kingdom of christ jesus, and a divine and heavenly blessing on all his holy institutions in order to the building of us up on our most holy faith and the confirming the souls of his disciples that the lot of sufferings may not be daunting to any of us.

    Reverend and beloved it having pleased the onely wise god by the conduct of his all disposing providence to remove from our selves margaret Jackson763 and to cast her lot of habitation among your selves, shee sometimes was not onely with us but is also of us in full communion having witnessed a good confession and whose conversation and communion whiles with us was commendable and comfortable, but she being removed from us (the which we may not Gainsay) and being more advantagiously under the opportunity of your holy watch and communion then of ours, and she desiring letters dismissive from us to the Church of Plimouth and we consenting to the providence and will of God therein, we therefore (you accepting of her) doe dismis and recommend her unto you in the lord desiring that you receive her in the lord as becometh saints and exercise towards her charity and watchfulness and the blessings of your sacred communion that she from time to time may need and be capable of; hoping & Desiring that she may approve her self one that knoweth heareth and followeth the voyce of the great shepherd in all his holy institutions and follow the lamb wither soever he goes and keep the words of his patience in this hour of tribulation; that shee and each of us may so approve our selves let us commit our selves to him that is able to keep us from falling and present us faultles before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy into whose everlasting arms we commit & commend you earnestly desiring that at what time soever your souls get up into the mount in dearest and nearest communion with god that then ye be not unmindful of us your poor brethren and companions in tribulation engaged in the like lot of conflicts that goodnes and mercy may follow us yea the rock with his refreshing streams may follow us through al our wildernes and [illeg.] like conditions enabling us to cleave to the lord with full purpose of heart.

    So we bid you farewell

    yours in the bonds of christian unity and charity

    Samll Treat

    Samuel ffreeman senir.

    in the name and consent of this church

    Eastham: 12th: feb: 1685:

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    From James Keith,

    15 February 1686

    Bridgwater Febr. 15. 1685

    Reverend & dear Sir

    I have received yours [of] [t]he 12 instant764 & am glad to hear of your welfare, & do heartily acknowledge your love in your remembrance of me. I have waited for an opportunity all this winter to salute you by a few lines, but none hath presented till now. it is of the lords mercyes yt we live, & yt our libertyes of converse with him in his house, & our opportunityes of converse one with another are continued to this very day. Sir I thank you for your intelligence from Europe, which is the most full & particular I have hade. O yt our hearts may be drawn out to a tender sympathy with our brethren, yt we may improve the warnings the Lord is giving us by their sufferings to a solemn preparation for our day of fiery triall, yt when it comes we may not think it a strange thing. I bless god for his presence with you in your afflictions, wee need not wonder yt a lying tongue hateth those yt are afflicted by it, considering what Solom: tells us prov. 26. 24.765 25. 26.766 the slander of the tongue proceeds from hatred in the heart which when it is inveterate becomes implacable: devouring words, & practices are pleasing to the lying tongue. Ps. 52. 2. 3. 4.767 men of unmortifyed lusts are restless. Prov. 29. 9.768 & the more they meet with disappointments the more they hate which may be considerable in your case. it is good to observe the holy hand of god in all our reproaches, the Lord operates the tongues of our adversaryes, if they curse he bids them. we ought to pray for those by whom we are despitefully used & to wait patiently for the lord who will bring forth the righteousness of his servants as the light; though such exercises are greivous they are very light comparatively; let us remember those who endured cruell workings who were tortured & tormented not accepting deliverance of whom the world was not worthy, but much more let us consider our Lord Jesus who endured such contradiction of sinners; lest we be weary, & faint in our mindes, the hard winter hath obstructed my converse with my good neighbour. I have a great desire to go over to his lecture this week, the wayes are discouraging but may be I may venture. the lord hath been very gracious to me & my family in the difficulties of the season, we are all in competent health only under some exercise by colds. I have nothing momentous as to intelligence from hence to write at this time. Remember me to all freinds with you particularly present my service to the good deputy you know. I am sorry to hear of your good elders confinement, remember me heartily to him present my respects to L. Morton. I am glad to hear he hath stucke so close to you in your late troubles, if I was to see him I will thank him for it, you must accept of this at present for a return of your letter, thus desiring your prayers for me with a tender of my[. . .] selfe & Mrs Cotton I rest your [. . .] freind

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “For The Revd Mr John Cotton Plimouth.” Endorsed “From Mr Keith February, 15: 1685.” Hole in top margin, staining along folds and at bottom right edge.

    From the General Court,

    6 March 1686

    To the Reverend Elders of the Church att Plimuth

    The dispensations of god to <the> his people being awfull & humbling: the Court Apoints the Last <wednesday> wednesday769 of this Instant: to be sett apart as a day of publicke fasting & prayer: for their End: that wee may fall down before god in humble Confesion of all our sines whereby God hath been provoked to frown upon us: In Cutting short provision for man & Beast: in severall places: & by other providentiall threatnings: as also to Implore mercy from God: In Continuing our Choyce blessings to us: to prevent the spreading of any Infectious Deseases that hath allready been Aflictive in one part of the Country: & mercyfully hasten a Comfortable spring: after so long & seveer a winter: Blessing our seed time & harvest this yeare: & that god would have mercy on all his Aflicted people in the world: support them under: & give them seasonable deliverance out of all their Troubles: & that the kingdom of Christ may be Advanced throughout the world—

    pr order of Court

    Nath:ll Clarke, Secretary

    Dated att plimouth March: 6th: 1685/6

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    To John Cotton (1661),

    8 March 1686

    Plimouth March, 8: 1685:/86:

    My Deare child

    Hath the Lord had mercy on you & on us also, in restoring you to former health? how often hath God brought you neere to the gates of death & againe raised you unto life! oh, what bonds & obligations are upon you to be the Lords with your whole heart, who hath given you soe many lives! let your whole time & strength be now spent absolutely in the Lords service, that it may appeare this affliction & all the paths of God to you have bin in mercy: I need not tell you, how afflicting the tidings of your sicknesse was to us, noe doubt, you realized the overwhelmings of the spirit of you[r] tender mother; the tidings came to us on Feb: 19: on Feb: 26: I obt[ai]ned about 30 to Joyne with us in Fasting & prayer for you, & [the] bretheren did heartily & earnestly pray for you, the next morning early came a boate from Boston with a letter to us from Mr Moodey770 with certaine tidings of your recovery, how ready is God to heare prayers, therefore will wee call upon him as long as wee live: Mr Moodey hath already sent us 5 letters771 concerning you, expressing m[uc]h Christian sympathy with us, & shewing his earnest de[s]ire to comfort us & to ease our hearts in affliction for you, I & your mother take it exceeding kindly, & are greatly ingaged to him for his tender love & pitty soe manifested to us, when our spirits were greatly bowed downe: wee send our hearty respects & love to Capt Gilman & his wife,772 with our abundant thankfullnesse to them for their great care of you & paines about you in this your distresse, the Lord gratiously reward them for it: your mother advises you, to purge your body well this spring: & to be let bloud also773 the good Lord perfect healing mercy to you, & grant you saving good by all afflictions & mercies; all of us here heartily salute you with Love to Rowland & our relations where he lives; praying alwayes for the blessing of [. . .] rest upon you

    [. . . .] [Father John Cotton]774

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Bottom margin is torn, center fold has several small holes, and left margin has one small hole.

    From Rowland Cotton,

    13 August 1686

    Boston Aug: 13. 16[86]

    Hon. Sr

    These are to Inform you that wee arrived at Boston about 6 a clock in ye afternone where I had no sooner came but I mett with Roger A[ ]ams775 who told mee yt he had [. . . .] according to your order, If yt mr. white [. . .] gardner & mrs [. . .] were there att dinner, but did no [thanks?] mr cotton tells me you shall pay for [. . .] Betty776 laid att mrs Browns ye first night last night att uncle mathers,777 too night at cotton mathers. mr cotton778 goes for certain next wednesday sennet with his wife & frinds,779 they are both present att ys writing & affirm It—yr marriage780 will be this week or next according as yr fancy inclines them—Mr Hutchinson has his letter781 & mr mather. mr cotton sais my Bro Jno and mr Allin782 will be down here to go up wth ym. mrs Ann tells mee yt Eleazur Russel courts abigall moody783 & like to have her. I dont hear any news—uncle mather says If he comes to plymouth at all It will be ye week after next. He says If you do not preach for him, he will not go up. he will tarry att plym. but one week he says, & so you your self will not see him att all att plym: if he d[oe] not go to plym. he will [. . .] att watertown a week. he cant stay but a week he says because ye colledge is new setled Therefore seing his going to plymouth will be ye same week yt I goe to Hampton and the same day These are humbly to Intreat you to lett some other way be for uncles company to plymouth, that so I may not goe with him. My humble duty to your self & your self wth love to Brs & sisters presented I remain Sr

    your dutiful son


    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “For Mr J. Cotton in Plimouth.” Endorsed “From my son Rowland August, 13: 1686:”

    From [Zechariah] Walker,


    May it please God to teach us not to suffer such solemn Dispensations in vain—To lose Our dearest Comforts & to lose those Losses also will be intollerable. I presume you have heard how afflictive this summer has been to this Colony, partly by immoderate Rain & unusual ffloods, both as to time & measure, wrby many Hundred Bushells of Corn are gone to sea Unthreshed & much more spoiled at home: Partly by Epidemical sicknesses in Most Plantations, & still remain tho undr mercifull Abatem[en]t. It is God alone yt can teach us to Profit, & cause us to see why he Contendeth with us.

    Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University.

    To Thomas Hinckley,

    1–9 October 1686

    [MayDecember 1686]785

    May it please your Honour

    I made utmost haste this morning to finde you here, & am sorry for my disappointment; of late I have not bin soe sollicitous to hand aliquid Novi,786 because Mr Moodey is constant in doing it to his son: Henfeild, Bennett & John Walley are newly arrived from London;787 I saw a Letter that sayes, Sir Edmunds Frigatt was ready at the Downes to saile for N: E: & he was daily expected to come on board in order to his voyage hither:788 the Army at Hounslow Heath is scattered to their winter-quarters: Rumors from the North of Ireland I dare not write: Sir, I missed mr Simeon Stoddard789 yesterday as he was coming from the Preaesident,790 who hath given him a letter to you,791 which being of great concernment & Mr Dudley expecting my seeing you here told me its contents, which as neere as I can remember his words were to this purpose, viz, that he had a prisoner of yours in his custody, & expected you should call Powell792 & any other witnesses before you & take their Testimonies against Joseph Nash793 (I do not understand they should be sworne before you till the prisoner is in praescence) & send copyes of these evidences to him together with a man empowered by you to receive said prisoner & bring him to your Goale, for he must be tryed in the county or colony where the fact was done or words spoken: My Brother mather794 & I were desired by the prisoners Relations to speake to the Pres: wee were both very carefull of reflecting on your Honour but it troubles me that I cannot viva voce795 tell you how things are resented; while a pipe of Tobacco had bin taking, that wisest of men thinke might have bin done that would have saved many a pounds of charge to persons & Country, besides much trouble; I praesume it is hoped, that soe audacious an act as soe taking a man hence without warrant will have its due punishment by this Authority, if there be time for it before our doom comes. I could tell you an 100 things about this matter if I had time, but Mr Smith796 is in post-haste it being Saturday; I take it for granted, & soe doe men abundantly wiser than I, that upon your receipt of the Presidents letter (which I only give you a forehint of) you will not deferre a day before you examine that Powell & any others in Plimouth, & make utmost haste to dispatch a messenger to fetch the prisoner hither, etc. I have not time to tell you how greivous it is to relations to have such a fellow to trample under his feet a government & thereby bring soe much trouble & losse to them that have not a shilling to loose: I trust, Good Sir, God will guide you wisely & uprightly to extricate your selfe out of these unhappy snares, & difficulties; how sim stodder will passe his letter I know not, but if it come here, I shall hasten it away, for the best friends of this our [. . .] pardon for my boldness, ‘tis well its Saturday else before I finished this sheet, I feare I should have oversaid, if I have already, Deare Sir, at your candor cover it, intire respect to you hath extorted more than I dare thinke to doe when I began to write; I cannot detaine Mr Smith, in post haste

    I rest, wester observantissime797

    John Cotton

    my paper met with a disaster,798 I cannot helpe it now

    Deacon Bright of Watertown799 of 85 yeares old, waited upon the Gentlemen [. . .] on the late ordination day & yesterday by a cart was brought neere death, & was concluded to be dead before I left Boston

    Earle of Powis, Lord Arundel, Lord Bellamy, Lord Dover are lately sworne of his majesties privy councill800

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These for the honourable, Thomas Hinckley Esquire, Gouvernour of New-Plimouth Colony, Living at Barnstable.”

    To Thomas Hinckley,

    15 October 1686

    Plimouth October, 15: 1686:

    Honoured Sir

    Providence soe ordered that Mr Dudley’s letter801 (which I soe narrowly missed this day sevennight) lay wind-bound & came not to my hands till yesterday, which was an unhappy disappointment to mr Jacob Nash802 (the prisoner’s brother) who came hither on wednesday, concluding the letter to your Honour was arrived at its Port, but finding the contrary, Judged it vaine for him to goe Barnstable, thinking you would doe nothing without the President’s letter, & therefore he returned home requesting my extraordinary care speedily to dispatch the letter, which I promised to doe by a messenger on purpose (if noe speedy way presented) out of pitty to a poore prisoner, whose confinement at Boston (by the villany (if I mistake not) of a wicked man) is very greivous to many considerable relations: Powell came on Monday to our Dep: Govr & told him, the Præsident had given Joseph Nash803 a check, & intimated, as if he were returned to his owne home, all which is notoriously false; It is not for me to say, how greivous it will be taken at Boston if noe effectuall answer be returned to the Præsident’s letter, till the time of your personall going to Boston, though it should be within 10 dayes; wiser then I conclude that you may (& hope God will immediately guide you to doe) that which may issue the whole matter long before that time; But if I am too bold, I know you have grace & candor enough to pardon me, it is not a pragmaticall-principle, but something better that now moves me; The messenger stayes,

    I am, Sir, your Honours most observantly

    John Cotton

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For the Honourable, Thomas Hinckley Esquire, Governour of Plimouth Colony at Barnstable.”

    To Rowland Cotton,

    26 November 1686

    Plimouth November 26: 1686:

    Son Rowland

    It was great pitty that you had not patience to tarry an houre, your selfe was the greatest looser, never did I finde Mr Stoughton more free to give me my Salary,804 & in money too, & two such bags he had in his hand that I question not but if you had bin present he would have given you your latter ten pd, but because you were absent I said nothing of it: It is to me a great Marvell, that a quarter before your commencement is yet due [from] me, considering how much money [. . . .] about that [ti]me, & now besides the [. . . .] you had of Mr Stoughton I have [. . . .] weeke paid three pounds seven sh[illings] to Mr Chickley for you, which you [. . .] have paid & not I: yet because I [. . .] for you to the utmost, I now doe [. . .] great wrong of your mother & the [. . .] order for the ward foure pounds at Cos: Mackart[y] [. . .] to pay our Colledge debts till the Commencement & as much since as it will serve for & deare child, doe not thinke I must make all my family any more to pine for keeping you at Colledge; you are now mr of Arts, & if you are not fit now to begin to preach, I feare you never will;805 Hasten home & study sermons & other things diligently, & doe not imagine that your staying at Colledge will helpe you out of debt, noe, it will bring snares on you & me, that wee shall not be able to get out of; you cannot (soe far as I now see) have any employ there to maintaine you, great motions are upon the wheele, if God succeed your uncle & he at his returne finde you a sober Christian he may doe you good, & your living at home this winter will be noe prejudice to you in that respect, but the contrary, if you sincerely give up your name to Jesus Christ as I hope you are about to doe, your lingering is some exercise to my spirit, but I hope the best; The Lord blesse you with <the> truth of grace & fix your heart with an invincible resolution not to degenerate from the God of your fathers: mother, sisters & brothers kindly salute you; come to your fathers house, where you shall have full maintenance, but abroad

    I can not affoard it:

    I am your Loving Father sollicitous of your best good,

    John Cotton

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, at the College in Cambridge. Leave these with mr Elliston at Boston for Conveyance.” Large tear along right margin, and staining throughout.

    From Cotton Mather,

    31 January 1687

    Reverend Syr.

    I thank you for ye Kind Notice you continue to take of your Careless Kinsman. Instead of a Letter I do here enclose a Little printed pamphlet,806 which I entreat your Acceptance of. I enclose also a few Written sheets, which I recommend unto ye perusal of my Cousin Rowland, as a specimen of ye method wch I could Wish his Theological studies might proceed in;807 desiring that they may bee safely in convenient Time returned unto mee again.

    I have no great affection for ye Writing of Newes. But, we are daily expecting to have one of or meeting-houses demanded by ye Governr who is very much disgusted (they say) by or Late untowardness,808 when hee requested a meeting-house at his first Arrival. He gives much Content unto many people, if not unto all, by his mild & prudent Government, the Colledge particularly hee expresses a very obliging Kindness unto.

    The Parlaimt that was to sitt in Nov. is prorogu’d unto Febr809: The Turk is amazingly going down ye wind;810—[. . . .] in England, tis sd, may have their Liberty & protection from ye K.’s Broad-seal, if they will ask it; But they generally are unwilling to ask it. Present all my service, & Love, to my plimouth-mother;811 & my Cousins.—

    I am, Yours,

    [Cotton Mather]

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Endorsed “[. . .] my cousen [. . .] mather Received [Janu]ary 31: 1686:”

    From Edward Rosseter,

    10 February 1687


    I have received two letter this year812 from you for which I heartily thanke you the first I could not read without weeping to observe your affectionate simpathy with [us?] in our late most dolfull Condition therin Exprest, But Gods dispensations of Judgment were dreadfull and terrible and full of severity to sume yet to the most his mercys were as wonderfull in their preservation, And then that he should be so quick in the bounteous dispensations of his favours as to extend mercy to us in the midst of Judgments and restore us to peace and Tranquility after such an Amazing hurricane [that] passed over us is matter of wonder & call for gratitude. The other Intimates what I have along time feared Misserys begining to look in upon you; And may not the Lord say Concerning you as of them ye Profet you have I known of all the people of the Earth and you will I punish for all your inniquitys What place or Collony in the World have Enjoyed such holy & pious ministers such peacable sabbaths such plenty and purity of Ordinances without mixture of mens invent[ions &?] humane traditions And may not I say as the [. . .] your wayes and your doings have procured those [. . .] unto you such have been your Miscariages, It have peirced my heart somtimes to hear what Odious Scandalls have broken out in your Country not by the Common sort of people but among Eminent professors Even they have been overtaken againe and againe with the Swinish Sin of drunkenness and Other Enormities such [as] Soloman intimates are fooles & mad to be the Instru[ments] of their Own ruin Is it not strang that he that is indued with Reason and understanding and Capable of knowing the nature and attending the Consequences of things should so greedily embrace the Cause & will not to be driven from it Whilst he hates the Effect as great a blemish as this Layes upon humane nature yet tis too True by sad and dolfull Experience amongs us faire men would seperate what Gods unalterable Law have joyned together Sin & Missery And the people know they Cannot have the One without the Other yet they will venture upon what they love though Cirtainely attended with what they Cannot Endure. You may well ask why such an Illiterate person as my Selfe should light a Candle to the Sun there is no flattery or hipocrisey in what I say But deare Sir I only touch what you are infintely better acquanted with then I can Express I mean the abominable nature of sin which the Scripture calls by the name of plague death & hell and the dreadfull Calam[ity] that first or last Without Sincere Repentance & reformation Cirtainely follow But this Course will helpe you and our [. . .] any people under stan I mean humilliation for past & present sins and unfeigned amendment will procure forfeited mercys abused wonderfull favours I have been affraid the Lords wrath is kindled againt yu now Cirtainly you must set down this that the turning away of Gods wrath is of greatest Consequence If the Lord go on to be angry do what you can you will lose all your pleasant Enjoyments not only spirittual but temporall also. Oh that O and N:E then would cast away their lusts God hath no other quarrell against us or you He doth not afflict willingly. If we find out our beloved sins all of them & put them away who Can tell how soone the Lord may heale us & prevent farther misserys from overtaking us. Alass

    Many Houses are Erected in the great Citty & other Citties & places in our Land & that Interest would be in the Encreasing hand. But tho there are many places ther but few that frequent them there is litle thriving in yt abominable I had almost said damnable trade

    His Majesty have very gratiously sent a proclamation for the Moderate Presbeterians & Quakers to have full liberty of Conscience in Scotland813 (& Its supposed the like will be granted for E & Ireland) as also the Papists these three are mentioned in it.

    The dissenters have generally taken liberty all that nation over & many have Licenses from ye King so to do but the more wise & serious Christians are n[ot] without fear of what may follow but svents814 belo[ ] God let us follow or presant duty & trust him with the Issue

    You see how apt I am to be large when writing to my dear friend but will trouble you no farther but only to give you as desired the dear respects of my Worthy Brethren Sisters to your whole selfe and accept the like from

    Yor most intirely affectid Kinsman & Servant

    E: R:

    London in England The 10th of ffebruary 1686

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. No address remains. Endorsed “Mr Edward [. . .] 10: 1686: 1687:”

    From William Brattle,815

    16 July 1687

    Camb. July 16. 1687

    Reverend Sr

    After as happy & comfortable a Voyage as ye absence of our good Companions would allow of, We arrived at Boston, Thursday about 4 of ye Clock afternoon—& about Sun down I came to Cambridge & delivered to Lieut. Green816 ye Primer wch you sent by me, which ye Lieutent sent this morn: to Mr Eliot817 whom I shall see too morrow & enform according to yr order:—By leaving Plymouth as we did, I had ye happinesse of being here time enough to pay ye last of Love to a couple who deserved ye same from me, I mean of accompanying to their graves ye corpes of my Good Aunt Eyrs818 & our faithfull Stewd mr Bordman819 who was buryed about Sun-down last night. Mr Leverett820 & my self are now going to Boston to acquaint Mr Mather & his Excell:821 wth ye Losse wch ye Colledge has sustained, & I trust yt very speedily we shall have one provided to take care of us:—Sr/ I give yr self & Mrs Cotton my hearty thanks for yr late greate civility & kindnesse, Wish you & yours all happinesse—so Subscribe my self Rev Sr

    yr humble Servt

    Wm Brattle

    Please to give my service to Mr Saltonstall822 (if wth you) & to tell [. . . .] him a 100 times [. . . .] willing we should be [. . . .]

    Autograph File, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Addressed “For The Revd Mr John Cotton at his house In Plym.”

    To Elizabeth Saltonstall Cotton and Rowland Cotton,

    1 August 1687

    Plimouth August, 1: 1687:

    Daughter Betty

    Son Rowland

    That morning immediately after you went Theophilus823 was taken violently sick with belly-ache, vomiting, & flux, but God in mercy recovered him before the sabbath; That day El: Churchel had a girle824 & since Tho: cushman hath a boy825: My Lecture which should have bin on wednesday, I ordered to be this Monday, & old Mr Russell826 comes from Barnstable to preach it: on the morrow I intend to goe for Bristoll & those parts, & sending Mr Danforth hither, shall stay at Taunton next Sabbath827 & come home on Monday: soe that I hope Bro: Walkers828 visit will be next weeke & that he will stay here the Sabbath ensui[ng]

    Betty, you must finde out some contrivance [. . . .] soone as you can, your mistick [. . . .] doubtlesse lend you a horse for Rowland [. . . .] you part of the way (& soe your uncle [. . . .] may be to bring you quite home, consi[ ] [. . . .] noble-spirited to you, there is noe [. . . .] now & then on saturdays: Eph: Cole829 will [. . . .] but in his returne he will spend a weeke [. . . .] & that will be too long for Betty to be on the [seas?] [. . .] try to the utmost for some other project: Betty, you must lay out a shilling, halfe pepper, halfe Indigo [&] bring it home with you for your mother: The Lord preserve you both & order all things well for you; all salute you; Rowl: looke carefully to your whole way at the Colledge & take heed of evill company, you know what will become of him who is a companion of fooles; I committ you to God & rest

    your Loving Father

    John Cotton

    The shil: you may take up at Mr Ellistone’s,830 if he have the things; if he have them not, borrow the money I will repay it.

    Betty, the shilling mentioned on the other side you must lay out besides the shil: your mother gave you to buy Allspice & Indigo, see that you bring them both.

    Rowland, you send for all your things to be sent, but wee know not what things you meane, what old Cloathes you would have came in chest, what bookes, for I suppose there are but a few of your present Library that will be of present use to you; you may borrow of the Fellowes & use the colledge-Library: your Bible is here, if you like it you may take one of those new bound at Mr Wilkyes831 & be carefull to send home the other by the first opportunity, your mother would know what shirts you have with you.

    Theophilus is this morning taken ill againe, but not soe bad [as?] before as yet, God pitty & spare him. [Theophilus] is now better, bring him some ginger bread. [. . . .] mr Russell

    Thomas Prince Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Sir Cotton, at the College in Cambridge. Leave them with Mr George Elliston shopkeeper in Boston for conveyance as abovesaid.” Large hole in right margin.

    To Rowland Cotton,

    19 August 1687


    August, 19: 1687:

    Son Rowland

    I wrote to you by Leift: Bryant832 & to your Bro: John. Now by Mr John Lothrop. Pray minde the Bibles at Mr Wilkins,833 if you keep one for your owne use you may, let the other be left at Mr Ellistons to be sent to us. I wrote you word of Mr Danforths ordination834 at Taunton Sep.21: & about Bristoll, I hope you will be here about the time mentioned, send Johns letter835 as soone as you can, all well & salute you, God preserve you

    Your Lov: Fath:

    J: Cotton

    Thomas Prince Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, at Harvard Colledge, in Cambridge. Leave these with Mr George Elliston for conveyance.”

    From John Cotton (1658–1710),836

    26 August 1687

    Reverend & Honoured SR,

    I understood you designd a speedy journey to Boston soe should not have presumed to trouble you about ye barne so far as I am concern’d in it; I know yt by lease we are not obliged to build a barne, but only to repair ye present, wch will as well, & to ye Tenants Satisfaction, answer ye end. I have therefore wrote to him so to do, & promised to repay him wt shall come to my share—I wrote to yrself Sr, about a division not of Affections but of ye farme, nor was it because I expect high advantages by it, or any at all joynd wth disadvantage to yrself—; I had rather loose than gain in such a way—; & innocent advantages I know no reason you have to begrudge me—I have a prospect of none (beside ye choice wch God & nature hath given me) wch yrself may not have in it as well as I—If you Expect orders to move in it, I have or shall leave wtever of yt nature to ye managemt of the worthy Gentleman wth whom I have left ye matter of Election [&c] to ye Hond Joseph Dudley Esq, from whom therefore you may Expect to hear it—Thus much Sr, as to business—.—I hope my good Aunt & cousins are well, give them my service & love—Your son is like to be in a wife837 as happy as ever his ffather was, & yt will be very happy indeed—I should be glad if yrself & my Aunt would condescend to journey to Hampton, yt you might water ye seed you have formerly sown. Ye last short letter,838 nor yet a grt many more of ye same nature shall never tempt me, (I trust) to use any advantage injurious to yrself—If I had near such oppertunity, Sr my principles teach me better, & therefore you may assure yrself of nothing but fair dealing from, Sr,

    Yr honest nephew Jno Cotton Alias ye son of yr Elder Brother Seaborne Cotton

    Hampton Aug. 26. 87./

    Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “To the Revd Mr Jno Cotton Pastr of the church at Plimouth.” Endorsed “From my Cousen Mr John Cotton, August, 26: 1687.”