“Your Affectionate Father,” 1692–1697
This period of Cotton’s life was characterized by relative ease. He enjoyed a happy congregation, successful sons who found clerical positions, daughters who married happily into ministerial families, healthy grandchildren with whom he was clearly smitten and increased acceptance into the highest ministerial circles in Boston. Cotton relished his role as father, and almost all the letters in this section highlight his devotion to family. Two remarkable letters he wrote with Joanna reflect all the desires that any loving parent would have—that their son Josiah should live well, remember God, study hard, make good friends, stay healthy and write letters home.1077 Joanna reminded her son of all the times that illness or accident nearly took his life and that he should “Love the great Physician that then healed your Body, Pray to him to heal your Soul.” Another letter highlights Cotton’s tender concern for his children; young Theophilus was away at school and sadly begged to come home after he was bullied and teased by some “Duxbury Boys.” Theophilus’s sadness clearly affected his father: “my parentall bowels yearned.”1078 Joanna revealed her deep love in her letters as well. In December 1696, two young undergraduates at Harvard drowned while skating on the partially frozen Fresh Pond in Cambridge. She wrote to her son days after the tragedy, expressing how devastated she would have been if Josiah had been one of the drowned boys: “I can hardly bear to think how I should have born the affliction if it had been you.”1079
Cotton clearly enjoyed increased prestige in the mid 1690s, something his youthful transgressions precluded earlier in his career. In December 1696, he was invited to give the Wednesday lecture at Boston’s Old South church; while he preached from the loftiest pulpit he had ever held, three parishioners became full church members and the powerful Reverend William Brattle “was very civill & courteous to me in entertainments etc.” afterwards.1080 While the next section of letters details Cotton’s fall, the last few letters in this section present Cotton at his most accomplished and confident.
Joanna spent much of her time during this period happily aiding her growing family, acting as midwife to her daughters and daughters-in-law and collecting and prescribing medicinal herbs—all of which reflect her considerable medical knowledge and experience. Like her husband, Joanna was clearly comfortable and confident in her role as mother, friend and caregiver.
Despite an official movement toward peace, skirmishes on the northern border continued, including a devastating attack on York on 6 February 1692, in which more than 160 English settlers were either killed or taken captive.1081 The 1693 peace treaty, signed by thirteen Abenaki sagamores at the newly constructed Fort William Henry in Pemmaquid, lasted only until the summer of 1694, when hostilities again erupted beginning with the attack on Oyster River.1082 News of captives being taken, and some who later escaped, intermittent concentrated attacks and persistent endemic violence on the northern frontier appeared frequently in Cotton’s correspondence and suggested that the peace treaty did little to settle longstanding conflicts along the border.1083 Returning soldiers brought smallpox back with them after the official war concluded, leading to another epidemic in Massachusetts.1084
Cotton received a few letters, primarily from Cotton Mather, detailing the witchcraft crises in Andover and Salem, but he wrote little about it himself.1085 He did share information about a foiled plot to assassinate King William in a 27 July 1696 letter to his son Rowland, based on two letters he received. While many letters in this section describe the world beyond Plymouth Colony, many of Cotton’s letters focus on the important events of his neighbors, friends and family members. Marriage, death, sickness, education, local politics, local court activity and personal concerns commanded his attention much more frequently than did kings and generals.
19 January 1692
January 19. 1691/2—
My Dear Child1087
I am full of fears lest you should forget God your Creator & Preserver, & Jesus Christ the Redeemer of poor Children, Christ loveth that Children should come unto him. I love them yt love me saith ye Lord & those that seek me early shall find me1088—O my Dear—Seek the Lord whilst he may be found call upon him whilst he is near—Remember what God hath done for you, how often he hath saved your Body from Death, O Give him no Rest Night nor Day till he hath Saved your Soul from Hell—You read in Eccles: that Childhood & Youth are Vanity,1089 Beg the Lord to keep you by his Grace from Breaking any of ye Commandments; Pray continually morning & night before you sleep; Read the Word of God every Day, & beg of him to open your Heart as he did the Heart of Lydia,1090 that you may attend unto his Word, & lay up ye Word preacht & read in your Heart, Hide it there and that will keep you from Sinning against God. Labuor to get Grace & the Knowledge of Jesus Christ; Strive to Enter into the Strait Gate—Fear God & set him before your Eyes continually—When you are tempted to any Sin Say as Joseph did, How can I do this Wickedness & Sin against God?1091 and remember that Satan goeth about like a roaring Lion seeking whom he may Devour1092—Flee all youthfull Lusts & Sins—Plead the Covenant with God tell him that he was the God of your Parents & Grand-Parents, and hath promised to be your God also; If you Seek him, he will be found of you, but if you forsake him he will cast you off forever—My Dear Child you may not sin as others do; God expects a great deal from you; He Hath bestowed abundance of mercy upon you; Therefore Let the Goodness of God lead you to Repentence, and the Love of God constrain you to love him again; Give that Life to him which he hath given you so often—That you may never forget those multiplied mercies, I will give you a catalogue of the most remarkable of them—God began to take you into his hands when you were but one Year & a half old; so willing was he to save you that he spared no Pains in trying you every way both by affliction & by Mercy—
Mercy 1. You were strangelly lame & quite lost the life of one leg, it was feared you would be a Cripple all your Days, but ye Lord wonderfully healed yu: O now Make use of all your Limbs & affections to run the Ways of Gods Commandments—
Mercy 2. You quickly after fell into a Tub of Water, & was brought in for dead, No motion or Life appearing for a considerable while: The Lord that is never weary of shewing Mercy Spared you then, O Bath your Soul in his Love.
Mercy 3. You were suddenly in two hours time struck blind & so continued thirty Hours, & by Degrees God opened your Eyes again, O beg of the Lord to open the Eyes of your Soul as he did the Eyes of Saul after he was blind
Mercy 4. You fell into our Well head foremost & none was by but your little Brothr Samuel (which I hope is gone to Heaven1093). He could not help you, but God did help & save you, O Beg washing in the Blood of Christ
Mercy 5. You were in ye Street at Play, & there a Cart went over your Thigh; The Cart was full of Green wood & Iron bound wheels; and yet all your Bones may say who is God like unto Thee, Not one of them was broken
Mercy 6. You had a violent burning ffever which brought you almost to the Grave—O Love the great Physician that then healed your Body, Pray to him to heal your Soul
Mercy 7. You had another ffit of sickness which threatened your Life, but ye Lord heard Prayer for you; O that ye Lord would help you to see the Sickness of your Soul & heal & cure that
Mercy 8. You were most violently seized wth ye Bladder in the Throat;1094 of this your Bror Saml died, and many Scores of Children more, & God spared you; O Consider for what this distinguishing mercy was yours—You had Six Deliverances from Death by that Distemper; Thus the Lord delivd you out of 6 Troubles & out of 7 in two Years space; O my child let that Breath which God threatened to stop so often by that Distemper be spent in Praising ye God of yr mercies
Mercy 9. You remember how near you was to Death by the Hunt & ffall from a tree; There was but a hands breadth betwixt you & Death then, O the Goodness & Long Suffering of God;
Mercy 10 Dont forget how God saved you from Drowning at Barnstable—Render unto the Lord according to all the Benefits which he hath done unto you. Let not all ye Preservations be but a Reservation for further Wrath—My Son give God your Body & Soul affections & Desires—Resolve you will be his & for no other—Remember Joseph Jacobs youngest son but one; how his afflictions were all for his Souls Good—God hath waited on you, turn to him now lest when he comes again with another Sickness or Danger he will not spare you; and then what will become of Thee, My Dear Child; Pray & Ply the Throne of Grace for your Own Soul & for all Your Relations. Carry well to those with whom you live, Chuse good Companions, Hate Sin and Sinners, & Love God & Jesus Christ; This is the Prayer & Desire of Your loving Mother
Keep you this Letter safe, & read it often, & Labour to get Good by it, or twill rise up in Judgemt against you
Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University
20 February 16921095
Plymouth, February 20, 1690/91
This is my third epistle1096 to you this week. I hope all may fetch from you what news Mr. R hath in his letters, and what is in Mr Wiswall’s last to the governour by Mr. Prince. Pray speak to Mr. Russell and the governour, if you see them at lecture next week, and let them give their judgment what answer to give in that clause to Mr Dummer’s letter concerning the ordering of the contribution to each town. I suppose an equal division betwixt the two towns may give best satisfaction. After that lecture hasten those letters to me, for others need to see them. J Howland and J Nelson carried your mother briskly to Boston on Monday; they were at Roxbury by sunset. On Tuesday, John Allyn and a son of Capt. Bradbury’s brought her a letter from son Allyn,1097 signifying all (especially Betty1098) were well on Monday morning, waiting and longing for her coming. Their horses they left at Winnesimmitt:1099 Thursday morning they designed thence to Ipswich, and this day to Salisbury, and the weather is very comfortable for their purpose. They brought news, that just before their coming from home they heard that (the particular place J.H. and J.N. who returned hither on Wednesday, cannot tell) there were seen tracks of snow-shoes of some hundreds of Indians, which hath occasioned those eastern parts already to run into garrisons. They say, Boston town hath not been so healthful these diverse years as just now it is. Old Capt. and Deacon Capen1100 died of the small pox at Dorchester this week. Mr Stoughton hath £600 from the corporation;1101 we may no doubt easily to have our salaries now. I have written to him by J. Morton who yet waits for fair wind. William Bret1102 hath sent you 15 pounds of hay seed, and a letter with it for 15 shillings: if you will order its conveyance to you, you may have it: we received it but yesterday. I had another letter from Boston, part of which I transcribe, because I expect not to see you quickly.
“I think I wrote you lately an easy word or two about a New England gentleman, lately returned to us from the other side of the water. My design (as well as the design of the gentleman in England, who enabled me so to write) was to prevent some intemperances, which I feared among ourselves; but I wish the word unwritten, for I can assure you, the curse, Let him that is unjust be unjust still, is dreadfully upon that person, and poor New England owes nothing to him but prayers to be delivered from his machinations; Nor would have I you too far trust the character I give of * for it may be said about the men of his way, The best of them is a briar.
“If you will take my opinion about your affairs, it will be useless to send your good governour to England. Sir Henry Ashurst (not to mention anybody else) will be more able to bring noble persons into your interests, than any one that can goe from hence; and half the money necessary to bear the charges of an agent from hence, would make Sir Henry capable of doing ten times the service for you. Besides, it will be a desperate thing for the old gentleman to run the hazard of being carried into France. The king hath ordered our charter to be drawn up, which was done accordingly, and he used so particular a conduct for the diverting of the intrigues our enemies might use to defeat his kind purposes for us, that we have all the assurance in the world, nothing but a miraculous and prodigous dispensation of the sovereign God can cause us to miss of it. Mr. D. never had opportunity to know what steps were taken for us, and the stories he tells about those things are but a branch of his designs to distract, enfeeble and affrighten his country, whom, I doubt, he has not yet forgiven. My father1103 obtained an order from the king to Sir G. Treby, the attorney general, and Sir J Somers, the solicitor general, and another eminent lawyer, to pass their judgment upon the validity of the Connecticut charter, and they gave it in, That the charter was as good as ever it was, and the government there should proceed upon it. This is the instrument now sent over to them, and I have newly transmitted it. If the Tories won’t be quiet, they shall quickly see some things in print, which they will be ashamed of. As soon as my newspapers all come into my hands, I hope to send you a large parcel of them:” Haecille.1104
Did I not repose great confidence in you, I would not thus write to you; but what you impart you will do it wisely, and not expose me or my intimate friend. The Lord bless you in your work, and make you grow daily more and more like J.A. Prepare a choice letter to thank your cousin Mather. I have sent to him by J. Morton, for your great book. His wife is abroad; his child hath had the smallpox and is almost well. Your sister and brother salute you; my love to you, etc.,
I am your Loving father
Transciption from MHS Collections, 3rd ser., 1 (1825): 117–20. Addressed, “These for Mr. Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel at Sandwich.”
22 February 1692
Boston; Febr. 22. 1691/2
Yours of ye 15th Instt came to my hand the 18th following.1107 Doubtless your Remembrance of our [distressed?] friends at the Eastward,1108 will be a sacrifice very acceptable to God. When you please to send me the Money, I shall wait an opportunity for laying it out to ye best advantage of those to whom you shall order it. York is now in Extremity,1109 & ought to be chiefy regarded so far as I know. We begin to think long of [Weare?], be sure Mris Maccarty does. My Books are in him, when they come, you shall have ye refusal of [. . .] Major Hutchinson took his journey towards Portsmouth last Friday,1110 as Commander in Chief of our Forces, and to regulat Garrisons; Probably in a little time we may have his Opinion what is best to be done as to any Prosecution of the Enemy. Whatever method be agreed on, there will be no subsisting for us, except the other Colonies doe thorowly join with us and methinks there should be no haesitancy. Nam tua res agitur, paries cum proximus1111 [. . .] Capt Willie1112 is gott to ye Isles of Shoals with fourty souldiers; wch ye Inhabitants petition’d for, to be maintain’d at yr own charge. Capt Byfield1113 is come to Town to dwell with us again, Boston Trade being to him the more Eligible Mount of hope. My service to your self & Mrs Cotton, I take Leave who am,
Sir your friend & servt
Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “For the Reverend Mr. John Cotton at Plimouth.” Endorsed “From Captaine Sewall February, 22: 1691.” Staining along folds.
11 July 1692
Boston; July, 11TH. 1692.
These are to inform you that the late Report we had concerning Wells as if that place were destroy’d is altogether a Mistake,1114 and that place is entirely well. It seems They had been clearing some Brush for their security which was laid in a heap & burn’d; and probably that was ye fire mistaken by the nocturnal Post, for Garrisons consum’d. The Thanksgiving will be kept here & in the neighbouring Towns I thought good to signify thus much to you, hoping it may be some Antidote against what I mention’d to Major Bradford1115 at ye White Horse1116 just before his going out of Town. The Govr attended by mr. Moodey &c is going to Kennebeck to design a place for setting a Fort,1117 & other prosecution of the war. We are well. service to your self & Mrs Cotton. Sir
your friend & Servt
Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “To the Reverend Mr Jno Cotton at Plimouth.” Endorsed “From Captaine sewall July, 11: 1692.”
5 August 1692
Boston. Augt. 5. 1692.
Or Good God is working of Miracles. Five Witches were lately Executed,1118 impudently demanding of God a Miraculous Vindicacion of their Innocency. Immediately upon this, Or God Miraculously sent in Five Andover Witches1119 who made a most ample, surprising amazing Confession of all their Villanies and declared ye five newly Executed to have been of their company; discovering many more but all agreeing in Burroughs being their Ringleader,1120 who I suppose this Day receives his Trial, at Salem whither a Vast Concourse of people is gone; My Father, this morning among ye Rest. Since those, there have come in other Confessors; yea, they come in daily. About this prodigious matter my Soul has been Refreshed wth some little short of Miraculous Answers of prayer; wch are not to bee written; but they comfort mee wth prospect of an hopeful Issue.
The whole Town yesterday turned ye Lecture into a Fast, kept in or meeting house; God give a good Return. But on ye morning wee were Entertained wth ye horrible Tidings of ye Late Earthquake at Jamaica,1121 on ye 7th of June Last. When, on a fair Day, ye sea suddenly swell’d, & ye Earth shook & broke in many places; and in a Minutes time, ye Rich Town of Port-Royal, ye Tyrus of ye whole English America, but a very Sodom for Wickedness, was immediately swallow’d up, and ye sea came Rolling over ye Town. No Less than seventeen hundred souls of that one Town, are missing. besides other Incredible Devastacons all over ye Island, where Houses are Demolished, Mountains overturned, Rocks Rent and all manner of Destruction inflicted. The N.C.1122 Minister there scap’d wonderfully wth his Life. Some of or poor N.E. people are Lost on ye Ruines, and others have their Bones broke. Forty Vessels were sunk,—namely all whose Cables did not break but no N.E. ones. Behold, an Accident Speaking to all or English America. I Live in pains, & want your prayers. Bestow ym dear Sr, on
What a filthy stir do they keep at Tauton1123 about their military Affayrs. Whereof You and I bear most of ye blame. be it Reasonable?
Mather Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “For the Reverend Mr John Cotton, Minister of ye Gospel in Plymouth” Endorsed “Cotton Mather 5: 1692:”
20 August 1692
Boston Aug0: 20TH: 1692
have yors of ye 15 Instant,1125—your son hath your [coat],—he is well and is as good a boy as most, I am greatly taken with him—
News—3 mast ships & a frigget come to Piscattaqua—& a Brigganteen to Boston—Writeings & printing declare, a hellish plott to destroy King Wm in fflanders, & ye Queen in England but discovered; Severall Lords Spirrituall & temporall in ye Tower1126 & other Prisons & the Parliamt: to sett ye 14th June last, & these ships came from ye West the 15th day—the K: of cwe had but 30: men of warr towards ye West sent out his fleet to fight us where ever they mett us—they ca[me] somthing neer us but ye wind comeing East, kept them from yt pte of our fleet, & brought ye rest of our fleet to ym of ours wth ye Duch—& yn we took the King of ffrances ordrs to his fleet to return
so the ffrench Admirall came boldly on our Admirall Russell to the distance of about 3/4 of Musquet Shott & yn Ingaged & from abt 11 a clock untill foure fitt briskly—& yn being calme—towed away & we psued—ye: ffrench have lost 23 of their capitall ships being burnt & sunck—the Rest beaten by a less quantity of our Ships then theirs1127 & had there been faire cleer weather its like we had destroyed them all for one of our Squadrons & the Duch did little by reason of ye foog & wind they were left on the ffr: coast while ym yt did fight came home & fitted, & are gon to them againe—have burnt 20: of their transport ships—K: James had many Irish & ffrench Ready to land In England, if encouraged—we & ye Duch have 800 Transport Ships ready
news from Newfound Land a week later, saith th[at?] King Wm hath Routed ye King of ffrances Armies, and taken 3 or 4 towns & goes on prosperously—& that our transpor Ships have Landed 2200 Soldiers in ffrance—yt ye King of ffr is returned from his armie to Parris—sick of the gout,1128 yt ye Emperour hath Slayn 10000 turks & taken 12000: more & a great deale more news there is but I Referr you to ym yt come hence—our Great gunns was fired for ye great Good news from England to manifest our Joy & thanks for Gods goodness to us therein—
no news yet from or Govr of wt he hath Done
Mr John Usher come Lt Govr of New Hampshire1129
Mr Burroughs & 4 more hanged yesterday; but did not Confess
more Witches brought in—& severall do Confess1130
no Indians seen abt Wells since or Govr: went Eastward; he hath Sent out an armie, & is building a fourt:1131 Two Captives yt were taken at Senectady,1132 run from ye ffr: Indians at Morriall,1133 say yt ye Mohauks so annoy ye farmers yt they dare not attend their Harvest—& had it not been for fish yt they did cetch, they must have deserted ye place & yt ye Senica Indians have killed 61 ffrench & ffr: Indians by an ambiscade1134
since the above here is a vessel from or Govr. he landed at Casco bay but is now a building a fort at Pemmiquid & hath sent 400 Soldiers to meet with ye Enemie Eastwards
Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Torn along right margin.
20 October 1692
Boston. Oct. 20. 1692.
My Kindest & my Dearest Uncle,
Your Thoughts for mee, I have alwayes prized; but I know not whether I ever wanted them so much as Now.
I now send You a Book, Written with as much Exercise of mind, as perhaps any thing, that Ever any pen of mine has meddled with. Pray Read it Critically, and Lett mee know whether you think, I have served, as you know I have designed therein to serve, God and my Generation.
There are fourteen Worthy Ministers, that have newly sett their Hands, unto a Book, now in ye press, Containing Cases of Conscience about Witchcrafts.1135 I did, in my conscience think, that as ye Humours of this people now run, such a Discourse going Alone would not only Enable or Witch-Advocates, very Learnedly to Cavil & Nibble at ye Late proceedings against ye Witches, considered in parcels, while things as they lay in Bulk, with their whole Dependences, were not exposed; but also everlastingly stiffle any further proceedings of Justice, & more than so, produce a public & open contest with ye Judges, who would (tho’ beyond ye Intention of ye Worthy Author & Subscribers) find themselves brought unto ye Bar before ye Rashest Mobile.
For such Causes, & for One more, I did with all ye modesty I could use, decline, setting my Hand unto ye Book: assigning this Reason, that I had already a Book in ye Press,1136 wch would sufficiently declare my opinion: and such a Book too, as had already passed the censure of ye Hand wch wrote what was then before us.
With what Sinful & Raging Asperity, I have been since Treated, I had rather Forgett than Relate. Altho’ I challeng’d ye Fiercest of my Accusers, to find ye Thousandth part of One Wrong step taken by mee, in all these matters, Except it were my use of all Humble & sober Endeavrs, to prevent such a bloody Quarrel between Moses and Aaron, as would bee Bitterness in ye Latter End; no other Fault has yett been laid before mee. At last I have been driven to say, I will yet bee more vile!1137 And in quoting Math. 5. 9.1138 I have concluded, So, I shall not want a Father!
Since ye Trial of these unworthy Treats, ye persons that have used them, have endeavored such Expressions of Sweetness toward mee, as may make mee satisfaction. But for ye great Slander wth wch they have now fill’d ye Countrey against mee, That I Run Against my own Father, & all the ministers in ye Countrey; meerly because I run Between ym, when they are like Mad Men Running Against one another; they can make mee no Reparation; However my God will!
God has marvellously Blessed my poor Endeavours, for ye preventing of some Outrage, wch my Warm Friends, have been Running into; and I know, that God will Bless my Little Book, for further benefit that way: tho’ by ye moane of somebody or other, is [co—er?] abroad under unhappy Disadvantage [of?] prejudice among ye people. I don’t yett Repent of one word, that I have Written, nor won’t it may bee, till you tell mee that I should.
My friends have now happily gained a point, wch has been long wished for; even for mee to become Unconsidered. I confess, Things become every day more & more so Circumstanced, as if my Opportunities of serving my Neighbrs were after a sort Expiring; alas, that I have made no better an use of ym, while I had ‘em! I seem now, to have Little to Do, but to Dy: and ô blessed bee ye Free-Grace of God, by whose Help, I hope, I can do That!
I begin to have a fine easy Time of it. & now I can, you see, write Larger Letters, than I use to do. I grow tedious; and I shall count you so too, if you don’t write mee sound Good & Comfortable Words, as soon as you can.
God preserve You, and all yours, from a Crafty, Busy, prevailing Divel. Farewell. And think on
Your honest Cousen,
Ms. 1459, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “For the Reverend Mr John Cotton, Plymouth.” Endorsed “From my Cousen Mr Cotton Mather october, 20: 1692:.”
28 January 1693
Boston JanRY 28TH 1692
have yours of the 27 ult:1139 cannot procure yt history yet; your Son Allins1140 lre I sent by a safe hand,1141 but wn mr Modey came, he brought me no answer, have sett you [. . .] Josiah to writeing, have putt him upon writeing to you & hereinclosed is a lre of his & two more to yourselfe,1142 he hath gott a bottle of Alixr: & shall endeavour to send it wn this comes; ym two Shipps were not from England
have yors: of ye 11th Instant. but ye man yt brought it did not call for an answ[er] I gave yor: son, the seven shillings you ordered for Robert Orchard1143 & ye other [. . .]
we are now at Febry 2d & have yours dated yesterday,1144 we sent some soldiers to Pemiquid ys winter, & last weake Capt. Wing1145 came to Boston with some of his Soldiers yt ye Govr promised to release, & say yt Geor: Heskill is kill’d (& 4 more wounded & are like to do well) at a place 3 leagues beyond Pemiquid wheither they went to fetch wood & timber ye pticulers of wch I leave the bearer to Informe you. Last night came in one came yesterday from Piscattaqua & brings noe news of any Ind[ians] your mate need not feare ye welfare of yor. children Eastward
no lres at mr. Elistons.—ym in prison upon Suspition of witchc[raft] are to be tryed at CharslTown tomorrow1146—have told ye bearer something to tell you by word of mouth. All our due respects to you & yours
Yr friendly Servt
Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “ffor the Reverend Mr: John Cotton Pastor of the Church In Plymth p a friend q.d.c.” Endorsed “From Mr Dering February, 2: 1692” Torn along right and left margins.
16 March 1693
gilford march the 16 1692/3
Much Respected brother and sister
I would Return hearty thanks for your often writing to us and am glad to heare of our cosens being well disposed of in marigg: to satisfaction & desire it may soe be and soe contended with them content in that Relation will be a help to cary through many defecultys: which the world is now full off: it is wt us and I doubte not but in some measure soe wt you a very defecult time to Live in the world god in his providens shortens all our out ward enjoyments the freuts of the Earth faile much and every thing we by: is soe extreame deare heard hard geting along: in the world: but the Lord knowes what is best for: us I desire we may Learn by all his dispensations we have had a sore aflicting time this winter by a Raging dissease1147 sent in amongst us which caryed away about twenty persons in about five wekes time most of them heads of famelys: I shall give you an acount of some of them and theyr sudent dying at least some of them mr John Leet:1148 was the first he lay sick about seven days he dyed the 25 day of november: the next was Samuell Bristow1149 he was taken: sick in the Evening and dyed the next night being the thirtyth of november as Lusty strong midleagead man as most in the towne: the first day of desember dyead old goodman cook:1150 and the 5th: of desember dyed daniell Everth1151 and the sixt of desember dyed thomas wright1152 who has bene our sheapeheard this twenty years he lay sick not above foure and twenty hours the 7 of desember dyed Joseph Clayes wife1153 the 10 of desember a lusty young maide old permorlyes daughter the 16 of desember John spiniges wife1154 the same day daniell bishops wife1155—the 18th day and tahann hill1156 dyed and alsoe a child in the same house the 20 day of desember Thomas blackly1157 dyed the 21 day tabythah byshop widdow1158 dyed the same day a young garle dyed the 25 day dyed goodwife wright whose husband was newly dead1159 before the twenty eight day John evert1160 and John turner wife1161 both dyed thus weare we dayly imployed in burying the dead and tending the sick: for children had very generally though most moderately and but short the same day that those two Last persons dyed was a day of fasting and prayer in publick wt us: and that which was Remarkably taken notis of was that there had almost none scaped death: that had been heard taken wt this violent fevor: or but two persons in the towne of which one of them was my negor servant and one young man more in the town: all old dyed that had that putread feavor: and now at this day of fasting there Lay seven persons violently taken in the same way of those that dyed before and all of them scapead wt Life and soe the dispensation wavead offe from us againe and I [hope?] not wt out some fruites of it by a consederable stroke upon young persons Looking godward more than has been wt us of Late & that it might increase: and in all this mortality god has sparead our famely: hetherto: which we have great cause to be thankfull for: we have now Living five sons and thre daughters and my wife expeckes another: before may next:1162 the Lord fit us for soe greate a work: that we may endeavor to bring them up in the nurture and feare of the Lord your famely lessens and ours increases: I could willingly put one of ours under your’s and sisters tuition if you weare of the same mind and we could abtaine it but we Live soe Remote from you yet Let us not faile of your prayers for us that god would direcke us and teach us to walk aRight before him in all our wayes I am discoraged about ever comeing to see you being crasy and weakely ever sinse my Long Lamenes being disinablead for heard travell or heard Labor: and under many defecoltyes and tryals I did atemt a vissit Last sumer but not finding my self well and fit for travell alone and meting wt noe sutable company it put a stop to my coming to you: but pray Let us heare as often from you as you have opertunyty and I hope we shall doe the same that the Remembranse of soe neare and deare a Relation may not be forrgoten: wt myne and my wives due Respeckes to you both and Love to all our Cosens our oldest children present due Respeckes to you we all desire to se you
we are yours to serve and comand in what we may.
my wife Returns hearty thanks for a small token Resevead from her deare sister: by the hand of will Jones his wife1163 Last sumer.
Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “for the Reverand mr: John Cottenn Pastor of the Church of Christ att Plimouth Q.D.C. for convoyans Leave this wt mr Coten mather pastor of a church at bostonn.” Endorsed “From Brother Rosseter March, 16: 1693:” Several small tears along right margin.
23 March 1693
Plymouth March, 23: 1693:
Reverend & Deare Brother
your desire to know the true state of Affaires among the Indians & the number of those that receive the Gospel I shall now satisfy as far as my time reaches:
The Indians I preach to at waweantick (& adjacent villages of sepecan & mattapoisett1164) are 36: At Namassakett, Kehtiticutt, Assawamsitt,1165 Quehehqussit1166 50; charles their Teacher At Kitteaumutt1167 & thereabout 47: There are at Acushnett,1168 Ponigansett1169 & Coxitt1170 130 in two Assemblies, in which is a church of 24 members, 10 men & 14 woemen, one of their Teachers, John is lately dead: At Sakonett1171 are 240 in 4 Assemblies, amongest which is a church consisting of 21 members; 9 men & 12 woemen Daniel, Simon, George, Joslin are the 4 Teachers there: How & by whom these two churches were gathered I at present know not certainly, only I understand, some of the considerable Indians of Martha’s Vineyard churches were principally active in laying those foundations:
At Mattakeesitt (alias Namassakeesitt1172) the sicknesse hath these two yeares last past bin soe deadly that the utmost of men, woemen & young Adult ones exceeds not (I think) 20: The spetiall meanes of the unsuccessfullness of labours among the Indians hath bin the English selling liquors to them, thereby they have bin extreamly debaucht, but in these places espetially about Acushnett & Saconett there are considerable number that are sober & hopefull, About a fortnight since I had about 60 hearers at Namaskett 2 days since (notice being given thereoff at my desire) I had about 90 Hearers there some came above 20 miles from Acushnett some above 40 from Sakonet of good carriage, who used their Bibles, 3 or 4 wrote after me (my text was Isa: 55: 3:1173) & they had a very ingenuous savour & knowledge of what was spoken [re:] hearing of the word, coming to christ, & the Life there promised, & the blessings of the Everlasting covenant, it was to me very affecting to see them speak soe satisfyingly about these things & therefore I promised to come to them at sakonett this summer neer 60 miles hence with Gods leave, & they promise I shall see the 240, if they dye not before; I long to see you, but cannot yet come; without any foolish boasting, set aside blessed Mr Eliot, I cannot believe any man did or doth take half the bodily paines I doe with them in all the travelling part of the yeare, 32 miles forward & backward & 30 & 26 are usually my longest days travell & 2 or 3 houres spent with them, which is many a weary step to the flesh, it spends horses, money & spirits more then a litle (as my friends know) but I have cheerfully & constantly attended the worke of God amongst them; & have long since resolved soe to doe as God shall continue my strength & opportunities, though all rewards from man should cease; I am much calld upon & this weeke more then ordinary by many of their Teachers & Rulers, & this day while Major Bradford was sitting with me, 8 or 10 of them came & desire Coates, & this yeare providence hath soe ordered that I have not received one to give them, I only satsify them with a promise, that if any thing doe come to me for them, I will faithfully give it them; About 20 yds are left at Sandwich, Mr Treat,1174 Mr Mayhew,1175 Mr Tupper1176 having taken all the rest of the 308 yds: Sir, I have given you as true an account of the numbers of Indians as I can possibly procure, & I believe there is very litle or noe defect therein, in the revolution of this summer I may probably have a more perfect account to give of the state of those that are more remote; I hope you have called upon Mr Treat Mr Mayhew my son at Sandwich1177 & Mr Tupper for such an account from them also, & then the Gentlemen concerned will see how to proportion what is for the Indians, At this season of the yeare I have opportunities of having greater Assemblies because of fishing, which I am unwilling to loose, my absence I hope need not hinder any conclusion of sending hither what my Indians desire & expect; I record every opportunity of my being with them & have done above these 20 yeares which will evince I have not neglected my trust, & also in my booke,1178 how every yard hath bin distributed & to whom, hereby providing things honest in the sight of men, I wish every one of us betrusted in this way might yearly give an account of what we doe herein to those that betrust us: I seale not the enclosed to the Gentleman, that you may see I Judge the whole, desiring you to seale it & convey it: If you meet before I come (as I hope you may) you may be assured by these lines of my right to the 10 pd, if labour merit from man: Let me have your prayers that God would strengthen & blesse me in the worke; my son Revd: I know hath taken great paines to fit himselfe for this service, & laid out much money to learne the Language, & hath as yet only made & written sermons for the Indian Teachers to translate & deliver to them, his memory is not soe as with some others & therefore hitherto he hath not vocally preacht to them, but in truth he hath bin & is very conscientious in his endeavours about it, & if he finde in a litle farther triall, God denyes ability he will faithfully tell it you, but therefore for the yeare past I presume there will be noe scruple: other things I mix not with these lines,
I am your Affectionate Brother
Boston University Special Collections. Addressed “These for the truly Reverend, Mr Increase Mather Teacher of a church in Boston.” Endorsed “March 23d 1693 Mr. Cottons Leter Number of the Indians he preached to 523 Indians.” In the left margin of the first page is a column of numbers: 36, 47, 50, 130, 240, and 20, with the total 523 underneath.
12 August 1693
Boston AugO 12TH 1693
no lettle Joy its hoped will come by peace with the Indians, wch I am ready to think wilbe now concluded honourably by ye Govr. who tooke mr Secretary with him & enough to make a Councill1181—mr Alden1182 is lately come in & brought very good wheat from Menus—And 4 of ye men yt ye ffrench vessel of 16 gunns had this Spring taken at ye Eastward (& more men in 2 vessells), they say yt. ys. ffrench man lay 3 weekes in St. John River1183 with hi[s top] mast struck and landed there 120 barrells powder & above 2Ø of [. . . .] chests of armes & 8 great Gunns for their fort wch is 30 leagues up the [. . . .] years provision wth many fine coates for ye Indians all directly from ffrance, But its said yt Govr: Vilboons1184 Souldiers are all runn to Canada but 2.1185/
The Sickness is mostly at ye North end of ye Towne; But not so many die as wn ye Souldiers came from Canada.1186 Severall Towns about Boston are [. . .] to be more Sicklier yn here in proportion. mr Burr teaches lattin in the schoole where mr Dorsett did.1187 all due respects to yorselfe & good mrs: Cotton
mr Lutt of Nubery1188 hath promised to carry the things to Salisbury—/.
Casteen1189 hath by mr Alden taken his oath to be [fore?] King Wm & Queen Mary, & saith he will act for us
Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “To the Revernd: mr John Cotton In Plymo: These ddd Q.D.C.” Endorsed “Mr Dering August, 12: 1693:” Several small holes.
2 December 1693
Dec: 2: 1693
My Dear Child
Although I am absent from thee, Yet my Heart is with thee, & my Prayers for thee continually that God would have mercy upon thee, both Soul & Body & keep you from every evil way. Remember my Dear Josiah & never forget how many Lives God hath Given You, & be sure you give your Life to God, Fear God, & fear Sin Keep all the commandments—I charge you to Pray in secret & Read the Word every Day. Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy—Follow your studies Faithfully—Chuse the best Company—Beg the Lord to keep you every Day, & call your Self to an acct every Night, what Sins in Word, Thought, or Action, You have committed that Day & Repent of them, & Mourn after Christ for ye Pardon of ym & for Grace to Serve God in Newness of Life—Your Name is Josiah, O that your heart were as tender as King Josiahs—There is nothing will stand you instead when You come to dy but an Interest in Christ, Make Sure of it now while you are Young, the longer you live in Sin, the harder your Heart will be: Hear the Word—& Pray ye Lord Your Soul may profit by it—God loves ye Love of Youth & Christ Saith of Such are the Kingdom of Heaven.1190 My child dont throw this Letter away, but read it, & that which hath all your Delieverances from Death;1191 Read them often and Pray over them, & leave not your heart until you find a Change wrought, O what a comfort would it be to Your Parents to See you become a New Creature—Plead ye Covenant of the God of your Fathers & Grandfathers; He hath promised to be the God of ye Righteous & of their seed after them,1192 Give God no Rest until he hath blessed you with Spiritual Blessings—Be sober be Vigilant—Avoid all Temptations to Sin, This is the Prayer & earnest desire of your loving Mother—
Dear Child, Hearken to all these holy counsells of your precious Mother then will God delight to bless you.1193
Yr Loving Father
And O that I might now Espy
Things that are for my Good
That so I may whilst call’d to day
Seek for Eternal Food
O Give Me Grace to Seek thy Face,
Now whilst I am in Youth,
That I may learn how to discern
All Falsehood from the Truth:
That nothing may turn Me away
From following the Lord,
But that I may both night & day,
Serve him with Hearts Accord
Make Me to go & run on so
As that I may Obtain,
What is my Mark the Heav’nly Ark,
Althô with Grief & Pain—1194
Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University. Cotton prefaced this letter in his mansucript: “Letter I recd wn I was at School in Boston.”
22 January 1694
Plymouth January, 22: 1693: /94:
By J. Morton I send my litle John Cotton a suck-bottle;1195 J: H: was not gone an houre from my house before J: N: came to me (who came from Boston late the night before), with tidings that his Bro: in Law, a Tr[ ] (he thinks Thomas) was lately killed with a cart, how is unknowne, for he went alone with it, very neere the path that turnes out of our road to Dorchester-towne: I received etc & ten pound is yours in my purse, this messenger (I know) would bring it faithfully, but I know not whether you are willing any hand should touch it till you come your selfe; when you come or send for it, bring an empty purse, for I have none to spare: my wife sends you a litle oyle of aniseed,1196 faile not to send home the <bottle> violl by J: M: your childs now quietnesse without suck seems to Justify your mothers skill though she knows not when etc: you had best send speedily what is necessary for your shoos for I expect opportunity quickly; All the scraps that can be spared are now sent you for ‘tother armpit: I need not say how welcome your Dearest & yours shall be to us when they come: If your Bro: have not Hes: & [ ?] either sell or lend J: D’s & hand them presently; it will be but for 5 moneths, I will certainly make them as good then as they are now; a young woman kinde dyed suddenly at Hull (they say a Phipenny1197) J: M: saith he will bring our Tick, I hope your Bro: will hand it to your house before his returne: Hearty salutes to you all from us all & prayers for you
your Affec: Fath: J: C:
John Waterman & his wife added to us yesterday by Dismistion from marshfeild. a bitter morning:1198
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich.” Endorsed in unknown hand: “Jany. 22. 1694 John Cotton.” Prince’s note: “In one of Jan: 27 He writes—The Govr (they say) bro’t newes of ye small pox being among our enemies, wth ye Hostages.”
29 January 1694
Plymouth January, 29: 1693: /94:
Much Endeared Daughter
I have thought it my duty, ever since I heard of the translation of your blessed Grand father to Heaven,1200 to write you a few consollatory lines; you have candour enough to pardon my hitherto omission: I need not tell you how ripe he was for heaven, & though the death of such pretious men of God & choice relations be a heavy losse to us, yet when wee consider their Happynesse & glory wee cannot but rejoyce therein; And therefore, Deare Child, turne every sorrowfull thought that you shall noe more see his face & heare his pleasant chearfull voice in this world, into affectionate contentment at the thoughts of that unspeakeable pleasure he now enjoyes among the spirits of Just men made perfect: I hope it will not be long before you & your pleasant babes will come & live with us, you have a mother & sister with me who salute you & to all whom you shall be most heartily welcome; co[. . .]1201 & yours to God,
[your Affec]tionate Father
18 May 1694
Plym: May 18: 94:
Expect noe more 1/2 sheets; I am very glad of your Indian acceptation1203 & your next weeks work with them: Govr is returned;1204 Lord Cutts is not gone to Isle of Wight,1205 but his Leift Govr was going,1206 Mr Dudley; & his place is 500 per annum, besides what he will have while the Govr is absent, he writes he shall not come hither this yeare: Connecticott are likely to obtaine their desires at Whitehall: Mr Barnes saith it is his son Johns horse strayed from Jos: Bartlets,1207 he is at sea, & noe doubt, saith his mother he will pay the finder, & desires he may not be lost till the owner knows & speake his minde;
A small handfull of each herb, only of mouse ear1208 two handfulls, two quarts of beare boild to one, with this the Joynts are to be washed.
of the syrrup take 2 spoonfulls at a time morning & evening.
Mr Ruggles is a very desirable companion at bed & board & in the way: I told Mattakeesitt, they may expect me on that Monday,1209 & soe shall I to see you at J: Bearstons1210 by one or two a clock at furthest. The Lord heale the Deare mother & its babe1211 & give you all all good, with all our heartyest salutations to you all,
I am, As ever etc
R: R: is in haste:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich.” Endorsed in unknown hand: “May 18: 1694. John Cotton to me[,] Mary[,] John[,] J John Cotton[.] May.”
22 May 1694
Plymouth May, 22: 1694:
Your Fath’s letter1212 mr murdo brought me on Saturday, he came in mr John Lathrop,1213 with whom also was passenger, Preston1214 your Contemporary newly come from Barbados, he salutes you, wishes he could have seene you; there was also mr Collins of Newhaven1215 mr of a vessell & one Hall son in law to mr Prout1216 there, taken by the French in sight of Barbados, carried to Martineco, civilly treated there; seized by the Frigat, mr Collins sent word to N. haven of it, mr Pierpont writes to my Lady to get him released, she sends for the Capt, keeps him lovingly with her till he doth release him; After which he goes to the frigat side last Wednesday, tells Hall he will come next day & take him into a boat, Hall watches him, skips overboard in nothing but wastcoat & breeches, his hat in them, comes safe to the sloop, which I suppose this day is arrived at the Hianass:1217 Major Gold & his wife are dead,1218 not union at present for setling mr webb:1219 wee are afflicted to see in yours by R: R: that your family is soe afflicted, the Lord heale, support & sanctify all for good; I hope the illnesses will not arise soe high as to hinder your Journey on monday, I know of noe opportunity to send these & expect to write to you noe more this weeke & therefore in your next write with as much certainty as you can of your designe of meeting me at J: Bearstons on Monday; wee hope tomorrow or next day to see ours from the East,1220 though not a word have wee heard of or from them since they left Boston; A good Maide attaineable here is to us unknowne; wee 3 say to you all as alwayes, God Almighty ever blesse you all, soe daily prayes,
your Affectionate Father
A Ketch from Bristoll rumors of our East India fleet being taken by the French, because their convoy sir Francis Wheeler would not fight.
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich.”
12 June 1694
Plymouth June, 12: 1694
I hope my saturday lines1221 came safe sub sigillo1222 to you, for I desired st. sK: to take them of Gibs: Sam: King1223 (Joannas Father) is dangerously sick of a feavour; mr Alden who was left to take & bring captives is returned home without them, none being brought to him:1224 the Fr: Doc: is very sullen & surly at your mother,1225 & seems very strange, sending this by Est: Cole1226 to Dick, she told him it was from a stranger: Are you for your long Journey next Monday? Let me know that I may order my steps to accompany you to mattakeesitt on Tuseday morn: If you have Bro: walkers letter & the list of Counsellors,1227 restore them: you all have from us all our heartyest salutations; your Bro: Gurd:1228 was gone about 1/2 an houre homewards before your Fath:1229 received his letters from o: E:1230 by Herbert, of which you had some account; God blesse you all, soe daily sayes,
Your Affectionate Father
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich. Send word speedily whether the weaver will do it & when, for it is quite ready.”
20 July 1694
This comes to Informe you that according to ye Discourse between Mr Mayhew1232 & yourself wn Lately wth you about meeting att succonesset1233 the last Monday in August in order to ye ordination of mr Dunham1234 amongst us wee Do pitch & agree upon yt time (unles Mr Russell1235 do mean while timously give you & us word to ye contrary.) And do Desire such messengers from your church as you shall see meet to be then present with us to give us your help in this work of God.1236
And wee do desire1237 according to your letter that you will resign to us your interest in him. This with Desires of your prayers for us is all att present from
wo was appointed & Desired by the Rest concerned to signifye this unto you.
To be communicated to the Church.
Sandwich. July 20th. 1694–
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To the Revd: Mr John Cotton pastour of the chh of Plimouth.” Cotton’s note: “The church chose & sent the Pastor & Mr Fuller & at the vineyard, a church was gathered & mr Dunham ordained Teacher, october, 11:” Prince’s note: “Mr Dunham was a member of [. . .] dismissed from thence, in ordr to gather ye church at Ed[gartown].” A small tear at the bottom of the page interrupts Prince’s note.
23 July 1694
Plymouth July, 23: 1694:
I should be sorry if you should have cause to be sorry for a good wife that loves mine soe well; such is our affection to both, that wee have resolved that your Mother goes not to Boston at present for your sakes, I will take care to convey him to Camb. in the season1238 and your Moth: intends to goe when Yarm: & sandw: will give her leave; but we cannot consent to fetching your Moth: till your Dearest hath been a minute in travell,1239 only because of poore Theoph:1240 who is weake & ill every day, & wee feare the Jaundice is seizing him; were it not for his condition you might speed by Thursday, but that doth forbid, only if a reall Alarm be made, you may send when you please and my Dearest will run of all foure at an houres warning[.] your mother quite forgat salt which else she had certainly sent by J: N: but forbearance is noe payment, if the boat had a woodden tray, I suppose you found nutmegs in your starch: Seale this to sar. Tob:1241 if you please, but I hope she will desire you to read it to her: The word [expect]1242 in B: S: letter1243 (which I suppose you wrote) was too bold, I expunged it & put in [desire]1244 Salute Mr Rus: meo nomine1245 & a desire him to resolve immediately that noe obstruction be at that time, for if it be not that weeke, the Gen: Assem: is the next week after & Mr Mayh: will be come off1246 & noe seasonable opportunity will occurre before winter; I shall not read mine till the next sab: expecting to heare from Mr R:1247 before, at least by you: Tell B: SM:1248 wee must have a good sloop or shallop to convey us, not a small thing; our church, I doubt not, will doe all necessary to promote their settlement but if wee arrive there, wee shall try the matter for the church by previous examination; Also if any woemen desire to be of that church they should be prepared to covenant that day immediately after the church is gathered. The Govr went on Friday in the Galley & the None-such1249 is arrived at Bost. the same day: salutations & prayers etc The Lord be very gratious to thee my Dear Daughter, hope in his mercy;
Thy Affectionate Father
I wish B: S: would send to Yar:1250 also:
Tell Sar: Tob: the church expect to receive a poenitentiall letter from her in due time: you need not feare your wife calling this week, it will be neere a fortnight before 39 weekes1251 will be from begin: of Nov: The None-such hath retaken 2 of our vessels from the French; 2 killed at oyster river1252 but 40 persons in all carried away, saith J: Mur:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Roland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich.
10 August 1694
Plymouth August, 10: 1694:
wee heare strange rumors of troubles in your county by feares of Indians, if there be any thing in reality you will certainly write me word of it; The Post is returned last night, the 2 frigats are come from O: E;1253 Nath: Lathrop1254 is come (they say) stooping like Pugsley1255 through distempers, 1 of the frigats to Boston, the other Eastward, this is all I heare next my heart, you must examine John Crocker1256 & John Goodspeed1257 who are upon the road coming (as the Post saith) by one of them I intend to send this, & here I stop my hand till some few houres passe over:
Noe Capt among us granted, & the souldiers say they will be hanged before they will stirre without one,1258 what they will say after breakfast you may read before the Page be filled; the letter1259 from Col. Sidney1260 & Maj: Walley1261 sayes they may have Negos for Leift: Deac: Faunce hath paid 5 pd to release his Joseph Holmes; with that money Dan. Ramsden is hired & goes,1262 James Winslow,1263 Joshua Barrow,1264 John Hawes1265 & Anthony Savory1266 seeme these as yet stand for our five:
11 a clock1267 The souldiers are now all going aboard & Josiah with them,1268 I doe affectionately salute my Deare Mate concluding she may be with you this evening; & soe to you & your Dearest, & Sarah & departing Josiah hand1269 duty and love,
I am in greatest haste yours heartily
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland
 August 1694
oh My Deare, you that have run away soe far from me, are you now coming towards me? For that trick I will run on Monday morning as far t’other way & see when you & I shall meete if wee drive that stroak; but in sober sadnesse I am exceeding glad that God hath preserved thee Deare soule, in all thy wayes hitherto, He in mercy keep us safely till wee meete together here; Josiah went yesternoone with the souldiers cheerfull & well, they had a pleasant southerly breeze, & noe doubt arrived at the Castle in the evening & I believe this forenoone will be well at Boston: I went in the afternoone on purpose to see Theoph: who is well, but cryed most bitterly to me for a licence to come home this day,1270 I told him there was none but Sarah1271 to see & if he would stay till next Saturday I should be come from Bos: & perhaps you, but I left him poore lamb, with his back turned & he heavily bemoaning his condition & begging he might come home to day, My parentall bowels yearned, but I gave him noe hopes only of Sar’s visiting him one day; He sayes they carry it well to him, all amisse I could get from him was, that the boys laught at him, there are 3 or 4 Duxb: boyes & he is alone & it may be they all set themselves to afflict him & his tender, proud spirit cannot beare it: Sarahs duty to you, my tender love to thee etc
I am thine ever as my owne
Deare Son, yours last night rec:1274 If you had all the world in your power to give, you need not be at the charge to give it for your mothers tarrying with you till the day after delivery,1275 for if I meete her at my returne lat. end of next week it is as soone as I can expect to see her; Sar:1276 will be solitary but wee must get a solid man (I suppose) to lodge here; she is well, you both have mine & her hearty love; I thinke I forgot to tell you that Mr Hobarts lost son & a woman ran away & gat home,1277 the Indians being drunk, she sayes they were 30 & the English were neere them, had they come a litle further they might easily have taken & killed them all; mr Hob’s maid hid herselfe under a tub in the cellar, the Indians were there, laid their guns on the tub, smelt her not.1278 write to me to Bost: J Rich: will goe hence early in the weeke, not on Monday, I hope for good newes from you there to transmitt to Haverhill:1279 God blesse you & grant mercy to Deare Betty etc soe ever prayes etc.
My great greife is that you have my Dearest soe long before you need her, & in lying in, when perhaps may be greatest need you cannot then enjoy her, but who can helpe it, you would send for her too soone:1280
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mris Joanna Cotton, at mr Cottons house in Sandwich.” Prince’s note at top: “suppose Aug. 94.”
13 September 1694
Plymouth Sept: 13: 94
mine on monday1281 by J: Morey Jun: with 3 bookes for Mr Russell1282 I hope you have received; on Tuseday I went to Assawomsit & on wednesday I preacht a lecture to the English at midlebery1283 to prepare the brethren there to gather a church; Mr Danforth1284 hath begun to preach to the Indians, once or twice at Titticutt1285 & as often at Assawomsitt:1286 If you lanch not in this storme, I never expect to see the wind downe; it was his [. . .] that diverted the mercy from that people last yeare; If W: B:1287 have given offence let him ipso facto give satisfaction; if he hath not & yet T: T: remaine unsatifyed, let W: B: as a christian solemnly promise T: T: before you & any others that he will readily attend to the advice shall be given him by those that come to your ordination, & give said T: T: that satisfaction they shall say is regular; & this is enough, but to put by such a worke for such a cause, is but Satans designe to hinder the progresse of the Kingdome of Christ in that place:
A Tobey told my wife yesterday that our Sarah was come to your house at which wee much rejoyce, longing to have her home; mris Thomas wants her extreamly day & night:1290 he being now at Boston; Next Sabbath Han: Jack: may be admitted & baptized,1291 will not Sar: come on Saturday & see it? What if she ride the mare, which your mother much desires to ride upon towards Bost: next Thursday? Our hearty love to you 3; your Dearest may take 4 or 5 pills of Rudii1292 or Coche, while it is working the child must not suck, when done working some body must draw her breasts; God blesse you all, soe prayes without ceasing,
Your Affectionate Father
Above 30 persons sick at Lakingham1293 of the feavor, & feav: & ague: A horse at Jab: Howlands1294 shop door dash out the braines of a child at once, of Jos: Sandy, which they had taken to live with them.1295 your mother saw the Physick with you ergo sends you none, take Rud: or Coche which she fanceyes best:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel at Sandwich.”
24 September 1694
Plymouth Sept: 24: 1694:
J: Rickard came from Bost: on Saturday morning, noe newes; your moth’s day of going is uncertaine as also the way by land or sea, but I conclude in 2 or 3 days she will depart; Dr Sherman dyed last weeke: I was troubled to thinke how much raine you felt on Friday, but I am much more afflicted to thinke how sollicitous the enemy of soules is to hinder the worke of Christ with you:1296 what think you of a day of prayer, your church alone at your house, or your whole society publickly? next weeke is your Court & it cannot be, but I am willing for a spetiall good to change pulpits with you oct: 7: & suppose your Fast should be on Monday oct: 8: you can come from hence home by 10 a clock, & soe may Mr Russell1297 & soe wee may all together spend that day, & not goe to Sackonessitt1298 till next morning & that time enough to reach the vineyard that day, if God please: If you approove of this designe & tell me soe I will then write to Mr R:1299 immediately about it that at his Lecture you may conferre about it; & also to Mr Prince1300 who may with Cap: B: promote it, all this is submitted to your censure, but I fancy something of this nature may doe well: wee are in expectation of your Bro:s coming daily to fetch his child; wee 3 salute you & yours most heartily, with uncessant prayers, I rest
your Affectionate Father
mr Prince much approoves of a church meeting, oct: 8: & prayer, he thinks you may doe well this next Sabbath to give notice to the Church of the meeting then to be: I yesterday told Mr Mayhew,1301 it might be Tuseday morning before wee came to Sakonessitt:
A token for your Joanna.1302
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich.”
5 October 1694
To the Church of Christ in plimouth.
Reverend & well beloved in oure Comon Savior
we acknowledge with greate thankefullnes to God his greate goodnes to us in givinge us a naile in his holy place, vouchsafeing us the enjoyement of his holy ordinances; by youre acceptance of us to youre felloshipe; & we very thankefully acknowledge youre christian Care & love in cherishinge us under the wings of youre Communion as God hath given oppertunitie & deare Brethren, as it is a matter of humiliatione to us; that we have made noe better improvement of such Spirituall advantages; soe it is noe smale afflictione to us that oure dwellinges are soe remote from you that wee cannot soe (constantly & some of us through many bodely infimities but [vere?] rearely) attend those sealing ordinances which oure soules need for oure spiriuall oedificatione & growth in grace; we have therefore had many serious thoughts, wether God doth not Call us to gather into a distinct Church Societie, and to have one Amonge oure selves to Administer the holy things of God to us, the motion is weighty & we cannot but be sensible of oure insufficiency to manage soe greate a worke we therefor looke up to God for his directione & helpe being in Covenant with youre selves: we aske Counsel of the Lord att youre mouthe & praye you to afford us youre advice & assistance in this matter: there are some Bretheren of other churches livinge amonge us: whoe are desirus to Ingage with us in this worke & we hope allsoe some well affected neighbors whoe are settinge ther faces Zion ward, we humbly beg youre prayers to God, that God would build up his house amongst us & that we maye be prepared for soe greate a mercy & have grace rightly to improve itt & subscribe oure selves youre lovinge Brethren
october 5. 1694
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To the Reverend Mr John Cotton. Pastor of the Church att plimoth. to be Communicated to that church. thes dd.” Cotton’s note: “The Church voted their consent to & approbation of this motion, oct: 21:”
11 October 1694
[To t]he RevD. Pastour, and our Beloved Bretheren of the Church of Christ in Plimouth—
[The Past]our & Bretheren of yE Church of Christ at Rehobo[th] Wish Grace, Mercy and Peace.
[B]eloved—Haveing Appointed ye 24 day of this October for the ordination of Mr Thomas Greenwood1308 [to the] office of a pastour among us, according to the order [of the Go]spell, we Intreat your Prayers to God for us & him—[. . .] Joynt Concurrence with us herein; and for that end [. . .] presence of your Reved. Pastour with us on the day ap[pointed, a]lso that you wil send with him a messenger to witness [. . .]ent,1309 and Joyne with us in Prayers and the work. [ ] shall hear at Mr Greenwood’s of the places provided after [ ]re, for Entertainment; and Intreat you to meet at his [. .] ten of the Clock in the morning of the day appointed for [ ]ion. Wishing the Divine Presence with you and [ ]y upon your sacred Administrations, we Remain your [aff]ectionate Bretheren—
Samuel Angier1311 Pastour
with ye Consent of the Bretheren
Miscellaneous Collections, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To ye Revd. Mr Cotton, Pastour of ye Church of Christ in Plimouth.” Cotton’s note, at bottom: “[I]n answer to this letter, oct: 21: the Church chose Brother Thomas Cushman to accompany the Pastor, who went at the time appointed:” The left edge of the letter is mutilated.
18 October 1694
Plymouth october, 18: 1694:
Thanks to you both for the kinde entertainment; Bet: cl:1312 comes not, because her brother is come newly from sea; Dick is for his uncle a fortnight hence. your mother might have had many Easterne children, she hath brought us a boy, & 2 girles,1313 a third was not ready in the night she came away, but she comes in the next vessell, her designe was to supply you & John, if you please, they are promising girles o that you could be provided for the sabbath & lye with us to morrow night, for letters from Rehoboth call me to the ordination wednesday next1314 & I shall not see you if you stay till next weeke, & you shall first take your girle if you come & please my family being great with the addition of 3: you shall have all newes from your blessed mothers mouth; Mr Crosby is in post haste; you may tell Mr Russell1315 that Sam: Moodey1316 baiting in the way, his horse went from him with bridle, sadle, pormanteau, all his money, & linen in it etc not heard of <till> last Saturday, he well at Boston: my Resp: to Mr: & tell him I speedily desire to be sent me the Ministers paper he hath of mine, wee shall need it for midlebury: The crape you shall have; wee both with Sarah send you our hearty love, God blesse you & all yours
soe daily prayes your Affectionate Father
Mar: Dummer is dead:1317
a gallon wine 0-3-6
Rum - 0-1-0
1 Gall wine
1 pint madera
1 pint madera
1 qut madera
1 qut madera
1 pint madera 4-6
15 pd Beef—
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich. your Jacket is here.”
30 October 1694
Plymouth october, 30: 1694
Particulars at Rehob: & for woodstock to morrow ch: gathering & ord: of Mr Dwight1319 you must have viva voce:1320 C: Basset1321 was desired in presce[nce.] [Tel]l J: Morton & El: churchel to bring me some lette[rs fro]m Mr Ellistons but betweene 2 or 3 stooles att [. . .] for by land or sea I receive none as yet: send the [. . .] speedily, wee want it, your girles mother hath sent her [so]me tokens by Eph: Cole, they are here with us when you c[om]e: John Cole1322 by some fall in his boat last night hath bro[ken] his arme all to peices, as wee heare this morne from Joness river:1323 I have not time to write now to son John, wee are longing to see him (tell him soe) & if he c[ome] not this weeke, wee hope you will come both together to sup with us Nov: 7: one 1/2 000 of pins I send you, the other sort is not to be had; Ask C: Bas: why he brought not my letters: Lord in mercy direct in your case, the reproach of suspension beyond Nov: 21: will be greater then the evill of calling those 6 ches1324 to be present Nov: 20: & counsell & asist you in what they shall Judge best for the setlement of Gods ordinances amongst you: our Love & Sar: to you both, God blesse you all, soe prayes, your Affec: Fath:
Sir Coleman says, Mr Brattl[e] came not to Rehob: because of his purpose to be at [S]and: ord:1325 Peg’s sis: Betty is now living with Eph: Cole: my wife proceeds not about a girle for your Bro: John till she speakes with him[.] wee wish you both had your fish:
By Mr Athearne1326 the pins & a violl1327 of sweet Almonds,1328 warme it & drop into her eares as much as they will hold & put in black wooll, bring the violl againe, & another you have also soe says your mother:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel at Sandwich.”
1 November 1694
Plymouth November, 1: 1694:
Letters are come1329 to invite us to Mr Lawsons ordination,1330 14th Instant, Mr willard,1331 Mr Norton,1332 Mr Cushion1333 are also sent to; & because that should be my Lecture & I had not the last, my present thoughts are to have my Lecture next wednesday, Nov: 7: & therefore if you & your Bro: have any thoughts of coming then, regulate your houres on that account; what made C: Bas: forget my letters? I am glad I have them, though none from you; I your moth: & sis: salute you both most heartily, with daily prayers,
I rest, your Affectionate Father
I am much thinking what I shall heare of your concernes next week; I shall speedily want the Paper de Toleration which Mr Russell1334 hath of mine, for midlebury church (I thinke) Dec: 12: will goe forward,1335 whatever yours will; If you have noe conclusion soe as to disperse letters next weeke for Nov: 21: it must then cease till next yeare & perhaps forever; Gods will be done: Dick is gone this morning in J: morton, last Tuseday betweene this & the ponds (probably about Ele-river1336) his upper coat was lost off a horse, good homespun full’d cloath, puter buttons, close at the hands, perhaps some Indian found, aske to the utmost for it & at Moreys, that if possible, wee may have it to send the lad:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel at Sandwich.”
19 November 1694
Plymouth, November, 19: 1694
I have Letters1337 from Coll. Allyn, Bro: Rosseter,1338 they all well; & from son Allyn1339 & Bradbury1340 dated Nov: 5: they all well, Capt Things death1341 was oct: 30: At Saco fort1342 4 Indians came, madockawando1343 or his son one of them, 2 went into fort & stayed there whilst some English went out to speake with the other 2 Indians;1344 one of them bragd he had killed 22 English, the English killed them both & then they within the fort killed the other 2, all the scalps sent to Boston: Sam: Philips1345 (the bookseller) came last weeke from O: E:1346 the King not returned from Flanders; Jane Armitage is at our house for our son John, send him word of it with utmost speed that he may take some care to fetch her: Eluezer Rickard1347 & young Sam: King1348 were prest yesterday1349 Just before catechising; Letters1350 from Major Walley1351 are with me to goe to Major Thacher,1352 I suppose a presse is in it. But all this time we are distracted about next weeke pur orders for the Thanksgiving to be on Nov: 29: are come to us, it seems difficult if not impossible to divert that publick universall day; what to doe I cannot devise, you must talk with C: Bassett & your other brethren & freinds & if you could consult Mr Russell;1353 either your day must be on Tuseday, Nov: 27: (which perhaps may produce noe inconvenience) or on Dec: 5: the Lord direct in mercy, doe something in the matter with utmost speed; I hope in God it will be, though through many difficulties: Had I not mist of Ben: Eaton1354 this morn I might have had your answer by your Bro: Sal:1355 Hasten to some good Conclusion, wee 3 salute you both & with prayers, etc.
I am, your Affectionate Father
The more I thinke, the more I like Tuseday, if you can like it many here approove it, & then every minister may be at his owne home & keepe Thank-day, & you may have helpe too: perhaps you may have another Narrative truer about the 4 Indians, some say they found them to be spies:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Preacher of the Gospel, at Sandwich.”
21 November 1694
Plimouth November, 21: 1694:
Love carrys through many difficulties easily & makes heavy burdens light, but in very deed it is unparalelled selfe-deniall for your mother now to come, as she can tell you; Satans designe by Tob: (which in Hebrew is Bonum, but not soe in English at this time) I am amazed at & much more to heare of SM’s dreadfull lye, that 4 of the ch:1356 never consented; Sir Grosvenor1357 sayes Mr R:1358 knows it to be false: your ch: meeting I should much feare the issue of, but that perhaps you may be too <late> lame to goe to it, but if you be at it, I presume you will call for noe vote, but if any opposers show their venemous spirit in the case; tell them you are not eager to take office, but are waiting upon God to know his minde & if those Elders etc next weeke advise against it, you will freely hearken to them: I went with your Bro: Sir Gr: (Mr Thomas went to Bos: with them) till Duxb: path & went on purpose to aske Mr Wiswalls1359 counsell, he is resolved, if God permit, to be with you on Tuseday & Judges the Thank-day should not at all divert your work Nov: 28: because yours was first notifyed to divers ches;1360 he cannot stay with you on Thursday but will spend it in travelling homewards, but perhaps I & some others maye preach for you then: but be you very carefull to be much with God for his helpe to prepare your ordination-sermon, for that must be; yours1361 by J: cl: received, I blesse God your heart is fixed in Gods way, to be at his disposall; perhaps Mr Prince may obtaine an act of councill for these ches that must attend you, to keepe the Th-day the weeke after; [. . .]1362 salutations & prayers as ever,
from your Affectionate Father
My kinde love to Capt Bassett,1363 I hope God will helpe him now to carry it wisely at this ch: meeting, & if he have Thanksg: papers let him not disperse them till next weeke, he will incurre noe blame by soe doing:1364
3 December 1694
To the church of christ in Plimouth
grace mercy and peace in oure Deare saviour
Reverend and Beloved
That God who hath the hearts of all in his owne hand havinge soe disposed that sundry of us are desirous to enter into church fellowshipe one with another that we may Injoy all the ordinances of christ for oure edificatione & growth in grace we have therefore agreed to sett apart the twenty sixt day of this instant December for humbling our selves before God & lookinge to him & waitinge upon him; for gratious success & blessinge; in gatheringe of the church; & then settlinge a teaching Elder amongst us. If the Lord shall please soe gratiously to smile upon us; It is heareupon oure earnest desire that you would send to us youre Reverend Pastor and some Brethren to assist us in the mangement of this worke: that our faith & order maye be soe manifested as maye be to the Satisffaction of the churches of christ wee beg your prayers that God would prepare us for soe greate a mercy & that wee maye walke worthy of the vocatione wherewith we are Called & rest
youre Bretheren in Christ
in the name of those whoe desire & purpose with Gods helpe to proceed in this worke
Middlebury December 3: 1694
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Cotton’s note: “Members of Plymouth-church now to dismissed to this worke; Mr Samuel Fuller—Elizabeth his wife/ John Bennett—Deborah his wife/ Samuel Cutbert Esther, the wife of Ephraim Tinkham/ Samuel Wood Elizabeth, the wife of Ebenezer Tinkham/ Abiel Wood/ & all their children. The church chose Deac: Faunce, Deac: Morton, Bro: Ephraim Morton & Bro: Eliezer churchel to goe with the Pastor on this service, They all did & on Dec: 30: the Pastor told the church how the worke was attended & perfected.”
5 February 1695
Tanton. Febr. 5. 94/5
yors of Jany. 25: I recd:1366 & wish all the Travellers between or Towns, were better spirted then to interrupt or Intercourse by theyr negligence to give speedy Transport to or Letters. But I am served so also wth respect to others. I sent a letter to Boston a month since & have no Answer to it yett. [Sckikard?] came safe to yor son who is in health. yor Request of a sight of my Indian Attempts1367 is a very kind offer: & the more kind because you presented me in yor offer of it who intended to have petitioned yorselfe for such an intrest in yor Love. I have sent one of the Revd Mr Incr. Mathers sermons to you: I had writt some of it fair before yor letter came: but to shew you that it is not wthout faults I have mended diverse in it myselfe: & the more faults you shall please to mend, the greater your kindness will be to me: But as to yor Notion of any thing of mine Going to the Press: you are the first person who acquaint me wth it & I pray you to suppress the Notion or press it to death: I am not fond of such a thing, But have chosen to translate a printed sermon or two, in order to the sending of them to Cosen Rawson of Mendon1368 who has promised to correct them & thereby to approve himselfe a schoolmastr to me: But if you will joyn wth him in becoming part of a Tutor to me you will oblige me highly & I shall endevor to testify my Thankfullness to you according to weak Ability. Thus Craving yor prayers & Commending you & yors to Divine Mercy wth best service
I Rest Yors humbly & affectionately
Curwen Family Papers, American Antiquarian Society. Addressed “For the Reverend Mr John Cotton senr Pastor of the church at Plymouth these.” Endorsed “From mr samuel Danforth, February, 5: 1694:”
12 February 1695
Plym: Feb: 12: 94:/95:
I hope you have mine by Sam: Daniel1369 on Saturday; W. Thomas1370 (who carryed his sister) heard at Ipswich the Fort was found in hideous woods, when he came to Salem Col: Gidney1371 who came from Boston on Saturday told him etc on Sabbath-night that he had bin at the Examination of the Indians, Bumbazeen1372 was sullen & would confesse nothing, but Shipscott Johns1373 son or sons owned they had bin at the building of it, & being askt why they built that fort, answered it was to entertaine the French etc that were to come over the lake, soe that it is groundlesse to question the truth of that story; The terrible storme of snow made our Assembly on the sabbath short of 80, soe that twice in a way unusuall I am deprived of an opportunity to aske the church about my going to their Fast, I perceive my choice (yea almost all) my brethren are utterly against helping them, but if they were for it, God says it shall not be the snow being up to horse-belly generally each step, & I blesse God for putting the matter out of doubt by his owne hand: Their spirits, tongues & carriages are very perverse; on Saturday a vicars of Nantaskett1374 came in from the Cape laden with oyle, all well with them, a great preservation; our good Rebekah had a new daughter last Sabbath day;1375 your Journey to us is over for the present, you may not hazard life or health now to see us, I hope the snow will be gone before my next Lecture, <& desire neither you nor—>1376 you have our heartyest Salutations each of you from us 3 respectively & my daily fervent prayers,
who am, your Affectionate Father
Noe news or hopes of Mr Thomas till better wayes.
T: T: at Barnes’s last friday show’d himselfe much to be a vaine-glorious foole,1377 boasting of his worth, abilities, knowledge, litle need to heare preachers etc made himselfe very ridiculous to the company which was numerous, Seth Pope1378 & W: cl: did stump & jeere him terribly & soe did others. I long to heare some good of your ch: meeting, methinks without him all might doe well. Melvin or Milton bring this.
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastour of the church at Sandwich.”
22 March 1695
Plymouth March, 22, 1694:/95:
The Major Generall Winthrop1379 tells me that Sarah’s hood is at Moreys found by Indian Squaws, I order long John to take & deliver it to you, admonish her not to loose it as she goes to Yarmouth on Monday, if it must cost yo[u] money to transplant her from your soyle thither I will reimburse you on sight of your bill of charges: I saw Theoph:1380 well yesterday & owe not for a day past: Jos: Bradford from Norwich1381 called at Cos. Maceys ‘siah1382 wrote by him[,] is well & says he courted [. . .]1383 Gustavus Hamilton ca[ ] [. . .] here he waites for his—(tha[t he del]ivered at cape Ane) toge[ther] [. . .] to buy salt at Ex[. . .]: he brought me a letter from bless[ed Mr] Trail dated Nov: 7:1384 & 2 choice English Physick bookes a token to your Mother; He much commends the King & affirmes the Queen to be far the best that ever was, a serious, cordiall, knowing protestant; he salutes all of you my children: Gustavus seeing 3 daughters when he was here 5 yeares since stared much on every female in my house but could not finde one of them, mris Sarah will loose his sweet fellowship: he lyes at Dol’s a nest & cage of uncleane beasts & birds black & white night & day: I think to goe next weeke My selfe on Tuseday to fetch Jos:1385 home: Bacchus cannot, will not goe to service: El: wadsw:1386 paid at court 4 pd: Sam: Tilden1387 the same, & _____ of Bridgewater the same; Jos: Holmes1388 & Sam: Bartlet1389 came off with a check and court fees: Sam: Sprague1390 denyes fact & will be tryed by his peeres, his bonds continued till the next Court: old Tracyes1391 processe deferred till then also; because the Justices will first examine some points of law: Su: Ransom1392 got Authority to turne John Dotey out of his overseer-ship, & they chose James clarke & young Giles Guardians for her children & before witnesse tooke possession of her housing & lands & warned widow (‘siah) morton1393 not to touch plow etc & soe the Court is ended:1394 My selfe & Dearest say, hearty love
I am, your Affectionate Father
J. morton says last Tuseday, the old ch:1395 chose Deac: Bridgham1396 & one Jackson (whom I know not) Elders & John Dyer1397 & David Copp1398 Deacons, 3 marblehead men over set & drowned 12th Instant.
I saw madam winslow & mris Pelham; Ned well in o: E:1399 a 1000 pd & more is due to them with mris Bellingham, which they have reason to think he will bring them this summer, James winst: is come home with his wife,1400 & John Clarke was last sabbath published to the younger sister (& is now to be [set?] up here) at which the Elder (his old sweet heart) much frets1401
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church, at Sandwich.”
8 April 1695
Plymouth April, 8: 1695:
Mr Torrey is to preach the Election-sermon:1402 when you goe to yarmouth aske Mr otis1403 handsomely for my spur, I want it & shall be glad if he have lost it, provided he will by you send me a new paire: 2 French-men came from Port Royall, walkt through Boston-streets with a white flag towards Govr stoughton, about 30 leagues they drew a canoo over the Ice came to Pemaquid, thence by water to Piscataqua & soe in a sloop to Bost: they have letters from the Govr of Kebeck;1404 they say, 2 mrs of vessells are at st Johns that had bin taken by the Fr. their friends at Bost: feared they had bin lost till now or one of them: their names [. . .]1405 welsh & sunderland:1406 neere your birthday (if not on it) the Q. dyed;1407 being sick but 4 days of the smallpox, quick & thick changes are much now expected: [. . .]1408 your Moth: will doe as you desire; wee are sending to the shop for pins & peper, intending to send them now & horse reddish; & perhaps the life of Mr Norton & Mr Hooker,1409 which post back by the first; if the man that comes for Mar: Pr: intend to returne the same day he comes wee wish he would tarry till wednesday morn, but if he stays a night then let him come to morrow; The hurrys are soe great with 2 or 3 tailors these 2 days to fit out Jos:1410 that nothing can be lookt for or found for Bille, if he be ragged & wicked, it is what J: wat: said of their company, bec: poore & wick: wee may not have a min: wee are willing to lend the booke your wife desires if any body will bring it: old Mris Thornton1411 was buried last friday: Lord give rest to your deare mate; parents & Jos:1412 & The:1413 salute you all: a rich sabbath, all peace, 107 communicants, I long to heare of your sacr: whoever obstructs it, I doubt, will dearly repent it: God be with you all,
your lov: fath:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Endorsed in another hand on reverse “1695 Jno Cotton to Rowland Cotton.”
24 April 1695
Plymouth April, 24: 1695:
your packet received;1414 Are there such fooles as soe to esteem of Grosvenor?1415 Sir Cushing1416 I well like; I would hope some of yarmouth will be soe civill as to accompany him to or neere Sandwich & amongst them doubtlesse Sarah may be accomodated with a birth,1417 if they should not yet I would hope Sir Cushing will be soe kinde as to hand her safe to Sand:1418 & Plim:1419 also, I dare say Dr oliver1420 will not be displeased at it; pray write effecually that her returne at this time may by noe meanes be obstructed: Mr Br: left not your mother till she was as it were in sight of weymouth houses about the mill, which makes her being lost to me the more astonishing, but the good soule was doubtlesse musing deeply about what [illeg.] see) her letter relates to & sufferd the horse to turne head downe towards Hingham towne; I hope your Bro: John will be her companion homewards; J: Nelson1421 will (if he knows the individuall day) goe as far as weymouth to meet her: shute here from Maryland sayes 70 saile of Londoners at virg: G: Woolcott cryes (I suppose) because your mother told her she must send him back he was good for nothing: perhaps the other girle your Moth: talks on may be for us instead of Deb: Mackrill went in March, i:e: a firkin wee sent to Betty & Maria that lay all winter at Ellistons: I intend D: V:1422 to preach 2 sermons on the morrow, now (I thinke) all your queryes are answered: on Monday J: Morton came in the storme, noe letter, but besides divers other things of value there was a pillow beere full, I upon feeling said before the sailors, it was Guilford flax,1423 & soe I thought but when I opened it at home lo, it contained 13 pieces of Duke Hamilton in the forme of that flax, I suppose a parcell of your money purchased some of it, noe doubt you now will Judge you have a strong call to come hither next weeke:
This morning J: Rickard came in & brought many things for us: Mr Trails1424 2 bookes etc & a letter from your mother,1425 which says, noe body must know of the scotch cloath, ergo Tale1426 when you come here: I suppose your wife may know now, & I am sure Sarah will when she comes home; your Mother was bound to Cambridge on Monday last: she hath not received halfe your Salary (she saith) which argues she hath some: she was not well on Sabbath night when she wrote: Mr woodbridge (I Judge the old man) is dead:1427 ours are all well at Salisbury: 2 men killd at saco,1428 she shall want a boat to put a girle aboard (for whom she says not) Tuseday (if faire) she intends home & hopes some man will meet her: my hearty love to you both, God blesse you all,
Soe daily prayes, your Affectionate Father
seale & haste away the inclosed:
Sam: Lucas1429 is this minute, P: M: arrived well with flying colors, he parted with 240 Bush: of graine at the vineyard & hath above 400 yet aboard & cider & some porke & other things, there is mercy in it to our poore who were brought very low:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church, at Sandwich Per Gallicum Doctorem.”1430 Endorsed in a different hand “1695 John Cotton” and “To The Revd Mr John [sic] Cotton, pastor of the Church of Christ at Sandwich.” Cotton wrote around two tears in the right margin.
29 April 1695
Apr: 29: 95:
Sam: Lucas was at meeting house doore but could not see ord:1431 because of multitudes; I thought Mr R’s rashnesse in compelling an old vote a yeare or 2 since to serve for absolution will have ill effects; I shall be glad of a spur or 2: perhaps your cider boild & raw may be gone before I see sandwich, it would be a comfort to me to see your mate, but never since I had a house was I less willing to step out of sight of it then this last 1/2 yeare: Doth Gershom goe?1432 among the Halls, I shall much expect you to morrow P: M: faile me not, I have noe ch: meeting on wednesday, Amos yet tarrying at midlebury, I greatly hope for your Mother at this time & noe doubt your Bro: will now come also, to keep Mr Cushing I hope will be neddlesse: Sam: L:1433 brought above 700 Bush: neere 300 he unloaded at the vineyard, above 400 here, all gone on Friday & Saturday at 3 shil: per Bush: There needs another Fast, yea many such days to lament that wicked publication, beare your Testimony for God faithfully to them in private speedily & in publick ministry, feare not, God will blesse you in it; Be not partaker of other mens sins, keep thy selfe pure: I salute you both & your Bro: Sal:1434 the Lord Blesse you & all yours,
I am, your Affec: Fath:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church, at Sandwich. Per mr Murdo, Q: D: C:” Endorsed in another hand “1695 John Cotton to.”
11 May 1695
Plymouth May, 11: 1695:
you should have sent me word that you gave Mr Greenwood1435 1 pd, after I had given him a peice at parting he told me upon my asking soe it was; wee hope much for newes of Capt Gorehams1436 successes, what came to R: Island the bearer can informe you, the Govr caused the Councill to sit on the Sabbath, but when Galley or Frigat went out wee heare not; J: Rickard is this day expected from Boston & then some newes perhaps may come worth telling from o: E: wee doe highly approove of your designe to be with us on Thursday night, & doubt not but the service you desire from the Tailor will then be accomplished: H: St: hath sent your Mother a letter: when you come she & you will agree about your portion of cloath; our love to you both Most heartily, God blesse you all, your
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “[These For Mr Row]land Cotton, Pastor [of the Church] at Sandwich.” Bottom margin of paper trimmed at a later date, cutting off some of the address on the reverse.
13 May 1695
Plymouth May, 13: 1695:
This morne I met Ensigne Tracey1437 by Mr murdo’s shop going towards you, I ran into shop & sent 2 open lines saying, your younger sister1438 was in sight, since that she is well come to us & is hard at worke making a topping, some head-tire1439 for your Dearest, wednesday or Thursday at furthest hither you must hasten, she cannot travell to see you being ______ she stays with us till this day fortnight, about next Monday comes her husband & takes her back when I goe to ‘lection. you will finde the Tailor waiting upon you when you come: Ensigne Tracey left my 2 lines at moreys & is returned because Mr otis (with whom his business was) was coming this way, & brings me this message from Leift. morey, viz, that my horse (whom I turned upon the beach) was now with him, my earnest request to you is, that when you come you will not faile (whatever trouble & charge it is) to bring him hither, for I must secure him for my Boston-Journey, May, 27: Mr W: Clarke hath a letter for you (I know not from whom,) also here is a booke for you or your wife but that I keep till you come, it is about choice cookery; some persons have on purpose wickedly burnt Jones’s river bridge last friday night;1440 your parents, sarah, maria, salute you both, God blesse you & all yours,
I am, your Affectionate Father,
Sir wm1441 had dispatcht all at court & was to come againe Govr but 6 days sicknesse, said Nay; yesterday Teacher & Pastor Mather from head to foot inclusively all in mourning apparell at the Ladys cost. cottons funerall sermon last Thursday upon o wheel,1442 yesterday on Neh: 2: 101443 & his father on Isa: 57: 1:1444 all other particular newes your sister must tell you viva voce:1445 o my horse, let me see it by your hand & then you may hope for 10 pd & 2 pd:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the church, at Sandwich.”
[29 May 1695]
Election-night Boston at MR Adam Winthrops1446
Mr Capen1449 desires the benefit of my study & a Bible sutable to put his notes in order El: Churchel to be ready to set the Psalme if he cannot doe it himselfe, let him only have the litle Psal: Booke: Mr Torrey preacht an excellent sermon1450 on Hos: 1: 7:1451 In the Election Coll: Saltonstall1452 is left out & Coll: Shrimpton1453 is in his room; Mr Eliakim Hutchinson1454 is chosen in the room of dead Major Hooke:1455 Mr Bond1456 is speaker & Mr Dering1457 Clarke of the Deputies; List of votes, you must send all this newes to Rowl: & soe to son John:
- Mr Stoughton,1458 71:
- Mr Danforth 79
- X Coll Saltonstall 39
- Coll: Pynchon 41
- Mr Russell 66
- Major Winthrop 74
- Coll: Gidney 74
- Mr Cooke 69
- Mr Hathorne 58
- Capt. Sewall 77
- Coll: Philips 76
- Major Browne 55
- Mr Corwin 70
- Mr Foster 64
- Mr sergeant 49
- Mr Addington 78
- Major Pike 48
- capt Peirce 68
- Coll: Hutchinson 70
- X Major Walley1459 18
The Plimouth five Counsellors are as they were.1460 some Indians that went upon scoute have brought in 2 scalpes & 3 guns & they conclude that the third gun had an owner whom they sorely wounded or else they should not have found his gun noe newes of the snow frigat, it is greatly feared it is cast away upon rocks for want of a skilfull pilot: but the choice newes is that all the Easterne sachims but one (at least most of them) come to Pemaquid, & have brought in eight Captives, confest their great evill in fighting against us;1461 litle Gershom Hobart is one1462 (tell his Aunt Bradford soe) if an Easterly winde come they will be here to morrow this [time?] they much desire us to pardon them & to be at peace with them (perfidious wretches) & doe promise to bring in above 30 or 50 more within a moneths time, & they are gone for them, shipscott John1463 hath bin very active in this matter; Capt Marsh1464 hath made a truce with the Indians for 30 dayes soe they waite to see whether they will be faithfull or noe in that time: The freshmen are placed1465 The senior is Symmes, 2. Cotton (mirandum) 3. Mather 4. Willard. 5: Bradstreet etc: Josiah is well; wee came very comfortably & seasonably to Boston, Maria is well & goes on friday; Sister Ward is ill at Cos: Tufts,1466 her distemper is much in her legs: my heartyest love to you, & to Sarah, Salute Mr & Mris Thomas,1467 I did what I could to desire Capt Appleton not to goe till Friday but he is resolved to goe in the morning: The Lord comfort you,
I am, yours most Affectionately ever
Post my letter southward:
Capt Thomas hath desired Mris Prince not to goe to Plimouth because Mris Dummer is coming to nurse her,1468 but Mris Prince would come for all that if a vessell did present unlesse our Mr Thomas send to her not to come, their cradle is bought & your basket
Mr John Davenport is ordained Pastor at Stamford1469 young Mr Chancey1470 at Pequonnuk: Mr Ruggles will tomorrow bring me my letter from Bro: Rosseter, hee & his & also Bro: Walkers all well saith minar of woodbury.
Son & daughter in hast love to you all1473
by goody fish this Letter I send you wher in is mirandum you must send it to your Bro Last munday Mrs Thomas was brought to bed of a brave boy before any was redy yesterday taken with black fits its mother the most Afectinate mother in the world allmost beyond bounds & thay may loose it1474 I & sara sat up all this night1475 J Ricard all most dead of the gout carid by 3 men from bed to fire neither eat nor slept I have been ther ever sins Tuesday at Litle better
hear is Cap Aplton Mr Capin preach on sabath mr dumer is com to be nurs great joy thay knew nothing of her beind brought to bed she coms to be nurs not els but prayers & lov
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed, in John Cotton’s hand, “These for Mris Joanna Cotton at Plymouth,” and in Joanna Cotton’s hand, “For Mr Roland Cotton att Sandwich thes.”
19 June 1695
To the Elders & Brethren of yE Church of Christ in Plimouth the Elder & Brethren of yE Church in yE South end of Boston, send Greeting
RevRD, Honred, & Beloved.
These are to certify you, yt, wheras or beloved Sister, Rebekah Morton,1476 being by ye providence of God removed from us, & not likely to return agen to us; hath accordingly desired letters of dismission from us to you, among whom shee hath now for a considerable time conversed; wee, judging her removall to have bin regular & her desire proper; as being not capable of Immediate watch over her; here therfore consented therto, & do hereby declare & consent that shee should orderly become one of yor stated members; testifying yt during her abode amongst us, ever since shee joyned in comun: wth us, her conversation hath bin without offense, & exemplary to our [best?] observation; & wee hope it hath not bin other since her converse among you;
Thus committing you to ye grace of God, wee remain,
yors in ye fellowship of ye Saints.
Samll Wilard, wth ye consent of ye Brethren.
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Cotton’s note: “she was accepted, July, 21: 1695:”
26 July 1695
Plymouth July, 26: 1695:
very Deare son
shall wee begin the old trade againe of Epistolizing? Let my first words be hearty salutations to thy deare mate, who was (& is) soe deare to me that I forgot the danger of my life ‘twixt Sal’s1477 & Hav:1478 that I might <that I might> see & converse with that choice mother who bore her, & I had a full recompense for all my toile & hazard in Journeying in what I there saw & enjoyed: it was wondred at, my sons going from my Lecture, I wish it may be soe noe more for more reasons then one, though now it could not be helpt, but the sermon then preacht might have bin of spetiall advantage to you, it was de service for Jesus Christ from Rev: 2: 19:1479 my heart is filld with thoughts of your church meeting to day, the good Lord be with you in it, as a Father I solemnly advis (I had almost said charge) you, noe longer to deferre the Lords supper, it seems to me scandalous the soe long omission of it, let T:T: & J:S: be devills incarnate,1480 yet doe you invite the church to the Lords Table, & if any will eat & drink their owne Judgement, its not your fault, feed christs sheep, I am confident T:T: glories wickedly in secret that you dare not have a sacrament bec: he is offended at W:B: suffer it noe longer to be soe; as for the offense of S:P: & W:B: against J:SM: certainly it is better to leave it with God to plead <with> that matter in his Conscience, it being done before your renewall of covenant on the ordination day, then to deprive a whole ch: of the sealing ordinances bec: of a particular offence: As for Baptisme, Administer it according to your light, it is you must give account to God of your ministeriall administrations, not the brethren: I know not what to doe, having promised sep: 8: for R: Island, if Barn:1481 councill be sept 4; know certainly of the Elder,1482 & if soe it be & that our ch: be sent to, hasten to tell me soe, that I may fix another sabbath for the Island (a fortnight before or after said time) & send Mr Danforth word of it. J: Morton is come this morning from Boston, noe newes, but much death of children, wentworth’s is one;1483 I wish this minute I could post this letter to your hand: parents & litle brothers duly salute you all; God Almighty blesse you all & make you a blessing,
soe ever prayes your Affectionate Father
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Sandwich.”
[6 August 1695]
Last Thursday your mother & Jos:1487 went to see Madam Winslow, & dropt Theoph:1488 at his schoole, on friday I went to them & all come home that night; this morning I accompanyed Jos: to Barkers, where (according to our friday agreement) wee mett Capt Thomas & Mr weld1489 who were his Pilots to Boston; At my returne I met L: Mory; Eph: Cole is this day come from B: a letter1490 from son Allyn1491 (datelesse) thus speakes. “were seene to drive about 30 cattle from Almsbury, our men followed till they discovered the enemyes fires, by which they guesse there are a great body, therefore dare not fall on them being themselves but a very few, they have sent to Newbury & Hampton for men, intending this night to march & fall upon the Enemy if they be not removed,[”] Maria1492 still keeps up: wee know nothing of the shoos in the least; must those wretches keep you from sealing ordinances? I beleve you may end it without a councill; your mother is gone a visiting, I only (now very desolate) salute you & your Dearest, I wish I ever see you againe; I have written this day to Mr cushing1493 to come & supply my place Sep: 8:1494 I long to see you, & pray for you all,
& rest, your Affectionate Father
Elisha Holmes is publisht to sarah Bartlet,1495 Jos’s youngest.
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed, in another hand, “ffor the reverentt mr cotten in sandwich.” In Cotton’s hand, “Breife for James son of John Bull, Thomas, son of Judah, & Mary Thacher, in sally, sent to Plim: Dux: & Marshf: I suppose your county hath the same:”
[22 August 1695]
I am going to keep this day with R: Rans:1500 your 3 letters came yesterday1501 P: M: & the booke; you did well to be thorough with Mr sm: I am confident your ch: may without sin passe an act of forgiv: & obliv: I ever told you all before ordination ought not to be repeated: if He second you, let it passe, though Tom: say noe: Cucumber wee have none at all, & which is worse, Mris Thomas’s hogs at marshfeild eat up 50 & soe none can come from thence; The Garrisons distance I know not: soe much to your first: for the 2ond & 3d: some of my letters I have copyes of non immerito;1502 your mothers folio is in part here: melvin is mistaken, it was a garrison-house & as you heard & more, too much in these straites to transcribe: Though the goose & pig be eaten, if I be well & not too weary on friday morning I will strive to come to you & stay till Saturday morning, I have bin soe contriving all this weeke & wish I may not be disappointed; sep: 4: I mount D: V:1503 for R: Island: old Mris Thomas’s1504 breast in a most dreadfull, dangerous condition,1505 her sister French hath lanct it, the issue is much feared: There is a rumor (I cannot say its true) that Honnywells Garrison (I thinke it is at Saco) is destroyed & every soule belonging to it,1506 I hope it is not soe, ergo report it not for a truth; your mother was fetcht yester afternoone to Lydia Bartlett (once Griswald) she is in her 7 moneth, feared to have a dead chid within her,1507 soe that I most solitary, doe only salute you both. Mr Lawsons Father is dead1508 in o: E:1509 last sabbath but one he preacht on My Father etc. in Kings:1510 I heare 300 pd is left him, & he talks of going to fetch it, & is preparing a vicar till his returne, viz, Sir (Eph:) Litle,1511 who is to preach for him next Sab: but one. Sir Tom: gives 30 pd to Dr. Cutler1512 & lives with him for his skill: I leave this sealed with Patience to send if a hand present in my absence; God blesse you all,
soe prayes, your Affectionate Father
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed in pencil in a modern hand, “To Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church in Sandwich.”
27 August 1695
Plymouth August, 27: 1695:
your mother on my horse & I on another went to the Funerall of good Mr Fuller1513 yesterday, she is soe pleased with my Nagg that she resolves to ride single upon him to Bristoll next weeke, & if you run up on Monday to looke upon us & stay one night wee shall not be angry with you for it: Deacon Bennett1514 at the grave desired the towne to repaire to the meeting house in order to calling a minister, they did soe, & unanimously called J: C:1515 (the 2 first letters of my name) & gave him the Call (for you may be sure he would not faile to be there ready for it) they chose the Deac: & Jos: Vaughan to subscribe a letter in their names to our church for approbation & license that Amos may improove his Talent amongst them; Their letter I shall read to our ch: at the Sacrament & noe doubt a License will be granted by us, only the munponsetites1516 did cleave to him yesterday, spake to divers of midlebury not to call him, because they had spoken first & are almost distracted for feare they should loose soe great a treasure: some of us (who mourne heartily & cannot but soe doe for the death of soe godly a man) stand admiring that our Extremity should be Gods opportunity to show mercy to this church & rescue us from all difficulties de Eldership: oh that God would send me good newes of your concernes at your meeting (if you are to have one) Midlebury had 4 sacraments, the 4th was Aug: 18: when death was upon him but God helpt him to doe all the worke of that day & his next Sabbath he kept in heaven, saying on Saturday, Aug: 24: (on which day he dyed an houre before sunsett) blessed are they who are prepared to keep an everlasting sabbath: your parents heartily salute you both; God blesse you & all yours,
soe daily prayes, your Affectionate Father,
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the church at Sandwich.” Cotton’s note: “The man supposed to be lost etc after wandring some days (wee heare) came alive to some remote house of weymouth.”
9 October 1695
oct: 9: 95:
yours by The:1520 calls for noe answer; on monday Betty & Will: went I accompanyed to Barkers & then went to Indians: N: South: went beyond Bearstows to pilot them past hazardous paths, young winslow (sam: Lillys apprentice) & Midlecott1521 (whose uncle is dead & hath left his father 700 per annum, & who is going in wilson for o: E:1522) were fellow-travellers with ours; Amos did spend the Sab: at Ben: soule’s1523 they had a large contribution for him: Mr Lawson told his ch:1524 last Sab: he was bound for o: E:1525 would provide a supply, they continuing his stated salary, he would provide & maintaine a preacher, the matter to be issued next Sab: & he would then name the man[.] at the next house to that meeting house Capt Studsons wife1526 (a Hingham Hawks) riding to the worship, her daughter behind her, fell downe (its feared) her skull is broken, it lyes all bare on her forehead as broad as palme of hand, she was alive on Monday, but very dangerous: Bartlets Cod fish is as neere Sandw: as Plim: almost, & perhaps you may see him as soone as I except on Sabbaths; I have mackarill ready for your Bro: in a cask of mine, & I will give him as much as I leave for my selfe, if a convenient opportunity present for conveyance; Is it not best for your sacr:1527 to be the sab: after the Fast (I ever deemed it a choice preparative) & then Mris Fish may be admitted1528 before: Carpenters rattle upon my house: W: told me he would visit us before xtmas, & spake words very pleasing to me at parting, I am of your minde concerning him, & am glad you wrote as you did it made—looke t’other way & swallow with a smile: Parents & sister duly salute you both, God blesse you & all yours & deale gratiously with your mate in the houre of need.
I am, your Affectionate Father
Gibson lay at Mris clark’s, I am now ready to send when a man appeares. our boats this morn say they have catcht 6 or 7 Bar: of Mack: yesterday:
Good child, if you would not have us starve, faile not to buy a firkin1529 of butter & two fatt cattell, wee must stick at noe price, doe as for selfe: the butter one of our boats may take at Boston for us; your mackarill went on monday, forgotten on saturday, but a fathers care etc.
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the church at Sandwich.”
25 October 1695
Plimouth Oct. 25. 95.
Letters from newfoundland bring Letters to Byfield of admiral Russel’s successes. From Josiah I transcribe—“Poor Jacob & several others of ye schollars1534 which came from newberry, have lost all their Things: ye vessel being cast away, [ ] Goods lost; ye men saving their Lives.”
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Prince’s note: “In ye Handwritg of ye Rev Mr John Cotton of Plimouth: but ye Bottom torn away & lost.” From a manuscript copy in Thomas Prince’s hand.
13 November 1695 [1 October 1695]
wednesday before Lect:1535
your mother is better something since she burnt her leg, but is hurried extreamly for want of a sempster;1536 Theoph: hath had a very sad bout since the sabbath with the throat-distemper,1537 now through mercy better; Patience went on monday night & Sarah would be a very welcome helpe to her moth: but wee rejoyce that she does you soe much good & for your sakes call not for her as yet: I doubt your considerable respite will not be long: If ‘sias come not before I arrive there I intend to hasten his coming with your horse, doubting your charg in keeping him will prove too heavy, doe you write to Mr Br:1538 to hasten his coming to serve you: The Embryo hopes of being here Nov: 24:1539 revive me & your moth: o for a confirmation by saturday, to save further trouble etc: Capt Hammond was very honourably treated by the Fr: Govr1540 at Kebeck1541 & sent home without any ransome:1542 it is said divers preachers have promised to supply winnetuxitt1543 this winter, Mr weld1544 next Sab: Lawson,1545 & some say Mr cushing1546 but (I hope not) Mr Thomas is come home & hath brought neere 300 pd in goods: Hope Besbidge1547 dyed yesterday, & Mr Isaac winslow1548 is dangerously sick, Dr Bailey1549 hath bin with him: Thursday fore noone; Elder chipman is with me & advises me to speak to Mr smith,1550 now in towne to supply your pulpit at the time mentioned, which I was afraid to doe lest you should deem it inconvenient, but the Elder thinks it will doe well, I deferred sealing my letter till mr sm: came to my house but he stayes soe long at Mr Thomas’s that I must finish; the Elder tells me Mr Pr: hath brought a hanger on for his fath: H: cost but 36 shil: doe you see it & aske the price & if you like it for me, tell me where I may get such a one:1551 J: Rich: saith Jos:1552 said on saturday that he intends to come home next week on your horse, but I had rather you could sell him, however if you doe not I intend to hasten him hither, if God carry me thither: your parents & Theoph: salute you all 3: with prayers etc I am,
your Affectionate Father,
I have desired Mr sm: he denyes me not nor promises but I beleve he is exorable, faile not to accomplish it speedily & write of it:
Just now I am told sad newes that draws teares, Deac: Clark’s pretious godly wife who was at our house last sabbath, was taken ill the night before last & dyed1553 this morning, Lord awaken us, only [Frn?] Dr1554 with her:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the church at Sandwich.”
18 November 16951555 [28 October 1695]
monday morn 
J: Morton from Bos: on Sat: night says Capt Hammond1557 (who was taken that weeke I was at salsbury) is one come from canada, they immediately carried him to Kebeck.1558 The fr:1559 man that took Col: Page’s sloop, Phippenny, stephen of Connecticott, went Eastward & found James [Couch?] with butter & cheese, who went further East to take in spars for masts & took all from him but his masts & sold him his sloop againe. Theoph: is come home & tarries this week because Mr W: goes this day to Bost: In a word send me word, whether you can preach here Nov: 24:1560 without much inconvenience to your deare & family & Mr Sm:1561 doe for you & noe inconvenience, if it might be, the 7 pd will then be paid, but if it cannot tolerably be, I shall not expect or desire it of you, I see noe hopes of returning the same week because of Cos: Cotton with Roger, & with Mr stoughton & colledge etc & shortdays etc & therefore must send supply if I can from the bay, wee 3 salute you 3. God Almighty blesse you all,
soe prayes, your Affectionate Father
A letter & sol’s whisk I sent by Mr Pr: what newes in Mr Br’s letter? it is very cold:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Sandwich.”
21 November 1695
Boston Nov: 21: 95
My Dearest Portion in this Life
It is as pleasant riding as at midsummer, I know not that ever I had a more comfortable Journey in all my Life hither, I lodged at Mr Torreys1562 who is very happy & cheerful in his new Enjoyments, on Tuseday I spoke with Mr Stoughton1563 who candidly resented my suggestions & said, he would have some man prudently say those things to the Assembly: I have not yet spoken with the speaker, but if it may be, it will be good to delay this businesse till Mr shirtliffe1564 comes, who hath a good interest in many Deputies, I hope he will come speedily in J: Morton, my love to him & tell him I say soe: cos: weld1565 (they say) is gone by sea to marshfeild & will not preach to them till he hath spoken with us at Plim: I conclude he will be with you & you need not my counsell what to say to him, but that figleafe will not hide their nakednesse from the eyes of wise men:1566 mr st: hath ordered an 100 & ten yds for Rowl:1567 & Tom:Tup:1568 to divide betwixt them, he hath ordered an 100 yds for me which if Mr Cooper come to his warehouse this morning I intend to put aboard J: Mor: A Rheme of paper, a bundle of Bibles a 3d of spectacles, a 4th of Inkhornes is already aboard. If you please to accept the gilt bible, I bestow it upon you, if it were all gold it were not too good for thee, the contents you love; oh my Deare, till I sat with Mr st: I never thought of the 4 letters I left upon the cupboard in parlor; hasten them to me; Letters from son Allyn1569 say, all ours are well, the day before he wrote arrived our packet of letters in which was yours to Mris stockman: Betty addes to Sarah 2 lines, E: F: married to Mary W:1570 Henry French to Betty Colins,1571 Mris Coffin (Peters wife of Exceter) is dead:1572 Cos: John writes to me of his son to be simon or Thomas which I please,1573 & Joynes with me in ordering Roger to depart the farme, my Lady Phips desires to buy it of us: Josiah is with me & all is well with him; I cannot send him with the horse this weeke because I have not yet spoken with the Fellows & am unresolved what to doe with him: I send my love to all my childrne, if you can convey it, son Rowl: God blesse with & to you all on the Sab: Mack: Ellis: Ber: have his Turkeys but can you send none for me to give? I hope with Gods helpe to still our unsatisfyed ones, Mr Torrey speaks up to the case; After Lecture Mr H’s case is to be heard before the Elders; Capt Dudley, his Bro: Jos: Sir Ballantine gone in the fleet last sab: from Pascat: too: E: Eldred1574 & Macarty are come in here againe; some defect in the new ship:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “For mris Joanna Cotton at Plymouth with an 100 yds of Duffils.”1575
wee shall rejoyce to heare of Josiahs safe arrivall with you: yours of sat:1577 came yester-eve. Mr R:1578 could have told you a story worth hearing about the French at the [?] & capt Hammond1579 which Mr Moodey1580 told us the first day of our being at Boston, but I cannot tell it you: James Barnabey1581 (G: Barrow1582 his mate) came with their shallop safe yester-eve; J: Bar’s thumbs almost frozen but like to doe well: The main masts of J: Morton & John Doyl mr of John [Cole’s?] are down (whether cut or spent wee yet know not) yester, P.M. went 6 men in the new sloops skiffe with [drams?] & food to releive & help them, our Bay is all frozen over: my deare wife is washing this bitter cold day; wee are sorry sar’s Journey to Yarmouth was not last week; her returne, & all of you next weeke, is much desired & expected, wee suffer more then a litle by selfedeniall; Thanks be to God for your health: God continue his mercy to you all, wee both affectionately salute you all; Mr Thomson1583 is a none-such, and a universall vote for him last sabbath,1584 he is gone, but noe doubt will soone returne; munponsett’s1585 meeting this weeke to hear their Grant etc; I know of noe hand to convey these but waiting,
rest your etc
I thank you for [your] good Labours here Lately & fault not your taking the [bi]ble & inkhornes you well deserve it: Mr stoughton told me he had ordered an 100 yds for you & Tup to divide, I suppose it is aboard one of your sloops
I rejoyce to see J: [. . .] who will stay a 1/4 of an houre for these
Capt Thomas tells me that Mr Thomson intends to be with them about the end of Febr or 1st of March for noe conveyance of his wife, 5 children etc till then, our 2 boats came in yester-eve. J: Morton at J: Doyls sen: & young John nearer sturtevants, their dangers & feares were considerable, noe damage but J: Mortons main mast cutt downe, & Tho: Morton’s ague if not frozen in feet & legs & very full of pain will: shirtliffe1586 is going by land to Boston this morn:
your two1587 by John Chipman Last night, I have but one Tulleys Almanack,1588 John Usher1589 gave it me; your mother hath often sent you word for paine of head & teeth, plaisters to the face, oyle of penny royall.1590 wee hope it is not the old trade the very first weeke after the month is out: I blesse God for Josiah’s safe arrivall, as to orders, the cause of my sending him to you was only to serve you, that you might have your owne horse, it was only to pleasure you that I kept him to bring it from cambridge for you desired it, else he had come in our boats home the week before, & divers shills I had saved thereby; if ‘siah hath not yet carried Sarah to yarmouth, I wish a horse might be fitted to doe it for they will be very much Troubled if they see her not, & if our mare may bring him hither ward. I suppose she will goe home of her selfe, any charge you are at for his or her coming home or going to yar: I will freely reimburse: if he goe Southward, wee cannot expect you till our Court weeke but by all means let that be the furthest; through mercy wee are all very well, & salute all our children, commending you to God; I rest
your Affectionate Father
the Physick now comes, your moth hath but litle but she spends enough for 2 portions for a child here is also Mr Thomas’s cloath If your Bro: Rich:1591 had said a word to me that he would have had your horse; Jos: should not have come on it, he weares a curld wigg & told me, he intended New London or Sandwich but was unresolved which Just now your mother minds me of sending my horse for Jos: to come home upon, if I can get J: Morey to convey him, I will, & if he be fitted round for Ice upon my acnt; I hope every one will be suted & pleased
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Sandwich.” Several small holes and severe water damage have darkened manuscript.
4 December 1695
Plymouth December, 4: 1695
I have bin contriving to get home your horse & thought to send it by the pedlar, but I am almost resolved that Josiah shall bring it; your mother hopes & desires it may not be long before our Sarah come home, & soe say I, she wants her cloaths, receipt book & pillian, she saith, if any of you be taken with a paine in your side you must not let blood first, but take Physick:1592 Two books, Mr Torreys sermon1593 & Dep: Gov Jones’s verses are yours, & the other two are for your Bro: John; it is a time of litle or noe newes the grant of munponsett obliges them to get a learned minster;1594 I have last Sab: propounded the Lds sup: to be that day fortnight, solemnly calling upon all concerned to endeavour to discharge duty & seeke satisfaction etc All my children south ward I hope to make welcome next weeke; your mother on sab: morn was fetcht to Hannah Morton (Finney)1595 whom all Judged to be dying, & came not home till Monday eve; she is better; Also to Mary Holmes1596 was your moth: fetcht last weeke who is very ill: The man who brought your letter last week frighted your moth: by telling that one of the family was very sick, wee hope you are all well: this is a very confused heap of lines for one newly come from Bost. but I have nothing worth imparting. wee doe heartily salute you all, & praying for you,
I rest, your Affectionate Father
4 March 1696
March 4th 1695/6 wednesday morn.
Alas, my Deare children,
Edward French1597 is just now come to my house with a dolefulle letter from deare [B]etty Allyn,1598 whose husband1599 is [from?] the dry gripes fallen into a Leth[argy] always asleep unlesse forcably awaked & immedietely falls aslee[p agai]ne, senslesse, knows not what he saith, is not outragious it is ten d[. . . .] mother is going to salisbury this evening as far as Barkers, poore Betty [. . .] her Brethr[. . . .]
[. . .] recovered last sa[bbath fort]night [some?] Indians (sagamores some) appeared with a flag of truce at Pemaquid, Capt chubb1600 went out to them without armes man for man Indians askt for Rum & tobacco, Capt said noe its sab: day, they said, wee will have rumm or wee will have rume & you too, 2 Inds laid hold on the Capt then he called to his men to fall on for Gods sake, then he made signes to his men to come from the fort one of the English had a hatchet under his Coat, took it out & kiled an Indian, & then they killed 2 more Indians & took another live & wounded another (supposed) Mortally, then many of the enemy came neere & the English retreat[ed?] & [. . .] all safe to the fort, only a rumor as if one of oure [. . .] the [they?] killed, w[ ] is since [ ]ad [illeg.] Love to you all, let [prayers?] [illeg.]
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Co[tton] at sandwi[ch].” Letter badly mutilated along folds.
[5 March 1696]1601
Thursday A: M:
I heare J Baker is expected hourely from Hull, homewards, ergo I make ready; yours by Mr. Carey1602 I have but though multitudes are come by moreys, not one word of that letter, prethee send noe more to be left there, for they hardly ever come seasonably: I thanke your wife for thoughts of Diet-bread; your Deare mother went yesterday about noone; Nico: carried her to Mr Southworths & I suppose must carry the cloak bag to Boston on my horse, & mr S: carryes her to Bost: but morey not sending your letter, hence wee have noe account whether your Aunt will come shortly hither which was an exersise; A Hatch was Pilot to Mr Kene & one Gold who came to our doore & your mother is likely to have their company all the way, for they went hence together; know then (if you don’t already) that Mr Kene (the Tailor) knows you very well & was very sorry Hatch would not pilot them to your house: He & Gold were Passengers in Parker, who with shute & the prize they left safe in Providence, Mr Burrough’s daughter & all very well, one of the ships lost a mast on the coast; the prize is there condemned; they came in Nath: Parkman’s sloop1603 to Tarpolian Cove,1604 & in his chest he hath a letter for me from Cos: Rosseter1605 at whose house he was often in Taunton, mr Harford & mr warren & theirs all well; By Ens: Tracy I wrote to you1606 on Tuseday, Sam: Hinckley1607 after his sweat on monday tooke Physick of us yesterday, I have not heard this morning how he doth: I salute you both & pray for you all,
who am, your desolate father
Postscript; sam: H: Just now sends Is: Lathrop1608 to me to desire me to be at sand:1609 next sab:1610 & you at Bar: that mr Russell may preach here;1611 but I cannot leave this family, he is sending for mr Rus: if you will goe to Bar: & he promise to come to you, it will doe well:
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For mr Rowland Cotton at Sandwich.”
[6 March 1696?]1612
Friday, p: m:
your mother went accompanyed with Mr Southworth & will: Barnes upon Mr will: Clarks horse, they lodged that night at Barkers, Thursday morning (soe well was your moth:) that they were at Cushings before our mr Thomas came thither but from Capt Jacobs, he saith, last Sat: morn: Cos: mathers Hittabel dyed,1613 it was in bed with a nurse & crowed pleasantly about break of day, the nurse fell asleep & about sun rise the child was found dead lying on her arm; Court likely to be dissolved this weeke; J: Bradford is come home, the Judges Mr Dart: Coo: Sew:) intended to lye at Barkers on monday night, soe that if your Bro: & others come not till Tuseday morn, you will be time enough before court begins, but if you come on monday morn you shall both be very welcome: Bring the books you have borrowed though my dearest be gone, I hope she will returne, but I saw her bowels so yerne to poore Betty,1614 that in a few minutes she exprest her resolves to goe this difficult Journey, designing (if possible) to carry Dr oliver1615 along with her; Isaac Lobdell1616 was at son Allyns Feb: 23: & from Bost: sent me a kinde letter of his illnesse; the Enemy did kill one of our English by a shot in the head; & young Alden at Port Royal bought a fraight of wheat, but he discerned soe much of the French Privatteers who are there frozen very hard (who did us the mischeif last yeare & are preparing shallops for next summer that with airs will fly like the wind) that he fled away without his wheat that he had paid for lest vessell & wheat should all be taken away, 2 English captives <were taken> ran away with him; noe doubt a Sagamore was one killed by our capts Bagonett, divers Mowhawks 20 or 30 are with our Easterne enemy, one was in this company; J: Rickard reacht the Castle on monday night, the Lathrops reacht but to Scittuate: noe harm de platter: Desolate I with sol: & Jos: salute you both: God blesse you all,
your Affec: Fath:
old mr. Bulkly (our oldest minister) lately dead.1617
Pembertons seems to beare the bell for all Dudley & Mather.
major Townsend is speaker,1618 Jewett1619 came not time enough: Leift Allyn was to come to Bost: this day for your moth: maria was sick (as wee heard) but is gratiously recovered; a vessell this week from N: York with pease, bread & flower which is now 18 sh an 100 pd: By Elisha Hedge1620 convey to your Bro: all news with our Love, his is well, I would now seale & give it El: H: but that I hope for will: Barnes to night with more newes from your mother.
W:B: is come,1621 your moth: well at Bost: son Al:1622 much as he was: Dismall destruction of vessels, poore fishermen, neare 20 dead bodies found, salem, marblehead, Ipswich vessels, math: says, & perhaps Isle of shoals also: a Newbury vessell cast up at Nantasket beach, men all saved, vessell like to get off & noe damage to goods.
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Sandwich.”
As to your monday night letter,1624 I can assure you, it is noe small greife to me & your mother, her utter inability to doe you service, it would greive your heart to see her, every day droopings by reason of bodily infirmities, soe weak she is that a litle loud word almost undoes her, o that God would open a doore for your Dearest to see her parents, sarahs thoughts or words of her Journey a week before signify nothing of obstruction in the least, she is only afraid if you goe now she shall loose your good company then: my sinking mate said last night she thought she must soone send to John to fetch home his & to Betty not to send hers, she cannot beare the least noise: The markt sentence in your mothers letter1625 is worthy to be written in letters of gold, wee can all feale to its truth, Happy, o thrice Happy are they that have an interest in & their affections fixt upon those things that they cannot be deprived of! I intend to write to salisbury by ‘sias who (the Tailors having now finisht for him) is now ready for the first faire winde in Eph: Cole: I say not how welcome yours shall be for more than a night notwithstanding her desert of the little parlor:
Barbados newes came only (as far as I yet heare) by your J: chipman, I doubt its too true; Capt Thomas came last week from salem, litle hopes of his wife;1626 mr Noys1627 better, but returnes not yet to his pulpit, J: Emerson1628 preacht for him on the Fast etc old Mr Philips hastning to his end,1629 as Col: Gidney1630 (who was with him on the Fast) tells Cap: Tho: If I can perswade Mr Dexter to hasten away, I think to send Theoph: now, who may on monday goe from you to Bar: & call upon the damsell to get ready while he steps to yarmouth & returnes to call her on Tuseday morning, I hope the child may have company, you will be tender of him; The books your moth: hath not perused & is willing a litle longer to detaine them: wee etc most heartily salute you both, with prayers etc
I am your affec: fath
The vile Su: And: broke prison the night before last, sheriff Bradf: not yet come to us from Bost: ergo the Hue & cry not yet gone; wee suppose he brings some orders from L. Govr for Exec: but too late for the young beast.1631 your mother intends to send the Physick now, if she can get strength & time before they mount. Js: Cush: buries today a son not 5 weeks old,1632 it is his third successively dying before Bap: the second was that sabbath wee were at the vineyard: J: Nelson stoops (more than Pugsley1633) with the gout; you sent right notes.
seale this letter for The: to carry; I soe right bec: Math: Fuller1634 came since you spake to Mary & tells her relations here that she is for her trade now, a sudden change from what you wrote, I hope wee shall obtaine this quarter at least, your moth: being soe weak & Sar’s mar:1635 had not you bet best write too, being near witnesse of her promise
Trumpet for John & 8p. silver: Bone lace for Joanna, Thread lace for Betty. stomacher1636 for their mother.
The least portion for Joseph; my wife sends three portions more, if two <are> will work enough for John Prince, you may keep the other portion.1637
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Sandwich.”
27 July 1696
Plymouth, July, 27: 1696:
on the Fast day a Post said at Bost: that divers ships were seene in Ipswich Bay which hastned the Capt & his souldiers to the castle that evening, but they were only the mast ships, 2 frigats, & 2 more merchantmen who are arrived at Pascataqua
From Cos: Cot: Mather I transcribe as followeth.
“Designing that my whole country shall have the story of the miraculous things (which are numerous) attending the defeat of the late invasion I must pray your patience & pardon that I cannot now recite the particulars. The miscarriage of the Plot1638 has marvellously united the nation, there is a most incomparable good Parliament, whereoff Sir Paul Foley is the Speaker.1639 The King is gone over to Flanders, the Lords Justices mostly the same or the like with what were last yeare; not above 8 or 10 are yet executed for the late treason & those not Noblemen,1640 but the Triall of the Traitors is daily going on. They enter into an Association to revenge K: Williams death (if untimely) all the nation over;1641 The Parliament is by an Act made capable of (not dissolution, but) meeting & sitting immediately on the Kings death & for halfe a yeare ensuing;1642 The Earle of Bellamont is not yet coming1643 & I suppose, except he can have N. Yorke in his Commission he will not come at all; A most horrible calamity, yea dissolution is come upon this miserable country for want of an Agent, by the disallowance of soe many of our Lawes, the rejection whereoff is now signifyed unto us with reasons fetch’d from certaine contested clauses here & there occurring in them. Poor Mr. Dudley’s 2 sons are not heard of, the Lord be favourable to their distressed Father!” Haecille.1644
From Cos: Sam:1645 thus;
“upon discovery of the late Plot severall 100s have bin clapt into prison amongst which they have tryed 8 who thereupon have paid their last debt to nature;1646 Fergusson is one of the imprisoned & ‘tis Judged will be executed I doe not heare of any dissenters besides him in the conspiracy. The conspiracy was strong & the designe desperate; the French clergy had advanced a considerable summe which they lent to K: James for fitting the expedition <for> from France; many French merchants had loaden vessels with the most saileable goods for England but the discovery has put an end to their merchandise & their goods returnd on their hands againe, & had the Plot succeeded they would have had a good price for their wares but now must be content to keep them in France; The Plotters that have bin executed doe cleare K: J: & Lewis1647 from knowing any thing of their designe to Assassinate his Majesty & they may beleve it that can. The Nation is generally & more then ever right for the present Government, the Parliament <is> are strong for the good of the Nation, Sir P: Foley is speaker, a Gentleman whom I have seen & know to be a true Englishman; They (i: e: the Parliament) at their first opening the sessions appointed a day of Humiliation & prayer for the blessing of God on their Counsels, which has bin out of date for 40 <year> etc years past, they say, there is a number of them strongly set for repealing & taking off the Sacramentall Test1648 (which has hindred many persons worthy of civill & sacred employment from having it) but what steps that have taken is not yet certainly known here. The K: being about to goe for Flanders has appointed severall Noblemen to be the Lords Justices amongst whom Admirall Russell is one.1649 The Duke of Leeds (Darby that formerly was)1650 is not one of them; In Generall Things have a better prospect then ever heretofore since the war began; I doe not heare of considerable action by sea more then wee had newes of before.
Mr Ben: Coleman1651 writes from Engl: an account of his being taken & having lost soe much as his very manuscripts through the barbarous Rascality of a French Preist that was on board the Privateer that took him, I call it barbarous because they stript him starke naked, I term it rascality bec: ‘twas a Preist that kept his writings, sermons etc from him though with the violation of a promise given to restore them upon Mr Colemans giving him a piece of Gold that was concealed in the heel of his shooe which when the Idolater had gotten into his clutches, he had noe more to say to my friend; Mr Whittingham1652 (who came over with capt Gillam)1653 says Mr Coleman is well accepted in London though he have not any settled imployment in a particular congregation as yet.
There was an Artificer in France that to show his ingenuity made a Clock that at the time of the striking of the houres, it did by the cunning of the worke discover severall Princes one after another doing obeysance to Lewis & one particularly represented his Brittannick Majesty & had ordered it soe that it should stoop lower than the rest to signify greater submission But (very ominously I hope) the machine by the overstraining of the wheel strook downe the image of Lewis which it was to pay its respect unto, Lewis the K: hearing of this sent the workman to prison for it though it was by accident & not by designe of his that soe it was; receive as much of this relation as you thinke fitt, it causes a great deale of laughter & am apt to thinke the main stroakes of it are true.
In Scotland a great many persons on a Fast day were signally converted by the preaching of a minister at Edinburgh which has caused much discourse & is lookt on as a signe for good. My Lord Bellamont designes to come this summer,1654 the former character of his good will to the country does continue & I hope it will be accordingly when he comes over As to N: E: many of our Lawes are repealed in Engl: & an exception is taken at our Colledge Charter bec: there is noe mention made of visitors to overlook them, distinct from the Corporation, which is of the same nature with our overseers heretofore. (I the scribe faulted this in the very day I heard the charter.)
Mr. Whittingham tells me Coll: Dudley does almost despaire of his sons1655 which went in Maintrue, there was a rumor of his being taken into France but it vanished, it is much to be lamented that 2 persons of our acquaintance should be thus lost as there is great reason to feare they are; Mr Whittingham was one of (the late) Mr Thos: Mackartyes bearers to the grave who dyed of feavor last December: The ships Gillam, Ems, Thackston came in on sabbath (his letter was dated July, 18:) which caused an Alarm P: M: I preacht A: M: at the south & was forct to give over twice by reason of a cry of fire, but at last wee went on pretty quietly: Doe not vouch all that is written to be absolutely true, allowance is to be given in telling a story, though I beleve that the maine things are soe: If this account satisfy not as to fullnesse please to give me more particular Articles of Inquiry & I shall be ready to give as speedy answer as may. Duty etc & Remembrance to all kinsfold nearer to or further from you;” Haec Ille:1656 If you want any particular information more, tell me soe, & I will send for it, for my owne part I am much filled & comforted with soe much & soe good Intelligence & resolve to maintaine a good Correspondence with him on this account.
Some persons were hurt at Deare Island by that Monday Thunder The foremast of J: Cole fell upon J: Greys shoulder & some ropes were soe about his midle that he was halfe overboard & in great danger of drowning, he desired publick thanks for his deliverance, poore man! It was a blessed sacrament day to many, & 3 children baptized my text was Isa: 33: 17:1657 I propounded to have a ch: meeting & left it till next sab: to fix the time which you may conclude will be Aug: 19: when you must preach my Lecture; marshfeild intend ordination in october,1658 the ch: have appointed Sept: 9: to be kept as a preparatory Fast & Deac: Ford came to me on Saturday in the Name of the Ch: to desire me to preach on that day once, & I have promised, D: V:1659 to doe it: J: Sturt:1660 etc came on sat: but said not a word of ours there, but yesterday P: M: I askt him & then he could tell me a female was borne,1661 our very great love to our children etc there: the like to you both, God blesse you & all yours; I am,
your Affectionate Father
Dear Daughter, if your Dearest be kept to yarmouth this day, may it not be best for James Lewis the bearer1662 to take the letter of you after you have read & sealed it againe & carry along to meet the owner that soe yarmouth & Mr Lathrop & Mr Russell may have what is newes.1663
I want time to read what I have written.
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Sandwich.”
[after 7 August 1696]
[You]rs by Tom: West1666 I received, I was sorry to be diverted but [I] being a stranger I was compelled to goe downe to him [wh]ich I intended not to have done to any that day whilst the breth: [we]re gone to Mr T: I cannot release you from preaching, for he [will?] not come, though his wife is recovering; they have had full [disco]urse with him, he is strong that I must be the man,1667 but [ ]rly averse to their inchurching; in his letter to me1668 are these words; [. . . .] noe difficulty in the case itselfe as it lyes before the ch: [. . .] [dou]bt not but God will direct you to a comfortable issue. [. . .] words are encouraging, all the rest you must see & heare [whe]n you come, God in mercy bring you with a blessing:
[. . . .] bring dreadfull tidings from the East;1669 The two Fr: frigats [. . .] Paxtons1670 went to Pemaquid, there also was a party by [. . .] of the Enemy, (how many 100s I heare not certainly) [. . . .] carried 12 great guns ashoare & planted agst the weakest part of the garrison, what the English were doing all that time or sleeping or worse I know not; Required us to surrender, capt Chubb refused, the Fr: Gen:1671 told them he would send 4 bombs, he did soe as he said, the 1st some considerable distance from the fort, the 2ond nearer, the 3d yet nearer, the 4th toucht the fort, as he told them it should; wee then yeilded upon these Articles, viz, that wee all should passe out of the Fort each man with all that was his owne & goe safely aboard a vessell for Boston, the termes were accepted;1672 the Indians demand halfe the English of the Fr: Gen: as their due [he?] sayes noe, I have engaged them Liberty & will keep my [wor]d, the Indians beg hard to have 6 English men & [. . . .]all C: chub to make amends for those they [lo]st by [. . . .] denyes them, they beg hard for 4: he gives [th]em [. . . .] a number are detained (how many [I] k[now] [. . . .]ton (who they say) Lost not a man [. . . .] Boston sent by the Enemy & [. . . .] them againe, unlesse [. . . .] Frenchmen with us be returned to them;1673 It is said there was not po[wder?] enough to shoot above twice from the fort, some [. . . .] sold it to the enemy; Hinckley (that brought [. . . .] said a Post came on saturday that said the Fr[ench] were come over the Lake, had killed about 300 [. . .] & had cut up their Corne; All the out-planters west & north are in dreadfull danger & may expect every where to be assaulted & that speed[ily.] God is very angry with poore N: E: I conclude [. . . .] thoughts that all Major church’s measures mus[. . . .] he will not dare to goe with soe small an Ar[ ] [. . . .] Indians, there will be enough to meete him, if [. . . .] Lord pitty & guide us: for Kit to succeed is astonis[. . . .] in my creed, their charter (I beleive) is yet good & [. . .] Bellamont is an Irish Title, though my Lord Cook [. . . .] English man, but certainly it is noe other Govr coming to us;1674 I suppose Kit came away before the Frigats & mastmen [. . .] made him say Guber: was on the waters, I can hardly thinke [. . .] other frigat is coming with him this summer: yesterday [. . . .] Howls oxe, worth 6 or 7 pd, dyed of a surfett, eating [. . .] English Grasse; I am glad you are soe innocent, [. . . .] that your Bro: be soe too: A generall practicall tru[th?] [. . . .] very welcome, I cannot then preach: your mother [. . .] as well or better then she hath been th[ese?] many m[onths? We] both salute you both; I know not [. . . .] for [. . .] convey this, but am now ready [. . . .] Jos: [. . .] letter of his long passage & th[. . . .] [ta]ken by [. . .] of Charlestowne; God blesse [. . . .]
soe daily prayes;
[. . . .] Fa[ther]
Sprague much jeer’d
T: W: yesterday in my house for his black coate:
Josh: morse brought your Leathers to my house & takes nothing for them: This scotch letter1675 was soe ill written that I can hardly make good English of it, the outside is, A powerfull Conversation by the powerfull Spirit in Scotland, Good wife Kenedy brought it from Boston & sent it to me.
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Letter torn on left edge & at bottom. Letter is in Cotton’s hand.
[23 & 24 August 1696]1676
Monday P: M: by J: Mo: Sen:
Read this First
If your horse proove lame W: C: will yelpe & yell out his complaints to every one notoriously, but I am glad you are soe well Mounted & sorry you saw not the finback;1677 speedily send word to Mashpau1678 that your Lect: must be on monday, for if I come not to you to morrow (as I beleve I shall not) you may expect me next monday or Tuseday without faile, if God permit: (our sacr: is to be next sab: as well as yours) you will accompany me as far as I goe southward: since you went I recall that I preacht at Bar:1679 oct: 30: wee wonder that C: Mole is not yet returned, but expect him certainly this eve; young Sam: Prince came hither on saturday & saith on Friday morn the Fleet went Eastward he saw them 2 leagues off, only Capt Emes1680 is not gone, some say its from cowardise, others say falsnesse, some say he pleads the King hath sent his orders to him to convay the mast ships home, & if he should goe & be taken what would become of the mast ships & how should he answer it to the K: if they be taken going home? our fishermen catch very much mackarill: your mother is considerably ill night & day ever since you left us: wee both salute you both God blesse you all, I am,
your Affec: Fath:
J: mor: sen: is rated to me 14 shil: he hath given me but 10 shil: & he saith he will give you 10 shil: & I must expect noe more: Aske Mr Rus:1681 whether he be willing for Eastham Lecture next week: Its said your new horse is intolerably bad to keep, take heed of loosing him.
Tuesday; J: M: staying till now I recall & open interponere.1682
Last night C: Mole came, on Thursday night he called Govr. St.1683 out of bed who treated him very courteously, after midnight he called his wife up at charlestowne, who had buried a child of 9 months old since his departure;1684 C: Elmes [Emes] is gone some houres after the fleet but in a very ill humor, the cause is Envy, he scornes to goe under a Commorode1685 (a cramp word but I thinke I say it right) it seems the biggest of the new come Frigats is Admirall, but he would have bin Adm: himselfe, but Authority ordered it otherwise, it is concluded he would soone overtake the rest: one of capt Mole’s prizes was unladen & prized & then made the fireship now in our fleet: Partridge is not yet arrived in N: E: only they have newes that he is coming Le: Govr instead of usher, who was very huffy with Mole because he would not carry his prizes to Pastacaqua for condemnation, threatned to seize etc but Mole is above danger from him: The Law of o: E: now is that which will be attended as soone as Mole gets to Boston, (who is gone aboard & now weighing anchor) when the prizes are condemned The King must have a fifth part of the goods, in order to which a Commissioner is to be chosen by the Authority to see a Just division & to take the Kings part, & then all the rest of the goods & all the prizes are to be delivered to capt mole for him & his partners.
He sayes, that he heard yester-morning, a Post had brought newes in the night of damage done by the enemy at wells,1686 particulars he knowes not; he heares nothing of our Army: Divers of the Barbadoes fleet are arrived; not yet all, but litle Rumm: your mother is fetcht this morning to Joseph warrens youngest child,1687 dangerously sick of vomiting & flux: Reb: Morton hath a living son1688 this last night, all hopeful.
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For Mr. Rowland Cotton at Sandwich.”
[25 August 1696]
wednesday A: M:
J: morey sen: hath 2 letters for you: yesterday:1689 Mr Melvin brought me a letter1690 from Jos: but noe newes in it: Amongst the many English & scotch dead of the sicknesse at Barbados,1691 Dr Williams & his wife are reckoned; he lived at Newhaven & at charlestowne & Boston since: T: Palmer1692 had a fall off his horse at Boston which detained him till last Saturday, then he came to Midlebury, but had soe much paine & illnesse that he could not preach on the sabbath & he is yet at Isaac Howlands1693 ill & feverish, what answer he intends to give I heare not, but it is said that compton voted for a minister & that Palmer hath now a Major vote of that towne & their new minister the minor; Mr Melvin saith his Bro: simon1694 bid him tell me, that Mr Wadsworth is shortly to be ordained, he hath forgot the day but he thinks it is this day fortnight.1695 I resolve D: V:1696 to be at it, & if soe, then I must seasonably tell Marshfeild, they must not expect me that day; I tell Mr Melv: of my purpose to be at yarm: on Tuseday & to goe to Eastham weds: morn; he saith he will be our companion thither; wee both salute you both, God blesse you all,
I am your Affec: Fath:
Dispatch your Indian Lecture on Monday without faile for I hope that day to see you: Mr Nath: Clark is taken by the Fr: & another vessell that came out with him, he is at Pettaquabull & may soone be expected here.
Hac [Helden?] 4th Epistle, wednesday, p: m:1697
Aske this Dr Read newes from Andover of Abbott & Blancher kiled, & a man & 3 Children carried from Haverhill1698 which (he saith) Johnson of Haverhill told him major Hincksman hath laid downe his place & Mr. Ting of Dunstable is Major. I have but a minutes time
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the church at Sandwich.”
[before 7 August 1696?]
Plym: Tuseday A: M:
By Abr: Hedge1699 I saluted you yester-morn:1700 soone after came Jos: Dun: & Sam: Sturt: to tell me in all their names that they were ready to attend the ch: to converse with us when ever a ch: meeting should be appointed1701 for that end: I intend Aug: 19: my Lecture day for that service, & you shall then preach for me, unlesse it appeare more adviseable that I desire & obtaine Mr Torrey1702 to doe it: yours of sat: P: M:1703 per I know not whom I received yesterday at breakfast: not one word of Thaddeus, he is given up for lost: the 3 ship mrs were now only passengers, Gilbert spake with Col. Winthrop in o: E:1704 he was not well; to Sir Litle was in Paxton chyrurgions mate: It is saintloe that is infirme with his wounds: Sturt: came to fetch Sir Litle to be a qrter of this yeare with them1705 & he is gone; yesternoone sailed hence John Cole & John Grey1706 his mate & fraighter, & in him, Mr Elliston Murdo, John Dyer1707 (Han: Mortons husband) Goodwife Kenedy1708 (to see her husband at the castle) Martha Cole & Lydia Grey1709 whose businesse is to buy her wedding cloaths, caleb Loring1710 (which whom she now stands posted) being gone by land to meet her there, but the storme, blacknesse, thunder & lightning was soe terrible & she soe laden with wood & lying on one side, that I perceive it is much to be feared what is become of them; yesterday came Theoph: with oxenbridge Thatcher1711 (Josiahs contemporary) to see us, & went back not long before the thunder etc I feare they were sorely drencht, long to heare how they escaped, I suppose you know your Presbury1712 had his legs shot off in Eames1713 & dyed: I intended here to stop & finish tomorrow for Betty Nye,1714 but Just n[ow] comes in Mr Atherne; your parents send you both our heartyest [. . .] the Lord blesse you & all yours
soe prayes your Affectionate Father
The Thunder & Lightning killed in Mr. Barnes’s Pasture one of his best oxen & a new milch cow & barkt a tree that was betweene the two dead beasts:1715
[30 September 1696?]1716
Deacon Ford1717 hath brought letters to me for our chh to send our messengers to their ordination1718 oct: 14:1719 I wish I knew how you intend to order your Journey to us in order to your being at that solemnity, your mother resolves D. V:1720 to goe thither at that time: Sir Litle’s Text1721 was, Thes: 5: 6:3 his sermons have a good Commend, there was a competent contribution for him, & they are very desirous of constant enjoyment of him during Mr Lawsons absence, he only hath promised them this next sabbath & tells me he will not leave his schooling here & take the work there; He also tells me, that old Mr Cushing told him he had a letter from his son Caleb1722 informing of his purpose to come this week or next to see him, if soe then wee shall doubtlesse see him here or at Marshfeild; Love, prayers etc
Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library. Addressed “These For Mr. Rowland Cotton at Sandwich per Indum.”
[5 October 1696]1723
yours by S: Br:1724 rec: Nath: Chh:1725 laden for Yarmouth went hence on saturday, I suppose it was for your Bro: Oct: 14:1726 was fixed by the chh for Mr Tomp:s ord[ination]: & Capt Tho: told me our chh was to be sent to, as yet their letters are not come, whether they come or noe I doubt not but the ordin: will be at that time, unlesse cap: Tho: send word he cannot leave the court etc to come home; Newes confidently anexxed here that he is to marry Mris Doleberry;1727 Letters by way of Madera, 2 packets to the two Govrs, Bost: & Connec: from o: E:1728 another great Plot to destroy the King in Flanders is discovered, soe major Bradford told John Rickard,1729 but noe man is yet come from court to tell more; the Govr of Barbados is dead1730 & Mr Bond (My Bro: by Egginton) is now Govr,1731 he is highly prized there & esteemed too good, they feare for them long to injoy him: a Privateer from Jamaica-side hath brought in 5 or 6 prizes to Road Island or thereabouts; your parents salute you both, soe doth Theoph: now here: Love to Cos: Sals: It is conclused the Fleet set saile yesterday1732 from New castle: Ele: Rogers came last night from Bost: & sayes, not a word of newes from the Army; I commend you all to God,
& rest, your Affectionate Father
Her Education at Major Richards’ made me give her his name. Will Mr Moodey lye that night with you or us? Bathshua Harlow is published to Richard Seares.1733 By Will: Thomas, comes this minute, I am assured the ordination will be next week:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, Pastor of the Church at Sandwich.”
19 October 1696 [10 October 1696]1734
the inclosed1735 is worthy of your reading but too much to transcribe send it me againe; Doe you know that Mr John Appleton (Mris Thomas’s Brother) is colonell in his uncle’s room?1736 that Leuit Coll: Wade is dead1737 & a wainwright in his place? Isaac Little1738 is made a Justice & of Quorum last night the wolfe (our sheep lying out) killed foure out of my six & bit the fifth, & 13 killed 4 or 5 wounded out of Eph: Cole’s1739 24: Salutations from us to you all etc prayers etc:
Saffin is turned out from being Judge of Bristoll court.1740
John Morton hath a son today, great Joy1741
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “For Mr Cotton at Sandwich.” Thomas Prince’s note: “Col Wade D[ied] Oct. 4. 96.”
[30 October 1696]1742
I write longing & waiting for an opportunity to tell you that yesterday P: M: Sol: & her husb: & Mol: are come safely to us & that on Monday or Tuseday at furthest they intend your house & thence to Yarmouth for night & Molle saith if her 2 brothers will goe next week to Boston she will never come to see you more; wee heare son John’s building is not finisht & thence I conclude he cannot come, & I perceive that Mr Brattle’s ordination day will speedily be fixt1743 & I beleive you will be willing to attend that: As for newes, they must tell it you; Haines & his eldest son1744 ran from the enemy, the son got to [saco?] fort & told them that his father was coming but spent able to travell noe further, they went 5 miles & fetcht him safe in a wheelbarrow, its thought he is too much spent to recover; they say it is but 2 days Journey to Indians, 50 fighting men, an 100 squaws & papooses. probably Major chh1745 is designed for them, for they have much [be]aver, corne & other good things: chh hath taken the grea[ ] [. . .] & much plunder at some fort with bailes of Eng[lish] [. . .] etc: one English sea-man dyed of sicknesse, he hath bin fighting some where, how many they killed is unknowne, one Frenchman kiled had a letter in his pocket that came from the bay informing that chh was coming1746 & his whole designe; this minute comes in Judith (now) Tubs1747 to carry these, & sol: calls to me & sayes you must goe up to Cos: Cottons ordination1748 which will be Nov: 19 or 26: & that time I must marry Cal: & Bet:1749 they say it is soe intended, faile not to write to me, (if opportunity present before the sabbath as I beleive it will by Tho: Howland & James Winslow who went yesterday to Eastham & intend back tomorrow) whether you & your Bro: divert your bay-Journey, if you doe then I will give notice of the Lds sup: to be Nov: 1: whilst my children are here: much more newes is talkt but you must have it vivâ voce,1750 rumors that L: Govr Partridge1751 & those ships from o: E:1752 are taken; your parents, sisters, Bro: W: all respectively salute you, with prayers, etc
I am etc, your etc
chh hath fought with whom & where I know not, some of his souldiers have flesh-wounds: they were at St John’s but did noe hurt to the Fr:1753 there & I think received none:
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Prince’s note: “Mr John Cotton was ordained at Hampton, Nov. 19. 96.” Right margin frayed, several small holes, darkened and stained.
8 and 9 December 1696
[10 and 11 December 1696]
on Friday morn I came from Boston, some horses had made a good track for me; at milton Eben. Allyn overtook me & rode with me to monotticutt bridge, diverting to his uncle’s, but when neere cushing’s he & his Bro: James overtook me a little before sunsett & that evening betwixt 6 & 7 wee came very comfortably to Barkers & the next morning home, my passage was as good as ever, Gratias Deo:1754 Maxwell was buried at Cambridge on Wednesday,1755 the bearers were the 2 first seniors of the <each> the 3 first classes, cooke,1756 stoddard,1757 symmes,1758 Cotton,1759 Dummer,1760 Belcher;1761 these had white skarfes & gloves, the 2 fellowes & Mr Pemberton1762 had black sckarfes & all the schollers had gloves, the mourners were Mr Boreland, murdo, smith & daughter & other scotch Merchants; Eyres on Thursday borne by Hutchinson (the coll’s son)1763 & Tom: Dudley1764 (Pauls son) who lives with Mr Eyres, Dummer & Belcher sophimores, Bradstreet1765 & winthrop1766 Freshmen, who had as the former & all the schollers betwixt 50 & 60 Grad: & under Grad. had gloves; ‘sias came not to this because of a tumor in his chin: your Bro: Rich1767 was there, he salutes you both, but was ingaged to returne to Haverhill, your parents are there well, he hopes to see you next weeke: the circumstances of their drowning at fresh pond Nov: 30: I write not,1768 Mr R:1769 might informe you: Gen: Court full of confusion, upper house send downe Non: con: to the lower with their vote to send an Agent for the old charter, a motion much derided. colledge-charter Danforth & cooke are perversly set against,1770 last Monday Boston-ministers were in councill, Mathers & willard1771 spake smartly & vexed those selfe-will’d ones: my lecture is this wednesday: wee both send you both our hearty parentall Love, God blesse you & all yours soe ever prayes,
your Affectionate Father
Sam: cooper, Nath: Hancock & his wife, Andrew Boreman & his sister (Mr Ben: w’s friend) were all propounded for chh Fell: while I was in the pulpit, Mr Brattle was very civill & courteous to me in entertainments etc & pleasant maxwell & Eyres were my spetiall attendants from sat: to mond: & a few houres after left the world.1772
Tuesday; I waite for Eben: Allyn; who (w:c: saith) courts Beck Rus:1773 a mirum!1774 cos: Hannah mather is likely to marry John oliver1775 a cooper (as well as wymand) his father was son to mris Jackson of Newtowne, mother to mr Neh: Hobart’s wife;1776 the John oliver in catal: Grad:1777 was his Grand-father: Theoph: came Joyfully last friday home, & your mother is daily fitting of him for Boston by Tailors etc o that some man in your parts had a horse to lead to the Bay, that The: might ride on, wee are not fond of his going by sea: Ele: Rogers & Jabez warren1778 are waiting for a passage: Is mris Treat dead?1779 Theoph: salutes you all:
14 December 1696
Decr 14. 1696
By your [fat?] Bror I send these Lines, Live & Love like Brothrs now & always—O my child what if it had been your Portion to have been drowned with your companion?1780 Consider seriously where you should now have been: The good Lord sanctify it to you for your thorough converson. now new strive lest Death sudden Death find you unprepared; It may be God sent this dreadfull Providence on purpose to awaken many schollars & you in particular—Read Zeph 3.7.1781 When any are cut off as those two were, God saith surely thou will fear me, thou wilt receive Instruction: The Lord grant it may be so lest a worse thing come unto you. Pray constantly to God to keep you by the power of his Grace from Temptations to Sin of every kind—call to mind what God hath done for you . . . how often God spared you & took away others—Dont think they were greater sinners than you Nay but Except you repent you will likewise Perish. . . . You are indebted to God & have nothing to Pay Cry unto him who can Perform all things . . . O the poor Lads [Maxwell & Eyre] from perfect Health into Eternity in a few minutes, that thought no more of it than you. Never, never, never let this Providence be forgotten by you. I can hardly bear to think how I should have born the affliction if it had been you. The Lord pity the poor Parents—Dear Child I charge you not needlessly to venture on Water Land or Horse. and ye good Lord be your Keeper here & to Eternity. Which is the prayer of your afflicted Mother
Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University.
18 January 16971782
Plymo Jany 18. 1696/7
I have not written oft to you of late but I have to yr Bror The: and have ordered him to show you all my Letters & therein directed ye Same good Counsell to you as unto him & ye more especially to you considering not only you have lived some more years than he, but also the Place you live in & the Company you Daily converse with may expose you to more & greater Temptations; The Night after the Fast, Your Mother (whose heart as well as mine is tenderly thoughtfull of & solicitous for your best Good) dreamt you were dead, but we hearken not to Dreams: My Waking thoughts concerning you are often very awfull lest you should be left of God to any sin that may Dishonour his name & wound ye Peace of your own Conscience, & bring Shame & Ruine & Misery upon your both Body & Soul forever. Divers days have I kept in Strict Fasting & Prayer in my Study on Purpose to beg Mercy at the hands of God for thy poor soul & I am restless & desire to be continually so in Pleading & Wrestling with God that he would bestow Converting Grace upon you, and that will keep you by ye Grace of God from ye Power of sinfull Temptations: I am glad you have one of your Uncles Sermons; how awfully doth he therein speak of more dreadfull things to befall the Colledge & what can be more terrible than such sudden Deaths but Sin; To be given over to vile affections, to be given up to the Plague of a filthy Heart—you know what Solomon saith Prov. 13.201783 a Companion of Fools shall be destroyed. The snares of evil Company are very dreadfull & dangerous; sinners entice one another to such Evils as are very suitable to the inward corruptions of the Heart—My Dear Josiah a Child of many & signal Preservations and of many Prayers, I thank God I know of no scandalous Sin you are addicted to but I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy lest Satan should prevail against you by any of his unwearied Solicitations to Destroy You. Be very diligent in your studies, Read & Meditate upon Petr 5.8.1784 Make Conscience as for your Life of Secret Prayer & Reading the Word Morning & Evening; If you live in the neglect of Prayer, You will grieve ye Holy Spirit, & provoke God to withdraw his Restraining Grace from you, & wo to you if God shall depart from you. Dear Son I hope better things for you tho. I thus Speak. When I was lately upon my Knees pouring out my Soul with many tears into the Bosom of God on your Behalf (as well as for Theophilus & the Rest of Mine) I found a Strong impulse upon my Heart to set Pen to Paper & thus, to Write to you—The Lord accompany the same & all other means of Grace, the Ministry of the Word you Enjoy, with the Power of his Spirit for your effectual awakening & the Saving Good of your precious soul. Your mother sends with me her hearty Love to you, Lord hear & accept in Christ—I am your affectionate Father—John Cotton
P.S. Be a good Husband of your Time and Money—and ye Lord Preserve you.
Josiah Cotton, Manuscript “Account of the Cotton Family,” Houghton Library, Harvard University.
29/30 April 1697 [September 1696]1785
Thursday A: M:
yesterday I wrote by John Dunham;1786 C: Mold & Eph: Cole are getting horses to goe to Scauton neck1787 to look after a castaway boat, ergo I prepare to send these with your 5 1/2 peices, C: mackartys gift, an apron to your Dearest; your mother sends a Lace to her if she please to accept soe small a token of her love & some ginger-bread for the Lambs: T: P:1788 on Luk: 14: 14:41789 preacht the most pittifull, leane sermon, nonsensicall, corrupt etc that (I think) I ever heard: newes I transcribe;
“A ship lately arrived at virginia, which came from London the latter end of Febr; sayes; 1: This yeare the confederate forces were to be augmented 30000 English, 20000 Dutch, 20000 Imperialists, 10000 Spanish, & if the French King will not ratify the Articles of the Plenipotentiaries the sweedish King will appeare at the Head of 30000 sweedes: 2: That the King designes to be in the camp a moneth sooner then usually: 3. A French Jesuite came to Roterdam with bills of exchange to take up a great deale of moneys, & the merchants there wondering that such a fellow should take up such great summes of money, suspected him, & put him on the rack, he confessed he had a designe upon the life of the King, & soe he hath received condigne1790 punishment: 4: King James took leave of the French King & came out with a fleet of ships for Holland, Scotland or Ireland but Sir Cloudsley Shovell with a fleet of ships drove him into Brestt:” Mr Bridgwater1791 came home last weeke, many Fr: vessels about Barbados, so that wee may feare what will become of our Brigantine that went hence Apr: 22:, Ele: cush’s wife1792 continues in dreadfull horrors, the 4 cushmans & other neighbours spent yesterday in prayer with her sent for Mr Wiswall1793 to come & Joyne with them but he told them he was not well; & would not come I suppose He knew it was Lect: Ele: cush. did most earnestly send for me last night & I intend to goe by & by, being this morning sent for by our friend J: Nelson1794 to make his will, he had a sad night, dreadfull load at stomach, sick at heart, I doubt1795 he must dye; the night before last poore old Robert Ransom1796 attempted to strangle himselfe with an hankercheife but was prevented, it is too probable he will not leave till he hath sent his soule to the pit; his despairing horrors are soe great; Carrett seed wee have none, wee are contriving next week to carry your trade to Rob: Barkers1797 with some of our owne; your mother will see at Mr Thomas’s about the cloath; If you should lend J: Den’s winchester1798 I would be security for its being returned as good as it is or its value, for Theoph: writes they are 5 shils: at the shop & truly that is hard for me now to spare. The: says “pure sport, pure sport the Quakers preach at Bost: almost every day, & some woemen, one opened her mouth soe wide that a six penny loaf might be thrust in;” (I suppose it was Paitons sister1799) he hath had a latine letter from Peleg W:1800 very good & arch, but the old man made it all, hacille:1801
sat with her on Tuseday night till near break of day, I suppose soe it will be tonight: wee all salute you both, ut moris est;1802 Sam: Harlows eldest son1803 is very sick: His man Tho: Doty1804 prest, Johnson of Jos. churchel,1805 Arthur Harris1806 (Abiel shirtliffs1807 man) Ned: May (J: sturtevants) & Elisha Cobb,1808 this last hath paid his 5 pd: The Lord blesse you all; I hear noe horses can be gotten for C: Mold etc Capt Call,1809 Deac: of Charlestowne is dead, I end & leave it for a passage if any present while I am gone to the sick,
your Affectionate Father
yesterday I went to J: Nelson, who was rationall enough to make his will & dyed1810 in the night an houre or two before day; Mris Stone & Cos: Deb: are Just gone she was noble here: The funerall is to be to morrow, Mr Thomas came home but yesterday & saith noe doubt a fleet of English men of war are gone to retake Newfoundland;1811 Capt Chubb.1812 to be tryed for his life last Wednesday; Hedge hath carried yours from your Bro: John to R: Island & now gave it Jos: I perceive divers purses are alike filld: your mother hath taken up by [. . .] 2sh: 2p a yd, perhaps Mr T. may abate the 2p: I hope El: Hedge will bring them safe to you: It is now sat: morn:
Here is a rough copy of your mothers to the Colonell,1813 but it is soe intermixed that you may not see it until you come hither; Those from the Col: you must send againe, for she will not part with them: on Thursday told Rob: Ran: made like violent attempts to strangle himselfe but was prevented, caveat netertium tempus:1814 My cold & hoarnesse [hoarseness] hath bin very bad all this weeke & soe continues that Sir Litle1815 preaches here once to-morrow.
If it be possible procure an Almanack1816 & send for the Dr: I am going my selfe to see if El: Hedge will carry these things, the litle bundle of tokens well sowed up, I doubt not but he will take the 6 yds of cloath, if he cannot, we will keep till an opportunity.
My wife bought a remnant of Lace for 2 caps, she sends an inch more then she leaves for her selfe & lest it should not be long enough she hath put a bit at the end, the remainder of which is for a cap for Betty, the coat is for Joanna, the box for little John: To you a bitt of chocolatt. a bit of Lace for Sarah for a Cap: send your Bro: the o: E:1817 newes, the other I have written, but have not time for that:
[10 May 1697]1818
monday A: M:
very Deare son
yours by J: B: received early,1819 the candid resolves of you & your Dearest are most affectionately received, & wee doe thanke you as heartily as if wee had seen her here, though her prescence would have bin exceeding pretious, her token wee gratefully accept & dispatcht a 3d part of it before breakfast, tasting much of the sweetnesse of her love therein; Lord reward her kindnesse: Truly Betty’s coming was a great mercy, & I purpose on wednesday (if God continue to adde to your mothers health, who (through rich mercy) is much better then she was on Friday, though very weak & faint & her soule bowed downe with greife almost to death) to goe along with Betty to Bost: & now you know you must preach here twice on the sab: & as for Sir Litle1820 I am confident there is noe danger in the least of disappointment; Preach Repen: or faith, de xt, but yours on Luk: 14:1821 will doe very well; wee hope your Joanna1822 is better; I now expect you not this morn, but if you should come I know I shall blesse God for it, however Gods time is the best I desire to wait patiently for God, I hope to see you at Bost: next week, & pray & hope that God will make you a spetiall blessing in this houre: This morn J: R: from B: The: says, “some thinke (though none chosen May, 8:) that Mr Dan: of Dorch: is to preach Elec: serm:1823 Great preparations for war in O: E:1824 [ventures?] for peace. A Galley came in on Friday one of [. . .] with bombs, granades, powder for the Country, K: sends fleet to retake Newfoundland1825 Phesy of Braintree set in the pillory1826 for working on a Fast day, & for speaking Treason & fined 10 pd (if I understand his character) he said noe King but K James etc.: He saith you wrote to him, you had sent winchesters phrases1827 to Plim: & begs me to hasten them to him; this you have not done ergo pray save me that money of buying if you can your sloop will be ready: Goods fall mightily & are like to fall for a word of them is come”; our hearty love & thanks to you both for love showed & intended; my cold that hath lasted above 3 weeks is as bad or worse than ever, were I this day to preach I could in noe degree be heard, Bettys due love also: with prayers etc
I expect Mr Prince every minute bec: of your letter, Ruth Barrow1828 sick of the feavor ever since sat: Morn: Ami willis1829 taken yesterday at meeting time home sick: Leift: Arnold very bad almost a weeke, yesterday a litle better; the majors [. . .] the first prayer P: M: yesterday went sick out of meeting: none seem neer death with [. . .]
after 26 May 1697 [19 May 1697]1830
yours by Mr Pr:1831 received, newes from o:E:1832 you must have vivâ voce1833 next week at the metropolis; mr John Hubbard1834 came hither on Monday night & bought all the Fish for Coll: Shrimpton, offering 20 shil per Quintall certaine; he says Mr Moodey languishes,1835 could not get to meeting P:M: last sab: stomach & sleep almost wholy gone from him.1836 Cos: Walter1837 to preach Artil: Elec: about 11 houses lately burnt at Easthampton with lightning; yester morn Capt Thomas & his wife were here, returned at eve: Blathwait writes de Bellamonts coming, its said the law is abolisht that limits choice of Repres: in their owne towne: Boston at first chose Townsend,1838 Bifeild,1839 Leg,1840 but Foxcroft1841 who was next not having the major part of Electors, they voted againe & Deacon Bridgham1842 hath it; Eph: Litle1843 for marshfeild, John Cushing1844 for Scituate, likely to be a very new house; your mother is better, but languishes very much; yours by Done; old Mris Thomas heard Sir Litle1845 say he was to be at Sandwich next sab: also I sent a letter1846 yesterday to confirme him in our confidence he would then come: (I wish I could speak with you first. why can you not be here on friday night or Sat: noone)? I resolve not to goe with Betty to morrow, but to stay till Monday, having noe voice to preach, soe that you must preach twice whilst I sit by, & if I goe to Bost: with you, it will be noe losse to you: parents & betty salute you both with Cos: Sal: God blesse you & all yours, if I could contrive it I would meet you at Eph: Mortons,
I am, your Affectionate Father
It was well done that your Bro: came to see us.
son John is asleep, & coming to Mr clarks, Mr Kethcatt1847 shows me 2 letters1848 for you, what newes is in them, let me know to morrow; I could give a 100 pd, if I were worth it to speak with you, God helpe you now to doe for etc this is subsigillo1849
Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For Mr Rowland Cotton, at Sandwich.