“Leaving Massachusetts and Exile in Carolina,” 1698–1699

    While Cotton had certainly hoped to receive a call from a church in southeastern Massachusetts, Charlestown, in the Carolina colony, was the only place that welcomed him. The leading merchants of the town, many with decidedly checkered pasts, and Reverend Joseph Lord, Plymouth Governor Thomas Hinckley’s son-in-law, eagerly sought Cotton’s services. The powerful Boston ministers encouraged him to accept the call, undoubtedly glad to be rid of their problem altogether.2029 The letters below illustrate Cotton’s decision to leave, the preparations for his departure and his emotional parting from his wife, children and friends.

    Joseph Lord’s wife, Abigail Hinckley Lord, was thrilled with the idea that her former neighbor, Joanna Cotton, would be joining her in Carolina.2030 But Joanna clearly struggled with this decision: “mother seems not to know what to do abt coming to you.”2031 It is quite surprising that Joanna even felt she had a choice to make, that she felt she could refuse to accompany her husband. John’s letters suggest that he expected her to join him after he settled in; other letters suggest that Joanna never really wanted to go, nor felt that her health would even permit it.2032 After Cotton died, Cotton Mather wrote that Joanna’s dilemma was finally solved: “Your Distress, about your Voyage to Carolina, being thus at an End.”2033 Son Rowland wrote that he, with some of his congregation, were considering joining Cotton in Carolina;2034 Josiah also seems to have thought about settling there as well2035—or at least, that is what they wrote to him, perhaps merely to console an undoubtedly lonely father.

    Cotton sailed for Carolina on 7 December 1698. Joseph Lord described their three-week voyage as “pretty comfortable.” They encountered neither storms, nor “any great matter of sea-sickness.” When they arrived, both ice and Anabaptists awaited them. Lord wrote that Cotton would likely settle at Charlestown and receive the “right hand of fellowship” in his new congregation on 15 March 1699.2036 Cotton’s son Josiah referred to a journal that his father kept in Carolina—“which I have in my hands”—that is now lost.2037 The diary fragment below, transcribed by Josiah, details Cotton’s pastoral work in Carolina, which echoed his earlier experience with the struggling Plymouth church. Letters sent from Carolina also demonstrate Cotton’s continued penchant for networking and gossip.2038 The final letters in this collection describe his death during a yellow fever epidemic in September 1699 and include some reactions to the sad news that came both by letter and street gossip.

    To Rowland Cotton,

    [16 July 1698]

    saturday morn2039

    Deare son

    Gods wayes are past finding out; when I came home I found Mr Robert Fenwick2040 at my house, where he had waited divers houres for me with his call subscribed by Govr Blake,2041 some of his Councill & sundry the inhabitants of charlestowne.2042 their promises amount to about 67 pd annually: Mr Allyn2043 & Mr Willard2044 send me a letter under their hands encouraging me modo quodam2045 to goe, advise me to get my dismission from the chh & desire the countenance of the Councill (I suppose they meane that of Mr T’s2046) I have written to Mr Keith2047 by the mason who goes today & desired by him an answer on monday; I am going to Duxb:2048 & if Mr W:2049 will encourage & send a line to the chh, then I purpose to morrow to move by the chh for my dismission; Mr Lord2050 much encoura[ges?] me to goe, Mris Lord grasps your mother2051 by the [. . .] & is ready to leap [out?] of her skin for Joy [. . . .] told him, he being [. . . .] was not [. . . .] to subscribe the le[. . . .] put off) [. . . .], his uncle might [. . . .] though the warning was short, & encouraged him, [. . .] he should not meet with mr Torrey & have his [. . . .]-rence yet to come forward to me: Mr T: he did speak [. . . .] his words were, he left it to the Boston ministers: mat[er?] [. . . .] before had strange [ ]kings of light in secret [. . . .] nected to be satans delusions, & in the morning [. . . .] & duty such like impressions on her [heart?] [. . . .] & the Gentleman comes to the doore; wee are [. . .] in a maze & muze, Mr Dering writes to me much [. . .]ing; Mr Wilkins hath much spoke for it: Mr Willar[d] [. . .] postscript, the vessell will saile the latter end of [. . .] very [. . .] what [. . . .] & thanks to you [. . .]


    J: C:

    I would send Jos:2052 Just now to you with the letters but I must show them to mr W:2053 if any [. . . .] I come back, I leave these for you, if not, Jos: must come as you can p[ur]pose & your [. . .] you must come away with Mr Rus:2054 & goe to the Bay & setle every t[h]ing for me. I promis & [. . .] without faile to send my answer to him next thursday or friday at furthest & [. . .] to keep the vessell 2 days of the week after for me: [several words illeg]

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “These For [. . .] Cotton, at Sandwich.” Prince’s note: “1698 .Apr. 16. R Mr Joseph Lord arrives at Boston à S. Carolina. June. 2. marries mrs Abigail Hinckley at Barnstable. Nov. 15. sails wth mr W & Mr John Cotton à Boston.” Bottom half of letter badly mutilated.

    To Rowland Cotton,

    [30 July 1698]2055

    Latr end of July. 1698, MR John Cotton of Plimouth writes to his son RC2056

    “Mr Thomas says—This is ye story of mrs Bellevant. a man wo diverse months Before had some Provocation à woman, see ye Dafter but, took Her to be ye Person, & shot at Her (she walkg before Him) wth his Pistoll. It took Part of her sleeve: she ran into a shop; He after Her, shot a Bullet yt went through her Back that came out before Her. When He saw her Face, He cried; Lord have mercy! this is not ye Person. He ran away, was soon seized, pleaded Distraction: No doubt is hanged long agoe. It was printed in Old England, & will be Here.

    Mr Nelson came out when this ship did, in a Brigantine for NE.

    Mr Thomas says: His couz Ad winthrop2057 told him, The Case at Sudbury was, Mr Sherman wd tk in a woman yt hd bn vicious: 2 Brownes cheif men opposed: He with ye chh ld ym under Admonition: ye Council advise ye chh to tk it off, & Brownes hv ye Day

    Mr Prince most ingenuously writes to me2058—Mrs Prince is a penitent observer”

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To Mr Rowland Cotton at Sandwich.” Endorsed in an unknown hand: “1698 From Jno Cotton.”

    To Rowland Cotton,2059

    24 October 1698

    Plymouth october, 24: 1698:

    My Deare son

    This moment this bearer brought me a choice letter2060 from your Dearest2061 (who last week sent me 2 caps) I wonder I heare not a word from you this morning by honest Ele: Churchel,2062 who saw you yesterday at meeting; here I am in a poore desolate condition, not knowing what to doe, stirre I cannot one foot till I heare from you, though I am now ready to come at 2 houres warning, if God sayes come, if he sayes, stay, his will be done, J: Rick: & El: Rogers,2063 are ready for the first faire winde & Jos:2064 & his chest is to come in one of them, but I will not send any thing of mine, if they goe before you send to me; I wrote to you on friday by John Marsh,2065 but the [. . .] kept him here till saturday, soe that he [. . .] to keep Sabbath at Hingham, I hope by [. . . .] he hath given you my letters, which I [. . .] you will soone deliver as directed; if the foule weather hinder the vessels Loading, I may be soe ready as not to hinder them for me; I desire to rest in the will of God; your Bro: John will be here to night; parents salute you, o that I knew what God will doe in this matter: Jos, Love to you,

    I am in utmost haste, your Affectionate Father

    John Cotton

    mind your mothers Physick & marblehead:

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Hole along left margin.

    To Rowland Cotton,2066

    25 October 1698

    Plymouth October, 25: 1698:

    My Deare son

    your letters of Friday & two of Saturday I received2067 Monday night, & your Monday letter with one of saturday came by Mr crosby & done this morning, the Lord knowes what a five days & nights wee lived from Mr L’s2068 letter till yours came last night; Capt. Bennett from London is here & Mr Rankin (I thinke is his name who married widow Butler2069) a ship mr but now a passenger being bound by land, I venture these lines by: preparing every thing I can get butter living fowles etc. I have noe porke; there are gone from Ele-river about 10 Turkeys of James Warren’s in Tobias Oakes man,2070 I cannot speake with the owner or skipper, but noe other appearing, I wish Mr Fenwick2071 knew of them, that they might some of them be bought for the designe: I hope you had my letters by John Marsh & that Mr Rus:2072 had his before he comes homeward, I hope you will finde they doe noe hurt. I am astonished to heare that your uncle2073 should say, there is noe discouragement can it be true? My son John came hither last night, yours were then all well; you have bin a faithfull, tender child to your distressed parents, the Lord God of heaven remember it for ever & reward it in mercy; If wee saile not before the sabbath, I wish Cos: Tuft would bring me a horse to goe on saturday eve to his house, or that I might goe to the Castle; God direct, you will think what to doe for the best in that respect: I intend, God willing, if weather hinder not to come towards you on Thursday morning & hope to reach Cos: Mathers that night. Your place is provided for on the sabbath ergo doe not resolve to leave me soe soone as friday, if I must tarry longer, I know not how to live without you:

    If you like the enclosed, seale & give it to this desireable man: parents & 2 brothers salute you, God Almighty blesse you,

    I am, your affectionate Father

    John Cotton

    you say not, what says sister, I ghesse what; I feare C: sewall is slow in it:

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    To Rowland Cotton,

    3 November 1698

    Boston November, 3: 1698:

    My very Deare sonne,

    Whom I pray the God of heaven to blesse with all, but espetially with spirituall blessings in Christ Jesus; you may easily Judge that the exersises of my spirit are such that I am not soe capable of taking such a solemne farewell of you, as otherwise I would, you are a son whom God hath made a blessing to me & noe small comfort in all my trialls & difficulties, a fathers blessing therefore you deserve & have & shall have for ever; I commit you & all yours into the hands of God our Father in Christ, & doe very heartily salute your deare yokefellow, blessing God every day for his mercy in providing such a Companion for you, the Lord continue her a rich blessing to & with you for many yeares, that you may Live together as heires of the grace of Life: All particulars as to my selfe etc I have written in a large letter to my deare, mourning dove; I suppose sometime or other you will see it: I finde universall love & respect & many kindnesses as if there had never bin ought afflicting, soe good is God; wee waite only for a faire winde, if these raines & Easterly windes should continue 5 dayes longer, oh, how glad should I be to see you on monday night, but I hope & desire Gods hastning to smile on the voyage with winde & weather & despaire of once seeing you here before I goe; I am your Debtor for all your dutifull care in Journeying & doing soe much for me, I have noe way to requite it in part, but by bestowing 20 shil: on you from Roger which, I desire you to accept when payable; all my other, viz, son John & my 3 daughters have had as much now: you Living neerest, I pray you (which I know you will doe) asist your deare mother in all her affaires & comfort her to the utmost: farewell, my deare children, the Lord be your portion forever,

    I am, your affectionate Father

    John Cotton

    How reviving will a line from you now be?

    I told Mr sewall, perhaps you & your mother would desire the Judges in March to helpe her to my Arrears: He gave me one of Mr Noyes’s sermons2074 & says, each towne is to have some by order of court, in that way I hope you will have one, soe your mother may have mine I left with you; farewell, farewell, my son, my son!

    2075I thought it might not be amisse to whisper this is your eare, that there might be noe expectations of impossibilities:

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    To Rowland Cotton,

    9 November 1698

    Boston November, 9: 1698:

    My very Deare Son

    I that am wont to write soe often to thee, know not how to goe aboard without once more saluting thee, my loving & faithfull child: I hope God will helpe me to remember & never to forget the wormwood & the gall,2076 as also your coming last spring, I very easily discerne your meaning: A paire of Mr Bailys gloves I send you & a paire to your Bro: John with my Love: I have not worne them, the good man did a Litle: There will be very great need of your being fatherly in looking after the concernes of Theoph: the reasons I give are in my letters to your mother, all which you may read; I doubt not your care in looking upon my papers left in the basket & asisting my dearest in all she needs; My Bookes & all Manuscripts, pray let none be lost that may be of any use, but soe preserved among you my deare ones, that I may have them againe if God bring me hither; I finde as much love & respect as heart can desire; I doe desire you wisely to stand your ground as to Mr T:2077 set aside the word chh & yeild not an ace to him, for all is right you said & cause enough for it, & now Deare child, the God of all grace be with thee & blesse thy soule, body, wife, children & in all respects, & make thee a rich blessing to many soules; my most hearty Love to you & your Dearest; Let the wheel of prayer be ever going for me,

    I am, Thy Affectionate Father

    John Cotton

    salute the Elder & Mr Russell:

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Prince’s note: “Nov. 15 Cotton sails à Boston NE fr Charlstown, S. Carolina.”

    Diary entries by John Cotton,

    11 December 1698–14 September 1699

    [HE] set sail for Carolina on Tuesday Novr 15th 1698—where he arrived Decr 7 following: and I find this Ejactulation on that Day in his Journal (which I have in my Hands) ‘O Lord make me a Blessing here . . .’ Here he set himself to do all the Good he could & was very abundant & successfull in his Labours—He gathered a Church & was Settled Pastor of it March 15. He set up Catechising, Precht a Lecture once a fortnight, Had private meetings, private Fasts alone & with Others, Made frequent visits to the Sick, opposed Gainsayers, Satisfied the Doubtfull & was ye Instrument of Edifying and Quickening many Saints & Converting many Sinners. In the short time of his continuance amongst them there were many Baptized & about 25 New members recd to full communion. He had abundant Respect shown him especially by those that were Good, & also by some that were Great, even ye Govr himself. He was there counted Worthy of & Recievd double Honour—

    Decr 11 The first Sabbath after his arrival I find him breathing forth his Desires in this manner—‘Lord humble me & make me a Blessing indeed to many Souls’ on that Day he preacht on Matt 1.212078 and many seemed Affected—

    Agn January 2 After his Recieving a Considerable sum for his Labours, he writes thus, Lord make me thankfull for outward Supplies, but above all Prosper his Work in my Hands & make me Faithfull & Successful therein

    Feby 21st He writes thus,’I catechised 26 Persons Some of the Damsels after Catechising got alone in a chamber & Prayed together having been much affected with what they had heard. The good Lord carry on these Beginnings to a sound Work of conversion. The Eldest of ym was not 13. Some about 10 & under a Good Incouragement to feed Christs Lambs—

    March 10 The Govr had yesterday at my motion ordered me to Discourse him this morning, I did so & had all desireable Incouragemt as to his approbation of our Church Proceedings next Week—

    March 13. Much Distrest in Spirit, Cast down with thoughts of my approaching Work—

    March 15 The Day of Church Gatherng, I preacht Psal. 137.5.62079 We were five hours at meeting, I read ye Confession of Faith; The Church by lifting up of Hands chose me to be their Pastor, we read & by Standing up assented to ye Solemn Covent wch we had before subscribd wth our hands Mr Lord gave the Right hand of Fellowship in the name of their church many were much affected and Blessed God, etc.

    April 28. Church fast kept at Mr Jones’s I Pray’d & then preacht on Isaj: 53.6—God was graciously present with us in all the Work of the Day—

    May 2 A Day of Thanksgivinbg the Church kept publickly for our Gospel Enjoyments, Settlement of the Church &tc. I preacht on 1 Thess. 5:18—

    June 16 The Church kept a fast at Madm Simmons’s in Preparation for ye Sacramt A.M. I preacht on Matt 15:252080 (Mr Fenwick2081 &c Prayed) P.M. on 1 Cor: 11.282082—I read Mr Denings Letter to ye Church2083—& am to return their Thanks to him for his Christian Love & Respect therein—the Letter my Wife sent to the Sisters of ye Church in answer to theirs to her2084 was then publicly read—

    July 28 The Chh kept ye fast at Mr Alexanders I preacht A.M. on Psal 73:282085 then Sr Adams prayed &c. I preacht P.M. on 1 Cor 11:282086—I propounded to the Church to Considr seriously of & Prepare for ye Choice of Elders & Deacons—

    Sepbr 4—Many taken Sick in Town. I went & Spake to divers of ye Ch to Quicken them to prepare for ye Lords Supper, & Discourse with them about their Soul concerns—

    Septr 8th Our Ch Fast at Mr Jones’s for Preparation to the ye Lords Supper I Preacht A.M. Psal 85:62087 P.M. 1 Cor 11:282088—I spoke with Six more & agn wth seven more agn wth Eleven more &c about Preparation for ye Sacrament Many were much affected with ye Prayers & Sermons of this Day. It was now a very Sickly dying Time Septr 10 I then Spake wth two more of ye Church as on ye Six preceeding Days—I preacht A.M. on Psal 36.82089 P.M. on James 4.142090—38 Communicants of ye Ch 9 absent—Much of Gods Grace & Glory appeared this Day to many Souls in Sanctuary administrations

    Septr 13. I preacht on Colos. 3.22091 Set y affections &c

    which I suppose was ye Last sermon that he ever preacht—

    My Father kept a Journal or rather a Diary of Remarkable from the time of his going from New England to Septr 14. 1699 which was but four Days before his Death—a great sickness & Mortality that begun at Charestown Augt 17.1699 (wherein no less than 176 Persons died) carried off my Father Septr 18: 1699 in ye 60th year of his Life to the great Loss & Grief of ye People

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

    From Rowland Cotton,

    25 April 1699

    Plimo: Tuesday almost midnight Aprl. 25: 1699.

    Dear Sir.

    I suppose this is my Eighth Letter2092 to you, my Last sent to one Mr sanford, att Boston, a gentleman wo very civilly [to]ld Tho Smith yt If any of us wd send he would conveye This morne. Rob. Harpr:2093 brought me your letters2094 & from mother some account of you &c & her design to go boston tomorrow Early. & yt a vessell would sayle speedily to you &c out of Duty therefore & respect unto you not only as a father but as a friend & benefactor. I came this Evening hither. altho I have bin very ill for some time, & am now so much, I can hardly hold this pen—O Lord pitty me & be gracious to my dear family. amen—your letters to my self wife & mother I have read but can only give you a short Genll word.

    I am astonished & melt with Joy att ye wonderful grace of God to you & the Good souls with you. o yt I had such busines at Sandwich, wee seem to be sealed up. my wife sends you hearty duty Joan allin is with us. Elder & wife, prince & wife Bassett &c much salute you & rejoice. bass intends to write Mary2095 is ravisht & blesses you much—some of our town talk much of coming over If could gett a living in Carolina. wee cant conceive wt you mean as to [mrs?] Dominus &c wt is the matter. shee seemed choice. mother goes boston morrow whom I desire to send you all that is sendable—wee hear yt Betty is married. may 15.2096 (ye day yt or Govr setts out from york [to us?]). Bro Jno & I purpose East if God Pmitt. Phaps I may then write to you p pensilvania If I can. mother seems not to know what to do abt coming to you2097 I tell her she must go next fall. I suppose sheel write you her mind. tho if you Intend shee shd come you must send word what shee must bring from hence out of ye house &c—pray God Increase & continue your strength & succes. I can add no more. now save only hearty service to ye worthy mr fenwick2098 & his Lady tho unknown. & very true duty to yorself begging your constant prayers & blessing on me & mine

    I am Yor unworthy son,

    R. C

    where in ye world is yor Cuz Joseph Whiting—. tis now past midnight—my dear wife expects childing June or July.2099 James warren2100 has bought Tom Littles2101 house—

    Cotton-Prince Papers, Prince Library, Rare Book and Manuscripts, Boston Public Library.

    From Joanna Rosseter Cotton,

    13 July 1699

    plimouth July 13 1699

    my deare

    Your Letter of the 22 of May2102 I received on Saturday before commencement. Was glad to hear of your welfare the Lord continue it: sinc that a story is at Boston & all about the towns al though I heard it not til that you were dead it was talkt on 3 weaks or a month ago at Hingam you say you drempt I wear dead but yet the Lord strangly kepes me alive. I for the most part Live a diing life by reson of weaknes siknes & solitary Afflictions your Children are yet alive John never saw your Letters till lattely & hath not yet an opertunity but will & mr miller hath writ you one Letter2103 & now remembers his respects & Love Rolands wife hath brought him an Abigall on Lds day last all well you may know that I am very weak for I Could not go thither he durst not fetch me Josiah Theophilus & mariah are now heare with me son Cush2104 was hear yesterday staid but one night in town brings his wife next month poore Sarah is brought to bed of 2 sons william & John2105 baptised on the last Sabbath but one before the 2cond was born tooke her leave of Husbands & all her frinds wors of 2ond then ever of the first of all her children I now heare are sick deadpall good Captain Busall is dead2106 & buried 3 weak ago a bitter los to Salsbury & all ours there: Major townsends wife Leverits daughter died2107 last week & severall others in the hot wether Cotton Mather hath a son increas2108 [will:?] stockman is dead2109 Just as he came from sea to Boston: for plimouth a ruling & a teaching Eleder Litle & Fanne both to be ordaynd in Septem2110 when Litles hous is finished a great stately on betwen pound & nat Howlands, no death hear nor any where hardly through mercy John Tomas dround2111 at marshfeld but the dreadfullest newes of all is that our dear frind Bethyah Howland2112 it is feared by many will murder herself she holds such errors that her Brother thatcher wept to me & sayd he had rather heard she had been dead. She holds that thear is no man X Jesus in heven & saith she is the vergin mary the scripturs is all the X she is very brisk mery & well goeth about her busines Let him that thinks he stand take head Least he fall the begining of her trouble was a falling out with Jaby gorums wife a Jolly member & ordinary keeper to tending & proving before the minister & bethyah was advised by him Confes her fault both of them prety proud women her husband is mightely troubled the Lord pity them both her brother wishes I could talk with her but I cant go to her

    Joanna Rosseter Cotton to John Cotton Jr., July 13, 1699. Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

    I beleve nobody will give me anything hear for tables bedsteds cupbords chirs stools nor any thing els not one farthing come in of arears nor never will I beleve there is none in the world in my condition the [. . .]2113 of my hart are [. . .] open every [accont?] inward & outward yet I must [. . .]

    I sit in darkness pray for me & let all that feare god pray I leave you with the Lord & remaine your Afflicted & poor sickly wife

    Joanna Cotton

    my Love & respects to all your frinds

    as though I named them to you

    shall I take my dismission and to who

    I shall never come with out you come or send such as will be equovolent both men & a woman to fech me your oysters came safe & good so did everything

    I weare sent for to salsbury & wear at cos John Cottons he is glad to hear of your welfare & wishes you would [. . .] [loveingly?] to the church men and all other parswations won them by [. . .] I beg & your good example trust none no not the best men there [. . .] Tom Faunce the good Lord be your keeper some say have a [. . .] of the men [. . .] he prove a thorn in your side this people are [. . .] now at [. . .] then ever mr [. . .] & would not [help?] me goe to you for it will be so agoone quickly Lord [forbid?] think what I must go through the Lord strenthen me with strength in my soule fairwell I wish you well in my owne soule


    whether thes will ever com to you I know not we send as you advise I do no thing at al about busines which you writ about I canot

    the Lord direct you what to do & in what you would have me doe: you knowing how weak I am you must order & doe eviry thing acordingly I am quite weary of living hear my children would have them come to them I cant

    people & frinds Ask me what you heare [. . .] your there to [. . .] me with I know nothing but words that wil not do [. . .] may be lost & then wors then ever L pty2114

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    To Josiah Cotton,

    1 August 1699

    Charlestown in South Carolina Augt 1, 1699

    My very dear Son2115

    I have written every Letter that I intend now to Send to New-England, & Reserved yours to the very last, not because you least deserved my Remembrance, for I freely confess you have done much to merit my greatest Favour, and I shall retain a real affectionate Memorial that you were the only person that visited me last Jany from N.E.

    You testify your natural affection in Rejoicing at ye Good of your Father, & you did very well to go to Boston & Dispose of Letters &c. Only my child where did you learn to say Sunday? I am sure not of your Parents; I have so corrected that Word here that none of my People dare any more use it in my Hearing—I am glad to hear you have a numerous Family; The Lord give you Wisdom & Grace to Educate ym in all Respects so as may Glorify God & Render you very acceptable to that People—If you come with your Mother You will not need money to Pay your Passage I think. It is a great Mercy yt you are in a way to live Comfortably there, which makes me afraid to unsettle you by Removing hither; That Passage of yours You know not how soon you may be a Preacher—is very Refreshing to me; Hoping God in mercy will direct & quicken you to those studies yt may capacitate you for such special service to his Name, & here will be need enough of such; your Mother, Bror & Friends must weigh everythng, & the good Lord direct for the best. I believe I should Indulge your tarrying hence one year longer, were it not that the most intolerable Burden of your dear & precious Mothers Parting with so many dear Children, would have some Ease & abatement by your Company—I know how dear you are to her, & what Records she hath kept in Writing & in her Heart of Gods signal appearances to you: words; O that all might Ingage your heart to be for the Lord & him alone & that forever—If you find that Place full of Temptations, so it is every where; But O Pray in Secret night & day unto God, that you may be kept from every evil Way & Work: Look narrowly to your Thoughts in Secret; Let not an evil Thought be allowed in You—Your Doxology in the Close of your first Page hath a very gratefull Resentment with me. Mr Fenwick2116 I believe will write to you, he hath an intire Love & Respect for you, & is very much for your coming—God hath so graciously Settled me that I dur’st not favour one thought of unsettling—the Lord give you true Grace & purge your Heart from all sin, & make you a Blessing & dispose graciously for you in all Respects. I am your affectionate Father.

    John Cotton

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

    To [unknown],2117

    1 August 1699

    Beloved Friend—The first Lines of my Letter to your Bror.—Take as written to your self—for as was he so were you loving & faithfull to me in every Condition—A Reward of Grace be given to you both, from ye Lord on yt Acct. I remember you heartily Wisht my Lott might fall out not far from you & exprest your charitable hopes that my service might be profitable where God should Dispose of Me; I have reason to bless God whilst I live & forever for wt. God hath wrought for & by me, an unworthy Creatire—I am well satisfied with ye good Providence of God in bringing Me hither—A holy Minister from some Part of New-England wrote to me that I was sent from thence by Prejudice & Purchased here by Prayer; I know Man meant it unto Evil (I mean some Men) but God meant it unto Good to save some (O that it might be Many) souls. My Love to You & yr good Yoke Fellow, the Lord Bless you both wth all Manner of Blessings & all your Children; I shall be very glad to hear yt Converting Work goes forward amongst You, & yt Peace & ye Power of Godliness is much advanced in ye Church—&c.

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

    From Joseph Lord,

    7 August 1699

    Revd Sir

    I am Exceedingly Obliged to you for yor readiness to stand up in Vindication of my Lettr2118 as well as of ye Cause it pleaded for & I take notice of some things in yor Answr [to?] that Lettr of Mr Scriven’s2119 wc might have been Advantageously & to ye Purpose inserted in my Rejoindr; Yet Pray Sir don’t take it amiss, if I tell you yt I think one thing in it cannot be Defended: [Viz. That a Child may close wth Christ in a Promise] (I speak of it, because if any such thing shd be so sd or written to the Adversary, he will take advantage by it to Insult) Mr [Dan]niel Rogers will be against you in such an Assertion; And I cannot see yt Luke [1–12120] will Prove it: For Christ may take Possession of an Infant by his Spirit wn there is no Act of Faith in ye Infant laying hold on Christ in a Promise. Mr Brinsly2121 in his Vindication of ye Doctine & Practice of Pedobaptism2122 has a Passage to ye Purpose. As also (if I mistake not) Mr Marshal, in Answr to Tombs.2123 My Latter is not yet Gone to Mr Screven. Joseph Summr,2124 ye Intended Bearer, & Moses Way,2125 were both taken into full Communion wth ye Chh, Yesterday. How Mattrs stand wth Respect to our Delinqts ye Eldr (wc, I think, is going down) will give you an acct. In one of yor Lettrs you spake of three Deaths at Barnstable, wreas [whereas] we had an acct of but one: Viz: Elizabeth Allen.2126 News of ye Colledge & Courts, I suppose, you had; as also of ye Death of Madm Phillips2127 of Charlstown &c. othr nes from N. Engld. I had none, but only some generally known things if you cannot be wthout Information of. I am Suspicious yt our Neighbor Hawks is inclining to ye Anabaptists: because, Preaching (yesterday, was Sev’n night) on yt Passage of Isa. 49.8.2128 And give thee for a Covent of ye People;. In my Use of Information one Inference was, Hence they yt Exclude Infants from an Interest in ye Covt, exclude ym from Salvation. Because yy [they] exclude ym from Christ ye Author of Salvation Act. 4.12.2129 wc he had manifested Dissatisfaction abt, as an Inference wc he did not see into. O Passe graviera, Dabit Deus hu quog; finem;2130 But so long as we have enemies abt us we must Stand to our Arms. I Cease, being in haste, only Saluteing all Friends, & Subscribing my self

    Yours in Christ,

    Joseph Lord

    Dorchestr in Carolina

    Aug. 7. 1699.

    Clements Library, University of Michigan. Addressed “To ye Revd Mr John Cotton, Pastor of ye Church at Charlstown in Carolina, Deliver &c.” Endorsed “From Mr Lord August, 7: 1699:” In another hand: “to John Cotton.”

    To Rowland Cotton,

    [8 August 1699]2131

    pag, 5:

    [De]are son,

    [. . .] [acci?]dentally met with this letter2132 from Mr E:2133 to Mr P:2134 [. . . .] among our friends privately; I send it to you, partly that your [. . . .] mother & have one pleasant diversion with it whilst you are together, partly (though I cannot desire you to goe to salem on purpose yet) that you would use some meanes if possible to know of Mr Eppes whether Mr Pierpont sent him an answer to that letter, if he did I beleive it was as arch as his & I wish wee might have a copy of the answer to make us cheerfull here when your deare mother comes & send this also back againe that the right owner may have it; I will not expatiate on the 3 particulars; there is much truth on both sides, but all is not true on any side: of gaming; I will tell you a story; Mr Allison (son in Law to Mr wilkins2135 a sad debauche gamster, say not soe from me) hath issued out 2 writs agst one Dacres for debt, the one is a debt of five pd mony, the other twenty six pd, both due by bill; Playing together Dacres lost both games at Dice etc & the custom is, when a man hath lost to give bill to the winner to pay the money; these Actions are to be tryed before Judge Bohun,2136 Aug: 8: & one Capt Daisly sues the same Dacres to this court for fifty pd debt on the same account; & noe doubt the Plaintiffes will recover their debts; I spake the other day to Lantgrave Morton2137 (who of all the Councill is my most ingenous friend, comes to heare me each sabbath he is at towne & alwayes gives me one or 2 visits & though noe subscriber, yet freely gives me divers pounds) whether it were lawfull to allow such a debt, he pleasantly replyed, the Parliament of Engl: did allow such debts recovered provided they did not exceed an 100 pd, & he doubted not but the Judge would give it, soe that I see noe room for me to beare my Testimony agst such wickednesse; the Defendant pleads, the Plaintiffe cheated in the games: the poore man (above named) being neere death in towne went into the country for his health & soe far recovered as to requite Gods kindnesse with thus gaming & is come to towne to prepare for the happy court, having noe other way to get money; the place where these games were played was next door to the house where he lives of whom I have already written & I have reason enough to Judge that he was spectatour & actor therein: I hope you have the comfortable tidings (soe it is generally here) that poore Randolph is close Prisoner in Bermudas, the Govr Mr Day is a very hotheaded man (& Govr Blake who first told me of Rand’s imprisonment, said he would certainly humble him before he had done with him2138) & his mittimus2139 was upon suspition of his designing some evill agst the Government, the poore wretch could get noe money here, though he used base, sneaking tricks to trepan some merchants & ship masters, & is not likely to get much where he is; I doubt not your abundant [. . .] care to say & doe every thing that may accomodate your pretious mother in advancing this designe of her passage hither, which is most bitterly distressing to me when I think of her parting with so many of her limbs (as I may call her) but is it possible to be avoided? oh noe! Lord strengthen her faith, then all will be [well?] & God will restore by her much comfort & mercy to me; out of Cos: Mathers [. . .] you must heare our chh-trouble de Arthur Dicks, but his discovery & [. . .] [prove] much to our advantage, though for a time it was humbling to me & us a[lso?] I have written to you for 2 farmers already, I must send for a third, for my good Mr Jones hath a plantation neerer then Mr [Crotheres/Crosheyes?] a very choice one, Just over the water agst our very house, & I am sure a diligent, faithfull man would have a rich bargaine of it, & he might come to meeting every sabbath, the passage ordinarily would not be halfe an houre; good child, Labour in this matter, what I say for the encouragement of any will proove reall & more then I say, rather then lesse, I would not expose you to travells or losse of time about this affaire, but take all opportunityes that doe occurre to enquire & soe far to encourage, he will spare 2 negro’s to serve upon good termes; Major Boone2140 had lately his white man who was his overseer bitten by the toe as he was swimming his toe bit off, it is supposed he was by that creature kept under water & soe [drowne]d I propounded another for chh-fellowship last sabbath to [. . . .] if you have noe occasion to goe that way, he may [. . . .] to send one in answer & may transcribe it for me: Th[. . . .] most all quarters of the world & then is noe newes any where [. . . .] soone have it, If I should baptize a Jew professing Christ, I ghesse who will [. . .] a Boston-lecture, perhaps it may be ripened before the ship goes: Mr Nicholas Trot,2141 a Kings Atturney Gen: here, telles me Rand: wrote letters to the King agst Govr Day, Day intercepted them & therefore clapt him up, but he sayes, noe doubt Day will speedi[ly] be turned out by the coming of a new Govr, & then Rand: will ruine Day for thus abusing him.2142 might I beg one favour of you? i:e: never to have a Nero in your family one day longer, he was soe horribly vile & infamous that I cannot beare the name in an[y] of my families, Cesar, Cyrus, Hector, & a 100 more are a 1000 times better, I hope you will change his name for my sake, who have in every thing done to the utmost for me; A state[ly] gowne of sad stuffe such as Bro: M: or his son weare, made & brought with your mother will cover my meaner clothes on the sabbath: As to the Jew (it being now Aug: 7:) say nothing, because he is gone into the Country & I have not since spoken with him & also some of the chh [officers?] have bin tampering with him to get him to accept the signe of the cross, soe that the issue is very uncertaine; All conclude here that Pyrates will depart the American coasts before your mother comes to saile, Lord preserve her, & strengthen her faith; Every week, these divers weekes hath brought in a vessell & within these 4 dayes, 4 are come in, salt is here but 1 shil: 3 penc: a bushel; Mr Jones telles me he know Mr Pierpont did send an answer to Mr Eppes & read it to him, I hope you will not faile to send both to me. Aug: 8: 2 vessels come in today one from Pensilvania & the other from the Bay of etc: the Jew is come to me this morning lively in his good motions, soe that now I forbid not your speaking of it as you please: These way & Bacon order their bills to Linne, soe that it will be but one trouble, [you?] will not faile to asist your deare mother in getting the same, & let all be don according to my desire soe far as may stand with other necessities & conveniences. My hearty love to you & your deare mate, the good Lord delight to blesse you & all my deare Lambs your children; To his rich grace I commend you all, & rest

    your Affectionate Father

    John Cotton

    Mr Cocks, who brought me hither, hath this last weeke most basely & sordidly reflected upon Mr Fenwick, & reviled him without any Just cause, & called him privateer2143 & used many other wicked expressions, he was vext because [. . .] Bridgham had given commission to Mr F: to minde his part of the [. . .] & fraight, this cocks is a rotten Anabaptist never comes to our meeting [but?] to heare Gilbert Ashley,2144 little did I thinke he would have prooved soe unworthy a fellow, yet I think to write to you by him next week, or by Mr Adams the merchant of Robert Meares’s ship, who intends to come with him, this Mr Adams married Mr Dean Winthrops daughter2145 of Pullen Point, cousen Germane to Mris Thomas of Plym: he always comes to our meeting & carryes it civilly to me: Mr Bennett of N:E: in a great fly boat from Barbados wants but a high tide to bring him over the barre to us: poore Mr Allison dyed Last saturday & now court sits today, but he cannot prosecute his two actions against Dacres (a villaine that came with Randolph) the one was for [5] pd, the other for 26 pd, which Allison won at gaming, but hath none [. . .] ever [. . .] meares (who came full of logwood) his ship is condemned for rotten & is to be bur[ned?]

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Many small and several large mutilations along all margins.

    From Joseph Lord,

    5 September 1699

    Revd Sir,

    Having been hindered from saying so much before by Lettr, These Lines may Inform you yt I am bettr Satisfied about ye Defensibleness of ye Actual Faith of Infants,2146 altho’ Mr Daniel Rogers is so Positive to ye Contrary, yt his words are, “Pitifull is their shift who have no bettr way to stop an Anabaptist’s mouth, but to say an Infant may have Faith.[”] But wt my mind is on those Scriptures yt you Produced, I have not liesure now to write fully. But there is another thing, in wc I wd desire you to give me Grounds of yor Opinion. The Eldr Informs me yt you signified it to be yor mind, yt Children of ye Chh are not to be Excommunicated. Agt wc having sd yt it seems to me yt ye Nature of the thing Requires, not Exclusion from ye Chh, but a rendering ym [. . . Heathens publicans], wn [. . .2147] do that requires ye Highest Censure yt ye Chh can lay upon them; Since ye Chh [. . .2148] ym into that Visible Interest in God wc they [have?] it seems but Rational yt, upon their visibly casting God off, ye Chh shd. Pronounce ym wthout such Visible Interest: I must desire you to send me wt defect you see in my plea, & what Grounds ye Contrary Judgmt is founded on.

    If wt I mean be not avidt. to you (for I write in haste), I shall be ready to explain my self, wn you signify so much to me, It being my desire yt in yt [. . .] unto we have attained, we may walk by ye same [. . .] & speake ye same thing.

    I have sent my Rejoindr to Mr Screven’s Lettr, to Mrs [Gates?], for her Perusal, & to be transmitted from thence to him.

    My self & Wife Salute yor self Mr & Mrs Jones2149 & [all or] friends, wc aftr Desiring yor Continued Prayrs for us all, is [. . .2150] from him who is in Reality

    Yors in the faith of Christ

    Joseph Lord


    Sept. 5. 1699

    Yors of Aug. 17.2151 gave me an acct. of a strange piece of Preposterousness; yt a Covent shd be sealed before it was mad[e] And a Circimstance [. . .] wc you tell me of [. . .] ye Pr[. . . .] who (as it is [. . . .] saluted by [. . . .]

    Clements Library, University of Michigan. Addressed “To ye Revd Mr John Cotton Pastor of ye Chh at Charlstown, Delivr &c.” Endorsed in an unknown hand “[ ] 1699 from Rev Joseph Lord of Charlestown S.C.” Tear along right edge.

    From Cotton Mather to Joanna Rosseter Cotton,

    23 October 1699

    Boston. 23. 8m 1699

    My dear Aunt

    You have erred unto God in your Distresses: Behold how Hee Extricates you!

    Wee can Expect no Vessel from Carolina this Winter, and I suppose there is none going from New England thither.

    By way of N. York wee have Letters of Advice from thence. They inform us, That by an infected Vessel, arriving <there> at Charlestown, ye horrible plague of Barbados was brought into the Town. About ye Latter End of September, it had been there, Little above a fortnight. In this Little Time, it had made an Incredible Desolation; I think many above an Hundred were Dead; and so many more Lying at ye point of Death, that ye Dead were carried unto their Graves in Carts.

    <They> Mr Fenwick, and others Write, that all the ministers in Charlestown, were Dead; but they mention the Death, of their Precious Pastor, my Uncle, as the most Killing Disaster, they had yett mett withal. In their Confusion they tell us not ye precise Time of his Death; nor do they relate any circumstances of it, only That hee lay sick Two Dayes, and hee Dy’d the Third. which is the period whereat the sick of that pestilential Distemper use to dy. That circumstance will make you think of Lazarus; and you’l join with mee in hopes, That my Uncle was one whom the Lord Loved.

    I need not say unto you, how near the Death of so beloved a Friend goes to the Hearts of his Relatives in this Town and in a special manner to mine. I had not many Friends on Earth; Like him.

    But in the midst of or Sorrowes, on this deplorable occasion wee have not only the general Consideration of Christianity to bee or Consolations; but wee have a peculiar satisfaction in the Lords accepting my Uncle to Dy with Honour, in the Service of the Gospel and Kingdome. As it was no great mercy (I beleeve) unto plymouth for their Laborious, and Good-Spirited, and well-Tempered Pastor to be driven from them, so it was a great Mercy unto my Uncle, to bee Employed in gathering a church for the Lord Jesus Christ, in a Countrey, that had never seen such a Thing, from the Beginning of the World. Wee understand from all hands the hee was extraordinarily serviceable to the Interests of religion, and that hee Enjoy’d Great Esteem and as Great Success. And now at Last, being so Little short of Sixty, and having seen his Children, all so far, and so well, brought up, their are in all these things very sensible mitigations of or Calamity in Loosing him.

    [Ho]wever none of these things, make it cease to bee a calamity and an Affliction, which calls upon us to Humble orselves, and prepare for or own approaching Change, and abound in agreeable supplications.

    Your Distress, about your Voyage to Carolina, being thus at an End, I pray the everlasting Husband of the Widow, to Direct you and Comfort you, in Every other Distress, (for One seldome comes alone,) and give a comfortable Issue to all. So I subscribe, and approve myself

    Your kinsman & servant,

    Cotton Mather

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society.

    From Theophilus Cotton to John Cotton,

    26 October 1699

    octob: 26. 99.

    Dear Bro

    yesterday morning I came away from plimouth got in here about sun sett, and going up to [Morse-es?], I met with mr Tom Smith, who told me he was sorry for my Loss, wt Loss saith I? why saith he hant you heard yet, no said I why said he yr father is Dead, o never was I struck into such Amasement in my Life he told me also yt yr was an 100. 50 dead in it says as all ye ministers of ye town are Dead, with a plague wch a Barbadian Brought yr; [. . .] Lived over 3 Dayes yn yy Recove[reed] father died 3rd day o Lord Lett it be for our good. ye newes came by ye way of new york. I have heard no more about it <about &> yet. I am going to Deacon Bridgams, he hath Letters from thence. I must End Bec: Hodge is just agoing.

    I Remain your Loving Bro

    T. Cotton

    I am att a great stand wt to Do, I have a great mind to go to plimouth.

    Miscellaneous Bound Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society. Addressed “To ye Revd. Mr .John Cotton att yarmouth with all possable speed I pray. p mr Hodge Q.D:C.” Prince notes, “In a Letter à mr Josiah Cotton at Marblehead of nov. 9. 1699 to his Br Rowland, He writes ‘ye Death of my Father, wn he was wonderfully imployed for ye conversion of souls, was far distant à my Thoughts—I wonder mr Fenwick had not writ more particularly in his Letter about it (for he only says—our Precious Cotton is Dead.