478 Hearing on Samuel Bird

    [April 25 1744]

    Bird ownes that he askt Mr. Bowman312 whether he was a demi God that he must shew him so much respect as to speak to him with his hat of. He owns Mr. Bowman spoke to him 2 or 3 times about his disrespect and yet continued his hat on his head and when Mr. Bowman asked him why he did not come to him when sent for, he told Mr. Bowman twas his duty to come to him consonant to the direction of the Gospel.

    Mr. Bowman says when he insisted on his uncovering his head Bird told him twas a black mark on him for insisting on so much deference, but Bird says he said that with respect of Opposers because they did not talk of religion more and twas the same thing as if he had said it of Mr. Bowman himself. Being askt if he had not said Mr. Bowman was unconverted, he said not but had said before Witheringtons family he beleived he was unconverted and had prayed that if he was unconverted he might be converted and if he did not belong to the line of [Eliakim?] he might be thrown out.

    Bird being askt whether he had not said he would contend for separation and the work of God he said he told Mr. Bowman that he thought such as separated from him were the best people and had commended their separation.

    Being askt whether he did not say if he were in danger of expulsion upon complaint of him he would not give a groat to avoid it, he owned he had spoke to the same purpose but meant it with this reserve, viz in comparison with the liberty of his conscience.

    Being askt if he had not said he was not afraid of all the Colleges in the world, this he denyed but Mr. Bowman and Mr. Mayhew said Mr. Curtis313 told them he said so to him. Being askt if he had not prayed in Company that Mr. Bowman might be converted or thrown out of the ministry he said that Prayer was Conditional that if he was unconverted he might be thrown out.

    Being askt whether he had not said he had weighed Mr. Bowman in a ballance and found him wanting and that he had not one qualification of a Gospel Minister he said he said this only to Mr. Bowman himself. NB. Mrs. Dyer says he said it to her.

    Being askt if he did not say (viz. to some in Dorch[ester]) he would not set under Mr. Bowmans Ministry for a 1000 worlds he said he did.

    Being askt whether he did not say Mr. Bowman was a Ignis Fatuus he denyed it Mr. Larnham says he said so to him who is an honest man and said to Mr. Bowman he did not understand the meaning of the words.

    Being askt if he did not advise his Uncle How not to hear Mr. Bowman preach he denyed it. This testifyed by some.

    Being askt if he did not in Mr. Dunbars314 parish pray for the dead Minister of the place he denyed it.

    Bird says hel confess his ill manners to Mr. Bowman vid. 1st article says he was apprized of the Colledg Law Cap. 2d, Law 11.

    Mr. Bowman and March315 say that Trescot told them that Bird prayed at Timothy Tilestones and expressed himself about the minister of the Town as a dumb dog that could not bark. This Bird denyed but acknowledged he had done so with a general respect to the ministers of the country and had allowed himself to speak of some ministers after that manner.

    Bird acknowledged that he said Mr. Dunbar was an opposer of the spirit of God but ment only as he was an opposer of the work of God.

    Bird behaved rudely to Mr. Bowman at his fathers house Jan. 16 last two days after he had said to us that he would not justify his ill behavior.

    Mem. Apr. 25 1744 Bird being before the President and Tutors and Mr Winthrope316 said he was ready to confess his disrespectful and undutyful carriage to Mr. Bordman, mentioned article 1st, and when askt upon the other articles particularly one by one whether he would confess any miscarriage he said he would not and that he was fixt in that resolution where upon he was advised to go and think whether he had nothing further to confess and upon his desiring some considerable time to think on it he was told he must be ready for it whenever we called him again for we did not know how soon that might be, therefore he must doe it quickly and had had a long time being examined often and at distant times upon these articles.

    3 Mr. Bordman he Bird says is unqualifyed for the ministry because he treats his people arbitrarily, viz. a young mens meeting he pretends an authority to appoint what minister to preach to them.

    That he did not preach according to the Gospel in that when he preaches against sinners it come to no more than against open scandalous sinners and never preaches the Doctrines of original sin, Election, Justification by faith, Regeneration. He never heard him preach against Hipocrasy. He does not know whether he should have spoke so freely about things he is charged with but as to the things themselves he is of the same mind he ever was.

    5 When the president told him he had been treated with great lenity he said he did not deny it. Dr. Wigglesworth askt him if he desired any further time to which he made no answer.

    [Here begins a separate sheet; a line at the tap is cut off.]

    The Reverend Mr. Bowman of Dorchester

    Bird being ask’d by Mr. Bowman why he didn’t come to him when he sent for him, replied that it was Mr. Bowman’s Place to come to him if He had any Thing to say to him. And when reprov’d by Mr. Bowman for talking to him with his Hat on his Head, said to Mr. Bowman, “are you a Demi-God, that I must shew you so much respect? it is a black mark upon you that you insist upon it.” Mr. Bowman enquiring of Bird concerning his declaring him (Mr. Bowman) unconverted, Bird acknowledged that he had said, that he believed Mr. Bowman to be unconverted. Bird also at the same Time told Mr. Bowman, that he intended to contend earnestly for the Truth, and being ask’d by Mr. Bowman, what Truth? He (Bird) replied “Separation and the Work of God.” Mr. Bowman intimating to Bird that there was danger of his being expelled the College, if he should be complained of, Bird said he wouldn’t give a Groat to avoid Expulsion.

    Reverend Mr. Curtis of Stoughton

    Mr. Curtis observing to Bird that he was greatly obliged to Mr. Bowman, for not complaining of him (Bird) to the Governors of the College, Bird replied, “I am not afraid of all the Colleges in the World.”

    Two Leeds of Dorchester

    Bird prayed at Timothy Tilestones, that Mr. Bowman might be converted or turned out of the Ministry. And this in the Hearing of many Persons, particularly of two young Men, whose name is Leeds.

    Mrs. Dyar of Dorchester

    Bird told one Mrs. Dyar of Dorchester, that He had weighed Mr. Bowman in the Ballance and found him wanting, and that he hadn’t one Qualification of a Gospel-Minister.

    The Widow Tilestone and one Lardner and one How of Dorchester

    Bird told the Widow Tilestone, in the Hearing of one Larnham317 that he (Bird) wouldn’t sit under Mr. Bowman’s Ministry for ten thousand worlds. Bird also in the Hearing of said Larnham called Mr. Bowman an Ignis fatuus, and in the Hearing of the Widow Tilestone or Larnham Bird advised his Uncle How not to hear Mr. Bowman preach.

    Captain Talbot of Stoughton

    Captain Talbot heard Bird pray, in Mr. Dunbar’s Parish, for the dead Minister of the Place.

    [On reverse]

    Account of Bird’s Behavior

    4. He when he was askd whether he had any thing further to say upon the several Articles, he said he had somthing lying in his mind and that was, That (tho’ he was satisfied he was not wrong in his tho’ts of the Things he had been examined upon) yet had some doubt whether he ought to have spoken so freely of Them as he had done, upon which he was further demanded of whether he could say now that he had done ill in speaking so freely of Them. To which he answered in the Negative. 1. askd whether he had any thing further to acknowledg then the the last time to which318 …

    [Here begins a separate sheet]

    Account of what Mr. sais concerning Bird when at Newton

    That Bird prayed publicly at Newtown when Mr. Pain319 exhorted.

    At Newton about Six weeks.

    The great Thing Mr. Parker saies he can say of Bird is that He frequented Mr. Pain’s Meetings while he was at Newtown and consorted with his (Pains) followers when he was gone.

    That He never heard him say any thing against our College in particular, nor against the Government of it.

    Thomas Clarke supposed to have heard him exhort. Mem. partly a new light, but an honest man.

    John Hammond Senior a new light, supposed if he would, to be able to witness to Birds exhorting.

    John Brown320 Ditto can witness to Ditto.

    I sent also for Mr. Clarke who could say nothing of him worth noting. Particularly said when he was at his House (where he lodged) that he did not hear him say any Thing against the College as to the government or Governors of it.

    That He could not say that he exhorted, &c.

    College Papers, 1. 83–84 (Nos. 173–175). Samuel Bird, member of the Class of 1744, came from a Dorchester family, members of which, were interested in the New-Lights, and thus were at odds with the regular ministry. His case is recorded on pages 193–197 and 202–212 of the first book of Faculty Records; much of the testimony is duplicated here. He was expelled on May 11, 1744, but went on to become a prominent minister in New Haven; see Sibley, Sketches (Shipton), xi. 359–364.