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have been devised more injurious and extravagant. It was paying under a fascinating prospect of gain, a much larger sum, than the citizens would have been obliged to contribute by regular rates. Nor was this all. Many will recollect the time consumed in drawing the numerous classes of this lottery, the idleness and consequent dissipation it induced, to say nothing of its natural tendency to beget a love of gaming.
1786. During the rebellion of Shays, the town was quite loyal to government, and a number of the citizens joined General Lincoln's army and continued with him till the rebels were dispersed. A delegate was sent to the county convention at Leicester, in August, 1786 ; and some of the proceedings of that body were accepted by the town: the articles relating to a change of the Constitution and to an issue of paper money were rejected without hesitation.
From 1790, to 1794, a hospital was kept open in town, under the direction of Dr. Israel Atherton, for the purpose of inoculating for the small pox; and in 1801, he was directed to ascertain the efficacy of the kine pock.
In 1798, a proposition to divide the County, was negatived, but three votes being cast in favor and one hundred and seven against it.
On the death of Washington, an Eulogy was delivered by Rev. Dr. Thayer; the pulpit was shrowded in black, and the audience wore emblems of mourning.
One family of the society of Shakers, a branch of the society in Shirley, resides in this town. Their reputation for good order, and industry, and consequent thrift, makes them useful citizens. the peculiarities of their religious worship the public must be well acquainted. With due credit for their sincerity, their diligence renders them a good example in the neighborhood in which they live.
During the violence of party conflict, a greater degree of union and good fellowship was preserved here, than in many other places, and did not give rise, as, in some instances elsewhere to religious dissensions and lasting bitterness. Quiet and harmony now reign in the midst of us ; the population and wealth of the town are increasing more rapidly than at any period, within the memory of our aged people. The local situation combines advantages, as a place of retirement for the man of leisure and fortune, whilst an abundance of highly productive soil renders it favorable for the pursuits of agriculture.
In 1823, the old meeting house was taken down, and a neat building, with a portico in front, was erected in its place. In this, the meetings of the town are held for all municipal purposes.
ECCLESIASTICAL History.-- In the act of incorporation of the town, the General Court ordered the inhabitants 6 to take care that a Godly minister be maintained among them.” In the fall of the same year, (Nov. 1653,) when the allotments of land were completed, the planters entered into mutual covenants for themselves, their heirs, &c. and set apart" thirty acres of upland, forty of intervale, and twelve of meadow, forever as church lands for the use of, and towards the maintenance of the minister, pastor or teacher for the time being, or whomsoever may be stated to preach the word of God;" permitting the minister “to improve* the lands himself if be should so chouse.” They further covenanted to build a meeting house for the public assembly of the church and people of God, to worship God according to bis holy ordinances;" the building to be erected - as near to the church lands and to the neck of land as can be without any notable inconvenience." Also 6 to build a house for the minister on the church lands." Each one agreed to pay ten shillings annually for his home lot towards the support of the minister, and to make up the deficiency, if any, in the salary, by an equal rate. To exclude heresy, as we have before seen, 66 and for the better preserving of the purity of religion, and themselves from infection of error,” they agreed 6 not to distribute allotments of land, nor to receive into the plantation as inhabitants, any excommunicante, or otherwise profane and scandalous, none so to be ; nor any notoriously erring against the doctrinet and disci. cipline of the churches, and the state and government of the Commonwealth.”
* The word in this sense, (occupy) was in use in New England soon after the first settlemet of the country. I have met with it earlier than 1658, in a number of instances. Dr. Franklin is in error, in supposing that this corruption was not till the eighteenth century.
+ Toleration was considered a high crime, both by the clergy and laits, in the seventeenth century. Our early writers discover great indignation and bitterness when they touch upon the subject. Ward, in his simple Cobler of Agawam, says, “ The state that will give liberty of conscience in matters of religion, must give liberty of conscience and conversation in their moral laws, or else the fiddle will be out of lune, and some of the strings crack.” “It is likewise said that men ought to have liberty of their conscience, and that it is persecution to debar them of it. I can rather stand amazed than reply to this ; it is an astonishment to think that the brains of men should be parboiled in such wilful ignorance. Let all the wits under the heavens, lay their heads together and find an assertion worse than this, (one excepted, and I will petition to be chosen the unirersal idiol of the world.” pp. 8, 12, Ed. 1647. "Master Joseph Rowlandson,” the first minister of Lancaster, commenced bachelor at Cambridge in 1652, with all the honors of his class, as he appears to have constituted the whole of the class of that year. Of his ancestry* or the time or place of bis birth, I know nothing. Cotton Mather calls him an author of " lesser composures.”† What these were, I venture to say, after diligent inquiry, is not to be discovered. Mr. Rowlandson began to preach in Lancaster as early as the summer or fall of 1654. In February following, (12, 12 mo. 1654,) he subscribed the town covenant, which I have before mentioned, and received his allotment of land. The commissioners, at their meeting, April 25, 1656, directed the town to pay Mr. Rowlandson “fifly pounds by the year,” taking "s wheat at six pence per bushel,” under the usual price, " and as God shall enlarge their estates, so shall they enlarge therein answerably,” &c. lo September, 1657, the Commissioners ordered the selectmen “ to take care for the due encouragement of Master Rowlandson, and also for the erecting a meeting house,” &c. In compliance with these orders, a house for worship was erected soon after. A town meeting was held in it in June, 1658. It was situated on the north east side of what is now the new burying ground, on the brow of the bill, opposite to Mr. Rowlandson's house, and about one third of a mile a little to the west of south of the present church. In August, 1657, the town conveyed to Mr. Rowlandson “ by deed of gist,” the house and land that had been set apart for the use of the ministry. After preaching in town nearly four years, he probably became discouraged as to the prospect of being invited to settle, and gave out his intention of removing from town. Whether this was done in sober earnest, or was merely to bring the town to terms, is only a matter of conjecture at this late day. The following extract from the records has some point, and perhaps will bear being quoted.
- Monday 3, 3 mo. 1658. On the certain intelligence of Master
* 1 may qualify this remark in a measure. Thomas Rowlandson, who, I think, was his father, died in Lancaster, Nov. 17, 1657. At the County Court in Middlesex, April, 1658, “ Mr. Joseph Rowlandson brought into Court the inventory of his father's estate, and had Administration granted to him." By another entry in April Term, 1659, it appears that “the return of Mr. Rowlandson and his brethren concerning their father's estate, was accepted.” His brother Thomas was killed, as we have seen, when the town was destroy
" Not only have we had a Danforth, a Nathaniel Mather, a Hoar, a Rowlandson, &c. the authors of lesser composures out of their modest studies, even as with a Cæsarean section, forced into light; but also we have had an Hubbard, an Isaac Chauncey, a Willard, a Stoddard, the authors of larger composures." Magpalia, book 4, part I.
Rowlandson's removing from us, the selectmen treated with him te know what his mind was, and his answer was, his apprehensions were clearer for his going than for staying. They replied they feared his apprehensions were not well grounded, but desired to know his resolution. He said his resolutions were according to his apprehensions, for ought he knew. Then the selectmen, considering it was a case of necessity for the town to look out for other supply, told Master Rowlandson, that now they did look upon themselves as destitute of a minister, and should be forced to endeavor after some other; so discharging him.
“ Friday 14, 3 mo. 1658.* A messenger came from Billerica to fetch Master Rowlandson away ;t upon which, the town having notice given them, came together with intent to desire him to stay and settle amongst us : and, after some debate, it was voted as follows:
661. Whether it were the mind of the town to invite Master Rowlandson to abide and settle amongst them in the work of the ministry. The vote was affirmative by the hands of all held up.
66 2. Whether it was their mind to allow him for maintenance fifty pounds a year, one half in wheat, six pence in the bushel under the current prices at Boston and Charlestown, and the rest in other good current pay, in like proportions ; or, otherwise, fifty five pounds a year taking his pay at such rates as the prices of corn are set every year by the Court. The vote was affirmative by the hands of all held up.
53. Whether they were willing that Master Kowlandson should have the dwelling house which he lived in as his own proper right according to the deed made by the town and confirmed by the committee; with the point of land westward, and some land west, and some north, of his house, for an orchard, garden, yards, pasture and the like.
“ This was put to the vote and granted by the major part, (and opposed by none but old Goodman Kerley,I only there was a neuter
* Mr. Harrington says this was April 14, 1658. This is a mistake : the original record, in Ralph Houghton's hand writing, is distinct, 14, 3 mo. (May) 1658.
+ The meaning is, that he was invited to preach in Billerica. Afterwards, in the same year, Rev. Samuel Whiting began to preach there, and was ordained in April, 1663. “ Hist. Memoir of Billerica,” by John Farmer Esq. pp. 8–9.
Goodman Kerley (William Kerley, senior,) seems to have continued in a wrathful state of mind for some time; for though one of the number appointed to manage the municipal concerns of the town, he did not attend the meetings of his brethren; it being a usual entry in the records that the Selectmen met at such a time and place, all excepting Goodman Kerley.
or two) with this proviso, that it hindered not the burying place, the highway, convenient space to pass to the river, and the land* intended to be for the dext minister, &c.
“ And upon this, Master Rowlandson accepted of the towns invitation, and gave them thanks for their grant, and agreed to the motion, concerning his maintenance, and promised to abide with us in the best manner the Lord should enable him to improve his gifts in the work of the ministry."
Mr. Rowlandson was, there is reason to believe, a man of good talents and a faithful minister.t Cotton Matber and all traditions are in his favor. I can gather no particulars relative to bis ministry: the early records of the town being lost, and those of the church probably consumed, when the town was destroyed. Nothing can be found relative to his ordination.
Mr. Harrington supposes that Mr. Rowlandson was ordained the same year that he accepted the invitation of the town. But there is reason to believe that this did not take place till September, 1660, more than two years after. The church, it seems, was not organized till that time. This is a fair ivference from the entry in the records of Dorchester, that on the “ 26th August, 1660, Roger Sumner was dismissed” from the church in Dorchester, “that with other christians, at Lancaster, a church might be formed there."| Church is here spoken of as distinct from congregation. At that period, the law of 1641 was in force, wbich first established the right to gather churches, vesting in them the power of electing the pastor, &c.—and according to the Cambridge platform, chap. ix. s. 3, 4, 5, Ordination, which was by imposition of hands, was to be performed by the elders of the church ; and if there were no elders, then by some of the brethren selected for that purpose, or, if the church desire it, by the elders of other churches.
No instance under the law of 1641 occurs to me, in which a minister was ordained without the intervention of the church ; the strictness that was then introduced continued many years, and was kept in full vigor by an explanatory statute in 1668. It is then a reasonable supposition in the absence of all opposing testimony,
* This probably was the land opposite to the residence of the late Samuel Ward Esq. and extending towards the north east, and next to John Prescott's estate.
† Mary Gates, daughter of Stephen Gates, of Lancaster, " for bold and unbecoming speeches used in the public assemblies, and especially against Mr. Rowlandson, the minister of God's word there," upon evidence of John Pregcott and others, was convicted. She acknowledged the offence and was discharged on paying for the attendance of the witnesses. Middlesex County Court Records, 1658
$1 Mass. Hist. Col. ix. 192