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and only the south-easterly end of it is in Rochester. Its operation is confined to the winter season, and then it is very productive.


This town supports twenty-four months of publick schools in a year, besides about thirty-two private schools in the spring, summer and fall, and about sixteen private schools in the winter season. Writing is brought to great perfection in this town, and there are few people. in this town, who are not pretty well instructed in reading, writing and arithmetick. There are not many who have received collegiate education that belong to this town for fifty years last past. Samuel West, D. D. Benjamin West, John Sprague, Zepheniah Briggs, Thomas Hammond, Mead, Elnathan Haskell, Anselm Bassett, William Ruggles and Nathaniel Cobb are all that are now recollected by the writer. It is believed that the late Brigadier Ruggles was the first native of this town, who received a collegiate education. After him John Sprague, the late chief justice of the county of Worcester, had a collegiate education; and it is not now remembered that any other inhabitant of this town has had a publick education.


It appears that this town was incorporated in 1686, but the oldest records that are now to be found go no further back than 1697. Their first representative appears to have been chosen in 1718, namely, John Hammond. The whole number of different representatives which they have chosen is twenty-eight, and as late as 1786, they had had but fourteen different representatives. The reason why the number has so increased since is not owing to the frequent changes; but sometimes they have chosen two, sometimes three, and once four. The whole number of town clerks, which this town has had is eleven. The whole number of justices, which have been appointed in town, is thirty; five of whom have been of the quorum, and one through the common

wealth. There are in said town fifteen merchants' shops

or stores.

A considerable number of the inhabitants go to the southern states to spend the winter season; some mechanicks to work at their respective trades; a number of masters of vessels, with their crews, to coast up and down in the rivers. Some go for piloting; and when they arrive there, they are sure of having the preference. This southern business is far from being unproductive. The whole of the adventurers two years ago returned with about $75,000, the result of their business.


The prudential affairs of the town are conducted by a board of three selectmen, who are generally the assessors of taxes. The collection of taxes is annually sold to the lowest bidder, who is holden to procure securities to the selectmen's satisfaction; and then he is chosen constable, and is to warn all town meetings free of fees. The demands against the town are adjusted annually by a committee of nine chosen annually for that purpose. For a long time the poor of the town were billeted out separately to those who would support them cheapest; and some were partially assisted by the selectmen, as occasion required. But in this mode the number of the poor and the expense of supporting them had so alarmingly increased, that the town totally altered the system, provided a poor house, and appointed an overseer, and by that means have greatly diminished the expense; and it is hoped that some improvement in the system will still further relieve the inhabitants from this kind of expense. Two years ago the accounts allowed by the committee on accounts amounted to $1515,77. This year the amount was a little above $600.


The number of inhabitants is something rising of three thousand. The exact number I do not presume to ascertain; for there is a variance between the number as taken by the officer in the last census, and that taken


by the constable the same year; and which is most correct the writer of this does not undertake to determine. About one thirtieth part of the population of this town are above seventy years of age; the hundred thirty-ninth part are above eighty years of age; and the five hundredth part are above ninety; and within one year last past, six persons of more than eighty years of age have died or removed out of town. In the spring of the year 1816, a fiftieth part of the population of this town were swept away by an epidemick distemper. Owing to emigrations the increase of the population of this town has been very slow. In 1784 the population was a little rising of two thousand four hundred.

ENGLAND, MAY 8, 1734.t


My friends at New England will forgive me if I am not so punctual and express in my present answer to their last letters; for having made a slow and long work of the removal of our abode to Newington, near London, my papers are not all so ready at my command as they will be. Yours of last October is before me, and I thank you for the account you give me of the affairs

* The number of persons in Rochester, who are more than seventy years of age, is one hundred thirty and one.

This letter was given to me by Asahel Stearns, Esq. professor of law in Harvard College. It was probably written to Rev. Dr. Colman, or Rev. Thomas Prince, both of whom corresponded with Dr. Watts. What is said of Gov. Belcher shews the effect of the calumnies which his enemies had circulated in England. The dissenters in England must for a time have detested or distrusted him; especially until the anonymous letter sent to Mr. Holden, purporting to be from some of the principal ministers of Boston, was proved to be a forgery. [Vide Hutchinson's Hist. Mass. II. 356.]

Professor Stearns, if I recollect rightly, found this letter in a book belonging to the library of Harvard College. This does not lessen the probability that it was addressed as above suggested. Both the gentlemen mentioned were doubtless in the practice of taking books from the library. J. D. January 25, 1820.

there, and for every sermon I have received from you. In the little books I now send, I must beg the favour of your distribution of them; being very seldom in London, except Lord's days, I must put them all together, and send them by one hand. If the honourable governour should hereafter inquire, how I came to omit the poem addressed to him among this collection, if you cannot avoid the question, then, in as soft a manner as possible, let the true reason be known, (viz.) that the unhappy differences between him and the people have given occasion for hard things to be said of him here, almost in all companies where his name is mentioned, and I was not willing to give new opportunities of calumny and reproach against a gentleman who has so many valuable qualities.

You inquire my age. I am near sixty; I am near sixty; but a great part of my life has been worn out with sickness and wasted under incapacities; otherwise, perhaps, I might have been so voluminous an author as to have overloaded the world. I thank God who has given me any powers to write while I can preach so little, and has made my writings in any measure accepted and useful. May the God of grace be ever with you, and render all your labours so successful that they may be crowned with abundant fruit in this and the future world.

Yours in all affectionate esteem and service,

May 8th, 1734.

P. S. Since this was written I found yours of Sept. last, wherein I must excuse myself from the compliments you pour out upon me. May the good Spirit of Holiness be sent down among you in answer to the appointed days of prayer you mention.


Preliminary Remark.

SEVERAL things stated in the writer's Account of Plainfield have an equal reference to this place. These it is not thought necessary to repeat.


The name is derived from Col. John Cummings of Concord, who purchased this town of the General Court, June 2, 1762.

Situation and Extent.

Cummington is a post town, in the north-west part of Hampshire county, about seven miles long, and three broad. It is bounded north by Plainfield and Ashfield, east by Goshen, south by Chesterfield and Worthington, and west by Peru and Windsor in Berkshire county.


It is situated on a ridge of mountains, and owing to the abrupt declivities of the hills, the pastures and woods may be viewed as a picture. These hills, when robed in green, decked with sunbeams, and enriched with flocks, afford a prospect, which to the eye of taste, is even enchanting.

Westfield River, a considerable stream, rising in Windsor, runs through this town in a south-east direction, and empties into the Connecticut at Westfield. It was by the Indians called Agawam. There are two tanneries, three woollen factories, a cotton factory, six saw mills, three grain mills, and a mill for cleaning clover seed, the most of them on this stream.

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