Tennessee Documentary History
  Multiple Collection Search     View bookbag 
your bookbag has 0 items 

Title: [Letter] 1806 Dec. 15, Newbury [Massachusetts, to] Charles Coffin, Greeneville, Tennessee / L[eonard] Woods : a machine readable transcription of an image
Author: Woods, Leonard

This work is the property of the Special Collections Library, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching, and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text. For all other use contact the Special Collections Librarian, Hoskins Library, University of Tennessee, 1401 Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996. (865) 974-4480.

Date: December 15, 1806
Extent: 4p
Summary:This document is a letter dated December 15, 1806, from Leonard Woods to the Reverend Charles Coffin. Woods writes in great detail on various religious teachings.
Collection:Leonard Wood Letter
Box:MS 1949
Document: sc244

Page 1  view page image

Newbury Dec [December] 15 1806
Beloved Brother,

your letter, dated Aug [August] 29 1806, was received in proper time I assure you I was not in the least degree inclined to indulge the suspicious feelings or hard thoughts, suggested at the beginning of your letter on the contrary I was agreeably disappointed, that you wrote so soon. I considered your high & arduous station, your multiplied & very important duties, the wright of care & labor which must press you in the midst of a young family & a young seminary, & in the midst of building, & preaching &c. I should not have had a heart to accuse you of neglect, if you had written [added: nothing] these two years. From the letter which you have written to your honored father, which I have had the pleasure to read, I have received very agreeable information respecting the adjustment of difficulties which burdened your mind before you left New England . You have reason to review the footsteps of providence relative to your undertaking, & the college to which you have devoted yourself, with wonder & gratitude I hope, dear Sir, that God will lead you on to greater usefulness, & that he will do much, by you, for the course of learning & religion in your extensive region. I am sensible that, with your constant employment as a preacher & as an instructor in the college, it will be difficult for you to become an adept in the circle of liberals arts & sciences. I think, however, that with good health, which may God grant you, & the diligence which has become habitual, you will attain what is essential to your place in the church, & in the Seminary. you are called rather to activity, than to study. And if you should begin, by constant & intense application to books, to reach after the sublime heights of knowledge which some favored mortals have attained, you would soon hear a voice that would check your ambitious projects, & call you to impart to thousands the knowledge you already possess. I most sincerely wish that your situation were such, that you could make it the business of your life to study the science of morals & religion, with other branches of literature connected with them. I should be glad to see what your abilities, with the aid of grace, could accomplish. But it cannot be. You must [added: in a measure] forego the pleasure & the honor of knowing, for the more benevolent pleasure of doing.

It has been my favorite object to study. My heart has panted after all knowledge. But, in one way & another, God is laying obstacles in my way. The cares of a family, which has a slender support from my salary; the duties of my office, journies; visits; sleep; idleness; ___ these and other things consume my time, & I shall soon be an old man, in my grave, without even beginning what I intended to finish.__ of late I have had some unusual hindrances to improvement. you have doubtless

Page [2]  view page image

heard before this time, the dreadful affair of [unclear: Ipswich. ] If I supposed it could be concealed from you, I would not divulge it. But I think it must have reached your ears & pained your heart, before now. I mean the violent, noisy wretched separation of Dr D. & his wife; the subsequent consequent council, of which I was a member; the unwillingness of the Dr & his family, that he should comply with the result; the publications of his [unclear: Lon D. ] in his defence, the vindication of the council, & the letters, which closed the business, addressed to Marcus, i.e. [id est] D.D. in my own name. Never was a more wretched scene. Dr. G. Mrs D's brother, has interested himself much in the affair, & written sheets to Mr Sp. on the subject. It was, to me, a whole winters work, taking into view our meetings, conversation, writing, publishing &c [etcetera] . I meant, at first, to mention it merely as one hindrance of my intended pursuits.__ I must now mention another. But I do it in confidence. You ask, "how comes on the Panoplist ? Whose image & superscription does it bear?" Possibly you will soon think, you have applied for information to a wrong source I ought, however, to be able to give you some information; for I have known everything respecting it from the beginning. The first year I was one of the three editors; this year I am one of the two. Mr Spring & Dr [gap] had strong objections against my engaging in the business. My prevailing motive was, that the Panoplist was likely to succeed, & to have much influence on the public, & that there was danger of hostility, implied, if not open, against the cause of consistent calvinism. I hoped, however vainly, that I should be able to do something towards saving it from injudicious management, & rendering it subservient to evangelical truth. My motive to continue in connexion with it is of the same nature. on hearing Mr S's objections lately repeated against my connexion with the Panoplist I seriously asked him, whether he advised me to leave it, & give up my place as editor to another? "Is that, he said, the only alternative?" I replied, yes. He then signified, that it was difficult to give advice.__ I was confident, from the beginning, it would occupy a different ground from the Magazine, & that the Mag. [Magazine] would not be injured by it. This has been the fact. The Mag. has had just about the same extent of circulation as it ha [gap] before the Panoplist was published. Besides which the Panoplist has had 1400 [gap] subscribers the first year, & nearly 1600 this. I have frequently engaged, that as soon as the Pan. [Panoplist] shall appear hostile to Hopkinsianism , I will relinquish it. The profits of the Panoplist have been devoted to Miss. [Missionary] Societies & to an evangelical school for making ministers under the guidance of Rev [Reverend] Mr Jackson of Dorset , I think, Vermont . But without enlarging, I will offer to send you all the numbers, gratis, if you can afford to pay the Postage. What it will be I know not. I will send them, if you choose, in some other way. you will, then, have opportunity to judge for yourself.___ as to the Miss. Society & Mag. I need not say much. They are nearly what they were when you left us. There is much want of mutual affection & confidence among Hopkinsians in this State. This occasions debility in the measures of the Miss. Society. But considerable good has been effected.___ as to the University;__ the liberal party, I mean the Unitarian s consider that they have bro't [brought] it under their influence. Dr Pearson , you have heard, long since resigned his professorship. He despaired of being useful at Harvard College. His chair , & that of Mr Webber remain vacant.___ The orthodox, in general, consider the University as lost to religion under the present influence. A Theological Academy is seriously talked of, in which all the orthodox in the State would cooperate. The present plan is to engraft it upon Andover Academy. It is to be a school like Doddridge s I hope it will succeed. Dr Morse is ardent in the pursuit of this object. His open opposition to the [unclear: election ]

Page [3]  view page image

of Professor Ware exposed him to much reproach & ill treatment from one party. But he has lived through it, & his influence is much increased My connexion with him in the Panoplist has greatly endeared him to my heart. He often mentions you with great esteem.__ The ministerial union, concerning which you inquire, will, I hope, proceed. The motion was rejected & treated with contempt in convention. But the associations in the counties of Hampshire & Berkshire are already combined. Other associations are joining them. I think it will be an important body. The Westminster confession & the catechism are considered the basis of union. Mr Spring & Dr [unclear: Emmons ] have had strong objections against it. But I think they will ultimately favor the plan & harmonize with the body of the orthodox. Dr Dwight says, "a general association in Massachusetts must be formed, & the Panoplist must be supported." ____ Mr Niles 's work is in press. That giant has read a piece in his great association in opposition to the commonly received doctrine of the Trinity, & in favor of Sabellianism . His wife lately spent several days at Mr Spring's from whom he learned that Mr Niles embraced that theory. It may not, however, come into his work. What the [unclear: laste ] men are after I cannot fully learn. I fear [gap] notions weaken the motives of the gospel, & go far towards annihilating moas [added: moral] obligations.__ Mavors history is well spoken of, but the america n edition, I find, does not meet a very ready sale. I am trying to introduce it into our Social Library.

your request respecting it [added: a] dialogue for an exhibition in Greenvell [Greeneville] College is truly grateful to my feelings. But such are my engagements at present, that it is beyond my power to comply. I gave you an account of my connexion with the Panoplist to show you that I could do nothing of the kind you mention at present. But I forgot my particular object, & wandered as you see___ nothing pleasing in religious attention has appeared in my parish. Mr Allen of Bradford has had a very hopeful revival among his people, & in his own heart. Northhampton in this state has witnessed great displays of grace.___ I have omitted to tell you in its proper place that Mr Shistliff , if I spell his name right, is Professor of Divinity at Dartm. Coll. [Dartmouth College] He was formerly tutor.

I long to hear whether the 50 thousands acres of land is granted to your College. May your enemies never prevail. Mr Doke is an old hog. I hope his tusk will do no harm.

My family enjoyed health till last March. From that time Mrs Woods had a long & very alarming sickness. For about 8 months she was wholly separated from the affairs of the family. For several weeks her life hung in doubt. But through the mercy of God, she is now I believe completely recovered. Our children 2 sons & one daughter, are healthy & blooming. Samuel, seeing my paper tonight, asked what I was going to write, I told him, a letter to Mr Coffin. After pausing a minute, he says, with a very mournful emphasis, Pa, I want to see my uncle Coffin. Mrs Woods joins with me in affectionate salutations to you & your dear wife.

The Lord bless you & make you blessings.
Your friend & brother
L. [Leonard] Woods
[added: Please to present my respects to [unclear: Mr Balsh ]]

Page [4]  view page image

The Reverend Charles Coffin Greeneville Vice President of Greenville College Tennessee

A product of DLPS
To comment or inquire about content, contact UTK Special Collections
To report errors, contact UTK Special Collections