Timothy Cutler (1684-1765), was an Anglican minister in Boston. He presents a critical reaction to the Great Awakening. He was a minister of the Church of England, established in England and many of the colonies in the south, but in New England a minority religion. The Congregational Church was the established religion of the New England Way, yet Cutler refers to them as "Dissenters." Keep that in mind while reading the following excerpts from his correspondence to officials in England.


 I: Cutler to the Bishop of London, Dec. 5, 1740

My Lord,
At your Lordship's commands I presented You with the best Account I could of our Northhampton Enthusiasts, a considerable time ago; and tho I am not honor'd with that motive now, I beg leave to second it with the Progress of another Enthusiast who has received your Lordship's Animadversions much to the advantage of the Church. The General Expectations of Mr. Whitefield were much raised by the large Encomiums the Dissenters bestowed on him; Dr. Colman & Mr. Cooper stile him the Wonder of the Age. Before that Panegyric I presume to lay before Your Lordship, the Dissenters invited him here, and accordingly was He lodged in Town at Dr. Colman's Brother's.

His first landing in New England was at Rhode Island, Sept. 14. From thence thence, after a few days, he rode to Bristol, where in the Rev. Mr. Usher's absence. He was by the Church Wardens invited into the Church; but refused from a preingagement [sic] by the Dissenters there, in whose Meeting House He Prayed extempore, and preached; the Inferior Court, then sitting, adjourning to attend him.  By Thursday night following He came to this Town, welcomed by all our Teachers. The next Morning the Secretary of the Province, a Dissenter, waited on Him to conduct him to the Rev. the Commissary's; but understanding he was not at home, He found him at 11 o'clock at prayers in I his Church, where were present 5 more Clergymen of us. After Prayers he saluted us all, whom with him the Commissary invited to his House, where we had not been long before he entered on Invectives against the Corruptions and Errors of the Church, but was more temperate in the use of that Talent than he commonly is . . . .

Between 3 & 4 o'clock he left us, he was in Dr. Colman's Pulpit in his Gown, (which he constantly wore Town , before a large Audience of Teachers and People, Praying extempore, and Preaching; commending the Faith and Purity of this Country, the Design and Lives of our Forefathers who settled it. And this was a Topic he never forgot upon all Public Occasions. He also reproved the people for their slack attendance on the Weekly Dissenters' Lectures ---- assign'd it to the late Fashionable Preaching among us. He also reproached the Church universally for her Corruptions in the Faith and Deviation from her Articles. . . .
He scarce ever omitted preaching twice a day, besides frequent Expounding in the Family, and some time after that, Family Prayer, with Multitudes that attended him and joined with , Conventicles, Commons, and open Places, where hr was always thronged, and seldom less than Thousands 2, 5, 8, and at his Farewell, by not less than 20,000. Before his departure hr made one excursion of 60 miles, Preaching all the way going and coming. He always [reminded] us of the Orphan House at Georgia, and obtain'd a Collection in one place and another of above 300 [pounds] this Currency . . . .

While he was here, the face of things was quite altered; little Business went forward; People were always flocking to him, and he was the subject of all our talk, and to speak against him was neither credible nor scarce safe. Governor & Council, and all Authority, Teachers and People, tryed [sic] to excel in showing Respect to him nor do I know when things will subside into that easy condition they were in before he came.
The Variance he has caused remain in too great a degree. I tho't it my duty, as mildly as I could, to bear witness against his opinions and Practices, and had and had no thanks from many within and without the Church, tho' I hope the Ferment is somewhat allay'd.

2. Cutler to the Secretary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel [the organization sponsoring Anglican missionary activity in the colonies.], Dec. 11, 1740

The whole Church in this town and the adjacent parts, with all the Church both at home and abroad, hath felt the ill effects of Mr. Whitefield's visits. Our sufferings here are very particular, being but an handful to the dissenters, who of all orders and degrees were highly fond of his coming, and gave him a most hearty and distinguishing welcome, and strived to excel one another in it, and to be cold or differently effected is with them a pretty strong mark of reprobation The [Anglican] clergy of this Town never invited him into their Pulpits, nor did hr ask them, nor ever attended any one of our Churches, saving one Friday at Prayers, upon his first entrance, to make himself known to us, tho' he tarried over there Sundays in town, daily preaching in our Meeting Houses and in open places, and was an hearer among the Dissenters on one part of two Sundays. Bishops, Divines, Churchmen and Christians are with us, good or bad, as he describes them, and nothing bit a conformity to his notions and rules will give us a shining character. The idea he gives us of the present Church (and too many receive it) is Heterodoxy, Falsehood to our articles and rules, Persecution, and never meet so. The principals, and books and practices of this Country are applauded and preferred to everything now in the Church, and People are exhorted to adhere to their Dissenting Pastors.

Too many unhappy Feuds and Debates are owing to Mr. Whitefield's being among us; and we have even disobliged the Dissenters in suffering [allowing] them to engross him, but I hope the Fury and Ferment is subsiding, and that we shall at length be tolerably sweetened toward one another. What may hinder it are the enthusiastic Notions very much kindled among us and like to be propagated by his Writings, dispersed every where, with Antinomianism revived, and I fear also Infidel and Libertine Principles, which some express a particular fondness for at this time. Our labours among our people would be very much assisted by suitable Books on these subjects, and the Society's bounty in this kind never wants [lacks] good effects, tho' not so large as good men wish.

3. Cutler to the Bishop of London, Jan. 14, 1742.

[Since my earlier letter], Enthusiasm has swell'd to much higher degrees of madness; and nothing is too bad wherewith to stigmatize those who disapprove of it so that should the Friends of it encrease [sic] much more, their Bitterness, Fury & Rage might well make us tremble. They assemble People in Towns and frequently enter Meeting Houses without the knowledge or Liking of the Proper Teachers, who commonly think it safest for them to stifle their Resentments. Those who could not act that Prudence have many of them had Parties made among them to their great Vexation, and some Laymen or other have started up, and Strengthened the Schism in the Exercise of their Gifts of Praying and Preaching, and Indeed the Times are fruitful of many such Ruling Elders, Deacons, and other illiterate Mechanics, who neglect or lay aside their callings for this Purpose, and are much admired and followed by the People. Two of them have enter'd this Town and affected multitudes; and one of them has had the Liberty of sundry Dissenting Pulpits; here as well as elsewhere, we have new Lectures in abundance, stated and occasional, by Day and Night. Here Children and Servants stroll, withdrawing themselves from Family care and Subjection; and Day Labourers seen much of their Time, expecting notwithstanding full Wages. In some Places (this Town not excepted), Lectures, especially Evening ones, are attended with hideous Yellings and shameful Revels, continuing till Midnight, and till Break of Day, and much Wickedness is justly feared to be the Consequence of Them.