|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
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 . . . .
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.