Jonathan Edwards’ Last Will, And The Inventory Of His Estate -- By: Anonymous
BSac 33:131 (July 1876) p. 438
Jonathan Edwards’ Last Will, And The Inventory Of His
[The following documents are valuable as illustrating the character of the age in which they were written, and the style of living which prevailed in that age, particularly among the clergymen. They throw light on several incidents in the biography of President Edwards. They illustrate the contrast between his outward condition in life and that of several European divines contemporary with him. Bishop Butler, for example, was consecrated Bishop of Bristol in 1738; and, as the revenues of his see amounted to only four hundred pounds per annum, the Deanery of St. Paul’s was presented to him in 1740. He thus secured an income which enabled him to expend five thousand pounds in improving the Episcopal palace in Bristol. In 1747 the Primacy of the English church was presented to him [by King George II.], and the sum of twenty thousand pounds was offered to him by his nephew on condition that he would accept the office. He declined it, however, but in 1750 accepted the Bishopric of Durham, which was far more lucrative than that of Bristol. After a life distinguished by his generosity to the poor, he died in 1752. Nine months afterward, Jonathan Edwards made his last Will. It is explained by the Inventory accompanying it. Both the documents illustrate the difference between the external privileges of the sage of Stockbridge and those of the sage of Durham. The documents are copied verbatim et literatim from the Records in the Probate Office at Northampton. The orthography and punctuation are, of course, not those of President Edwards, but of the clerk who penned or transcribed the documents.
It may be here stated that, of the three sons named in this Will [Judge] Timothy Edwards was in his fifteenth year when the Will was written; [Dr.] Jonathan Edwards was in
BSac 33:131 (July 1876) p. 439
his seventh year; and Pierrepont was in his third year. The “daughter Burr “was the mother of Colonel Aaron Burr, and the “daughter Dwight” was the mother of President Timothy Dwight.
Rev. George Allen of Worcester, Massachusetts, who has been very enterprising and successful in his antiquarian researches, and Hon. George W. Hubbard of Northampton, Massachusetts, who is noted for his accuracy in attending to historical documents, deserve the thanks of our readers for the publication of the following Will and Inventory. It would not have been attempted without their aid. — e. a. p.]
In the Name of God Amen, the fourteenth day of March 1753.
I Jonathan Edwards of Stockbridge, in the Province of the Massachusetts Bay in New-England, being in my usual State of Health of Body, and in the perfect Exercise ...
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