A Note on the Transcription of Manuscripts
Aisted
LL of the documents of the Antinomian controversy ex-
initially as manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts
(or, more likely, copies of them) were sent to England and first
put in print as Antinomians and Familists Condemned (1644;
reprinted, with Thomas Weld's additions, as A Short Story).
Other documents remained in manuscript. In 1676 the Quaker
Samuel Groom owned a copy of John Wheelwright's fast-day
sermon and a transcript of Wheelwright's "trial" before the
General Court. Several other copies of the Wheelwright sermon
were in circulation, and two have survived; but the contents of
the transcript are known only from the portions Groom printed
in A Glass tor the People of New England ([London], 1676) . In
1743 Charles Chauncy, the minister of Boston First Church, had
access to "an ancient Manuscript Copy of the Proceedings of the
Synod, in 1637." His two quotations from this copy (in Season-
able Thoughts on the State of Religion in New-England), which
are reproduced on pages xix-xx, indicate that it included mate-
rial omitted from A Short Story. The correspondence between
Thomas Hutchinson and Ezra Stiles (printed in New England
Historical and Genealogical Register 26 [1882], 161-64) reveals
that Stiles received his copy of the church trial of Mrs. Hutchin-
son from her great-grandson. The provenance of the manuscript
that I published in 1968 from the collections of the Massachu-
setts Historical Society is unknown. It is always possible that
other manuscripts relating to the controversy may turn up in
English and American archives. Sargent Bush is preparing for
publication the letters of John Cotton, several of which are im-
portant supplements to the letters included in this book. He
will also argue in a forthcoming essay that John Wheelwright
was not the author of Mercurius Americanus.
439
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