New York April 25, 1833
I this day got your letter by Mr. Albro. 1 I wrote to you a day or two since requesting some facts and dates respecting my father's life. 2 I presume you have got the letter and answered it before this time. If not be so good as to write me the very day you receive this giving me the dates of his birth death &c and all the principal events of his life and the time when they occurred. I want them immediately for a biographical work compiling by Col. Saml. L. Knapp. 3
What you tell me of the discord prevailing among the sons of harmony in Cummington is rather queer. I think that if the people of that place were to spend their long winters in some way that would furnish and improve their minds it would be better for them than to waste it in protracted meetings and quarrels about singing. 4 I have heard today from a young lady of Great Barrington a story about the inhabitants of that place. They had a protracted meeting which lasted fourteen days. A man of the name of Foote was the principal helper of Mr. Burt in the work of endeavouring to get up a revival; 5 but the attempt was unsuccessful, and the meeting was dissolved without the usual ceremony of pronouncing a blessing, on the ground that it would be impious to invoke the blessing of God on such a stiff-necked generation. Immediately after the protracted meeting, the members fell to quarreling among themselves. A part of them who were Antimasons 6 invited a Baptist Antimasonic minister to hold forth on the subject of Antimasonry in the meeting house. The keys of the meeting house being refused they broke open the door and the man preached. The other party stationed a drunken blackguard in the gallery who roared Amen from time to time. The bell was rung before the exercises were over; and at the close the drunken fellow pretended to read (for he had never learned to read at all) a kind of oration from a newspaper which he held in his hand. Arrangements were made to prosecute Foote for blasphemy if he had appeared again in Great Barrington. 7 There were other odd proceedings; and the winter appears to have passed no more peaceably than with you. I am afraid that these things are the legitimate consequence of protracted meetings and revivals, which unsettle the mind and make it greedy after excitement of some kind or other. I am sure I never heard of such doings in the quiet, civilized communities of New England until the new fanatical modes of getting up religious excitements were adopted. I think the religious newspapers ought to record these things as they do the revivals. If they do not, they will not give a fair view of the religious state of the community, --they will show only one side. They should call them the Devil's outpourings.