d.14 Sep 1704 Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Facts and Events
Accoding to "Annals of the American Pulpit", William Hubbard was the son of William Hubbard, who came to New England as early as 1630, and, after a few years, established himself at Ipswich, Massachusetts, which town he, for several years, represented in the General Court. He is said to have been one of the ablest speakers, and most influential members, of the Assembly in 1637. From Ipswich he removed to Boston, where he died about 1670, leaving three sons, William, Richard and Nathaniel.
William, the eldest son, was born in England in 1621, came with his father to Massachusetts, when he was about nine years old, and took his Bachelor's degree in 1642, with the first class that graduated at Harvard College. From the time that he left College till he had passed the age of thirty-five no record of his life remains; but it is ascertained that, during this period, he studied theology, and was, for some time, an assistant to the Rev. Mr. Cobbet of Ipswich. About the year 1656 he was ordained as colleague with Mr. Cobbet, who, though in the vigour of life, required an assistant, on account of the great extent of his ministerial labours. Ipswich was, at that time, one of the most eligible places of settlement for a minister in New England,—having a larger degree of talent and intelligence than almost any other town. It had been settled "by men of good rank and quality, many of them having the yearly revenue of large lands in England, before they came to this wilderness." Whatever leisure Mr. Hubbard could command amidst his professional engagements, (and this probably was considerable, as Mr. Cobbet continued active in the ministry to an advanced age,) he devoted to historical investigations. His first historical work was " A narrative of the troubles with the Indians in 1676 and 1677 ; with a supplement concerning the war with the Pequods in 1637;" also, "A narrative of the troubles with the Indians in New England, from Pascataqua to Pamaquid." The whole was published at Boston in 1677. The same book was licensed and printed in London, the same year, under the title of " The present state of New England." In 1678, Mr. Hubbard was on a visit to England, which not improbably had some connection with this publication. The " History of New England" was completed in 1680, and the narrative is brought down to that time. In that year it was submitted to the examination of the General Court of Massachusetts, who appointed a committee of several distinguished gentlemen, " to peruse it and give their opinion." It was nearly two years before the committee had performed the service assigned them ; owing, as has been supposed, partly at least, to the difficulty of decyphering Mr. Hubbard's manuscript. On the 11th of October, 1682, the General Court granted fifty pounds to the author, " as a manifestation of thankfulness " for this History, "he transcribing it fairly that it may he viore easily perused^ He seems to have procured some person to copy it for him ; as the MS. which now exists in the archives of the Historical Society of Massachusetts, is not in his hand-writing, except the emendations. It was published by the Historical Society, encouraged by a liberal subscription of the Legislature ; but its value was considerably diminished by the publication of Governor Winthrop's MS., by Mr. Savage in 1S25 and 1826, from which Mr. Hubbard seems to have derived a large portion of his facts relating to the earlier part of the period of which he treats. It has been suggested, however, in view of the known fairness of his character, that, if the introductory leaves of his MS. had not been lost, there would probably hav^ been found in them a reference to Winthrop and other authorities, which would have forbidden the idea that he wished to make any undue claim to originality. His history, as it is, is one of no inconsiderable merit, especially when it is remembered that it was written amidst the cares and labours incident to an extensive pastoral charge. In 1685, Mr. Hubbard lost his venerable colleague, Mr. Cobbet, who died at the age of seventy-seven. For two years afterwards, he was alone in the ministry ; but, in 1686, he received as an assistant, the Rev. John Dennison,* grandson of his early friend and parishoner, Major General Dennison.
Mr. Dennison died in 1689, and three yeara after, the Rev. John Rogers, son of the President of Harvard College, succeeded him, as Mr. Hubbard'a colleague. This connection was probably rendered more agreeable bv the fact that Mr. Rogers was a nephew of Mr. Hubbard's first wife. Dr. Eliot states that Mr. Hubbard presided at the commencement at Harvard College in 1684 ; and that this was after the death of President Rogers. However this may have been, (and the evidence of the alleged fact seems to be equivocal,) it is certain that he was invited to perform such a service in 1688, as the notice of his appointment by Sir Edmond Andros b still in existence ; but, as there were no degrees conferred that year, it is doubtful whether the appointment was fulfilled. In August, 1702, Mr. Hubbard had become so much enfeebled by age, that he requested )ns parish to provide " more help to carry on the ministry
voted him sixty pounds as a gratuity. Thus gradually approaching hii*^ latter end, which he had made familiar to his thoughts, by habitual and devout meditation, he died September 14, 1704, at the age of eighty-three. His congregation subsequently voted thirty-two pounds to pay his funeral charges. Mr. Hubbard's publications, besides those already named, were,—An Election Sermon, 1676 ; A Fast Sermon, 1682 ; A Funeral Discourse on Major General Daniel Dennison, 1684 ; A Testimony to the order of the Grospel in the churches of New England, in connection with the Rev. John Higginson of Salem. John Dunton, the famous Boston Bookseller, after a visit to Mr. Hubbard in 1686, thus describes him :
"The benefit of nature and the fatigue of study have equally contributed to his eminence. Neither are we less obliged to both than himself: he freely communicates of his learning to all who have the happiness to share in his converse. In a word, he is learned without ostentation and vanity, and gives all his productions such a delicate turn and grace, (as seen in his printed sermons and history of the Indians) that the features and lineaments of the child, make a clear discovery and distinction of the father; yet he is a man of singuilar modesty, of strict morals, and has done as much for the conversion of the Indians as most men in New England."
Governor Hutchinson gives him the character of "a man of learning, and of a candid and benevolent mind, accompanied with a good degree of Catholicism," which he thinks, "was not accounted the most valuable part of his character in the age in which he lived." Dr. Eliot represents him as "for many years the most eminent minister in the county of Essex; equal to any in the province for learning and candour, and superior to all his contemporaries as a writer."
Mr. Hubbard married Margaret, daughter of his predecessor. Rev. Nathaniel Rogers. In his seventy-third year, he married for a second wife, Mary, widow of Samuel Pearce. This marriage, according to the Rev. Mr. Frisbie, excited the displeasure of his parish; for though she was a serious and discreet person, she was not from the higher walks of life, and for that reason, was considered as not qualified for her station. Mr. Hubbard had as many as three children born before the death of their grandfather Rogers, in 1655. Their names were John. Nathaniel and Margaret. Margaret married the Hon. John Pynchon of Springfield, and died there, November 11, 1716.
William Hubbard (1621 – September 24, 1704) was an American clergyman and historian, born in Ipswich, England. As a child, he was taken by his parents to New England, where he later graduated from Harvard (1642), was ordained and became assistant minister and afterward pastor of the Congregational church at Ipswich, Massachusetts, a post which he resigned just a year before his death. He wrote, at the order of the Colonial government which paid him 50 pounds for it, a History of New England, mainly compilation, which barely escaped destruction by fire when Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's house was mobbed in 1765. The Massachusetts Historical Society printed it in 1815. He wrote also A Narrative of Troubles with the Indians (Boston, 1677), which for years was popular in New England and was even reprinted at the beginning of the nineteenth century at Worcester, Massachusetts (1801) and Roxbury, Massachusetts (1805). It is full of errors, but illustrates what was regarded by the writer's contemporaries as an elegant prose style. Minor works are a volume of sermons (1684) and a short pamphlet, Testimony of the Order of the Gospel in Churches (1701).