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Rev. E. H. GILLETT, D.D.. 



VOL. I. 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year IS 64, by the 


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court 

of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. 

D». S. 


The reunion of the two branches of the Presbyterian 
Church in this country, happily effected in 1869 after a 
division of more than thirty years, has called for the 
revision of a work prepared during the period of their 
separation. It has not been thought necessary to add 
to it the record of the steps which led to the reunion, as 
these are embodied in the volume entitled " Presby- 
terian Reunion Memorial," published in 1870 ; but in 
order to do impartial justice to the position and views 
of the two parties from the time when they first 
appeared, certain changes and modifications of statement 
have been deemed necessary, and these have been 
embodied in this revised edition. 

So far as most of the statements of facts are con- 
cerned, very little change has been required, but what 
before was asserted without qualification as to the rela- 
tion and action of the two parties has been so modified 
that the party by whom such assertion was regarded as 
historically true or just is alone made responsible for it. 
In other words, the historian has allowed each party to 
speak for itself, representing its own views, while the 
reader is left at liberty to draw his own conclusions. 

No other course than this was possible in the circum- 
stances. The position and sentiments of each branch 
of the Church have become historical, and to exclude or 
ignore them would have betrayed at once an unworthy 



timidity and distrust of the solid basis of reunion, and 
a faithlessness to the claims which demand an impartial 
statement of all the facts material to a proper historic 

Moreover, the history of a denomination, like that of 
a State, has its lessons; and if lessons of warning against 
dangers which are liable to recur, they can be gathered 
only from the study of many things which, if truth 
would surfer it, we might prefer to leave unrecorded. 
But if good men, and even wise men, have erred, their 
errors may prove only less instructive than their virtues ; 
and while we jealously vindicate their just fame and 
their conceded merits, we are not at liberty to conceal 
their failings when these must be known in order to 
form an impartial judgment of events in which many 
others besides themselves were equally interested. 

To render the revision as perfect as possible, and to 
remove whatever could be fairly considered as objection- 
able, competent aid has been sought from' those most 
familiar with the subject and best qualified to suggest 
emendations. 1 It is believed that the work in its pres- 
ent form will prove acceptable to the reunited Church, 
furnishing it with information concerning its origin and 
progress that can be found nowhere else in the same 


1 1 feel myself under special obligations to the Rev. S. J. M. 
Eaton, D. D., whose " History of the Presbytery of Erie" ranks with 
the very best of our local church histories; as also to Rev. J. H. 
Martin, D. D., of Tennessee, Rev. Wm. Aikman, D. D., of Detroit, 
and others of whose communications I have availed myself in this 


At the request of Dr. Dulles, ou behalf of the Board 
of Publication, as well as of Dr. Gillett, the author, I 
read over carefully the volumes of this History, with a 
view to suggest alterations which the late reunion has 
made proper. It is a pleasure to state that both these 
brethren, the author and the editor, have manifested the 
utmost readiness to expunge anything like a partisan 
tinge, and to render the work unexceptionable to the 
whole Church. 

Of course it could not be re-edited without a sub- 
stantial identification with the original imprint. We 
could not consistently wish it to be otherwise and retain 
the truth of history as it lies in the mind of the author. 
But I am happy in testifying that candor, amity and 
a truth-loving heart have conceded evervthinjc that 
" Old School" men could reasonably ask in this revision. 

Alex. T. McGill. 

Princeton, August 20, 1873. 



More than seventy years have elapsed since the 
attention of the General Assembly of the Presby- 
terian Church in the United States was called to 
the subject of preparing a history of the denomi- 
nation in this country. In 1791, Rev. Drs. Wither- 


spoon, McWhorter, and GTreen, and Rev. Messrs. 
William Graham, James Hall, and James Temple- 
ton, were appointed a committee "to devise measures 
for the collecting of materials necessary" to carry 
out the project. In accordance with the suggestions 
of their report, it was enjoined upon each Presby- 
tery "strictly to order their members to procure all 
the materials for forming a history of the Presby- 
terian Church in this country, in the power of each 
member, and bring in the same to their Presbytery, 
and that the Presbyteries forward the said collection 
of materials to the next General Assembly." 

In 1792, and in successive years till 1795, the sub- 
ject was considered, and "delinquent Presbyteries ' 
were called upon for their reports. But no further 
action was taken till 1804, when Dr. Green and Mr. 
Ebenezer Hazard were appointed, from the ma- 
terials gathered, to write the history. Delinquent 
Presbyteries were again called upon to complete 
their narratives. 

In 1813, Dr Green and Mr. Hazard stated to the 
Assembly that they had found it impracticable to 
go on with the work, and their request that the 
papers which they possessed might be transferred 
to Dr. Miller, who should be authorized and re- 
quested to complete the history, was granted.. In 
1819, Dr. Green was by vote of the Assembly as- 
sociated with Dr. Miller in the preparation of the 
work. Their . request, in 1825, to be discharged 
from the duty committed to them, was received 
with " unfeio'ned regret :" and although it was 
granted, the project of the preparation of the History 
was not abandoned. Measures were adopted "to 


insure the continuation and completion of the work 
with the least possible delay." A new committee, 
consisting of Drs. Green, Janeway, and Ely, 1 was 
appointed for this purpose. 

Here, however, the matter was suffered to rest. 
It was left to individual enterprise and effort to 
investigate the history of the Church during dif- 
ferent periods and in different localities. "Works 
of great value for reference and authority in com- 
piling a general history of the Church have thus 
been produced ; and while important materials have 
been irrevocably lost by the lapse of time and past 
neglect, the task of preparing a connected history 
has in some respects been greatly facilitated. 

In these circumstances, the Publication Committee 
of the Assembly judged, several years since, that the 
long-deferred project should be undertaken afresh. 
Nothing could be gained, and much might be lost, 
by further delay. "With each successive year mat- 
ters of great value were passing to oblivion. Pres- 
byterians, moreover, ignorant of the history of their 
own Church, and of its policy as illustrated by that 
history, might justly claim such information as 
would serve at once for the vindication of their own 
ecclesiastical preferences and the position of the 
denomination with which they were identified. 

It was resolved, therefore, to take steps for the 
preparation of a work not too voluminous for popu- 
lar perusal, yet sufficiently minute to combine a 
measure of local with general interest, — a work 

1 Upon Dr. Ely's resignation in 1836, Dr. Luther Halsey was ap- 
pointed in his place. 


which should present an outline of the origin and 
progress of the Church, the methods and results of 
its efforts, and the spirit and policy by which those 
efforts have been directed. 

Selected by the committee for the task of pre- 
paring such a work, I have endeavored to embody 
with historic impartiality the most important facts, 
accessible to diligent and faithful investigation, in 
the work which is now offered to the Church. The 
labor has been by no means a light one. Materials 
have been gathered from most diverse and un- 
looked-for sources. By correspondence, and by 
the examination of old records, letters, and nar- 
ratives, — some of which must have slept unmolested 
on the files of Presbytery for more than half a 
century, — I have endeavored to supply the lack of 
other authorities ; and in this I have been greatly 
aided by the most ready and efficient co-operation 
of numerous individuals who have cheerfully ren- 
dered their assistance. To some of them I have 
been indebted for valuable information which will 
be found in the notes, or has been incorporated in 
the body of the work. 

In the preparation of the work, I have, as far as 
possible, availed myself of authorities contempo- 
raneous with the facts narrated. Among these are 
to be classed the minutes of the Synod of New York 
and Philadelphia, and those of the General As- 
sembly; those also of Synods and Presbyteries, so 
far as accessible; "The Literary and Theological 
Magazine," "New York Missionary Magazine," 
" Connecticut Evangelical Magazine," Annual Re- 
ports of the Connecticut Missionary Society from 


1793 to 1820, "Assembly's Magazine," "Panoplist," 
" Christian Advocate," " Christian Spectator," "Bib- 
lical Repository," "Presbyterian Quarterly Review," 
"Princeton Review," "American Quarterly Regis- 
ter," "New York Observer," "New York Evan- 
gelist," " Christian Herald" (1816-21), "Presbytery 
Reporter," "Home Missionary," Reports of the 
different Domestic Missionary Societies, &c, be- 
sides files, more or less complete, of the various 
Presbyterian journals at the South and "West. 1 

Next in importance to these have been local his- 
tories, such as Prime's Long Island, Hotchkin's 
"Western New York, Nevin's Churches of the Val- 
ley, Foote's Sketches of Virginia and North Caro- 
lina, Davidson's Kentucky, " OldRedstone," Bolton's 
History of "Westchester County, Smyth's Second 
Church of Charleston, Macdonald's History of the 
Church of Jamaica, Riker's Newtown, Hoyt's Church 
of Orange, Stearns's Church of Newark, Hall's 
Church of Trenton, Eager's Orange County, Camp- 
bell's Tryon County, Munsell's Annals of Albany, 
Murray's Elizabethtown, He watt's History of South 
Carolina, History of Londonderry, Histories of Pitts- 
burg, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, &c, Greenleaf's 
Churches of Maine, Greenleaf's Churches of New 
York City, Dwight's Travels, Reed's Christian 
Traveller, &c. 

In biography, Dr. Sprague's Annals, so far as they 
have extended, have been invaluable and indispens- 
able; although in some instances I have been con- 

1 New Orleans "True Witness," "Presbyterian Herald," "South- 
ern Presbyterian," " North Carolina Presbyterian," " Central Chris- 
tian Herald," &c. 


strained to differ from the views which they present. 
Very important materials also have been derived 
from such memoirs as those of Drs. Alexander, 
Green, J. H. Rice, Nesbit, Rodgers, Griffin, Cle- 
land, Macurdy, Baldwin, Rowland, Baker, Holley, 
and Rev. Messrs. Badger, Christmas, Porter, Cor- 
nelius, Larned, Bruen, and others. "Wilson's "His- 
torical Almanac" has furnished information nowhere 
else accessible, and has proved of material service. 

Among works of a more general historical cha- 
racter which have been profitably consulted, must 
be mentioned Prince's History, Felt's Ecclesiastical 
History of New England, Histories of the United 
States by Grahame, Hildreth, and Bancroft, His- 
torical Collections of the different States, made by 
individuals, Societies, or State authority in the form 
of "Documentary History," and numerous State his- 
tories, like Trumbull's Connecticut, Simms's South 
Carolina, Ramsay's Tennessee, &c, Dr. Green's His- 
tory of Presbyterian Missions, Humphrey's Revival 
Sketches, and the well-known works of Hodge and 

The list of historical and obituary discourses which 
I have been able to collect, or at least to consult, 
has exceeded my anticipations. I have had pecu- 
liarly favorable opportunities in this respect, and 
have thus been enabled to add not a little to that 
minuteness of detail which is often necessary to 
clothe and give life to the statistics, — the skeleton 
of history. A list of these it is not necessary here 
to insert, as probably they are not sufficiently ac- 
cessible in any public collection to enable the reader 
to make reference to them. 


Beside these, historical pamphlets, like that of the 
tour of Mills and Schermerhorn to the Southwest, 
and that narrating the scenes of revival in the Caro- 
linas of 1802, or controversial pamphlets, like those 
of Dr. Ely, Messrs. Patterson, McCalla, &c, of Phi- 
ladelphia, of Drs. Rice, Peters, "Wilson, Beecher, 
and others, have fallen in my way and been sifted 
for facts. 

Another class of works has not been overlooked, 
and has been, indeed, indispensable. To this belong 
Barnes's Trial, Barnes's Defence, Reports of the ' 
Presbyterian Church Case before the Civil Courts, 
Judd's History of the Division of the Presb/yterian 
Church, Crocker's Catastrophe of the Presbyterian 
Church, Wood's Old and New Theology, with others 
which it is needless to mention. 

Some reference has been already made to manu- 
script and oral communications. But the manu- 
script History of the Secession of the Associated 
Presbyteries (1799-1818), by Dr. K S. Prime, is 
worthy of special mention ; and the files of the old 
Albany Presbytery — unexplored, perhaps, for half a 
century — afforded not only some of the original his- 
tories of churches ordered to be prepared by the 
General Assembly, but much other information of 
value. In the private library of the Stated Clerk of 
the General Assembly I obtained access to many 
works which I have met with nowhere else, and 
from friends in both branches of the Presbyterian 
Church I have received assistance and information 
to which I have been greatly indebted. 

No one can be more sensible than myself of the 
imperfections of the work. Some of them, indeed, 


from the lack of materials, were inevitable. There 
are still gaps here and there, which remain, and in 
all probability will long remain, to be filled, while 
the assigned limits of the work 1 have precluded the 
insertion of much matter that had been already pre- 
pared. Such an undertaking as this gives us — and, 
after all corrections and additions, must still give 
us — only an approximation to a complete history. 
Yet, by sending the work forth, even in its present 
form, a great want which our churches have long 
felt will, I trust, be supplied, and many facts, im- 
portant in the history of the Church, which might 
otherwise have soon passed into oblivion, will be pre- 
served. No one can thoughtfully peruse the story 
of the perils and hardships, the toils and achieve- 
ments, of the fathers and pioneers of the Church, or 
linger over even the controversies and dissensions 
by which at times it has been rent, or, especially, 
regard the great work which it has nobly achieved, 
without deriving therefrom lessons of truth, wisdom, 
and love. 


Haklem, New York City, April 11, 1864. 

1 In repeated instances, instead of giving the full name of the 
ministers in the text, I have endeavored to save space by using only 
the surname. By a reference, however, to the Index, the full name 
may readily be found in nearly every instance. 




American Presbyterianism — Francis Makemie — Labors in Maryland 
— Intolerance — Virginia and Dissenters — Act of 1618 — Ministers 
from Boston — Their Labors — Driven out — Disabilities by Act of 
1662 — The Church at Jamaica, L.I. — John Hubbard — Injustice of 
Lord Cornbury — Arrest of Makemie and Hampton — Conference 
with Cornbury — Illegal Imprisonment — Application to the Chief- 
Justice — Verdict of Acquittal — Second Prosecution apprehended — 
Maryland Intolerance — Character of Early Presbyterian His- 
tory Page 1-18 



The First Presbytery — Its Seven Members — Their Location — Andrews 
at Philadelphia — New England "Emissaries" — Keith and Tal- 
bot — Episcopacy — "Independents" in New Jersey — Applications 
for Ministers — Correspondence of Presbytery — London — Dublin 
— Synod of Glasgow — Response from London — Accessions to the 
Presbytery — Congregations in New Jersey and Long Island — ■ 
The Presbytery to be divided — Ten Years' Growth — Liberal Spirit 
of the Members Page 18-32 



THE SYNOD, 1717-1729. 

Long Island Presbytery — The Churches on the Island — Presbyteries 
of Philadelphia, Newcastle, and Snow Hill — Necessities of the Field 
— Difficulties at New York — Vesey and the Episcopal Division — 
Presbyterian Congregation — Anderson called — Building erected 



— Difficult} with Anderson — Jonathan Edwards — Ebenezer Pem 
berton — Jonathan Dickinson — The Church at Newark — Increase 
of Ministers — Their Nativity — Place of Settlement — Alexander 
Hutchison — William Tennent — Correspondence — Supply of Des- 
titutions — Fund for Pious Uses — A Commission of Synod appointed 
— Troubles at New York — Protest of Dickinson, Jones, Pierson, 
and others — The Difficulty removed — Liberal Spirit — Trouble at 
Newark Page 32—47 



Measures leading to the Adopting Act — History of Subscription in 
Ireland — Reasons for Subscription — The Belfast Society — Error 
in Scotland — Abernethy's Sermon — The War of Pamphlets — Ac- 
tion of the Synod — Craighead's Sermon — Permission to subscribe 
— The Separation — Danger to the American Presbyterian Church 
better apprehended — Scruples removed — A Full Synod called — 
The Committee — The Adopting Act — A Constitutional Basis to be 
changed by no Interpretation Page 47-58 



Ministers from 1729 to 1741 — Gilbert Tennent — His Character — Over- 
tuie to the Synod — Controversy with Cowell — Zeal of Tennent — 
Synod on the Examination of Candidates — Robert Cross opposed 
to Tennent — His Relations to Whitefield — Samuel Blair — Alex- 
ander Craighead — John Cross — Eleazar Wales — Richard Treat — 
The Tennents — The Party opposed to them — The Moderate Party 
— Growth of the Church — Decline of Yital Piety — Danger from 
Ireland — Samuel Hemphill — Preventive Measures — Committee to 
examine Candidates — The Log College — Its Success — Intrusion 

, into other Congregations — Objectionable Course of the New Bruns- 
wick Presbytery — Measures for a Synodical School — Whitefield — 
Intrusion on a Large Scale — Synod of 1740 — Overture introduced 
— Preaching — Tennent's and Blair's Papers — Action of the Synod 
— Harshness of the New Side— Exasperation — Synod of 1741 — 
Absence of New York Members — The Protest of the Old Side — ■ 
The Principal Grievances — Reasons of Protest — Conclusion of the 
Protest — Excitement — The Roll called — The Protestants a Ma- 
jority — The Division accomplished — The Two Parties. Page 58-82 




Unfavorable Prospects of the New Side — Dickinson's Proposal — The 
Conference — Insuperable Difficulty — Protest of the New York 
Members — Reply — A New Overture on the Subject in 1743 — Re- 
jected — Burr's Proposal to the New Brunswick Party — Reply — 
Project of a New Synod — Futile Measures of 1745 — Withdrawal 
of New York Presbytery — Synod of New York formed — Causes of 
Offence guarded against — Constitutional Basis — Members of the 
Constituent Presbyteries — Beatty — Growth of New Brunswick 
Presbytery — Accessions to the Old Side — Gain of the New Side— ■ 
Members received — Largely from New England — Scotch Sympathy 
— The Old Side — Nativity of the New Members — Check of Emi- 
gration affects the Old Side — Disposition for Reunion — Grounds 
of Division narrowed — The Paragraph on "Essentials'' — Position 
of the New Side — Presbyteries, how to be arranged — Plan of the 
Old Side — Commission of the two Synods — Meeting of both Synods 
in Philadelphia — Strength of each — Retrospect Page 82-106 



Valley of the Shenandoah — Scotch-Irish Immigration — Ministerial 
Supplies — Congregations gathered — Craig and Miller — Mission- 
aries sent out — Hardships of the Settlers — Hanover Presbytery — 
Morris's Reading-House — Occasion of Dissent — Meetings of Dis- 
senters — Prosecution — The Confession of Faith and Governor Gooch 
— The Dissenters pronounced Presbyterians — William Robin- 
son's Visit — Liberal Gift — Educates Samuel Davies — John Blair — 
John Roan — Prosecution — Whitefield's Visit — The Proclamation — 
Arrival of Davies — Meeting-Houses licensed — Davies's Early Life — 
His Welcome Reception — His Health fails — Resumes his Labors — 
Argument for Toleration — Success of Davies — Persecution — Re- 
vivals — Jonathan Edwards — Davies alone — Seeks Help — Daven- 
port's Visit — Byram— -Todd- — Davies applies to Synod — Jonathan 
Edwards invited to Virginia— Efficiency of Davies. .Page 106-124 



Nassau Hall College — Dickinson President — His Character — Aaron 
Burr, his Successor — The School at Newark — Removal to Prince- 


ton — Its Success — Mission of Tennent and Davies to England- 
Expenses — Difficulty foreseen — Apostasy of English Presbyterians 
— Jealousy of the Old Side — Obstructions — Tennent's Disavowal 
of his Sermon — Subscription sneered at— Orthodoxy in 111 Repute 
— Presbyterian Discipline neglected — Discouragement — Light 
breaks in — Sympathy for Virginia Dissenters — Partial Success — 
Scotland — Moderatism — Assembly orders a Collection — Tennent 
goes to Ireland — Witherspoon's "Characteristics" — Davies 
preaches — Visit to English Towns — Tennent's Success — Return 
to America — Burr's Death — Davies chosen President — The Old Side 
— Alison's School — Aid from German Schools — Dublin Donation 
of Books — Finley's School — Samuel Blair's School — Andrews — ■ 
Evans — Davies — Correspondence with President Clap Page 124—138 



The Basis of Union — The Protest set aside — The Presbyteries — Re- 
vival Testimony — Lessons of the Division — Members of the Pres- 
byteries — Committee of Correspondence — Day of Fasting and 
Prayer — Trouble in Donegal Presbytery — The Second Presbytery 
of Philadelphia — Its Members — Vain Attempt to unite it with the 
First — Members received from other Presbyteries — Duffield and 
the Third Church of Philadelphia — Virginia Ministers ask for a 
New Presbytery — Dutchess County Presbytery — Churches west of 
the Hudson — Letter from the Presbytery of South Carolina — Pres- 
bytery of Orange — Large Accession of Ministers — The Mission- 
Field — Frontier Settlements — Professor of Divinity at Princeton — 
Plan to promote Ministerial Education — Missions to the Indians 
— John Brainerd — Samson Occum — The French War — Missionary 
Collections proposed — Germ of Home and Foreign Missions — ■ 
Foreign Correspondence — Congregational and Presbyterian Con- 
vention — Its Object — Circulation of Religious Books — Germ of the 
Publication Cause — Psalmody — New York Troubles — Dr. Latta's 
Pamphlet — Synod's Commission — African Mission — Drs. Stiles 
and Hopkins — Synod of 1775 — Members present — Day of Fasting 
and Prayer— The Pastoral Letter— Its Effect Page 138-173 


THE PERIOD FROM 1775 TO 1788. 

Presbyterian Sympathy for Freedom — Patriotic Spirit — Opposition 
to an Episcopal Establishment — Picture of 17G9 — Episcopal 


Petition — Newspaper Controversy- -Attitude of the Episcopal 
Churches — Conduct of the Presbyterians — Their Course in the 
Pulpit — John Craighead — Cooper's Sermons — Chaplains in the 
Army — Ministers in the Ranks — Sufferings and Hardships of the 
Clergy — Imprisonment— Commingling of Carnal and Spiritual 
Weapons — Ministers in Civil Service — Sufferings — Church-Edifices 
— Effect of the War on Schools and Colleges — Influence of Camp- 
Life — Prevalent Immorality and Disorder — Meetings of Synod — 
Return of Peace — Attendance at Synods — Ministerial Support — 
Examination of Licentiates — Bibles for Distribution — Suffolk 
Presbytery — Synod's Committee of Conference — Alliance of 
Church and State repudiated — Action on Slavery — Correspond- 
ence with other Churches — Change in the Confession — Plan agi- 
tated for forming a General Assembly — Committee of 1785 — ■ 
Draught of a Constitution — Changes and Modifications — Lack of 
Entire Unanimity — Fear of Ecclesiastical Strictness — The Fear 
ungrounded — First Moderator — Dr. Green and the Correspond- 
ence with the New England Churches Page 173-207 



Secession of Jacob Green and others — Green's Objections to the Pres- 
byterian System — Peaceable Withdrawal — Joseph Grover — Amzi 
Lewis — Ebenezer Bradford — Morris County Associated Presbytery 
formed — Its Platform — Its Pamphlet — Appendix — Licensing Can- 
didates — Fund for Education — Growth of the Presbytery — As- 
sociated Presbytery of Westchester — Its Members, History, and 
Dissolution — Northern Associated Presbytery — Annual Conven- 
tion proposed — Confession of Faith — The Fourth Presbytery — 
Fate of the Secession Page 207-219 



Project of Colonization — A Charter secured — Gross Inconsistency — 
The Early Settlers — Scotch Immigration — James Campbell — First 
Churches — Hugh McAden — Alexander Craighead — Two Routes 
of Immigration — Applications to Synod — Henry Patillo — David 
Caldwell — Missionaries — Orange Presbytery — Thomas Reese — 
James Hall — S. E. McCorkle — The Williamsburg Church — Francis 


Cummins — Robert Tate — William Richardson and others- 
James McGready — East Tennessee — Influence of the War — Suf- 
fering occasioned by it — The Church and Education — South Caro- 
lina — The First Settlers — Their Liberal Principles — Scotch Exiles 
and Huguenots — A Puritan Element — Dorchester and Charleston 
Churches — Episcopal Church established by Law — Remonstrance 
— Archibald Stobo — Dissenters taxed — A Presbytery formed — Its 
Sympathies — Successors of Stobo — Hewatt — Buist — Presbytery 
applies for Union with the Assembly Page 2lt)-250 


"OLD REDSTONE," 1776-1793. 

Emigration to Western Pennsylvania — Indian Troubles — Beatty and 
Duffield's Visit — Primitive Condition of Society — Toils and Hard- 
ships of Ministers — Character of the People — Early Settlements — 
Presbytery of Redstone erected — James Power — John McMillan 
— Thaddeus Dod — The Log Academy — Joseph Smith — His Latin 
School — Accessions to the Presbytery — James Dunlap, James 
Finley, John Clark — Other Ministers — Character of the Pres- 
bytery—The Men needed Page 250-268 



The Synod divided — New Synods — Changes in Presbyteries — General 
Assembly — Representation — The First Assembly — Address to 
Washington — His Reply — Overture on the Subject of Appeal- 
Printing the Scriptures — Ostervald's Notes — History of the Mis- 
sionary Policy of the Church — Steps taken by the Assembly — 
Synodical Action — Circular Letter — Missionary Fund — Operations 
of the Synod of Virginia — Pittsburg Synod — Memorials on Slavery 
— Editions of the Confession — Relations to Other Churches — Cor- 
respondence with Connecticut General Association — Delegates al- 
lowed to vote — Psalmody — Measures taken — Dwight's Version — ■ 
Caution of the Assembly — Reports of Synods in 1791 — New Pres- 
byteries — Alarming State of the Country — Admonitory Letter of 
the Assembly — More Cheering Prospects — Dawn of a Revival 
Period Page 268-299 




New Jersey Churches — Newark — Dr. McWhorter — Princeton and 
Dr. Witherspoon — Orange — Jedediah Chapman — Other Ministers 
— Signs of Progress — New Churches and Ministers — Pennsylvania 
— Presbyteries of the State — Dr. John Ewing — Dr. James Sproat 
— Dr. George Duffield — John Blair Smith — William M. Tennent 
— James Grier — Presbytery of Carlisle — Church of Paxton — 
John Elder — Dr. Charles Nisbet — Dickinson College — Dr. Robert 
Davidson — Dr. Robert Cooper — John McKnight — John Black — ■ 
John King — Samuel Waugh — Robert Cathcart — Other Ministers — 
Vacant Churches — Pastoral Changes — Presbytery of Huntingdon 
— Its Pastors — Redstone Presbytery — Ohio Presbytery — Original 
Members — Joseph Patterson — Thomas Marquis — Samuel Ralston 
— James Hughes — Elisha Macurdy — John Watson — John Ander- 
son — Thomas Moore — Other Ministers — Candidates.. .Page 300-333 



Obstacles to the Growth of the Church — Western Maryland — Balti- 
more Presbytery — First Church of Baltimore — Dr. Allison — 
Church of Alexandria — William Thorn — Isaac S. Keith — First 
Church of Georgetown — Dr. S. B. Balch — Other Members of the 
Presbytery — Virginia — Hanover Presbytery— Pastors and Churches 
— Episcopal Church — Leading Ministers — James Waddel — Lexing- 
ton Presbytery — John Brown, of New Providence — Primitive Call 
of a Pastor — Archibald Scott, of Bethel and Brown's Church — 
William Wilson, of Augusta — Other Ministers — Moses Hoge of 
Shepherdstown — Other Pastors — Growth of the Church in the Val- 
ley — Presbytery of Winchester — Education of the Ministers — 
Hampden-Sidney College — Dr. Samuel S. Smith — William Graham 
and Liberty Hall- -The Revival in the Colleges — Students converted 
that enter the Ministry — Results of the Revival Page 333-355 


THE CAROLINAS, 1789-1800. 

Synod of the Carolinas — Growth of Orange Presbytery — Ministers 
and Churches — South Carolina Presbytery — Its Ministers — 
Changes of Forty Years — Measures of the Synod — Missionary 


Policy — New Members of Orange Presbytery — S. C. Caldwell- 
James McGready — Lewis F. Wilson — Humphrey Hunter — Robert 
M. Cunningham — Moses Waddel and others — John Brown — John 
Robinson — Erection of the Presbytery of Concord — Presbytery of 
South Carolina divided — Members — Synod of 1796 and Slavery — 
James Gilliland — New Members — Synod in 1800 — Presbyteries — 
Missionary Operations Page 355-368 . 


NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 

Number of Congregations — Number in the Several Presbyteries — 
Churches of Suffolk Presbytery — Jamaica — Smithtown and Hamp- 
stead — Easthampton — Southampton — Southhold — Sagharbor — 
Smithtown and Islip — Huntington — Newtown — Dr. Samuel Buell — 
Benjamin Goldsmith — Aaron Woolworth — Effects of the War — 
Improved Prospects — The Church in New York City after the War 
— Renewed Prosperity — Third Church — Dr. Rodgers — Dr. Mille- 
doler — Dr. McKnight — Associated Presbytery of Westchester 
County — Presbytery of Dutchess County — Members and Churches 
— Hudson Presbytery — Its Members — Florida Church — Other 
Churches — Slow Growth — Prominent Ministers — Presbytery of 
Albany — Duteh Settlers — Cherry Valley — Johnstown — Cambridge 
— Salem — Ballst on — Other Churches — Schenectady — Albany — 
Ministers and Churches of the Presbytery — Applications to it for 
Aid — Changes — State of Things in 1800 — Principal Pastors — Union 
College — John Blair Smith — President Nott — Origin of the Plan 
of Union — Genesee Valley — Emigration — Spirit of the General 
Association of Connecticut — Its Committee — Western New York 
— Early History of its Settlement — Its Missionary Claims — 
Spread of Infidelity — Dearth of Ministers — Assembly's Mission- 
aries — More Vigorous Measures — Year of the Great Revival — 
Jedediah Bushnell — Letter of Seth Williston — Origin and Spread 
of the Revival — Need of the Stricter System of Presbyterianism 
for the Churches — The Two Denominations — Early Churches — 
Foundations laid Page 368-402* 


KENTUCKY, 1775-1800. 

Population of Kentucky and Tennessee — Constant Immigration- 
Hardships — Ministers needed — " Father" Rice — His Interest in 
the Cause of Learning — Adam Rankin and others — Robert Mar- 


shall and Carey H. Allen — Their Journey and Labors in Kentucky — 
Allen's Return, accompanied by Calhoon, to Kentucky — Trou- 
bles respecting Psalmody — Adam Rankin — His Zeal for Rouse's 
Version — He leaves the Field — Returns, and leads off a Secession — 
Vindication of the Presbytery — Scottish Missionaries — James 
Blythe — Samuel Rannals — John P. Campbell — Joseph P. Howe — 
John Lyle and Alexander Cameron — Accession of Ministers — 
Robert Stuart — Robert Wilson — Other Ministers of the Presby- 
tery — The Field — Its Moral and Spiritual Aspects — Obnoxious 
Influences — A Critical Period — Better Prospects Page 403-422 


TENNESSEE, 1775-1800. 

Abingdon Presbytery — Twelve Years' Growth — Churches in the State 
— Pastors — Date of Churches — Transylvania Presbytery — Early 
Settlements in the State — Charles Cummings — Hardships — Samuel 
Doak — A Friend of Learning — HezekiahBalch — Other Ministers — 
Robert Henderson — Gideon Blackburn — Samuel Carrick — His Re- 
ception — Pioneer Life — Sermon of Carrick and Balch — Ramsey — 
Balch's Hopkinsianism — His Indiscretion Page 422-435 



Era of Missionary Societies — Various Organizations — Missionary 
Zeal — Co-operative Spirit — Need of United Effort — "Plan of 
Union" — Critical Period — The Spirit of the Occasion — Synod of 
Albany and New Presbyteries — Act of Incorporation — Plan for a 
Mission Fund — Assembly's Magazine — Ministerial Education — 
Methods to promote it — Missionary Arrangements of 1802 — Synod 
of Pittsburg and Missions — Other Mission Interests — Doak in 
Tennessee — Gideon Blackburn and the Cherokees — His Plan en- 
dorsed by the Assembly — Missionary Appointments — General 
Progress — Mission Distribution of Books — Revivals — Influence 
of the War — The Cause of Temperance — Dr. Beecher — Duelling — 
Action on Slavery — The Kentucky Revival — Troubles that sprang 
out of it — Cumberland Presbytery — Progress of the Church — 
Missionary Zeal — Revivals reported in 1810 — Presbyteries formed 
— Mission of Mills and Schermerhorn — The Mission-Field — Funds 
— Ministers needed — Dr. Green's Overture — Favorable Reception 
of the Plan for a Seminary — Princeton Seminary — Prominent Min- 
isters of the Church in 1815 — Others more obscurc.Page 436-470 



PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 

The Presbyteries — Growth at the West — Relative Increase — Presby- 
tery of Philadelphia — Uriah Dubois — John B. Linn — Dr. J. P.Wil- 
son — Dr. Jacob J. Janeway — Dr. Ezra Stiles Ely — G. C. Potts — 
Thomas H. Skinner— William Neill— The Seventh Church— Other 
Churches — First African — John Gloucester — George Chandler and 
Kensington — James Patterson and Northern Liberties — John F. 
Grier — Other Pastors — Vacant Churches — Carlisle Presbytery — 
John Linn — Dr. McKnight — William Paxton — Joshua Williams — 
Dr. McConaughy — Upper Marsh Creek — Robert Kennedy — H. R. 
Wilson — David Denney, John Moody, and others — Presbytery of 
Huntingdon — Presbytery of Northumberland — Synod of Pitts- 
burg— Strength of the Presbyteries — Redstone Presbytery — Dr. 
Power — Change of Forty Years — Samuel Porter — James Dunlap — 
John McPherrin — Joseph Stockton — George Hill — Francis Herron 
— Second Church of Pittsburg — Third Church — Fourth Church — 
Site of the Seminary — William Wylie — Dr. Andrew Wylie — Pres- 
bytery of Ohio — Dr. McMillan — Joseph Patterson — James Hughes 
— John Brice — Thomas Marquis — Cephas Dodd — Samuel Ralston 
— Other Pastors — John Anderson — President Brown — Elisha 
Macurdy — Other Pastors — Vacant Churches — Presbytery of Erie — 
Vacant Churches — Members of Presbytery — Thomas E. Hughes — 
Presbyteries of Steubenville and Washington — Grand River Pres- 
bytery — Cause of Collegiate and Theological Education — Mission 
to the Indians — Operations of the Pittsburg Synod — Wyandotte 
Indians — Plan of the Mission — Partial Success — Labors of Mr. 
Badger — James Hughes and his Mission — Sympathies of Pittsburg 
Synod — Revival of 1802 — Meeting at Three Springs — At Raccoon 
— At Cross-Roads — "Bodily Exercises" — Badger's Statement — 
Spread of the Revival — Statement of Mr. Robbins — The "Exer- 
cises" — Effects of the Revival Page 471-549 


NEW JERSEY, 1800-1820. 

Churches of the State — Jersey Presbytery — Newton Presbytery — 
First Church Newark — Dr. Griffin — Dr. Richards — Dr. Hilly er — 
Amzi Armstrong — Dr. McDowell — Dr. King — Aaron Condict — 
Other Pastors — New Brunswick Presbytery — Dr. S. S. Smith — 
Dr. A. Green— Dr. Alexander — Dr. Miller — President Lindsley — 
Dr. R. Finley — Newton Presbytery — Ministers and Churches — Re- 
vivals — Great Meeting at Madison — Its Effects Page 550-576 






American Presbyterianism, like American civiliza- 
tion, has derived its distinctive character from many 
and diverse influences. As we trace the course of its 
history we find it receiving tributaries from distant 
and varied sources, yet all blending in a current that 
flows in a channel of its own, and marked at every step 
by features peculiar to itself. Commingled in it, and 
made more or less homogeneous by it, we find the ele- 
ments of English " dissent," Irish fervor, Scotch per- 
sistence, and Huguenot devotion. There is scarce a 
memorable event in the history of Protestantism in tbe 
Old World that does not assist to elucidate the character 
of its founders. It inherits alike the memories of the 
noble men who fell victims to the bigotry of Alva or 
Laud, or endured the brutal cruelty of Lauderdale or 
Jeffries. In tbe annals of the Genevan republic, the 

heroism of the Netherlands, the sufferings of the Hu- 
Vol. I.— i 


guenots, — culminating in the bloody St. Bartholomew, — 
the sterling conscientiousness of the Puritans, and the 
unswerving loyalty to Christ's crown and covenant 
evinced by the countrymen of John Knox, may be dis- 
cerned the elements of that training which shaped the 
views and character of its founders. 

Thus, without taking any other church on earth as 
its model, it was built up out of materials drawn from 
sources the most diverse, and into a structure that con- 
stitutes its own type. Even here it was modified by 
local influences, — sometimes constrained in the New 
"World to renew the struggle which had become too 
familiar in the Old, and to protest against an intolerance 
which could not but revive memories of Acts of Con- 
formity, bigoted proscription, or Claverhouse's dragoons. 
Yet ere long it was left unmolested, and, in a field broad 
enough to tax its utmost energies, was called to the 
task of competing with other denominations in the 
noble work of evangelizing a young and growing 

Although it was not till after the commencement of 
the eighteenth century that the Presbyterian Church 
in this country assumed an organized form, yet many 
of the elements that were finally assimilated and em- 
bodied in it had been long acclimated on these Western 
shores. The Plymouth Church conformed — almost as 
far as in its isolated position was possible — to the 
French Presbyterian type. 1 The early Synods of New 
England repeatedly and emphatically endorsed the 
importance of the eldership. The Synods themselves 
were the concession of public conviction to the neces- 
sity for a supervision of the churches which a state 
theocracy strove vainly to supply. Not a few of the 
leading minds of New England regretted and opposed 

1 Life of Brewster. 


the tendencies upon which the churches "were for many 
years steadily drifting towards a relaxation of church 
order and discipline, and it is scarcely surprising that 
they should have strongly favored the Presbyterian 
system, when they felt constrained, like Stone of Hart- 
ford, to define Congregationalism as " a speaking aris- 
tocracy in the face of a silent democracy," or to say of 
it, with the elder Edwards, " I have long been out of 
conceit of our unsettled, independent, confused way of 
church government in this land." 

Nor were there wanting those-, even in New England, 
who had been educated under the Presbyterianism of 
men like Owen and Baxter and Manton and Jacomb, 
but who with their liberal sympathies readily adopted 
the ecclesiastical usages of the land of their adoption. 
But as they went abroad, — some of them removing to 
Long Island and some to New York and New Jerse}*, — 
they just as liberally and readily acquiesced in the 
forms and methods of their new religious associations, 
and, like Burr of Newark and Dickinson of Elizabeth- 
town, — without violating their convictions or sacrificing 
an iota of principle, — became the leaders in the ranks 
of the Presbyterian Church. 

Thus, long before the first Presbytery was formed, 
quite a number of churches on Long Island and in New 
Jersey which subsequently became identified with the 
Presbyterian Church had been organized by the de- 
scendants of the Puritans, and mainly by New England 
men. In only one or two instances is it probable that 
the church was possessed of a Presbyterian organiza- 
tion ; but their sympathies were one with Protestant 
Dissenters, whether in the mother country or its colo- 
nies. The New England Puritan afiiliated readily with 
the " Scotch Independent," which in the lips of a Church- 
man was often a synonym for Presbyterian, and in the 
absence of that state supervision of the churches which 


constituted the administration of the " New England 
Theocracy," he felt the propriety and yielded to the 
expediency of an organization to which should be com- 
mitted " the care of the churches." 

By the year 1700 there must have been in the colo- 
nies of New York and New Jersey from ten to fifteen 
churches which were of a New England origin and 
type. It is more than possible that the church at 
Jamaica was organized as Presbyterian, 1 and if so it 
is probably the only one of them all entitled to claim 
this distinction until at least some years after the form- 
ation of the first Presbytery. Nor did it come into 
connection with Presbytery until some time subsequent 
to its organization. 3 

The man to whom the honor belongs of laying the 
foundations of the Presbyterian Church, as an organized 
body, in this country, is Francis Makemie. He was 
an Irishman, — born near Eathmelton, Donegal county, 
Ireland, — a student at one of the Scotch universities, 
and a licentiate of the Presbytery of Laggan in 1681. 
Three years later, after laboring a while in Barbadoes, 3 
he organized the Presbyterian Church in Snow Hill, 
Maryland. Here, in the narrow neck of land between 
the Chesapeake and the ocean, sheltered by the mild 

1 See Macdonald's Jamaica. 

2 Macdonald's "History of the Presbyterian Church of Jamaica, 
L.I." (new and enlarged edition), published since the above was 
written, labors to show that the Jamaica Church is the oldest exist- 
ing church of the Pre-byterian name in America. He certainly 
renders this highly probable. And yet the church is spoken of by 
Vesey and others as one of Scotch Independents, and the fact that 
it stood in connection with no presbytery until after Macnish com- 
menced his pastorate, forces us to regard it as Independent Pres- 
byterian, and not an integral portion of "The Presbyterian Church 
in the United States" as already organized by the Presbytery at 

3 Foote's Sketches, First Series, p. 42. 


laws of a colony founded by a Eoman Catholic noble- 
man, the Presbyterian Church of America began its 
existence. 1 

It is probable, indeed, that other Presbyterian con- 
gregations had been gathered before this in other 
localities. But their condition must have been far 
from- promising, and rarety could they have enjoyed 
the ordinances of the sanctuary. The population was 
sparse, and there were no " towns." Makemie notices 
it as " an unaccountable humor" 2 that no attempts were 
made to build them. The people were scattered like 
sheep in the wilderness, and a large portion of his labor 
was to search them out. Soon after he had commenced 
his ministry in Maryland, he found on Elizabeth Eiver 
in Virginia " a poor desolate people" mourning the loss 
of their ''dissenting ministers from Ireland," who had 
been removed by death the summer previous. 3 It was 
not long before quite a number of congregations were 
gathered in the region which he had selected as his field 
of .labor. An itinerant missionary, and in reality the 
bishop of a primitive diocese, he journeyed from place 
to place, sometimes on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, 
sometimes in Virginia, and sometimes extending his 
journeys as far as South Carolina. To the extent of 
his ability he supplied the feeble churches, but he deeply 
felt the need of others to assist him. To obtain these 
was an object of paramount importance, and he spared 
no effort to attain it. With this end in view, he cor- 
responded with ministers in London and in Boston. 
But he was not content with this: He broke away — 
we may be sure at a great sacrifice — from the pressing 

1 From 1649 to 1692, Maryland enjoyed perfect religious tolera- 
tion. In the latter year the Episcopal was made the Established 
Church. The attempt to introduce this innovation was made in 
1677, but defeated by Lord Baltimore. 

2 Sprague, iii. 2. 3 lb. iii. 6. 



calls around him that he might personally urge his 
appeals. He crossed the ocean and applied to the 
Independent and Presbyterian ministers of London for 
aid. He visited New England and consulted with 
Mather. Indefatigable in effort, clear-sighted and 
sagacious in his views, liberal in sentiment, fearless in 
the discharge of duty, and shrinking from no burden, 
his name needs no eulogy beyond the simple record of 
what he accomplished and endured. 

Makemie had been but a few years in Maryland when 
the English Revolution took place. For the English 
Dissenter it secured some of his just rights, but its? 
benefits were scarcely felt on this side of the ocean 
Indeed, in Maryland it resulted in the establishment by 
law of the Episcopal Church. The principles of religious 
liberty were not to be vindicated here without a strug- 
gle, and the early history of the American Presbyterian 
Church rallies around it the sympathies of every friend 
of civil and religious freedom. The experience of 
Makemie in a New YAgjjterison, or before a royal judge, 
reminds us of Baxte:f|PHGfche abuse heaped upon him 
by the infamous Jeffrie%|"4fti\le the history of the Vir- 
ginia Dissenters is not unworthy a place by the side of 
that of the English Non -conformists of 1662. 

Makemie in 1703-4 visited England and procured as 
fell ow -laborers John Hampton and George Macnish. 1 
They returned with him to Maryland, — sent out and 
sustained by the London Union of Presbyterian and 
Independent ministers. But when they reached Mary- 
land it was to experience the intolerance that allowed 
that colony no longer the enviable reputation for reli' 
gious freedom which it once enjoyed. The Episcopal 
had now become the Established Church, and no Dis- 
senter was allowed to preach without a license. For 

1 Usually, but incorrectly, spelled McNish. 


many years in New York, Virginia, Maryland, and 
South Carolina, the growth of the Presbyterian Church 
was checked by persecution and intolerance. We can- 
not do justice to the spirit of the first Presbyterian 
ministers and their noble vindication of religious 
liberty, without a brief review of the conditions of 
their fields of labor. 

Por a long period Virginia rivalled the mother coun- 
try it* the hardships with which she treated all but 
Episcopalians. The Established Church was exclusively 
tolerated and sustained by law, and every form of dis- 
sent was accounted obnoxious. Por three-quarters of 
a century it was suppressed by the most rigid laws, 
and for another three-quarters of a century it was at 
best but barely tolerated, and in some cases altogether 
interdicted. In the earlier period the laws against those 
who did not conform were peculiarly rigid. By the 
Act of 1618, absentees from the parish church w T ere 
punished by a fine and a night in the stocks, and for 
the third offence by being made slaves to the colony for 
a year and a day. In the revisal of 1642 the Act for 
Conformity was made more severe on ministers. The 
Governor and Council were directed to send away any 
who did not comply with this enactment. Nor was the 
law suffered to remain a dead letter. 

There was already in Virginia a Puritan leaven long 
before the arrival of Makemie. 1 In 1607, Rev. Henry 
Jacobs fled with the celebrated John Robinson to 
Leyden. He subsequently returned to England and 
organized the first Congregational Church in that 
country in 1616. In 1624, he emigrated to Virginia 2 

1 Prince's Chronology. 

2 In 162-4 Henry Jacob, who had been the pastor of the South- 
wark Congregational Church, London, left his charge and removed 
to Virginia, where he died. The scene and duration of his labors 
are uncertain, but in 1G42 (May 24) Richard Bennet, Daniel Gookin, 


with thirty members of his congregation. He was 
succeeded in his labors in this country by _Rev. Mr. 

John Hyll, and others, to the number of seventy-one persons, wrote 
to the ministers of New England, speaking of themselves as "inha- 
bitants of the county of the Upper Norfolk in Virginia," and as 
having prepared an address to the ministers in an appeal for help 
in the previous year. At the later date they speak of "the present 
incumbent" being determined to leave them, so that they are forced 
to provide for themselves. The county, they say, is of large 
extent, and it had been found necessary to divide it into three parts, 
each of which was willing to support a pastor. Philip Bennet was 
agent for the applicants, who desired to obtain three ministers, such 
as should on trial be found "faithful in pureness of doctrine and 
integrity of life." 

The Virginia letters were read publicly, and a time was ap- 
pointed to consider them. Phillips of Watertown, Tompson of 
Braintree, and Miller of Rowley, were designated. The first 
declined, and his colleague Knowles consented to take his place. 
Miller's health forbade his compliance. Knowles and Tomp- 
son set out, and at New Haven were joined by James, formerly of 
Cbarlestown. They were eleven weeks in reaching their destination ; 
but when they reached their field of labor they were greatly en- 

Their labors were greatly prospered; but the authorities silenced 
them, and they returned in less than a year. But Thomas Harri- 
son, the chaplain of the Governor, had been brought under their 
influence, and had adopted and begun to preach their evangelical 
views. Virginia renewed its application to Massachusetts for help. 
William Durand of Upper Norfolk wrote also to New Haven urging 
John Davenport (Felt, i. 515) to advance the sending of ministers 
to Virginia. He states that his friends had thought of applying in 
England for pastors, but had concluded that those of best, qualifi 
cations were to be found in New England. 

Knowles, Tompson, — whose wife died on the mission, — and James, 
had scarcely left Virginia when the Indians rose and massacred 
a large number of the settlers. A " mortal sickness" also prevailed, 
and the Governor likewise ordered those who would not conform to 
Episcopacy to leave the jurisdiction. Harrison was left alone, — 
pastor of a church at Nansemond gathered by the missionaries and 
composing "a large congregation," — but in 1648 he also left for 


Lathrop. Congregationalist Dissenters were thus in- 
troduced into Virginia at an early period. 

In 1641, a gentleman from Virginia by the name of 
Bennet visited Boston with letters from Virginia resi- 
dents to K"ew England ministers, " bewailing their sad 
condition for want of the glorious gospel/' and entreat- 
ing that they might thence be supplied. The letters 
were openly read at Boston upon a lecture-day, and the 
subject was taken up in earnest. Tompson and 
Knowles, colleague-pastors at Watertown and Brain- 
tree, were selected for the mission, and on their way 
were joined by James of New Haven. 

Their voyage was slow and difficult. They began 
" to suspect whether they had a clear call of God to the 
undertaking," but their success on their arrival soon 
dispelled their fears. The magistrates, indeed, gave 
them little encouragement, but from the people they 
received a warm welcome. In several parts of the 
country " there were many people brought home to 
God." But they were not long left unmolested. The 
Episcopal clergy were far from exemplary in the dis- 
charge of their duties. 1 They felt the rebuke of a 
better example, and at their instance, or at least with 
their sanction, the laws against dissent were enforced 
against the ]S"ew England ministers. They were " dis- 
charged from public preaching in Virginia," but they 
continued their labors in private, " and did much good." 
They were at length, however, forced to leave. 

In 1648, the Virginia Puritans were still numerous. 
About one hundred and eighteen were associated under 

New England, and his people, to avoid persecution, thought of remov- 
ing to the Bahamas. Thus "dissent" was rooted out of the colony- 
just so far as intolerance could effect it. — Felt's New England, i. 216, 
471-7, 4S7, 490, 515, 520-7: ii. 7. 

1 Bishop Meade's Churches of Virginia. 


the pastoral care of Harrison, who had heen the Go- 
vernor's chaplain, but who. from the moment be showed 
a leaning to the Puritans, was looked upon with disfavor. 
He. too. withdrew to New England, and the cono-rega- 
tions were scattered. During the time of Cromwell 
(about 1556), we still find traces of the Puritans. A cer- 
tain people congregated into a church, calling them- 
selves ;; Independents." was found to be " daily increas- 
ing," and -'several consultations were had how to sup- 
press and extinguish them." These consultations bore 
fruit. •• The pastor was banished, next their other 
teachers," while of the people some were imprisoned or 
disarmed, till " they knew not in those straights how to 
dispose of themselves." It was estimated that the num- 
ber of this class of Dissenters amounted at this period 
to about a thousand. 

In 1662, the laws were made still more rigid against 
]\on-conforaiists. The Quakers, as well as Puritans, 
experienced harsh treatment. It seems probable that, 
in spite of adverse legislation, quite a number of Pres- 
byterian or Independent Dissenters still remained in 
the colony; but they were scattered and disorganized, 
and subject to many disabilities. It was in these cir- 
cumstances that Makemie first visited the region. On 
the borders of Maryland, but within the Tirginia 
line, was the place of his residence; yet it was ten years 
after the toleration edict of 1689 before he could pro- 
cure a legal license to preach in Tirginia. And even 
then he had no light difficulties to encounter. The 
spirit of the preceding period still survived, and for 
half a century longer Presbyterians were regarded 
with great disfavor. 

Meanwhile, efforts were made, in the face of great 
difficulties and discouragements, to extend the Presby- 
terian Church in other directions. 1 The town of Ja- 

1 Ministers were sent from New England to Xew York, 1685, at 


maica on Long Island, had been largely settled by 
Presbyterians. In 1702, they numbered over a hun- 
dred families, " exemplary for all Christian knowledge 
and goodness." The}- had a church valued at six hun- 
dred pounds, and a parsonage at more than double that 
amount. In 1702, the town chose Presbyterian church- 
wardens and vestrymen, and settled as their pastor John 
Hubbard, a native of Ipswich, Mass., and a classmate of 
Andrews of Philadelphia. But High-Church intolerance 
was in the ascendency in the colony, and the Presby- 
terians were ejected to make room for the Episcopalians. 
Bartow, the church-missionary of West Chester, in 
Hubbard's absence, took possession of the church and 
began to read the Liturgy. Hubbard arrived, and, 
finding what was the state of things, withdrew, and 
assembled the congregation, who furnished themselves 
seats and benches from the church, in a neighboring 
orchard. Bartow meanwhile concluded his services, 
locked the door of the church, and gave the key to the 
sheriff. The people demanded it. but were refused. 
The Governor, Lord Cornbury, thanked Bartow for 
what he had done, but summoned Hubbard, with the 
heads of the congregation, before him, and forbade him 
any more to preach in the church. 1 

]S^or was this all. He added meanness to injustice. 
During the great sickness of 1702, in Xew York. Corn- 
bury entreated Hubbard, in a friendly manner, for the 
use of the parsonage. It was granted ; but Cornbury 
requited the favor by putting the house, when he 

the desire of Governor Andrews. Pierson and Bishop of Stamford 
wrote to I. Mather of Boston and Shepard of Charlestown, that they 
had conversed with the Governor, and that he expressed the wish that 
several plantations might be supplied with honest and able minis- 
ters, promising them encouragement. — Felt, X. England, ii. G79. 

1 See N. Y. Doc. Hist, and McDonald's Hist, of the Church of Ja- 


vacated it, into the hands of the Churchmen. "Without 
form oi* due course of law, he gave the sheriff a war- 
rant to dispossess Hubbard of the glebe : this was sur- 
veyed out into lots, and leased for the benefit of the 
Episcopalians. The aggrieved party were " afraid to 
petition" for redress. 

Tbe Presbyterians of Bedford, in West Chester count}', 
N.Y., had petitioned for a minister. The petition re- 
mained unanswered '• until an abdicated Scotch Jacobite 
parson obtruded upon them, that insults intolerably 
over them, is consulted with." Such was the domineer- 
ing and tyrannic style in which liberty of conscience 
was dealt with in the province of Xew York. " If a 
people want a minister, they must have a license to 
call one, whether from Xew England or Europe; a 
license to admit ministers to attend any ordination, and 
limited for number, and tied up from exercising their 
ministry without license, though in a transient manner; 
which has drove some out of the government, and de- 
terred others from coming thereunto; which informs 
all, what liberty of conscience Dissenters do enjoy." 

In what spirit the authorities of the colony would 
receive dissenting preachers from abroad may readily 
be surmised. In January, 1707, Makemie and Hampton, 
on their way to Xew England, doubtless to procure sup- 
plies for newly organized churches in their own neigh- 
borhood, passed through Xew York. Makemie proposed 
to preach in the Dutch church; but Lord Com bury 
forbade him. In consequence of this, at the earnest 
request of a number of individuals, he preached a ser- 
mon at the house of William Jackson, in Pearl Street. 
The exercises were as public as possible. The doors 
were thrown open, and the sermon was printed. This 
was on Sunday, the 20th of January. The same day 
Hampton preached at Xewtown, on Long Island, in 
the public meeting-house, offered by the inhabitants. 


Here he was joined on Wednesday by Makemie, who by 
public appointment was to preach that day. But no 
sooner had he arrived than he and Hampton were both 
apprehended by the sheriff Cardale, acting under the 
authority of a warrant from Lord Cornbury. 

The prisoners were taken before the Governor at 
Fort Anne, New York. Cornbury demanded of them 
how they dared preach under his government without a 
license. Makemie referred him to the Toleration Act 
of King William in 16^9. He told them this did not 
extend to the American Plantations. Makeniie replied 
that it was not a limited or local act, and adduced his 
certificates of license from courts of record in Alary- 
land and Virginia. Worsted in the argument, Cornbury 
appealed to the act of Parliament directed, as he said, 
against strolling preachers, and told Makemie and Hamp- 
ton that they were such. " There is not one word, my 
lord," said Makemie, " mentioned in any part of the 
law, against travelling or strolling preachers." To this 
the Governor could only reply, " You shall not spread 
your pernicious doctrines here." Makemie told him 
that the doctrines he taught were found in " our con- 
fession of faith," and challenged all the clergy of Xew 
York to show any thing false or pernicious in them, 
adding that he could make it appear that they were 
agreeable to the established doctrines of the Church of 
England. " But these Articles," replied the Governor, 
"you have not signed." "As to the Articles of religion'' 
said Makemie, " I have a copy in my pocket, and am 
ready at all times to sign, with those exceptions specified 
in the law." 

Upon this, the Governor charged him with preaching 
in a private house. Makemie replied that his lordship 
had denied him permission to preach in the Dutch 
church, and hence he had been necessitated to do as 

Vol. I.— 2 


he had done; hut he had preached "in as public a 
manner as possible, with open doors." 

Again Cornbury fell back upon his instructions, de- 
claring none should preach without his license. Make- 
inie replied that the law, and not his instructions, was the 
rule for him. He could not be guided by what he had 
never seen and perhaps never should see. "Promul- 
gation," said he, " is the life of the law." The Gover- 
nor then demanded that they should give bonds and 
security for good behavior and not to preach any 
more under his government. " For our behavior," 
said Makemie, " though we endeavor to live always so 
as to keep a conscience void of offence towards God 
and man, we are willing to give it; but to give bond 
and security to preach no more under your Excellency's 
government, if invited and desired by any people, we 
neither can nor dare do." " Then you must go to jail," 
said the Governor. It was in vain that Makemie re- 
monstrated. Lord Cornbury sat down to write out 
the necessary papers for their discharge from the cus- 
tody of Cardale and their commitment in New York. 
While he was doing so, Hampton demanded of him 
a license, but it was peremptorily denied. Makemie 
moved that it was highly necessary that the law should 
be produced before their commitment, and offered to 
remunerate the attorney if he would produce the limit- 
ing clause of the act. But the motion was disregarded. 
In a contemptuous tone, the Governor asked Makemie if 
he knew law. " I do not," replied Makemie, " pretend to 
know law; but I pretend to know this particular law, 
having had sundry disputes thereon." He had quite a 
large collection of law-books in his library. 

The copy of their commitment was made out. It 
was illegal in several respects. It was granted and 
signed by the Governor, and not by any sworn officers 
appointed and authorized by law. The queen's name 


or authority was not mentioned in it. No crime was 
alleged as a ground of commitment, and the direction 
to the sheriff to keep them safely was not, " until they 
are delivered by due course of law," but, " until further 

Thus Makemie and Hampton found themselves im- 
prisoned with no prospect of immediate release. They 
petitioned the Governor for a knowledge of their crime, 
and, as they were strangers on their way to New Eng- 
land, and four hundred miles from their habitations, 
for " a speedy trial according to law," which they 
humbly conceived to be " the undoubted right and 
privilege of every English subject." To this petition 
a verbal but unsatisfactory reply was returned through 
the sheriff. They could not learn " the right way to 
have a trial." Petitioning to be admitted, in the cus- 
tody of the sheriff, to make application to the Quarter 
Sessions in order to offer themselves "for qualification 
as the law directs," they were again rebuffed, and the 
messengers who presented the petition were severely 

They now resolved " to trouble his Excellency with 
no more petitions," but presented their application to 
the Quarter Sessions. Their petition was looked at and 
handed about, but allowed no reading in open court. To 
the chief-justice, Eoger Mompesson, they made applica- 
tion after an imprisonment of several weeks, and a writ 
of habeas corpus was granted. But when it was to be 
served, the sheriff told them he had a new mittimus, 
wherein their crime was specified, by which it was evi- 
dent that for more than six weeks they had been sub- 
jected to false and illegal imprisonment. To complete 
the iniquity, the sheriff demanded the payment of twelve 
dollars for the commitment, and as much more for the 
return of the writ, — refusing, moreover, receipts for the 
money when it had been paid. 


The case was now T brought before the grand jury, and 
a true bill found against Makemie; for though Hampton 
was equally an offender, he was dropped from the in- 
dictment. The trial came on upon the 4th of June. 
The iniquity of the prosecution was abundantly shown, 
and after his attorneys had concluded their arguments, 
]\iakemie arose and spoke in his own defence. With 
great force of argument he vindicated himself from 
every charge, and showed himself more than a match 
for the prosecuting attorney. He showed great fami- 
liarity with the English laws bearing upon the subject 
of toleration, and effectually set aside the authority of 
the Governor's instructions as a rule of law. The jury 
brought in a verdict of not guilty, and solemnly declared 
that they believed the defendant innocent of any viola- 
tion of law. Yet in spite of the verdict, and his own 
plea for moderate charges, the bill of costs which he 
was forced to pay amounted to more than eighty -three 

Even after this, Makemie was not left unmolested. 
He narrowly escaped a second prosecution, based, if 
possible, on even weaker grounds than the first. A 
strange intolerance pursued him as a cbief offender, 
but the object was to obstruct the preaching of all 
Presbyterian ministers. The Dutch and other Dis- 
senters neither asked nor would receive a license ; yet 
they were not disturbed. But any attempt of Presby- 
terian ministers to extend their Church was seriously 

Nor was New York the only province in Avhich they 
had to encounter gross and severe intolerance. The 
statutes of Virginia, as we have already seen, were so 
framed as scarcely to recognize even the existence of 
the Toleration Act of 1689. In Maryland the petitions 
of Hampton and Macnish for licenses to preach in ac- 
cordance with the act, were opposed by Episcopal in- 


Alienee. The vestry of the parish of Coventry appeared 
against them, encouraged, as is supposed, by Rev. Robert 
Keith, of Dividing Creek. The petitions were referred 
to the Governor and Council, and were finally granted, 
Mr. Hampton settling at Snow Hill. Still the hard- 
ships imposed upon Dissenters even in this colony, 
established originally on principles of equal liberty, but 
where the Episcopal Church was now established, were 
by no means light. A tax of forty pounds of tobacco 
was imposed on every " taxable," to meet the expense 
of building and repairing churches and supporting 
ministers. The meeting-houses of Dissenters were to 
be " unbarred, unbolted, and unlocked." The nature 
of the obstacles thrown in the way of the Presbyterians 
and other Dissenters may be judged from the character 
of the Episcopal clergy of that day in Virginia as well 
as Maryland, — the off-scouring of the English Church, — 
men, for the most part, according to Bishop Meade, far 
more worthy to be ejected from society than to lead or 
instruct the flock. 

In the Carolinas, moreover, Presbyterians were made 
to feel the edge of intolerant legislation. During the 
troublous period from the Restoration to the Revolution 
(1660-1688) they had sought a shelter from persecu- 
tion in a colony in which civil and religious rights were 
solemnly guaranteed to them. They had increased in 
numbers, and amounted in South Carolina to several 
thousands. But in 1703, by methods that savored of 
the brutality of Jeffries and the bigotry of James II., 
the Episcopal was made by law the established Church. 
Dissenters of all classes were taxed for its support, and 
those who did not conform were disfranchised. They 
who had left England for freedom of conscience were 
pursued by English intolerance across the ocean, and, 
in spite of their earnest remonstrance and appeal to 
Parliament, the yoke was fastened to their necks, and 



they were politically and socially degraded by a legisla- 
tion which, to prop up Episcopacy, violated the solemn 
pledge in the faith of which they had become exiles 
from their native land. 

Thus amid scenes of intolerance and persecution the 
Presbyterian Church in this country commenced its 
career. But it soon manifested, in the persons of its 
adherents, a vital energy that was to overbear obnox- 
ious statutes and tyrannic legislation. The treatment 
which Makemie, Hubbard, Hampton, Macnish, and 
others experienced at the hands of royal Governors or 
servile judges, fitly links the history of American Pres- 
byterianism with the memories of the English, Irish, 
and Scotch Dissenters under the reigns of the Stuarts. 



The first Presbytery formed in this country dates 
from 1705 or 1706. The loss of the first leaf of the 
records leaves the precise time uncertain. Our first view 
of it is obtained from the minutes of a meeting, called 
probably at Freehold, 1 N.J., for the purpose of ordain- 
ing Mr. John Boyd. It consisted at this time of seven 
ministers, Francis Makemie, John Hampton, George 
Macnish, Samuel Davis, John Wilson, Jedediah An- 

1 The church at. Freehold was organized about 1692, and John 
Boyd, who died in 1708, was the first minister. A charter of in- 
corporation for this church, including those of Allentown and 
Shrewsbury, was obtained through the influence of Governor Belcher. 
(Hodge, i. 56.) The country around Upper Freehold was at that time 
a wilderness full of savages. — Webster, 823. 

THE aIRST presbytery. 19 

drewSj and Nathaniel Taylor. Some of these men had 
been for many years laboring in their respective fields. 
In 1684, Makemie was performing the duties of pastor 
of the church at Snow Hill, which he had assisted to 
organize. He had been ordained an Evangelist in 1681, 1 
and sent out by Laggan Presbytery, on the applica- 
tion of Colonel Stevens of Maryland, as a missionary to 
this country. For some time he labored in Barbadoes, 
and afterwards on reaching Maryland, " notwithstand- 
ing all obstacles, his hearers and congregations multi- 
plied." It became, consequently, his great anxiety to 
obtain more laborers for the extensive and inviting 
field which was opened before him. With this object 
in view, he corresponded with Increase Mather of Bos- 
ton, 2 and at length crossed the ocean and applied for 
aid to the Presbyterian Congregational Union of Lon- 
don, which Increase Mather had had a hand in forming. 

His application was not in vain. " A respectable 
body of Dissenters in London 3 sent out, for the purpose 
of serving as evangelists in the middle and southern 
colonies of America, two itinerants for the space of two 
years." 4 These they undertook to support, engaging 
afterwards to send out others on the same conditions. 

This was in 1704-5. Makemie returned in the fall 
of 1705 with the two ministerial brethren, " his asso- 
ciates," 5 John Hampton and George Macnish. Accord- 
ing to law, since the Toleration Act was designed to 
take effect in the colonies, they were entitled to the 
unmolested exercise of their ministry. Macnish com- 
menced preaching at Monokin and Wicomico ; Hamp- 
ton, who had applied with him to Somerset Court to 
be qualified, meanwhile going north with Makemie to 
New York. 

1 Foote's Sketches. 2 Webster, 297. 

3 Miller's Life of Rodgers, 90. * Foote, 52. 

5 Ibid. 53; Webster, 90. 


Of the other members of the Presbytery, Samuel 
Davis was residing in Delaware as early as 1692, when 
that Quaker convert to Episcopacy, George Keith, 
visited him. John Wilson, as early as 1702, preached 
in the court-house at New Castle, 1 but, becoming dis- 
satisfied, removed. In a few months, however, " finding- 
it not for the better," he returned. He was doubtless 
one of those who gave Keith occasion to speak of Cot- 
ton Mather's " emissaries." 2 

Of these, Andrews also was accounted one. He was 
born at Hingham, Mass., in 1671, and graduated at 
Harvard in 1695. In 1698, at the instance of the "New 
England Doctors," if we are to regard the insinuations 
of Keith, he went to Philadelphia. The Quaker schism 
had opened the way for the commencement of religious 
services by Baptists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians, 
and, as the latter withdrew from common services, the 
Baptists proposed to the Presbyterians that Mr. An- 
drews and his infant congregation should unite with 
them. The negotiation, however, proved futile, and in 
1701 Andrews was ordained. His congregation was far 
from homogeneous. At the outset there were " nine 
Baptists and a few Independents in the town." There 
were, moreover, Scotch, Welsh, Swedish, 3 and New Eng- 
land elements. The prospect for the young congre- 
gation was far from promising. " The Presbyterians," 
says the Episcopal missionary Talbot, " have come a 
great way to lay hands on one another; but, after all, 

1 The Presbyterian church in New Castle is believed to be the con- 
tinuation of the Dutch church which William Penn found in exist- 
ence in 1683. Wilson probably commenced his labors here, con- 
tinuing there till after the formation of the Presbytery. 

2 Prot. Hist. Col., i. 67. 

3 The Wicacoe (Swedish) church, near the navy-yard, was organ- 
ized in 1675, by order of the general courts, held at New Castle in 
that year. — Old Records, Vol. B. F. 


I think they had as good stay at home, for all the good 
they do. . . In Philadelphia one pretends to be a Presby- 
terian, and has a congregation to which he preaches." 
The prospect was but little better in 1703. " They have 
here," says Keith, " a Presbyterian meeting and minis- 
ter, one called Andrews; but they are not like to in- 
crease here." 

They did increase, however. Under the influence and 
labors of Andrews the heterogeneous mass began to 
coalesce. In 1705, five adults were baptized j in 1706, 
four more. 

We have thus the elements which were to give to 
American Presbyterianism its earliest distinctive type, 
brought together in the first Presb}*tery. Makemio 
was a correspondent of Increase Mather, and an appli- 
cant for missionary aid to the Dissenters of London, 
composed of Presbyterians and Congregationalists. By 
them his two " associates," Hampton and Macnish, were 
supported for several years. 1 Andrews was a Massachu- 
setts man, and Wilson, originally from Scotland, but an 
emigrant to Connecticut, was probably an emissary of the 
" New England Doctors." Taylor was settled on the Pa- 
tuxent, over a congregation composed to a considerable 
extent of Independents; although the body consisted 
originally, according to tradition, of a colony of two 
hundred from Fifeshire. They arrived, with Taylor as 
their pastor, it is said, in 1690, and founded the church 
of Upper Marlborough. Davis can scarcely be taken into 
account : for fourteen years he had labored in Delaware 

1 Rev. George Macnish was undoubtedly a Scotchman. His name 
(which he wrote as above) indicates it; his descendants assert it ; 
and Rev. Mr. Poyer of Jamaica, in a letter of April, 1714, to the 
society in England, styles him "a Scotch Independent preacher," 
and in another letter "an Independent North Britain preacher." 

J. R. 


before a Presbytery was formed, 1 and never attended 
its sessions afterwards, except upon a single occasion. 2 

Nor was the intrusion of the " emissaries" uncalled 
for. Keith had split the Quakers, and was itinerating 
over the whole land in behalf of Episcopacy. He 
preached at Boston, and Increase Mather felt called 
upon to print a refutation. Keith's answer was pub- 
lished at New York, and circulated in the Jerseys and 
in Philadelphia, where he preached with unwearied 
zeal. He needed, consequently, to be met on his own 
ground. Those among whom he scattered his pecu- 
liar doctrines were many of them in sympathy with 
J\f ather. According to Keith himself, " the people of East 
Jersey who are not Quakers are generally Independ- 
ents, having originally come from New England." He 
thought that " the young generation might easily be 
brought off to the Church," if "the Church" was only 
set up among them. 

There was indeed danger of this. In East and "West 
Jersey, " except in two or three towns, there was no 
place of public worship of any sort." The people lived 
"very mean, like Indians." The difficulty was to get 
ministers of any kind. The Church of England was 
especially unfortunate in those whom she sent out. 
"We want a great many good ministers here in Ame- 
rica," wrote Talbot; 3 " but we had better have none at all 
than such scandalous beasts as some make themselves, — 
not only the worst of ministers, but of men." Such 
as these were not wanted. " Those that we have to deal 
with," he continues, " are a sharp and inquisitive people : 
they are not satisfied with one doctor's opinion, but 
must have something that is authentic, if we hope to 
prevail with them." 

1 Webster, p. 311. 2 Dr. Hill. 

3 Epis. Hist. Col. xxxvii. 


The zeal of Keith and Talbot was great. They were 
encouraged by the Society — then recently formed — for 
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. All 
the Episcopal clergy in the provinces north of Virginia 
were its missionaries. 1 In 1700, there were less than 
half a dozen of them in this part of the country, and 
only one in Pennsylvania. Before the first Presby- 
tery was formed, there were five Episcopal congrega- 
tions in that State; and in the course of two years the 
society in England sent out thirteen missionaries. 
Jealousy of New England stimulated Episcopal zeal. 
They were especially afraid lest — to use their own lan- 
guage — '• Presbyterian ministers from New England 
would swarm into these countries and prevent the 
increase of the Church." The people showed them- 
selves, as Talbot thought, only too ready to accept these 
"emissaries." " They send," he says, "to New Eng- 
land, and call any sorry young man, purely for want 
of some good honest clergyman of the Church of 

At Woodbridge, N. J., in 1703, there was an " Independ- 
ents' meeting-house," and Keith was glad of the chance 
to preach in it. This was one of the places named by 
Cockburn in 1685, in reference to the wants of which 
he says, writing to Scotland, "there is nothing dis- 
courages us more than want of ministers here. . . . They 
have a mind to bring them from Scotland." But along 
with the Scottish settlers in the troublous period of 
James II. there came also colonists from New England. 
Nearly half a century before, New Haven had shown 
extreme persistence in the resolution to sustain her 
claims to the territory. At every favorable opportunity, 
she had sent out loads of emigrants. Once the Dutch 
Governor at Manhattan had seized their vessel and 

i AVilberforce, Hist. Epis. Church. 


forced them to return. They applied to Cromwell for 
aid; but the Protector died too soon to help them. Yet 
they were not discouraged; and as soon as Dutch rule 
vanished from New Amsterdam, the often-defeated 
project was revived. That "sharp and inquisitive 
people" whom the Episcopal missionaries found it hard 
to deal with, poured in, and before the close of the 
seventeenth century the laws of the colony attested 
the presence of those who are called indifferently In- 
dependents and Presbyterians. 1 Indeed, notwithstand- 
ing the Scotch element, a very large proportion of the 
early settlers were from New England, although a con- 
siderable number of Quakers had here found refuge. 
Mather and the "New England Doctors" would have 
acted a part unworthy of themselves if they had 
lacked active sympathy with Presbyterians in the 
neighboring colonies. If they could have modelled 
their own Churches anew, they would have secured 
them the advantages of Synods and ruling elders. 3 

In Philadelphia, Andrews was greatly encouraged. 
The Episcopal missionaries were jealous of his pro- 
gress. "There is," says Talbot (1705), "a new meet- 
ing-house built for Andrews, and almost finished, . . . 
which I am afraid will draw away great part of the 
Church, if there be not the greatest care taken of it." 
The first Presbytery met in that house. Andrews and 
Makemie were kindred spirits, and the Presbytery was 
the result of their co-operative councils. Each was a 
missionary, and felt the burden of care for the Churches. 
Makemie traversed the country to Boston, and crossed 
the ocean, to obtain ministers. Andrews corrid not so 
well leave his post, but he was scarcely less active. 
He went abroad on preaching-tours through the sur- 
rounding region, in Pennsylvania and the Jerseys 

1 Mulford's Hist, of New Jersey. 2 Pres. Quar. Rev., Jan. 1859. 


Quite a number of congregations were gathered at 
various points, and ministers were needed to supply 
them. This was the subject of greatest anxiety to the 
Presbytery. They were little anxious whence they 
came, if thej^ were only good men. They wrote to 
New England, Scotland, Ireland, and the Congregational 
and Presbyterian Union of London, to procure them. 
Evidently their eeclesiasticism was of no very rigid 
type. The argument for the Scotticism of the original 
Presbytery, drawn from the presumption that, if any 
considerable New England element was in union with 
it, it would have manifested itself in a form of govern- 
ment more or less allied to Congregationalism, is utterly 
invalid. The early eeclesiasticism of New England was 
largely Presbyterian. 1 

The correspondence of the Presbytery at this early 

1 The sympathy between the Presbyterian churches and New Eng- 
land was perfectly natural. Robinson (see "Life of Brewster") was a 
Presbyterian, and claimed that his church at Leyden was conformed 
to the rule of the French Presbyterian Church. In 1606, Brewster 
was chosen elder in Robinson's congregation, and in 1609 was made 
Robinson's assistant. He declined, however, — as only an elder, — to 
administer the ordinances, even when the church at Plymouth hnd 
no other teacher. Then the church at Plymouth was in reality a 
Presbyterian Church, with Brewster for its ruling elder. — Prince's 
Chronology, pp. 114, 120. 

A permanent ruling eldership was accepted as a principle of 
church order by the early New England settlers. (lb. 177.) Salem 
and Charlestown had ruling elders (263-811), Watertown and 
Boston. (358,365,409.) The office is distinctly recognized by the 
Synods of New England, at Cambridge, in 1646 and 1680; and at 
the latter date the Westminster Confession was adopted. — Mather's 
Mag. ii. 180, 207. The Synod of Connecticut, in 1708 (Say brook 
Platform), adopted it. Even Eliot ordained elders at Martha's 
Vineyard. — Mather, i. 515. 

Synods were held at Cambridge in 1637, 1649, 1657, 1679, 1680, 
and at Boston in 1662, all of which distinctly name ruling elders as 
officers in the Chuvcl .—Mather, ii. 192, 207, 238, 279, 289. This 
Vol. I.— 3 


period throws light upon the liberal spirit by which it 
was animated. In 1708, a letter was written to certain 
ministers in Connecticut. It speaks of the object of the 
formation of* the Presbytery, — " for the furthering and 
promoting the true interests of religion and godliness." 
It declares, " It is our universal desire to walk in the 
nearest union and fellowship with the churches in those 
parts where you inhabit, not knowing any difference in 
opinion so weighty as to inhibit such a proposal, nor 
doubting of your cordial assent thereto." 

In 1709, a letter to Sir Edmund Harrison, an emi- 
nent Dissenter in London, states, "It is a sore distress 
and trouble to us, that we are not able to comply with 
the desires of sundry places crying unto us for minis- 
ters to deal forth the word of life unto them; therefore 
we most earnestly beseech you, in the bowels of the 
Lord, to intercede with the ministers of London and 
other well-affected gentlemen, to extend their charity 

■was the distinct feature of the organization adopted by the Synod 
in 1680, in accordance with "Heads of Agreement" in England, in 
the formation of which, in 1690, Dr. Increase Mather bore a distin- 
guished part.— Mather, ii. 233, 235. 

Thus at the formation of the first Presbytery there was no repre- 
sentation of such Congregationalism as that which prevails to-day 
on this continent; and the apparent laxness in the language of the 
Saybrook Platform is merely a copy of the " Heads of Agreement" 
of 1690 on this point. — F. 

There was no diversity, therefore, really, between the Irish Pres- 
byterians and the New England " emissaries " in the matter of 
ecclesiastical sympathy. The doctrine and discipline of New Eng- 
land was regarded as identical with that of the Dissenters in Great 
Britain and the more southern provinces in this country. The 
founders of the Presbyterian Church were as anxious to procure 
ministers from New England as Mather was to send them. For 
them, help from this source was a matter of convenience and neces- 
sity, and they found those who joined them one with themselves 
in the matters of church order and discipline. 


and pity to us, to carry on so necessary and glorious a 
work ; otherwise many people will remain in a perish- 
ing condition as to spiritual things." There is no trace 
of Scotch jealousy or rigid ecclesiasticism in this epis- 
tle. 1 

In 1710, a letter was sent to the Presbytery of Dublin 
in response to their desire for a correspondence to "bo 
settled and continued from time to time." It narrates 
briefly the efforts of Makemie with the ministers of 
London, and expresses the conviction that had they— 
" our friends at home " — been equally watchful and 
diligent as the Episcopal society in London, "our in- 
terest in most foreign plantations might have carried 
the balance." With saddened feelings, they confess the 
weakness of their numbers. In Virginia there was but 
one congregation, on Elizabeth Eiver;"in Maryland 
only four, in Pennsylvania five, and in the Jerseys two, 
with some places of New York." The Presbytery 
request their friends in Dublin to raise the sum of sixty 
pounds to support for a year an itinerant minister 
whom they were to send out, at the same time inform- 
ing them that they had exerted their influence to 
secure a similar favor from the ministers of London, 
" in the hands of Eev. Mr. Calamy." 1 

In the same year a letter was addressed to the Synod 
of Glasgow. It was invited by the assurance of a mem- 
ber of the Synod, of its " willingness to correspond with 
\is in what concerns the advancement of the Mediator's 
interest in those regions where our lot is fallen." Of 
the Synod, the Presbytery, in view of the urgent de- 
mand for ministers, make a request similar to that 
which they had made to the Presbytery of Dublin. 

1 The London ministers to whom the letters were addressed were 
the very men who adopted the "Heads of Agreement" nineteen 
years before. 


From London there came back a cheering response, 
for which the Presbytery expressed their gratitude in 
the warmest terms. In 1712, Thomas Reynolds en- 
gaged, for the ensuing year, to advance thirty pounds 
for missionary labor within the bounds of the Presby- 
tery; promising, according to his capacity, to do what 
he could to serve them in after-years. " I should be 
glad," he says, "to be an instrument of disappointing 
any that can encourage no expectation from us." The 
aid was seasonable; it proved "the relief of some weak 
congregations," unable to maintain their own ministers. 

From the time of its formation, the Presbytery con- 
tinued steadily to increase in numbers and strength. 
At its meeting in 1706, John Boyd, a probationer from 
Scotland, was ordained, and commenced his labors in 
New Jersey at Freehold and Middletown. In 1708, 
" trials" were appointed to Mr. Joseph Smith (from New 
England), whose settlement was desired among them by 
thepeople of Cohansey. In 1710, John Henry and James 
Anderson were received; the first — invited, upon the 
death of Makemie, by his people, to succeed him — was 
from the Presbytery of Dublin; the last, settled first at 
New Castle and afterward in New York, was from Scot- 
land. At the same meeting, Nathaniel Wade, who had 
been ordained and settled at Woodbridge, N.J., by the 
ministers of Fairfield county, previous to 1708, and 
Joseph Morgan, who, after several years of discourag- 
ing experience in West Chester county, N.Y., had set- 
tled in 1709 at Freehold, were received as members of 
the body. 

Early in 1712, George Gillespie had been licensed by 
the Glasgow Presbytery. He came shortly after to 
New England, with letters from Principal Stirling to 
Cotton Mather. By the latter he was recommended to 
the divided people of Woodbridge, but finally settled 
at White Clay Creek, at the same time extending hia 


care to the congregations of Red Clay, Lower Brandy- 
wine, and Elk River, in Delaware. 1 

The people of Patuxent applied the same year to 
friends in London to procure a pastor, and Daniel 
McGill was sent over. In the two following years the 
Presbytery was strengthened by the accession of four 
new members, Howell Powell,* Malachi Jones. Robert 
Witherspoon, 8 and David Evans, — all but Witherspoon 
(who was a Scotchman) from Wales. 

In 1715, John Bradner, Hugh Conn, and Robert Orr 
were received. The first, from Scotland, was licensed 
and ordained in this country, and settled over the con- 
gregation of Cape May :* he afterwards removed to 
Goshen, N.Y., where he died. 5 Conn w T as a native of 
Ireland, but sent over by the " friends in London," and 
bore with him the cheering letter of Thomas Reynolds 
to the Presbytery. He was settled in Baltimore county, 
and became a member of the New Castle Presbytery. 
Orr was from Ireland or Scotland, and in 1715 accepted 
a call to Maidenhead and Hopewell. 

Besides these, several others had joined the Presby- 
tery, but the connection was transient or their position 
less important. The Presbytery had increased to such 
an extent that, in the judgment of its members, a divi- 
sion was demanded. The new Presbyteries woitld in- 

1 His remains lie buried at the "Head of Christiana," where a 
marble slab commemorates his virtues. 

2 Ordained at Cohansey, October 15, 1714. 

3 Rev. Robert Witherspoon was ordained at Appoquinimy, now 
Drawyer's Church (Del.), May 13, 1714, and died in May, 1718. 

4 Bradner preached first at Fairfield, N.J., afterwards at Cape 
May. These churches were colonies from New England. 

Mr. Joseph Smith was probably the first minister at Cohansey, 
from Deerfield. Mass. ; and the tradition is that that people brought 
their minister with them. The colony was from Fairfield, Conn. 
Mr. S. was a member of Presbytery in 1708. 

5 Riker's Newtown. 

I 3* 


deed be Weak, but already there was assurance of their 
rapid growth. There were quite a number of ministers 
and churches whose distance rendered their connection 
with a single Presbytery, central to Philadelphia, un- 
advisable. Measures were already taken to establish 
a Presbyterian congregation in New York. A church 
had for many years been in existence at Newark, N.J., 
and in 1709 Jonathan Dickinson had been ordained at 
Elizabethtown by the ministers of Fairfield county, 
but had as yet formed no connection with Presbytery. 

On Long Island quite a number of churches, known 
sometimes as Presbyterian and sometimes as Independ- 
ent, 1 but formed on the New England model, were 
ready, through the influence of Macnish, who mean- 
while had removed to Jamaica, to be organized into a 
Presbytery by themselves, and to receive under their 
care the churches and ministers that might be disposed 
to unite with them. Pumroy of Newtown had already 
(1715) united with the Presbytery, and in the following 
year a call from Southampton was presented to Samuel 
Gelston, accompanied by the assurance that the people 
were ready to place themselves under its care. 

In these circumstances, Macnish and Pumroy were 
left to act according to their discretion, with regard to 
the formation of a Presbytery on Long Island. It was 
recommended to them " to use their best endeavors 
with the neighboring brethren that are settled there, 
which as yet join not with us, to join with them" in the 
erection of a Presbytery. The other members and 
churches of the original body were set off to form the 
three Presbyteries of Philadelphia, New Castle, and 
Snow Hill. 

Thus, in ten years from the formation of the original 

1 Nearly all the early churches on Long Island and in New Jersey 
were colonies from New England. 


Presbytery it had grown to a Synod. The period had 
been one marked also by general harmony, as well as 
by rapid growth. The ministers of the body were from 
Ireland, Scotland, London, Wales, and NeAV England, 
and, laying aside all differences of minor importance, 
they had cheerfully and heartily co-operated on a basis 
broad enough to accommodate them all. As yet there 
were manifest no doctrinal diversities. All were Calvin- 
ists, and all cheerfully assented to, if they did not 
prefer, the Presbyterian form of government. The 
laborers in the field stood ready to welcome faith- 
ful fellow-laborers, from whatever quarter they might 
come. To the reverend brethren of the Church of Scot- 
land, whom, said they, " we sincerely honor and affec- 
tionately esteem as fathers," they represented the deso- 
late condition of the vacant places that had applied for 
ministers. To the Presbytery of Dublin, and to the 
ministers of London, they had likewise sent similar 
requests, and with the ministers of Boston, New Haven, 
and New England, generally, they were on the most 
friendly terms. To Connecticut they had sent ex- 
pressly for aid, and were disappointed to find that the 
vacancies in that colony were so numerous as to defeat 
their expectations. 

The necessity of a specific adoption of standards by 
the Presbytery does not yet seem to have occurred. 
The great body of the ministers, while they were yet 
few in number and drawn together by the urgent neces- 
sities of their common field, were evidently united in 
doctrinal sentiment. The most trying discussions of 
Presbytery were those which concerned variances be- 
tween pastor and people, — as the case of Wade at Wood- 
bridge, — the morals or the discretion of the ministers, 
as in the case of Van Yleck and Evans. Nor, when 
we regard the intimacy and mutual confidence of An- 
drews aud Makemie, the last bequeathing his library to 


the former, one from New England and the other sus- 
tained and encouraged by the London ministers, can 
we feel that either they or their "associates" were in 
danger of error on the side of excessive strictness. 
Their moderation, indeed, was such that they were 
drawing towards them, as they were recommending the 
policy that would do it, the Congregationalists of Long 

With Drs. Miller and Hodge, against all the argu- 
ments of Dr. Green, we must hold to the strong impro- 
bability that the lost leaf of the records contained any 
specific standard for the adoption of members. 


THE SYNOD, A.D. 1717-1729. 

Upon the division of the original Presbytery and the 
formation of the Sjmod, the Long Island Presbytery 
commenced its existence. It met and was constituted 
at Southampton, April 17, 1717, and its first work was 
the examination and ordination of Samuel G-elston, 
whose call to the Southampton church had been ap- 
proved by the Presbytery of Philadelphia in the pre- 
ceding year. The ministers who took part in the ordi- 
nation undoubtedly composed the entire Presbytery. 1 
They were George Macnish, who had removed to Ja- 
maica in 1710, Samuel Pumroy, who was settled a1 
Newtown, and George Phillips, who for twenty years 
had been laboring at Setauket. The churches under 
the care of the Presbytery had, most of them, been long 
in existence. Their membership was largely from New 

1 Prime's Long Island. 

THE SYNOD, A.D. 1717-1729. 33 

England, and their forms of worship and government 
were Congregational or Independent. The church at 
Southampton was gathered as early as 1640, when 
Abraham Pierson, afterwards the founder of the church 
at Newark, was its pastor. The church at Setauket 
enjoyed, as early as 1655, the labors of Eev. Nathaniel 
Brewster, a grandson of Elder Brewster of Mayflower 
memory. Newtown was settled by English emigrants 
in 1652, and in 1671 a house of worship was erected. 
It was not till 1724, seven years after the erection of 
the Presbytery, that the church was provided with 
ruling elders and became distinctly Presbyterian. 1 The 
first settlement of Jamaica was in 1656, and in 1663, by 
vote of the town, a meeting-house was erected. It was 
replaced by a stone edifice in 1690; but in 1702 the 
arbitrary authority of Eord Cornbury wrested it from 
the Presbyterians and placed it in the hands of the 
Episcopal rector. 

But beside these churches under the care of the 
Presbytery, there was quite a number of others, com- 
posed largely of New England settlers in other parts 
of the island. Some of these, at a later period, became 
Presbyterian. The one at Southold was gathered in 
1610. Emigrants from Lynn found their way to East 
Hampton in 1648, and were prompt in securing for 
themselves the privileges of public worship. Hunting- 
ton was settled from New England in 1658, and soon 
after a church-edifice was erected. Hempstead enjoyed 
the labors of Eev. Richard Denton at the earliest 
period of its history, in 1644. A church was gathered 
at Bridgehampton in 1695, and at Mattituck in 1715. 

Thus, at the period of the formation of the Pres- 
bytery there were at least ten or twelve churches, 
called indifferently Presbyterian or Independent, on 

1 Hiker's Annals of Newtown. 


the island. Several of them in the course of a few 
years became connected with that body, which em- 
braced at first but the four churches of Jamaica, New- 
town, Setauket, and Southampton. The church at 
Mattituck came into connection with the Presbytery 
in 1719, and some of the others invited at least its 
counsel and assistance. Only their own records, in the 
loss of others, can show the precise date at which they 
became distinctively Presbyterian. 

Of the three other Presbyteries, the first to be noticed 
is that of Philadelphia. It numbered at its formation 
six ministers: — Andrews, at Philadelphia; Jones, at 
Abington; Powell, at Cohansey; Orr, at Maidenhead 
and Hopewell; Bradner, at Cape May; and Morgan, at 
Freehold. Of these, Bradner is said to have been from 
Scotland, and Orr from Ireland. Jones and Powell were 
Welshmen ; Andrews and Morgan were from New Eng- 
land. The missionary field of this Presbytery was quite 
extended, and there were several congregations desti- 
tute of pastors. 

The Presbytery of New Castle likewise numbered 
six ministers: — Anderson, at New Castle, Delaware; 
McGill, atPatuxent; Gillespie, at White Clay Creek; 
Evans, on the Welsh Tract; Witherspoon, at Appoqui- 
nimy ; and Conn, in Baltimore county, Maryland. Here, 
with a single exception, all the members were from 
Scotland or Ireland. 

The Presbytery of Snow Hill, which became absorbed 
in that of New Castle, numbered as members only 
Davis, Hampton, and Henry. The first still remained 
among the people with whom he had so long been con- 
nected without pastoral settlement, yet no longer ser- 
viceable in the pulpit. Hampton was settled at Snow 
Hill, and Henry was Makemie's successor at Behoboth. 

Here, at the commencement of the existence of 
Synod, were the nineteen ministers of whom it was 

THE SYNOD, A.D. 1717-1729. 35 

composed, scattered at wide distances along the coast 
from Virginia to the eastern part of Long Island. The 
demand for new laborers in the field was greater than 
ever before, and new congregations were in process of 
formation at various points. In New York and its 
vicinity, the intolerance of Lord Cornbury and the in- 
trusion of Episcopacy had discouraged the efforts of 
those who were now known as Dissenters. The treat- 
ment of Makemie was a warning to any from abroad 
who might propose to follow his example. Conse- 
quently, several years passed before measures were 
taken to form a Presbyterian congregation. 

Meanwhile, however, discord had begun to spread in 
the ranks of what its friends were pleased to call, most 
unwarrantably, the Established Church. In 1693, the 
Assembly of the colony, at the instance of the Governor, 
and by what that devoted friend of Episcopacy, Colonel 
Lewis Morris, denominated his " artifice," made pro- 
vision, by an act, for the maintenance of "one good 
sufficient Protestant minister" within the bounds of 
each town in the province where the people should 
desire it. The " one good and sufficient Protestant 
minister," according to the interpretation of Lord 
Cornbury and his zealous friends, could be no other 
than a clergyman of the Church of England. The 
congregations, however, were still entitled to the choice 
of vestrymen and churchwardens. The denial of this 
right would at once have opened the eyes and excited 
the indignation of the Assembly, who were almost to a 
man " Dissenters." 

And now the door was opened for Episcopal aggres- 
sion. It began at Jamaica, and continued there for 
more than thirty years. Indirectly the whole Epis- 
copal Church in this country became a party. Poyer, 
the Jamaica incumbent, after the death of Urquart, 
who had succeeded BZubbell, was disposed, with the 


encouragement of the Governor, to prosecute his suit 
against the vestry, who had called Macnish, and put 
him in possession of the parsonage. But there was 
apprehension lest the case should go against the prose- 
cutor. The judges, for the most part, were " dissenters," 
and would be disposed to do justice against Episcopal 
aggression. The decision would furnish a precedent, 
and every Episcopal incumbent would be left at the 
mercy of his vestry and churchwardens. Yesey of 
New York perceived the danger. He was a graduate 
of Harvard, and had been sent by Increase Mather ' 
to " confirm the minds of those who had removed for 
their convenience from New England" to New York. 
His express mission, according to Episcopal accounts, 
was to counteract the influence of the chaplain of the 
forces sent out from England, and till 1697 he was " a 
dissenting preacher on Long Island." But he was 
bought over by Governor Fletcher by the offer of the 
Rectory of New York and a promised increase of stipend. 
From this time he was a zealous Churchman ; and, in 
defence of his own views of the interest of the Church, 
he succeeded in bringing nearly all the Episcopal 
clergymen in New York and the neighboring provinces 
to join with him in dissuading Poyer from prosecuting 
his suit, and in sending to England representations 
prejudicial to the character and standing of Governor 
Hunter, who had succeeded Lord Cornbury. 

Hence ensued a breach between the clergy and the 
Governor. Nor was this all. To promote more effec- 
tually his designs, Yesey converted his vestry into a 
close corporation, and adopted measures which divided 
the congregation into two hostile and embittered 
parties. He did not hesitate to designate his op- 
ponents as "schismatics," and by other opprobrious 

i New York Hist. Col. iii. 438. 

THE SYNOD, A.D. 1717-1729. 37 

titles. Some of them withdrew, and worshipped in the 
chapel of the garrison. 

This was in 1714. The document in which the ag- 
grieved party tell their story contains several passages 
which were scored out of the original. Among these 
is one in which they say, " We have yet no dissenting 
congregation of English in the town, which, we fear, 
makes ours (the separated party) larger than it would 
be if there was one; and how deplorable a folly would 
it be to raise one out of our own dissensions!" 

But those dissensions were not without their in- 
fluence. The proceedings of Lord Cornbury — who 
closed his career as Governor in 1708, and was passed 
over by his creditors into the sheriff's hands — had 
created towards him a strong feeling of indignation and 
disgust. The proceedings of Yesey had rendered him 
unpopular with large numbers in his own parish. His 
course in regard to Poyer's suit had lost him the sym- 
pathy and respect of the Governor who had succeeded 
Cornbury, and thus, by the discord in the ranks of the 
" Established Church," the hopes of the Presbyterians 
were encouraged. 

After Makemie's visit, and especially after the close 
of Cornbury's administration, they met, as opportunity 
afforded, in private dwellings. " They kept together, 
and continued, with few interruptions and with a gra- 
dual increase of their number, to meet for worship 
without a minister, until the year 1716, when John 
Nicoll, Patrick McKnight, Gilbert Livingston, Thomas 
Smith, and a few others, conceived the plan of forming 
themselves into a regular Presbyterian church and 
calling a stated pastor." 1 Measures were immediately 
taken at this fitting opportunity, when division per- 
vaded the Episcopal ranks, and the persecuting power 

1 Life of Rodgers 
Vol. I.— 4 


of the Church was palsied, to cany out their design. 
In the summer of that year they extended a call to 
Anderson at New Castle, in Delaware. The commis- 
sion of the Synod, to whom the case was referred, de- 
cided that Anderson ought to accept the call, and ac- 
cordingly, in October, 1716, he removed to New York. 

Here he was favorably received, and for three years, 
by the permission of the authorities, the infant congre- 
gation was allowed to occupy the City Hall for public 
worship. Meanwhile ground was purchased on Wall 
Street as a site for a church-edifice, and a building was 
erected in 1719. The necessary funds were procured 
in part from friends in the city, and in part from collec- 
tions in Connecticut and in Scotland. 

In 1720 a charter of incorporation was sought of the 
Governor and the Council ; but the opposition of the 
vestry of Trinity Church defeated the application. The 
result was, that the fee simple of the property was vested 
in Anderson the pastor, and Nicoll, Liddle, and Ingliss, 
members of the congregation, and by them, in 1730, 
conveyed in due form of law to the Moderator and 
commission of the General Assembly of the Church of 
Scotland. Until 1766, no further efforts were made to 
secure a charter. 

Anderson was a man of talents, learning, and piety, 
a graceful and popular preacher. But he had not long 
been settled before a portion of his congregation be- 
came dissatisfied. He was charged with a spirit of 
ecclesiastical domination and with improper inter- 
ference in the temporal concerns of the Church. 
Livingston and Smith complained to Synod of his ser- 
mons, and, after hearing them read, that body ex- 
pressed themselves as wishing that "they had been de- 
livered in softer and milder terms in some passages." 
In 1721, a division took place, and a distinct society 
was formed, to which Jonathan Edwards preached foi 

THE SYNOD, A.D. 1717-1729. 39 

the space of nine months. But the new congregation 
was too feeble to support a minister, and the future 
author of the "Inquiry into the Freedom of the Will" 
found difficulties in his way which determined him to 
seek another field of labor. 

Anderson did not long continue in the pastorate at 
New York. In 1726 he accepted a call to New Donegal, 
in Pennsylvania, and was succeeded by Ebenezer Pem- 
berton, under whose ministry the old divisions were 
healed. Pemberton was a native of Boston, and a gra- 
duate of Harvard College. His father was a clergy- 
man, and the son, trained from his early years for the 
ministry, fulfilled in a diligent, faithful, and useful 
pastorate at New York the promise of his youth. He 
was "a man," says Smith, 1 "of polite breeding, pure 
morals, and warm devotion." His labors were emi- 
nently successful. He understood the character of the 
people he had to deal with better than Anderson. 
They were largely from Xew England. '"As New 
England," says Colonel Morris, with a sneer which time 
has changed into eulogy, "was, excepting some fa- 
milies, the scum of the Old, so the greatest part of the 
English in this province was the scum of the New." 
But in Mr. Pemberton they were well united. Eor 
thirty years he exercised his ministry, and had the 
satisfaction to see the old house of worship replaced 
by a new and much larger edifice, and his congregation 
increased to twelve hundred or fourteen hundred souls. 3 

In 1717, Jonathan Dickinson united with the Phila- 
delphia Presbyteiy. He had been ordained at Eliza- 
bethtown, N.J., by the ministers of Fairfield county, in 
1709, and for nine years had labored over the extensive 
field embracing not only Elizabethtown, but Eahway, 
Westfield, Connecticut Farms. Springfield, and a part of 

1 Hist, of New York, i 259. 2 Ibid. 260. 


Chatham. He was a native of Massachusetts, and a 
graduate of Yale College. With uncommon sagacity, 
calm judgment, and unshrinking firmness, — tempered, 
however, with the spirit of Christian forbearance and 
moderation, — he was well qualified to take a prominent 
part in the public concerns as well as controversies of 
the Church. For nearly forty years he continued in the 
exercise of the ministry; and the incidents of his life 
are interwoven with the history of Presbyterianism 
throughout the period of his career. His intellectual 
superiority and commanding influence made him the 
leader of the old Synod before the separation, and he 
was the acknowledged leader of the new Synod after 
the division had taken place. 

The church at Newark, not yet connected with the 
Presbytery, but under the care of the venerable Prud- 
den, and soon destined to enjoy the pastoral labors of 
President Burr, had already been in existence as an 
independent church for more than half a century. It 
was established in 1665 by the elder Pierson, who had 
previously removed from Lynn, Mass., to Southamp- 
ton on Long Island, and thence to Branford, Conn., 
where he had formed a church. 1 On the union of the 
colonies of New Haven and Hartford, his opposition to 
the growing laxity of sentiment and his zeal for his 
own peculiar ecclesiastical views led him, with a large 
portion of his charge, to seek out a new place of settle- 
ment. His son was the first President of Yale College, 
and his grandson was for some years pastor at Wood- 
bridge, N.J. The date of his ordination was almost 

1 Mr. Pierson is said to have been episcopally ordained, but to 
have been "equally displeased with the tyranny of Charles I. both 
in Church and State, and with the civil madness and religious 
enthusiasm which prevailed under Cromwell, and that he annexed 
himself to the party which were called Moderate Presbyterians " 
— McWhortefs Hist. Discourses, 1807. 

THE SYNOD, A.D. 1717-1729. 4L 

contemporaneous with the organization of the Sjnod. 
It took place April 19, 1717. 

From this period the number of ministers and con- 
gregations rapidly increased. Moses Dickinson, a 
brother of Jonathan, succeeded Orr in Hopewell and 
Maidenhead, in New Jersey, in 1718. Eobert Cross, 
from Ireland, was installed at New Castle in the fol- 
lowing year. Joseph Lamb, a graduate of Yale College, 
became pastor of Mattituck in 1717, and in 1719 his 
church united with the Presbytery of Longlsland, by 
which he had been ordained. Samuel Young, from 
Armagh Presbytery, was appointed by the New Castle 
Presbytery to supply Drawyers, in Delaware, and 
shortly before his death, in 1721, took charge of a 
congregation that had been recently gathered about 
the branches of the Elk and was composed mainly of 
emigrants from Ireland. John Clement, who after- 
wards supplied Gloucester and Pilesgrove, and William 
Steward, who accepted a call to Monokin and Wico- 
mico, were received in 1718. 

In the ten years that followed, the membership of 
the Synod was largely increased. At the close of this 
period seven ministers had been received from New 
England, five from Scotland or Ireland, three from 
England and Wales, and several were licensed by the 
Presbyteries in this country. From New England 
came Webb of Newark (1720); the younger Dickinson 
of Maidenhead and Hopewell ; Walton of Crosswicks, 
whose erratic course was as surprising as his eloquence ; 
Parris of Cohansey ; Hubbell of Westfield and Hanover, 
— including the present congregations of Morristown, 
Chatham, and Parsippany ; Elmer of Fairfield in Co- 
hansey, and Pemberton of New York. From England 
came John Orme, who settled with the congregation 
of Marlborough on Patuxent, and Robert Laing, who 
supplied Brandywine and White Clay. From Wales 


came Thomas Evans, who labored at Pencader; Wil 
liani McMillan and Adam Boyd — the former sent tc 
supply the people of Virginia, and the latter settled at 
Octorara — were both ordained in this country. Boyd 
was commended by Cotton Mather, and both he and 
McMillan were connected with the New Castle Pres- 
bytery. Of the other ministers, Alexander Hutchinson 
was sent over by the Glasgow Presbytery in answer to 
the petition of the Synod, and settled at Bohemia 
Manor and Broad Creek. Thomas Craighead, who 
finally settled at Pequa, was the son of an Irish 
minister, but labored for some time in New England 
before he joined the Synod. Cotton Mather loved and 
esteemed him. In a letter to a friend he spoke of him 
as " of an excellent spirit and a great blessing to youi 
plantation," — " a man of singular piety, meekness, 
humility, and industry in the work of God." Joseph 
Houston, who settled at Elk River, was from Ireland, 
but had supplied the pulpit of Mr. Hillhouse, at New 
London, Conn., for several months previous to his 
uniting with the Synod. Archibald McCook and Wil- 
liam Tennent were likewise from Ireland. 

The first of these came over as a student, and was 
licensed by the New Castle Presbytery. His field of 
labor was Kent, in Delaware. It embraced Dover 1 (St. 
Jones) and Murthur Kill. Ten years previously, the 
destitution of the region had attracted the attention 
of Presbytery. Repeatedly they had been furnished 
with temporary supplies. Gelston, Cross, Hook, T. 
Evans, Steward, Hutchinson, and Finch had visited 
them; but McCook became in 1727 their first pastor. 

But in some respects the most important name added 
to the Synod's list during the ten years from 1719 to 1729 

1 St. Jones is now Dove?-, on Jones', or anciently, St. Jones' Creek 
in St. Jones, now Kent county, Del. 

THE SYNOD, A.D. 1717-1729. 43 

was that of William Tennent. His influence upon the 
progress and prosperity of the Church entitles him to 
a rank second to no other. In learning, piety, and 
the wise forethought which he manifested in regard to 
provision for an educated ministry, he is entitled to 
the highest honor. 

The Synod had increased during its career from 1717 to 
1729 from about fifteen to nearly thirty members, and 
its congregations in a corresponding proportion. Its 
great anxiety was to make provision for the destitu- 
tions within its bounds. One of its first measures was 
the establishment of "a fund for pious uses." Letters 
were written to London, Dublin, and Glasgow, peti- 
tioning for aid. The claims of " many smaller places 
of lesser ability to maintain and support the interest 
of Christ among them" were urgently pressed, and 
" not altogether without success." 

The obligation and necessity of effort on its own 
part were, moreover, clearly recognized. A letter was 
addressed to the several congregations within the 
bounds of Synod, earnestly enforcing the duty of mak- 
ing annual collections in behalf of the proposed funds. 
The response given was such as might have been ex- 
pected in the feeble state of the churches. Many were 
unable to do any thing ; but in 1719 the amount secured 
was more than twenty pounds ; and the judicious ex- 
penditure of succeeding years was the means of accom- 
plishing great and important results. The congregation 
at New York received material assistance from a part 
of the Glasgow collection, and several feeble churches 
or needy ministers received valuable aid. 

To the Dissenting ministers of London the Synod 
gave in 1718 a full statement of their condition. They 
had " begun a small fund," they said ; " but it is yet so 
small that little or nothing can be done with it." Their 
ministers numbered twenty-three, all of them settled 


oi* with prospects of settlement; yet there were & till 
"many vacancies which either cry to us for help," or 
give ground of hope that, if they could be provided 
with an able and faithful ministry, " the happy effects 
of it would soon appear." A strong desire was ex- 
pressed for " the honor and comfort of a yearly corre- 
spondence" with the London brethren, and help was 
craved " of all well-disposed Christians everywhere, 
especially, if possibly it can be, of the city of London." 
The Synod of Glasgow and Ayr, and Principal Stirling, 
received the hearty thanks of Synod for "their kind- 
ness to the interest of religion in these wilderness 

Attention was largely drawn at each annual meeting 
to the claims of destitute places within the Synod's 
bounds. McGill was sent on successive missions, first 
to Potomoke, in Virginia, and subsequently to Kent 
county, Delaware. Morehead was employed at Piles- 
grove and Gloucester, and Octorara and Hanover were 
aided from the fund. 

To secure more prompt action, and to settle matters 
claiming attention during the intervals of Synod, a 
commission was appointed in 1720. It was clothed 
"with the whole authority of the Synod," and the 
management of the fund was committed to its disposal. 
It is natural to suppose that for this body the ablest 
members of the Synod would be appointed • and it con- 
sisted, in fact, of Jones, Andrews, Macnish, Anderson, 
Dickinson, and Evans. Three of these were in the 
vicinity of New York, where their services were most 
likely to be required. 

The troubles in the Church at New York led to re- 
peated conferences with the ministers of Connecticut 
and the trustees of Yale College, by whom Edwards 
had been sent to supply the congregation which had 
separated from Anderson's. Each party seemed in 

THE SYNOD, A.B 1717-1729. 45 

earnest to restore peace, and the Synod expressed their 
thanks to the Connecticut ministers "for their concern 
about the interest of religion in New York." They 
closed their minute (1723), appointing a conference,, 
with a recommendation that, in case of a successful 
issue, the committee should " treat with said ministers 
about a union with us, and empower them to concert 
and conclude upon any methods that may conduce to 
that end." 

McGill and Cross were members, with Andrews, Phil- 
lips, Morgan, and Dickinson, of this committee, and 
McGill and Conn were appointed to write the letter in 
reply to the one which had been received from Con- 
necticut, requesting the conference. Nothing could 
show more decisively the absence on the part of the 
Synod of all jealousy of New England influence, than 
this minute which contains the recommendation of 
union, and which seems to have been adopted without 
the. utterance of the least dissent. 

Indeed, on the subject of ecclesiastical authority — the 
only point in reference to which there had been, as yet, 
any serious division of sentiment — the Synod had har- 
monized during the previous year. Against the measure 
of 1721, Dickinson, Jones, Morgan, Pierson, Evans, and 
"Webb, had entered their protest. The minute to which 
objection was taken, after stating that Presbyterian 
government and church discipline had been exercised 
for many years by the Church in this country, " after 
the manner of the best Eeformed Churches, as far as 
the nature and constitution of this country will allow," 
invited any who desired it to offer overtures, to be 
formed into acts by the Synod, " for the better carrying 
on in the matter of our government and discipline." 
But in 1722, evidently upon mature deliberation, the 
protesting members consented to withdraw their protest. 
They submitted a paper, containing four articles, in 


•which they grant " the fall executive power of church 
government in Presbyteries and Synods," using " autho- 
ritatively in the name of Christ the keys of church dis- 
cipline ;" admit that the circumstantials of church dis- 
cipline, "as the time, place, and mode of carrying on in 
the government of the Church," belonged to ecclesiastical 
judicatories to determine conformably to the general 
rules in the word of G-od, and that if these were called 
acts — the term which the protest was directly aimed at 
— no offence would be taken, provided they were not 
to be imposed upon those who conscientiously dissented 
from them. They allow also the right of appeal from 
inferior to superior judicatories, and the composing of 
directories by Synods respecting all parts of discipline, 
provided that subordinate judicatories might decline 
from them when they thought conscientiously that they 
had just reason to do so. 

These views, while guarding against a rigid and 
tyrannic ecclesiasticism, allowed all the freedom which 
Dickinson and the brethren who joined him in the 
protest required; and it is to the honor of the Synod 
that they were " so universally pleased with the above- 
said composure of their difference," allowing the with- 
drawal both of the protest and its answer, " that they 
unanimously joined together in a thanksgiving prayer, 
and joyful singing the one hundred and thirty-third 

Upon the basis thus offered by Dickinson the Synod 
harmonized. With a clear understanding of his posi- 
tion and sympathies, the Synod proposed measures 
which, if successful in their results, would introduce 
into it large numbers of others whose views were sub- 
stantially those of the protestants; yet not a word of 
objection was uttered. The liberal spirit of American 
Presbj^terianism was attested by the unanimity of the 

THE ADOPTING ACT, A.D. 1729. 47 

In 1724, the Synod had so increased, and it had become 
so difficult to secure a full and regular attendance, that 
the question was raised in regard to some measure of 
relief. It was finally decided in favor of delegation. 
The Presbyteries of New Castle and Philadelphia were 
to delegate half their members yearly to the Synod, 
and the Presbytery of Long Island was to send two of 
their number. Every third year, however, there was 
to be a full meeting of Synod. At this meeting all the 
members were to be present. The commission was also 
authorized to call such a full meeting whenever the 
emergency might require. Members, whether delegated 
or not, were left at liberty to attend as formerly " if 
they see cause." 

In 1726, the attention of the Synod was called to dif- 
ficulties which had occurred in the church at Newark, 
of which Webb was pastor. At his own request, a com- 
mission was appointed with a view to compose them; 
but the result did not answer his expectation. With 
Hubbell, Jones, and Evans, he joined in a protest against 
the measures which had been taken; and it was several 
years before a full reconciliation took place between 
the protestants and the Synod. 



The year 1729 has been rendered memorable by the 
celebrated Adopting Act of the Synod. It is difficult 
at this day to say with whom the measure originated, 
although the practice which prevailed in the New 
Castle Presbytery — composed largely of Irish mem- 
bers — of requiring subscription to the Confession of 


Faith from the ministers admitted to their body, renders 
it not improbable that it was first urged by them. It 
was a new measure. JSTo sufficient evidence has yet 
been adduced in proof of subscription, or tbe adoption 
of a specific constitution, by the members of the origi- 
nal Presbytery. Indeed, such a thing was altogether 
unknown to them. In 1698, Andrews went to Philadel- 
phia ; Makemie had already been in the country for 
several years; and yet it was not till 1698 that the Irish 
Synod enacted, in conformity with the law of the 
Established Church of Scotland, that no young man 
should be licensed to preach the gospel unless " he sub- 
scribe the Confession of Faith in all the articles thereof 
as the confession of his faith." 

Up to this period it had been regarded as important, 
far less as a security against heretical members than as 
a testimony to the truthful and scriptural position of a 
body asking toleration of the civil magistrate. But 
shortly after this, developments took place which gave 
it a new importance in the eyes of the Synod. 1 Thomas 
Emlyn, of Dublin, avowed himself an Arian, and pub- 
lished a defence of his doctrinal positions. Lax views 
had begun soon after this to gain ground among the 
Dissenting ministers of London. To vindicate their 
own character from the suspicions of government, 
rather than from any suspicion of the orthodoxy of 
their own members, the Irish Synod in 1705 re-enacted 
the law requiring subscription to the "Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith of all persons licensed or ordained. 
Anxious to secure the repeal of the obnoxious sacra- 
mental test, legal protection for their worship and 
government, and a restoration and increase of the royal 
bounty, the Irish Church felt it incumbent upon them 
to vindicate their doctrinal soundness from all possible 

1 Reid's History of the Irish Presbyterian Church. 

THE ADOPTING ACT, A.D. 1729. 49 

question. But, acknowledging as they did the right of 
the state to ascertain the belief of religious bodies 
applying for protection, they felt it necessary to declare 
their views. Their choice lay between the Thirty-Nine 
Articles of the Church of England as subscribed by 
their Dissenting brethren across the Channel, and the 
Westminster Confession of Faith • as adopted by the 
Church of Scotland. The latter was preferred in 1709, 
and again in 1714, upon the accession of George I. 

But by 1714 a change had taken place in the views 
of some of the ministers in and near Dublin. They had 
been educated among the English Dissenters, and pre- 
ferred a summary of doctrine more concise than either 
the Thirty-Nine Articles or the Westminster Confession. 
But even yet they professed to adhere to the doctrines 
of the Confession ; and in the Synod of 1716 it was 
decided, with only a single dissenting voice, to adhere 
to it as declaring the faith of the Church. Only in case 
of objection on the part of government was the formula 
which had been drawn up to be presented as a sub- 

It was while these discussions were going forward 
that the seeds of future danger to the Church were 
sown. In 1703, John Abernethy was settled at Antrim. 
By his exertions an association of ministers was formed 
for mutual improvement in theological knowledge. It 
drew into it some of the most promising and able men 
of the Church, and was known as the Belfast Society. 
Discussions arose on the subjects of religious liberty, 
subscription to confessions, the nature and extent of 
church power, and opinions were advanced and main- 
tained which tended to an extreme liberalism, not to 
say radicalism. 1 

It was not long before other ministers of the Church 

1 Reid's History of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. 
Vol. I.— 5 


took the alarm. The danger was aggravated in their 
estimate by reports from abroad. The Presbyterian 
churches of Switzerland had extensively fallen away 
from the vital doctrines of the gospel. The writings 
of Whiston, Clarke, and Hoadly, in England, followed 
by the debates and publications of the Dissenters at 
Salter's Hall, showed that in London all was not sound 
even among those who bore the honored names of a 
Puritan ancestry. In Scotland, moreover, the seeds of 
unsound doctrine had been widely sown. In 1714-16, 
Professor Simpson, who occupied the divinity-chair in the 
University of Glasgow, and under whom not a few of 
the Irish as well as Scottish ministers had been trained, 
had been tried by the General Assembly for teaching 
Arminian and Pelagian errors ; and the leniency of the 
sentence declared the extent to which he was shielded 
by the sympathy of the Assembly's members. Aber- 
nethy himself, and another prominent member of the 
Belfast Society, had been Simpson's fellow-students, 
while others had been his theological pupils. With the 
Belfast Society, moreover, the Dublin ministers, who 
were in all essential points Independents, were in 
strong sympathy. 

In these circumstances, while there was real danger 
to the Church, it is not strange that it should have been 
vastly magnified by the fears and apprehensions of 
those who had taken the alarm. " There is a perfect 
Hoadly mania among our young ministers in the 
North," wrote Francis — afterward Professor — Hutchi- 
son from Armagh, in 1718, to a friend in Scotland. He 
ascribed this antipathy to confessions to " other grounds 
than a new spirit of charity." It was his conviction 
that Dr. Clarke's book had shaken, if not changed, the 
views of several. 

It was in 1720 that Abernethy ventured to publish a 
Bermon on " Eeligious obedience founded on personal 

THE ADOPTING ACT, A.D. 1729. 51 

persuasion." It was objectionable on several grounds; 
but its most fatal error was that all doctrines were non- 
essential on which " human reason and Christian sin- 
cerity permitted men to differ." This was opening a 
wide door for error. It set aside at once not only the 
subscription that had been required, but all checks upon 
the admission of unconverted men to the Church and 
ministry. The practice of some of the Presbyteries 
was correspondingly lax. It was justly feared that the 
fruits of the seed already sown would be a harvest of 
errors more objectionable than any thing which had 
yet appeared. A war of pamphlets followed. It was 
impossible to guard the purity or peace of the Church 
if the principles of the Belfast Society were to be gene- 
rally adopted. The Dissenters of London were many 
of them already fast verging toward Arianism. The 
Dublin ministers did not come far behind them, and the 
principles of Abernethy and his friends were such that 
they might claim to be left unmolested even if they 
chose to take the same position. 

In these circumstances, the Synod felt called upon to 
act. They compromised with the Belfast brethren to 
preserve unity, but only divided their own councils. It 
was a great mistake, and they found it so at last. 
Instead of a simple enforcement through legitimate 
authority of the discipline of the Church, they sacrificed 
that discipline to prevent the threatened danger. Peace 
was not secured. The breach between the subscribers 
and non-subscribers was only widened. Yet the mode- 
rate portion of the party who favored subscription did 
their best to prevent any division. The sermon before 
the Synod of 1720 by Bobert Craighead, the last mode- 
rator, was entitled "A Plea for Peace, or the nature, 
causes, mischiefs, and remedy of church divisions." 
But it failed to secure the object designed. At length 
the reproach of departing from her own standards was 


publicly brought against the Irish Church. It was 
loudly echoed by the Episcopalians. It was obvious that 
something must be done. To remove the scandal, and 
at the same time to obviate the scruples of the non- 
subscribers, it was resolved that the members of the 
Synod be permitted to subscribe the Confession. But to 
this, also, the non-subscribers objected. They were 
called at length in 1726 to propose their own terms. 
They were such as it would have been suicidal in the 
Synod to accept. The subscribers, therefore, who were 
in the decided majority, introduced an overture declar- 
ing their rejection of the new terms of peace, and that 
the adherence of the non-subscribers to their principles 
" put it out of their power to maintain ministerial com- 
munion with them in church judicatories as formerly, 
consistent with the discharge of our ministerial office 
and the peace of our own consciences." The overture 
was passed by a great majority, and the separation, 
which had become inevitable, immediately followed. 

The conflict had been a fierce one, and disastrous to 
the interests of the Church. But it was rendered 
necessary by the dangerous and latitudinarian princi- 
ples as well as errors of the non-subscribers. Yet the 
party that opposed them had been moderate and for- 
bearing. They erred rather on the side of leniency 
than of harshness. 

Of this conflict the American Presbyterian Church 
could not remain a disinterested spectator. During 
the whole period of it, the Irish emigration to this 
country was large, and it was steadily increasing. It 
was scarcely to be doubted that some of the non-sub- 
scribers, whose principles were not altogether popular 
iu the Irish Church, would soon be directing their 
course also to the "Western world. They would natu- 
rally seek a connection with the Presbyterian Church 
in this country, and such a connection would only 

THE ADOPTING ACT, A.D. 1729. 53 

renew among the weak churches scattered through 
the colonies the agitations that had done such mischiefs 
in Ireland. 

The character of the Church in this country was, 
moreover, at stake. It needed the sympathy of the 
foreign Churches that were yet sound in the faith, and 
still it would be sure to forfeit that sympathy if it 
showed an indisposition to exclude error. The Pres- 
bytery of ]S"ew Castle was undoubtedly most deeply 
sensible of this. Thomas Craighead was one of its 
leading members, and he would naturally share the 
views of his brother, the moderator of the Irish Synod. 
It is not surprising that their sagacity should have led 
them to take precautions against the threatened evil. 
These precautions were first used in the Presbytery of 
New Castle, and afterward commended themselves to 
the good sense of the Synod. 

Yet the thing was not done in haste. The separa- 
tion of the Irish Synod took place in 1726. Three 
years passed before the Adopting Act of the American 
Synod, and this act was framed in the very spirit of 
the sermon of Eobert Craighead's " Plea for Peace" 
before the Irish Synod. It showed nothing of the 
rigor of a fierce orthodoxy, but a sound attachment 
to acknowledged standards. 

At first, indeed, the proposal of it threatened division. 
In 1727, the year following the action of the Irish Synod 
which led to the separation of the Belfast party, an 
overture looking toward the adoption of such a mea- 
sure was presented to the Synod by John Thomson, of 
Lewes, Delaware. It was then opposed, especially by 
the J^Tew England members. Even Andrews objected 
to it as impolitic and tending to division; while Dickin- 
son, of Elizabethtown, sound indeed in the doctrines 
of the Confession, was, strangely enough, altogether 


opposed to creeds or confessions of faith drawn up by 
uninspired men. 

For two yeai*s the overture was not acted upon. It 
was opposed in 1727, and " staved off" by those who 
hoped " they should have heard no more of it." 1 But 
as the facts came to be better known, and the object 
of the overture to be better understood, the measure 
gained favor among its opponents. Unable to go with 
the Scotch and Irish " in all their disciplinary and 
legislative notions," the party composed of those from 
New England, England, and Wales had at first strong 
suspicion of the tendency and design of the overture. 
Almost to a man they regarded it with aversion. The 
proposal that all ministers or intrants should sign it, 
or else be disowned as members, was especially ob- 
noxious. It threatened the introduction of a system 
of church discipline and church legislation such as in 
the days of Cromwell had lost England to the Presby- 
terian Church, and gave occasion for Milton's celebrated 
saying that " presbyter was only priest writ large." 

In 1728, the subject was again introduced. A dele- 
gated Synod met this year, and the Irish and Scotch 
members were in the proportion, to the others, of two 
to one. They could, if resolutely bent upon carrying 
their measure at all hazards, have forced it through. 
But " the Synod, judging this to be a very important 
affair, unanimously concluded to defer the consideration 
of it till the next Synod," which it was agreed should 
be a full one. The adoption of this course showed a 
conciliatory spirit, and gave Dickinson, Andrews, Pier- 
son, Pumroy, and Morgan, an opportunity to consult 
and determine how far it was best to go. 

In 1729, the committee to whom the subject was 
referred was judiciously chosen. It consisted of An- 

1 Andrews's Letter to Colman. 

THE ADOPTING ACT, A.D. 1729. 55 

drews, Dickinson, and Pierson, on one side, and Thom- 
son, the author of the overture, Craighead, and Ander- 
son, on the other. Craighead was unquestionably 
moderate in his views, and Conn, who was also on the 
committee, was scarcely to be reckoned on either side. 
The result was a compromise, honorable to both parties, 
and evidently betraying the strong influence of the 
New England, English, and "Welsh members. After 
long discussion, it was presented, in the following 
words : — 

"Although the Synod do not claim or pretend to any 
authority of imposing our faith upon other men's con- 
sciences, but do profess our just dissatisfaction with, 
and abhorrence of, such impositions, and do utterly 
disclaim all legislative power and authority in the 
Church, being willing to receive one another as Christ 
has received us to the glory of God, and admit to fel- 
lowship in sacred ordinances all such as we have ground 
to believe Christ will at last admit to the Kingdom of 
Heaven ; yet we are undoubtedly obliged to take care 
that the faith once delivered to the saints be kept pure 
and uncorrupt among us and so handed down to our 
posterity. And do, therefore, agree that all the minis- 
ters of this Synod, or that shall hereafter be admitted 
into this Synod, shall declare their agreement in, and 
approbation of, the Confession of Faith, with the Larger 
and Shorter Catechisms of the Assembly of Divines at 
"Westminster, as being in all the essential and necessary 
articles good forms of sound words and systems of 
Christian doctrine, and do also adopt the said Confes- 
sion and Catechisms as the Confession of our faith. 
And we do also agree that all the Presbyteries within 
our bounds shall always take care not to admit any 
candidate of the ministry into the exercise of the 
sacred functions, but what declares his agreement in 
opinion with all the essential and necessary articles of 


said Confession, either by subscribing the said Confes- 
sion of Faith and Catechism, or by a verbal declaration 
of their assent thereto, as such minister or candidate 
shall think best. And in case any minister of this 
Synod, or any candidate for the ministry, shall have 
any scruple with respect to any article or articles of 
said Confession or Catechisms, he shall, at the time of 
his making said declaration, declare his sentiments to 
the Presbytery or Synod, who shall, notwithstanding, 
admit him to the exercise of the ministry within our 
bounds, and to ministerial communion, if the Synod or 
Presbytery shall judge his scruple or mistake to be only 
about articles not essential and necessary in doctrine, 
worship, or government. But if the Synod or Presby- 
tery shall judge such ministers or candidates erroneous 
in essential and necessary articles of faith, the Synod 
or Presbytery shall declare them uncapable of commu- 
nion with them. And the Synod do solemnly agrae 
that none of us will traduce or use any opprobrious 
terms of those that differ from us in these extra-essen- 
tial and not-necessary points of doctrine, but treat them 
with the same friendship, kindness, and brotherly love, 
as if they had not differed from us in such senti- 

The ministers of the Synod then present, with the 
exception of Mr. Elmer, who declared himself not pre- 
pared, after proposing all the scruples that any of them 
had against any articles and expressions in the Confes- 
sion and Catechisms, unanimously agreed in the solu- 
tion of those scruples, and in declaring the Confession 
and Catechisms to be their confession of faith. The 
only exception made was to those articles of the Form 
of Government which related to the duties of the civil 
magistrate. In view of the unanimity, peace, and unity 
which appeared in these consultations and deliberations 

THE ADOPTING ACT, A.D. 1729. 57 

of the Synod, they " unanimously agreed in giving thanks 
to God in solemn prayer and praises." 1 

No change was subsequently made in the language 
of the Adopting Act. Some of those who were more 
strict on subjects of ecclesiastical order, and who felt 
that they had reason to complain of their brethren on 
account of its violation, insisted upon a more literal and 
rigid interpretation of the agreement which had been 
made obligatory. But the history of the period shows 
that this arose not from any superior attachment to 
sound doctrine, but mainly from the conviction that the 
rules of order were not observed with sufficient care 
and fidelity. 

The attempt was indeed made, in 1736, to put a con- 
struction upon the Adopting Act which it would not 
bear. The Irish and Scotch immigration of the period 
had been unusually large, and in this year the foreign 
members of the Synod composed the large majority. 

1 There are many facts which put the character of the Adopting 
Act, as a compromise measure, entirely beyond question. Dr. Green 
was right in his judgment of it. It does present those features 
which could afford him occasion to say that it gave and took, bound 
and loosed, in the same breath. In the mention made in Dr. Alex- 
ander's Life of a Mr. Hoge, a very aged man who could remember 
the period of the Adopting Act, we find it very correctly spoken of 
as the Act "which indulged such persons as were scrupulous in 
regard to certain articles, to express their exceptions before the 
Presbytery, who were permitted to license and ordain if they judged 
the matter not to be of essential importance. When the Act was 
passed, it gave great dissatisfaction, and some, the number of whom 
cannot be determined, left the Presbyterian Church and joined the 
Seceders, who were then beginning to raise their standard. Among 
these was Mr. Hoge." 

The explanation of the plan of subscription given by Samuel 
Davies on his visit to England, and to which reference will be made 
hereafter, sufficiently establishes the understanding of the Synod 
as to the significance of the Adopting Act. 


Taking occasion from some complaints that had been 
uttered in regard to the mode in which the Confes- 
sion had been adopted, they proceed to declare, for the 
satisfaction of such complaints, " that the Synod have 
adopted and do still adhere to the Westminster Confes- 
sion, Catechisms, and Directory, without the least variation 
or alteration, and without any regard to said distinctions," — 
these " distinctions " the scruples expressed at the time 
of the adoption. This action was taken under the strong 
pressure of popular prejudice, and when less than half the 
ministers of the Synod were present. Among those absent 
were Dickinson, Pierson, Pemberton, Webb, etc., by whom 
this "explication" was subsequently set aside, and who for 
the time may have acquiesced in it as a declaration which 
made no change in the Adopting Act itself, but simply 
asserted the manner in which the members of Synod then 
present chose to define their own position. . 



Prom the date of the Adopting Act in 1729 until the 
division of the Synod in 1741, the number of ministers 
rapidly increased. Nearly forty names were added to 
the list of members. Some few of these had been 
trained up w T ithin the bounds of the Church, but, apart 
from these, nearly one-half were Irish or Scotch immi- 
grants. The accession from New England was only" 
ten. Thus, in the measures of the Synod, the foreign 
party, had they been united, might have secured a pre- 
ponderating influence. But they were not united. The 
division of 1741 originated in their ranks. 

Although originally from Ireland, the Tennents were 


not to be numbered on what came to be known at the 
time of the division as the Old Side. Of these, besides 
the father, William Tennent, there were his sons, John, 
Gilbert, William, and Charles, all of them earnest and 
zealous preachers. Gilbert was by far the most con- 
spicuous, and in the history of the period under re- 
view, no other name is more frequently mentioned. 
With a nature incapable of fear, a burning zeal in de- ' 
fence of what he deemed to be truth, a commanding 
person and powerful delivery, he was destined to exer- 
cise, wherever he went, a deep and extensive influence. 
Yet his charity was sometimes overborne by his zeal. 
His defence of vital truth assumed, unconsciously, a 
defiant tone. In dealing with his equals he was be- 
trayed into adopting the tone of £i superior, and the 
model which he seemed to favor was far mo^e that 
which presented to view the sternness of one of the old 
prophets, than the gentleness of the beloved apostle. 

He was independent and decided in his judgments; 
tenacious of his convictions, he was not easily to be 
moved or persuaded by others. Yet, unfortunately, he 
was by no means always discreet. Soon after his licen- 
sure, he was called to New Castle. He declared his ac- 
ceptance, commenced preaching, but soon after abruptly 
left. The Synod pronounced his conduct hasty and un- 
advised. A sharp rebuke was administered, which he 
is said to have taken meekly. 

He soon settled at JSTew Brunswick. A letter of the 
venerable Frelinghuysen, and a severe fit of sickness, 
combined with the seeming barrenness of a ministry 
of eighteen months, humbled him under the sense of 
his unprofitableness. He rose from his sick bed to 
preach as he never had before, and the fruits of his 
labors were soon apparent. 

In 1734, he overtured the Synod on the subject of a 
more careful examination of candidates for the minis- 


try, as well as for the Lord's Supper. He insisted that 
there should be a closer scrutiny as to the evidences of 
a gracious and genuine religious experience. The over- 
ture was favorably received, and Tennent himself could 
scarcely have penned any admonition more solemn or 
searching than that adopted by the Synod. Indeed, it 
may have been substantially his own production. 

In 1736, David Cowell was settled at Trenton. 1 He 
was a native of Massachusetts, and a graduate of Har- 
vard. His examination and installation were conducted 
by a committee of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, con- 
sisting of Andrews, Evans, Wales, and Treat. William 
Tennent was appointed, but did not meet with them. 
The examination of the candidate brought out unques- 
tionably his peculiar views, represented by his oppo- 
nents as making happiness the chief motive of religion. 
Gilbert Tennent could not endure this. He corre- 
sponded with Cowell, but remained still unsatisfied. 
The discussion was continued for several months, and 
in 1738 was brought by Tennent to the notice of Synod. 
A committee was appointed to consider the matter, but 
their report was deferred from time to time, until in the 
following year they brought in a report declaring the 
substantial agreement of the parties, prefacing it with 
the caustic expression of their conviction that the prin- 
cipal controversy " flows from their not having clear 
ideas about the subject they so earnestly debate about, 
and not from any dangerous errors they entertain." 

Tennent seemed at the time to acquiesce ; but in the 
reading of the minutes in the following year, he took 
occasion to declare his dissatisfaction, and asked that 
the subject be reconsidered. It was refused by a strong 
majority. This was somewhat exasperating ; and he 
did not hesitate to allude subsequently, in the harshest 

1 See Hall's "Church of Trenton," p. 80; also Synod's Minutes. 


terms, to the heretical standing of many of the Synod 
on the points of controversy. His zeal was inflamed 
by other causes also. He saw with deep anxiety the 
coldness and irreligion which prevailed around him. 
Not a few of the ministers were far from exhibiting 
that fidelity and devotion which pertained to their 
solemn office. The report of revivals in New England 
had kindled his feelings to enthusiasm. The presence 
and preaching of Whitefield, who had just crossed the 
ocean, and whose early failing of judging ungraciously 
the gracious state of his brethren had not yet been 
checked, encouraged Tennent in his course. 

But previous to this the Synod had taken action 
which he interpreted as designed to injure his father's 
school at Neshaminy. Candidates for the ministry 
were to be examined by the Synod's committee, and of 
course to this examination the Presbyteries, as well as 
candidates, must submit. This was a sore grievance, 
and was one of the disturbing influences that contri- 
buted to the division of the Synod. 

The leading opponent of Tennent and his fellow- 
protesters in the Synod was_Eol3ert_C^ross, originally 
from Ireland. He had succeeded Macnish at Jamaica 
in 1723, and in 1737 joined the Philadelphia Presby- 
tery and was settled as a colleague of Andrews. He 
was highly respected and esteemed both for character 
and ability. At Jamaica, "his people almost adored 
him, and impoverished themselves to equal the sum 
offered him in the city." But on his removal to Phila- 
delphia he became a leading man in the Synod; and 
his views of the revival which had begun to prevail in 
several quarters were very different from those of 
Tennent. Whitefield was by no means his favorite. 
When he preached in Philadelphia, he came under 
Cross's definition of an itinerant ; and for two or three 
years the Synod had been growing more decided in its 

Vol. I.— 6 


aversion to intrusions not warranted by the permission 
of Presbytery. Cross was obnoxious to many for his 
well-known views on the subject. He did not preach 
— it was said — so as to alarm the conscience. He had 
"preached most of his people away from him," said 
"Whitefield, in 1740. " He lashed me most bravely the 
Sunday before I came away." And yet, subsequently, 
when the snow rendered it impracticable to use the 
roofless " Great House," he offered his meeting-house to 
Whitefield ; and it was accepted. Such was the man 
who was destined to take the leadership of the Old 
Side in the protest which brought about the division. 

Of those who sympathized most deeply with Tennent, 
Samuel Blair deserves prominent mention. He was a 
native of Ireland, but came to this country in his 
childhood. From his early years his life had been most 
exemplary. " He grew in stature and in grace." He 
had studied at the Log College, 1 and became eminent 
for his attainments. In 1733, he was licensed by the 
Philadelphia Presbytery, and, after preaching for some 
years at Middletown and Shrewsbury, became pastor 
at Fagg's Manor in 1740. The place had been settled 
by Irish emigrants ten years previously, and Blair, 
with the exception of " some hopefully pious people," 
found religion ready to expire. Under his labors a 
powerful revival commenced. 

One who assisted him, and whose sympathies like- 
wise were on the side of Tennent, was Alexander 
Craig head of Middle Octorara. He was probably a 
son of Thomas Craighead already mentioned, and 
commenced his ministry in 1735. None were more 
zealous in promoting the revival. In company with 
Whitefield, Tennent, and Blair, he traversed Chester 
county, and " they made the woods ring, as they rode, 

1 See Alexander's "Log College." 


with their songs of praise." He preached, without re- 
gard to the wishes of his brethren, and against the 
rule of the Synod, wherever opportunity offered. He 
claimed that ministers should not. be confined within 
the bounds of a single congregation, and in harsh terms 
he inveighed against the judicial blindness and hard- 
ness of " Pharisee preachers." His zeal soon carried 
him away; and, though dividing with Tennent and 
Blair, he soon disowned them, because they would not 
come into his views for adopting the Solemn League 
and Covenant. 

In John Cross, another friend of "the Revival," 
Tennent was equally unfortunate. He was a " Scottish 
worthy," and his place of settlement was " the moun- 
tains back of Newark." l In 1734-35, there was a 
powerful revival in his congregation. He accompanied 
Whitefield and Tennent on their preaching-tours, and 
was remarkably distinguished for his fervor and suc- 
cess. " He is a dear soul," said Whitefield, " and one 
that the Lord delights to honor." At a later period, 
grave charges were substantiated against him. "His 
dreadful scandals came to light in the midst of the 
revival." This, however, was not till after the divi- 

Eleazar Wales was from New England, a graduate 
of Yale, in 1727, and settled at Allentown, N.J., in 
1730. He afterwards removed to Crosswicks, and 
finally to Millstone, in 1735, where he became, with. 
Tennent, a member of New Brunswick Presbytery. 

Eichard Treat was likewise from New England, and 
a graduate of Yale. He settled at Abington in 1731, 
and for several years acted with the majority of the 
Synod. But in 1739, on hearing Whitefield, he aban- 

1 He was settled at Baskingridge, according to Hoyt's Church 
of Orange. 


doned his former hope, and from that period preached 
with new fervor. 

Besides these men, who firmly adhered to Gilbert 
Tennent at the time of the division, were his father 
and his two brothers William and Charles. William 
"-was a powerful preacher, and his sermons, though un- 
polished in diction, were remarkably impressive. As 
a revivalist he was scarce inferior to his brother Gil- 
bert, while he seems to have been more discreet and 
far more disposed to peace. Charles was settled at 
White Clay and Christiana Village in 1737. 

The great majority of the Irish members of the Synod, 
except Blair and the Tennents, sided with Cross, of 
Philadelphia, in signing the Protest which caused the 
division. Andrews, of whom he was the colleague, was 
evidently swayed by his influence, yet did not join in 
the Protest. Cathcart, at Brandywine ; JohnJTdiomson, 
the originator of the overture which resulted in the 
Adopting Act; Francis Alison, now at New London, 
but the most thorough scholar which the Old Side could 
boast; Richard Sanckey, of Hanover, a plagiarist, if not 
worse ; Elder, of Paxton ; Craig, of Tinkling Spring, 
Ta., where he preached to the oldest congregation in 
the State; Cavin, of Palling Spring, a man of whom 
his people complained that he never asked about the 
state of their souls ; Thomson, of Pennsborough ; Boyd, 
of Octorara; Martin, of Lewes, Del.; and Jamison, at 
Zion's Hill, in the same State, joined with Cross in the 
signing of the Protest. 

Besides these two parties, which from the period of 
the Adopting Act began to be more distinctly marked, 
there was a jthirdj^occupying an intermediate posi- 
tion, and who might, if they had acted in time, have 
prevented the division. These were, principally, Dick- 
inson, of Elizabethtown; Pjmibjirton, of New York; 
Pierson, of Woodbridge; Horton, of Connecticut Farms; 


Burr, of Newark ; Pumroy, of Newtown ; Hubbell, of 
Morristown; and Gillespie and Hutcheson, of New 
Castle Presbj'tery. Several of tbese were as warm 
friends of tbe revival as tbe Tennents, and, bad tbey 
been present at tbe critical moment, might easily bave 
turned tbe scale. 

Tbe seeds of tbe division, however, had long been 
sown. From the time of the Adopting Act, in 1729, 
the discordant elements of which the Synod was com- 
posed began to betray themselves. The question was 
not in regard to the Adopting Act itself. In this, all 
parties seemed readily enough to acquiesce. The mem- 
bers who were absent when it was passed expressed 
their approval of it in the following year. The several 
Presbyteries reported tbe uniform acceptance of the 
Confession by those whom they licensed and ordained. 
The only complaint anywhere to be heard on the sub- 
ject was the laxness rather than the severity of the 
rule ; and this complaint came only from a few over- 
anxious, with fears transmitted from the experience of 
the Irish Synod. 

In spite of the apprehensions expressed by the 
friends of vital religion at the sad decline which it had 
experienced, the Church was still extending its bounds. 
Help was given from the fund to several needy 
churches, and new congregations were continually 
forming and applying for ministers. At "Wall Kill, 
Goshen, Crosswater, Trenton, and in Delaware and 
Virginia, there were urgent demands for the institutions 
of the gospel, — demands which the Synod exerted it- 
self to meet. In 1732, the Donegal Presbytery was 
erected, of which Anderson, who had removed from 
New York, Thomson, Boyd, Orr, and Bertram, were the 
original members. In tbe following year, the Presbytery 
of Philadelphia was divided, and a portion of it set 
off to constitute the Presbytery of East Jersey, which 


in 1738 was in conjunction with the Presbytery of 
Long Island, thenceforth known as the Presbytery of 
New York. At nearly the same time, the Presbytery 
of New Brunswick was erected, the members of which 
were Gilbert and William Tennent, Samuel Blair, Elea- 
zar Wales, and John Cross. 

There was, beyond doubt, a sad decline of vital piety 
among the churches. Some of the ministers whom 
Tennent rebuked, and into whose congregations he 
intruded, were unquestionably " Pharisee preachers." 
Among them, too, were bitter opponents of the revival, 
if not of Evangelical religion. But the majority of the 
Synod were by no means men of this stamp. Some 
of their measures were unwise and characterized by 
party zeal ; but in an impartial judgment they by no 
means deserve the odium heaped upon them by their 

The Irish members plausibly contended that there 
was danger to the Church from intrants from Ireland. 
The tide of immigration had within a few years rapidly 
increased. It was not at all improbable that, unless 
vigilance was exercised, the churches would be cursed 
by unworthy men. Indeed, the Synod had already been 
called to deal with one who might serve as a specimen. 
Samuel Hemphill, with ample credentials to the Synod 
from the Presbytery of Strabane, was received as a 
member on his easy subscription to the Confession of 
Paith. He preached at New London with much ac- 
ceptance, and without exciting any suspicion of his 
deistical sentiments. Adverse reports from Ireland led 
to an investigation ; but the ministers of New Castle 
Presbytery declared themselves satisfied with his 
teachings. He imposed himself on Andrews, and 
preached all winter at Philadelphia. - Franklin liked 
his preaching, which soon ran into downright Deism. 
Andrews was at length forced to bring charges against 


him. They were sustained by evidence; and Hemp- 
hill was suspended. This was in 1785. His trial was 
by the Synod's commission ; and, when the case came 
before the body at its next session, Hemphill sent them 
an insulting letter, and closed by saying that he 
thought " they would do bim a deal of honor if they 
would entirely excommunicate him." 

If such conduct was felt to be exasperating, the 
danger which it indicated was seen to be imminent. 
It led the Synod to' take decisive measures for the 
security of both ministers and churches. "Wolves in 
sheep's clothing" were "invading the flock of Christ." 
"Devouring monsters" were "numerous abroad in the 
world." "The late bold assault that hath been made 
upon us" " should put us to our arms, and excite us 
with care and diligence to put ourselves in a posture 
of defence against all future attempts." 

The overture, accordingly, adds, " Seeing we are 
likely to have the most of our supply of ministers, to 
fill our vacancies, from the North of Ireland," and, in 
vieAV of the " great danger of being imposed upon by 
ministers and preachers from thence," it is proposed to 
the reverend Synod to order a more careful inspection 
of credentials of those who come from abroad, no one 
to be called till he have preached six months within the 
Synod's bounds, and no student to be received to enter 
upon his trials, till he have given most of the ministers 
of the Presb3 T tery opportunity to take a view of his 
parts and behavior. 

To these measures, taken by themselves, there eould 
be no reasonable objection. But the attempt was 
made — which, in fact, if valid, would have destroyed the 
Adopting Act — to require eveiy minister to receive the 
Confession and Form of Government, not in the sys- 
tematic way prescribed in the Adopting Act, but on 
the ijisissima verba principle. This was the beginning 


• of one of the difficulties which led to the division of 
the Church. And three years later, in 1738, a proposal 
was made by the Presbytery of Lewes, which was re- 
garded by the Tennents as espec ally obnoxious. Pre- 
mising the great importance of a learned ministry, and 
the lack of any institution for collegiate education 
within the bounds of the Church, which obviated the 
"grievous disadvantage," or furnished "a degree," it 
urged the appointment of a committee of Synod by 
whom the candidates were to be examined, and whose 
certificate might serve instead of a diploma. 

The approval of this measure by a great majority 
was esjDecially obnoxious to the Tennents and to New 
Brunswick Presbytery. In connection with the acts 
of the previous year, it was thought to bear especially 
against them. In 1737, it was ordered that no proba- 
tioner or minister of one Presbytery be allowed to preach 
^-in the bounds of another, without the permission of the 
latter, and, upon being informed that it would be con- 
sidered objectionable, he was to desist. If this measure 
interfered with the itinerating evangelism of John Cross 
and the Tennents, the other seemed to intimate not the 
highest esteem of William Tennent's school at Nesha- 
miny, where quite a number of young men had been 
educated for the ministry. Most of the ministers of 
the Synod had enjoyed the advantages of a collegiate 
course, — the Irish and Scotch members at Glasgow, and 
the New England members at Yale or Harvard. It 
was natural for them to imagine that no private insti- 
tution could answer the demand for an educated minis- 
try. But in this matter they scarcely did justice to 
William Tennent's " Lop* College." This institution 
gave to the Church some of her best men, — men eminent 
alike for piety and learning. The elder Tennent him- 
elf was an honor to the Church of his adoption. In 
i 718 he abandoned the Episcopal communion, scrupling 


at her government, discipline, and the encouragement, 
or at least toleration, which she extended to Arminian 
error and unchristian practice. "With a wise forecast, 
he perceived that the demand of the Presbyterian 
Church for more ministers must ultimately be met 
within herself. He set about the work of supplying 
the want, and under him the two Blairs, Finley, Row- 
land, and his own sons, were educated for the ministry. 
Not long after his settlement at Neshaminy, in 172G, 
he erected, within a few steps of his own dwelling, the 
humble edifice which was to acquire such an enviable 
notoriety. The spirit in which it was established au- 
gured well for its future. In Ireland and Scotland the 
signs of prevalent worldliness, foreshadowing a sad 
apostasy, were already apparent. In this country the 
primitive zeal of Makemie's compeers was already 
on the decline. " Revivals of religion were nowhere 
"heard of, and an orthodox creed and a decent external 
conduct were the only points on which inquiry was 
made when persons were admitted to the communion 
of the Church." Vital piety had almost deserted the 
Church. The substance of preaching was a " dead 
orthodoxy," in which little emphasis was laid upon 
regeneration, a change of heart, or the terrors of the 
law against sin. "With such a state of things Tennent 
had no sympathy. His warm evangelical spirit led him 
to strive with all his energies to effect a change. The 
young men who came under his influence, in their 
course of education, were inspirited to become his effi- 
cient allies. When "Whitefield visited Tennent, in 1739, 
he found much to admire in what had already been 
accomplished. " Our ministers," he says, " are glorious 
without. From this despised place, seven or eight worthy 
ministers of Jesus have lately been sent forth, more 
are almost ready to be sent, and the foundation is now 
laying for the instruction of many others." 


Tennent's relation to the Synod, according to White- 
field, was much like that of Erskine. of Scotland, to 
the "judicatories of Edinburgh." He was "secretly- 
despised." A prejudice existed against him and his 
institution. It was only increased when Tennent in- 
vited Whitefield to Neshaminy and gave him a cordial 
encouragement in his work. His own people were not 
altogether united in him. The difficulty originated in 
the fact that he had never been formally installed; and 
when a hearing of the case had been had before the 
Synod of Philadelphia, it was declared that the disaf- 
fection was due to ignorance and prejudice. The people 
were recommended to lay aside their groundless dis- 
satisfactions and return to their duty, otherwise they 
would be treated by the Synod as disorderly. The 
minute stating the result of the Synod's deliberations 
was unanimously adopted. 

This was in 1737. Two years later, it is doubtful 
whether the vote would have been so decisive. Ten- 
nent fraternized with Whitefield, and the students 
whom he had trained were the ones who intruded their 
itinerant evangelism upon other congregations, in viola- 
tion of the rules adopted by Synod. In their view, 
those rules were tyrannic and unwarranted. They 
claimed that no " Pharisee preacher" could be author- 
ized to exclude them from publicly addressing those 
of other congregations who desired it. 

The act of 1738, in regard to the examination of can- 
didates by a committee of the Sjmod, was especially 
grievous to the friends of the Log College, as that in 
regard to intrusion into other congregations was to the 
friends of the revival. The New Brunswick Presby- 
tery objected to it, and their objections were stated in 
the Synod of 1739. The subject therefore was recon- 
sidered, and it was ordered that the candidates should 
be examined, not by the committee that had been ap- 


pointed, but by tbe whole Synod or its commission. 
The principle of the previous year was virtually reaf- 
firmed, and it was scarcely less objectionable in shape. 
Gilbert Tennent cried out that it was to prevent his 
father's school from training gracious men for the 
ministry. He protested against it, and his father, his 
two brothers, Samuel Blair, and Eleazar Wales, his co- 
Presbyters, and several elders, joined with him in the 

-The difficulty was aggravated by the fact that the 
New Brunswick Presbytery had, during the past year, 
not only licensed John Rowland, without regard to 
the Synod's rule, but sent him to supply a vacancy 
witbin the bounds of Philadelphia Presbytery. The 
Synod pronounced their action disorderly, and refused 
to admit Eowland as a preacher till he submitted to the 
Synod's examination. At this juncture the conclusion 
arrived at in the case of the controversy between Ten- 
nent and Cowell gave the former, although be did not 
object publicly at the time, a new occasion of offence. 

To make matters still worse, the Synod of the same 
year took steps for erecting a school or seminary of 
learning, — appointing Pemberton, Dickinson, Anderson, 
and Cross, of Philadelphia, to prosecute the affair. The 
first two were from New England, the third from Scot- 
land, and the last from Ireland; for pecuniary aid was 
to be sought from all quarters. The step was a wise 
one; but it altogether ignored Tennent's school, which 
was entitled to honorable mention. It showed, more- 
over, that the Synod had no thought of any separation 
as yet which would exclude Pemberton, Dickinson, or 
any of the New England men. 

Before the meeting of the Synod in 1740, some im- 
portant events occurred. "Whitefield made his first 
visit within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church, 
and the warm and fervent spirit of Gilbert Tennent 


drew hira to his views and party. A strong popular 
feeling; was enlisted in his favor. The attraction of his 
fame and eloquence drew crowds to hear him, and his 
awakening and convincing discourses produced a gene- 
ral concern. In New York and Philadelphia thousands 
thronged around him, and large numbers were brought 
under conviction. Treat, of Abington, who had, to 
this time, acted with the majority of the Synod, and 
Campbell, of Tehicken, gave up their hopes and 
mourned as self-deceivers and soul-murderers. 

In the course of a few months, through Whitefield's 
influence, a great change was wrought. He preached 
in New York for Pemberton, at Elizabethtown for 
Dickinson, at Wilmington twice to five thousand, at 
New Castle to two thousand five hundred, at Christiana 
Bridge to three thousand, on Sabbath at White Clay to 
eight thousand ; and his farewell sermon at Philadelphia 
was attended by ten thousand. 

These numbers may be somewhat exaggerated; but 
the fact that in Philadelphia there was religious service 
every day, and three services on the Sabbath, for a year 
after, indicates the powerful hold which he had taken 
of the popular mind. The members of the Old side 
J for the most part disliked him, and refused him their 
pulpits. Pemberton and Dickinson, by welcoming him, 
had become more closely drawn to sympathize with 
Tennent, with whom AVhitefield was in strong sympathy. 

Here, then, on a grand scale, the rules of the Synod 
in regard to intrusion had been violated, and those 
implicated with Whitefield were more than the New 
Brunswick Presbytery, who during the year had ag- 
gravated their original offence by taking Finley on 
trial, licensing Robinson and jVfcCrea, and ordaining 

Yet, with the great good effected, there were some 
mischiefs; and these mischiefs were nearly the entire 


result which the prejudices of the Old side permitted 
them to perceive. Their peace had been disturbed. 
Some of their congregations had been divided or greatly 
reduced in numbers. The people, many of them, did 
not hesitate, with the sanction of Whitefield and Ten- 
nent, to pronounce their ministers unconverted; and 
in some cases at least they were not far from the truth. 

In these circumstances the Synod of 1740 met. The 
subjects of the Synod's rule for the trial of candidates, 
and the preaching of ministers within the bounds of 
other Presbyteries, were the first introduced for dis- 
cussion. Tennent wished a revision of the conclusion 
reached in regard to his controversy with Cowell, but 
was met by an overwbelming negative. The rule for 
the trial of candidates Avas then considered. Any mem- 
ber of the Synod was allowed to propose any expedient 
to secure peace. All were agreed that the Synod were 
proper judges of the qualification of their own mem- 
bers; but the protesting brethren objected to the inser- 
tion in the minutes of the agreement of the previous 
year, as unnecessary. 

There was " an uncomfortable debate" on the subject, 
but on the final vote it was decided to abide by the 
agreement for the present, or till some other expedient 
could be found to answer its design. The majority was 
not large in its favor, for of fifty-nine members of the 
Synod, the protestants of the previous year, joined by 
fifteen others present at the Synod, formed a powerful 
minority. Dickinson, Wilmot, Burr, Pierson, Nutman, 
and Horton must have voted with the majority, or they 
would have turned the scale in favor of the protesting 

In regard to the other rule of the Synod bearing 
upon the intrusion of ministers and licentiates within 
the bounds of other Presbyteries, the Synod was forced 
to retrace its steps. Whitefield had " rode over" it trium- 

Vol. I.— 7 


phantly, if not defiantly; and the New York brethren, 
as well as the New Brunswick Presbytery, had lent 
him to some extent their countenance and sanction. 
Popular feeling, moreover, — and that, too, in the city 
where the Synod was assembled, — would have resented 
with indignation any such restriction as would be re- 
quired by a strict interpretation of the rule of the 
previous year. It was, therefore, declared that the 
object of the rule was to prevent " divisions in our 
congregations," and not to hinder " itinerant preach- 
ing." And in regard to those who might have been 
licensed to preach without the Synodical examination 
required, the Synod declared that they did not deny 
such to be " truly gospel ministers," but only that they 
could not be admitted as members of the Synod till 
they had complied with its rules. 1 

Here at least, from whatever cause, was manifested 
a disposition to compromise differences. This was 
equally obvious when Gilbert Tennent asked for an 
interloquitur, — a secret session for mutual conference. 
It was late in the closing session, and he was directed 
to proceed with what he had to offer. The house was 
crowded with spectators, nearly all of them in sym- 
pathy with him. The intervals of Synod had been 
spent by the New side in preaching. There were two 
sermons at least, and sometimes more, every day, — 
sometimes on Society Hill, sometimes at the Baptist 
church. Dickinson was not sound enough on revivals 
to be allowed to preach. Rowland and Davenport 
were more popular, and their course and views were 
regarded with extensive, if not general, approval. The 
crowd that had listened to them was now assembled 
in the house where the Synod was convened. 

1 Such is the substance of the overture introduced. It is doubt- 
fux whether it was adopted. 


Tennent arose, and read a terrible representation on 
the state of the ministry. The picture which he drew 
— largely from his own fa ncy and J ears — was appalling. 
If his statements were to be accepted, his first duty 
would have been to table charges against a majority 
of the Synod, or withdraw at once from all connection 
with it. No sooner had Tennent finished than Blair 
arose and read a paper drawn up in the same strain. 
Both were allowed to proceed without interruption. 
When they had closed, they were exhorted to spare no 
man in the Synod, but to point out the guilty, that they 
might at least be distinguished from the innocent. 
This they were not prepared to do. They would 
prove the matters charged against particular mem- 
bers; but they admitted that they had not spoken 
with the persons aimed at, or sifted carefully the re- 
ports wbich they had credited. 

With the calmness of dignity and self-respect, yet 
with a courteous regard to the statements of Tennent 
and Blair, the Synod declared, in view of their repre- 
sentations, that they " do, therefore, solemnly ad- 
monish all the ministers in our bounds, seriously to 
consider the weight of their charge, and, as they will 
answer it at the great day of Christ, to take care to 
approve themselves to God in the instances complained 
of. And the Presbyteries are recommended to take 
care of their members in these particulars." 

Before adjourning, the Synod readily granted the 
request of Newtown and Tinicum to be placed under 
the care of New Brunswick Presbytery. This body in 
many quarters now enjoyed a high degree of popu- 
larity, while in others its name was a synonym for 
mischief and enthusiasm. Notwithstanding the rules 
and the authority of Synod, the obnoxious Presbytery 
continued in its former course. " It licensed Finley 
without regard to the Synod's rule of examination, 


and sent him to preach at Rising Sun to a party who 
were erecting a building just across the highway from 
the old church. Tennent himself went forth to evan- 
gelize in West Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. 

From this field he directed his steps to New Eng- 
land. Whitefield had just visited Boston at the re- 
quest of the ministers, and had preached there, and all 
along the road to New Haven, as the meeting-houses 
were thrown open to him. Tennent was urged to 
water the seed that had been sown. His labors were 
manifold, and his popularity was second only to White- 

The Synod of 1741 met; but the division which re- 
sulted was already foreshadowed in what had taken 
place within the bounds of the Church. Everywhere 
'there were divisions and alienations. New Castle Pres- 
bytery was divided with Evans, Cathcart, and Alison 
on the Old side, and Charles Tennent and Blair on the 
other, while Gillespie and Hutcheson were dissatisfied 
with both. In Donegal Presbytery, Craighead at New 
London, and Alexander at Brandywine Manor, coun- 
tenanced the itinerations of Finley and sympathized 
with the Tennents. They complained that candidates 
were licensed without proper examination in regard to 
heart-religion. They did not hesitate to make open 
objections to Black, Elder, Sanckey, Thomson, and 
Cavin, and, in the case of some of them, only on too 
solid grounds. 

Yet the language and conduct of the New side were 
on many occasions utterly inexcusable. In January 
preceding the meeting of Synod, Finley preached a 
sermon entitled " Christ reigning and Satan raging." 
It was extremely harsh, bitter, and denunciatory. In 
a printed letter he spoke scornfully of " the babbling 
ignorant priests that would seem such friends to holi- 
ness." "Are not these," he asks, "the devil's advo- 


cates ?" Thomson's doctrine in his sermon on Convic- 
tion and Assurance was condemned as " Moravian, 
Muggletonian, and detestable." 1 

It was impossible, while such proceedings were 
sanctioned by the New Brunswick party, and were 
producing a most exasperated state of feeling in its 
opponents, that the Synod should meet in harmony. 
It did not s^ meet. The members on the side of the 
protectants were too bold and confident ; nor can we 
altogether defend their course as orderly. To add to 
the difficulty, the entire New York Presbj^tery, who 
might have acted as mediators, were absent. Standing 
aloof in great measure from the strife, they, with Gil- 
lespie, Hutcheson, and other moderate men, might at 
least have deferred the rupture. Disapproving of 
many things which had been endorsed by Whitefield 
and Tennent, they were yet the firm friends of sound 
doctrine, of good order, and of vital religion. 

In their absence, the opposing parties in the Synod 
came face to face. The first thing was to listen to 
objections against certain persons sitting in Synod. 
The individual most obnoxious was A. Craighead, who 
belonged to the Tennent party and who had been 
arraigned before the Donegal Presbytery. He had 
contemned their authority, and had been suspended 
for contumacy. While his case was pending, the 
members of the Old side brought in their protest 
against the right of the protestants of the previous 
year to sit in the Synod. They charged to their 
" unwearied, unscriptural, anti-Presbyterial, unchari- 
table, division practices," for the past year, " the dread- 
ful distractions and convulsions which all of a sudden 
have seized this infant Church ; . . . that she is in 
danger of expiring outright." Against such disorderly 

. 1 See Webster's History. 



feelings they felt it their " duty to bear testimony.'' 
With such conviction, they protested that it was " the 
indispensable duty of the Synod to maintain and stand 
by the principles of doctrine, worship, and govern- 
ment" summed up in the acknowledged standards of 
the Church; that no one who had not adopted or sub- 
scribed these standards " according to our last explica- 
tion of the Adopting Act," no one holding doctrines 
opposed to them, or persisting in practices " contrary 
to any of the known rights of Presbytery" or " orders 
agreed to by the Synod," should be allowed to sit and 
vote till he repented of his wrong ; that the protesting 
brethren of the previous year had forfeited their rights 
as members, for many reasons afterwards specified; 
that if, notwithstanding their present protestations, 
the others should continue, as during the past year, in 
their anti-Presbyterial practices, they should be looked 
upon as guilty of schism, and not members of " the 
true Presbyterian Church in this province." 
^ It will be observed that " the last explication of" the 
Adopting Act was that of 1736. The majority of the 
Synod, therefore, demanded as a condition of member- 
ship a principle fundamentally different from that of 
the Adopting Act. They demanded, in short, an ipsis- 
sima verba sub scription . And because of the refusal to 
yield to this demand, among others, they proceeded to 
what was a virtual excision, and what they did not 
hesitate to characterize as such in their subsequent 
documents. This view is strengthened by the fact that 
they refer in the protest to the manner in which their 
Presbyteries adopt the Confession. But it can be 
shown by existing documents that the Presbyteries of 
New Castle and Donegal had adopted an ipsissima verba 
subscription, — one contrary to the principle of the 
Adopting Act. The systematic in contradistinction from 


the ipsissima verba subscription, was re-established at 
the reunion in 1758. 

The members of the Old side then proceeded to give 
their reasons for their protest. These were found in 
the conduct of the favorers of the New Brunswick 
party, which embraced some in each of the Presby- 
teries of New Castle and Donegal, denying the author- 
ity of Presbyteries and Synods to go any further in 
judging of appeals and references than to give their 
best advice; their protest and action against the 
Synod's rule for the examination of candidates; their 
" irregular irruptions upon congregations to which they 
have no immediate relation, sowing the seeds of divi- 
sion among people," and alienating their minds with 
unjust prejudices against pastors ; their " rash judging 
and condemning all who do not fall in with their 
measures, as carnal, graceless, and enemies of the work 
of God, as instanced in Tennent's Nottingham sermon, 
and his and Blair's papers read before the last Synod; 
their disorderly itinerations through other congrega- 
tions, which through them had become shattered and 
divided ; their strange notions as to what constituted a 
call to the ministry;" their "preaching the terrors of 
the law in such a manner and dialect as has no prece- 
dent in the word of God, but rather appears to be bor- 
rowed from a worse dialect;" their " working on the 
passions and affections of weak minds, making persons 
cry out in a hideous manner, or fall in convulsion fits;" 
their maintaining that all true converts could be abso- 
lutely certain of their gracious state, and able to nar- 
rate the time and manner of their conversion, and that 
the people were under no tie to their own pastors, but 
might leave them when they pleased, and ought to go 
where they could get most good. 

For these reasons, they pronounced union with the 
obnoxious brethren " monstrously absurd," — one party 


owning, and the other disowning, the judicial deter- 
minations of the whole; one party desiring to join 
with another party which they condemned "whole- 
sale," meeting with them once in the year, but work- 
' ing against them at all other times, disregarding the 
authority of the common standards, yet arrogating 
authority to palm and obtrude members upon the 
Synod contrary to its judgment. 

Such were declared to be but a part of the reasons 
why the Old side protested against those who sustained 
the action and cause of the New Brunswick Presbytery. 
They did not maintain that they themselves were guilt- 
less, but justified the " Divine proceedings against" 
them, and avowed the duty and necessity of a reforma- 
tion of the evils whereby God had been provoked. 

Tbe protest was read and laid upon the table. 
Several, who had not seen it before, signed their names. 
There was great confusion. Andrews, who was mode- 
rator, had no previous knowledge of the measure, and 
left the chair. As the elders signed their names, some 
cried out that they were subscribing what they had not 
heard or considered. Others declared that it was a 
protesting of lies before Almighty God. Each party 
was too excited to deliberate. The friends of the New 
Brunswick Presbytery wished to sjjeak in their own 
defence. Blair and others, too confident of their 
strength, insisted that the protesters ought to with- 
draw, for they were not a majority of the body. The 
sympathy of the spectators was on the side of Blair 
and Tennent. The galleries rang with cries to cast 
the protesters out. 

]S"o pacific measures, no offers of compromise, were 

presented. The New Brunswick party were firm in 

the conviction that they were in the majority, and ean- 

r assed whether they or their opponents were to be 

regarded as the Synod. The latter maintained that, 


on which side soever the majority might be, the New 
Brunswick party had no right to sit in the Synod. 

The roll was called. Andrews, who had to act on 
the spur of the occasion, — for he had not been let into 
the secret of the protest, which must have been long 
contemplated, as it was carefully drawn, — decided at 
once that he could not join with the New Brunswick 
brethren. The moderate members were unwilling to 
act with them, and some who would have sustained 
them had left. Gillespie and McHenry did not appear. 
Hutcheson hesitated. Elmer and his elder had gone 
home. The New Brunswick party were clearly in the 
minority. They withdrew, followed by a great crowd. 

The division was accomplished. Treat and "Wales 
were the only New England ministers who withdrew 
with the excluded part}'. The others grieved, in com- 
mon with the more moderate members present at the 
Sj-nod, over what had taken place. There had been a 
struggle for the ascendency between tAvo rival parties, 
each aspiring to control the Church, and each com- 
bining with its conscientious convictions no small 
measure of human passion. The New Brunswick party 
were zealous for what they regarded as vital evangelical 
truth, and believed it to be a part of their mission to 
unmask the hypocrisy, worldliness, and sin of the 
Church, and, in the over-earnestness of their purpose, 
forgot charity and discretion. The others, indignant 
under the sense of wrong, were forced to appeal to the 
authority of the common standards and the rules of 
the Synod, which their brethren had too much dis- 

Thus one party appealed to the word of God. the 
other to the Confession of Faith. One, zealous for 
truth, fell the victim of its theories; the other, resolute 
for order, could see only the letter of the constitution, 
which they yet violated by the operation which they 


gave to a protest which was virtually an exscinding 
act. Their extraordinary zeal for the Confession was 
less from any superior attachment to its doctrines, than 
from the fact that they endeavored to appeal to the 
standards and authority of the Synod as the means of 



At the time of the division of the Synod, the pros- 
pect of the New Brunswick party was not the most 
encouraging. They were not only a minority in num- 
bers as the Synod was then constituted, but there was 
danger lest they should become the victims of their 
divisive principles, since the New York Presbytery, 
friendly to order, could not approve their course, and 
still adhered to the Old side. This, however, was not 
because they endorsed the action of the latter party, 
or approved the protest by which the New Brunswick 
members were excluded. In 1742, Dickinson was 
chosen moderator, and the first business brought before 
Synod was, on his suggestion, for a conference with the 
rejected brethren, "in order to accommodate the differ- 
ence and make up that unhappy breach." 

A committee was appointed to consider what could 
be done. It consisted of seven ; and Dickinson, Pem- 
berton, and Pierson were members of it. The ejected 
ministers were invited to confer with the Synod. They 
did so; but the conference reached no satisfactory 
result. The parties could not agree as to who should 
be judges in the case. The New Brunswick party 
would submit the business to the consideration of none 


who had signed the protest of the previous year. They 
were met by the latter with the not very soothing 
declaration that they, the protestants, with the mem- 
bers that adhered to them after ejecting the others, 
were the Synod, and had acted as such in the ejection, 
and in so doing only cast out such members as they 
deemed unworthy of membership, because they main- 
tained and practised things subversive of the constitu- 
tion. They could not, therefore, be called to account 
by absent members, " or by any judicature on earth." 
They were willing, however, to give the reasons of 
their conduct to the absent brethren, and to the public, 
for their consideration or review. 

The New York members — Dickinson, Pemberton, 
Pierson, Elmer, 1 and the two Hortons — were not satis- 
fied with this. They entered their protest against the 
exclusion of the New Brunswick Presbytery by a pro- 
test and without giving them a previous trial, as " an 
illegal and unprecedented procedure, contrary to the 
rules of the gospel, and subversive of our excellent 
constitution." They protested also against the refusal 
of the present Synod to try the legality of the protest 
of the previous year. They maintained that the mem- 
bers excluded by the protest were still members, and 
were to be owned and esteemed such until they were 
pronounced excluded after a regular and impartial pro- 
cess against them. As to the seeming condemnation 
by the protestants of the previous year, of the revival, 
and the language that had been employed in pamphlets 
sanctioned, if not issued, by the Old side, they pro- 

1 Elmer, though reckoned with the " New York members," 
belonged to the Presbytery of Philadelphia (printed minutes of 
Synod, p. 141) ; he was from New England, and settled first at West 
Brookfield (Mass.), then at Cohansey, or Fairfield, N.J. Noyes 
Parris was probably his predecessor at Cohansey. 


tested against all passages in them which seemed to 
reflect " upon the work of Divine power and grace, 
which" had " been carrying on in so wonderful a man- 
ner in many" of the congregations. At the same time, 
to clear themselves from all responsibility for the indis- 
cretions and faults of the New Brunswick party, they 
said, in conclusion, " We protest and declare against all 
divisive and irregular methods and practices, by which 
the peace and good order of our churches have been 
broken in upon." 

The protest was recorded. The only attempt to 
reply to it in the minutes of Synod is the statement 
that the protest on the first point was opposed to the 
facts of the case, and that the excluded members were 
excluded by vote of the Synod if they refused to give 
satisfaction for the points complained of, and that upon 
this they withdrew. Francis Alison alone insisted on 
its being inserted in the minutes of Synod, that he 
judged it an open infringement on the rights of society, 
and of the members of Synod as Presbyterians, that 
the body should be called to account and the legality 
of its acts judged by absent members. 

In the following year (1743), the Presbytery of New 
York brought up the subject again by overture to the 
Synod. They proposed that the excluding protest 
should be withdrawn, and the excluded members re- 
sume their seats in Synod; that candidates for the 
ministry should submit to the former agreement of the 
S} r nod in regard to examination, or procure a diploma 
from a New England college ; that the pulpits of min- 
isters should be open to their brethren when regularly 
applied for, and, unless the reasons for a refusal should 
be approved by the Presbytery or Synod, such refusal 
should be regarded as unbrotherly and tending to divi- 
sion or separation; that if any minister should imagine 
he bad cause to complain of any of his brethren, he 


should first seek a private conference, and, if that failed, 
cite him on specific charges for trial before the Presby- 
tery. Former matters of difference and debate in 
Synod were to be buried in oblivion, and in case this 
plan of accommodation, or others that might be pro- 
posed, should fail, the Synod should unitedly agree 
that another Synod be erected by the name of the 
Synod of New York, and liberty be left to members 
to unite with either as they saw fit, — the two Synods 
sending yearly each two correspondents to the other. 

The overture was rejected by the Synod, and Dickin- 
son, Pemberton, Pierson, and Burr, while complaining 
" of no unfriendly or unbrotherly treatment" from the 
Synod with relation to themselves, gave in a paper in 
which they declared that they regarded the New Bruns- 
wick Presbytery and its adherents as fully as them- 
selves entitled to sit as members of the Synod, and in 
consequence that they could not, while that Presbytery 
was excluded, see their way clear to sit and act as 
though they, with the members present, were the 
Synod of Philadelphia. 

Burr sent at the same time to the New Brunswick 
brethren a proposal of terms for their admission to 
the Synod, which were read and approved. These 
terms required subjection to the agreements or cen- 
sures of Synod, — the desisting from licensure and or- 
dination of men who had not complied with the 
Synod's rules of examination, or the alternative pro- 
posed in the Conference of the previous year, — the 
refraining from itinerant intrusion, or the setting up 
new separate societies within the bounds of the Pres- 
byteries, or fixed pastoral charges, — the renunciation 
of the obnoxious positions taken by Gilbert Tennent 
in his Nottingham sermon, which took " all govern- 
ment out of the hands of a Synod or Presbytery, and 
gave it to any person of ignorance and impudence 

Vol. I.— 8 


enough to bring God's house into confusion," — an 
acknowledgment of their guilt in these respects, and 
" the dreadful tendency" of their practices to promote 
division and confusion among the churches. 

If the excluded brethren had any thing to complain 
of with regard to the members of the Synod, they were 
to be welcome to table charges against them in a proper 
judicatory, whether the terms proposed were accept- 
able or not, and, in case of their acceptance, the ex- 
cluded members should be heartily received. 

To this the ministers of the conjunct Presbyteries 
of New Brunswick and New Castle 1 replied, by declaring 
that there could be no regular steps taken towards a 
union till the illegal protest was withdrawn, while the 
paper of proposals contained "sundry misrepresenta- 
tions and unreasonable demands." 

It was already in contemplation to erect another 
Synod. Although no action was taken in reference to 
it by the Synod of Philadelphia, their views were ex- 
pressed by a paper inserted in their minutes. In this 
they say that they "cannot approve and confirm schism 
by Sy nodical authority j" yet " if our New York brethren 
see cause, contrary to our judgment and inclination, to 
divide themselves from us, and to erect themselves into 
a new separate body, while it is not in our power to 
hinder them, though we cannot in conscience approve 
of their so doing, yet we hope by the grace of God we 
shall sincerely and conscientiously endeavor to cherish 
and cultivate a truly Christian and charitable disposi- 
tion towards them." 

No further steps to promote a reunion were taken 

1 The old New Castle Presbytery was divided so as to form two, 
each bearing the same name, — one the Old side, the other the New. 
The latter, of course, was the one in sympathy with the New Bruns- 
wick Presbytery. 


till 1745. Of the New York Presbytery. Dickinson, 
Pemberton. and Pierson were present in Synod. They 
bore with them a Presbyterial commission, desiring the 
Synod to appoint a committee of conference with them 
for the removal of grounds of dissatisfaction and dif- 
ference. The committee was appointed, but the plan 
which they drew up was one which the New York 
brethren declared that they would not accept. They 
could not regard it as a proper basis of union. It for- 
bade any member to preach in another's congregation 
without being invited by him or judicially appointed 
to it; while it declared that all erections within the 
bounds of regular congregations, which had been set 
up by "itinerant preaching and divisive practices," 
should be deemed contrary to the peace and good order 
of the Church, and not to be maintained. 

The plan was quite inadmissible, and in the circum- 
stances of the times was especially obnoxious to the 
New side. The question on which it took issue was 
not one which concerned the excluded brethren alone. 

The extended revival of religion at this period — 
associated in many minds with the names of White- 
field and Tennent, but connected also with the labors 
of such men as Edwards and Bellamy — had produced 
a division in the Church throughout the land. Some 
favored it and some opposed it, while a large body of 
the more moderate and discreet, but not less devoted, 
ministers were free to admit the irregularities which 
it occasioned, while they stood ready to vindicate the 
good which it had accomplished. The verdict of im- 
partial history must pronounce it, with some qualifica- 
tions, a powerful movement for good. If it sometimes 
burnt the standing corn, it consumed an immense mass 
of stubble. Vital religion all over the land was strength- 
ened by it. ■ Hundreds and even thousands of souls 
were converted. The pulpit was armed with a new 


power. A dead orthodoxy was quickened to life, ai d 
a genuine reformation was in many cases the result. 

But neither the movement nor the opposition to it 
was confined to the limits of the Presbyterian Church. 
They extended alike to New England. Some of the 
Boston ministers opposed the revival. They preached 
and published against it. The Legislature of Connec- 
ticut, in 1742, at the instigation of certain ministers, 
enacted that any clergyman who should preach in any 
parish not under his immediate charge, without invita- 
tion from the settled minister or a majority of the 
congregation, should forfeit his salary and be bound to 
■peaceable and good behavior in the full sum of one hun- 
dred pounds lawful money until the next court. Non- 
residents, not licensed by an association, were liable to 
arrest by any magistrate as common vagrants, to be sent 
out of the colony. 1 Nor was the law suffered to 
remain a dead letter. Davenport and Dr. Finley 
(President of Princeton College at a later date) were 
banished under this act, and Pomeroy (of Hebron) and 
others deprived of their salaries. In 1743, all the 
pulpits of New Haven county were closed against the 
ministers of New Brunswick Presbytery. To have 
accepted or endorsed the plan of the Old side, would 
have been regarded as a guilty acquiescence in the 

There was therefore now no longer any hope of re- 
conciling the two parties. It only remained to proceed 
to the erection of a new Synod. The New York 
brethren could not remain in a connection from which 
their New Brunswick brethren were illegally debarred. 
This was distinctly understood, and, in view of it, the 
Synod of Philadelphia declared, " it particularly af- 
fects us, that some of our New York brethren do not 

1 Trumbull's History, ii. 1G3. 


at present see their way clear to continue in Synodical 
communion with us." Yet, in view of their proposed 
erection of a new Synod, they desired to declare, " in 
the most friendly way possible," that if the project 
was carried out, they should " endeavor to maintain 
charitable and Christian affections towards them, and 
show the same upon all occasions by such correspond- 
ence and fellowship" as they should " think duty and 
consistent with a good conscience." Accordingly, in 
September, 1745, the New Brunswick party and the 
members of the New York Presbytery met at Eliza- 
bethtown, N.J., and formed themselves into the Synod 
of New York. For the New York members no other 
course was left open. The}' could not approve the ex- 
clusion of the New Brunswick Presbytery by an illegal 
protest, yet their continued adherence to the Synod of 
Philadelphia would seem to endorse it. Nor was it a 
light matter, in their esteem, that the latter body by its 
public declarations and in the popular judgment had 
set itself in opposition to the revival, by opposing its 
methods and speaking of it in their public acts in a 
tone of depreciation. However they might disapprove 
the course of the New Brunswick party on some points, 
they were in strong sympathy with them in regard to 
their estimate of the revival itself as a wonderful ex- 
hibition of the power and grace of God. 

Yet, in uniting with them to form the Synod, they 
were careful to guard against those causes of division 
and offence which had occasioned in great part the 
division of 1741. The principles upon which they con- 
sented to unite distinctly condemned insubordination 
to the rules and agreements of Synod. If any one felt 
himself aggrieved by these, and could not in conscience 
submit to them, he was peaceably to withdraw, with- 
out raising dispute or contention upon the debated 
point, or unjust alienation of affection among the 



members. Supposed errors in doctrine or in conduct 
were not to be a subject for scandal, but discipline. 
" Factious separating practices or principles" were by 
no means to be encouraged; yet all who were of com- 
petent knowledge, orthodox in doctrine, regular in life, 
and diligent in promoting vital godliness, should be 
cheerfully admitted to their communion. To avoid 
divisive methods and to strengthen the discipline of 
Christ in the churches, a correspondence was to be 
maintained with the Synod of Philadelphia, by appoint- 
ing two members who were "to concert with them such 
measures as may best promote the precious interests 
of Christ's kingdom in these parts." The basis of the 
new body was the agreement that the Westminster 
Confession of Faith, with the Catechisms, "be the pub- 
lic confession of their faith in such manner as was 
agreed unto by the Synod of Philadelphia in 1729." 
The Directory of the "Westminster Assembly was ap- 
proved as "the general plan of worship and discipline." 
In the Synod as thus constituted, three Presbyteries 
— New York, New Brunswick, and New Castle — were 
represented. From the first, there were Dickinson, 
Pierson, Pemberton, Burr, the two Hortons, Timothy 
Johnes, Eliab Byram, and Bobert Sturgeon. Of New 
Brunswick, besides Gilbert and "William Tennent, there 
were Bobert Treat, Joseph Lamb. James McCrea, Wil- 
liam Bobinson, David Youngs, Charles Beatty, and 
Charles McKnight. Of New Castle, there were the 
two Blairs, — Samuel and John, — Charles Tennent, and 
Samuel Finley. Johnes was of Welsh descent, but a 
native of Southampton, L.I. He was a graduate of 
Yale, and in 1742 commenced at Mrirristown a ministry 
of many years, and one which was remarkably blessed. 
Byram was a Massachusetts man, a warm friend of 
Brainerd, and was setttled at Mendham in 1743. Stur- 
geon was probably at Bedford, in West Chester county, 


N.Y., where, although from Scotland, he had gone as a 
licentiate of a New England council. Lamb, for many 
years at Mattituck, L.I., had been called to Basking- 
ridge, and joined the New Brunswick Presbytery in 
1744. McCrea and Robinson had been educated at the 
Log College, — the first now settled at Lamington, 
where he had gathered a church, and the latter just in 
full career as a pioneer missionary of Presbyterianism 
in Virginia and the Carolinas. 1 Finley, Youngs, and 
McKnight were all ordained by the New Brunswick 
Presbytery in 1742. Finley was at Nottingham (Mary- 
land), where his school, until he was called to succeed 
Davies in the presidency at Princeton, was highly cele- 
brated. Youngs, a native of Southold, and a classmate 
at Yale of Buell and Brainerd, was settled at Setauket 
in 1742. McKnight was settled at Cranberry and Allen- 

The name of Beatty is associated with that of the 
founder of the Log College, whom he succeeded at 
Neshaminy. Although a native of Ireland, and yet 
but a boy when he reached this country, he had re- 
ceived a classical education ; and it is not altogether 
improbable that during his stay in New England, where 
he remained for two years, or at Goshen and Wall Kill, 
N.Y., to which places the family removed, he may have 
prosecuted his studies, under pastoral supervision, with 
renewed diligence. 

As he grew up to manhood, he engaged in trade. As 
the manner of the day often was, he travelled with his 
goods. On foot, or with his pack-horse, he went forth 
to display his " auld-warld gear" to the people in their 
own homes. 2 In the course of his wanderings, he 
reached Neshaminy. At the Log College, Tennent and 
his pupils were surprised by a pedlar proffering his 

1 Afterward settled at St. George's, Del. 2 Sprague's Annals. 


merchandise to them in Latin. Tennent replied ; and 
the conversation was carried on in the Latin tongue, 
with such evidence of scholarship, religious knowledge, 
and fervent piety on the part of the pedlar, that Ten- 
nent commanded him to sell what he had and prepare 
for the ministry. Beatty was disposed to comply. He 
studied at Neshaminy, was licensed in 1742, and in less 
than a year was called to take the place of Tennent 

Thus, within the four years that had intervened from 
the separation to the formation of the New York 
Synod, the New Brunswick Presbytery had gathered 
around it a noble band of young men, animated with 
the spirit of the revival and eager to go forth to their 
work. As the Synod was formed, the field to be occu- 
pied was greatly extended. Applications for. ministers 
and missionaries came from afar, — from Virginia and the 
Carolinas. Extraordinary efforts were made to meet 
the demand. A large number of the ministers, espe- 
cially the younger portion of them, were sent out 
repeatedly on missionary tours. 

The Old side had also received some accessions. 
In 1742, John Gfuild, Samuel Evans, and Alexander 
McDowell were ordained. The first was a native of 
Massachusetts, a graduate of Harvard, and was settled 
at Hopewell ; Evans was the son of the Evans of the 
Welsh Tract. McDowell, who afterward took charge 
of the Synod's school, is said to have come from Vir- 
ginia, and to have settled at Nottingham in 1743-44. 1 

Bell, Hindman, and Griffith were ordained in 1743, 
by the Old side. Neither proved to be of much ser- 
vice. Bell had been educated at the Log College. He 

1 This is questionable, however. Dr. Finley settled at Nott- 
ingham in 1744, and remained there seven years. See Allen's 
Biographical Dictionary. 


adhered to the Old side, but, in little more than a twelve- 
month after his ordination, renounced all connection 
with Presbytery. Hindman labored for a short time 
as a missionaiy in Virginia. Griffith succeeded Thomas 
Evans at Pencader. 1 He died some time after 1751, 
when he was a missionary in Virginia. 

In the following 3~ear, John Steel and James Scongal 
were the only accessions received. Both were from 
[reland : the first, from Londonderry Presbytery, set- 
tled at NeAV London, and the other, from the Presby- 
tery of Paisley, took charge of the Old-side congrega- 
tion of Snow Hill. 

Thus, in the four years that had elapsed since the 
division, the New Brunswick party had gained vastly 
upon the Old side. Long Island Presbytery, some por- 
tions of which strongly sympathized with the Tennents, 
had furnished it several candidates. Davenport, with 
all his extravagances, had " a zeal for God and the con- 
version of men that was scarce to be paralleled;" and 
he and those who were under his influence did much to 
strengthen the popularity of the New side. The New 
York Presbytery would have decidedly turned the 
scales in its favor, if they had been even before. 

In the thirteen years that followed, from the erection 
of the Synod of New York in 1745 to the reunion of 
the Synods in 1758, the preponderance was increasingly 
in favor of the New side. Samuel Davies, the great 
pulpit orator, and President of Princeton College, who 
commenced his ministry in 1747, was in himself a host. 
John Brainerd (1748) was the worthy brother of the 
great missionary to the Indians ; and his name would 
have done honor to any CLmrch. 2 Samuel Blair, senior, 

1 So stated by Webster, p. 483. 

2 Settled in Deerfield, West Jersey, and missionary to the In- 


at Fagg's Manor, had commenced his school, and had 
begun to send out men well qualified for the work of 
the ministry. John Rodgers, afterward the associate 
of Davies, and pastor at New York, was one of his 
pupils. 1 He studied theology with Gilbert Tennent, 
and in 1749 commenced his labors on the early field of 
Presbyterian effoi't in this country, the Eastern Shore 
of Maryland. 2 Elihu Spencer, one of the ablest men 
whose names adorn the Presbyterian annals, was mis- 
sionary to the Oneidas in 1748, and succeeded Dickin- 
son, at Elizabethtown, in 1750, and Rodgers, at St 
George's, in 1766. 3 

Samuel Buell, whom the ISTew Haven Association 
classed with Brainerd among " strolling preachers that 
were most disorderly," had settled at East Hampton in 
1746, and in the following year helped to form the Suf- 
folk Presbytery. He was a man of powerful and pun- 
gent address, and nearly one hundred were added to 
his cburch at a single communion season. In 1751, 
Naphtali Daggett, afterward President of Yale Col- 
lege, was settled at Smithtown, L.I. John Todd, who 
was called to wear the mantle of Davies on his depart- 
ure for England, and again on his removal to Prince- 
ton, entered upon his Virginia field and was installed 
by Hanover Presbytery in 1751. 

In the same year, Robert Smith, under whom so 
many of the ministers of the Presbyterian Church sub- 
sequently received their theological education, was in- 
stalled at Pequa, and the earlier years of his ministry 

1 Others were Alexander Cummings, President Davies, James 
Finley, and Hugh Henry. 

2 Life of Rodgers, p. 54. Subsequently he was at St. George's, 
and Middletown, Del. 

3 Webster, 588. Spencer performed much missionary labor in 
the Southern States. 


were signally blessed. In 1756, George Duffield, who 
had been educated at Nassau Hall, and had served as 
tutor there for two years, commenced his ministerial 
career. Besides these, at the time of the reunion, the 
Synod of New York had upon its list of members the 
names of Whitaker; Kettletas, of Jamaica; Thane, of 
Connecticut Farms; Richards, of Railway; Smith, 
of Orange ; Lewis, of Hopewell and Maidenhead, after- 
ward of Mendham ; Kenned} 7 , of Baskingridge ; Hait, 
of Am well ; Chesnut, of Charlestown and New Provi- 
dence; Martin, of Newtown and Salisbury ; Lawrence, 
of the Forks of the Delaware, afterward of Cape 
May; Arthur, who succeeded Tennent at New Bruns- 
wick, when the latter removed in 1744 to the Second 
Church in Philadelphia; Hunter, of Greenwich and 
Deerfield; Jacob Green, of Hanover, N.J. ; Greenman,of 
Pilesgrove; Ramsey, of Fairfield; Roan, associated with 
Robinson and Blair in the missionary work in Virginia, 
where his zeal seems to have exceeded his discretion 
and to have drawn reproach upon his party; Tuttle, of 
Kent county, Del. ; Harris, of Indian River, near Lewis ; 
Prime, long settled at Huntingdon, L.I., but not till 
1747 a member of Presbytery; Brown, of Bridgehamp- 
ton; Sylvanus White, of Southampton, and son of 
the venerable Ebenezer White; Talmadge, of Brook- 
haven ; Reeve, of Moriches, father of the celebrated 
Tapping Reeve, at the head of the Law School at 
Litchfield; Ball, of Bedford ; Smith, of Rye and White 
Plains ; Sackett, of Peekskill, or Cortland Manor ; 
Ayres, of Blooming Grove, a pupil of Bellamy, and first 
on the roll of the alumni of Nassau Hall ; Graham, of 
Poughkeepsie ; Moffat, of Wall Kill; Elmer, of New 
Providence, 1 N.J. ; Hugh Knox, a pupil probably of 
President A. Burr, and, singularly enough, the teacher of 

1 Webster, 609. 


Alexander Hamilton ; Maltby, for some time tutor at' 
3STassati Hall, and afterward pastor of a church in Ber- 
muda; Beed, of Bound Brook, the first member of Nas- 
sau Hall who became a member of Synod; "Worts, of 
the High-Dutch Congregation of Bockaway; Henry, 
of Behoboth, Wicomoco, and Monokin, a graduate of 
Nassau Hall, and a pupil of Samuel Blair; Campbell, of 
Tehieken, afterward of South Carolina ; Bay, of Bound 
Hill, and Marsh Creek, Pa. ; John Hoge, of Cedar 
Creek, one of the pioneer laborers in Virginia; Ster- 
ling, of Upper Octorara ; McAden, one of the pioneer 
laborers in the Carolinas; Robert Henry, of Cub Creek, 
Prince Edward county, Virginia; and John Martin, of 
Albemarle, a pupil of Davies, afterward a missionary 
to the Cherokees, and finally settling in South Caro- 

A mere list of the names and places of settlement of 
these men shows the rapid extension of the Presby- 
terian Church, as represented by the New side, both 
at the North and Soiith. In Orange and Dutchess 
counties. N.Y., on Long Island, within the very bounds 
of the Old side in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, in 
Virginia and the Carolinas, there was a rapid increase 
of the New-side ministers. Indeed, the Synod of New 
York had great advantages, in securing supplies, over 
the Synod of Philadelphia. Nearly, if not full, one- 
half of the ministers added to it. during the period pre- 
vious to the reunion, were from New England; and 
Nassau Hall was already established and sending out 
graduates, who were justifying the fond anticipations 
of its founders. 

On the other hand, the Old side had great difficulties 
to encounter. Their opposition to revivals seems to 
have wellnigh paralyzed the spiritual vigor both of 
pastors and churches. Their own candidates for the 
ministry were few in number, and the tide from Ire- 


land had already begun to ebb. The sj'mpathies of the 
foreign churches were by no means altogether on their 
side, especially after the mission of Tennent and Davies 
to England and Scotland in behalf of Nassau Hall. 
They wrote to Scotland for ministers, but few came. 
They corresponded with President Clap, of New Haven, 
and entertained him with their complaints of the New 
side, and their condemnation of the proceedings whicis 
issued in ordaining Brainerd, on his expulsion from 
Yale, for the mission work among the Indians. To 
Dickinson and the founders of Nassau Hall, such cor- 
respondence, uniting the sympathies of the Old side 
and the opponents of revivals at New Haven, was only 
a new argument in favor of prosecuting the task of 
establishing a college at Princeton. 

But the Old side derived little real advantage from 
it. President Clap migbt sanction their devotion to the 
cause of order, but he could not send them the men 
who could cope in zeal with Brainerd, McKnight, Buell, 
Spencer, Graham, Daggett, Youngs, Bostwick, Arthur, 
and Davenport, — all of them graduates of Yale, and 
carrying with them to the New side the fervor and 
active zeal of Whitefield and the Tennents, from whoso 
lips some of them had caught the flame. 

Yet the Old side put forth honorable efforts in the 
cause of learning and ministerial education. It would 
have been inconsistent with their professions not to 
have done so. They commenced a Synodical school 
under Alison, the best scholar on their side, and con- 
tinued it for several years. Some of their best men 
were trained in it. 

But the list of accessions which they received before 
the reunion was small, compared with that of the New 
side. In 1745-6, they received on Synodical examination, 
Thorn, afterward settled at Chesnut Level; John Dick, 
who took charge of Drawyers and Appoquinimy; Ham- 

Vol. I.— 9 


ilton, of Rehoboth and Monokin; and Hector Alison, 
who succeeded Dick at Drawyers and Appoquinimy, 
and afterward settled at Williamsburg, South Carolina. 
From 1748 to 1754, the only new members added to 
the Synod, who remained for any length of time in its 
connection, were Joseph Tate, of Silver Spring, Marsh 
Creek, and Donegal ; Sampson Smith, succeeding 
Thorn in 1752 at Chesnut Level; Robert McMordie, of 
Upper Marsh Creek, and Round Hill; Evander Mor- 
rison, of Middle Octorara ; and John Miller, of Duck 
Creek. 1 The only other members who united with the 
Old side, previous to the reunion, that deserve men- 
tion, were John Kinkead, of Chester and Montgomery 
counties, Pa.; 2 Alexander Miller, who settled in the 
Great Yalley, Va., — neither of whom reflects honor 
upon the party to which both belonged ; — and William 
McKennan and Matthew Wilson, the first settled at 
Wilmington and Red Clay, and the latter at Lewes 
and Cold Spring, Del. 

Of all the members who united with both Synods, 
from 1745 to 1758, only twelve are known to have been 
from Scotland, nine from Ireland, three from England, 
nine from New York and the Middle States, while 
nearly thirty were from New England and Long 
Island. Of the twenty others, of whom passing men- 

1 Dover, St. Jones, and "People of Kent," are all the same 
congregation, — Dover. This congregation is on the Records in 
1714, and Mr. Anderson, of New Castle, is ordered to supply them : 
then Henry Hook, in 1723. The first pastor was Archibald Cook, 
installed June 7, 1727; died September 7, 1729. Mr. Hook was 
ordered to supply Kent in 1725 and 1726, and also to preach at 
Duck Creek (Smyrna, Del.) occasionally in 1726. This is the 
origin of Duck Creek Church. 

2 In the minutes of Synod for 1753, p. 210, we read, "A mem- 
ber of the congregation of Norrington applied to the Synod, sup- 
plicating the ordination of Mr. Kinkead, as fast as the stated rules 
and methods used in our Presbyteries will permit." 


tion is made, some remained but a short time in this 
country, while the place of the others' nativity is for 
the most part unknown. 

The increase of membership of the New side from 
these various sources — mainly from New England and 
Scotland — was to that of the Old side nearly as eight to 
one. They secured the sympathy of all the friends of 
the revival, and manifested great energy in the supply 
of the destitute and missionary fields within the bounds 
of the Church. 

The prospects of the Old side were rendered more 
discouraging from the sudden check given to Irish 
emigration. With all the sympathy of President Clap, 
they secured but one or two ministers from New Eng- 
land, not more than two or three from Scotland, while 
most of the number added were their own licentiates. 

In these circumstances they became continually less 
indisposed to a reunion. Especially was this the case 
after the erection of the Synod of New York; the con- 
stitution of which embodied some of the most import- 
ant principles for which the Old side had contended, 
and to which the New Brunswick party, on mature 
deliberation, chose to submit. Indeed, in Burr's pro- 
posal for union, laid before the Synod of Philadelphia 
in 1745, and which embodies the principles adopted a 
few months afterward in the constitution of the New 
York Synod, he said, " We think that a subscription of 
these Articles (the agreements of the Synod) will be a 
renouncing disorder and divisive practice, and, Avhen 
obtained, will lay a foundation for maintaining peace, 
truth, and good order, which was what was desired in 
the protest by which the Brunswick brethren stand 

The grounds of division were thus much narrowed. 
They were, in fact, reduced to the mode of subscrip- 
tion and the protest itself. The New York Synod dis- 


tinctly required, that if any member objected to the 
life or doctrine of another, he should not spread abroad 
popular rumors to his prejudice, but table charges 
before the proper judicatory. If one could not con- 
scientiously submit to the agreements of Synod, he 
should peaceably withdraw. Factious, separating prin- 
ciples or practices were to be discouraged, and no one 
was to intermeddle with parties separating from Pres- 
byterian or Congregational churches within their 

In accepting these terms of communion, the New 
Brunswick brethren virtually renounced all the obnox- 
ious positions which they had hitherto maintained. 
The way was thus opened for proposals of union from 
both parties. They came in the first instance from the 
Synod of Xew York. This body wished to secure from 
the united Synod a declaration in favor of the revival 
as a Ci work of God's glorious grace," — one something 
like that which they had made themselves at their first 
meeting at Elizabethtown. To this the Synod of Phila- 
delphia objected, and the Synod of New York did not 
insist absolutely upon this point. In 1745—49, and 
nearly every successive year afterward, proposals were 
made, or communications interchanged. A commis- 
sion was appointed, composed of members of both 
Synods, who met at Trenton in 1749. The three points 
of difference were the protest, the paragraph about 
essentials, and the constituting of the Presbyteries on 
the union of the Synods. These points were discussed 
from year to year. In regard to the protest, the Xew 
York Synod insisted that ,: by some authentic and 
formal act of the Synod of Philadelphia" it should " be 
made null and void." This the Synod of Philadelphia 
refused; and the matter was finally settled by their 
declaring that the protest was the act of the individual 
members who signed it, for which they were alone 


responsible : it was not, and should not be considered 
the act of the Synod. In this view of the subject, the 
Synod of New York had nothing further to object. 

The "paragraph about essentials" was one to which 
the Old side attached much importance. It had doubt- 
less been much insisted upon by the Presbyteries, who 
were instructed by the Synod to consider the terms of 
union, and give in what they thought necessary to the 
Old-side members of the commission that was to meet 
at Trenton. The difficulty was not with subscription 
to the terms of the Adopting Act of 1729, but subscrip- 
tion " according to our last (1736) explication of the 
Adopting Act, without the least variation or altera- 
tion." This point was one adhered to, not so mach 
from tenacity for orthodox doctrine as from zeal for 
orderly practice. In the protest of 1741, it is the viola- 
tion of the thirty-first article (on Synods and Councils) 
of which the protestants complain. It was this which 
they said the New Brunswick brethren " pretend to 
adopt." But, in their zeal for order and subjection 
to the authority of Synod, they went too far. They 
would have violated the spirit of the Adopting Act by 
a rigid interpretation of their "last explication." In 
establishing the principles of authority, they would 
have made every line and letter of the Confession infal- 
lible as the Scriptures themselves, instead of the whole 
the embodiment of the system of Scripture truth. 

This, therefore, was a point on which the Synod of 
New York could not yield to the Old side. With 
regard to order and authority they had taken the 
same ground already with them ; but, with a broader 
view of " the paragraph about essentials," they dis- 
tinctly said (1753), " Difference in judgment should not 
oblige a dissenting member to withdraw from our com- 
munion, unless the matter were judged by the body to 
be essential in doctrine or discipline. And this we 


must own is an important article with us, which we 
cannot any way dispense with. And it appears to us 
to be strictly Christian and scriptural, as well as Pres- 
byterian, otherwise we must make every thing that 
appears plain duty to us a term of communion, which 
we apprehend the Scripture prohibits. And it appears 
plain to us, that there may be many opinions relating 
to the great truths of religion that are not great them- 
selves, nor of sufficient importance to be made terms 
of communion. Nor can these sentiments ' open a 
door to an unjustifiable latitude in principles and prac- 
tices' any more than the apostolic prohibition of receiv- 
ing those that are weak to doubtful disputations. "What 
is plain sin and plain duty in one's account is not so in 
another's; and the Synod has still in their power to 
judge what is essential and what is not. In order to 
prevent an unjustifiable latitude, we must not make 
terms of communion which Christ has not made; and 
we are convinced that he hath not made every truth 
and every duty a term." 

These were the noble sentiments, fearlessly avowed 
and eloquently advocated, of the New side. These 
they could not consent to yield. Union or no union, 
they could not purchase the desired result by a com- 
promise which bound them to a rigid interpretation of 
the last explication of the Adopting Act, and which 
placed the letter above the spirit of the Confession and 
on the same level of authority with the letter of the 
divine word. 

In regard to Presbyteries, the New side insisted that 
they should remain constituted as they were at present 
till the way was open for a change for the better, — till 
" a favorable opportunity of advantageous alteration." 
The Old side were not disposed to yield this point. 
They were anxious to have " indemnity for the past" 
as well as security for the future, either by the disband- 


ing of separate congregations, or their union under the 
pastor of the Old side. 

This was indeed a difficult matter to settle ; and it 
was evident that no Synodical arrangements would at 
once secure harmony or remove old differences. These, 
time and charity alone could heal. Yet the Synod of 
Philadelphia proposed (1751) that " all names of dis- 
tinction should be forever abolished, and that Presby- 
teries be made up everywhere of ministers contiguous 
to each other," so that there should be no more " such 
party names as old and new Presbyteries, old and new 

This was all well enough in theory ; but the Synod 
of New York justly replied, that it seemed a "jarring 
discord to force people" into a union "faster than they 
had clearness to go." The " favorable opportunity" 
they did not apprehend would occur immediately upon 
the union of the Synods. 

Thus, on the last point the two parties were not 
agreed. Instead of sending a reply, the Synod of Phila- 
delphia (1754), noting " a very pacific temper in the 
members of both Synods," proposed a conference. This 
resulted in the approval, by the Synod of Philadelphia, 
of a plan of union of the two Synods as (now " two 
distinct judicatures") "two contiguous bodies of Chris- 
tians, agreed in principle, as though they had never 
been concerned with one another before, nor had any 
differences, which is the truth as to great part of both 
Synods, and should now join the Synods and Presby- 
teries itpon such scriptural and rational terms as may 
secure peace and good order, tend to heal our broken 
churches, and advance religion hereafter." 

Thus, in 1755, every thing seemed in a fair way to 
union. In the following year, although the Synod of 
New York had not obtained full satisfaction in regard 
to the protest, they acceded to the request of the Synod 


of Philadelphia to appoint a Committee of Conference. 
Both the Tennents,— Gilbert and William, — Samuel 
Finley, Treat, and John Blair, were among the mem- 
bers appointed. This alone served to show the strong 
disposition in favor of union ; for some of these had 
been the chief and original offenders. 

At this conference the subject of the protest was 
satisfactorily disposed of, and the report given in to 
each Synod was favorably received. The arrangement 
was therefore made that the two Synods should have 
their next meeting at the same time and place, and, if 
matters should appear ripe for it, the union should be 

Accordingly, the Synod of New York met in Philadel- 
phia, May 25, 1758. The Synod of Philadelphia was 
already in session. The plan of union, as finally 
matured by the joint commissions of the two Synods 
who met on the 22d for conference, was laid before 
both bodies and unanimously approved. This approval 
was notified by each to the other, and on May 29 
the two bodies were united as one, under the name of 
the Synod of New York and Philadelphia. The rela- 
tive strength of the two bodies, thus united in one, 
was far different from what it was at the time of the 
protest. In 1742, the Synod of Philadelphia numbered, 
exclusive of New York Presbytery, twenty-six minis- 
ters ; with them, thirty-eight. At the time of the union 
they were reduced to twenty -two. More had been lost 
by death and removal than had been gained by addi- 

On the other hand, the Synod of New York had a 
list of seventy ministers, thus outnumbering the Old 
side in the proportion of more than three to one. 
Numbering at first but eight or ten, even with their 
licentiates included, the New side was nearly doubled 


by the accession of New York Presbytery in 1745; and 
from that period they had rapidly increased. 

Thus, on the formation of the united Synod it num- 
bered ninety-four ministers, — of whom forty-two were 
present and fifty-two absent. There were also four- 
teen elders who took their seats in the united Synod. 
It thus composed at its first session an assembly of 
fifty-six members; and among them were many whose 
names are worthy of lasting remembrance. Gilbert 
Tennent, now removed to the pastorate of a church in 
Philadelphia, was moderator. Bostwick, who had suc- 
ceeded Pemberton at New York, — Eodgers, who was 
afterward to be transferred to the same field, — Richards, 
at Eahway, — the Finleys, Duffield, and Samuel Davies, 
were among the members present. Dickinson did 
not survive to witness the result for which his soul 
ardently longed. He had been cut off by death in 
1747, in the very meridian of his years and usefulness. 

A far different scene was now presented in Phila- 
delphia from that which was witnessed upon the forma- 
tion of the first Presbytery, a little more than half a 
century before. The Church was then struggling for 
existence. It was persecuted both in Virginia and New 
York, and had scarcely a foothold in either province. 
A few feeble churches on the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land, one or two in Delaware, one in Philadelphia, and 
one or two in New Jersey, composed its entire strength. 
Now it numbered nearly one hundred ministers, and 
more than as many churches. The field of its opera- 
tions had been vastly extended. Virginia, the Caro- 
linas, the destitute but rapidly settling portions of 
Pennsjdvania and New Jersey, as well as the river coun- 
ties of New York, were calling upon it for aid. It was 
inviting laborers from abroad, — from New England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, — and training them up at home. 
Princeton College had gone into successful operation. 


Alison was at the head of the College of Pennsylvania ; 
and quite a number of the ministers were engaged at 

once in pastoral uuty. and in training pious young men 
to meet the demands of the churches. 



Scarcely had Alakeniie gone to his rest, "when 
another portion of Virginia, far distant from that 
which had been the scene of his labors, opened an in- 
viting field for Presbyterian missionary effort. The 
Virginia government encouraged immigration along 
its frontier settlements, where the hardy pioneers 
might serve as a defence against the incursions of the 
Indian tribes. There was no question now raised in 
regard to their faith and order. If they could carry a 
rifle, or plant along the western forest a line of protec- 
tion against savage inroads, they were sufficiently or- 
thodox. Their distance, moreover, from the settle- 
ments on the Eastern Shore, prevented any umbrage 
being taken at a dissent which did not attract notice 
or give offence. Thus, in obscurity and neglect. Presby- 
terianism. in spite of Virginia laws, planted itself un- 
molested west of the Blue Eidge. Germans. Quakers, 
and Irish Presbyterians, from Pennsylvania, took pos- 
session of the county of Frederick. A great part of 
this region was of the most inviting kind. Between 
the Xorth Mountain and the Shenandoah extended at 
that time a spacious prairie, barren of timber, but 
clothed with the richest herbage. It was traversed by 


herds of buffalo, elk, and deer, and furnished the In- 
dians a favorite hunting-ground. 

Into this region there poured a mixed population, 
leavened by a Presbyterian element ; -while still beyond 
it, more to the southwest, the county of Augusta "was 
almost exclusively occupied by a Scotch-Irish popula- 
tion. Among the names of the early settlers we find 
not a few which have since become eminent in the his- 
tory of the Church. It is enough to mention those of 
McDowell, Alexander, Lyle, Stuart, Matthews, Craw- 
ford, Campbell, Moore, Brown, Wallace, Patton, Wil- 
son, Caruthers, Cummins, and McKee. 

These " Presbyterians of the valley" were a bold, 
hardy, perhaps austere, but religiously disposed popu- 
lation. More fortunate than their brethren east of the 
mountains, they were left unmolested in the exercise 
of their religious freedom. As early as 1719. "the 
people of Potomoke," near the present town of Martins- 
burg, were supplied, at their request, with preaching, 
by the Synod of Philadelphia. Eev. Daniel Magill was 
appointed to visit them, but, although not settled among 
them as pastor, he organized a church and labored in 
the region for several months. In 1732, Joist Hite. with 
sixteen families from Pennsylvania, fixed his residence 
at Opeckon, a few miles south of the present site of 
"Winchester. Other families were scattered on Cedar 
Creek and Crooked Eun. In 1734, Michael Woods, 
from Ireland, with a large family, settled near Wood's 
Gap in Albemarle, and his descendants were the found- 
ers of the Mountain Plain congregation. From this 
period the tide of immigration flowed in, in a steady 
stream. Settlements were soon formed, mostly by 
Presbyterians, in Jefferson county, on Cub Creek in 
Charlotte, on Buffalo Creek in Prince Edward, at 
Concord and Hat Creek in Campbell, and at Eockfish 
in Nelson. Congregations were gathered at Opeckon, 


Timber Eidge, Back Creek in Berkeley, Forks of Jamee 
in Bockbridge, and Triple Forks of the Shenandoah. 

In 1738, the congregations had become so numerous, 
and the necessity of ministers so urgent, that applica- 
tion was made to the Synod of Philadelphia for aid. 
In response to the appeal, John Craig was sent to labor 
with the joint congregations of Tinkling Spring and 
Augusta, and for twenty-five years this pioneer laborer 
occupied his post. But already he had been preceded 
by those who had transiently visited this region in the 
character of missionaries. James Grelston had been 
sent out in 1737 by the Presbytery of Donegal, and 
had labored at Opeckon. James Anderson, despatched 
by the Synod to confer with Governor Grooch on the 
subject of liberty for Dissenters, had visited several 
settlements, preaching as he went. This was in 1738. 1 
In the next year he was followed by Dunlap, a pro- 
bationer of New York Presbytery, who spent nearly 
three months in the neighborhood of Staunton. In the 
same year, John Thompson, of Donegal Presbytery, 
itinerated through the settlements of the whole region, 
and by his influence, upon his return, Craig was sent to 
occupy the post at Augusta and Tinkling Spring. 

1 Anderson's mission was quite successful. In 1739, he reported 
to Synod that he had waited on the Governor of Virginia with the 
Synod's address, and received a favorable answer. The substance 
of this is contained in a letter from the Governor to the moderator 
of Synod. In this letter he says, "As I have always been inclined 
to favor the people who have lately removed from other provinces 
to settle on the western side of our great mountains, so you may 
be assured that no interruption shall be given to any minister of 
your profession who shall come among them, so as they conform 
themselves to the rules prescribed by the Act of Toleration in Eng- 
land, by taking the oaths enjoined thereby and registering the places 
of their meeting, and behave themselves peaceably towards the 
Government. This you may please to communicate to the Synod as 
an answer of theirs." — Minutes of Sy?wd, 147. 


Scarcely was he settled, when the division of the 
Synod occurred (1741). He, in common with most of 
the Presbyterians west of the Blue Ridge, espoused 
the cause of the Old side. In some respects this was 
unfortunate for them. The Old side were weak, and 
unable to occupy the missionary fields which opened 
before them. They had few ministers or licentiates. 
For several years the only one whom they could send to 
Virginia, as a fellow-laborer with Craig, was Alexander 
Miller, 1 — a man who had already been put on trial for 
drunkenness, lying, sedition, and " opposing the work of 
God, then in progress in neighboring congregations." 
Yet for him — though we must hope that he was a better 
man after his trial — the congregations of North and 
South Mountain, in Virginia, made application in 1745 

From this time the visits of Presbyterian clergymen 
were more frequent. The celebrated John Blair itine- 
rated among the congregations of the Valley in 1745 
and 1746. AVilliam Robinson and John Roan, although 
their attention was mainly directed to the region east 
of the Ridge, did not altogether neglect them. But by 
the middle of the century the population of the Valley 
had increased so rapidly as to have far outstripped the 
supply of the means of grace. Their destitution was 
a subject of anxiety to both the Synods. That of 
Philadelphia, unable to afford supplies, made applica- 
tion for aid to the General Assembly of the Church of 
Scotland. That of New York applied for assistance 
to the Eastern Association of Fairfield, in Connecticut. 
The sympathies of the two bodies are manifest in their 
respective applications. 

Yet they were not themselves idle. The Synod of 
Philadelphia sent out, among others, to the vacant con- 
gregations, Francis Alison and John Craig, — the last 

1 Webster, 618; and Footers Sketches. 
Vol. I.— 10 


already mentioned as settled as a pastor at Tinkling 
Spring and Augusta. In 1753, John Brown, of the 
New side, took charge of the united congregations of 
New Providence and Timber Ridge. The Presbyterians 
of the Yalley were thus divided between the two Synods ; 
but the superior activity and numbers of the New side 
were giving them a decided advantage when the re- 
union of the two parties took place in 1758. 

Prom this period, the growth of Presbytcrianism in 
Virginia was more rapid. Hanover Presbytery was 
formed in 1755, comprising in it all the ministers of 
Virginia, except John Hoge, of Opeckon, and one or 
two others, west of the mountains. Amid difficulty 
and discouragement it prosecuted its work. The in- 
tolerant laws of the province were a sore grievance. As 
an Episcopal church was built in each county town, it 
was but natural that the Presbyterians should locate 
their houses of worship elsewhere. Till after the com- 
mencement of the Revolution, there was not in the 
Valley a single village which had a Presbyterian church- 
edifice. 1 The oldest congregations were all in the coun- 
try, amid a sparse population; and near by, in quiet 
solitude, was the enclosed grave-yard. 

The first houses of worship which were erected were 
rude wooden structures; but they were sanctified by 
hallowed associations, and were endeared to the wor- 
shippers by attractions beyond those of mere archi- 
tecture. When, at a later period, they were replaced 
by more commodious and commanding structures, the 
new erection was a monument to the pious zeal and 
self-denial of the builders. The difficulties to be over- 
come, where, the heavy timbers had to be dragged, 
sometimes without the aid of wheels, for a distance, 
and the sand for plastering had to be brought in sacks 

1 Captives of Abb's Valley, p. 14. 


on horseback for several miles, may be better imagined 
than described. 

But these were not the only hardships which the set- 
tlers had to meet. On the frontiers of civilization, they 
stood in constant dread of the savage foe. Warlike 
tribes, revisiting their old bunting-grounds, exulted to 
take vengeance upon the white man for his intrusion 
upon what they still considered their own domain. 
British agents incited them during the war to assault 
the feeble settlements. Amid the quiet loveliness 
of nature, and within the sheltering scenes of the 
Yalley, horrid tragedies of barbarous ferocity were 
enacted. The solitary settler knew not when the ter- 
rible blow would fall that was to desolate his dwelling 
and perhaps doom himself or his household to captivity 
or death. There was not a little to remind him of the 
hardships of his ancestry in times when Londonderry 
and Enniskillen were household words. "We cannot 
doubt that the impending terror and the stern tuition 
of his frontier life gave a peculiar tinge to his devo- 
tion, and we know that amid the scenes of the Yalley 
were trained some of the noblest pioneers of Presby- 
terianism in the new regions of Kentucky and Ten- 

The rise of Presbyterianism in Hanover is insepa- 
rably connected with what is known by tradition as 
Morris's Reading-House. This was the first of several 
buildings in that region, erected to accommodate those 
who were dissatisfied with the preaching of the parish 
incumbents, and anxious to enjoy the privilege of listen- 
ing on the Sabbath to the reading of instructive and 
devotional works on religion. The origin of this move- 
ment was somewhat singular. The people had, for the 
most part, never heard or seen a Presbyterian minister. 
But reports had reached them of revivals in Pennsyl- 
vania, New Jersey, and New England, A few leaves 


of Boston's Fourfold State, in the possession of a Scotch- 
woman, fell into the hands of a gentleman, who was so 
affected by their perusal that he sent to England by 
the next ship to procure the entire work. The result 
of its perusal was his conversion. Another obtained 
possession of Luther on Galatians ; he, in like manner, 
was deeply affected, and ceased not to read and pray 
till he found peace in Christ. 

These persons, with two or three others, — all heads of 
families, — without previous consultation or conference, 
absented themselves at the same time from the worship 
of the parish church. They were convinced that the 
gospel was not preached by the parish minister, and 
they deemed it inconsistent with their duty to attend 
upon his ministrations. Four of them were summoned 
on the same day, and at the same place, to answer to 
the proper officers for their delinquency. For the first 
time they here learned their common views. Confirmed 
in them by this unexpected coincidence, they thence- 
forth chose to subject themselves to the payment of the 
fines imposed by law rather than attend church where 
they felt that they could not be profited. 

They agreed at first to meet every Sabbath alter- 
nately at each other's houses, to read and pray. Soon 
their numbers increased. Curiosity attracted some, and 
religious anxiety others. The Scriptures, and Luther 
on Galatians, were first read. Afterward a volume of 
Whitefield's sermons fell into their hands (1743). "My 
dwelling-house," says Mr. Morris, "was at length too 
small to contain the people. We determined to build 
a meeting-house merely for reading." The result was 
that several were awakened and gave proof of genuine 
conversion. Mr. Morris was invited to several places, 
some of them at a considerable distance, to read the 
sermons which had been so effective in his own neigh- 


borhood. Thus the interest that had been awakened 
spread abroad. 

The dignitaries of the Established Church saw the 
parish churches deserted, and took the alarm. They 
urged that indulgence encouraged the evil, and hence 
invoked the strong arm of the law to restrain it. The 
leaders in the movement were no longer regarded as 
individual delinquents, but a malignant cabal, and, 
instead of being arraigned merely before the magis- 
trates, they were cited to appear before the Governor 
and Council. 

Startled by the criminal accusation which was now 
directed against them, and of the nature, extent, and 
penalties of which they had indistinct conceptions, they 
had not even the name of a religious denomination 
under which to shelter their dissent. At length, recol- 
lecting that Luther, whose work occupied so much 
space in their public religious readings, was a noted 
reformer, they declared themselves Lutherans. 

But it so happened that, on the way to Williamsburg 
to appear before the Governor, one of the company, 
detained by a violent storm at a house on the road, fell 
in with an old volume on a dust-covered shelf, which 
he read to while away the time. Amazed to. find in it 
the expression of his own religious sentiments, so far 
as they had been definitely formed, he offered to pur- 
chase the book; but the owner gave it to him. At 
Williamsburg, he with his friends more carefully exa- 
mined the work, and all were agreed that it expressed 
their own views. When they appeared before the 
Governor, therefore, they presented this old volume as 
their creed. The Governor, Gooch, himself of Scotch 
origin and education, looked at the volume, and found 
it to be the Confession of Faith of the Presbyterian 
Church of Scotland. He consequently denominated 
the men arraigned before him Presbyterians, and dis- 



missed them with the gentle caution not to excite dis- 
turbance. One of the party firmly believed that this 
leniency on the part of the Governor and the Council 
was due, in part, to the impression made by a violent 
thunder-storm then shaking the house in which they 
were assembled, and wrapping every thing around them 
alternately in darknese and in sheeted flame. 

The first Presbyterian minister who visited this 
region was William Robinson. In the winter of 1742-3, 
he was sent as an evangelist, by the Presbytery of New 
Castle, to visit the Presbyterian settlements in the Yal- 
ley of the Shenandoah, and those on the south side of 
James River, as well as those on the plain in North 
Carolina. The Hanover Dissenters heard of him, and 
sent a deputation to invite him to come and preach. 
First satisfying themselves of the soundness of his 
principles, and being informed of the awakening cha- 
racter of his preaching, they were anxious to hear 
him. On July 6, 1743, they listened to the first sermon 
ever preached by a Presbyterian minister in Hanover 
county, Ya. The congregation was large the first day, 
but it was vastly increased on the three following days. 
Many were awakened, and some converted, while scarce 
an individual of the large assembly remained unaf- 
fected. The four days of Mr. Robinson's stay were long 
remembered. The people wished to express their grati- 
tude to him by presenting him a considerable sum of 
money. He refused to receive it. They urged it upon 
him, but he still refused. They then procured the secret 
conveyance of it into his saddle-bags, the evening before 
he was to leave. The increased weight of his baggage 
excited his suspicion. Discovering the benevolent arti- 
fice, he no longer declined receiving the money, but 
informed his kind friends that he would appropriate it 
to the use of a young man of his acquaintance who 
was studying for the ministry, but embarrassed in his 


circumstances. "As soon as he is licensed," be added 
"we will send him to visit you: it may be that you 
may now, by your liberality, be educating a miniate! 
for yourselves." 

This possibility was soon to become a reality; although 
Robinson did not live to see his prophecy fulfilled. That 
young man was Samuel Davies, and four years later 
(1747) he found his way to Hanover. 

Meanwhile, the people were visited by Rev. John 
Blair, a younger brother of Rev. Samuel Blair, like 
him an alumnus of the Log College and a pupil of the 
elder William Tennent. He was ordained by the Pres- 
bytery of New Castle, a few months before Mr. Robin- 
son's visit to Virginia, and from his parish in Cumber- 
land county, Pa., made two missionary tours to the 
regions visited by Mr. Robinson. He preached with 
great power in various places, and organized several 
new congregations. Among the other regions visited 
by him in 1746, was the county of Hanover. The 
most remarkable etfects followed his short stay. " His 
hearers, agitated beyond control, poured forth tears 
and sighs, and often broke out into loud crying." 
Opposers were roused to devise means to arrest the 
work. Absences from the parish church were more 
carefully noted, and the law was invoked to prevent 
apostasy from the ceremonies of the Church of Eng- 

These efforts were put forth with more vigor in con- 
sequence of the visit of Rev. John Roan to this region. 
Less discreet than either Robinson or Blair, his bold, 
earnest, stirring appeals, commingled with rebukes of 
the clergy of the Established Church for neglect of 
their official duties, provoked animadversion. The 
result was the prosecution of Roan, and an order for- 
bidding any meetings of " Moravians, Muggletonians, 
;»ud New Lights." The prosecution, on the flight of 


the principal mover of it, was dropped, and, on the 
address of the Synods to the Governor, the order was 
rescinded. Gilbert Tennent and Samuel Finley, deputed 
by the Presbytery to visit Virginia as missionaries, were 
kindly received by the Governor, who gave them per- 
mission to preach in Hanover. Their visit was a season 
of refreshing. " Several careless sinners were awa- 
kened," and quite a number " who had trusted in their 
moral conduct and religious duties" were aroused from 
their security. 

After the retm*n of Tennent and Finley, the people 
of Hanover were visited by Whitefield. He came and 
preached four or five days, and his labors were favor- 
ably received and largely blessed. But after his depart- 
ure these Presbyterians were not only destitute of a 
pastor, but were grievously harassed by the pains and 
penalties of the law. " Upon a Lord's day," says Mr. 
Morris, " a proclamation was set up at our meeting- 
house, strictly requiring all magistrates to suppress 
and prohibit, as far as they lawfully could, all itinerant 
preachers." For that day they were constrained " to 
forbear reading." But before the next Sabbath their 
fears were relieved. They received the glad intelli- 
gence that Mr. Davies was coming to preach among 
them, — that be had qualified himself according to law, 
^nd had obtained the licensing of four meeting-houses, 
— a thing "which had never been done before." 

From this period a brighter prospect opened before 
them. The name of Hanover county was thenceforth 
to be ever associated with that of a man whom after- 
ages will delight to honor. Samuel Davies was born 
of Welsh ancestry, in New Castle county, Del., in 1723. 
His mother, in the judgment of filial reverence and 
affection, was " one of the most eminent saints he ever 
knew upon earth." His very name — Samuel — was given 
him in the spirit of Hannah of old. This early dedica- 


tion to God had a powerful effect upon his own mind. 
In his childish years, habits of secret prayer were 
formed, and " he was more ardent in his supplications 
for being introduced into the gospel ministry than for 
any thing else." At the age of twelve years, he received 
impressions of a religious nature, that were abiding. 
In his fifteenth year he made a public profession of 
religion, and united with the Church. His classical 
course was commenced under the tuition of a Welsh 
minister by the name of Morgan. 1 When Eev. Samuel 
Blair opened his famous school at Fagg's Manor, young 
Davies was put under his charge. 2 The standard of 
classical attainment was high, and the acquisition of the- 
ological knowledge was sedulously encouraged. From 
the commencement of the course, Davies applied him- 
self to his studies with zeal and energy. Aided by the 
means extended to him through Mr. Eobinson by the 
people of Hanover, he felt strongly drawn toward 
them, and, when licensed by New Castle Presbj'tery, 
July 30, 1740, his first thoughts were turned in that 
direction. In little more than six months from the date 
of his licensure, he was ordained an evangelist for the 
purpose of visiting the congregations in Virginia, espe- 
cially those in Hanover county. After some hesitation 
on the part of the Council, although the Governor 
favored his application, he received the license of the 
Government " to officiate in and about Hanover at four 
meeting-houses." 3 

Davies proceeded to Hanover, and "Avas received 
with an outburst of joy." His coming with his license 
was " like a visit from the angel of mercy." For 
several months he labored throughout the region with 
unremitted energy. His weak frame was prostrated 

1 Sprague's Annals, iii. 40 ; Webster, 874, 549. 

2 Life of Davies: Preface to his sermons. 3 Foote's Sketches. 


under this burden of effort. He was forced at the close 
of the summer to return to Delaware, with greatly 
reduced health, and with strong indications that he 
was the subject of a confirmed consumption. Still, in 
spite of his weakness, he continued his labors on the 
Eastern Shore of Maryland — preaching during the day, 
even while he was so ill at night as to need persons to 
sit up with him. 

In the spring of 1748, his health was somewhat 
improved, and there were slight prospects of his 
recovery. His services were instantly in demand. 
But the application from Hanover presented to his 
mind claims superior to any otber. Accompanied by 
his intimate friend Mr. — afterward the celebrated Dr. — 
John Rodgers, 1 for whom he in vain endeavored to 
procure, of the Government, a license to preach, he 
directed his course to Hanover, and recommenced his 
labors. The field before him was a broad one, embrac- 
ing not only the region about Hanover, but most of 
Virginia, and portions of North Carolina. But in many 
places the civil authorities placed obstacles in the way 
of Dissenting worship. Davies argued for freedom 
with characteristic boldness and vigor. He claimed, 
in controversy with Peyton Randolph, the king's attor- 
ney-general, that the English Act of Toleration for 
the relief of Protestant Dissenters extended to Vir- 
ginia. On one occasion he appeared in person before 
the General Court, and replied to Randolph in a strain 
of eloquence that is reported to have won the admira 
tion of the most earnest of his opponents, who said that 
in him " a good lawyer had been spoiled." He per- 
severed in his efforts in the cause of toleration, till, 
crossing the ocean, he had the opportunity to bring the 

1 Rodgers was banished from the colony, and returned and set- 
tled in St, George's, Del. 


matter before the king in council, and received a 
declaration, under authority, that the Act of Tolera- 
tion did extend to the colony of Virginia. 

Davies went to Hanover with the feeling that he was 
a dying man. He hoped that he " might live to prepare 
the way for some more useful successor." But, with 
a hallowed ambition, he desired, before his lips were 
closed in death, to win some few more, at least, as the 
seals of his ministry. " He longed to carry with him 
to the heavens some gems for the eternal crown." 
Lifted above all earthly considerations, all fear of conse- 
quences, and standing, as he believed, almost face to face 
with eternity, he prepared to deliver his solemn message. 

A blessing followed his labors. The desire to hear 
the young Dissenter whom a large part of the Coun- 
cil had wished to keep out of Virginia, and whose 
license they would have revoked but for the influence 
of the Governor, spread in every direction. People 
rode from great distances to attend upon his ministry. 
To avoid collision with the public authorities, resolutely 
bent on executing the laws in favor of the Established 
Church, petitions from different neighborhoods for an 
increased number of authorized houses of worship were 
laid before the General Court. The petitions were 
granted, and three new places of preaching were added 
to the four already occupied by Davies. The seven 
were located, three in Hanover, one in Henrico, one 
in Goochland, one in Louisa, and one in Carolina. The 
nearest were twelve or fifteen miles from each other, 
and " some of the people have thirty or forty miles to 
the nearest." The extreme points of Davies's parish 
were eighty or ninety miles apart. 

The county court of New Kent gave license, upon 
the petition of a number of inhabitants, for Davies to 
preach in St. Peter's parish, but the General Court 
annulled the proceeding, and the license was revoked 


In spite of opposition, however, the influence and fame 
of Davies were spreading far and wide. The meeting- 
house near his own residence (twelve miles from Rich- 
mond, and near Morris's Reading -House) was quite too 
small for the multitudes which assembled in pleasant 
weather. "The thick woods were then resorted to; 
and the opposers of the Dissenters were exasperated 
at the sight of crowds listening to the gospel in the 
deep shades of the forest." All classes were alike 
interested. Even the negroes, of whom Mr. Davies 
baptized forty during the first three years, crowded tb 
listen. " Sometimes," said he, " I see a hundred and 
more among my hearers." 1 

The report of this state of things went abroad, and 
gladdened the hearts of Christians of New England. 
" I heard lately," writes Jonathan Edwards (May 23, 
1749), " a credible account of a remarkable work of con- 
viction and conversion among whites and negroes, at 
Hanover, Va., under the ministry of Mr. Davies, who 
is lately settled there, and has the character of a very 
ingenious and pious }^oung man." To many others, the 
intelligence was not less cheering than to the great 
preacher of Northampton. Here, then (1750), a little 
more tnan a hundred years ago, is the picture of Pres- 
byterianism in Virginia. Among the Scotch-Irish emi- 
grants along the frontier counties and in the Valley 
of the Shenandoah, there were five congregations with- 
out a settled pastor and dependent upon such tempo- 
rary supplies as the Synod could send them. In five 
counties around and including Hanover, there were 
seven preaching-stations, supplied by the labors of a 
single pastor, feeble in health, but zealous, eloquent, 
and unremitting in his exertions. Even he had to en- 
counter a strong adverse influence and the intolerant 

Foote's Sketches. 


measures of the Colonial Government. In vain was 
the earnest appeal addressed to Presbytery and Synod 
for more laborers. All that could be done was to send 
itinerants to labor for a few weeks, or possibly months, 
among the destitute and frontier settlements. 

Thus Davies was left alone. " In the whole 'Ancient 
Dominion' he had no fellow-laborer with whom his 
heart might rejoice. West of the Blue Eidge there 
were Miller 1 and Craig, and on its eastern base, at the 
head of Eockfish, Mr. Black; but these were members 
of the Synod of Philadelphia, and for some years had 
no communication with Mr. Davies." The task devolved 
upon him was overwhelming. He felt the demand to be 
one which was imperative, and he did his best to meet 
it. He preached not only on the Sabbath, but on week- 
days, to "laboring people, of whom the Dissenters were 
mostly composed." He exerted himself to procure other 
laborers to enter the field. Eodgers, who had accom- 
panied him, and in whom he had hoped to find an effi- 
cient ally and a sympathizing brother, had been denied 
a license by the Government Council. The needs of 
the field were repeatedly laid before the Synod. In 
1749, it met at Maidenhead, and, upon representation 
of the circumstances of Virginia, " Mr. Davenport is 
appointed, if he recover a good state of health, to go 
and supply." The next year the Synod recommended 
to the Presbytery of New Brunswick " to endeavor to 
prevail with Mr. John Todd, upon his being licensed, to 
take a journey thither, as also to the Presbytery of 
New York to urge the same upon Messrs. Syms and 
Greenman. Mr. Davenport is appointed to go into 
Virginia to assist in supplying the numerous vacant 
and destitute congregations there. The same is also 
recommended to Mr. Byram." 

1 Alexander Miller was not installed until August 1, 1757. 
Vol. I.— 11 


The visit of Davenport was a profitable one. " Blessed 
be God," writes Davies to Dr. Bellamy, " he did not 
labor in vain." Todd became (November 12, 1752) the 
assistant of Davies, and, after his acceptance of the 
presidency at Princeton, the leading man in the Hani- 
over Presbytery east of the Blue Ridge. Byram, who 
had accompanied Brainerd in his first journey to the 
Susquehanna, and who is mentioned by him with much 
affection as a kindred spirit, visited Yirginia, but did 
not remain long. The petition of Todd to be qualified 
to officiate in Hanover county was procured with great 
difficulty, and the Council absolutely refused to license 
any more meeting-houses. In spite, however, of all 
restrictions, the missionary tours of Davies in the sur- 
rounding counties were frequent and extensive. He 
preached at the places where he lodged, and "many 
neighborhoods have traditions of his usefulness. Every 
visit enlarged his circuit, and increased the number of 
places that asked for Presbyterian preaching." 

In 1752, Davies met the Synod of New York in its 
sessions at Newark. He represented before it the des- 
titution of Virginia, and Mr. Greennian and Mr. Eobert 
Henry were appointed to go there during the course 
of the year. Greenman was a young man who had 
been educated at the charge of David Brainerd; and 
Henry was a recent graduate of New Jersey College. 

Just at this period a messenger from Yirginia to 
Jonathan Edwards, at Stockbridge, invited him — with 
a handsome subscription for his encouragement and 
support — to settle in Yirginia, in the neighborhood of 
Davies. But he was installed at Stockbridge before the 
messenger came. Tbis was the main obstacle to his 
removal. Speaking with reference to a connection 
with the Presbyterian Church, he said (July 5, 1750), 
"As to my subscribing to the substance of the West- 
minster Confession, there would be no difficulty ; and 


as to the Presbyterian government, I Lave long been 
perfectly out of conceit of our unsettled, independent, 
confused way of church government in this land, and 
the Presbyterian way has ever appeared to me most 
agreeable to the word of God and the reason and 
nature of things." 

We will not pause to dwell upon the results that 
might have followed the transfer of Edwards to Vir- 
ginia. In conjunction with Davies, his influence would 
unquestionably have been widely felt. But, failing to 
secure his services for the people whom he had encou- 
raged, doubtless, to make the application, Davies set 
himself to work to supply, as far as he was able, the 
lack of ministerial service in other ways. He multi- 
plied his own preaching excursions, extending them to 
the eastern base of the Blue Bidge ; he sought to enlist 
the interest of members of Northern Presbyteries in the 
Virginia field, and, beside all, to raise up preachers of 
the gospel in Virginia. He promoted classical schools 
w T herever their establishment promised usefulness, and 
encouraged and assisted pious youths in their prepara- 
tory course. Among those largety indebted to him, 
who afterward attained to usefulness and distinction, 
were John Wright, Patillo, of Carolina memory, John 
Martin, the first licentiate of Hanover Presbytery, 
William Bichardson, the celebrated James Waddel, 
and James Hunt. 

Thus devoted, unwearied, sagacious, and energetic in 
his efforts, Davies multiplied himself into a host. Every- 
where he proved himself equal to his position, ready 
for the emergency. " He seems," as one said of him 
on seeing him pass through a court-yard, " as an am- 
bassador of some mighty king." He was at once the 
champion of freedom, the friend of learning, the founder 
of churches, and, next to Whitefield, the most eloquent 
preacher of his age. 




From the period of the division in 1741, each branch 
of ;he Church was intent upon making provision to 
train up young men for the ministry. The importance 
of prompt and efficient measures for this object was 
especially felt by the members of the Synod of New 
Yoi'k. The destitution around them called aloud for 
laborers, and after Brainerd's expulsion from Yale 
College, and the refusal of the corporation to grant 
him his degree, notwithstanding his humble confession 
of his error, it was felt that circumstances demanded 
that another institution should be established, to be 
located within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church. 

The prominent mover in the enterprise was Jonathan 
Dickinson, of Elizabethtown, N.J. He settled at this 
place in 1708, although he did not join the Philadelphia 
Presbytery until 1717. 1 For many years he had been 
accustomed to receive young men for instruction in the 
different branches preparatory to their entering upon 
the study of some one of the liberal professions. He 
was, consequently, fully aware of the importance and 
necessity of a thorough education. He had, moreover, 
before the division, been the acknowledged leader of 
the old Synod, and he was no less the leader of the 
Synod of New York after the separation. His com- 
manding influence, large experience, and intellectual 

1 Sprague's Annals, iii. 14. 


superiority marked him out as the individual fittest to 
preside in so important an undertaking. Under his 
counsels a charter was procured for a college from 
Governor Hamilton, and the infant institution went 
into operation at Elizahethtown, with Dickinson at its 
head. Continuing still the discharge of his pastoral 
duties, he took charge also of the instruction and disci- 
pline of the students. It was, however, only for a brief 
twelvemonth that he was permitted to occupy this im- 
portant post. The charter was given in October, 1746, 
and his death occurred October 7, 1717. 

This, at the outset, was a great loss. Dickinson was 
no common man. Those who have read his writings 
need no other proof of it. Dr. John Erskine, of Edin- 
burgh, said that the British Isles had produced no such 
writers on Divinity in the eighteenth century as Dick- 
inson and Edwards. Bellamy, who knew him well, 
spoke of him as " the great Mr. Dickinson." 

A successor for him was found, however, in Aaron 
Burr, pastor at Newark. 1 Burr had been called to 
New Haven as a colleague of Noyes, but declined the 
call. For nearly ten years he had been settled in his 
present charge, and had given proof of his ability and 
fitness for the vacant post. He had under his charge 
already a large Latin school, when Dickinson's students 
were removed from Elizabethtown and put under his 
charge. A new charter was procured for the college, 
and Burr was appointed President under it in Novem- 
ber, 1748. On the same day he conferred the Bachelor's 
degree upon a class who were prepared to receive it. 
The corporation record states that he delivered upon 
the occasion, as his Inaugural, " a handsome and elegant 
Latin oration." 

Until the autumn of 1755, the college was located 

1 Sprague's Annals, iii. 68 ; Webster, 448. 


at Newark, 1 and Burr continued to discharge the 
double duty of pastor of the church and President of 
the institution. But in the course of the following 
year, buildings having been erected at Princeton for 
the accommodation of the students, and Burr having 
been dismissed from his pastoral charge, the college 
went into operation under his presidency, in the place 
where it has since been permanently located. 2 

1 The first entry in the minutes of the College of New Jersey is 
a copy of the charter granted by Governor Belcher. The next 
states that " on Thursday, October 13, 1748, convened at New Bruns- 
wick, James Hude, Andrew Johnston, Thomas Leonard, Esqs., 
Mr. William P. Smith, and Rev. Messrs. John Pierson, Ebenezer 
Pemberton, Joseph Lamb, William Tennent, Richard Treat, David 
Cowell? Aaron Burr, Timothy Johnes, and Thomas Arthur, thirteen 
of them nominated in the charter to be trustees of the college; who, 
having accepted the charter, were qualified and incorporated accord- 
ing to the directions thereof." November 9, Governor Belcher, 
Messrs. Peter Van Brugh Livingston, Samuel Hazard, and Rev. 
Messrs. Samuel Blair and Jacob Green, were qualified as additional 
trustees. Burr was chosen President, and the first commencement 
was held the same day. There were six graduates. 

For several years the students were scattered in private families 
in Newark, the public academical exercises being generally per- 
formed in the county court-house. Governor Belcher at length 
urged the erection of the college edifice, although the funds were 
so scanty that but for his advice and aid the enterprise would 
have been deemed impracticable. At a meeting at Newark, Sep- 
tember 27, 1752, he advised the trustees to proceed immediately to 
determine upon a location for the college. The people of New 
Brunswick not having complied with the terms proposed to them 
for fixing the college in that place, it was voted that it should be 
established in Princeton, upon condition that the inhabitants of 
said place secure to the trustees two hundred acres of woodland, 
ten acres of cleared land, and £1000 of proclamation money, all 
which is to be complied with in three months. On January 24, 1753, 
it was announced that the conditions were fulfilled. — Am. Quar. Reg. 
Aug. 1834. 

2 The college building was for some years the largest college 


But the means for effecting this change of location, 
and placing the institution upon a solid basis, were pro- 
cured with some difficulty. The Synod, in 1752, 1 ordered 
collections in the churches on its behalf, and besought 
Pemberton, of New York, to cross the ocean and advo- 
cate its claims in Scotland and England. He declined 
the mission, and the Synod then selected Gilbert Ten- 
nent and Samuel Davies in his place.' 2 A better choice 
could scarcely have been made, although Virginia was 
exceedingly reluctant to relinquish the services of her 
favorite preacher. The deputation was kindly received 
abroad. Davies especially was greeted with welcome, 
and his reputation as a pulpit orator was established 
as securely in England as in Virginia. Funds were 
collected from Presbyterian and other Dissenters in 
England, and from the churches in Scotland, and the 
college was placed on a secure basis. 3 

But already it began to be known by its fruits. It 
promised to realize the fond anticipations of its foun- 
ders. Although hitherto without a fixed location, 
without permanent funds, library, apparatus, faculty, 
or building, it had a noble President, and had been 
sending out graduates. When Davies and Tennent set 
out for England (1753), it numbered already fifty 
graduates, twenty-six of whom entered the ministry. 
Of these, five went to Virginia, and one became a 
pioneer missionary in North Carolina. 

A notice of the mission of Davies and Tennent to 
England is important as illustrating the mutual rela- 
tions of the Presbyterian Church in this country and 
of the churches of Great Britain. They embarked on 

structure in the United States. It was first named Belcher Hall, 
but the Governor declined the honor, and suggested instead of it 
Nassau Hall. It accommodated nearly one hundred and fifty 
i Minutes of Synod, 248. 2 Ibid. 252. 3 Foote's Sketches. 


their voyage for England, November 18, 1753, and in 
just one month anchored in the Downs. 1 Eighty 
pounds had been handed them by the treasurer of the 
college to bear their expenses. It is illustrative of the 
character of Davies, as well as the feeble resources of 
the American churches, to read in his diary, just 
before receiving the money, — " Was uneasy to find that 
the trustees seem to expect that I should furnish 
myself with clothes in this embassy. With what 
pleasure would I do it were it in my power! but, alas! 
it is not; and therefore, notwithstanding all the pliable- 
ness of my nature, I must insist upon their providing 
for me in this respect, as one condition of my under- 
taking the voyage." It may be that the sum advanced 
was raised to eighty pounds to meet this necessity. 

Before Davies embarked, he was surprised at a clause 
in a letter which was shown him from Dr. Berdt, of 
London, to Colonel Grant, of Philadelphia, to the effect 
" that the principles inculcated in the College of New 
Jersey are generally looked upon as antiquated and 
unfashionable by the Dissenters in England." It gave 
him premonition of a kind of difficulty he would have 
to encounter, which until then he had not anticipated. 
But upon reaching England, he found the statement of 
Dr. Berdt only too true. His severest trials were from 
the degeneracy of the children of the Puritans. 

His first saddening intelligence was from his corre- 
spondent, Mr. Gibbons, " who informed us of the gene- 
ral apostasy of the Dissenters from the principles of 
the Reformation." " The Presbyterians, particularly," 
says Davies, " being generally Arminians or Socinians, 
seem shy of us." A more welcome reception awaited 
the deputation "at the Amsterdam Coffee-House, where 

1 For a full account of the mission, see Foote's Sketches ; also, 
life of Davies, in the American Quarterly Register, 1837. 


the Congregation alist and Baptist ministers met on 

The difficulties to be encountered were by no means 
of a trifling nature. Several, upon whom they had 
depended, told them that they could do nothing for 
them. Objection was made to the college as " a party 
design; that though the charter was catholic, yet so 
many of the trustees were Presbyterians, that they 
would manage matters with arbitrary partiality; that 
the trustees in New York City complained that there 
were not more trustees of other denominations." Mr. 
Jackson was " afraid our college would fall into Episco- 
pal hands." Tennent, moreover, was confronted with 
his Nottingham sermon, which "the inveterate malig- 
nity of the Synod of Philadelphia," as Davies phrases it, 
had forwarded, with accompanying accusations against 
its author, to obstruct the success of the undertaking. 

Tennent promptly disavowed the divisive principles 
of his sermon, and confessed his errors. Davies was 
perplexed and mortified at these unexpected embar- 
rassments. But, with prudence and sagacity, he was 
enabled in great measure to overcome them. 

Still, among those upon whom they had counted as 
friends of their enterprise, there were not a few who 
disapproved of all subscriptions or tests of orthodoxy. 
Among these was one whose name was of great import- 
ance, — Mr. Chandler. He even objected to the Adopt- 
ing Act. He was at last won over to give his name 
and contribution to the cause. Others very reluctantly 
endorsed it. " Dr. Benson talked in a sneering manner 
of the account of conversions in Northampton," pub- 
lished in England by Drs. Watts and Guise. When he 
subscribed, it was " with this sneer, that he was no 
friend to subscriptions." Mr. Bradbury, whom White- 
field had once reproved for singing a song in a tavern, was 
" a man of a singular turn, which would bo offensive to 


the greatest number of serious people." "With Mr 
Thompson, Jr., who, though educated a strict Calvinist, 
had imbibed " the modern latitudinarian principles," 
Davies had an amicable dispute about the lawfulness 
and expediency of subscribing tests of orthodoxy 
beside the Scripture. Mr. Bowles told him he had 
heard that Davies's sermon, preached for Mr. Chan- 
dler, had been complained of as " too rigidly ortho- 
dox." The estimate formed by the Calvinistic clergy, 
of the Salter's Hall divines, may be judged of by the 
pun of one of them when requested to print his sermon 
on the text, " Salt is good," etc. He replied that " he 
believed he would, and dedicate it to the preachers at 
Salter's Hall, for they wanted seasoning." Mr. Prior 
told Davies, "with the appearance of great uneasi- 
ness," that he had heard " we would admit none into 
the ministry without subscribing the "Westminster Con- 
fession, and that this report would hinder all our suc- 
cess among the friends of liberty." Davies's reply 
shows with what propriety the fathers of American 
Presbyterianism have been represented as ipsissima 
verba men. " I replied," he says, "that we allowed the 
candidate to mention his objections against any article 
in the Confession, and the judicature judged whether 
the articles objected against were essential to Chris- 
tianity ; and if they judged they were not, they would 
admit the candidate, notwithstanding his objections." 
"Alas," exclaims Davies, " for the laxness that prevails 
here among the Presbyterians !" 

. Indeed, English Presbyterians no longer deserved the t 
name. The Presbyterian standards had been thrown 
aside. All tests of orthodoxy were universally rejected. 
Candidates at ordination were only required to declare 
their belief of the Scriptures. Presbyterian order and 
discipline had fallen into total neglect. Calvinistic 
preachers chose rather to consort \v T ith the Independ- 


ents and Baptists at Amsterdam Coffee-House, than 
with their brethren of the same name. Indeed, there 
was nothing like government exercised jointly by 
either body of Dissenters. The only associations of 
the Independents were their meetings at the Coffee- 
House, where they assembled " for friendly conversa- 
tion. The Presbyterians have no other Presbyteries. 
The English Presbyterians have no elders nor judica- 
tories of any kind." It may easily be perceived that 
the title by which they were known was a misnomer. 
Grave errors, had crept in among them; but the pre- 
sence of these errors was favored, not by Presbyterian 
discipline, but by its utter absence. 

Repeatedly the members of the deputation were over- 
whelmed by discouragement. Tennent's trial, however, 
was peculiar. His Nottingham sermon preceded and 
embarrassed him wherever he went. Once and again 
he wished himself back in Philadelphia. After a month's 
stay in London, Davies writes, " From the present view 
of things, I think if we can but clear our expenses we 
shall be well off." 

But light had begun to break in at last. Davies was 
cheered by the interest which English Dissenters took 
in the hardships of their brethren in Virginia, and the 
prospect of that relief to obtain which had been a main 
consideration in inducing him to accept the appoint- 
ment of the trustees. Friends to the college were 
found, moreover, in unlooked-for quarters. In spite of 
Mr. Cross's letters, the representations emanating from 
the hostility of the Philadelphia Synod, and the preju- 
dice excited by the Nottingham sermon, the friends 
of the enterprise increased every day. The Presby- 
terians were not very hearty in the cause, but they 
generally subscribed. At " the Amsterdam Coffee- 
House, among the Baptist and Independent ministers," 
Davies enjoyed most satisfaction. At " Hamlin's, among 


the Presbyterians," he says, " they are generally very 
shy and unsociable to me." But his tact, prudence, 
and perseverance overcame great difficulties. "A larger 
account of the college" was drawn up and circulated 
for the satisfaction of contributors. By April 7, 1754, 
twelve hundred pounds were already secured. This 
was an unexpected success. Davies, upon his arrival, 
had felt that " we could not raise our hopes above three 
hundred pounds." Yet before he and Tennent had set 
out for Scotland, the amount had risen to seventeen 
hundred pounds. 

Scotland did not at first appear a very inviting field 
for effort. There was reason to apprehend the influence 
of the representations of the Synod of Philadelphia 
upon the minds of the members of the Assembly. 
Moderatism, moreover, was triumphant throughout the 
Church. "Alas!" exclaims Davies, "there appears but 
little of the spirit of serious Christianity among the 
young clergy." Yet it was exceedingly important to 
secure the Assembly's approval of the design of the 
college. " It will be attended," says Davies, " with 
many happy consequences ; particularly it will recom- 
mend our college to the world, and wipe off the odium 
from the Synod of New York as a parcel of schis- 

Although " there was hardly ever a greater appear- 
ance of opposition," the measure in favor of the college 
passed the Assembly unanimously. There was not 
even the show of objection. The cause was advocated 
by Lumisden, Divinity professor at Aberdeen. He urged 
the importance of a learned ministry, the necessity of 
the College of New Jersey to this end, and the duty of 
the Assembly to promote such institutions, especially 
among the Presbyterians of the colonies, " who are," 
said he, " a part of ourselves, having adopted the same 
standard of doctrine, worship, and government with 


this Church." A national collection was ordered in the 
Scottish Church, and Tennent crossed the Channel to 
present the cause in Ireland at the General Synod. 

Davies now retraced his steps to England, in order 
to visit the principal towns. Before he set out, how- 
ever, he read with admiration a piece, newly published, 
under the title of " Ecclesiastical Characteristics," ascribed 
"to one Mr. Weatherspoon, a young minister." He 
describes it as " a burlesque upon the high-flyers, under 
the ironical name of moderate men ; and I think," says 
he, "the humor is nothing inferior to Dean Swift." 
That young minister was to be Davies's worthy suc- 
cessor in the presidency of the college. 

Borne down by an almost constant depression of 
spirits, Davies was yet incessantly active. At nearly 
every place at which he stopped, he was invited to 
preach, and was listened to by admiring crowds. Yet 
his own estimate of his efforts is very humble. Many 
passages which had been most effective among his Vir- 
ginia congregations, he was compelled to omit. His 
flagging spirit would not allow him to deliver what 
rose above the measure of his own present spiritual 
condition. At Glasgow he preached six times in ten 
days. Here, as well as at Edinburgh and London, he was 
urgently solicited to publish a collection of his sermons. 

Returning to England, Davies again found friends 
where least expected. The Bishop of Durham gave 
him five guineas. He was cheered by intelligence from 
Tennent that the General Synod would take up col- 
lections w T ithin their bounds. The observations, how- 
ever, which he made upon the condition of the Dis- 
senters saddened him. At Hull he says, " The word 
orthodox is a subject of ridicule with many here." The 
Presbj^terians had " gone off from the good old doc- 
trines of the Reformation." At Leeds he found that 
the Dissenting ministers had " so generally imbibed 

Vol. I.— 12 


Arminian or Soeinian sentiments, that it was hard to 
unite prudence and faithfulness in conversation with 
them." Admitting their learning, candor, good sense, 
and morality, their entertaining and instructive com- 
panionship, as well as friendship " to the liberty of 
mankind," he adds, " they deny the proper divinity and 
satisfaction of Jesus Christ, on which my hopes are 
founded. The greatest part of the Presbyterian minis- 
ters in England," so far as he had observed, had fallen 
into this fundamental and fatal error. In consequence, 
they regarded his cause generally with lukewarmness, 
if not with coldness. " The new-fangled notions," and 
apostasy from " the old-fashioned faith," seriously 
obstructed his success. Sometimes, indeed, the diffi- 
culty was from another quarter. At Nottingham, 
" some of the rigid Calvinists," he says, were " not 
pleased with my sermon, because not explicit on 
original sin. How impossible," he adds, "to please 
men \" Yet he collected at Nottingham over sixty 

By the 5th of October, 1754, Tennent had executed 
his mission to Ireland, and succeeded in collecting 
about five hundred pounds. He joined Davies in Lon- 
don, and on the 13th of November embarked for Phila- 
delphia. Davies, who wished to go at once to Virginia, 
waited a few days longer for a vessel, and on the 18th — 
just twelve months from his embarkation from America 
— set out on his return voyage. The mission had been 
eminently successful. The collections must have risen 
to between four and five thousand pounds. It was far 
above what either member of the deputation had dared 
to hope. It placed the College of New Jersey upon a 
sure basis, and cheered the hearts of all friendly to the 
interests of ministerial or liberal education and the 
Presbj-terian Church. 

It was not long after Davies's return from England 


before he was called to make another sacrifice, not 
inferior to the one which he had already made as 
member of the deputation to England, and in the same 
cause. President Burr died suddenly, in the vigor of 
his years, in 1757, and his father-in-law, the great 
Jonathan Edwards, was chosen as his successor. The 
latter was inaugurated February 16, 1758, but died on 
the 22d of the following March. James Lockwood, pas- 
tor at Wethersfield, Conn., was chosen to fill the place, 
but want of unanimity, and other circumstances, pre- 
vented his acceptance. All eyes were now turned 
toward Mr. Davies as the man for the vacant post. 
He submitted the application to Presbytery, and the 
decision was against his removal from Virginia. The 
trustees now applied to the Synod, and urged their 
interference. By them, after solemn deliberation, Mr. 
Davies was dismissed from his people to assume the 
presidency of Nassau Hall. 

He accepted the post with great reluctance. It was 
hard for him to part from a people with whom it was 
in his heart to live and die. But duty called, and he 
could not hesitate. Yet his public career was short. 
He preached his farewell to his people in Hanover, 
June 1, 1759, was inaugurated July 26, 1759, and on 
February 4, 1761, he took his farewell of earth. Yet 
he lived to see the success of the most important en- 
terprise in which the Presbyterian Church had yet 
engaged, fully assured. 

While the Synod of New York was thus engaged in 
laying the foundations of the College of Nassau Hall, 
the Synod of Philadelphia was not idle. In 1739, John 
Thompson, a leading man of the Old side, proposed to 
the Presbytery of Donegal the erection of a school, to 
be placed under the care of the Synod. The design 
was approved by the latter body in May of the same 
year. Pemberton, Dickinson, Cross, and Anderson 


were nominated to prosecute the design, and secure 
subscriptions in New England and in Europe. The co- 
operation of the Boston clergy was assured through 
Dr. Coleman, but the breaking out of the Spanish war 
in the following year pi-evented the prosecution of the 

In 1743, two years after the division, the business 
was resumed. The next year the Synod approved the 
design and took the school at New London, Pa., under 
its care. It was to be supported by annual conti-ibutions 
from the congregations, and " all persons who please, 
may send their children and have them instructed gratis 
in languages, philosophy, and divinity." Francis Alison, 
the finest scholar in the two Synods, was appointed mas- 
ter, and authorized to appoint his own usher. He was 
to be allowed by the Synod twenty pounds per annum, 
and his assistant fifteen pounds. Several ministers and 
gentlemen contributed books to begin a library, — in 
this respect imitating the example of the founders of 

In 1749, the plan of the school was modified. Mr. 
Alison's salary was increased, and tuition was allowed. 
In 1752, he removed to Philadelphia to take charge of 
the academy there. The school received a check by 
his removal, although it continued in operation under 
the care of Alexander McDowell, to whom, in 1754, 
Matthew Wilson was added as assistant. The latter 
was to teach the languages, while McDowell continued, 
" from a sense of the public good," to teach logic, 
mathematics, natural and moral philosophy, &c. 

In the following year it was ordered by Synod that 
application be made to the trustees of the German 
schools to procure a sum of money to encourage the 
Synod's school. In consideration of this aid, it was stipu- 
lated that " some Dutch children" should be taught the 
English tongue, and three or four, if they offered them- 


selves, Latin and Greek. As soon as this favor could 
be obtained, Rev. Sampson Smith was to open a school 
at Chesnut Level. 

A donation of books had been sent from Dublin ; and 
these were to be " the foundation of a public library, 
under the care of the Synod." None of them were to 
be lent " beyond Potomac River." The application to 
the trustees of the German schools was favorably enter- 
tained, and twenty-five pounds were granted for the 
year to the Synod's school. This was in 1757. 

The union of the Synods in the following year opened 
Princeton College to the Old as well as the New side. 
It did not, however, supersede the educational labors 
of ministers who were members of the Synod. Several 
of these had — after the manner of William Tennent at 
Nesharniny — schools of their own. Some of these were 
continued, and accomplished much good. Samuel Fin- 
ley's school at Nottingham was highly celebrated. It 
sent out a lai'ge number of eminent men. Among them 
were Governor Martin, of North Carolina, Dr. Benjamin 
Push, Colonel John Bayard, Governor Henry, of Mary- 
land, Eev. Dr. McWhorter, the celebrated James Wad- 
del, and Rev. William M. Tennent, of Abington. Finley 
was an accomplished scholar and a skilful teacher, and 
to such eminence had he attained, that on the death of 
Davies he was called to succeed him in the presidency 
at Princeton. 

At Fag-o-'s Manor, Samuel Blair established a classical 
school, which became scarcely less distinguished. He 
had been educated at the Log College, and must have 
been one of the first pupils of the institution. Among 
those who received from him the substantial parts of 
their education were Samuel Davies, Alexander Cum- 
mings, John Rodgers, James Finley, and Hugh Henry, 
all of them useful and some of them distinguished in 

the ministry. 



Besides these, it is probable 1 that Andrews had a 
school in Philadelphia. Dickinson had one at Eliza- 
bethtown, the germ of Nassau Hall. Thomas Evans 
had one at Pencader. Davies devoted a part of his 
time to the training of young men. The Old side 
endeavored to give their institution at New London, 
under Alison, a higher rank than those established by 
individual enterprise. They corresponded with Presi- 
dent Clap, of Yale College, to secure for their students 
a diploma on easy terms. In their reply to Clap's 
inquiries, they speak in no very respectful tone of 
Tennent's school at Neshaminy. They aimed at some- 
thing higher, but they failed to secure what they desired. 
The New side were foremost — in spite of the reproach 
cast on the Tennents — in the cause of education. 



The basis upon which the Synod of New York and 
Philadelphia was erected was one upon which the two 
Synods could consistently unite. 2 The first article of 
the " plan" was to this effect : — " Both Synods having 
always approved and received the Westminster Confes- 
sion of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms as an 
orthodox and excellent system of Christian doctrine, 
founded on the word of God, we do still receive tho 
same as the Confession of our Faith, and also adhere 
to the plan of worship, government, and discipline con- 

1 Webster, 124. The grounds of probability are not stated. 

2 Minutes of Synod, p. 286. 


tained in the Westminster Directory, strictly enjoining 
it upon all our members and probationers for the minis- 
try, that they preach and teach according to the form 
of sound words in said Confession and Catechisms, and 
avoid and oppose all errors contrary thereto." 

In case of a decision by the majority of a Presbytery 
or Synod, the minority were actively to concur, or pas- 
sively submit, or, if this could not be done, the indi- 
vidual, after sufficient liberty of remonstrance, was 
peaceably to withdraw. Protest Avas allowable and 
entitled to record, provided always that the protest 
was not to be against members, or introduce facts and 
accusations without proof, till fair trial had been 
refused. The protest of 1741, as a Synodical act, was 
fully disavowed, and declared invalid as an objection 
to the union. ]STo accusation affecting ministerial 
standing was to be brought otherwise than by private 
brotherly admonition, or by regular process. No Pres- 
bytery might make appointments within the bounds 
of another without their consent, nor one member offi- 
ciate in another's congregation without his permission; 
although when the privilege was asked it was to be 
accounted unbrotherly to refuse. Candidates for licen- 
sure or ordination were to give satisfaction as to their 
learning, Christian experience, and skill in divinity, 
declaring their acceptance of the Confession of Faith, 
and promising subjection to the Presbyterian plan of 
government. The several Presbyteries were to con- 
tinue in their present form where an alteration did not 
appear for edification; and divided congregations, each 
supplied with a pastor, were to be allowed to continue 
such if they preferred. Yet, to promote a complete 
union as soon as possible, the united Synod might 
model the several Presbyteries as might seem most 

In regard to the revival, the members of the New 


York Synod were left' free to declare, and did declare 
upon the record, their adherence to their former senti- 
ments in its favor, and that a blessed work of God's 
Holy Spirit in the conversion of numbers had been 
carried on; that, where certain features of conviction 
and Christian experience were present, exceptionable 
circumstances did not warrant the rejection of it, or 
its denial as " a gracious work of God." In regard to 
particular facts, the judgment of members of the pre- 
sent Synod might differ; but in their sentiments con- 
cerning the nature of a work of grace they were 
agreed. In conclusion, all under the care of the Synod 
were recommended to beware of a contentious disposi- 
tion, to study peace and mutual edification, and it was 
agreed that " all former differences and disputes are 
laid aside and buried." 

If much evil had resulted from the division, there 
were some lessons which it taught of no slight value, 
and the tide of excited and conflicting feeling at least 
left behind it, in the basis on which the united Synod 
was erected, something better than ordinary drift-wood. 
The principles of the Church were more clearly defined. 
The liberal and tolerant spirit of compromise which 
conceded to both parties equal orthodoxy, although 
one was strenuous for some things accounted by the 
other non-essential, was especially manifest. The 
essential features of a work of grace, and of Christian 
experience, were admitted and acknowledged by both 
parties ; and they came together with lessons of for- 
bearance and mutual concession that were of the high- 
est importance. 

Few changes were made by the Synod in the model- 
ling of the several Presbyteries. That of ISTew Bruns- 
wick remained as before, except that Cowell, of Trenton, 
and Guild, of Hopewell, were added to it. 1 New York 

1 Minutes of Synod, 288. 


and Suffolk were continued without any change. The 
Presbytery of Philadelphia was to consist of Cross, 
Gilbert Tennent, Alison, Treat, Chesnut, Martin, Beatty, 
Greenman, Hunter, Ramsey, Lawrence, and Kinkead, 
— nearly equally from the Old and New sides. Lewes 
Presbytery was to consist of John Miller, Tuttle, Harris, 
Henry, and Wilson ; while the First and Second Pres- 
b} r teries of New Castle and Donegal, each of them 
divided in 1741 by the protest, were left for the present 
without change. 

At the same time, also, the Presbytery of Hanover in 
Virginia was constituted. It embraced Davies, Todd, 
Henry, Wright, Brown, Martin, and Craighead, of the 
New side ; and Black, Craig, and Alexander Miller, of 
the Old side, — the last three laboring in the Great Val- 
ley, and the former, with the exception of Craighead 
in North Carolina, east of the mountains, in the neigh- 
borhood of Hanover. 

A committee of correspondence with the churches in 
Britain and Ireland was appointed, and one of the sub- 
jects of their correspondence with England was to be 
the aid from trustees in London for the fund raised for 
German emigrants, with a view to securing aid for 
educating youths for the ministry. 1 

The Sjmod closed its session by the appointment of 
a day of fasting and prayer. It was the day already 
appointed by the government; and, in view of the 
calamities of war, the danger from unchristian foes, 
and the sins of ingratitude, religious decay, vice, and 
immorality, the Synod was led to recommend its observ- 
ance with a view to " deprecate the wrath of God, to 
pray for a blessing on His Majesty's armaments by 
land and sea, in order to procure a lasting and honor- 
able peace," for "the overthrow of unchristian errors, 

i Minutes of Synod, 290. 


superstition, and tyranny, and the universal spread of 
pure and undefiled religion." 

Through the period extending from the union of 
the Synods to the commencen.ent of the Revolutionary 
"VVar, the growth of the Church was rapid and almost 
uninterrupted. The troubles of the division were still 
felt, however, within the bounds of Donegal, 1 New 
Castle, and Philadelphia Presbyteries. Donegal peti- 
tioned (1765), against the remonstrance of a strong 
minority, for a division into two Presbyteries; 2 or, in 
case this was refused, that the members added to them 
when the Presbyteries were remodelled might be 
ordered to return to their former judicatures. Declin- 
ing the request, the Synod formed, of the ministers west 
of the Susquehanna, the new Presbytery of Carlisle, and 
annexed the others to the Presbytery of New Castle, 
thenceforth to be known b} T the name of Lancaster. 
The old members of Donegal Presbytery felt them- 
selves greatly aggrieved by this arrangement, and it 
was brought before Synod again in the following year. 
Several expedients were proposed for relieving the dif- 
ficulties which existed, but it was finally resolved to 
revive and restore the Presbyteries of Donegal and 
New Castle. This, however, was far from satisfactory. 
The Old-side members of Donegal, seven in number, 
refused to unite with that Presbytery. They met by 
themselves, assuming the old name for the Presbytery 
whi,ch they claimed to constitute, and wrote to the 
Synod, declaring themselves "laid under the disagree- 
able necessity of entering a declination from its juris- 

1 In 1759 the First and Second Presbyteries of New Castle were 
united, and Messrs. Sampson Smith, Robert Smith, John Roan, and 
John Hogge, were added to Donegal Presbytery. — Minutes, 292. In 
the course of the six years which followed, dissatisfactions arose. — 
fiid. 350. 2 Minutes, 348-9. 


diction." 1 Nothing -was left for the Synod but to pro- 
nounce them no longer members of the body. In 1768, 
they applied to be received and acknowledged, but 
their request "was refused, except on the condition that 
they should unite with the Presbytery of Donegal pro- 
perly constituted. If this condition were complied with, 
the Synod declared itself not indisposed to remodel the 
Presbj'teries in such a manner as to give the best satis- 
faction which the circumstances of the case allowed. 
The proposal was then made to allow the dissatisfied 
members to unite as they were willing with the Presby- 
teries of Donegal, New Castle, and Philadelphia Second, 
and this proposal was accepted, — four members of the 
Presbytery of Donegal, Duffield, Cooper, Slemmons, 
and Eoan, entering their dissent. 2 

The Second Presbytery of Philadelphia was tbus 
strengthened by the accession of several of the Old- 
side members of Donegal, viz. : Steel, Elder, Tate, and 
McMordie. This Presbytery had been formed mainly 
of the Old-side members of the Presbytery of Phila- 
delphia, in 1762. 3 It consisted originally of Robert 
Cross, Francis Alison, John Ewing, John Simonton, 
and James Eatta. Cross had been the leader, and 
Alison the scholar, of the Old side. Ewing. pastor of 
the Eirst Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, — and 
thus associated with Cross, — and Latta. settled the pre- 
vious year as pastor at Deep Bun. were both pupils of 
Alison, and had been for some years tutors of the col- 
lege over which he presided. The Presbytery was 
thus formed on the elective affinity principle, and, much 
to the dissatisfaction of many of the Synod, professed 
to be conscientiously opposed to the practice of examin- 
ing candidates for the ministry as to their experimental 
acquaintance with religion. So strong, indeed, was their 

1 Minutes, 366. * Ibid. 383, 384. 3 Ibid. 321. 


feeling, that they declared that, sooner than belong to 
a Presbytery which adopted the practice, they would 
break off from all connection with the Synod. 

The attempt was made, but in vain, in 1766, to reunite 
the First and Second Presbyteries of Philadelphia. The 
decision of the Synod was in favor of the continued 
separate existence of a body which, in the judgment 
of many, only served to perpetuate old party lines, and 
seemed " to indicate a temper of schismatical tend- 
ency." 1 It was maintained that the Synod involved 
itself in a self-contradiction in erecting a Presbytery 
which refused to examine candidates for the ministry 
in regard to the subject of personal religious expe- 
rience. The precedent, moreover, was declared to be a 
bad one, and injui-ious in its tendency to perpetuate 
division. In spite, however, of all objections, the 
Second Presbytery was still continued; and, although 
the attendance of its members at meetings of Synod 
was quite irregular, it received an accession of mem- 
bers who strongly sympathized with it. 

Of these, Patrick Allison was the first to join it. A 
pupil of his namesake, Dr. Alison, at the institution in 
which the latter was Vice-Provost, he was ordained by 
the Second Presbytery, and took charge, in 1765, of 
the first church gathered at Baltimore. In 1768, Elder, 
Steel, and McMordie were transferred to it from the 
Presbytery of Donegal. Two years later, Samuel Eakin, 
who gave the Synod no little trouble by his conduct, 
was received, and in 1772 Hugh McGill, from Ireland, 
who proved scarcely less obnoxious. In 1773 they 
ordainedEobert Davidson. Their licentiates during the 
period were James Long, Thomas Eead, afterward of 
Delaware, John King, and John McLean, who went to 
the Carolinas. 

1 Minutes, 355. 


In 1772, George Duffield was called to the Pine Street 
Church of Philadelphia; and, although dismissed from 
and recommended by the Presbytery of Donegal, the 
Second Presbytery of Philadelphia refused to receive 
him. 1 On the question of his settlement, the feelings 
of animosity between the Old and New side were 
revived, and the attempt was made to exclude him 
from the church. Both parties applied to the Synod, — 
Mr. Duffield by complaint of the proceedings of the 
Presbytery, and the incorporated committee of the 
Market and Pine Street churches by petition and 
remonstrance. The Synod pronounced that Mr. Duf- 
field had just cause of complaint, declared him minis- 
ter of the Third Presbyterian congregation of Philadel- 
phia, and ordered that he be put upon the list of the 
Second Presbytery. 

Except within the bounds of the Presbyteines of 
Donegal and Philadelphia Second, the disastrous influ- 
ence of the division soon disappeared. In the Presby- 
tery of Hanover, the Old-side members of the Valley 
and the New-side east of the mountains, were not in 
entire sympathy; and the former — on the ground, how- 
ever, of their distance from their brethren — asked to be 
formed into a separate Presbytery. The petition was 
not approved by the Synod, but assurance was given 
that, when a sufficient number to warrant the erection 
of a new Presbytery should be secured, the request 
should be granted. 2 

Meanwhile (1763), an application was presented to 
Synod from a Presbytery in New York on the east of 
the Hudson, desiring to be incorporated with the 
Synod and to be strengthened by members set off from 
the Presbyteries of New York and Suffolk. The appli- 
cation was favorably received, and John Smith and 

1 Minutes, 433 2 lb. 292. 

Vol. I.— 13 


Chauncey Graham, of New York Presbytery, and 
Eliphalet Ball and Samuel Sackett, of Suffolk Presby- 
tery, were united with them to constitute the Dutchess 
county Presbytery. 1 

In 1766, the Presbytery was represented in Synod, 
and, besides, the members set off from Suffolk and New 
York, it consisted (1768) of Wheeler Case, Ichabod 2 
Lewis, Elisha Kent, Solomon Mead, Joseph Peck, 3 and 
Samuel Dunlop. The churches which first came under 
the care of Presbytery had been organized for several 
years, — some of them by the Fairfield and Litchfield 
Associations of Connecticut, and others by the Presby- 
tery of New York. 

It was in October (27th), 1762, that three ministers, 
Solomon Mead, of South Salem, and Joseph Peck and 
Elisha Kent, pastors of churches in Philips Precinct, 
between Fishkill and South Salem, met to consult 
about forming a Presbytery. 4 Their conclusions were 

1 In 1765 (Minutes, p. 39), we read, "There is no account from 
Dutchess county Presbytery, whether they have regularly formed 
themselves according to the order of the Synod." 

2 Thomas Lewis in the Minutes, — which is probably a mistake. 

3 The name is repeatedly written James in the Minutes, — some- 
times, perhaps, abbreviated for Joseph. Dr. Hodge incorrectly 
writes it John. 

4 A letter from Dr. Johnston, of Newburgh, on the files of the church 
of Poughkeepsie, is the authority for the statement in the text. A 
manuscript letter from Darius Peck, Esq., of Hudson, enables me to 
trace the Presbyterianism of Dutchess county to a Milford origin. 
The Presbyterian church at Milford was organized by a secession 
from the Congregational church in 1741. It was at the verj' crisis 
of the agitation between the Old and New side in the Synod. One 
of the first members of the Milford church was Joseph Peck, a 
descendant, doubtless, of one of the early settlers of the town who 
bore the same name. For a time a Rev. Mr. Kent supplied the 
pulpit. — (Lambert's History of New Haven Colony.) This was un- 
questionably Elisha Kent who, twelve years before, was graduated 
at Yale, and f)r several years was pastor of Newtown, Conn. He is 


in favor of the measure, and they proceeded, by prayer 
and the adoption of "the Confession and Catechisms, to 
form themselves into a Presbytery. In the following 
spring they applied to the Synod to be received. Their 
request was granted, as has been stated : the two 
members from New York Presbytery, and the two 
from Suffolk, were added to their number. In 1765 
their number had been increased by the accession of 
William Hanna, settled at Albany, Samuel Dunlop, 
pastor of the Scotch-Irish congregation at Cherry Val- 
ley, and Wheeler Case, a licentiate of Suffolk Presby- 
tery, who succeeded Mr. Graham as pastor at Pough- 
keepsie, in connection with which he ministered to the 
church in Charlotte Precinct, but better known sub- 
sequently, and at the present time, as the church of 
Pleasant Valley. Previous to 1770, the Presbytery 
ordained Samuel Mills and Ichabod Lewis, who became 
permanent members of the body, and in 1772 they re- 
ceived Benjamin Strong from Fairfield Association. 

Of these early members of the Presbytery, Elisha 
Kent was settled over a church in Philips Precinct, 
not far from Fishkill, in the place early known as 
Kent's Parish. He was a graduate of Yale College in 
1729, and for several years afterward was settled at 

the only minister of the name of Kent discoverable at this period. 
In 1748, he had been for some time settled at Philippi, or Phillips- 
town, below Fishkill. Joseph Peck, associated with him in labors 
in the same region, — Philips Precinct, — was not a graduate of 
Yale or Princeton, and must have studied with some minister. In 
the circumstances, it seems probable that he was a son of the Joseph 
Peck of Milford, that he studied with Mr. Kent, and that the two 
removed at nearly the same time to settle upon the Hudson in 
neighboring churches. Solomon Mead, of the class of 1748 at Yale 
soon after came into the same region, settling at South Salem 
The three churches, South Salem, and. the two of Philips Precinct, 
— now probably Kent and Phillipstown, or Cold Spring, — were 
within a few miles of each other. 


Newtown, Conn. After his removal from this place, he 
supplied for a time the (New-side) church at Milford, 
and probably about the year 1742 removed to Putnam 
county, N.Y., taking charge of the first church gathered 
in all this region. There is reason to believe that this 
was largely composed of families who had removed 
at about the same time from the vicinity of Newtown 
and Milford, Conn., to whom he was known, and by 
whom he was invited to become their minister. The 
first notice we have of him in this new field is as Bel- 
lamy's correspondent, in 1749. 

" Kent's Parish" embraced undoubtedly a large field, 
including not only Kent, — the town which commemo- 
rates the family to which Chancellor Kent belonged,' — 
but the town of South-East, where a settlement had 
been etfected as early as 1730. 2 In 1737, " South-East- 
town" was formed as a precinct, and by this time quite 
a large number of families had located within the cir- 
cuit of a few miles. The pastorate of Mr. Kent con- 
tinued till some time after the commencement of the 
war; and Fredericksburg, where Samuel Mills was sub- 
sequently settled, is probably the same with South-East 
and " Kent's Parish." The other church within the 
limits of Philips Precinct was that under the care of 
Joseph Peck, located in Philipstown, — the Philippi of 
1789, — where several families had settled as early as 
1730. 3 His pastorate continued till about 1770 f and 
during the war, Ichabod Lewis, who had been forced 
to leave his own field, probably supplied this jjlace. 

1 Chancellor Kent was the grandson of Rev. Elisha Kent. 

2 New York Gazetteer. The statement there made that Mr. Kent 
began to preach at South-East in 1730 is probably incorrect. He 
graduated in 1729, and labored for several years at Newtown and 

3 A Mr. Davenport is said to have built the first house at Cold 
Spring, in 1715. 4 Probably settled at New Fairfield in 1774. 


The church of which Solomon Mead was pastor was 
gathered about the year 1750, or very soon after the 
settlement of the town. The first notice of the church 
occurs May 19, 1752, " when a convention of ministers 
assembled at Salem, upon the desire of the people," 1 to 
install Solomon Mead as pastor of the church. A 
graduate of Yale College in 1748, Mr. Mead was proba- 
bly from the town of Greenwich, where families of that 
name had early settled; and it is to be presumed that 
the convention of ministers was an ecclesiastical coun- 
cil composed of Connecticut pastors settled on the 
Avestern border Of the State. The pastorate of Mr. 
Mead continued till 1800, although his life was pro- 
tracted till 1812, and to the ripe age of eighty-six years 
he continued the patriarch of the Presbyteiy, venerated 
far and near for his piety and his worth. 

Chauncey Graham — till his transfer by the Synod, a 
member of New York Presbytery — was the son of 
John Graham, for many years pastor of Southbury, 
Conn. 2 Kumbout, near Fishkill, was organized as a 
church, July 3, 1748, and Poughkeepsie was " gathered" 
in July, 1750, by a committee of the Presbytery of New 
York. Of these two churches, Graham, who had been 
graduated at Yale College but a little more than two 
years previous, was ordained pastor, January 29, 1749- 
50, by an ecclesiastical council, consisting of Messrs. 
Stoddard, Case, Judson, 3 and their "messengers." Mills 
and Bellamy were invited, but did not attend. In the 
following year, Graham, whose father was a native of 
Scotland, united with the Presbytery of New York, 
and was present at the meeting of the Synod at Newark 

1 Bolton's AVest Chester County, i. 268. 2 Webster. 

3 Anthony Stoddard, of Woodbury ; Benajah Case, of New Fair- 
field; and David Judson, of Newtown. The Mr. Mills invited was 
Jedediah Mills, of Huntington. 



in 1751. For several 3 T ears after the Presbytery was 
formed in 1763, he was its stated clerk. He left Pough- 
keepsie in 1752, after which it was dependent on stated 
supplies till the settlement of Wheeler Case, in 1765, 
over Pleasant Valley and Poughkeepsie. Mr. Graham 
was dismissed in 1773, and died in 1784. 

John Smith — settled at Eye and White Plains, having 
been ordained by the Fairfield Association (probably 
May 15, 1729) 1 — was the son of Thomas Smith, of New 
York, one of the leading men who seceded from Ander- 
son's congregation and invited Jonathan Edwards to 
preach to them. He was an intimate friend of Edwards, 
and yet did not unite with the Presbytery of New York 
until 1752. His ministry continued till his death in 
1771, although, at his request, Ichabod Lewis was set- 
tled as his colleague for several of the closing years of 
his life. 2 

Samuel Sackett commenced his labors 3 at Crumpond 4 
and Cortland Manor (now Yorktown and Peekskill) 
as early as 1712. In 1743, he was installed at Bedford, 
and directed to visit the Highlands. His labors were 
extended to Crumpond, Salem, and Cortland Manor, — 
although only occasionally, except at Crumpond, which 
he supplied half the time from 1747 to 1749. In 1753, 
his adoption of the views of Edwards and Bellamy on 
the subject of baptism led to alienation of feeling on 
the part of his people, and his resignation of his office. 
In 1761, after having labored for several years at Han- 
over, in Cortland Manor, he was installed at Crum- 

Eliphalet Ball succeeded Sackett at Bedford, and, 

i Webster, 652. 

2 Probably in 1706-67, as Mr. Lewis was a graduate of Yale in 
1765. 3 Webster, 546. 

4 Ibid. A congregation was formed at Crumpond in 1738-39. The 
land for the meeting-house was given January 2, 1739. 


along with him, was a member of the Suffolk Presby- 
tery until transferred to the Dutchess county Presby- 
tery. His pastorate continued, with the exception of 
four years (1768-1772), till 1784. In 1788, he removed 
w T ith a part of his Bedford congregation to tbe place 
which from him received the name which it still 
retains, — Ball's-town (Ballston). 

William Hanna, of Albany, was another of the early 
members of the Presbytery. He was a native of Litch- 
field county, and a licentiate of the Litchfield Associa- 
tion. In spite of Bellamy's dissuasives, he was ordained 
in 1761, by a council of Connecticut ministers, consist- 
ing of Graham, of Southbury, Lee, of Salisbury, and 
Gold and Smith, of Sharon. The church placed itself 
under the care of the Presbytery, and he was received 
as a member in 1763. 

Still another of the early members of the body was 
Samuel Dunlop, of Cherry Valley. In 1741, he had 
commenced his labors on this outpost of civilization, 
among a people whom he had induced to follow him 
into the wilderness. A native of the north of Ireland, 
he applied himself with success to his countrymen set- 
tled in Londonderry, jST.H., and quite a number of Pres- 
byterian families were induced to cast in their lot with 
his. The result was the formation of the church of 
Cherry Valley, which came under the charge of the 
Presbytery soon after the latter was erected. 1 

Wheeler Case, a licentiate of Suffolk Presbytery, 
was the first pastor of Pleasant Valley, where he com- 
menced his labors in November, 1765. 2 Poughkeepsie 
for some years formed a portion of his charge, but 
during the war it became so enfeebled as to be virtually 
extinct. 3 Mr. Case continued in the pastorate of Plea- 

1 History of Londonderry. Campbell's Tryon County. 

2 N.Y. Gazetteer. 3 Mr. Ludlow's Historical Sermon. 


sant y alley for more than twenty years, and was a 
member of the Presbytery from the date of his settle- 

In 1769, Samuel Mills, a graduate of Yale College in 
1765, was settled at Bedford, and became a member of 
the Presbytery. For seventeen years his pastorate 
continued ; and he was repeatedly appointed a delegate 
to the convention of Congregational and Presbyterian 
ministers that met annually previous to the war. 

Ichabod Lewis, a classmate of Mills at Yale College, 
was called as colleague of John Smith at Eye and 
White Plains, at about the same time that Mills was 
settled at Bedford. The burning of the church-edifice 
and the insecurity of the whole region forced him, in 
1776, to withdraw northward, where — residing at 
Salem — he supplied for several years the church at 
Philippi, his friend Mills also having removed to take 
charge of the adjoining parish of Fredericksburg. 

In 1770, Benjamin Strong, who for many years had 
been settled at North Stanwich, on the western border 
of Connecticut, became a member of the body. He 
did not, however, remain many years in the connec- 

In 1766, John Close was licensed, and, in 1775, David 
Close was ordained by the Presbytery. The last labored 
for a time within its bounds ; the other found a desti- 
tute and inviting field on the west of the Hudson. 

On the west side of the Hudson, Presbyterian 
churches were organized at an early period. Smith, in 
his history of New York, speaks of the large number 
of Scotch-Irish who settled in Orange and Ulster coun- 
ties. The very names of these are significant of the 
nationality of the first immigrants. The church at 
Goshen was organized previous to 1721, when John 
Bradner became its first pastor. Here he remained for 
eleven years, and was succeeded by John Tudor and 


Silas Leonard, — the last, pastor from 1738 to 1764. In 
1766, Nathan Ker commenced his pastorate of the 
church, which continued down to 18U4. 1 

As early as 1729, an application to the Synod of 
Philadelphia for supplies of preaching among them 
was made by the people of Wall Kill, through their 
commissioner, John McNeal. In the course of the fol- 
lowing year, they were supplied in part by Gelston, 
who had previously been a member of Suffolk Presby- 
tery, but in 1735 was reported as laboring in the 
Highlands, where rumors against his character led to 
his trial and suspension from the ministry. He was 
followed by Isaac Chalker, whose pastorate closed in 
1743, and subsequently by John Moffat and John Blair, 
the last of whom left in 1771. He was followed by 
Andrew King, whose pastorate extended from 1776 to 

The church at Bethlehem had a house of worship as 
early as 1730. Isaac Chalker was the first pastor. He 
was succeeded by Enos Ayers, avIio took charge of this 
church conjointly with that of Blooming Grove, where 
a church-edifice was erected in 1759. At Bethlehem 
he was succeeded by Francis Peppard, who had charge 
also of the church organized at New Windsor in 1766, 
and by Abner Peeve in the church at Blooming Grove. 
John Close, recently ordained by Dutchess county Pres- 
bytery, took charge of the two churches of Bethlehem 
and New Windsor from 1773 to 1799. In both places 
he was succeeded by Jonathan Freeman, whose pastor- 
ate continued until 1805. 

The church at Blooming Grove was supplied, after 
Abner Reeve left it, in his zeal for Independency (1764- 
1770), by Amaziah Lewis, Benoni Bradner (1786-1802), 
and Luther Halsey. 

1 Eager's Orange County. 


Before the close of the century the Scotchtown church 
was organized (1798). and Methuselah Baldwin became 
its pastor. Here he remained for nearly forty years. 
The church at Crawford was of still older date, and 
Jonathan Freeman was pastor of it — in conjunction 
with New Windsor — for several years. Meanwhile 
a congregation was gathered at Newburgh; but no 
church seems to have been organized till about 1796-98. 
Relinquishing his labors at Crawford, Jonathan Free- 
man supplied Xewburgh in its stead, in conjunction 
w T ith New Windsor. This was in accordance with the 
course of his predecessor at the latter place, John Close, 
who had divided his time between the church at New 
Windsor and the congregation at Newburgh for several 
years (1785-1796). Freeman was succeeded at New- 
burgh by Eleazer Burnet and John Johnston, — the pas- 
torate of the latter extending from 1807 to 1857. The 
church at Albany was formed before 1761. Previous 
to this, the feeble consrreo-ation had been endeavoring 
to secure the means of erecting a house of worship, 
and application was afterward repeatedly made to 
Synod to secure aid. Their case was recommended to 
the attention and charity of friends of the cause, and, 
through great embarrassments, the house of worship 
was at length erected and a pastor secured. The church 
of Schenectady was organized a few years later, and 
for some years formed a joint charge with Currie's 
Bush, now Princetown. 1 

In 1770, a letter was received from the Presbytery 
of South Carolina, requesting to know the terms on 
which a union with the Synod might be obtained. 
This was a body, composed in part of New England 
and in part of Scotch elements, which had existed in 
the low country of the Carolinas as far back probably 

1 For fuller accounts of congregations, see chap, xviii. 


as 1729. and it inay have been in existence even some 
years earlier. It continued 1 under the same name down 
to the period of the Kevolutionary War, when its meet- 
ings were interrupted and its members scattered. The 
Presbytery of Charleston, formed after the close of the 
conflict, claimed to occupy the same ground and to be 
substantially the same bod}*. The Synod answered 
their letter, but no reply was received. 

The Presbytery of Hanover had already increased 
so that, in the view of a number of its members, a 
division was desirable. In 1770, a petition to this effect 
was laid before Synod, and the ministers south of 
Virginia and within the bounds of North Carolina 
were formed into the Presbytery of Orange. Upon 
its erection it consisted of six members, Hugh McAden, 
Heniy Patillo, James Cresswell, Joseph Alexander, 
Hezekiah James Balch, and Hezekiah Balch. Thus 
at the close of the period under review, the S}"nod 
was composed of ten Presbyteries, — Dutchess, Suffolk, 
New York, New Brunswick, Donegal, Lewistown, New 
Castle, the First and Second of Philadelphia, Hanover, 
and Orange. Nearly as many ministers had been 
received or ordained as were in connection with the 

1 In 1695, a church was formed in Dorchester, Mass., "with a 
design to remove to Carolina to encourage the settlement of churches 
and the promotion of religion in the southern plantations.'' The 
church embarked, with its pastor, Rev. Joseph Lord, in December. 
14 On February 2, 1696, the Lord's Supper was administered for 
the first time in that colony."' This colony settled at Dorchester, 
eighteen miles from Charleston. In 1G98, Rev. John Cotton, son 
of the Boston minister, was dismissed from Plymouth, and gathered 
a church in Charleston. He died in 1699. In 1705, the "Dissen- 
ters" had three churches in Charleston and one in the country 
(Dorchester). In 1754, Mr. Osgood, pastor of Dorchester, with a 
colony from that church, organized the church in Midway, Ga. 
(Holmes's Annals, i. 461, 469, 492.) A colony from Midway formed 
the Presbyterian church in Burke county, Ga. F. 


Synod at the time of its erection in 1758. Most of 
these had been trained within the bounds of the Pres- 
byteries, and by these more than seventy had been 
ordained. Among the accessions from abroad were the 
celebrated Dr. Witherspoon, from the Presbytery of 
Paisley in Scotland, Alexander McLean, James Gourly, 
and perhaps one or two others from North Britain. 
McGill, Ehea, Huey, and two or three others were all 
that came from Ireland. James Sproat, Jonathan Mur- 
doch, and A. Lewis, were from the Congregational 
Association of ISTew Haven ; and Dutchess county Pres- 
bytery received Benjamin Strong from Fairfield West. 
Several others were from New England, but they were 
for the most part educated or ordained within the 
bounds of the Presbyterian Church. 1 

1 The members received and for the most part ordained by the 
Presbyteries during this period were as follows. New Brunswick 
Presbytery ordained Alexander McWhorter, William Kirkpatrick 
(1760), James Hunt, James Caldwell, John Hanna, John Clark 
(1761), Samuel Parkhurst, Joseph Treat, William Mills (1762), 
William Tennent, Jr., Enoch Green (1703), Amos Thompson, Thomas 
Smith, Jacob Ker, Nathan Ker (1764), James Lyon, John Rox- 
borough (1765), David Caldwell (1766), Jeremiah Halsey (1768), 
William Schenk, Jacob Vanarsdalen (1772). New York ordained 
Azel Roe (1762), Francis Peppard (1765), Jedediah Chapman (1767), 
James Tuttle (1769), William Woodhull (1770), Alexander Miller, 
Jonathan Murdoch, Oliver Deming (1771), Amzi Lewis (1772), 
Matthias Burnet, Joseph Grover (1775). New Castle ordained 
John Strain. John Carmichael (1761), Samuel Blair (1766), John 
McCreary, William Foster, Joseph Smith (1769), John Woodhull, 
Josiah Lewis (1771), Thomas Read, James Wilson, James Anderson 
(1772), Thomas Smith (1774). Lewes Presbytery ordained Joseph 
Montgomery (1762), Alexander Huston (1765), Thomas McCraken 
(1768), John Brown (1769). Hanover Presbytery ordained Henry 
Patillo (1758), James Waddel (1763), David Rice (1765), Thomas 
Jackson, Samuel Leak (1769). Suffolk Presbytery ordained Samson 
Occuni, Ezra Eeeve (1759), Moses Barrett, Thomas Smith (1760), 
Benj. Goldsmith (1764), David Eose (1765), Elani Potter, John 
Close (1766), Joshua Hart (1772), John Davenport (1775). The 


The growth of the Church was thus from its own 
natural increase, and the missionary efforts that were 
put forth. These efforts, though unequal to the demand, 
were strenuous and unremitted. The applications ad- 
dressed to the Synod, hoth from the North and South, 
were urgent and repeated. Virginia and the Carolinas 
presented inviting fields for missionary effort; but the 
laborers were few. From the Great Valley west of the 
mountains, from the region in and around Prince Ed- 
ward, from the Presbytery of Orange, embracing a 
large part of North Carolina and extending into South 
Carolina and Georgia, the applications for aid were 

First Presbytery of Philadelphia ordained John Murray (1706), 
Alexander Mitchel (17G9), James Boyd, James Watt (1770), William 
Hollingshead (1774), Nathaniel Irwin, Daniel McCalla (1775). The 
ministers ordained by the Second Presbytery of Philadelphia were 
Patrick Allison (1703), Samuel Eakin (1770), Robert Davidson (1774). 
Donegal ordained John Craighead (1768), Hezekiah J. Balch (1770), 
Hugh Vance (1772), William Thorn (1773), Thomas McFarren (1775). 
Dutchess county Presbytery ordained David Close (1773), Black- 
leach Burritt (1774). The Presbytery of Orange ordained Thomas 
Reese, John Simpson (1774) ; and the Presbytery of Lancaster, 
during its brief existence, ordained Samuel Blair (1766). 

The members received from other bodies by the Presbyteries 
during this period were few in number. Suffolk received Thomas 
Payne in 1764; New Brunswick, Jonathan Leavitt, from New Eng- 
land, in 1765, John Witherspoon, from Scotland, in 1769, and James 
Gourly, from Scotland, in 1775. The First Presbytery of Philadel- 
phia received James Sproat, successor of Tennent in Philadelphia, 
in 1769. Dr. Sproat had been converted under Tennent's preach- 
ing, and had been settled at Guilford, Conn., for nearly twenty-five 
years. (Sprague's Annals, iii. 125.) New Castle received Daniel 
McClealand, in 1769. Donegal, Joseph Rhea, from Ireland, in 1771, 
Robert Hughes, also from Ireland, in 1773, and Daniel McClure 
and Levi Frisbie, missionaries from New England, in the same year. 
The last two, however, were not received by the Synod. In 1775, 
Colin McFarquhar was also received from Scotland. Orange Pres- 
bytery received James Campbell and James Edmonds, from South 
Carolina, in 1774; and Dutchess county, Benjamin Strong, in 1772. 

Vol. I.— 14 


renewed, sometimes with each successive year. The 
Synod sent among them all whom it could spare. 
Licentiates, and ministers recently ordained, were 
directed to labor in these destitute regions from a few 
weeks to several months. Some of the ablest members 
of the Synod, as Duffield, McTVhorter, Spencer, and 
Treat, were employed from time to time to itinerate 
through the region and organize churches. 1 By such 
methods the Synod attained a large acquaintance with 
the Southern field, and their interest and sympathies 
were excited in its behalf. 

This was also the case with the frontier settlements 
of Pennsylvania and the northern settlements of ]S"ew 
York. Duffield and Rodgers were active in visiting 
them and encouraging the feeble churches, or organ- 
izing them where they were not yet established. 

The incessant demand for ministers led to measures 
for securing a larger number of candidates and making 
provision for their education. The project of appoint- 
ing a Professor of Divinity at Princeton College was 
agitated as early as 1760, only two years after the 
union of the two Synods. No adequate provision, 
however, could be made at the time for his support, 
and the matter was for the time deferred. Yet the 
Synod (1761) declared that "the Church suffers greatly 
for want of an opportunity to instruct students in the 
knowledge of divinity;" and it was therefore agreed 
that every student, after taking his first degree in col- 
lege, should " read carefully and closely on this subject 
at least one year, under the care of some minister 
of an approved character for his skill in theology," 
under his direction discussing "difficult points in di- 
vinity, forming sermons, lectures, and such other use- 
ful exercises as he may be directed to, in the course of 

1 Sec Minutes for successive years of this period. 


his studies." Practice in public speaking was recom- 
mended, and probationers were " to forbear reading 
their sermons from the pulpit, if they could conve- 
niently." 1 

But these provisions came far short of meeting the 
emergency. The college at Princeton, a few years later 
(1768), secured the services of the celebrated Dr. "VYith- 
erspoon, of Scotland, who was invited to the presidency 
of the college on the death of Dr. Finley. A new and 
energetic effort was now made throughout the bounds 
of the Church to secure a larger 'endowment for the 
institution. It was prosecuted with much vigor and a 
good degree of success. Dr. "VYitherspoon, in addition 
to his other duties, gave lectures on divinity, and 
instructed the students who desired it, in the Hebrew 
language. This, in the circumstances, was the best 
provision that could be made. The Synod, encouraged 
by the prospect, engaged to add fifty pounds a year to 
his salary. 

The first difficulty, the securing of a Divinity Pro- 
fessor, was thus met. Another remained. The neces- 
sities of those engaged in a course of preparation for 
the ministry were often urgent, and for lack of means 
they were sometimes compelled to abandon their pur- 
pose. The Synod endeavored (1771) to meet this diffi- 
culty by " a scheme for supporting young men of piety 
and parts at learning for the work of the ministry, so 
that our numerous vacancies may be supplied with 
preachers of the gospel." By this scheme, it was the 
aim of the Synod to throw the burden upon those who 
were most interested in the success of the project. 
Each vacant congregation asking Presbytery for sup- 
plies was to pay annually two pounds into a common 
fund. Every minister a member of the Presbytery 

1 Minutes, 309, 310. 


was to pay one pound, and any who were willing to 
contribute were to have the opportunity of annual sub- 
scription. Individuals who applied for aid were to be 
examined and approved by the Presbytery, and were 
to preach one year after licensure in the vacancies 
within its bounds. In case any persons thus educated 
should withdraw from their purpose of laboring in the 
ministry, they were to give bonds for the repayment 
of what they had thus received. 1 

Here, then, was the model of a Presbyterian Educa- 
tion society. It was probably the first of any kind 
that had yet been devised in this country. The plan 
had originated with the Presbytery of New Castle, 
and was overtured to the Synod, who approved it and 
earnestly recommended it, or a like scheme, to the 
several Presbyteries. 

In 1773, the subject was again brought to the notice 
of Synod. 2 It was found that the Presbyteries of New 
York and New Brunswick, and the Second Presbytery 
of Philadelphia, had " complied fully" with the recom- 
mendations of the Synod, and had succeeded so far in 
"raising money for poor pious youths" as to have 
" several young men at education." Some of the other 
Presbyteries had done something, but had not answered 
the design of the Synod. They were now ordered " to 
prosecute this important plan as speedily as possible." 
But the approaching scenes and troubles of the Revolu- 
tionary conflict defeated any successful or general prose- 
cution of the project. 

The subject of missionary labors among the Indians 
was not overlooked. David Brainerd had labored with 
devoted zeal among the tribes along the Delaware, and 
had made Crossweeksung, Kaunaumeek, and the Forks 
of the Delaware, classic in the literature of Christian 

i Minutes, 419, 420. 2 Ibid. 438. 


missions. His brother John, not unworthy of such a kin- 
dred, had longed to tread in his steps ; but the French 
War, and trouble among the tribes, had deranged his 
plans. He settled, therefore, as pastor of the congre- 
gation at Newark, waiting for a more favorable oppor- 
tunity. In 1760, he laid his case before Synod, then in 
session at Philadelphia. He asked advice, whether he 
should leave his present comfortable position at Newark 
and resume his mission to the Indians. The Synod 
dared not repress his zeal. Though "tenderly affected 
with the case of Newark congregation, yet, in consider- 
ation of the great importance of the Indian mission, 
they unanimously advise Mr. Brainerd to resume it." 
The interest of the Indian fund was given him for the 
year, in order to " his more comfortable subsistence." 
It was subsequently renewed, and the congregations 
throughout the Church were urged to take up collec- 
tions for his support and in order to sustain an Indian 
school. 1 

But the attention of the Synod had already been 
called to the Oneida tribe. 2 At first they could not see 
their way clear to make any effort to sustain a mission 
among them; but when, in 1763, the faithful Occam 
had already entered the field, and derived but a scanty 
support from "the Society in Britain," the Synod gene- 
rously resolved to place at his disposal for the year 
the sum of sixty-five pounds; and, in order to secure 
it, collections were ordered in the several congrega- 
tions. At this time Sergeant had joined the Indian 
mission under the care of Brainerd. 

In 1768, " the Synod, taking under consideration the 
deplorable condition of the Indian tribes, the natives 
of this land, who sit in heathenish darkness and are 
perishing for lack of knowledge," appointed a com- 

1 Minutes, 311, 316, 324. 2 Ibid. 324. 



mittee " to draw wp and concert a general plan to be 
laid before the next Synod, to be by them approved 
in order to prepare the way to propagate the gospel 
among those benighted people." The committee con- 
sisted of some of the ablest members of the body. 
Allison, Read, Treat, Ewing, William Tennent, McWhor- 
ter, Caldwell, Williamson, Thomson, and Blair, com- 
posed it, and were to meet in October, at Elizabeth- 
town, to devise the plan. 

But the troubled state of the frontier, — such that 
Cooper and Brainerd, who had intended to visit the 
Indians on the Muskingum, were forced to abandon 
their project, — the intrigues of the French, and the 
near approach of the war, etfectually prevented the 
success of any enterprise which the Synod might have 
cbosen to prosecute. It was thirty years before the 
ground which was thus lost could be regained, or 
the attention and sympathies of the Presbyterian 
churches be effectually drawn to the religious claims 
of the aboriginal tribes. Yet it was the full intention 
of the Synod to prosecute the matter on a well-devised 
system. A part of this was developed in the overture 
from the New York Presbytery, on the subject of a 
missionary collection in all the churches of each Pres- 
bytery, — a plan which was adopted by the Synod in 
1767. This was with a view not only to secure mis- 
sionary labor for the Indians, but to relieve "the un- 
happy lot of many in various parts of our land who 
are brought up in ignorance," whose "families were 
perishing for lack of knowledge," and " who, on account 
of their poverty and scattered habitations, are unable, 
without some assistance, to support the gospel minis- 
try among them." It was publicly acknowledged and 
declared to be the " duty" of the churches "to send 
missionaries to the frontier settlements, who may 


preach to the dispersed families there, and form them 
into societies for the public worship of God." 

Here were the germs both of Home and Foreign 
Missions, thirty years before the great missionary 
movement at the beginning of the present century 
commenced. But for the war, it is possible that Brain- 
erd might have had the honor reserved for Carey, and 
the American Church — like the child teaching the 
j>arent to read — have set England the lesson that by 
many years should have antedated the formation of 
her missionary societies. 

The correspondence of the Synod with other churches 
was not overlooked. In 1759, Davies, Cross, and Ten- 
nent were on a large committee to propose to the Pres- 
byterian churches abroad to settle some plan by which 
this object could be secured. In successive years, 
committees of correspondence were appointed or con- 
tinued; but they had been unable to meet, and for seven 
years no digested plan was laid before Synod. In 
1766, Alison, Blair, Beatty, and P. V. Livingston were 
appointed a committee to prepare and bring in a plan 
"as soon as possible." They reported in favor of a 
correspondence with the churches of Holland, Geneva, 
Switzerland, the General Assembly of Scotland, the 
seceding Synods, the ministers in and about London, 
the Irish Synod, the ministers of Dublin and of New 
England, and the churches in South Carolina. For 
four or five years, the correspondence which was thus 
recommended was more or less maintained; but the 
last notice of it appears in 1771. 

The regular correspondence with the consociated 
churches of Connecticut bears date also from 1766 
Already the Synod had given evidence of regarding 
them in a different light from that of " individual minis- 
ters, convened as a temporary judicatory for the single 
purpose of licensing or ordaining a candidate." While 


declaring (1764) that " every Christian society should 
maintain communion with others as far as they can 
with a good conscience," yet "no society was hound to 
adopt or imitate the irregularities of another," in order 
thereto, " contrary to its own established and approved 
rules of procedure." Hence the candidates of the New- 
Light party in Ireland, of Congregational Councils in 
New England, and others, were not to be received by 
the Presbyteries without examination. 

But in regard to the associated churches of Connec- 
ticut a different feeling prevailed, and, at the same time 
that the correspondence with foreign churches was 
reduced to system, a plan for closer intimacy with 
those of Connecticut was devised. Arrangements were 
made, in concert with the General Association of Con- 
necticut, for a convention of Congregational and Pres- 
byterian ministers, to be held annually, in order to pro- 
mote objects of common interest to both denominations. 
The convention was to meet alternately in Connecticut 
and within the bounds of the Presbyterian Church, but 
was to exercise no authority over the ministers or 
churches. Its general design was " to gain informa- 
tion of " their "united cause and interest; to collect 
accounts relating thereto ; to unite their endeavors 
and counsels for spreading the gospel and preserving 
the religious liberties of the churches; to diffuse har- 
mony and to keep up a correspondence throughout this 
united body, and with friends abroad," and to vindi- 
cate the loyalty and reputation of the churches thus 
represented. 1 

1 This is a very covert and delicate statement, concealing the real 
object. The phrase '•'■preserving religious liberty" is very significant. 
"To vindicate the loyalty and reputation of the churches''' reveals the 
design. Episcopacy, combined with hyper-Presbyterianism (Scotch) 
\n New England, which desired a Presbyterian Establishment on the 
basis of the Solemn League and Covenant, remonstrated with the 


The convention met at Elizabethtown, in 1766. It 
drew up a plan of imion between the Congregational, 
Consoeiated, and Presbyterian Churches, which was 
reported to the Synod the following year. It was 
amended by them, and finally adopted by both parties. 
From this period the conventions were held annually 
until 1776. The disturbance occasioned by the war 
led to its neglect, and no effort was made to revive it 
till 1792. 

The object of this convention was simply Christian 
and patriotic. There were common dangers which 
threatened alike the Presbyterian churches of the Mid- 
dle States, and the Congregational churches of New 
England. It was well known that, while civil liberty 
was threatened by stanjp acts, a project for the sacri- 
fice of religious freedom to Episcopal ascendency in 
the colonies was cautiously but resolutely cherished in 
England. It was believed, on what was regarded as 
good authority, that nothing less was contemplated 
than the extension to these shores of the English 
Establishment, for which Dissenters here would be 
taxed as they were in England. 

To present a united front of resistance to such a pro- 
English Parliament against the holding of Synods in New England. 
Under the 16th of Richard II., the power to convoke conventions 
was vested in the Crown, and continued to be exercised even by 
Cromwell. New York and Virginia had already Episcopal Estab- 
lishments, and the effort was made to put the entire country under 
diocesan bishops, as in England. The object of the convention of 
Presbyterians and Congregationalists was to prevent this; and by 
their extensive correspondence they aimed to prevent such a result 
The opponents of the Dissenters were also enemies of the existing 
colonial governments. Through influence from this source, the Con- 
gregationalists lost their Synods, and the convention was formed to 
resist silently the attempt to subject them to Ro3 r alty and Episco- 
pacy. (Holmes's Annals, i. 536. Printed Minutes of the convention. 
These last were printed in pamphlet form a few years since.) F. 


ject; to make common cause with all Dissenters sub 
ject to disabilities in any of the colonies, — as in Mary- 
land and Carolina ; to diffuse among the people facts 
and information which should enable them to deter- 
mine intelligently in regard to the great questions 
looming up in the distance; to secure careful estimates 
of the number of Episcopalians and non-Episcopalians 
in the different colonies, — these were the objects which 
the convention kept ever in view. It is evident, from 
a perusal of its minutes, that the men who composed 
it were not disturbed by the apprehension of merely 
imaginary dangers. They perceived the identity of 
interest between the cause of civil and that of religious 
liberty; and we cannot doubt that the influence of their 
deliberations powerfully contributed to the successful 
issue of the great conflict which some already felt was 
near at hand. 

Soon after the arrival of Dr. Witherspoon in this 
country, an effort was made to secure a union of the 
" seceding" ministers with the Synod. At the request of 
the ministers themselves, a committee was appointed 
to converse with them (1769). That committee failed 
to meet, and another was appointed in the following 
year. Their conference proved barren of results; and 
in 1774 the Associate Presbytery in Pennsylvania, 
" for reasons which appeared to them valid," declined 
airy further measures with a view to union. 

The necessities of missionary labor had called the 
attention of members of the Synod to the wisdom of 
making provision for the circulation, especially in 
frontier settlements, of religious books. In 1772, the 
charity of the public was asked for the promotion of 
this object. The books which were specified as those 
most desirable for circulation were Bibles, the "West- 
minster Confession, Assembly's and Yincent's Cate- 
chisms, Doddridge's " Eise and Progress," Alleine's 


"Alarm," Watts's Songs fcr Children, and "A Compas- 
sionate Address to the Christian World/' These books 
were designed to be given to the poor; and, in 1773, 
committees were appointed in Philadelphia and New 
York to see to their procurement, and each was 
authorized to draw upon the treasurer of Syno,d for an 
amount not exceeding twenty pounds. The germ of 
the Publication cause, as well as those of Home and 
Foreign Missions, was thus manifest at a period ante- 
rior to the Kevolutionary conflict. 

The subject of Psalmody was one which occasioned 
in some quarters no little disquiet. Many were indis- 
posed to give up the old version of the Psalms, and 
some of the Scotch were especially tenacious of it. The 
church at New York had been sorely rent by troubles 
which had originated from this source. In 1763, the 
question was introduced into Synod, " As sundry mem- 
bers and congregations within the bounds of our 
Synod judge it most for edification to sing Dr. "Watts's 
Imitation of David's Psalms, do the Synod so far approve 
said imitation as to allow such ministers and congrega- 
tions the liberty of using it V The reply was, that, as 
many of the Synod had not examined the book, they 
were not prepared to answer, but, inasmuch as it was 
approved by many members of the bod}", no objection 
would be made to its use till the subject of Psalmody 
was further considered. Members were recommended 
to examine the matter and be prepared to present 
their views the next year. But in 1764 the matter 
was postponed, and in 1765 it was referred to Dr Fin- 
ley and Mr. McDowell. Upon their report it was 
decided that the Synod " look upon the inspired Psalms 
in Scripture to be proper matter to be sung in Divine 
worship, according to their original design and the 
practice of the Christian churches, yet will not forbid 
those to use the Imitation of them whose judgment 


and inclination lead them to do so." For a time this 
decision seems to have been acquiesced in; but in 1773 
trouble arose in the Second Presbyterian Church of 
Philadelphia. Of this church, James Sproat — converted 
while in Yale College under the preaching of his prede- 
cessor, on his tour through New England — was pastor. 
Watts's version had been introduced among the congre- 
gation, to the great annoyance of certain members. 
The Session favored the measure, and the Presbytery 
confirmed the judgment of the Session. An appeal was 
had to Synod, and, after discussion, a committee was 
appointed to confer with the original parties. Upon 
their report, it was decided to be unwise to affirm or 
disapprove the several distinct propositions laid down 
by the Presbytery in their judgment, and, as the Synod 
had not then time to " consider fully the different ver- 
sions of the Psalms in question," and it had already 
been declared that each cono-reo-ation might determine 
the matter for themselves, the Synod contented itself 
with recommending to both parties peace and harmony, 
forbearing all harsh sentiments and expressions, and 
especially all intimation'that either version was "unfit" 
to be sung in Christian worship." It was more than 
fifteen years later that Dr. Latta, of the Second Pres- 
bytery of Philadelphia, issued his pamphlet against 
Anderson, of the Associate Church, contending that the 
principal subjects of Psalmod}* should be taken from 
the gospel. The pamphlet was widely scattered, and, 
although great agitation had been produced on the sub- 
ject, even beyond the mountains in the feeble churches 
of Kentucky, it went through four editions, and was 
never answered. Thus a leading member of the Old- 
side Second Presbytery of Philadelphia became the 
champion of the dreaded innovation. 

For some time the authority of the Synod's Commis- 
sion had been called in question. It was argued that 


the Synod had no right to delegate its full authority to 
a portion of its members. There were serious doubts, 
moreover, as to the utility as well as powers of Com- 
mission, and in 1774 the Synod found it necessary to 
vindicate its course in the annual appointment which 
had been made with undeviating uniformity from the 
date of its erection. Provision, however, was made to 
guard against any abuse of its powers from deficient 
attendance, and its decisions, like those of the Synod 
itself, were declared to be without appeal. Its pro- 
ceedings and judgments, however, might be reviewed, 
and in this review the Commission might be present 
and assist. 

It was at this period (1774) that Eev. Dr. Ezra Stiles 
and Eev. Samuel Hopkins called the attention of the 
Synod to the claims of the African race. Thej T were 
agitating the plan of sending two natives of Africa on 
a mission to propagate Christianity in their native 
country, and they asked the Synod to approve and 
countenance the undertaking. The request was favor- 
ably received. The Synod declared itself "very happy 
to have an opportunit} 7 to express their readiness to 
concur with and assist in a mission to the African 
tribes, especially where so many circumstances concur, 
as in the present case, to intimate that it is the will of 
God, and to encourage us to hope for success." They 
gave assurance that they were ready to do all that was 
proper for them in their station, for the encouragement 
and assistance of those who had originated the move- 

With the cause of civil and religious liberty the 
American Presbyterian Church has been identified 
from its earliest period. From the time when Lord 
Cornbury imprisoned Francis Makemie for preaching 
in Xew York, the voice of the Church which boasts 
him as its founder has ever been on the side of free- 

Vol. I.— 15 


dom and against all intolerance. Throughout her 
entire history, and in all her records, there is not an 
act on this great subject which has received her sanc- 
tion, for which she needs to offer an apology. On the 
other hand, the cause of civil and religious freedom has 
never found a more earnest and steadfast champion. 
This is abundantly illustrated in the history of our 
Revolutionary conflict. 

The Synod of 1775 met at Philadelphia, May 17, 
1775. It was a time of great popular excitement. 
Just four weeks to a day before they assembled, .the 
first blood shed in the Revolutionary conflict flowed at 
Lexington. Just one week before, the General Con- 
gress had assembled, and was now sitting but a short 
distance off in the same city. Outside the place where 
the Synod was convened, in the streets of Philadelphia, 
and indeed throughout the land, nothing but the scenes 
and interests of the opening conflict was talked of. 
Yet this body calnily attended to its own proper busi- 
ness, and, when the fitting time had arrived, gave 
appropriate expression to its patriotic sympathies and 
its religious convictions on the subject of colonial 
rights. Rarely, on any occasion, has there been a par- 
allel utterance more significant or effective; and it came 
at the opportune moment, when political zeal needed 
to be tempered and sustained by religious sanctions. 

The members present in the Synod were less in num- 
ber than was usual upon similar occasions; but this 
is easily accounted for. The Presbyteries of Suffolk, 
Lewes, Philadelphia Second, Hanover, and Orange, 
were without a single representative; Dutchess county 
Presbytery had but three, — Wheeler Case, Samuel 
Mills, and Ichabod Lewis; New Castle and Donegal 
had each but one, and Philadelphia First but two. In 
all there were only twenty-four ministers and five 
elders. But their very presence upon the occasion indi- 


cated their character, and the smallness of their num- 
bers was compensated by the vigor of their spirit. 

Foremost among them was the venerable Dr. Wither- 
spoon, Scotch in accent and in strength of conviction, 
but American in feeling to his heart's core, and des- 
tined for six years to represent his adopted State in 
the General Congress, and draw up many of the most 
important state papers of the day. With a clear intel- 
lect, a calm judgment, indomitable strength of purpose, 
and a resolute and unflinching courage, he combined 
that conscientious integrity and religious feeling which 
made him among his associates in the Church what 
Washington was in the field, and secured for him the 
respect and veneration of all. But, if a bost in him- 
self, there were others present worthy to be his allies. 
There was Robert Cooper, for a time chaplain in the 
army, and who was near being taken a prisoner at 
Princeton j Dr. John Eodgers, of New York, chaplain 
during the war, first of Heath's brigade, then of the 
Convention of the State and of the Council of Safety; 
McWhorter, who shared the councils of Washington on 
the memorable 26th of December, 1776, when the Ameri- 
can troops crossed the Delaware, and who was afterward 
chaplain of Knox's brigade ; James Caldwell, inherit- 
ing with his Huguenot blood a feeling of opposition to 
tyranny and tyrants, a member of the Jersey regiment 
under his parishioner, Colonel Dayton, with a price set 
upon his head by the enemy, his church burned, his 
wife shot by a refugee, and himself at length (1781) by 
a drunken soldier; Jedediah Chapman, the fearless mis- 
sionary pioneer, and the father of Presbyterianism in 
Central New York, — and others beside, well worth} 7 " to 
stand in the foremost rank of American and Christian 

These were the men who fearlessly committed them- 
selves on the side of freedom. In the alarming posture 


of public affairs they judged it their duty to appoint a 
day of "solemn fasting, humiliation, and prayer," to be 
" carefully and religiously observed" by all the congre- 
gations under their care. Anticipating a similar appoint- 
ment by "the Continental Congress, now sitting," they 
directed that if not more than four weeks distant from 
it, it should supersede their own. 

The measure — then unusual — of a pastoral letter, was 
adopted. Witherspoon, Eodgers, and Caldwell were 
the leading members of the committee appointed to 
draw it up. It bore throughout the stamp of their 
deep feeling and patriotic as well as religious zeal. It 
noticed the threatening aspect of public affairs and the 
apprehended horrors of a civil war, and, in view of 
these things, recognized the Synod's duty of addressing 
the numerous congregations under its care " at this 
important crisis." In a tone that must have sounded 
in strange contrast with the echoes of war, it pressed 
home upon the attention of all, the great truths of 
God's sovereignty and providence, and personal duty 
in relation to the claims of gospel repentance, faith, 
and obedience. 

The letter then proceeds to express the views of the 
Synod, which they declare they " do not wish to con- 
ceal, as men and citizens." It urges loyalty to the 
king, but mnion on the part of the colonies : mutual 
charity and esteem among members of different reli- 
gious denominations : vigilance in regard to social gov- 
ernment and morals: reformation of manners : religious 
discipline : the careful securing of the rights of con- 
science by the magistrates; personal honesty and integ- 
rity; humanity and mercy, especially among such as 
should be called to the field. " That man will fight 
most bravely," they say, " who never fights till it is 
necessary, and who ceases to fight at> soon as the neces- 
sity is over." 


Such was the spirit of this nohlo letter. Five hun- 
dred copies of it were to be printed and circulated at 
the Synod's expense. Thus they were scattered abroad 
throughout all the congregations, contributing in no 
small measure to kindle and sustain the patriotic zeal 
of the country. The Presbyterian Church, by the act 
of its highest judicatory, thus took its stand at Phila- 
delphia by the side of the American Congress then in 
session, and its influence was felt in a most decisive 
manner throughout the bounds of the Church. 


OF THE CHURCH. 1775-17S8. 

There were some very obvious reasons why the 
Presbyterian Church in this country should take the 
noble stand it did, at the critical moment when the 
people were called to choose between resistance and 
submission to arbitrary power. The same reasons also 
were valid when the question of national independence 
was to be met. 

The history, traditions, and sympathies of the Church, 
— the principles upon which its very existence was based, 
— the nature of its system, combining liberty with law, 
— the aims which it stood pledged to cherish, as well as 
the clangers which it had to fear in case an arbitrary 
system was to triumph and be established by the power 
of the sword, — contributed to unite the members and 
friends of the Church, almost as one man, in the pa- 
triotic cause. Its constituent elements, it is true, had 
been drawn from sources widely diverse ; yet each 



brought with it traditionary memories, cherished witb 
sacred fondness, which were singularly harmonious ii 
their nature and bearing. Within its fold were men 
whose ancestors had resisted the Spanish tyrant, even 
to the death, on the dikes of Holland, — some who had 
listened in childhood to the story of what their ances- 
tors, driven into exile by the revocation of the Edict 
of Nantes, had suffered less than a century previous, — 
some whose parents had wandered houseless in Scot- 
tish glens, or who had indignantly witnessed the des- 
potic attempt to impose Episcopacy on Scotland, — not 
a few who must have seen and heard the heroes of 
Londonderry or Enniskillen, — and hundreds, if not 
thousands, who might proudly boast that in their veins 
flowed the blood of the Pilgrim Fathers of New Eng- 
land. Each had some treasured memory of the past, 
some ancestral association, which he cherished as a 
pledge of unswerving fidelity to the cause of civil and 
religious freedom. 

The da.te of the foundation of the Church in this 
country, moreover, was significant. It seemed born 
just in time to inherit the legacy of the nohlest spirits, 
the persecuted heroes of England, Scotland, Ireland, 
and the Continent. "When Makemie first landed on 
these shores, a majority, possibly, of the two thousand 
Non-Conformists of 1662 still survived. Baxter had 
just been fined nearly two hundred pounds for preach- 
ing within five miles of a corporation, and was now 
writing his New Testament Paraphrase, for which the 
•vengeance of Jeffries was soon to sentence him to a 
two-years imprisonment. Owen, sinking under his 
gigantic labors, was feeling even yet the bitterness of 
the intolerance that sought to identify him with the 
conspirators of the Eye-House Plot. JManton, silenced 
in the pulpit, was calmly waiting the summons to a 
higher service. Bates, who might have had "any bish- 


opric in the kingdom" if he would biu conform, was in 
a green old age, busy with his elegant pen. Calamy, of 
London, — whose father for preaching had been sent to 
Newgate, and whose son, now a boy of twelve years, was 
to be the historian of the heroes of Non-Conformity, — 
was looking eagerly toward the New World, to learn 
what welcoine the exiled for conscience' sake found 
upon its shores; and to him, with his friends in the 
great metropolis, Makemie himself was to turn for 
sympathy and aid in his arduous task. Indeed, in the 
earl} 7 history of the Presbyterian Church, every vessel 
that passed from the Old World to the New might have 
borne with it some story of persecuted faith, some illus- 
tration of religious intolerance, to make the voluntary 
exile for conscience' sake pledge himself anew to the 
cause for which he, as well as his fathers, had suffered. 
Then came the grievous hardships to which for succes- 
sive generations "Dissenters" had been subjected in 
Virginia, the establishment of the Episcopal Church in 
the Carolinas, the fines and imprisonment of Makemie 
in New York, and the bigoted jealousy which up to 
the very moment of the Declaration of Independence- 
denied the Presbytei'ians of that city a charter of in- 
corporation, to confirm, even by the exasperations of 
wrong, the fidelity of the Church to the principles 
upon which, by New Testament authority, it had been 

And yet — in spite of temporary grievances, now fast 
passing away — Presbyterians loved, and had good 
reason to love, this land of their nativity or adoption. 
Here were no cumbrous hierarchies, no prescriptive 
rights of nobility or primogeniture, no courts of Star 
Chamber and High Commission, no obtrusive and im- 
pertinent intei'ferences, save in a few instances, with 
freedom of worship, or the enjojmient of civil and reli- 
gious rights. Here were institutions which, if left 


undisturbed, came nearer than any others on the globe 
to realizing the ideal of a free and liberal government. 
Here the citizen might hope to enjoy for himself, and 
transmit to his children, the blessings of equal laws and 
constitutional freedom. Here was a treasure, therefore, 
worthy to be esteemed above all price, — a treasure not 
to be surrendered to the arrogant claims and encroach- 
ments of the British ministry, or to be yielded to the 
terror even of invading armies. Nor did it need any 
remarkable sagacity to perceive that the mischief to 
be dreaded was involved in the very principle on 
which encroachment was based. Let that principle 
be yielded, and no limit could be set to the arrogance 
that demanded the first concession. One right after 
another might be wrenched away, and religious liberty 
would not long survive the loss of civil privilege. 

With the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches 
of the land, this consideration had great weight. They 
knew that there were among them many whose work 
was to spy out their liberties and send back sinister 
reports across the ocean. They were well aware that 
upon them were the eyes of men to whom the trap- 
pings and forms of Episcopacy were as delicious as the 
leeks and onions of Egypt to the Israelites in the 
desert. They knew that with thousands on both sides 
of the ocean it was a favorite project to cement the 
unity of the empire by the introduction and establish- 
ment in this country of diocesan bishops. Not that 
they envied "the Episcopal churches the privileges of 
a bishop, for the purposes of ordination, confirmation, 
and inspecting the morals of the clergy;" 1 not that they 
would deny to others the rights or privileges which 

1 Language emploj'ed in reference to the subject, — Minutes of 
the convention of delegates from the Synod and Connecticut Asso- 
ciation, p. 13. 


they claimed themselves ; but they wanted no bishops 
with powers such as were " annexed to the office by 
the common law of England." " Our forefathers/' said 
they, " and even some of ourselves, have seen and felt 
the tyranny of bishops' courts. Many of the first 
inhabitants of these colonies were obliged to seek an 
asylum among savages in this wilderness, in order to 
escape the ecclesiastical tyranny of Archbishop Land 
and others of his stamp. Such tyranny, if now exer- 
cised in America, would either drive us to seek new 
habitations among the heathen, where England could 
not claim a jurisdiction, or excite riots, rebellion, and 
wild disorder. We dread the consequences, as often as 
we think of this danger." 

Nor was the danger merely imaginary. The Epis- 
copacy which our fathers dreaded was the Episcopacy 
which they had known in England, commingling the 
exercise of civil with that of ecclesiastical prerogative. 
It was the Episcopacy which turned out the Non-Con- 
formists, and which forced Scotland almost into open 
revolt. It was the Episcopacy which, grafted on the 
old Virginia intolerance, would exterminate " dissent," 
impose tithes and church-rates, and set up ecclesias- 
tical courts sure to encroach on the rights of conscience. 
Disavowing the desire to introduce it with its more 
obnoxious features, the clergy of New York and New 
Jersey yet petitioned for the Episcopate, pleading that 
nearly a million of the inhabitants desired it. Ameri- 
cans in England were openly told that bishops should 
be " settled in America, in spite of all the Presbyterian 
opposition." The matter was no secret. 

As early as 1748, in the times of Archbishop Seeker, 
— perhaps earlier, — it had been proposed to introduce 
Episcopacy into New England by elevating some of the 
most distinguished of the clergy to an episcopal pre- 
eminence over their brethren. But the bribe held out 


■was promptly and nobly spurned. Whitefield, on ono 
of his last visits to this country, had communicated 
information, 1 which he had derived from an official 
source, of the project entertained in England of making 
in this country the Episcopal the Established Church. 
Enough was known to excite jealousy and suspicion, 
and unite all non-Episcopal denominations in resist- 
ance to the project. In the Political Register of 1769 
is a picture entitled " An attempt to land a bishop in 
America." The name to be read on the vessel's side is 
that of Hillsborough, the then Colonial Secretary. The 
vessel has touched the wharf, but a crowd of earnest 
people with long poles are pushing her from her moor- 
ings. One of the multitude has a book entitled "Sid- 
ney on Government," another has a volume of "Locke's 
Essays" a third, in Quaker garb, has "Barclay's Apology" 
open before him, while from the lips of a fourth issues 
a scroll inscribed, " No lords, spiritual or temporal, in 
New England." Half-way up the shrouds of the vessel 
is a bishop in his robes, his mitre falling, and a volume 
of Calvin's works, hurled by one on shore, is about to 
strike his head. From the bishop's lips issues a scroll, 
on which is inscribed the nunc dimittis of aged Simeon, 
while in the foreground is a paper with the words, 
" Shall they be obliged to maintain a bishop who can- 
not maintain themselves?" At the same time, a mon- 
key near by is throwing a stone at the bishop. The 
picture is significant as expressing the popular feeling 
in opposition to Episcopal projects. 

This feeling found prompt and decided expression in 
the papers of the day. It was at just this period (1766) 
that a voluntary Episcopal convention of the clergy 
of New York and New Jersey was held ; and by them 
the petition for bishops, already referred to, was drawn 

' Gordon's America, vol. i. 


up to be forwarded to England. Dr. B. Chandler, of 
Elizabethtown, was requested to write and publish an 
appeal to the public in favor of the project. The 
appeal was published in 17(37, but was soon ably an- 
swered by Dr. Charles Cbauncey, of Boston. 

The paper controversy had now commenced: by the 
close of the following year, articles had been published 
sufficient in number and length to be comprised in two 
volumes, which were published at ISTew York in 1768." 
The convention of Congregational, Consociated, and 
Presbyterian Churches, which began its annual meet- 
ings in» 1766, had its attention called to the subject. 
Indeed, the convention itself originated in the general 
apprehension of the common danger. The opposition 
was not to bishops vested only with spiritual powers, 
but to the governmental sanction of an episcopate 
whose temporal ambition would be thereby inflamed, 
and which would not be disposed to rest till it enjoyed 
the prestige and emoluments of an Establishment. 

There was, therefore, grave reason for apprehension. 
The projects of the British ministry were scarcely even 
disguised. But the Presbyterian Church was not dis- 
posed to meet them with tame submission. The spirit 
of Makemie still lived in the hearts of those upon whom 
his mantle had fallen. The cause of civil was with 
them also the cause of religious freedom. They wanted 
no Establishment, no Episcopal arrogance, no lords 
spiritual, on this side of the Atlantic. The mere know- 
ledge of the threatened danger tended strongly to unite 
them almost to a man in opposition. 

Equally significant was the attitude of the Episcopal 
Church. For the most part it was ultra-loyal. It num 
bered only here and there a clergyman who manifested 
the least sympathy for the cause of liberty. They 
"leaned, with very few exceptions, throughout the 
colonies, to the side of the crown, and in the Middle 


and Northern provinces their flocks were chiefly of the 
same way of thinking." 1 This fact was not without 
its influence. It reacted upon the minds of the Pres- 
byterians, and made them still more earnest in their 
efforts and apprehensive in their fears. 

Thus was a religious element mingled in the strife. 
It was not merely a protest against stamped paper and 
a tax on tea, but it was the cause of civil rights, of con- 
science, and of religious freedom. It required no little 
strength of conviction to sustain the patriotism of 
the country through a seven-years conflict; but what 
was required was found to exist. The Revolution came, 
and it found no more steadfast friends and adherents 
than in the ranks of the Presbyterian Church. 

The influence of the war upon the condition and 
prospects of the Presbyterian Church, throughout the 
country, was most disastrous. Its members were almost 
all decided patriots, and its ministers, almost to a man, 
were accounted arch-rebels. Their well-known views 
and sympathies made them specially obnoxious to the 
enemy, and to be known as a Presbyterian was to incur 
all the odium of a "Whig." It is not strange, there- 
fore, that they should have been the marked victims 
of hostility, or that they should bave been, in many 
cases, mercilessly molested in property and person. 

In initiating the Revolution, and in sustaining the 
patriotic resistance of their countrymen to illegal 
tyranny, the ministers of the Presbyterian Church 
bore a conspicuous and even foremost part. Through- 
out that most trying and disastrous period through 
which the Church and country had as yet been called 
to pass, they proved themselves alike faithful to both. 
Their conduct fully justified the noble utterance of the 
Synod of 1775, a few weeks after the first blood was 

1 Hildreth, iii. 56. 


shed at Lexington. They preached the duty of resist- 
ing tyrants. They cheered their people in the dreary 
periods of the conflict by inspiring lofty trust in the 
God of nations. Some of them were engaged person- 
ally in the army. Some occupied a place in the civil 
councils. Others were personal sufferers from the ven- 
geance of an exasperated foe, and others, still, sealed 
their devotion to their country by their blood. 1 

Among those who advocated the cause of the colo- 
nies, and who from the pulpit endeavored to strengthen 
patriotic zeal by Christian principle, it would be almost 
invidious to name any; for nearly all were alike guilty 
in this respect. Dr. Witherspoon, Patrick Allison in 
Baltimore, William Tennent in Charleston, George 
Duffield in Philadelphia, John Miller at Dover, James 
Waddel and John Blair Smith in Virginia, led the way 
in vindicating from the pulpit the cause of American 

On the fast-day (May 17, 1776) Dr. Witherspoon 
preached a sermon, — afterward published and dedi- 
cated to John Hancock, — in which he entered fully 
into the great political questions of the day. It mani- 
fested his loyal zeal in behalf of his adopted country, 
and his ability to vindicate her cause. Republished, 
with notes, in Glasgow, it subjected its author to the 
odium of a rebel and a traitor. A member of the Pro- 
vincial Congress of New Jersey, he was elected by 
that body to the Continental Congress, and took part 
in defending the project of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. During the debate on its adoption, he is 
reported to have said, " That noble instrument on youi 
table, which secures immortality to its author, should 
be subscribed this very morning by every pen in this 

1 The facts that follow have been derived from very various 
sources, although n ost of them are from Sprague's Annals. 
Vol. I.— 16 


house. He who will not respond to its accents, and 
strain every nerve to cany into effect its provisions, is 
unworthy the name of a freeman. Although these gray 
hairs must descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely 
rather they should descend thither by the hand of the 
public executioner than desert at this crisis the sacred 
cause of my country." 

John Carmichael preached, at their request, to the 
militia of the city of Lancaster. The discourse of 
Miller, of Dover, who was bold in the expression of his 
patriotic ardor, was especially remarkable. Several 
days before the Declaration of Independence, he so far 
anticipated the spirit of that decisive measure as to 
address his people from that significant text, indicative 
enough of his own views, — " We have no part in David, 
nor any inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, 
O Israel I" Eobert Davidson, pastor of the First Pres- 
byterian Church of Philadelphia, at the commencement 
of the war, preached before several military companies 
from the text, " For there fell down many slain, because 
the war was of God." A fortnight after, it was repeated 
before the troops at Burlington. Sermons of this -stamp 
were by no means infrequent. Many of the soldiers 
were Presbyterians, and in the camp sought the privi- 
lege of hearing their own pastors, who sometimes, in 
their anxiety for their spiritual welfare, followed them 
to the field. 

Of John Craighead, pastor of Eocky Spring Church, 
Pa., it is said that " he fought and preached alter- 
nately." At the commencement of the war he raised 
a company from the members of his charge, and joined 
Washington's army in New Jersey. His friend Dr 
Cooper, of Middle Spring Church, is also said to have 
been the captain of a company. 1 He preached "before 

1 Mr. Craighead was a humorist, and many good jokes are told 
of him. One day, it is said, going into battle, a cannon-ball 


Colonel Montgomery's battalion under arms," near 
Shippensburg. Pa., August 31, 1775, a sermon entitled 
" Courage in a Good Cause." 1 Dr. King, of Conoco- 
cheague (Mereersburg), Avas eminent for his patriotic 
zeal. He not only volunteered his services, and went 
as chaplain to the battalion which marched from his 
region, but many were the addresses which he delivered 
to inspirit the hearts of the people in their devotion to 
the cause of the country. 

From one of these, something may be gathered of 
the tone of pulpit utterance in that trying period. 
" Subjection," he said, " is demanded of us, but it is not 
the constitutional subjection which we are* bound to 
pay; it is not a legal subjection to the king the} 7 would 
bring us to. That we already acknowledge. But it is a 
subjection to the British Parliament, or to the people of 
Great Britain. This we deny, and, I hope, will always 
deny. They are not our lords and masters; they are 
no more than our brethren and our fellow-subjects. 
They call themselves, and it has been usual to call them, 
the mother-country. But this is only a name, and, if there 
was any thing in it, one would think that it should lead 
them to treat us like children, with parental affection. 
But is it fatherly or motherly to strip us of every 
thing, to rob us of every right and privilege, and then 
to whip and dragoon us with fleets and armies till wo 
are pleased? No ! as the name does not belong to them, 
so their conduct shows they have no right to claim it. 
"We are on an equal footing with them in all respects; 

struck a tree near him, a splinter of which nearly knocked him 
down. "God bless me!" exclaimed Mr. Cooper, "you were nearly 
knocked to staves." "Oh, yes," was his reply; "and, though you 
are a cooper, you could not have set me up." — Nevvn?& Churches of the 
Valley, 211. 

1 This sermon is in possession of the Presbyterian Historical 


with respect to government and privileges; and, there- 
fore, their usurpation ought to be opposed. Nay, when 
the king uses the executive branch of government 
which is in his hand, to enable one part of his subjects 
to lord it over and oppress another, it is a sufficient 
ground of our applying to the laws of nature for our 

" But this is the case with us. We have no other 
refuge from slavery but those powers which God has 
given us and allowed us to use in defence of our dearest 
rights; and I hope he will bless our endeavors and give 
success to this oppressed people, and that the wicked 
instruments of all these distractions shall meet their 
due reward. I earnestly wish that in such troublous 
times, while we plead for liberty, a proper guard may 
be kept against any turbulent or mobbish outbreak, 
and that unanimity may be universal both in counsel 
and action, and that we nuvy still have an eye to the 
great God, who has some important reasons for such 
severe corrections. Let us look to the rod and Him 
that hatb appointed it; let us humble ourselves before 
him daily for our sins, and dejiend upon him for suc- 
cess. If he be against us, in vain do we struggle ; if 
the Lord be for us, though an host should encamp 
against us, we need not be afraid." 

In one of the darkest hours of the strife, — after the 
repulse in Canada, — he said, in a funeral discourse on 
the death of Montgomery, "Surely we have still reason 
for the exercise of faith and confidence in God, that he 
will not give a people up to the unlimited will aud 
power of others, who have done all they could to avert 
the calamity, and have so strenuously adhered to the 
cause of reason and humanity, — a people who have 
been attacked with unprovoked violence, and driven 
with the greatest reluctance to take up arms for their 
defence, — a people whom he himself, by a series of 


gracious actings, hath gradually led on to this condi- 
tion. . . . Therefore, when these are our circumstances, 
we may rationally judge that God is not an uncon- 
cerned spectator, but that he sees and will reward the 
persecutors. Many things, indeed, seem to be against 
us ; a very great and powerful enemy, who have been 
long trained to victory ; their numerous and savage 
allies, who, having lost their liberty, would have others 
in the same condition; our weakness and inexperience 
in war, internal enemies, the loss of many of our 
friends, and a beloved and able general. But let not 
these destroy our hopes or damp our spirits. To put 
too much confidence in man is the way to provoke God 
to deprive us of them. This may, perhaps, be the dark- 
ness which precedes the glorious day. ... It is agree- 
able to God's method to bring low before he exalteth, 
to humble before he raises up. Let us trust in him 
and do our duty, and commit the event to his deter- 
mination, who can make these things to be for us 
which, by a judgment of sense, we are ready to say are 
against us." 

In a similar strain did he exhort the soldiers march- 
ing to the field, or address the people who remained 
behind. " Be thou faithful unto death," was the text 
of one of his discourses. " There is no soldier," he 
said, " so truly courageous as a pious man. There is 
no army so formidable as those who are superior to 
the fear of death. Consequently, no one qualification 
is more necessary in a soldier than true religion." 
These words Avere accompanied by the tender counsels* 
of a pastor whose affections followed his men to the 
scenes of danger ana death. With the greatest earnest- 
ness he urged them to watch over their own souls, and 
not to bring dishonor on the cause to which they were 

While several of the Presbyterian ministers per 



formed service and led companies to the field, a large 
number were engaged as chaplains in the army. Alexan- 
der McWhorter — afterward Dr. McWhorter, of Newark, 
— was chaplain of Knox's brigade while it lay at White 
Plains, and often had General Washington among his 
hearers. James F. Armstrong — afterward of Elizabeth- 
town — joined a volunteer company before his licensure, 
and, soon after he was ordained, was appointed by Con- 
gress " chaplain of the second brigade of the Maryland 
forces." Adam Boyd was chaplain of the North Caro- 
lina brigade. Daniel McCalla was sent to Canada as 
chaplain with General Thompson's forces at the com- 
mencement of hostilities. Dr. John Rodgers was chap- 
lain of Heath's brigade. George Duflield, in connection 
with Mr. (afterward Bishop) White, was employed as 
chaplain of the Colonial Congress. 

It was not infrequently that the minister of peace felt 
called upon to engage in active service in the armies of 
his country; and not a few of the young men who had 
won distinction in the use of carnal weapons became 
afterward still more eminent in the service of the gos- 
pel. When an unusual number of his people had been 
drafted to serve in the militia, James Latta, of Chesnut 
Level, with a view to encourage them, took his blanket, 
shouldered his knapsack, and accompanied them on 
their campaign. James Caldwell, chaplain of the Jer- 
sey brigade, accompanied his own parishioners to the 
camp, and, with a price set upon his head, it is not sur- 
prising that when he preached at " the Old Bed Store" 
he was first seen to disengage himself of his pistols. 
Samuel Eakin, of Penn's Neck, was a strong Whig, 
and the idol of the soldiers. Gifted with extraordinary 
eloquence, and accounted scarcely inferior to White- 
field, he was ever on the alert to kindle the patriotic 
zeal of his countrymen. When there were military 
trainings, or the soldiers were ordered to march, he 


was present to address theni and thrill them by his 
eloquence. 1 John Blair Smith, teacher, and afterward 
President, of Hampden- Sidney College, was chosen 
captain of a company of students, and, after the battle 
of Cowpens, hurried to join the retreating army, and 
was only dissuaded by the remonstrances of the com- 
manding officer, who represented to him that his patri- 
otic speeches at home would be far more valuable than 
his services in the canrp. James Hall, of North Caro- 
lina, subsequently the pioneer missionary in the Val- 
ley of the Mississippi, was selected as leader and 
accepted the command of a company formed mainly 
from his own congregation, whom his fervid and 
pathetic appeals had inspired to arm against Corn- 
wallis. Such was his reputation that he was offered 
the commission of brigadier-general. 

When Tarleton and his British dragoons spread con- 
sternation throughout the surrounding Valley of Vir- 
ginia, William Graham, John Brown, and Archibald 
Scott exhorted the stripling youths of their congrega- 
tions — their elder brethren were already with Washing- 
ton — to rise, join their neighbors, and dispute the pass- 
age of the invader and his legion at Bockfish Gap, on 
the Blue Bidge. Graham was the master-spirit; but he 
was heartily supported by his co-Presbyters. On one 
occasion, when there was backwardness to enlist, he 
had his own name enrolled. The effect was such that 
the company was immediately filled, and he was unani- 
mously chosen captain. It is worthy of mention that 
Dr. Ashbel Green, many years before he aspired to be 
an ecclesiastical leader, had attained the distinction of 
orderly sergeant in the militia of the Bevolutionary 
period, and had risked his life in the cause of his coun- 
try. Dr. Moses Hoge served for a time, previous to 

1 Barber's New Jersey, 430. 


entering the ministry, in the army of the Eevolution. 
Dr. John Brown, President of Georgia University, had 
at the early age of sixteen exchanged the groves of 
the Academy for the noise and bustle of the camp, and 
fought with intrepid spirit, by the side of Sumter, his 
country's battles. Dr. Asa Hillyer, of Orange, N.J., 
while a youth, assisted his father, a surgeon in the 
Revolutionary army. Joseph Badger was in the battle 
of Bunker Hill, and seiwed as soldier, baker, nurse, &c, 
in Arnold's expedition to Canada. James White Ste- 
phenson, of South Carolina, — teacher of Andrew Jack- 
son, — served throughout the war, and on one occasion 
had his gun shivered in his hand by the enemy's shot, 
which glanced and killed the man who stood by his side. 
Lewis Feuilleteau Wilson, who studied medicine before 
his attention was directed to theology, served for seve- 
ral years as surgeon in the Continental army. Simp- 
son, of Fishing Creek, S.C., encouraged his people to 
deeds of heroism or patient endurance, and was him- 
self found bearing arms, and was in several engage- 
ments; and Joseph Alexander, of the same State, was 
often a fugitive from his own home, while he offered 
his dwelling at all times as a hospital for sick or 
wounded soldiers. 1 Jonas Coe, one of the early mem- 
bers of the Albany Presbytery, joined the army, along 
with his father and four brothers, while yet a youth of 
sixteen. Robert Marshall, afterward an eloquent min- 
ister in Kentucky, was in six general engagements, one 
of which was the hard-fought battle of Monmouth. 
James Turner, the eloquent Virginian preacher, could 
boast that at the early age of seventeen he had seen 
service in the Revolutionary army. 

These are but a few of that large band identified 
with the interests of the Presbyterian Church, and 

1 Dr. Howe's Historical Discourse. 


then, or at a later period, serving at her altar, who 
freely risked their lives in the service of their country. 
Whether in the bosom of their own congregations, or 
serving in the camp, they were animated by the same 
devotion to the cause of God and their native land. 
Their message everywhere was welcome. The soldier 
was inspired to bolder courage by the look and words 
of his own pastor, or the pulpit exhortations of those 
who shared his hardships and his perils. The camp 
betrayed the presence of a conservative influence which 
checked the vices which are wont to be indigenous to 
it, while many who never listened to the gospel before 
were privileged to hear it at a crisis when at every 
hour they stood in peril of their lives. 

To the privations, hardships, and cruelties of the war 
the Presbyterians were pre-eminently exposed. In them 
the very essence of rebellion was supposed to be con- 
centrated, and by the wanton plunderings and excesses 
of the marauding parties they suffered severely. Their 
Presbyterianism w T as prima facie evidence of guilt. A 
house that had a large Bible and David's Psalms in 
metre in it was supposed, as a matter of course, to be 
tenanted by rebels. To sing " Old Eouse" was almost 
as criminal as to have levelled a loaded musket at a 
British grenadier. 

To the Presbyterian clergy the enemy felt an espe- 
cial antipathy. They were accounted the ringleaders 
of rebellion. For them there w r as often not so much 
safety in their own dwellings as in the camp. "When 
their people were scattered, or it was no longer safe to 
reside among them, the only alternative was to flee or 
join the army, and this alternative was often presented. 
Not unfrequently the duty of the chaplain or the pastor 
exposed him to clangers as great as those which the 
common soldier was called to meet. There was risk 
of person, sometimes capture, and sometimes loss of 


life. Some ministers fled for safety. Dr. Rodgers was 
forced to absent himself from New York till the close 
of the war; McKnight, of Shrewsbury, N.J., was car- 
ried off a captive j Richards, of Rahway, IS". J., took 
warning and fled. Dr. Buell, of East Hampton, L.I., who 
remained at his post, repeatedly ran imminent risks 
even from the men whom his wit and urbanity finally 
disarmed. Duflield was saved from capture at Trenton 
only by the timely warning of a friendly Quaker. At 
one time, while the enemy wei*e on Staten Island, he 
preached to the soldiers in an orchard on the opposite 
side of the bay. The forks of a tree served hirn for a 
pulpit; but the noise of the singing attracted the notice 
of the enemy, and soon the voice of praise was inter- 
rupted by the whistling of balls. But the preacher, 
undismayed by the danger, bade his hearers retire 
behind a hillock, and there finished his sermon. Daniel 
McCalla was confined for several months in a loathsome 
prison-ship near Quebec. Nehemiah Greenman, of Pitts- 
grove, N.J. , fled to the wilderness to escape the indigni- 
ties so largely dealt out by the enemy to the Presby- 
terian ministers. Azel Roe, of Woodbridge, N.J., taken 
prisoner by the enemy, was for some time confined in 
the Old Sugar-House. He came near having a fall in a 
small stream which the company had to ford on the 
way. The commanding officer politely offered to carry 
Mr. Roe over on his back. The offer was accepted, and 
the suggestion of Mr. Roe to the officer that he was 
priest-ridden now, if never before, so convulsed him 
with laughter that he was like to have dropped his. 
load. Less merciful was the experience of John Ros- 
brugh, of Allentown, 1ST. J., first; a private soldier and 
afterward chaplain of a military company formed in 
his neighborhood, and who was shot down in cold blood 
by a body of Hessians to whom he had surrendered him- 
self a prisoner. 


There was a strange commingling of carnal and 
spiritual weapons in the experience of the camp. 
Joseph Patterson, one of the fathers of the Presbytery 
of Redstone, had just knelt to pray under a shed, when 
a board, in a line with his head, was shivered by the 
discharge of a rifle. Stephen B. Balch preached a ser- 
mon on subjection to the higher powers, while General 
Williams, to the annoyance of royalists who were pre- 
sent, protected him with loaded pistols in his belt. The 
ministers on the frontiers, exposed to the attacks of the 
Indians, were compelled to go constantly armed. Thad- 
deus Dod, with his people, exchanged his church for the 
fort that had been built on the Monongahela. Samuel 
Doak, of the Holston settlements, paused in his sermon 
at the alarm of an attack, seized his rifle that stood 
by his side, and led his male hearers in pursuit of the 

Not a few of the ministers of the Presbyterian 
Church were called into the civil service of their coun- 
try. Dr. Witherspoon was for several years a member 
of the Continental Congress ; his sagacity and discre- 
tion were highly esteemed, and his pen was in frequent 
requisition. Many of the most important state papers 
of the day, in relation to such intricate subjects of 
political economy as the emission of paper money and 
the mode of supplying the army by commission, were 
written by him; and in calls for the observance of days 
of fasting and prayer, his pen was usually employed. 
Jacob Green, the father of Dr. Ashbel Green, was a 
zealous patriot, and was elected, though contrary to 
his expressed wishes, a member of the Provincial Con- 
gress of New Jersey. He was chairman of the com- 
mittee that drafted the Constitution of the State. 
Henry Patillo was a member of the Provincial Con- 
gress of North Carolina. J. J. Zubly was a delegate 


from Georgia to the Continental Congress. 1 "William 
Tennent, of the Circular Church, Charleston, was a 
member of the Provincial Congress of South Carolina, 
and amid the fearful emergencies of the period, and at 
different hours of the same day, he was occasionally 
heard, in his church and in the State-House, addressing 
different audiences, with equal animation, on their tem- 
poral and spiritual interests. And, not content with 
this, in company with William H. Drayton, he made 
the circuit of the middle and up country of the State, 
to stimulate the people to resistance. 2 David Caldwell 
was a member of the convention that formed the State 
Constitution of North Carolina; Kettletas, of Jamaica, 
was chosen a delegate to the New York Convention; 
and Duffield, llodgers, McTVhorter, and others, were 
often consulted by civil and military officers in the 
trying crises of the Revolutionary period, and they 
were always prompt to render their services. Like 
Thomas Eead, of Delaware, roused from his bed at 
midnight to describe the region which the army was 
to traverse and in which he might act as a guide, they 
were never wanting w T hen their country required their 
counsel or their aid. 

It is not strange that their course was regarded as 
specially obnoxious by the British troops. Their houses 
w T ere plundered, their churches often burned, and their 
books and manuscripts committed to the flames. The 
church of Midway, in Georgia, — then Congregational, 
— rendered itself obnoxious to the foe by its patriotic 
zeal. In November, 1778, a special detachment from 
Florida attacked the settlement, burned the church- 
edifice, almost every dwelling-house, the crops of rice, 

1 He did not, however, approve the Declaration of Independence, 
&nd was subsequently banished from Georgia. 

2 Dr. Howe's Historical Discourse. 


then in stack, drove off the negroes and horses, carried 
away the plate belonging to the planters, and outraged 
even the graves of the dead. Some of the members 
of the congregation were seized and imprisoned. Di. 
McWhorter had removed to Carolina while the enemy, 
under Cornwallis, threatened the Southern countiy. 
Under the apprehension of danger, he fled with his 
family, and on his return found that his library, furni- 
ture, and nearly all that he possessed had been sacri- 
ficed. Not less unfortunate were Elihu Spencer, at 
Trenton, and David Caldwell and Hugh McAden, of 
North Carolina. On many occasions the soldiers stu- 
diously destroyed all that they could not carry away, 
and the Presbyterian clergy were generally the special 
objects of vengeance. 

As might be expected, religion suffered greatly 
throughout the entire period of the war. The church- 
edifices were often taken possession of by an insolent 
soldiery and turned into hospitals or prisons, or per- 
verted to still baser uses as stables or riding-schools. 
The church at Newtown had its steeple sawed off, and 
was used as a prison and guard-house till it was torn 
down and its siding used for the soldiers' huts. The 
church at Crumpond was burned to save it from being 
occupied by the enemy. That of Mount Holly was 
burned b}^ accident or design. The one at Princeton 
was taken possession of by the Hessian soldiers, and 
stripped of its peAvs and gallery for fuel. A fireplace 
was built in it, and a chimney carried up through its 
roof. Supposing it would be defended against him, 
Washington planted his cannon a short distance off and 
commenced firing into it. It w T as subsequently occu- 
pied by the American soldiers, and the close of the war 
found it dilapidated and open to the weather, while its 
interior was quite defaced and destroyed. The church 
of Westfield was injured by the enemy and its bell car- 

Vol. I.— 17 


ried off to New York. The church of Babylon, Long 
Island, was torn down by the enemy for military pur- 
poses. That of New Windsor was used as a hospital. 
This was the case also with the one at Morristown; and 
repeatedly in the morning the dead were found lying 
in the pews. The one at Elizahethtown was made a 
hospital for the sick and disabled soldiers of the Ameri- 
can army. Its hell sounded the note of alarm at the 
approach of the foe, while its floor was often the bed 
of the weary soldier, and the seats of its pews served 
as the table from which he ate his scanty meal. At 
length it was fired by the torch of the refugee, in ven- 
geance for the uses to which it had been devoted. The 
churches at New York were taken possession of by the 
enemy. Prisoners were confined in them, or they were 
used by the British officers for stabling their horses. 
Ethan Allen describes the filth that had accumulated 
in the one with which he was acquainted, as altogether 
intolerable. 1 The loathsome victims of disease, foul 
with their own excrements, lay stretched upon the 
floor. And throughout the country the church-edifices, 
unless some selfish motive prevented, were treated with 
but little more respect. More than fifty places of wor- 
ship throughout the land were utterly destroyed by the 
enemy during the period of the war. 2 The larger num- 
ber of these were burned, others were levelled to the 
ground, while others still were so defaced or injured as 
to be utterly unfit for use. This was the case in several 
of the principal cities, at Philadelphia and Charleston, 
as well as New York. 3 

Even where the church-edifice was left unmolested, 
the congregation was often scattered. At Albany, for 

1 Life of Ethan Allen. 2 Life of Dr. Rodgers. 

3 Other denominations sometimes suffered as well as the Presby- 
terians. The Quaker-meeting house at Birmingham, Pa., was used 
as a hospital after the battle of Chadd's Ford. 


the most part beyond the reach of the enemy, the 
ordinances of religion almost altogether ceased, and 
Avith the return of peace the church had to be organ- 
ized anew. This was no infrequent experience. Pas- 
tors, in many cases, were not allowed to continue their 
ministry, or like Eodgers, of New York, Richards, of 
Railway, Prime, of Huntington, or Duflield, of Phila- 
delphia, were forced to flee for their lives. 

But all did not escape. Caldwell, of Elizabethtown, 
was shot by a sentinel who was said to have been 
bribed by the British, or the Tories, to whom he was 
especially obnoxious. Moses Allen, a classmate of 
President Madison at Princeton, pastor of the Mid- 
way church, Georgia, and chaplain of a regiment, was 
drowned near Savannah, February 8," 1779, in attempt- 
ing to swim ashore from a prison-ship, the barbarous 
captain of which refused his friends boards for his cof- 
fin. And not a few others incurred hardships which in 
all probability shortened their da} T s. It is certainly 
remarkable, considering their exposure, and the almost 
A T enomous hatred Avith Avhich they Avere regarded by 
the enemy, that among the Presbyterian ministers the 
direct victims of the Avar Avere so few. 

There was too much else to engage public attention 
to alloAV much regard to be giA r en to the claims of reli- 
gion. The clash of arms droAvned the A r oice of the 
preacher, save when it Avas heard in camp during the 
intervals of fight. Even there it Avas sometimes dis- 
turbed by the cannon's roar and the rolling drum. 
Academies and colleges Avere almost entirely deserted. 
The young men, many of them, hurried away from the 
scenes of study to aid their country on the field of 
battle ; and sometimes the teacher, like Daggett, at 
New Haven, or Smith, at Hampden- Sidney, headed 
his pupils in resistance to the invader. At Yale but a 
small number of students AA'ere left Avithin the college 


•walls, and for a time these were removed to other 
towns of the State. James Latta's school at Chesnut 
Level was closed, for the usher and the older scholars 
had joined the army. The operations of the College 
of New Jersey were suspended, the class of 1778 num- 
bering hut five students. The classical school in Cul- 
pepper county, Va., where Moses Hoge was pursuing 
his studies, was altogether broken up. Hampden-Sid- 
ney had scarcely a name to live. James White Ste- 
phenson gave up his classical school near the old Wax- 
haw church, dismissed his pupils, 1 and knew no other 
life than that of a soldier until the return of peace. 

In these circumstances, it is not surprising that the 
course of the Presbyterian Church should be retro- 
grade rather than on the advance. The camp, with all 
the safeguards that could be thrown around it, and 
with all the counteracting influence which the chap- 
lains could exert, was a school of immorality, pro- 
fanity, and vice. Many places, especially in Virginia, 
were sadly cursed by the disbanded soldiery. Civil 
order was established as yet on very insecure founda- 
tions. Religious institutions were paralyzed in their 
influence, even where they were still sustained. Sab- 
bath desecration prevailed to an alarming extent. Infi- 
delity, in many quarters, soon acquired a foothold. The 
civil character of the war, especially in the Southern 
States, gave it a peculiar ferocity, and produced a licen- 
tiousness of morals of which there is scarce a parallel at 
the present day. Municipal laws could not be enforced. 
Civil government was frustrated, and society was well- 
nigh resolved into its original elements. 

Thus at the close of the war religion was, on every 
side, in an exceedingly decayed state. The churches 
presented to view a wide scene of desolation. That 

1 See Spvague, i. 550. 


of Newtown numbered but five members at the close 
of the war; and scores of others were in an equally 
lamentable condition. The stated ordinances of the 
gospel had been discontinued, and tbe young men who 
should have been prepared to enter the ministry had 
been constrained to abandon their purpose. 

The meetings of the Synod during the period of the 
war were gloomy and disheartening. There was but a 
small attendance, and the reports which were brought 
by the few who came, were discouraging in the extreme. 
Little could be undertaken, and less accomplished. At 
the opening sessions of 1770 there were but eighteen 
ministers and three elders present ; in the following 
year, only twenty-six ministers. In 1778, the enemy 
had taken possession of Philadelphia, and the Synod 
was opened at Bedminster with eleven ministers and 
three elders. In the following year there were twenty 
ministers and seven elders, and in 1780 only fifteen 
ministers and four elders, at the opening sessions. 
Nearly all that could be done was the annual appoint- 
ment, continued through the war, of a day of humilia- 
tion, fasting, and prayer. Applications for aid were 
received, but it was beyond the power of Synod to 
supply the demand. Tbey came from the North, the 
South, and the West, but the most urgent and importu- 
nate were from Virginia, where the Hanover Presby- 
tery found the popular sympathy turning strongly in 
favor of Presbyterianism, and where the opposition to 
English tyranny created a prejudice with many against 
the Episcopal Church as lukewarm in a cause in which 
it must be necessarily divided against itself. 

With the return of peace, the Presbyterian Church 
began to revive. The meetings of Synod assumed 
somewhat of their former aspect. In 1780, it had com- 
menced its sessions with only fifteen ministers and four 
elders present, and in 1781, with only twenty-one min- 



isters and four elders. In 1783, there were forty-three 
ministers present at the opening session; in 1784, 
thirty; in 1785, thirty; in 1786, thirty-eight; and in 
1787, under the urgent call to consider the subject of 
a new organization of the highest judicature of the 
Church, there were fifty-two. 

The period of the war had been one of peculiar 
hardship to the ministers of the Church. Their sala- 
ries, paid, if at all, in depreciated currency, proved quite 
insufficient, and in 1782 their condition claimed the 
attention of Synod. In 1783, on the report of a com- 
mittee appointed the previous 3 T ear, a pastoral letter 
was drawn up and printed, addressed to the congre- 
gations, on the subject of ministerial support. The 
interests of religion were pronounced to be "in danger 
of suffering greatly, at the present, from the many dis- 
couragements under which the ministers of the gospel 
labor, from the want of a sufficient support and liberal 
maintenance from the congregations they serve." 

The restoration of peace brought with it the same 
difficulty which had been before experienced from the 
immigration of foreign ministers and candidates. 
Although no longer so numerous as to form a party in 
the Church, some of them were regarded with well- 
grounded suspicion. Applications to Synod to receive 
or ordain men of this class were becoming frequent, 
and in 1784 the members of the several Presb} r terie8 
were enjoined " to be particularly careful" in view of 
" imminent danger from ministers and licensed candi- 
dates of unsound principles coming among us." In the 
following year the question of relaxing the terms of 
literary qualification in candidates for the ministry was 
brought up. By a great majority it was carried in the 
negative. It was also proposed that the term of study- 
ing divinity should hereafter be two years instead of 
one; but action upon it was deferred to the next meet- 


ing, when, in the press of other matters, it was nrowded 

The subject of procuring Bibles for distribution among 
the poor, especially on the frontiers, by means of collec- 
tions in tbe churches, was brought up in 1783. The 
Synod recommended that collections should be made; 
but the recommendation was complied with in only a 
few instances, and was renewed again in 1785. The 
neglect was due in part to the exhausted and impove- 
rished condition of the country at large, and in part to 
the absence of members and even of whole Presby- 
teries. To such an extent had this latter evil grown, 
that a letter was addressed to the Presbyteries of Han- 
over, Orange, Dutchess, and Suffolk, urging attention 
to the subject, and kindly remonstrating with them for 
a neglect which might tend to "the great injury, if not 
the entire mouldering away, of the body." 

The purport of the letter seems to have been misap- 
prehended by the Suffolk Presbytery. Several of its 
ministers were originally Congregationalists, and quite 
a large proportion of the people were descendants of 
New England settlers. They seem also to have been 
disturbed by the proposal, already agitated, for a new 
form of government and discipline. Not a member of 
the body appeared in Synod the following year; but in 
1787 a letter was received from them, addressed to the 
moderator of the Synod, praying that their union with 
the body might be dissolved. Dr. McWhorter was di- 
rected to prepare a reply. It was kindly worded, and 
was intended to meet their objections of "local situa- 
tion," non-concurrence " with the draught of the form of 
government," and non-compliance of the churches within 
their limits. As to the first of these, it had always been 
the same. In regard to the second, the "draught was 
submitted for overture and amendment;" while the 
indisposition of the churches to comply might be the 


result of groundless prejudices; hastily imbibed, — pre- 
judices "which, by taking some pains and by giving a 
proper explanation of the matter, might be readily 

To enforce the arguments for a reconsideration of 
its resolution by the Presbytery, Drs. McWhorter and 
Eodgers, and Messrs. Roe, Woodhull, and Davenport, 
were appointed a committee to meet and converse 
with them. The result of the conference was that the 
Presbytery withdrew their petition, and were prepared 
in the following year to enter with the other Presby- 
teries as constituent elements of the newly-organized 

The spirit of this proceeding is indicative of the 
tolerant temper of the Church. This temper had not 
changed. The annual convention of Congregationalists 
and Presbyterians had been dropped from necessity at 
the commencement of the Revolutionary conflict, but 
the spirit in which it had originated still survived. 

ISTor was the Synod neglectful of its position as the 
advocate of civil and religious freedom. Scarcely had 
the war closed, when rumors were afloat in some quar- 
ters which seemed to intimate the purpose of the Pres- 
byterian Church to seek an alliance with the state. It 
occupied, indeed, a highly respectable position. Its 
ministers had been chaplains in the army. Its leading 
man, Dr. Witherspoon, had been a leader in the Gene- 
ral Congress. It was, in fact, the only denomination 
which, from position and influence, could be considered 
in the light of a candidate for the special favors of .the 
state. But any charge of seeking such favor on its 
part was utterly ungrounded. The Synod scarcely 
deemed it necessary to make a disavowal of it; but 
some of its members insisted on the necessity of such 
a disavowal. In consequence, a minute was adopted 
by the Synod of 1781, which the next Synod ordered 


to be expunged. But in 1783, on the principle that no 
minute in any instance should be expunged, it was 
ordered to be restored. It was to the effect that it 
had been represented to Synod that the Presbyterian 
Church suffers greatly in the opinion of other denomi- 
nations, from an apprehension that they hold intole- 
rant principles; and in view of this "the Synod do 
solemnly and publicly declare that they ever have, and 
still do, renounce and abhor the principles of intole- 
rance, and we do believe that every peaceable member 
of civil society ought to be protected in the full and 
free exercise of their religion." 

Nor did the Synod overlook the subject of civil free- 
dom, at least in its moral aspect. Upon a review of 
the Minutes in 1780, it appeared that " an affair respect- 
ing the enslaving of negroes" had been before the 
Synod of 1774. By succeeding Synods it had, " by 
some means, been passed over." It was now discussed, 
but without definite action. In 1787, however, it was 
declared that " the Synod of New York and Philadel- 
phia do highly approve of the general principles in 
favor of universal liberty that prevail in America, and 
of the interest which many of the States have taken 
in promoting the abolition of slavery; yet, inasmuch 
as men, introduced from a servile state to a partici- 
pation of all the privileges of civil society, without a 
proper education, and without previous habits of indus- 
try, may be, in some respects, dangerous to the com- 
munity; therefore they earnestly recommend it to all 
the members belonging to their communion to give 
those persons, who are at present held in servitude, 
such good education as may prepare them for the 
better enjoyment of freedom. And they moreover 
recommend - that masters, whenever they find servants 
disposed to make a proper improvement of the privi- 
lege, would give them some share of propertj^ to begin 


with, or grant them sufficient time and sufficient 
means of procuring, by industry, their own liberty, at 
a moderate rate, that they may thereby be brought 
into society with those habits of industry that may 
render them useful citizens • and, finally, they recom- 
mend it to all the people under their care, to use the 
most prudent measures consistent with the interest 
and the state of civil society in the parts where they 
live, to procure eventually the final abolition of slavery 
in America." 

So important did this utterance afterward appear, 
that by the Assembly of 1793 it was ordered to be 
republished in the extracts from the Minutes, thus 
receiving the authoritative re-endorsement of the Pres- 
b} T terian Church. 

The plan of union between the Synod and the Asso- 
ciate Presbyterian Church had proved a failure. The 
letter of 1769 put an end to any hopes of it which 
might before have been entertained. But, in 1784, a 
plan of correspondence between the Synod and the two 
Synods of the Eeformed Dutch and Associate Presby- 
terian Churches was discussed, and measures taken for 
rendering it effective. The desire was expressed by 
members of those bodies in favor of " a friendly inter- 
course between the three Synods, or laying a plan for 
some kind of union among them, whereby they might 
be enabled to unite their interests and combine their 
efforts f and by these members some such measure was 
pronounced to be practicable. A committee, therefore, 
was appointed to meet Avith corresponding committees 
from the other Synods, to consider what plan could be 
devised. The convention met at JSTew York in 1785, 
and gave to the subject their deliberate attention. 
There seemed to be on the part of the committees 
from the other Synods a jealousy in regard to the 
soundness and rigid discipline of the Synod of New York 


and Philadelphia. The question was raised in regard 
to its standards and the manner in which they were to 
he regarded and adopted. Although the convention 
assumed only the powers of counsel and advice, sug- 
gestions were made and measures adopted to secure 
mutual harmony between the different bodies In the 
following year the committee asked of the Synod more 
definite instructions in regard to some points on which 
they had been unable to give entire satisfaction. In 
view of the meditated change in the constitution of 
the form of government, it was decided that " the 
mutual assurances mentioned in the Minutes of the last 
convention may be made with much more propriety 
after the intended system is finished than at present." 
The conventions continued to be held annually for 
several years, and committees were appointed for the 
purpose at each meeting of Synod. 

The rapid extension of the Presbyterian Church 
after the paralyzing effect of the Revolutionary con- 
flict had begun to pass away, directed attention toward 
measures for perfecting its organization, as well as 
putting forth a full declaration of its principles. The 
separation of the colonies from the mother-country 
required a corresponding change in that part of the 
Confession which referred to civil government. It 
was evident that the future policy of the Church must 
now be initiated; and the project was entertained of a 
division of the Synod and the formation of a General 
Assembly. Unless some such measure should be 
speedily adopted, it was feared that the body which 
hitherto had been the supreme judicature of the 
Church would become too large and unwieldy to 
perform its duties with efficiency and vigor, or that 
" the attendance of members would fall into neglect." 

As early as the annual meeting of the Synod in 
May, 1785, a committee was appointed to prepare the 


form of a Constitution for the Church, to he submitted 
to the Synod of the following year. Their report was 
duly made in 1786, and referred to another committee 
to meet in the autumn of that j'ear, with powers to 
digest a Constitution for the Presbyterian Church, to 
print it, and send copies of h to each of the Presbyte- 
ries. These again were to report their judgment of 
the same, in writing, at the Synod of 1787. ' These 
reports were made, and the Synod, after reading and 
considering the draught of the preceding year, and 
availing itself of the written suggestions of the Pres- 
byteries, issued another pamphlet, more complete than 
that of the committee, and ordered a thousand copies 
to be distributed to the several Presbyteries. The 
system thus presented formed the basis of the deli- 
berations of the Synod of 1788, w T hich issued in the 
formation and publication of the Constitution of the 
Church. The full title of the volume issued is, " The 
Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in the United 
States of America : containing the Confession of Faith, 
the Catechisms, the Government and Discipline, and 
the Directory for the Worship of God, ratified and 
adopted by the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, 
May the 16th, 1788, and continued by adjournment 
until the twenty-eighth of the same month. Philadel- 
phia. Printed by Thomas Bradford, md.cclxxxix." 1 

In the discussions which preceded the final adoption 
of the Constitution, the question was raised, " Shall 
the Supreme Judicatory be denominated a General 
Council or a General Assembly ?" The question was, 
indeed, one only of name; for in either case the body 
would be possessed of the same powers. But the very 
fact that it was agitated, and that Dr. Witherspoon 

1 I transcribe the title-page of the only copy of the work which I 
have met, now in my possession. 


himself voted in favor of " Council," shows that the 
body did not 'feel themselves bound to any rigid adop- 
tion of the Scottish model. 

In the Confession of Faith no alteration Avas made, 
except in the part treating of civil government and the 
civil magistrate. Instead of giving the latter, as in 
Scotland, the power to call and supervise Synods, it 
declared it the duty of civil magistrates " to protect the 
Church of our common Lord, without giving pre- 
ference to one denomination of Christians above the 
rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons 
whatever shall enjo}^ the full, free, ai}d unquestioned 
liberty of discharging every part of their sacred func- 
tions, without violence or danger." 

Some minor changes were made, but all of a similar 

The vote on the adoption of the Catechisms of the 
Church excited no debate. They do not appear to 
have been even read over, with a view to adoption 
seriatim. No alteration had been proposed in relation 
to them, until, just at the moment when the vote was 
to be taken, Rev. Jacob Ker, of Delaware, arrested the 
proceedings by calling attention to a clause of the 
Larger Catechism in answer to the question, " Which 
are the sins forbidden in the second commandment ?" 
He stated that the Catechism, as it then stood, speci- 
fied, among the sins forbidden, " tolerating a false reli- 
gion ;" and he made a motion that the clause be 
stricken out. The motion was carried without debate, 
and the Catechisms of the Church were then adopted 
without further alteration. 

In the adoption of the Directory for "Worship, the 
forms of prayer therein introduced were stricken out, 
and the subjects were presented in a doctrinal form. 
When this had been done, the Constitution of the 
Church stood forth complete. Tor three years it had 

Vul. I.— IS 


been under consideration. Eepeated draughts of it 
had been made, and the widest publicity had been 
given them. The object was twofold,— to perfect the 
instrument and to obviate future objection. Even yet 
entire cordiality of sentiment was not effected. There 
was at least " a small minority" whose leanings were 
toward a more liberal and less rigid system. One 
clergyman, a member of both the committees for pre- 
paring the draughts, but kept at home by indispo- 
sition, addressed a letter to the adopting Synod, 
strongly objecting against a high-toned Presbyterian 
system : yet thg vote on the Adopting Act was nearly, 
if not quite, unanimous. 

Although the Scottish Confession had been adopted 
by so strong and decisive a vote, it was not in the 
spirit of a rigid ecclesiasticism. 1 The highest judica- 
ture was an "Assembly," and not a "Council;" but it 
began its existence by acts which indicated that none 
of the exclusiveness of the Scotch National Church 
had been allowed a triumph in the selection of a name. 
Dr. Witherspoon opened the Assembly of 1790, by 
appointment, and Dr. John Eodgers — on whose motion 
a few years later the delegates of the Connecticut 
and other General Associations were allowed to vote 
as well as speak in the Assembly — was chosen the first 
moderator. In the very next year, on motion of Dr 
Ashbel Green, arrangements were made for a plan of 

1 Quite a number of the leading ministers of the Church might 
be mentioned who had decided leanings toward a liberal construc- 
tion of Presbyterian formulas. For instance, Henry Patillo, the 
patriarch of the Church in North Carolina, says, at this very time, 
"I have often thought that the popular congregational government 
of the Independents, joined to the Presbyterial judicatures as a 
final resort, would form the most perfect model of church govern- 
ment that the state of things will admit of." — Patillo's Sermons, 
Wilmingtan, N.C., 1788. 


intercourse between the Assembly and the New Eng- 
land churches. " I am responsible," says Dr. Green, 
in his autobiography, " for the correspondence between 
them and us." 



Just ten years before the meeting of the first Gene- 
ral Assembly, a secession took place from the Presby- 
tery of New York, which deserves at least a passing 
notice in the history of the Church. It was based 
mainly on the principle of the independency of the 
local church • although conjoined with this was the 
assumption that the power of ordination was vested 
not in the church, but in the Presbytery. 1 

The originator of the movement was Jacob Green, 2 
from 1746 to 1790 the pastor of the Presbyterian 
church of Hanover, New Jersey. He was a native of 
Maiden, Mass., and a graduate of Harvard College in 
1744. Although he had cherished a Christian hope, he 
w T as led to abandon it on listening to the sermons 
of "Whitefield (September, 1740), and especially to a 
powerful one by Gilbert Tennent in January, 1741. 
His mental exercises were of a most humbling nature. 
He was bowed to the dust under the deep sense of 

1 This account is largely derived from a manuscript " History of 
the Secession from the Synod of New York and Philadelphia in 
1780, which assumed the name of 'The Associated Presbytery of 
Morris County.' " By B.ev. Dr. N. S. Prime. 

2 Father of Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green. 


his unworthiness, and extracts from his diary show 
how thorough must have been the work of his con- 

After teaching for about a year, subsequent to his 
leaving college, ho met again with Whitefield, who 
engaged him to go to Georgia to take charge of 
the Orphan-House. On reaching New Jersey, he 
learned from him that he had just received informa- 
tion which rendered it impracticable to assure Mr. 
Green of permanent employment. He offered, however, 
to employ him for six months, or refund to him the 
expense that he had already incurred. By the advice 
of Dickinson and Burr, he chose the latter alternative, 
with a view to labor as a minister within the bounds 
of the Presbytery. In September, 1745, he was licensed 
by the Presbytery of New York, and almost imme- 
diately was invited to preach at Hanover, where, in 
November of the following year, he was regularly 
ordained and installed pastor. 

After more than thirty years' experience of the Pres- 
byterian system, he deliberately resolved to withdraw 
from his connection with it. He did not object to its 
doctrines. 1 He made no complaint of his brethren in 
the Presbytery, for whom generally he expressed his 
high esteem as " worthy and excellent ministers of 
the gospel." His exceptions were directed against the 

1 Although this was the case, yet his views of the Abrahamic 
covenant, baptism, and kindred subjects were such as, through his 
published discourses, to bring him into controversy with some of 
the New England ministers. Shortly after the re-union (1758), he 
avowed himself, in his published work on Baptism, an Edwardian, — 
representing Stoddard and Edwards as the leading exponents of 
conflicting views. It is altogether probable that his strong New- 
side sympathies led him to regard the union with the Old side as 
quite objectionable, and strengthened his purpose to withdraw from 
Synod. He is the first minister in this country — so far as I am 
aware — who publicly declared himself an "Edwardian." 


exercise of power by the Synod, according to " the 
Directory of Church Government authorized by the 
General Assembly of the Church of Scotland." " They 
assumed," he said, " the authoritative enacting style in 
their Minutes, appointing and requiring, instead of re- 
commending and desiring." They moreover assumed 
a " legislative power," " appointed ministers and can- 
didates to travel to distant pai'ts, supply vacancies, 
&c," — had " ordered — not desired — contributions," — had 
claimed a power to liberate ministers from their peo- 
ple, against the will of the latter, — as, for instance, 
" several presidents for the college." They had re- 
quired candidates to study a year after taking their 
degree, — had ordered licentiates to write their notes at 
large and show them to some minister, — had enjoined 
the keeping of registers of births, baptisms, marriages, 
and burials, — had also enjoined, ministers not to use 
notes in preaching; and, in the union of the two Sy- 
nods, the Westminster Confession, " without any liberty 
for explanation in any article, was enjoined upon all 
their ministers, who were to teach and preach accord- 

Some of these orders and injunctions were undoubt- 
edly regarded by Mr. Green in the light of personal 
grievances. He was licensed without the year of 
study required after graduation. After the New England 
manner, he doubtless preferred the use of " notes." 
Collections in his congregation he would rather have 
" desired" than " ordered ;" and his liberal sympathies 
revolted at the rigidity of the " Scotch system." But 
he greatly mistook, either through prejudice or inad- 
vertence, when he assumed that the " Scotch system" 
was in force; and quite a large amount of his repug- 
nance might have been overcome if he had known or 
remembered that provision had been made for the 
" scruples" of the candidate, and that he was to be 



admitted by the Synod or Presbytery, unless bis scru- 
ple or mistake concerned some " essential and neces- 
sary" doctrine. In justice to himself, moreover, he 
should have stated that the injunction not to use notes 
was materially qualified by the clause which left it to 
the " convenience" of the minister. 

But he had taken his position, and, in spite of the 
kind remonstrances of the Presbytery, he was not dis- 
posed to recede from it. He insisted upon his right 
quietly and peaceably to withdraw, cherishing the 
kindest feelings toward his ministerial associates, and 
uniting with them still in ministerial communion, or 
sitting, if desired, as a corresponding member of the 
Presbytery. Of his two congregations, one (Hanover 
Neck) chose still to remain under the care of the Pres- 
bytery, retaining #him as their pastor ; and to this the 
Presbytery made no objection. 

At the same time (October, 1779) that Mr. Green 
thus requested the privilege of quietly withdrawing 
from Presbyterial connection, Joseph Grover, 1 reported 
in 1774 as a licensed candidate from New England, and 
who since that time had been settled at Parsippany, 
sent in to the Presbytery a paper declaratory of his 
" quiet withdrawal." He had been surprised to find, 
after his settlement, that he was viewed as a member 
of Synod, and when "lately admonished by the Synod 
for not attending Synodical meetings," he appears to 
have felt that his ecclesiastical freedom was infringed 
upon, and, consequently, chose to seek release from a 
body with which he did not suppose himself to have 
entered into connection. 

At the May meeting of the Presbytery, Amzi Lewis, 
pastor (from 1772) of the churches of Florida and 
Warwick, jST.Y., " entered a declinature" which, at his 

1 Erroneously said to Lave been a graduate of Yale College. 


request, was returned to him, when he declared " that 
he peaceably withdrew from the Presbytery, and chose 
no longer to be considered as a member of the same." 
At the same time, Ebenezer Bradford, a graduate of 
Princeton in 1773, and from July 1-4, 1775, pastor of 
the church of South Hanover, 1 "gave in a declinature, 
whereby he withdrew from the Synod and this (New 
York) Presbytery." Efforts were made to induce the 
seceding brethren to retrace their steps, 'but they 
proved futile. The churches were regarded still as 
under the care of the Presbytery, and measures were 
taken to bring before them the question of their future 
ecclesiastical connection. Hanover Neck and South 
Hanover seem alone to have been disposed to remain 
in their former ecclesiastical relations. 

This was the entire extent of the original secession. 2 
Of the four ministers who withdrew, all but Mr. Green 
were young men, with brief experience in the ministry, 
and all of them, with the single exception of Mr. Brad- 
ford, were from New England, while Mr. Bradford 
was the son-in-law of Mr. Green. They withdrew, to 
the regret of the Presbytery, by whom they were 
esteemed and respected, and that esteem and respect 
were largely reciprocated. To the last appeal of the 
Presbytery, the seceding brethren returned a kind 
reply, in which the}' stated that they had formed them- 
selves into a Presbytery, and had " no inclination to 
dissolve the voluntary connection into which they had 

1 Subsequently known as Bottle Hill, now Madison. 

2 So it would appear from Dr. N. S. Prime's manuscript " History 
of the Associated Presbyteries." But several years previous to the 
organization of the Morris County Presbytery, at least in 1769 or 
1770, Abner Reeve, of Blooming Grove, N.Y., Moses Tuttle, of New 
York Presbytery, and Mr. Dorbe, of Parsippany, declared in favor of 
Independency, and withdrew from Synod and Presbytery. — Webster, 


entered, or cease to be a distinct Presbytery." A small 
body like their own they considered better adapted to 
transact business " with ease and advantage/' and more 
likely to prove harmonious. Nor was this all. " We 
think you have," said they, " such notions of Presby- 
terial power and church government, as are not agree- 
able to our free sentiments." 

The " distinct Presbytery" whose existence was thus 
announced was formed at Hanover, May 3, 1780. The 
four seceding ministers united themselves in " a volun- 
taiy society for promoting the interests of religion," 
and, as they considered themselves " Presbyterians, in 
a scriptural sense," they agreed to call themselves, and 
to be known by the name of, " The Presbytery of 
Morris county." To this, at a subsequent date, they 
saw fit to prefix the term " Associated;" and with this 
qualification of the title they were subsequently known. 

Their platform was Presbyterian in form, but Congre- 
gational in fact. The ministers were to meet as a 
Presb3 T tery ordinarily twice a year; each church was 
authorized to send two elders or lay delegates ; all 
jurisdiction over the churches was disclaimed, except 
so far as they should apply for advice or assistance; 
and no "rules" should be made " authoritative," while 
all agreements should be alterable, as circumstances 
should require. 

In 1781, the Presbytery published a duodecimo of 
seventy pages, presenting " A View of a Christian 
Church and Church Government," with an appendix, 
representing the case and circumstances of the Asso- 
ciated Presbytery. The preface discusses the question, 
whether Christ has instituted or appointed any par- 
ticular form or mode of church government. The six 
sections of the body of the work .are devoted to dis- 
countenancing the idea of a "provincial" Church; pre- 
senting a sound definition of the "particular" or local 


Church; vindicating ministers and elders, whose offices 
are regarded as identical, together with deacons and 
evangelists, as permanent officers of the Church; claim- 
ing that admonition and excommunication are the only 
censures of the Church, from which in no case is there 
to be any appeal; rejecting all ecclesiastical authority 
of Presbyteries and Synods, and giving the preference 
to pro re nata councils. Certain questions of casuistry, 
raised by the discussion of their peculiar principles, 
are taken up and decided ih the closing section. 

In the appendix is found a reply to the proposal of 
the Presbytery of New York, that the seceding mem- 
bers should reconsider their declinature and become 
again members of the Synod. This they are willing to 
do on three conditions, that they remain a distinct body, 
which is their choice, — that they meet in Synod as a 
voluntary society, to consult and promote the interests 
of religion, — and that they shall have "an unrestrained 
liberty to license and ordain for the gospel ministry 
any persons whom they shall think proper." 

The last of these conditions was, for the Associated 
Presbytery, a vital one. 1 But the liberty it claimed 
had been exercised more than forty years before, in a 
manner which no Presbytery or Synod at this juncture 
would be disposed to endorse. The reply of the se- 

1 Webster states that Mr. Green, previous to his withdrawing from 
the Presbytery, had grown "dissatisfied with the hindrances in the 
way of supplying our vacancies : ' first we make them gentlemen, 
and then ministers.' He proposed to Bellamy to establish two 
schools, one in New Jersey and one in Connecticut, for educating 
men up to a certain point in languages and philosophy, and then 
licensing them. He wished to imitate the Baptist way, that our 
growing country might not be left unblessed with sound doctrine 
and firm discipline." He is said to have disliked the Congregation- 
alism of New England as much as the Scotch type of Presbyterian- 
ism.— TFe6^er, 528-9. 


ceders was, therefore, equivalent to a final refusal to 
return. It was soon manifest that, so far from this, 
they anticipated an increase which would distance 
competition on the part of those from whom they had 
withdrawn. They proceeded immediately to the prose- 
cution of their favorite scheme, introducing into the 
ministry a number of men of limited qualifications. 
Yet they were far from denying the importance of 
proper education, and, in order to secure for their can- 
didates some special privileges for instruction, insti- 
tuted a society, and by contributions, bequests, &c, 
collected a fund, for the management of which they 
obtained from the New Jersey Legislature, May 30, 
1787, an act of incorporation. The style of the corpo- 
ration was, " The Trustees of the Society in Morris 
county, instituted for the promotion of learning and 
religion;" and among the names of the trustees, along 
with those of laymen and those of the seceding minis- 
ters, was that of Jedediah Chapman, of Orange, a mem- 
ber of New York Presbytery, 1 although a native of 

In the course of ten or twelve years, the new Pres- 
bytery had become greatly enlarged. Its most con- 
siderable growth was, as might have been expected, in 
a region where it was assured of Congregational sym- 
pathy. The counties of Dutchess and Westchester, 
N.Y., lying along the New England line, afforded the 
most inviting field for its efforts. Here were already 
several churches, which, by local proximity and eccle- 
siastical sympathy, were predisposed to favor such a 
system as that of the Associated Presbytery. Here, 
also, after the close of the war, new and feeble congre- 

1 The fact may be taken either as an indication of the individual 
sympathies of Mr. Chapman, or of the mutual kind feeling between 
New York Presbytery and the Seceders. 


gations were iu the process of being gathered, and the 
licentiates of the Presbytery would naturally seek in 
this field places of labor. In this quarter, therefore, 
the new organization received the largest accessions. 
Indeed, there is no evidence that a single church united 
with them west of the Hudson and north of the ]S"ew 
Jersey line. 

At a meeting of the Associated Presbytery in Oc- 
tober, 1791, it was deemed expedient that a new asso- 
ciation should be formed, to embrace the churches of 
"Westchester county and vicinity. Accordingly, in Janu- 
ary, 1792, a meeting was held, at which a body was 
organized under the name of " The Associated Presby- 
tery of Westchester." The individuals originally com- 
posing it were Amzi Lewis, — who iu 1787 removed from 
Florida to North Salem, taking charge of the Academy 
and at the same time acting as pastor of the Presby- 
terian church, — John Cornwell, Silas Constant, pastor 
of Crumpond, John Townley, of Greenburg, — all of 
whom were from the original Presbytery, — together 
with Abner Benedict, soon after settled at North Salem, 
Daniel Marsh, of Poughkeepsie, and ]\ledad Rogers. 
At a subsequent period, among the members of the 
body were Andrews, of Pound Ridge, Abraham Purdy 
and Abner Brundige, of Somers, Bradford, Knight, 
Blair, Osborn, St. John, Jones, Austin, Bouton, Hosea 
Ball, McKnight, Frey, and others. The churches 
brought into this connection were those of Sing Sing, 
Greenburg, Peekskill, Yorktown, Eed Mills, Gilead, 
Somers, North Salem, Southeast, and Pound Ridge, 
together with those of North Stamford, Cornwall, and 
New Fairfield, in the State of Connecticut. The Pres- 
bytery continued its meetings till about the year 1820, 
when it was formally dissolved, and the members con- 
nected themselves with other ecclesiastical bodies, some 


with the New York Presbyteries, and others with those 
of Bedford and North Eiver. 

Meanwhile the numbers had increased in the more 
northern portion of the region bounded by the Hudson 
and the New England line. It was, therefore, proposed 
to form another Presbytery in this region. The pro- 
ject was unanimously favored by the parent Presby- 
tery, Westchester Presbytery, and Berkshire Associa- 
tion, of Massachusetts, who were consulted in reference 
to it. Accordingly, Messrs. John Camp, John Stevens, 
Beriah Hotchkin, Robert Campbell, David Porter, and 
Luther Gleson, ministers in the State of New York, 
convened at New Canaan, November 12, 1793, and after 
a mutual interchange of views formed themselves into 
an Associated Presbytery, based on the same princi- 
ples with those of Westchester and Morris county, and 
assumed the name of " The Northern Associated Pres- 
bytery in the State of New York." 

The distinct organizations having been thus mul- 
tiplied, some method of intercommunication, which 
should serve as a bond of sympathy and union, 
remained to be devised. Committees from the different 
Presbyteries were appointed to consider the subject. 
They met at Poughkeepsie, April 10, 1794, and agreed 
to recommend to the several Presbyteries the appoint- 
ment of two or more correspondents, whose business 
it should be to communicate, by letter or otherwise, 
such information of the doings or prospects of their 
respective bodies as might be thought useful or neces- 
sary to co-operative effort. These correspondents, more- 
over, were to meet annually as a Convention of Corre- 
spondence, to consider generally the wants of the entire 
field, and make such recommendations to the several 
Presbyteries as they should deem adapted to promote 
the cause of Christ. 

The proposal was approved by the Presbyteries, and 


the annual convention was held. At its meeting in 
1795, it adopted, and subsequently (1796) published, a 
small bound volume of one hundred and two pages, 
entitled "A brief account of the Associated Presby- 
teries, and a general view of their sentiments concern- 
ing religion and ecclesiastical order." It contained a 
history of the several organizations, and their senti- 
ments on the subjects of Christian doctrine and church 
order. " We are at present/' they say, " united in a 
general scheme of doctrine, which may be denominated 
Calvinistic, Edwardian, or Hopkinsian, and we consider 
those systems which in our day and country are gene- 
rally distinguished by those terms, as essentially ortho- 
dox. Yet we call no man Father. Nor do we know of 
any public system or Confession of Faith, consisting of 
many particulars, which we can unitedly adopt without 
exception or explanation, and with this liberty we know 
of none which we cannot adopt." 

Their own Confession of Faith consisted of eighteen 
articles, mainly accordant with the Westminster Con- 
fession, and their exposition of their ecclesiastical sen- 
timents was what might be expected from the princi- 
ples of their organization. 

A Fourth Presbytery, with the consent of the North- 
ern Associated Presbytery, was organized at Milton, 
February 3, 1807. It took the name of the Saratoga 
Associated Presbytery. Its constituent members were 
Elias Gilbert, Daniel Marsh, Charles McCabe, Elisha 
Yale, and Lebbeus Armstrong. The churches were 
Greenfield, Moreau, Bennington, Yt., Kingsborough, 
Malta, and Milton. The last, if no other, had been 
taken under the care of the Presbytery of Albany as 
early as January 10, 1792, and remained in that connec- 
tion till January 21, 1800, Avhen at a church-meeting, 
presided over by Mr. Gilbert, of Greenfield, it was voted 

Vol. I.— 19 


to adopt the system of doctrine and order of the Asso- 
ciated Presbyteries. 

Members who subsequently united with this Presby- 
tery were Sylvanus Haight, Eeuben Armstrong, Cyrus 
Comstock, Silas Parsons, and Joseph Farrar. The only 
church wdiich joined it was one organized by Messrs. 
Comstock, and Lebbeus and Eeuben Armstrong, in 
Luzerne and Hadley. After continuing its meetings 
till September, 1818, the several members of the Pres- 
bytery requested and obtained letters of dismission to 
unite with other ecclesiastical bodies, and the " Sara- 
toga Associated Presbytery" adjourned si?ie die. 1 

It was doubtless at about the same time that the West- 
chester Associated Presbytery disbanded. In 1819, some 
of its churches had come under the care of Presbyteries 
connected with the General Assembly ; and previous to 
1825 there were but two or three which were not con- 
nected with the Presbytery of North Eiver or the 
Presbytery of New York. 

Thus the most rapid growth of this secession was 
within the first twenty years of its existence. It 
embraced, at the time of the formation of the Annual 
Convention, quite a large number of churches, spread 
over a large extent of country. But with the single 
exception of the transient organization of the Saratoga 
Associated Presbytery, numbering at the most but seven 
or eight churches, it made no further advance. One 
church after another relinquished connection with it, 
until at last nearly all were absorbed by the surround- 
ing organizations, either Congregational or Presby- 
terian ; and in thirty years afterward all the memorials 
of it that remained were to be found in the fast -van- 
ishing records of its churches and extinct Presbyteries. 

1 The records of the body were left in the hands of Rev. Elisha 
Yale, of Kingsborough. 




The final and successful attempt to colonize " Caro- 
lina" was due to a project formed by certain courtiers 
of Charles II. for their own profit and aggrandizement. 
Their selfish scheme was veiled with the pretext of " a 
generous desire of propagating the blessings of religion 
and civility in a barbarous land." A project couched 
in these terms was presented to the king by eight per- 
sons whose fidelity had cheered his exile, or whose 
treachery had regained for him his throne. Among 
them were Clarendon, Monk, and Shaftesbury. They 
claimed to be " excited by a laudable and pious zeal for 
the propagation of the gospel," and they " begged a 
certain country in the parts of America not yet culti- 
vated and planted, and only inhabited by some barba- 
rous peojfie, who had no knowledge of God." 

Their request was readily granted. The charter was 
doubtless drawn by their own hands, and secured them 
everything "saving the sovereign allegiance due to the 
crown." They immediately took liberal measures to 
procure a settlement. A few colonists were already on 
the ground, and to them, on taking the oath of alle- 
giance and submitting to the proprietary government, 
their lands were assured and their rights conceded. 
Arrangements were made for a popular government, 
limited only by the laws of England and the veto of 
the proprietaries. To all, the most perfect freedom of 
religion was assured. 

A singular spectacle is this, — a body of men whose 



names were indissolubly associated with the legislation 
that harassed English Dissenters, and surrendered jus- 
tice to High-Church bigotry, yet adopting — when left 
to look simply at their own pecuniary interests — a 
policy as liberal as the most fanatic of Cromwell's Inde- 
pendents could have desired. The same hands which 
framed the intolerant Act of Conformity in England 
shaped a satire on their own folly in the constitution 
which they gave to Carolina. "While with relentless 
severity they silenced such men as John Owen, and 
filled English prisons with men like Baxter, Bunyan, 
and Alleine, they allowed the colonists the most perfect 
and entire freedom of opinion. The New England 
settler, the English Dissenter, the Scotch Presbyterian, 
were alike welcome, and alike invited to a refuge from 
oppression. It may even excite a doubt, whether per- 
secution in England was not made more virulent by a 
policy which demanded exiles to people the colonies. 

The early settlers were from diverse localities, — New 
England, 1 Virginia, Barbadoes, and at length in increas- 
ing numbers from Ireland and Scotland. For many 
years it is doubtful, however, whether the province 
was visited by a single clergyman. Its growth was for 
a long period very slow, and among the scattered and 
far from homogeneous population no effort seems to 
have been made to establish religious institutions of 
any kind. More than half a century passed away 
(1663-1715) before the Presbyterian Church could be 
said to exist within the northern portion of the colony. 

1 In 1658, a small company of emigrants from Massachusetts, 
carrying their religious institutions with (hem, settled around Cape 
Fear. For many years their condition was one of poverty and hard- 
ships. In 1667, the Bay Legislature recommended them to their 
former fellow-colonists as objects worthy of charitable relief. Con- 
tributions were made for them, and a vessel was sent them laden 
with supplies. — Fell's Nex, England, ii. 232. 807, 417. 


The original Presbyterianism of the Carolinas was 
mainly of the Scotch type. As early as 1729, Scotch 
emigrants settled on Cape Fear River, Cumberland 
county, N.C. In 1736, we trace the arrival of others. 
In the winter of 1739, Whitefield preached, "not with- 
out effect," at Newton, on Cape Fear River, where 
among the congregation were many settlers who had 
recently arrived from Scotland. 1 The rebellion of 1745 
sent large numbers of Highlanders over to this region. 
Many who had taken up arms for the Pretender pre- 
ferred exile to death or subjugation in their native land. 
Ship-load after ship-load landed at Wilmington in 1746 
and 1747. In the course of a few years more they were 
joined by large companies of their countrymen, who 
wished to improve their condition and become owners 
of the soil upon which they lived and labored. For 
the most part, they were a moral and religious people, 
noted for their industry, economy, thrift, and perse- 
verance. 2 

No minister of religion came out with the first set- 
tlers. It was nearly ten years after the emigration 
of 1747 before they secured the services of a Pres- 
byterian minister. The first one who labored among 
them was James Campbell, who from 1730 had been 
settled over a church of Scotch emigrants in Pennsyl- 
vania. 3 Despondent in regard to his own spiritual con- 

i Webster, p. 531. 

2 The materials for the early history of Presbyterianism in Virginia 
and Carolina have been largely drawn from Foote's Sketches. 

3 Webster makes Campbell a native of Argyleshire, Scotland, 
emigrant to this country i%. 1730, licensed by New Castle Presby- 
tery in 1735, and " well received" by Philadelphia Presbytery, May 
22, 1789. After preaching f or f 0U r years, part of the time at 
Tehicken, he became convinced that he was still unconverted, and 
ceased to "preach. After conference with Whitefield and Tennent, 
Be resumed his labors. After his ordination in 1742, he divided his 



dition, he had ceased to preach, but at an interview 
with "Whitefield, whom he met as he traversed the 
country, his doubts were overcome and his difficulties 
removed. He resumed Lis ministry, and at length took 
up his residence on the left bank of Cape Fear River, a 
few miles above Fayetteville. Here and in the sur- 
rounding region he labored with untiring zeal for nearly 
a quarter of a century. His labors had no bounds but 
his strength. He had three regular congregations, one at 
"Roger's Meeting-House," one at " Barbacue Church," 
and one at McKay's, now known as Long Street. 

Here were the pioneer churches of the region. As 
emigration continued and population increased, new 
neighborhoods were formed, and new congregations 
gathered. One after another the numerous churches in 
Cumberland, Robeson, Moore, Richmond, and Bladen 
counties were organized, and new laborers were de- 
manded. In 1770, Rev. John McLeod came from Scot- 
land, accompanied by a large number of Highland 
families, to cheer the heart and strengthen the hands 
of the pioneer missionary. 

More worthy of special mention for his labors in this 
field is Hugh McAden, a graduate of Nassau Hall and 
a theological pupil of John Blair. He was licensed in 
1755-by New Castle Presbytery, and avus immediately 
sent out a§^a missionary to the Carolinas. On a por- 
tion of his route he had been preceded by that "burn- 
ing and shining light;" William Robinson, whose suc- 
cess in Carolina was far leb§ tlian m Virginia. By him 
Duplin and New Hanover, £ nd the scattered settle- 
ments of that region, were visited. But his journey 
was attended by much exposure ^ nd many hardships. 


time between Greenwich and the Forks of tn C \^ laware - 0n the 
division, he adhered to the New side, and was sent to p7^ acl1 to the 
vacant churches. — Webster, 530. 


McAden fared but little better. His journal 1 still 
exists, and attests his indefatigable zeal and devoted 
purpose. He passed through Virginia, and extended 
his labors into the northern part of South Carolina. 
At various places on his route he was warmly wel- 
comed, and at some was invited to remain. He found 
the people greatly scattered, but anxious generally to 
hear preaching. 

In 1759, he was dismissed from New Castle to Hano- 
ver Presbytery, which then included the greater part 
of Virginia, and, extending indefinitely south, covered 
his destined field of labor. This embraced the congre- 
gations of Duplin and New Hanover, the largest at 
that period within the bounds of the State. Here he 
remained for ten years. After this he took charge 
of the churches of Hico, Dan River, and County Line 
Creek, with which he labored till his death in 1781. 

At the time when he commenced his labors in North 
Carolina, there Avere some Presbyterian churches built, 
and many worshipping assemblies, yet few, if any, 
organized churches, and no settled minister. McAden 
himself belonged to the New side. He was in sym- 
pathy with Hanover Presbytery, and was a man of 
kindred spirit with Robinson and Davies. 

Among the members set off by the Synod to form the 
Presbytery of Hanover, in 1755, occurs the name of 
Alexander Craighead. He was licensed by Donegal 
Presbytery in 1734, became afterward a warm friend 
of Whitefield, and was an earnest and awakening 
preacher. His zeal for the "Solemn League and Cove- 
nant" carried him away, and for some years his name 
disappears from the Synodical records. He had asso 
ciated himself with the Cameronians; but in 1749 he 

1 Foots, in his Sketches of North Carolina, gives this journal in 


had found his way to the western frontiers of Virginia. 
Here he labored for several years, in a situation much 
exposed to the hostile inroads of the Indians; and when 
Braddoek's defeat sent terror through the whole valley 
and large numbers of the population fled to the South, 
he followed them to North Carolina. 1 Crossing the 
Blue Ridge, he found a location among the settlements 
along the Catawba and its smaller tributaries. In Janu- 
ary, 1758, he was directed to preach at Rocky River, 
and visit other vacancies till the spring meeting of the 
Presbytery. At this meeting a call from Rocky River 
was presented for his services, and here he was installed 
during the course of the year. Thus Rocky River was 
the oldest church in the upper country, and Sugar 
Creek was within its bounds. 

Here Mr. Craighead passed his* closing days. Unmo- 
lested by Virginia intolerance, which he could ill brook; 
far removed from interference from his own ecclesias- 
tical brethren who might be disposed to criticize his 
revival movements, he poured forth, among a people 
prepared to receive them, his really noble and manly 
principles of civil and religious freedom, which bore 
fruit in the Mecklenburg Convention and the bold 
stand of his adopted State in favor of national inde- 

Into this region there had already begun to pour a 
strong tide of immigration. It was mainly from Ire- 
land ; but it reached this Mesopotamia of North Caro- 
lina by different routes. Part came by the port of 
Charleston, and part by Philadelphia and the Delaware. 
The two streams met and commingled, producing a 
class of population worthy of the highest honor. They 
carried their principles with them into the wilderness. 
They built churches, and earnestly sought ministers or 

1 Webster, 437. 


missionaries from the Synod; and in the Revolutionary 
conflict the strength of their principles was tested by 
their devotion to the cause of liberty of person and 

Almost contemporaneously with the settlement of 
Mr. Craighead at Bocky River, the congregations of 
Hopewell, Steel Creek, New Providence, Poplar Tent, 
Rocky River, Centre, and Thyatira, were gathered. 
Their applications to Synod for aid in procuring 
preaching were frequent and earnest. Nor were they 
altogether unheeded. Year after year, missionaries were 
appointed to visit the destitute settlements of Virginia 
and Carolina. In 1764, McWhorter and Spencer were 
sent to North Carolina, and by them quite a number of 
the churches in the neighborhood of Mecklenburg were 

In 1765, a call was presented to Hanover Presbytery, 
for Heniy Patillo, from the congregations of Hawfields, 
Eno, and Little River. Patillo had been a student under 
Davies, and had been licensed by Hanover Presbytery 
in 1757. As a patriarch of the Presbyterian Church 
in North Carolina, his name is worthy of more than 
merely a passing mention. 1 Of large frame and some- 
what coarse features, but honest and candid to a pro- 
verb, his genial spirit and freedom from all assumption 
bound the hearts of others to him, and made them for- 
get the plainness of his countenance and homeliness of 
his manner, in the integrity of his heart and the fervent 
simplicity of his purpose. He was above the influence 
of all merely earthly considerations. He confessed no 
attachment to any thing of a perishable nature, except 
books. He was always poor, and never envied wealth. 
He sustained himself in his preparation for the minis- 
try by teaching the children of his neighbors. His 

1 Spraguc, iii. 196. 


dwelling — for lie was married at the time — was a " house 
sixteen feet by twelve and an outside chimney, with an 
eight-feet shed, a little chimney to it." Yet even thus 
he was well content. 

But Mr. Davies, who fell in with him upon a preach- 
ing-excursion to the Roanoke, and encouraged him to 
stud} 7- for the ministry, did not need to blush for his 
pupil. Patillo proved himself "possessed of an origin- 
ality of genius, and endowed by nature with powers of 
mind superior to the common lot of men." But, above 
all, he was most devoted to his work. He lived for 
Christ. All the ardor of his nature, all the genial 
warmth of his friendship, was enlisted in the duties of 
his sacred calling. Sustained by an unwavering faith, 
he was always cheerful, always active. It was rarely 
that his sky was clouded or his spirit disheartened. 
For thirty-six years — the last twenty-one at Nutbush 
and Grassy Creek — he was zealous and indefatigable 
in the service of Christ; and the Church in North 
Carolina may well be proud to name him among her 
founders. Of the first Provincial Congress of the State 
(1775) he was elected a member, and was unanimously 
elected chairman of the committee of the whole, on 
the subject of a National Confederation. 

Early in 1765, a call was presented to the New Bruns- 
wick Presbytery, by the congregations in Buffalo and 
Alamance settlements, for the services of David Cald- 
well. 1 He was a native of Lancaster county, Penn- 
sylvania, the son of a plain farmer, and was twenty-five 
years of age before he was converted. He at once 
commenced his preparations for the ministry, under 
Robert Smith, of Pecpia, was graduated at Nassau Hall 
in 1761, and in 1763 was licensed to preach. 

His first labors were in the region where he was 

1 Sprague, iii. 259. 


afterward settled. He visited North Carolina as a mis- 
sionary of the Synod, and labored there somewhat over 
a year. On his return in 1705, he entered upon his 
parochial duties. It may give some idea of the feeble 
condition of his united congregations, that both of 
them gave him in all but a salary of two hundred 
dollars. It w T as, therefore, a matter of necessity for 
him to make other provision for his support. He 
accordingly purchased a small farm, and at nearly the 
same time commenced a classical school in his own 
house. His usefulness as a teacher was scarcely infe- 
rior to his usefulness in the pulpit. Some of the most 
eminent men in Church and State were trained under 
his instructions. His scholars ranged generally in num- 
ber from fifty to sixty. 

Mr. Caldwell's congregations needed a man of his 
discretion to preserve their harmony. The church at 
Buffalo was composed of Old-side members; that at 
Alamance of New-side, or followers of Whitefield. In 
him, however, they were united; and they had good 
reason to be. 

Tradition says that the first sacramental occasion 
observed by Presbyterians in Granville was in 1763. 
William Tennent, Jr., 1 recently ordained by New Bruns- 
wick Presbytery for a Southern mission, officiated. For 
six months he labored in this region, under the direc- 
tion of the Presbytery of Hanover. The congrega- 
tions were regularly organized by James Cresswell, 
licentiate of Hanover Presbytery, who supplied them 
for some years. 

The interests of the Presbyterian Church in North 
Carolina were not neglected by the Synod of New 
York and Philadelphia. Eepeatedly that body sent 
some of its best men as missionaries into the field, 

1 Subsequently of Charlestou. 


to gather congregations and organize churches. Among 
the names of those who were thus commissioned, we 
meet with those of William Tennent, Jr., Nathan Ker, 
George Dufneld, William Ramsey, James Latta, Elihu 
Spencer, and Alexander McWhorter. In 1770, Hezekiah 
Balch, whose life is identified with the history of the 
Presbyterian Church in East Tennessee, was ordained 
as an evangelist by the Presbytery of New Castle, and 
entered on his labors as a missionary of the Presbytery 
of Hanover in North Carolina. 

As the number of ministers and churches in this 
region increased, the need was felt of another Presby- 
tery, the membership of which should consist of minis- 
ters south of the Virginia line. At a meeting, there- 
fore, of Hanover Presbytery (1770), a petition was pre- 
pared for Synod, asking for a Presbytery for Carolina 
and the South. The petition was granted, and Hugh 
McAden, Henry Patillo, David Caldwell, James Criswell, 
Hezekiah Balch, Hezekiah James Balch, and Joseph 
Alexander, were constituted a Presbytery, by the name 
of Orange. From time to time the Presbytery was 
strengthened hy the accession of new members, most 
of them originally from the North, but at an early age 
residents of North Carolina. Thomas Reese, a native 
of Pennsylvania, had removed when quite young, with 
his father's family, to Mecklenburg county, N.C., where 
he prosecuted his studies at an academy under charge 
'of Rev. Joseph Alexander, the successor of Alexander 
Craighead, as pastor of Buffalo and Sugar Creek, in 
17G8. Mr. Alexander was a fine scholar, a graduate of 
Princeton and a licentiate of the Presbytery of New 
Castle. In connection with a Mr. Benedict, he taught a 
classical school of high excellence and usefulness. When 
the Presbyterians subsequently proposed to secure of 
the king a charter for a college, he was named as the 
first professor. 


Under his care young Reese pursued bis preparatory 
course. In 1768, at the age of twenty-six, he was 
graduated at Princeton. Returning to Carolina, he 
devoted some time to the study of theology, and was 
the first minister ordained by the new Presbytery of 
Orange in 1773. Soon after this he entered upon his 
labors in the pastorate of Salem Church, Sumter Dis- 
trict, S.C. In 1792 or 1793, he removea to Pendleton 
District, S.C, where be labored for several years. A 
distinguished scholar, and eminently devoted to his 
work, he exerted a wide and healthful influence. 
Anxious only for the salvation of souls, " his success in 
bis ministerial labors evinced the presence and power 
of the Holy Spirit." 

In 1776, the Presbytery of Orange licensed the cele- 
brated James Hall, — a man with whose life the history 
of the Presb} T terian Church throughout the Southwest 
is largely interwoven. He was of Scotch-Irish descent, 
a native of Carlisle, Pa. At an early age he removed 
with his parents to Iredell count}-, N.C., and within 
the bounds of the congregation of which he afterward 
became pastor. From early childhood his mind was 
religiously impressed. At the age of twenty he made 
a public profession of religion, and at about the same 
time he resolved to devote himself to the work of the 
ministry. In 1774, at the ripe age of thirty-one, he 
was graduated at Princeton, and such were his mathe- 
matical attainments that President Witherspoon ex- 
pressed a desire that he should be retained as a teacher 
in the college. But the consciousness of his sacred 
purpose to devote himself to the work of the ministry 
forbade his acceptance of the offered position. 

His theological course was pursued under Dr. Wither- 
spoon. Upon its completion he returned to North Caro- 
lina. On every side the broad field of spiritual desti- 
tution invited laborers. Various congregations pressed 
Vol. I.— 20 


Mr. Hall to become their pastor. These applications 
he felt it necessary to decline, and finally settled — 
where his early years were spent — over the united 
congregations of Fourth Creek, Concord, and Bethany. 
In 1790, he secured a release from the first two, retain- 
ing only his connection with Bethany, that he might 
have more time to devote to the cause of domestic 

In this cause he was a pioneer and veteran laborer. 
Over a vast region of country his excursions were 
extended and his influence felt. In his own eongreffa- 
tions his labors were eminently blessed. As the fruit 
of revivals, eighty were received to the communion 
at one time, and sixty at another. Few men have left 
behind them a more enviable memory. Devotedly 
pious, unwearied in his endeavors, sagacious in his 
plans, and self-denying in the work which he loved 
above every thing else, his ministry for forty years 
" was one glowing scene of untiring activity and ear- 
nest zeal to win souls to Christ." Precious memorials 
of him, as a warm and active friend of revivals, still 
survive among the churches of the region in which he 
labored. His solemn, pungent appeals in the pulpit, 
his grave, impressive manner, his long and toilsome 
missionary tours, and the constancy of a consecration 
to his work which improved for usefulness every oppor- 
tunity that offered, have invested his name with pecu- 
liar interest. 

A worthy compeer and co-Presbyter of Hall was 
Samuel Eusebius MeCorkle, who, like him, a native of 
Pennsylvania, early removed to North Carolina. In 
1766, he commenced his preparatory course of study 
at Dr. Caldwell's school in Guilford county, and in 1772 
was graduated at Princeton m the same class with Dr. 
McMillan and Aaron Burr. In 1774, he was licensed 
by the Presbytery of New York, and by the Synod 


was commissioned to go southward and labor for at 
least a year under the direction of the Presbyteries of 
Hanover and Orange. After spending two years as a 
missionary in Virginia, he accepted the call of the 
church at Thyatira, where his early years had been 
spent, and where his parents still resided. For thirty- 
five years his course of usefulness and successful labor 
was continued in the region where he first settled. 
For ten or twelve years, he, like many of his brethren 
in the ministry, took charge of a classical school, which 
bore the significant name of Zion Parnassus. He was 
a thorough scholar and a devoted minister, less of a 
missionary than a student, and so intensely devoted to 
theological investigations that his temporal interests 
were sometimes too much neglected. He wrote his dis- 
courses, but used no manuscript in the pulpit. His tall 
and manly form, his grave and solemn countenance, 
and his impressive and thrilling tones, made his dis- 
courses most effective in riveting the attention and 
arousing the conscience. In the revivals of 1801 and 
1802, his influence, like that of Hall, was deeply and 
widely felt. 

Quite a number of churches had been gathered in 
the bounds of North Carolina before the Presbytery 
of Orange numbered any under its care south of the 
State line. The Presbytery of Charleston stood apart 
by itself, and occupied but a limited portion of the 
State. The Williamsburg church was formed as early 
as 1736, and for many years enjoyed great spiritual 
prosperity. But for some time previous to the Revolu- 
tion its prosperity had declined, chiefly, it is said, in 
consequence of receiving large accessions from the 
North of Ireland, in which, to say the least, spiritual- 
ity was not the predominant element. Throughout 
the war of the Revolution the church was vacant, and 
its difficulties were only aggravated by the subsequent 


settlement of a Mr. Kennedy. By a secession the 
Bethel Church was formed previous to 1790, over which, 
in connection with that of Indian town, James White 
Stephenson was settled from 1790 to 1808. * 

In 1782, Francis Cummins accepted a call from Bethel 
Church, in the district of York, S.C., where he was 
ordained toward the close of that year. Like McCor- 
kle, Hall, and Beese, he was a native of Pennsylvania, 
but had removed with his family, while yet a youth, to 
Mecklenburg county, N.C. Here he enjoyed and im- 
proved the opportunity afforded him for an education 
superior to any which had hitherto offered. In the 
neighboring college, then called " Queen's Museum," 
under the instruction of Bev. Dr. McWhorter, who had 
recently removed thither from New Jersey, he pursued 
his studies, and was graduated in 1776. His theological 
studies were pursued under the direction of Bev. James 
Hall, and in 1780 he was licensed to preach by the 
Presbytery of Orange. 

His fields of labor were numerous and varied. Indeed, 
his labors were never confined to a single congregation. 
There were some twenty churches which considered 
him as, in some sense, their pastor, during the whole 
course of his ministry. Twenty-four years were spent 
in South Carolina, and twenty-five in Georgia. Yet, 
during this long period, his time was almost always 
laboriously divided between teaching and preaching. 
The churches in that region were at this period so 
generally missionary stations, and the ministers so few 
in number, that their efforts were spread necessarily 
over a broad field. 

Of this arduous work, Dr. Cummins performed his 
full share. Indeed, he seemed peculiarly adapted to it. 
An accurate scholar, an able and well-read theologian, 

1 Sprague, iii. 552. 


with a physical development in keeping with his large 
intellectual gifts, and a high, capacious, and intellectual 
forehead which proclaimed him no ordinary man, his 
presence in the pulpit was sure to command attention 
and awaken interest. His deep-toned voice, somewhat 
authoritative and dictatorial manner, and perfect self- 
command, conjoined with his mental and spiritual gifts, 
rendered him eminent as a preacher. He lived to a ripe 
old age of nearly fourscore, and died in 1831. 

These were among the most eminent of the early 
ministers of Orange Presbytery. But there were others 
who labored in the region for a longer or a shorter 
period. In 1760, Rev. Robert Tate came from Ireland 
to Wilmington, and opened a classical school for his 
support. Many of the young men of New Hanover, 
who took an active part in the Revolution, enjoyed his 
instructions. While residing at Wilmington, where no 
Presbyterian church was organized until after the war, 
he was accustomed to make preaching excursions 
through New Hanover and the adjoining counties, par- 
ticularly up the Black and South Rivers. During the 
war, on account of his ardent Whig principles, he found 
it prudent to leave Wilmington and reside in the Haw- 
fields, in Orange. Without being settled as a pastor, he 
performed a large amount of missionary labor. His 
cultured manners, genial conversation, and winning 
deportment gave him great influence, especially among 
the young. 

Rev. William Richardson labored for a while at Provi- 
dence, although his residence was in South Carolina 
and he was a member of the Charleston Presbytery. 
He was a licentiate of Hanover Presbytery in 1758. 

Rev. John Debow was the second pastor of the con- 
gregations of the Eno and the Haw. He commenced 
his labors as a licentiate of the Presbytery of New 
Brunswick in 1775, but died eight years afterward. 



In 1785, Rev. William Bingham commenced his labois 
at Wilmington and in the surrounding country. He 
was a native of Ireland, and an excellent scholar. He 
sustained himself by conducting a classical school, in 
the management of which he was exceedingly popular. 
At a later period he removed to the upper country, and 
taught with great success in Chatham and Orange. 

At about this period, James McGreacly, whose name 
figures so largely in connection with the revivals in 
Kentucky at the commencement of the present cen- 
tury, commenced his labors in North Carolina. His 
unsparing denunciations of wickedness, and his terrible 
appeals, which won him the title of " Boanerges," ren- 
dered him, while popular with some, greatly obnoxious 
to others. But his labors were not in vain. Among 
those who were deeply affected by his influence was 
the Rev. William Hodge, who is said to have been a 
native of Hawfields, and who accompanied McGready 
to Kentucky. While McGready was preaching on 
Stoney Creek and along the Haw River in 1789, Hodge 
was one of his constant hearers. In listening to the 
bold, fearless preacher, he felt his own desire to preach 
the gospel revived, and, on being licensed by the Pres- 
bytery of Orange, he went hand and heart with his 
teacher in the revival work. 

Meanwhile, the Presbytery of Orange was extending 
toward the West. Eastern Tennessee was included 
within its bounds. Here were to be found some of its 
most earnest and devoted members. Among them 
were Charles Cummings and Hezekiah Balch. These, 
with Samuel Houston, Samuel Carrick, John Cossan, 
and James Balch. formed at a subsequent period the 
Presbytery of Abingdon, in East Tennessee. 

The Presbyterian Church in the Carolinas had passed 
through a trying period. The influence of the war 
was disastrous to public morals, while many of the 


churches and congregations were sadly scattered. In 
some cases the people dared not assemble. A meeting 
for religious purposes would have been accounted trea- 
son, and, while the country was in the hands of the 
British troops, would but too surely have invited a visit 
of the dragoons. 

The pastors, moreover, were especially obnoxious. 
From the first they had manifested a warm zeal in the 
cause of national independence. Some of them had 
for years before the crisis been inculcating those princi- 
ples of civil and religious freedom which bore fruit in 
the results of the Revolutionary conflict. Indeed, they 
might be said to have given tbe impulse to the popular 
mind around them, which resulted in the Declaration 
of the celebrated Mecklenburg Convention. In the 
proceedings of this body, the influence of the Presby- 
terian element which helped to compose it is plainly 
seen. Nor were they wanting to themselves or to their 
country when the crisis came. Patillo was a member 
of the first Provincial Congress in 1775, and its chair- 
man when it sat in committee of the whole. Caldwell 
was a member of the State Convention in 1776. Craijr- 
head had already for more than a score of years been 
a zealous and uncompromising champion of those prin- 
ciples of civil and religious liberty of which the Meck- 
lenburg Declaration was a practical exposition. As 
members of the convention, sat several elders of the 
Presbyterian churches in the Mecklenburg district. 
There were at least seven of these, four of them of the 
well-known name of Alexander. The Rev. Hezekiah 
James Balch was also a member; and among the young 
men who listened to the doings of the convention were 
Joseph (afterward General Joseph) Graham, long an 
elder, and Humphrey Hunter, minister, of the churches 
of Unity and Goshen. Of this number also was Fran- 
cis (afterward Rev. Dr.) Cummins, then a student at 


"Queen's Museum," in Charlotte, and like the others, 
in full sympathy with the proceedings of the conven- 

Among the sufferers hy the war, the Presbyterian 
clergy held a distinguished rank. By the British and 
Tories they were singled out for vengeance, and upon 
the head of one was set a price of two hundred pounds. 
McAden was fast verging to the grave; but he and his 
congregation suffered severely; and scarcely had his 
ashes been laid in the grave, before devastation spread 
over the scene of his labors. Two weeks after his death, 
the British encamped in the yard of Red-House Church, 
where he had preached, searched his dwelling, plun- 
dered and destroyed his papers, and carried desolation 
through the region. James Tate, a staunch Whig, was 
forced to flee from Wilmington to escape the grasp of 
British power. Thomas H. McCaule was a zealous 
patriot, and his field of labor was in the track of the 
hostile armies :„he was by the side of General Davidson 
when the latter was shot off from his horse. The congre- 
gations of Eno, Hawfields, Buffalo, and Alamance, were 
the scenes of the plundering^ of Cornwallis's army. 
The sufferings and privations which they endured 
were fearful. The catalogue of outrage would fill a 
volume. The house of Dr. Caldwell was broken open, 
his library and valuable papers destroyed, and his pro- 
perty stolen, while he, watched as a felon, spent night 
after night in the solitudes of the forest. Many an 
effort was made to draw him from his hiding-place. 
His house was watched ; sudden visits were made to 
surprise him ; but, eluding all the arts of his enemies, 
he escaped their hands. 

Such a state of things could not but be sorely disas- 
trous to the churches. Attention was diverted from 
religion to the discussion of political questions. The 
community was rent into embittered parties by civil 


feuds. The ravages as well as the license of war pro- 
duced desperation and excited to reprisals ; morality 
was at a low ebb; congregations were scattered, and 
the seed of that infidelity which at a later period 
ravaged the land was now, in part, sown. 

With the return of peace the prospect brightened : 
the congregations could assemble again, with none to 
molest or make afraid ; the pastors could and did re- 
sume their duties, and once more regularly occujDied 
their pulpits. But, before religion could fairly regain 
the ground it had lost, there was to be another con- 
flict, but one not waged with carnal weapons. Infi- 
delity was to fall before the bold reproof of a faithful 
ministry and the wonderful outpouring of the Divine 

The Presbyterian Church in the Carolinas showed 
itself from the first a fast friend of education. The 
pioneer laborers deeply felt the necessity not only of 
giving an impulse to the general intelligence, but of 
training up an educated ministry. They perceived 
clearly the necessity of providing for the enlarged de- 
mands of an extensive and still extending missionary 
field. Hence, wherever a pastor was located, there 
was in connection with his congregation a classical 
school. This was the case at Sugar Creek, Poplar 
Tent, Centre, Bethany, Buffalo, Thyatira, Grove, Wil- 
mington, and the churches served by Patillo in Orange 
and Granville. 

The oldest of these was under the care of Joseph 
Alexander, at Sugar Creek ; and here a large number 
of ministers received their classical education. The 
prejudices of George III. denied it a charter, for it was 
in the hands of Presbyterian Whigs. But " Queen's 
Museum" flourished without a charter, and the debates 
preceding the Mecklenburg Declaration were held in 
its hall. It was but a fitting; tribute to its usefulness 


and promise, when the Legislature of North Carolina, 
in 1777, chartered the institution, under the name of 
Liberty Hall Academy. It was entirely under Pres- 
byterian direction, and under the supervision of Orange 
Presbytery. The Rev. Alexander (afterward Dr.) 
M cWhorter, of Newark, was solicited to take charge 
of it; but his residence was only temporary, and the 
pre-eminence of Liberty Hall as supplying the place 
of a college for the South was transferred to Mount 
Zion College, Winnsborough, S.C., over which Thomas 
H. McCaule presided for several years. 

Classical schools of a high order, under Presbyte- 
rian direction, were more numerous after the Revolu- 
tionary War. Dr. Caldwell continued his in Guilford 
till his death. Dr. McCorkle sustained one in Rowan, 
and afterward in Salisbury. Dr. Robinson sustained 
the one at Poplar Tent, with some intermissions, 
till near the close of his life. Dr. "Wilson was very 
successful at Rocky Hill, and Dr. Hall at Bethany. 
There was also a nourishing one, under William Bing- 
ham, in Chatham, and one in Burke. Providence, 
Grove, and Payetteville, enjoyed a succession of clas- 
sical teachers. 

With the establishment of the University of the 
State, at Chapel Hill, in 1789, the preponderance of 
classical schools ceased to be so entirely on the side of 
the Presbyterian Church. Yet at a later period the 
cause was taken up by them again, with revived energy, 
and with results that nobly justified the effort. 

As we have already seen, the first attempt to colo- 
nize South as well as North Carolina resembled in its 
origin an investment of capital by a company of land- 
jobbers. 1 The proprietaries furnished the emigrants 
with means to embark, but sent out with them their 

1 Bancroft, ii. 166. 


own commercial agent, and undertook the manage- 
ment of all commercial transactions. As might have 
been expected, the colony was a scene of turbulence, 
and industry was unproductive, till the old Constitu- 
tions were abandoned and the colonists learned to rely 
on their own energy. 

The first band of emigrants to South Carolina set 
sail in January, 1670. The period, in England, was 
one of sharp persecution for Dissenters. Eight years 
before, the terrible Act of Conformity had expelled 
nearly two thousand ministers from their parishes and 
pulpits. Cavalier statesmen were unscrupulous enough 
to take advantage of the fruits of their own bigoted 
counsels. In the first band, along with the commercial 
agent, was "William Sayle, the proprietary Governor, 
"probably a Presbyterian," who, more than twenty 
years before, had attempted to plant an " Eleutheria" 
in the isles of the Gulf of Florida. 

The emigrants had hardly landed before they insti- 
tuted a polity on a liberal basis. Eepresentative gov- 
ernment was established, and continued to be che- 
rished. It was in vain that Eocke theorized or 
Shaftesbury speculated. The Utopia of their dreams 
was not to be realized. It was not long before Dutch 
enterprise offered the colonists the luxury of cargoes 
of slaves. From the banks of the Hudson, lured by 
stories of the fertility of the soil, came an unlooked- 
for accession to the population. In little more than a 
year after the arrival of the first colonists, two ships 
with Dutch emigrants from New York arrived, and 
these were soon followed by others with their country- 
men from Holland. Even Charles II. provided at his 
own expense — a munificence the more marked for its 
isolation, and perhaps designed to manifest his sym- 
pathy with Carolina rather than New England — two 
small vessels, to transport to Carolina a few foreign 


Protestants. But the most considerable emigration 
was from England. The prospect of immunity from 
the molestation of informers and acts against conven- 
ticles and IsTon-Confbrmity, tempted Dissenters to a 
colony where their worship would be tolerated and 
their rights respected. A company of them from 
Somersetshire were conducted to Charleston by Joseph 
Drake, brother of the gallant admiral, and the fortune 
which the latter had acquired was employed to plant 
South Carolina with a people who dreaded the evils 
of oppression and the prospect of a Popish successor 
to the throne. 

The condition of Scotland, likewise, impelled not a 
few to project a settlement in Carolina. But a com- 
paratively small number, however, under the lead of 
Lord Cardross, who soon returned, crossed the Atlan- 
tic. A colony of Irish under Ferguson received a 
hearty welcome, and were soon merged among the 
other colonists. More important, however, for a short 
period at least, was the accession to the pojDulation 
from the exiled Huguenots. The French king essayed 
to torment them into conversion, but he only tor- 
mented them out of the kingdom; and not a few found 
their way to the shores of South Carolina. Here were 
fugitives from Languedoc and Saintonge and Bor- 
deaux, from Northern and Southern France, — Calvinist 
Protestants seeking the shelter which the worldly 
policy of High-Church statesmen extended to the ad- 
herents of every creed. 

At an early period, also, the population of South 
Carolina received into its bosom a Puritan element 
from New England. Although by the Charter of the 
State the Church of England was the only one legally 
recognized, yet it contained provisions favorable to 
other creeds. The Colony, though founded by bigoted 
Churchmen, was governed by " Dissenters." Blake 


was a Presbyterian, and Archdale a Quaker.* There 
were also in the colony " godly Christians, both pre- 
pared for and longing after the edifying ordinances 
of the gospel." 

The first from abroad to respond to their appeal was 
Joseph Lord, of Charlestown, Mass., who, four years 
before, had graduated at Harvard, and had since been 
teaching at Dorchester, and studying theology with 
the pastor of the church. 2 On the 22d of October, 
1695, those who offered to go with him were embodied 
in a church, over which he was ordained pastor. 3 From 
the churches of Boston, Milton, Newton, Charlestown, 
and Roxbury, came pastors and delegates to assist in the 
services at the gathering of this little flock, and " to 
encourage the settlement of churches and the promo- 
tion of religion in the Southern plantations." In little 
more than a month the company were ready to embark; 
and their faith and ardor did not abate at the prospect 
of separation from old associations. The parting scene 
was solemnized by the holy services of religion. Their 
former pastor, Mr. Danforth, preached " a most affec- 
tionate and moving valedictory." On the 5th of De- 
cember, the colony — a whole church — set sail, and for 
the first time New England sent forth missionaries 
beyond her bounds. For a time the voyage was bois- 

1 Graham's History of North America, ii. 167. 

2 Graham (History of North America, ii. 170) says, "At the close 
of the seventeenth century, there were only three edifices for divine 
worship erected within the Southern province, containing re- 
spectively an Episcopal, a Presbyterian, and a Quaker congregation, 
and all of them situated in the town of Charleston. Throughout 
all the rest of the province there were neither institutions for public 
worship, nor schools for education." 

It is evident that he overlooked his own statement (p. 166) of the 
settlement which, just before the close of the century, had been 
made at Dorchester by the New England emigrants. 

3 Am. Quar. Reg., Aug. 1841. 
Vol. I.— 21 


terous and unpleasant, and it was fifteen days before 
they landed in Carolina. Following the course of the 
Ashley River, they found on its northeasterly bank, 
about twenty miles from Charleston, a rich piece of land, 
whose virgin soil and whose stately woodlands, with 
their interlacing vines and evergreen misletoe and dra- 
pery of moss, were well adapted to their purposes, and 
which they immediately selected as their future home, 
giving to it, in memory of their native place, the name 
of Dorchester. Here, on February 2, 1696, " they 
raised their grateful Ebenezer," by celebrating, for the 
first time in Carolina, the sacrament of the Lord's 

Mr. Lord remained with this people for more than 
twenty years. Hugh Fisher was his successor; and, 
upon his death, John Osgood, a native of the colony 
(Dorchester), was ordained (1734-5). In 1754, the 
church mostly removed, with their pastor, to Midway, 

At Charleston, also, beside the Huguenot Church, 
(1686), originating with the expulsion of Protestants 
from France, by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, 
there was, as early as 1690, a meeting-house for a 
congregation (known, till 1730, indiscriminately as 
Presbyterian, Congregational, and Independent) of 
which Benjamin Pierpont (1691-1696-7) was pastor, 
and whose successors were Mr. Adams, 1 and John 
Cotton, son of the Boston minister. 2 This at first may 
have embraced alike settlers from Scotland and from 

1 Am. Quar. Reg., Aug. 1841. 

2 Graham (History of North America, ii. 167) says, "In the year 
1698, he [Blake] had the satisfaction to see John Cotton, a son of 
tne celebrated minister of Boston, remove from Plymouth, in New 
inglana, to Charleston, in South Carolina, where he gathered a 
church and enjoyed a short, but happy and successful, ministry." 
This must be a mistake. The statement of the American Quarterly 


New England. But the two elements were not alto- 
gether congenial, and in 1730 the Scotch demanded 
an organization of their own. 1 Its germ was found 
in the secession of twelve families from the old 

Up to the close of the seventeenth century, all de- 
nominations had enjoyed an equal freedom. The law 
favored none at the expense of others. But in 1703 2 
the Governor, Sir Nathaniel Johnson, as if in concert 
with Lord Cornbury at New York, determined to in- 
troduce into the colony the system which Dissenters 
had learned to regard with well-grounded jealousy. 
By skilful arrangements, and through elections at 
which it is said that the most despicable classes of the 
population were allowed to vote, a legislature was 
secured favorable to the Governor's design. By a close 

Register, taken from a Charleston publication, is doubtless more 
reliable. See, however, Sprague, i. 29. 

1 Dr. Smythe, in his History of the Second Presbyterian Church of 
Charleston, says, "As early as 1690, the Presbyterians, in conjunc- 
tion with the Independents, formed a church in Charleston, which 
continued in this united form for forty years. During this period, 
two of their ministers, the Rev. Messrs. Stobo and Livingston, 
were Presbyterians, and connected with the Charleston Presbytery. 
After the death of the latter, twelve families seceded, and formed a 
Presbyterian Church on the model of the Church of Scotland. 
Their building was erected in 1731, on the site of the present, which 
was completed in 1814." 

Dr. Howe, in his Historical Discourse, states — evidently a mistake 
— that the date of the founding of the First Presbyterian Church 
of Charleston was 1741. It should have been ten years earlier. 
That Stobo was the successor of Cotton in charge of the same 
church, I see no reason to doubt. Cotton died (Sprague, i. 29) 
Sept. 8, 1699, and Stobo, who brought no colonists or congregation 
with him, arrived in 1700. What more natural than that under 
Stobo, himself a Presbyterian, the Independents and Presbyterians 
should unite ? 

2 Hewatt's Sauth Carolina, i. 167, 172. 


vote it was enacted that the Episcopal should he the 
estal lished Church, and that it should he supported 
hy a tax on all classes of citizens alike, including Dis- 
senters, who were likewise deprived of all civil rights. 1 
The colony was divided into ten parishes, and arrange- 
ments were made to secure the necessary number of 
missionaries from England. 

The measure met with strong opposition. The Pres- 
byterians exclaimed against it, and the Quakers were 
not silent. John Archdale told the Governor that the 
Dissenters had not forgotten the hardships to which 
they had been subjected in England in consequence of 
acts of conformity. He asserted boldly that, under the 
Constitution of the colony, freedom of conscience was 
the birthright of every citizen. Others united with 
him in his remonstrance. But opposition was vain. 
Despairing of redress, some of those who complained 
of what they regarded as a tyrannical measure, and a 
violation of plighted faith, prepared to leave the colony 
and remove to Pennsylvania, and a portion of them 
actually removed ; 2 others determined to apply to the 
proprietaries for redress. The citizens of Colleton 
county united in a petition, which they sent to England 
by the hands of one of their number, Joseph Boone. 
On reaching London, he found the prospect before him 
far from encouraging. The proprietaries were not 
disposed to annul the obnoxious measure; but the 
London merchants united with Boone in urging the 
petition, and it was carried before the House of Lords. 
Their action was favorable, and there was a prospect 
that the prayer of the petitioners for relief would be 
granted. The queen issued an order declaring the 
obnoxious laws to be null and void; but her promise to 
issue a process against the provincial charter was never 

1 Simms's South Carolina, 78. 2 Hewatt, i. 178. 


fulfilled. The Episcopal Church was established in the 
colony. Dissenters were taxed for its support, and at 
the same time, if they wished to enjoy their own form 
of worship, were forced by their private contributions 
to erect churches and sustain ministers 

One of the leading opponents of the Governor's pro- 
ject — along with Arehdale — was Archibald Stobo, the 
pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Charleston, — "a 
survivor of the ministers who accompanied the Scotch 
emigrants to New Caledonia." He had been a resi- 
dent of the city since the year 1700, 1 and at the time 
when the act creating the Establishment was passed, 
he exerted a powerful and commanding influence. He 
was possessed of eminent ability, — of " talents which 
render a minister conspicuous and respected." 2 To a 
mind well stored with the treasures of learning, and 
an excellent capacity, he united an uncommon activity 
and diligence in the discharge of his appropriate duties. 
Naturally averse to Episcopal jurisdiction, and with an 
inveterate Scotch antipathy to that prelatic tyranny 
which had inflicted such persecution on his native 
land, he was not conciliated by the designs in favor of 
Episcopal supremacy which he now witnessed in his 
adopted country. From the first he met the proposed 
innovation with unqualified opposition; and his in- 
fluence was powerfully felt. No minister in the colony 
had engrossed so universally the public favor and 
esteem, and no one rendered himself more obnoxious 
to the disfavor of the government. Malignant arts 
were employed against him, and the Governor resorted 
to the weapons of slander to break down and to ruin 
his influence. 

The effect of the measure which he so strenuously 
opposed was disastrous to the Presbyterian churches. 

1 Sprague, iii. 251. 2 Hewatt, i. 178. 


246 history or presbyterianism. 

The English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel 
sent twelve Episcopal missionaries to the colony, and 
their support was largely secured from the public 
treasury. Spacious churches were built and paid for 
by taxes, which fell heavily on Dissenters. The state 
patronage extended to the Episcopal Church soon 
secured it ascendency also in numbers and strength. 
The friends of religious liberty in the Assembly were 
reduced in numbers, and the energy and art of the 
Governor bore down all opposition. Large numbers 
of the children of Dissenters were led to abandon the 
worship of their fathers and connect themselves with 
the State Church, against which the prejudices of the 
community were no longer directed. 1 

But Stobo still maintained his ground. By great 
diligence and ability, he preserved a number of fol- 
lowers ; and, in spite of desertions, his congregation 
was strengthened by the accession of emigrants from 
Scotland and Ireland. The Presbyterians composed 
yet " a considerable party in the province," and sus- 
tained their own forms and ordinances of worship. At 
length, encouraged by help from Scotland, Stobo united 
with two other ministers — Fisher and Witherspoon — 
in efforts to promote the interests of the Presbyterian 
Church in the colony. They " associated" 2 themselves 
for this purpose, and probably united in forming a 
Presbytery. 3 Churches were gathered, 4 and houses of 

1 Hewatt, ii. 51. 2 Hewatt. 

3 The date of this is not given ; but it must have been before 

4 Dr. Smythe, in his History of the Second Presbyterian Church 
of Charleston, states that the churches belonging to the Presby- 
tery were those of Wiltown, Pon Pon, St. Thomas's, Stoney Creek, 
Salt-catchers, Black Mingo, the original and first incorporated 
church of Williamsburg, Charleston, Edisto, and the church of 
John and Wadmalaw Islands. 


worship erected, at Wiltown and "three of the Mari- 
time Islands," and subsequently at Jacksonburg, Indian- 
town, Pon Pon, or Walterborough, Port Royal, and 
Williamsburg. 1 

In 1710, a letter from South Carolina, published in 
London, 2 stated that there were in the colony five 
churches of British Presbyterians. Some of these 
may subsequently have become extinct. The church 
on Edisto Island 3 dates from 1717; that of Pon Pon, or 
Walterborough, of which Stobo, on leaving Charleston, 
became pastor, from 1728 ; those on John's and James's 
Islands from 1734 or 1735; that of Wiltown was many 
years anterior; while the Independent Presbyterian 
Church of Stoney Creek dates from 1743. The five 
early churches must have been those of Charleston, 
Dorchester, perhaps Wiltown or Edisto, and. one or 
more on the Maritime Islands. 

The pastors were obtained for the most part, if not 
in eveiy instance, from Scotland. The .Presbytery 
regarded itself as a portion of the Scotch Kirk, and 
looked to it for a supply for its pulpits. The presence 
in the colony of " ignorant" and " fanatic" men who 
assumed the right to preach, but who were regarded 
by the members of the Presbytery in the light of 
ranters, made them jealous as to the character of 
those whom they admitted to their pulpits or to the 
care of their vacant churches. In full sympathy, as 
we have reason to believe, with the Moderates of the 
Church of Scotland, it would not have been strange if 

1 Williamsburg was founded by a colony of Irish in 1734. 

Simms's South Carolina, 132. 

2 Dr. Howe's Historical Discourse. 

3 In 1705, Henry Brown obtained a grant for three hundred acres 
of land, which in 1717 he conveyed to certain persons "in trust 
for the benefit of a Presbyterian clergyman in Edisto Island." 
— Hodge, i. 58. 


their antipathy to the revivalists of the New side — who 
may have penetrated into what the former considered 
their exclusive domain — should have led them to class 
the intruders with ignorant fanatics. 

The successors of Stobo and Livingston, 1 Alexander 
Hewatt (1763-1776) and George Buist (1793-1808), 
were, like himself, natives of Scotland, and were there 
educated and ordained. At the request of the Church, 
addressed to ministers in that country, the last two, 
at least, were sent out to supply the pulpit. Hewatt 
was a man of learning, ability, and no little of kindly 
feeling. To his congregation he ever remained strongly 
attached. Among them for twelve years he continued 
his labors, till the near prospect of war with the 
mother-country led him, as is supposed, to return to 
Scotland. In 1779, he published in London his History 
of South Carolina. 

His successor, Buist, was sent out, at the request of 
the Church, by Principal Robertson and Dr. Blair, of 
Scotland. They pronounced him from their own 
acquaintance to be " a good scholar, an instructive 
preacher, well bred, and of a good natural temper." 
The recommendation is characteristic of the mode- 
ratism of its authors. Nor did he on his arrival in this 
country belie the assurance given in regard to his 

1 Stobo (Dr. Howe's Historical Discourse) was succeeded at 
Charleston by Livingston ; or rather Livingston, I suspect, took 
charge of the Scotch Church when formed in 1730, and Stobo with- 
drew from Charleston to one of the country churches. The labors 
of the latter continued until as late at least as 1740, in which year 
the slave insurrection took place. When the intelligence of it 
reached Wiltown, he was preaching at the church, whither the men, 
according to custom, had come armed. To this fact the prompt 
and successful suppression of the insurrection was due. How 
much longer Stobo lived, we have not the means to determine. 

Howe and Smythe both speak of Livingston as Stobo's successor; 
but the fact is probably as stated above. 


qualifications. He was a man of original genius, an 
eminent classical scholar, and an impressive preacher. 
He took charge of the church in 1793, and in 1805 
was appointed Principal of the Charleston College, — 
a post for which he was eminently fitted. It was 
during his pastorate (1805), and not improbably at his 
instance, that the Presbytery with which he was con- 
nected petitioned to be received by the General Assem- 
bly. 1 They were not disposed, however, to unite them- 
selves with the Synod of the Carolinas. Their sym- 
pathies, if fairly represented by men like Hewatt and 
Buist, whom the moderates of the Church of Scotland 
could commend, were not very strongly in the direc- 
tion of the revival in which the churches of the Synod 
had so recently and so largely shared. The petition 
was one which the Synod, therefore, for very obvious 
reasons, opposed. They drew up a remonstrance (Oct. 
1805) to the Assembly against the reception of a Pres- 
bytery which declined to unite itself first with the 
Synod within whose bounds it properly belonged, and 
pronounced the proposed measure unconstitutional and 
reflecting upon the Synod. 

Here the matter rested until 1811. In that year the 
Presbytery renewed its request to be united with the 
General Assembly. The prayer of the petitioners was 

1 The Presbytery of South Carolina received quite a number of 
members from New England and the Presbyterian Church long 
before its connection with the Assembly. William Richardson, in 
1760, was dismissed from New York Presbytery to South Carolina 
Presbytery. In 1768, James Latta, from Philadelphia Presbytery, 
united with the same body. In 1770, John Maltby, of New York 
Presbytery, also united with it. In 1768, Dr. McWhorter wa9 
appointed by the Synod to correspond with the South Carolina 
Presbytery ; and in 1 770 the latter body proposed to unite with 
the Synod. The troubles of the Revolution doubtless interfered 
with the execution of the project. See Synod"s Minutes, 307, 378, 


granted, but on such conditions that the Synod had no 
longer any reason to object. These conditions were 
the adoption, by the members of Presbytery, of the 
Confession of Faith and Constitution of the Presby- 
terian Church, and a compromise or union with the 
Presbytery of Harmony, subject to the review and 
control of the Synod. 


" OLD REDSTONE," 1776-1793. 

The treaty of peace between England and Prance 
in 1762, opened to colonial enterprise and immigration 
the vast territory to the west of the Alleghanies, which 
France had hitherto claimed, and of which Fort Pitt 
was one of the defences. Almost immediately settlers 
began to find their way across the mountains, and in 
the course of a few years a population of thousands 
had extended the frontiers of civilization to the vicinity 
of the Ohio. The emigrants came mainly from Eastern 
Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the North of Ireland. 1 
A large proportion of them were Presbyterians, bap- 
tized and brought up in the bosom of the Church, and 
some of them, before their emigration, members of its 
communion. For the most part, they were a bold and 
hardy race. Only strong men, physically and morally, 
would have braved the hardships they freely encoun- 
tered, — the hardships not only of the pioneer settler, 
but those of danger from Indian hostilities. 

Almost at the same time that the preliminaries of 

1 Old Redstone, p. 52. 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 251 

peace were signed at Fontainebleau, — in fact, only 
thirteen days afterward, — the " Corporation for poor 
and distressed Presbyterian ministers" agreed to ap- 
point some of their members to wait on the Synod at 
its next meeting, and in their name request " that mis- 
sionaries might be sent to the distressed frontier in- 
habitants, report their distresses, learn what new 
congregations were forming," what was necessary to 
promote the spread of the gospel among them, and 
discover what opportunities there might be of mission- 
ary work among the Indian tribes. 1 Messrs. Charles 
Beatty and John Brainerd — brother of the missionary 
— were accordingly appointed, and provision was made 
for their absence for several months. But the whole 
design of the mission was frustrated by the breaking 
out of the Indian War. French hostility, no longer 
open and avowed, still instigated its former savage 
allies to the work of vengeance. The whole country 
west of Shippensburg was ravaged. Houses, bai'ns, 
corn, hay, and every thing combustible, were burned. 
The wretched inhabitants, surprised at their labor, at 
their meals, or in their beds, were massacred with the 
utmost cruelty and brutality, and those of them who 
escaped might almost envy the fate of those who had 
fallen. Overwhelmed by the common calamity, terri- 
fied by danger, reduced by want and fatigue to a state 
of exhaustion, famished, shelterless, without the means 
of transportation, their tardy flight was delayed by 
" fainting women and weeping children." " On July 
25, 1763, there were at Shippensburg thirteen hundred 
and eighty-four poor distressed back inhabitants, many 
of whom were obliged to lie in barns, stables, cellars, 
and under old leaky sheds, the dwelling-houses being 
all crowded." 2 

1 Old Redstone, p. 113. a Hist. West. Penn. 


The defeat of the Indians in the succeeding autumn 
drove them beyond the Ohio, and for a time the settlers 
were unmolested. In 1766, Mr. Beatty, in conjunction 
with Mr. Duffield, performed his Western mission. At 
Fort Pitt (Pittsburg) he was invited by McLagan, 
chaj)lain to the 42d Regiment, 1 to preach to the gar- 
rison, while Mr. Duffield preached to the people, who 
lived " in some kind of a town without the fort." The 
missionaries on their return reported 2 " that they 
found on the frontiers numbers of people earnestly de- 
sirous of forming themselves into congregations, and de- 
claring their willingness to exert their utmost in order 
to have the gospel among them ;" but their circum- 
stances were " exceedingly distressing and necessi- 
tous," in consequence of the calamities inflicted by the 
war. The westward limit of their journey was among 
the Indians on the Muskingum, " one hundred and 
thirty miles beyond Port Pitt." The prospect of mis- 
sions among them was reported as encouraging, and 
steps were taken to secure the services of two other 
missionaries for the ensuing year. Although difficul- 
ties arose to prevent their going, it is significant at 
once of the poverty of the people and the liberality 
of the Synod, that the order was made that the mis- 
sionaries " take no money from the frontier settle- 
ments for their ministerial labors among them." 

It is impossible to determine how far the measures 
of the Synod for mission-labor in Western Pennsyl- 
vania were carried out with each successive year; but 
they were regularly made at each annual meeting, and 
in some cases at least were successful. The war of 
the Revolution, however, interrupted the further prose- 
cution of the plan ; and yet before its close (1781) Red- 
stone Presbytery had been organized on the field. 

i History of Pittsburg. 2 Minutes of Synod, p. 375. 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 253 

A very primitive state of society was that which 
greeted the eye and shaped the experience of the first 
pastors of the Presbytery. The persons that com- 
posed their congregations were by no means dressed 
in accordance with the fashions of Eastern cities. In 
nine cases out of ten, a blanket or a coverlet served as 
a substitute for a great-coat in winter weather, and the 
worshipper was not ashamed to wear it. 1 Deer-skin 
was a substitute for cloth for men and boys. Every 
thing that was not brought from a distance of more 
than a hundred miles across the mountains, had to be 
manufactured by patient industry and primitive agen- 
cies. The best dwelling of the settler was for many 
years a log cabin, and its furniture was of the simplest 
description. Here and there a fort told the story of 
danger from Indian invasion, and suggested the hazards 
by day and night to which the inhabitants were ex- 

Until 1790, it is not known that a church edifice or 
house of worship was erected in the region. Meetings 
were held in the shady groves, or, for greater security, 
within the walls of the forts. They were attended 
sometimes from a distance of twelve to sixteen miles ; 
and he was fortunate whose residence enabled him. by 
a walk of not more than five or six, to enjoy the 
regular ordinances of Sabbath worship. In many 
cases every man came armed. The guns were stacked, 
and a sentinel was appointed to sound the signal of 
alarm in case of danger from Indian attack. The 

1 The author of "Old Redstone" relates an anecdote to the effect 
that when the first court of common pleas was held in Catfish, now 
Washington, a highly respectable citizen, whose presence was 
required as a magistrate, could not attend without first borrowing 
a pair of leather breeches from an equally respectable neighbor, 
who was summoned on grand jury. The latter lent them, and, 
having no others, had to stay at home. — Page 44. 

Vox,. I.— 22 


perils from this source did not cease till Wayne's vic- 
tory in 1794. 

The toils and hardships of the ministers were excess- 
ive. They not only shared the lot of their people in 
respect to food, clothing, and lodging, but in their ex- 
tended journeyings from place to place to preach, ad- 
minister the ordinances, and visit their scattered sheep 
in the wilderness, were exposed to peculiar hazards. 
Often did they have to travel a distance of from fifteen 
to fifty miles in order to discharge their parochial 
duties, so extended were the fields which they were 
called to occupy. They were indeed bishops in the 
primitive sense, and each had his diocese. For days 
together they were absent from their families. In 
some places there were no roads, or only those of the 
worst description. "A blind-path, but seldom used, 
must be followed, when every neighborhood road to a 
mill or a smith's shop, being much more distinct, would 
be almost sure to mislead them." 1 Guide-boards there 
were none. Bridges had not yet been built, and fording- 
places were not always easy to be discovered. Yet, 
braving all perils, exposed to heat and cold, plodding 
through the mud or facing the storm, they discharged 
their duty, — brave in a heroism not less noble that it 
was obscure, not less admirable that it was the fruit of 
Christian faith and pastoral fidelity. 

The support of the clergyman was by no means 
ample ; yet two and sometimes three congregations 
were united to secure it. Even then he might be neces- 
sitated to eke out his salary by cultivating a farm, or 
unite thrift with charity in the work of instruction. 
There was indeed ample wealth around him, — such as 
it was; but it was the riches of a fertile soil, and the 
verdure of hill and valley ; it was nature herself with 

1 Old Redstone, p. 133. 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 255 

her mines and acres waiting for the hand of industry 
to coin them into shape and imprint upon them the 
image and superscription of civilization and culture. 

But a richer soil than that of the hills and valleys was 
that which the laborer in the Lord's vineyard was called 
to cultivate. His parishioners were by no means the mis- 
cellaneous drift-wood which emigration usually floats off 
from older communities to new settlements. Among 
them were men of culture, and a large proportion of 
them were characterized by stern religious principle. 
They were men whose energy and vigor were developed 
by the circumstances of their lot, and who, in grappling 
with the forest and repelling or guarding against savage 
attack, were made more sagacious, fearless, and self-re- 
liant. Their outward condition was far from enviable; 
since for many years they underwent severe hardships, 
which rendered it any thing but Eden-like. The " howl- 
ing" wilderness, literally so, around them, — the danger 
of starvation, no remote one at many times, — the scar- 
city of salt and iron, — with roads that for the most part 
were mere bridle-paths, — all these things might seem 
to indicate a degraded lot ; but the wilderness did not 
reduce them to barbarism. Their food might be — often 
Avas — "hog and hominy;" potatoes and pumpkins were 
a substitute for bread. Bear's oil sometimes took the 
place of butter. The dress, too, might betray a mix- 
ture of an Indian and a civilized wardrobe. The " lin- 
sey-woolsey" hunting-shirt, with its large sleeves, rude 
belt, and bosom which served as a wallet for bread, jirk, 
or tow for the rifle, — the breeches made of the skins of 
beasts, or, if unusually fine, of buckskin, — the moccasins 
stuffed in cold weather with deer's hair or dried leaves, 
— the rude furniture of the log cabin, little in advance 
of that of the wigwam, — all might indicate but a slight 
superiority over the savage, reluctantly yielding to the 
encroachments of the white man. But beneath this 


coarse exterior beat hearts as true to the cause of free- 
dom, intelligence, morals, and religion, as any in the 
world. "A more intelligent, virtuous, and resolute class 
of men never settled any country than the first settlers 
of Western Pennsylvania." 1 They had, indeed, their 
peculiarities. Some brought with them habits and 
associations which were not always the most com- 
mendable. Their prejudices were strong. A portion 
of them were of the strictest sect of Seceders. They 
could breathe forth railings against Watts's Imitation, 
and denounce a departure from Rouse as heresy. But, 
as a powerful leaven of the constantly increasing im- 
migration, even these were invaluable, and, as a whole, 
the material of which the churches of Western Penn- 
sylvania were composed was of just that sort which 
the times and the emergency demanded, — men stern 
enough not only to retain their own individuality, but 
to impress it upon the more yielding mass accumulating 
around them. 

The land was inviting, and it was cheap. The State 
of Virginia, assuming a right to the territory, sold 
large portions of it at a merely nominal price. 2 " The 
purchase-money was trifling indeed, — about ten shil- 
lings the hundred acres, — and even that was not 
demanded." The fees for warrants were two shillings 
and sixpence; and, on these terms, Virginia disposed libe- 
rally of Pennsylvania territory, — a proceeding which 
resulted in trouble afterward, when the claims of the 
respective States came to be settled, but for the time 
it invited immigration, and Western Pennsylvania by 
the close of the Revolutionary War had not far from 
twenty thousand inhabitants. 

The earliest settlements were of course in the vicinity 
of Pittsburg, and gradually extended northward toward 

i Old Redstone, p. 43. 2 Ibid. 32. 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 257 

Lake Erie. " In 1765, Pittsburg was, to a small extent, 
regularly laid out. In 1765 and 1766, settlements were 
made at Eedstone and Turkey-foot. Several of these 
were made by heads of Presbyterian families. 1 " About 
1768, what is now Fayette county was occupied by emi- 
grants from Berkeley county, Va. At nearly the same 
time, a considerable number of settlers located on the 
Youghiogheny, the Monongahela, and its tributaries. 
In 1770-1, many Scotch-Irish from Bedford and York 
counties, from the Kittatinny Valley, from Virginia, and 
some directly from the North of Ireland, commenced 
settlements in Washington county. As the tide of 
population increased in volume, and extended from the 
Monongahela to the Ohio, it was swelled by contribu- 
tions from various sources, yet not sufficient to change 
its general character. 

Until 1774, the settlers were dependent for gospel- 
ordinances upon the missionaries sent out by the Synod. 
This provision was interrupted by the difficulties of 
distance, Indian hostility, and the excitement that 
heralded the rupture with the mother-country. It was, 
moreover, inadequate to the necessities of the field. 
But one after another of the ministers at the East was 
induced, by the confusion that the war introduced and 
the appeals presented by the needy condition of the 
Western settlements, to remove to that region. At 
length a sufficient number had entered the field to feel 
warranted in asking for the erection of a Presbytery. 
Their distance from the Presbyteries with which they 
were connected, the utter impracticability of meeting 
with them, and the necessity of the churches to which 
they ministered, impelled to the request; and at the 
meeting of the Synod in May (16), 1781, the Eev. Messrs. 
Joseph Smith, John McMillan, James Power, and Thad- 

1 Redstone, p. 30. 



deus Dod, were erected, in accordance with their peti- 
tion, into the Presbytery of Redstone, and their first 
meeting was appointed to be held at Laurel Hill, 
on the third Wednesday of September ensuing. The 
meeting, however, on account of the incursion of the 
savages, was held, not at Laurel Hill, but at Pigeon 

Within the bounds of " Old Redstone," extending 
indefinitely over Western Pennsylvania, the Virginia 
" Pan-handle," and the borders of the Northwestern 
Territory, James Power was the first settled pastor. 
He was born in 1746, at Nottingham, Chester county, 
Pa. His course previous to entering college was pro- 
bably pursued under John Blair, at the school of Fagg's 
Manor. In 1766, he was graduated at Princeton, and 
in 1772 was licensed by New Castle Presbytery. 

His earliest labors as a missionary were in Virginia. 
A call from churches in Botetourt county was extended 
to him, but declined. In the summer of 1774, he crossed 
the mountains, and spent the summer in missionary 
labors in Western Pennsylvania. The settlements em- 
braced in what are now Washington, Alleghany, West- 
moreland, and Fayette counties, were the field which 
he traversed. 

Two years were spent at the East before he returned 
to make this region his permanent home. Toward 
the close of 1776, he removed with his family to the 
scene of his future labors. For several years his life 
was that of an active and energetic itinerant mission- 
ary. He visited the new settlements, preaching, among 
other places, at Mount Pleasant, Unity, Laurel Hill, and 
Lunlap's Creek. In the spring of 1779, he became the 
regular pastor of Sewickley and Mount Pleasant congre- 
gations. Quiet in manner, neat in dress, courteous and 
gentlemanly in his whole deportment, with a memory 
of persons that was almost fabulous, he was, moreover, 

01 D REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 259 

a graceful speaker and a devoted pastor. He Lad no 
enemies. Parents respected him, and the little children 
loved to see his face. Plain in speech, earnest but not 
impassioned in address, his sermons were instructive 
and persuasive rather than vehement or pungent, and 
his influence was felt throughout the extensive sphere 
of his labors, exerting a quiet but steady power. 

He had been two years in the Western field when he 
was joined by another laborer, whose character in 
several respects was directly the reverse of his own. 
This was Mr. (afterward Dr.) John McMillan, like him- 
self a pupil of John Blair, a graduate of Princeton, and 
a student of theology under Dr. Robert Smith at Pequa. 
In 1776, he accepted a call from the united congrega- 
tions of Chartiers and Pigeon Creek, and entered upon 
his self-denying and hazardous work. The cabin in 
which he was to live, he found when he reached the 
place, had neither roof, chimney, nor floor. The danger 
was such from the Indians that he dared not take his 
family with him till 1778. Even then, when he moved 
into his house, which his people kindly assisted him to 
prepare, he had neither bedstead, table, chairs, stool, or 
bucket. Two boxes served for a table, and two kegs 
for seats. Oftentimes his family had no bread for weeks 
together ; but, content to dispense with luxuries, they 
felt that it was enough if they had " plenty of pump- 
kins, potatoes, and all the necessaries of life." 

As he set out upon his journey, McMillan was enjoined 
by Dr. Smith " to look out some pious young men and 
educate them for the ministry." He respected the 
wisdom of the injunction, and, until the academy at 
Canonsburg was opened, devoted a portion of his time 
to the training of young men for the ministry. Nearly 
all of these became useful, and some of them eminent 
among the ministers of the Presbyterian Church. Not 
a few were afterward his efficient co-Presbyters and 


coadjutors. Among these were Patterson, Porter, Mar- 
quis, and Hughes. 

Of a large frame, commanding presence, a look some- 
what stern, with decision and resolution traced in every 
feature, the outward person was no unbefitting type of 
the inward man. With a perfect scorn for all that was 
fanciful or nice, an enemy alike to luxury, flattery, 
studied ornament of speech, or studied grace of man- 
ner, he was almost a Knox in boldness, energy, and 
decision. With a voice that no art could have made 
musical, but of wonderful power; a vehement and 
intense utterance which carried conviction and forced, 
rather than won, assent, and with a concise brevity 
and energy of expression which presented his thoughts 
in their naked strength, he was the man who could 
overawe opposition, and with whom any one would 
beware how he came in conflict. Repeated revivals 
occurred under his ministry, and, although by two 
years preceded in his entrance upon the field by Mr. 
Power, the superior energy of his nature placed him 
in the first rank as a pioneer missionary of the Pres- 
byterian Church west of the mountains. He was a 
man of the stamp which the times and the rude wilder- 
ness region around him demanded. His nature was 
cast in a stern mould, but it enabled him to impress 
others without yielding himself. His theology was of 
the type of his instructor, Robert Smith, and his sons, 
Samuel Stanhope Smith and John Blair Smith, succes- 
sively presidents of Hampden-Sidney, 1 and, subsequently, 
the first of Princeton and the second of Union College. 
His own soul was pervaded by its power, and he could 
not fail to make others feel something of what he felt 

1 The author of "Old Redstone" says, his "views on the subject 
of natural and moral ability are much the same with those of Dr. 
Lyman Beecher." 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 261 

himself. Thus revivals were not only favored, but 
expected and labored for; and some of the most marked 
demonstrations of the power of divine truth which the 
history of the Church affords, occurred under his min- 

McMillan had been in the field but little more than a 
year when another laborer arrived, — a worthy compeer 
in the great missionary work in "Western Pennsylvania. 
In the fall of 1777, the whole region was alarmed by 
an incursion of the Indians. Fort Henry, at the mouth 
of Wheeling Creek, was attacked, and the whole "West 
for Aveeks and months afterward was alive with appre- 
hension of savage forays. In this season of anxiety 
and trembling, a young man of slender form, black 
hair, keen dark eyes, and sallow complexion, reached 
Fort Lindley. To some of its occupants he was well 
known : he had come from the same region with them, 
and he was now prepared to cast in his lot with theirs. 
His name was Thaddeus Dod. 

His father was a native of Guilford, Conn., and the 
son was born at Newark, N.J., March 7, 1740. From 
early childhood he was the subject of deep religious 
impressions. Not, however, till after he united with 
the church at Mendham, at the mature age of twenty- 
four, did the thought of preparing for the ministry 
enter his mind. Struggling with his straitened circum- 
stances, now teaching, and now studying, he succeeded 
in securing the necessary preparation to enter, on an 
advanced standing, at Princeton in 1771. He studied 
theology with Dr. Mc"Whorter, of Newark, and Timo- 
thy Johnes, of Morristown. The Presbytery of New 
York licensed him to preach, in 1775. 

After preaching in parts of Virginia and Maryland, 
he crossed the mountains to Western Pennsylvania. 
Here were many who had emigrated years before from 
his own region of country, — some who had been asso- 


dated with him in the scenes of the revival of 1764, 
when he united with the Church. They invited him to 
settle among- them, assuring him of a hearty welcome, 
and a support for himself and family, if he would con- 
sent to become their pastor. 

It was not an enviable post ; but he did not feel at 
liberty to decline it. He preached at the fort, at 
Cook's settlement, and other places. In 1778, he com- 
menced forming congregations. Lower Ten-Mile and 
Upper Ten-Mile, each about ten miles from Washing- 
ton, constituted one church, to which he more espe- 
cially ministered. 1 Lindley, who gave his name to the 
fort, was one of the elders, — a descendant of the Puri- 
tan Francis Lindley, who was associated with Robin- 
son in Holland and crossed the ocean in the Mayflower. 
Of the others, there were those well worthy to rank 
with him. In them the missionary found friends and 

It was not long before a revival commenced at the 
fort. In this most perilous of the frontier posts, 
while east of the mountains all was dark and discou- 
raging, the Lord smiled upon Zion. More than forty 
indulged the Christian hope. It was a blessed season, 
and the harbinger also of many others that were yet to 
come in better days. 

In 1781, a log academy, considerably larger than 
any dwelling-house in the region, was put up by Mr. 
Dod's neighbors and parishioners. " They consisted, 
indeed, of many persons considerably in advance of 
the Scotch-Irish in point of education. They had 

1 A church was organized at Ten-Mile, August 15, 1781, at the 
house of Jacob Cook, consisting of twenty-five members. The first 
sacramental season did not take place till the third Sabbath of 
May, 1783. The ordinance was administered in Daniel Axtell'a 
barn, three miles north of Fort Lindley. — Wines's Historical Dis- 
course, pp. 13, 14. 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 263 

brought their New Jersey and New England tastes 
with them." 1 Of the academy which they erected, Mr. 
Dod took charge; and none could have been better 
fitted for the post. As a mathematician he was almost 
unrivalled, and his eminence as a teacher was such 
that in 1789 he was called to take charge of Washing- 
ton Academy, just incorporated by the Legislature of 
the State, and which in 1806 was merged into Washing- 
ton College. 

Few men have left behind them a more cherished 
memory amid the scenes in which they labored than 
Mr. Dod. Modest, humble, devout in spirit, of prepos- 
sessing manners, and of rare natural and acquired 
gifts, he was a man to be at once respected, reve- 
renced, and loved. In his mental structure, mathe- 
matical talent, classical taste, and poetic imagination 
were alike combined. His calm decision and cheer- 
ful self-denial allowed him to shrink from no task or 
peril to which duty called. For sixteen years he was 
spared, to lay deep and firm the foundations of the 
Church in the region which was honored as the scene 
of his labors. 

He had been but a few months in this Western field, 
when he was cheered by the accession of one, his 
senior by several years and his equal in devotion, 
whose name is worthy to be ranked beside his own 
Joseph Smith was a graduate of Princeton in 1764, 
and five years later, at the age of thirty-three, was 
installed pastor of Lower Brandy wine. In this region 
he labored till 1778. The troubles and confusion of 
the war led him to think of seeking another field. In 
1779, he crossed the mountains to Western Pennsyl- 
vania. His short visit led to his receiving a call from 
the united congregations of Buffalo and Cross Creek. 

1 Old Redstone, p. 145. 


He accepted it, and for the twelve remaining years 
of his life continued pastor of these congregations. 

A revival commenced soon after his settlement, and 
it may almost be said to have continued to the close 
of his pastorate. A more devoted pastor was not to 
he found in the whole band of those that preceded 
or followed him. He was a man of prayer and faith. 
In the pulpit, and out of it, his power was wonderful 
His soul was thrown into his utterance. His voice was 
" now like the thunder, and now like the music of 
heaven." His manner " had a strange kind of power 
about it, totally indescribable." He had the pecu- 
liarity of Whitefield, a slight look askance of one eye; 
and the piercing brilliancy of his glance was remark- 
ably impressive. " I never heard a man," said the 
Rev. Samuel Porter, " who could so completely unbar 
the gates of hell and make me look so far down into 
the dark, bottomless abyss, or, like him, could so 
throw open the gates of heaven and let me glance at 
the insufferable brightness of the great white throne." 
" He would often rise to an almost supernatural and 
unearthly grandeur, completely extinguishing in his 
hearers all consciousness of time and place." 1 No 
one could appreciate the man merely from his written 
discourses. His tones, his emphasis, his holy unction, 
and the holy vitality of his soul made them indescri- 
bably impressive. His mind had been early disci- 
plined by classical studies and collegiate drilling. He 
was capable, doubtless, of scholarly reasoning, of cau- 
tious logic ; but in the earnest glow of his eloquence, 
in the soarings of lofty and hallowed thought, he 
spurned them as an eagle would a ladder by which 
to climb. 

Yet he was a man who was regarded with affection 

1 Old Redstone, p. 67. 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 265 

as well as awe. Always cheerful, eminently social, 
there was a charm in his tones and manner that won 
the hearts of all with whom he had intercourse. His 
soul was attuned to praise. Amid hardships from 
want and exposure, and perils from savage foes, he 
was still calmly resolute. In pastoral duty he was 
faithful and unwearied, and large and blessed were 
the results of his fidelity. 

Like Dod and McMillan, he did not neglect the 
cause of ministerial education. Soon after his settle- 
ment, as early as 1785, he commenced a school for 
the training of young men. He had no building for 
the purpose, and, with his wife's consent, his kitchen 
was devoted to the service of mental instead of bodily 
aliment. Here the first Latin school of the region 
was commenced, and McGready, Patterson, and Por- 
ter began their course. Others soon joined them, and 
these young men — supported by the ladies of the 
neighboring congregations, who made up for them 
their summer and winter clothing (coloring linen for 
summer wear in a dye made from new-mown hay) — 
largely composed the future missionaries and minis- 
ters of Eedstone, Ohio, and other Presbyteries. 

Thus, in 1781, the Presbytery of Redstone was con- 
stituted with these four ministers, Smith, Dod, McMil- 
lan, and Power, as its first members. In 1782, James 
Dunlap, a graduate of Princeton, and a theological 
pupil of James Finley, joined the Presbytery, and was 
installed over the congregations of Laurel Hill and 
Dunlap's Creek. He afterward became a member of 
Ohio Presbytery, and subsequently President of Jeffer- 
son College at Canonsburo-. He was soon followed 
to Western Pennsylvania by his theological instructor, 
James Finley, who had accepted a call from the two 
societies in the Porks of Youghiogheny. He was a 
brother of President Finley of Princeton, and for 

Vol. L— 23 


several years had been settled at East Nottingham. 
On repeated occasions he had visited this Western 
region, aud when not a few of his neighbors and 
parishioners, and some of his own children, had car- 
ried into action their purpose to emigrate, he resolved 
to follow. He became " informally, and without the 
consent of the Presbytery," 1 pastor of Rehoboth and 
Round Hill, and so continued without any further 
action of the Presbytery, of which for four years 
he continued a corresponding member before he united 
with it. As Dr. Hill well remarks, " We were not very 
strict in observing church rules in those days." 

Meanwhile, a veteran in the Eastern field had crossed 
the mountains. John Clark, already over sixty years 
of age, had been settled successively within the bounds 
of Philadelphia and New Castle Presbyteries. In 
1781 he became the supply, and afterward pastor, of 
the united congregations of Bethel and Lebanon, 
under the care of the Presbytery of Redstone. In 
1785, Mr. Barr, from New Castle Presbytery, accepted 
a call from the united congregations of Pittsburg 
and Pitt township. In 1788, John Brice, James 
Hughes, James McGready, and Joseph Patterson were 
licensed by the Presbytery, and entered soon after 
upon their fields of labor, the first at Three Ridges 
and Forks of Wheeling, the last far on in the wilder- 
ness, at Short Creek and Lower Buffalo, and Patterson 
at Raccoon and Montour's Run. McGready, after- 
ward so famous in connection with the great revival 
in Kentucky, was converted under the preaching of 
Joseph Smith, and was for a while his pupil. He 
labored but a short time within the bounds of the 
Presbytery by which he was licensed, returning soon 
to Carolina, where his parents resided, and where a 

1 Old Redstone, p. 283. 

OLD REDSTONE, 1776-1793. 267 

revival quickly commenced under his labors, among 
the fruits of which was Dr. Anderson, who succeeded 
Joseph Smith in the pastorate at Upper Buffalo. 

In the course of the following years the Presbytery 
was strengthened by several others who had been 
trained up upon the field. John McPherrin, Samuel 
Porter, Eobert Marshall, George Hill, William Swan, 
and Thomas Marquis, were licensed, and became effi- 
cient laborers within the rapidly extending bounds of 
the Presbytery. Jacob Jennings and Thomas Cooley 
were received by dismission from other bodies : so that 
at the period of the formation of the Ohio Presbytery, 
in 1793, the Redstone Presbytery numbered more than 
twelve ministers and about three times as many 

Earely, if ever, m the history of the Presbyterian 
Church in this country has any of its missionary fields 
been occupied by a more able and devoted band of 
pioneer laborers than that which was covered by the 
Old Redstone Presbytery. In wise and sagacious fore- 
thought and provision for the prospective wants of tho 
Church, as well as in unwearied and faithful cultiva- 
tion of their own fields, they have been rarely equalled, 
and never surpassed. Their self-denial, their energy, 
and their success alike entitle them to the highest 
honor. In spirit they were the successors to the 
Blairs, Finleys, and Smiths of the Revival period who 
during the division adhered to the New side and the 
cause of vital piety. Many of them were rarely gifted, 
and would have done honor to the most exalted sta- 
tion ; and the influence which they exerted upon the 
great Western field then opening with inviting promise 
to Eastern emigration, cannot be estimated. Deterred 
by no hardships, appalled by no terror, whether from 
the wilderness or the savage, they stood firm at their 


posts, contending to the last with their harness on. 1 
They had no supernumeraries, and yet, notwithstanding 
the crying need of missionary labor, declined to license 
a man whose piety they approved, but with whose 
qualifications they were dissatisfied. They wanted, 
and made provision to secure, strong men- and all who 
joined them seemed to be made partakers of their own 
spirit. It was of immense importance to the Church 
that its earliest Western outpost should be held by the 
hands of these men, whom the providence of God had 
trained and appointed to the task. 



The original motion for the division of the Synod, 
with a view to the formation of a General Assembly, 
proposed the constituting of three Synods. This was 
in 1785; but in the following year the terms of the 
measure were modified so as to read, "three or more." 
Accordingly, the Presbyteries were so divided and 
arranged as to constitute four Synods, — viz. : those of 
New York and New Jersey, Philadelphia, Virginia, and 
the Carolinas. The first embraced the Presbyteries of 

1 " In every thing our fathers were trained to endure hardness as 
good soldiers. Their first temples were the shady grove, and their 
first pulpits a rude tent made of rough slabs ; while the audience 
sat either upon logs or the green turf. Not even log churches 
were erected till about the year 1790. Even in winter the meetings 
were held in the open air. Not one in ten had the luxury of a 
great-coat. The most were obliged to wear blankets or coverlets 
instead." — Dr. Wines' s Historical Discourse, 1859, p. 10. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 269 

Suffolk, Dutchess county, New York, and New Bruns- 
wick ; the second, those of Philadelphia, Lewes, New 
Castle, Baltimore, and Carlisle; that of Virginia, the 
Presbyteries of Eedstone, Hanover, Lexington, and 
Transylvania; that of the Carolinas, the Preslryteries 
of Abingdon, Orange, and South Carolina. 

In order to carry out this arrangement for a division, 
several changes were made in relation to the Presbyte- 
ries. The Presbytery of Abingdon, extending over the 
borders of Western Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, 
was divided, and that of Transylvania, embracing Ken- 
tucky, was formed out of it. Hanover Presbytery was 
also divided, and the portion of it northwest of the 
Blue Ridge, embracing the Valley of the Shenandoah, 
was set off to form the Preslr^tery of Lexington. The 
Presbytery of Donegal was also divided, and the Pres- 
bytery of Carlisle erected out of it. A new Presbytery 
was formed, by the name of the Presbytery of Balti- 
more, and the Old-side Second of Philadelphia, which 
had not hitherto altogether harmonized with the Synod, 
was struck from the list, and its members distributed 
between the three Presbyteries of Carlisle, Philadelphia 
First, and Baltimore. 

The four Synods, embracing sixteen Presbyteries, 
were now to be united in a General Assembly. From 
the widely extended bounds of the Church, it had 
become altogether impracticable to secure a full attend- 
ance of the ministers and elders of the more distant 
churches. For successive years, several Presbyteries 
had not been represented in Synod by so much as a 
single member. The number of churches and minis- 
ters, moreover, had so multiplied that it was supposed 
that an Assembly that would embrace them all would 
be too unwieldy for wise deliberation. It was there- 
fore resolved to adopt the principle of delegation. 
Every Presbytery of not more than six ministers might 



send one minister and one elder to the Assembly. If it 
consisted of more than six and not more than twelve, 
it was to send two ministers and two elders, and like- 
wise in the same proportion for every six ministers. 

The first General Assembly of the Church met in 
Philadelphia in 1789. 1 By the appointment of the 
Synod that ratified the constitution of the Church, it 
was opened with a sermon by Dr. Witherspoon, and Dr; 
John Eodgers, of New York, was chosen the first mode- 
rator. The first Congress of the United States under 
the present Constitution was then in session in New 
York: so that the Federal Government of the country 
and the present constitution of the Presbyterian Church 
were nearly contemporaneous, and went into operation 
at the same time. 

It is not surprising that, in such circumstances, the 
Assembly should have felt the appropriateness of the 
suggestion that a committee should be appointed to 
draft an address to the President of the United States; 
and the selection of the committee, of which Dr. Wither- 
spoon was chairman and Drs. Allison and Samuel Stan- 
hope Smith were members, shows the importance which 
was attached to the proceeding. The Assembly, doubt- 
less, felt it to be a privilege not only to express to 
Washington himself the respect they felt for his vir- 
tues, but to lend the sanction of their approval to his 
conduct, and encourage him in the discharge of the 
arduous duties to which he had been called. 

The document, as drawn up and adopted by the 

1 See Rev. Dr. Ashbel Green's Autobiography. With a few excep- 
tions, Philadelphia was the place where the Assembly convened 
regularly each year till after the division of 1838. The distance of 
the Southern and Western portions of the Church led them to ask 
that it might meet nearer to them. The request was granted a few 
times, as in 1792 and 1795, when it met at Carlisle, and in 1799 
when it met at Winchester, Va. In 1885, it met at Pittsburg. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1S00. 271 

Assembly, is worthy to stand as a precedent of appro- 
priate address from a Christian Assembly to a Christian 
ruler, whose character needed no eulogium beyond his 
own acts. It was respectful, dignified, and manly in 
its tone. After referring to his past career, it proceeds, 
" From a retirement more glorious than thrones and 
sceptres, you have been called to your present elevated 
station by the advice of a great and a free people, and 
with an unanimity of suffrage that has few, if any, 
examples in history. A man more ambitious of fame, 
or less devoted to his country, would have refused an 
office in which his honors could not be augmented, and 
where he might possibly-be subject to a reverse. We are 
happy that God has inclined your heart to give your- 
self once more to the public. And we derive a favor- 
able presage of the event from the zeal of all classes 
of the people, and their confidence in your virtues, as 
well as from the knowledge and dignity with which 
the federal councils are filled. But we derive a presage 
even more flattering from the piety of your character. 
Public virtue is the most certain means of public 
felicity, and religion is the surest basis of virtue. 
We therefore esteem it a peculiar happiness to behold 
in our chief magistrate a steady, uniform, avowed 
friend of the Christian religion ; who has commenced 
his administration in rational and exalted sentiments 
of piety, and who in his private conduct adorns the 
doctrines of the gospel of Christ, and, on the most 
public and solemn occasions, devoutly acknowledges 
the government of Divine Providence. 

" The example of distinguished characters will evei 
possess a powerful and extensive influence on the public 
mind; and when we see in such a conspicuous station 
the amiable example of piety to God, of benevolence 
to men, and of a pure and virtuous patriotism, we natu- 
rally hope that it will diffuse its influence, and that, 


eventually, the most happy consequences will result 
from it. To the force of imitation we will endeavor 
to add the wholesome instructions of religion. "We 
shall consider ourselves as doing an acceptable service 
to God, in our profession, when we contribute to render 
men sober, honest, and industrious citizens and the 
obedient subjects of a lawful government. In these 
pious labors we hope to imitate the most worthy of our 
brethren of other Christian denominations, and to be 
imitated by them ; assured that if we can, by mutual 
and generous emulation, promote truth and virtue, we 
shall render a great and important service to the re- 
public, shall receive encouragement from every wise 
and good citizen, and, above all, meet the approbation 
of our Divine Master. 

" "We pray Almighty God to have you always in his 
holy keeping. May he prolong your valuable life, an 
ornament and a blessing to your country, and at last 
bestow on you the glorious reward of a faithful ser- 

Such an address testifies to the high estimate enter- 
tained by the Assembly of the religious character of 
the first President of the Republic, while its endorse- 
ment of the effort to render men "the obedient subjects 
of a lawful government" stands as a precedent for 
later times. 

The reply of Washington was modest, and yet pro- 
perly characterized by self-respect. He would not be 
elated by the too favorable opinion of the Assembly; 
yet, conscious of the disinterestedness of his motives, 
it was not necessary for him to conceal the satisfaction 
he felt at general approbation of his conduct. ""While 
I reiterate," he says, " the professions of my depend- 
ence upon Heaven as the source of all public and 
private blessings, I will observe, that the general pre- 
valence of piety, philanthropy, honesty, industry, and 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 273 

economy, seems, in the ordinary course of human 
affairs, particularly necessary for advancing and con- 
firming the happiness of our country. While all men 
within our territories are protected in worshipping the 
Deity according to the dictates of their consciences, it 
is rationally to be expected from them in return that 
they will all be emulous of evincing the sincerity of 
their professions by the innocence of their lives and 
the benevolence of their actions. For no man who is 
profligate in his morals, or a bad member of the civil 
community, can possibly be a true Christian, or a credit 
to his own religious society." 

He closes by desiring the Assembly to accept his 
acknowledgments for their laudable endeavors to 
render men sober, honest, and good citizens, and " the 
obedient subjects of a lawful government," as well as 
for their prayers for the country and himself. 

The correspondence does honor alike to the Assem- 
bly and "the great man" 1 whom it wished to cheer and 
encourage in his arduous position. The popular esti- 
mate of his Christian character was no doubt reflected 
in the language of the Assembly. His own modesty 
forbade him to accept the full measure of their praise j 
but he reiterated his professions of dependence on 
Providence, and gratefully acknowledged their prayers 
in his behalf. 

The liberal ecclesiastical spirit of the first General 
Assembly is sufficiently attested by the reply to an 
overture bearing directly on the power and authority 
of Synods and Assemblies. The overture was to this 
effect : — " Whether the General Assembly, out of their 
liberality, charity, and candor, will admit to their com- 
munion, in the ecclesiastical Assemblies, as far as they 

1 This was the term )y 'which Fisher Ames was wont to speak of 


can consistently with the scrupulosity of their con- 
sciences, a Presbytery who are totally averse to the 
doctrine of receiving, hearing, or judging of any ap- 
peals from Presbyteries to Synods, and from Synods to 
General Assemblies, because in their judgment it is 
inconsistent with Scripture and the practice of the 
primitive churches?" In repty, the General Assembly 
declare " that, although they consider the right of 
appeal from the decision of an inferior judicature to a 
superior, an important privilege, which no member of 
their body ought to be deprived of, yet they at the 
same time declare that they do not desire any member 
to be active in any case which may be inconsistent 
with the dictates of his conscience." 

As to the source from which this overture originated, 
we are left to conjecture. It is barely possible that it may 
have proceeded from the Presbytery of Long Island, 
which for some years after the organization of the Gene- 
ral Assembly was, on account of the Congregational 
sympathies of the churches, scarcely prepared to go the 
full length of the friends of a more rigid ecclesiasticism; 1 
but it is more probable that it emanated from the Asso- 
ciated Presbytery of Morris county, N.J., or that of 
Westchester county, K.Y. These bodies, from old asso- 
ciations, chose to retain the Presbyterian name, while 
they approximated to Congregational usage, but, unable 
to sustain themselves permanently, became at length 

1 In 1790, the Presbytery of Long Island addressed a circular 
letter to the churches under their care, in which, among other 
things, they present an argument in favor of "not only the par- 
ticular but general government of the churches." The letter is 
given in the "Presbyterian Magazine," July, 1859, p. 326. In the 
course of it, the Presbytery state that they "are not insensible 
that prejudices have been implanted, by ill-designing persons, in 
the minds of many against Presbyterian government." These they 
endeavor to remove. 


disintegrated, and the constituent churches were for 
the most part absorbed in other Presbyteries under the 
care of the Assembly. It was indicative of the spirit 
of the Assembly, that at its first sessions it should 
adopt measures to preserve " faithful and correct im- 
pressions of the Holy Scriptures." Mr. Collins, of 
New Jersey, proposed to print an edition of the Bible, 
and to this end sought the countenance and support of 
all denominations. The General Assembly warmly 
favored his project, and a committee of one from each 
of the sixteen Presbyteries of the Church was appointed 
to bring the subject before their respective bodies, so 
that in each congregation an individual should be 
appointed to secure subscriptions. It was also pro- 
posed to inquire whether, and on what terms, Oster- 
vald's x notes could be printed with it. 

The recommendation of 1789 was repeated in the 
following year, and the effort to secure the printing of 
the notes — which could be done only for those who 
especially desired it — was promoted by measures for 
obtaining subscribers for five hundred copies at 8s. 9d. 
each, or one thousand at 2s. Qd. each. 

In 1795, the interest of the Assembly in the cause of 
learning was evinced by their recommendation of the 
agents of " Kentucky Academy." 2 Expressing the 
earnest wish that the cause of learning and religion 
might be promoted throughout the world, and espe- 
cially in this country, they certified to the good stand- 

1 Ostervaid, a Protestant minister, born, 1663, at Neufchatel, a 
friend of Turretin and Werenfels, the three in connection repeat- 
edly styled "the triumvirate of Swiss theologians." Ostervaid 
bore the reputation of being "learned, pious, ani humane." 

2 Minutes of 1795, p. 105. Transylvania University, founded by 
Presbyterians, had been wrested from their hands and given over 
to the influence of infidelity. The effort was now made to secure 
an institution of which they might have the control. 


ing of Eev. Messrs. Eice and Blythe, recommending 
them and their cause to all to whom they might apply, 
and inviting liberal donations "for the promotion of 
the seminary about to be erected" in the new State of 

From the earliest period the Presbyterian Church in 
this country assumed the character of a missionary 
Church. In 1707, only two years after the formation of 
the first Presbytery, it was recommended to every 
minister of the body " to supply neighboring desolate 
places where a minister is wanted, and opportunity of 
doing good offers." Soon after, we find appeals made 
to the churches in Ireland, Scotland, and London, for 
ministers and means to supply the infant churches, 
which were rapidly organized. 

One of the first acts of the Synod of Philadelphia 
after its formation was the initiation of a fund " for 
pious uses." Each minister was to contribute some- 
thing himself, and use his influence on proper occasions 
to induce others to contribute. The fund was under 
the Synod's control, and was devoted to the aid of 
feeble churches, assistance in building houses of wor- 
ship, sustaining the ministry, and extending relief 
to the widows of deceased brethren who had been left 
in indigent circumstances. Annual collections were 
enjoined upon the congregations in 1719, and the first 
recorded disbursement was in behalf of the Presby- 
terian Church in the city of Kew York. 

Eut, while the fund tbus inaugurated subsequently 
assumed a systematic form, the principal mode of its 
application was in sustaining itinerant ministers who 
visited tbe new settlements, gathering the people and 
organizing churches. 

After tbe union of the two Synods in 1758, the 
missionary operations of the Church were carried on 
with increased energy. In 1759, Messrs. Kirkpatrick, 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 17S9-1800. 277 

McWhorter. Latta, and Lewis were sent to Virginia 
to act under the direction of the Presbytery of Hanover, 
and were succeeded in the following year by Messrs. 
Duffield and Mills. At the same time provision was 
made for sustaining John, the brother of David Brain- 
erd, in his labors among the Indians. Collections were 
successively ordered to promote this object. 

The annual appointments for itinerant missionary 
labor still continued to be made ; and in 1773, Mr. 
Occum, missionary of the British Society, was taken 
under the care of Synod, and sixty-five pounds were ap- 
propriated for his support. In the same year the desti- 
tute condition of the frontier settlements was brought 
to the attention of Synod. Messrs. Beatty and Brainerd 
were appointed to go to the West and report the result 
of their researches. Arrangements were also made for 
devising a more systematic plan of missionary opera- 

In the following year it was ordered that each 
member of the Synod should take up a collection in 
his congregation, to raise a fund for missionary pur- 
poses. The amount realized was only one hundred and 
twelve pounds ; and the Synod, with regret that so little 
had been accomplished, adopted an overture from the 
Presbytery of New York, providing for an annual 
collection in each congregation, and appointing a 
treasurer for each Presbytery, as well as a general 
treasurer for the Synod. 

During the war the missionary policy of the Church 
was paralyzed, but upon the formation of the General 
Assembly the subject claimed its earliest and most 
serious attention. The necessity was urgent of making 
provision for missionary effort in the new and destitute 
settlements. From the close of the war there had 
been a large and continuous emigration from the East 
to the West ; and in the period which had elapsed 

Voi,, I.— 24 


since the plan for a General Assembly was first 
agitated, the region west of the Alleghanies had risen 
into new importance. Settlements had been com- 
menced in Central and even Western New York, and 
quite extensively in Western Pennsylvania. Even 
during the war, applications for missionary aid were 
frequent. They were now more numerous. The Assem- 
bly felt the importance of the subject, and Dr. Allison 
and Dr. Samuel S. Smith were appointed a committee 
to prepare a minute with reference to sending mis- 
sionaries to the frontier settlements. 1 Each Synod 
was directed to name those of its number whom it 
deemed properly qualified to discharge the duties of 
missionary labor, and who would be disposed to under- 
take the work at least for a portion of the year. This 
was in 1789 ; but in the following year the duty was 
more appropriately committed to each Presbytery, 
which would naturally be better acquainted with the 
qualifications of its members. The object of this 
arrangement was to bring before the Assembly the 
names of those from whom it might select the persons, 
in its judgment, best fitted to be sent out into the new 

The Assembly moreover (1790) took measures for 
carrying out the plan which had been devised. Two 
missionaries, Messrs. Hart and Ker, 2 were appointed 
to visit the extensive field that was already opened to 

1 The overture, from the Committee on Bills and Overtures, with 
reference to which the Missionary Committee was appointed, was 
to the effect "that the state of the frontier settlements should be 
taken into consideration, and missionaries sent to them to form them 
into congregations, ordain elders, administer the sacraments, and 
direct them to the best measures for obtaining the gospel ministry 
regularly among them." — Minutes of Assembly for 1789, p. 10. 

2 Probably Nathan Ker, of Goshen, N.Y., and Joshua Hart, of 
Suffolk Presbytery. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 279 

effort within the hounds of New York and Northern 
Pennsylvania. 1 The route which they were directed 
to pursue was then regarded as the extreme west of 
the New Settlements. They visited Middletown, Still- 
water, Fort Edward, Fort Miller, New Galloway, 
Cherry Valley, Fort Schuyler, Whitestown, Coopers- 
town, Clinton, Chenango, Tioga, Wilkesborough, Hano- 
ver, and other places on the route, as well as the Indian 
tribes. They were treated everywhere with great 
respect, and were requested in the most affectionate 
manner " to offer the thanks of the people to the 
General Assembly for their pious attention in sending 
missionaries among them." The request was urgently 
and earnestly made that the favor might be repeated. 

To this request the Assembly responded by sending 
out in the following year, through the same region, 
James Boyd and Aaron Condict. The latter — a theo- 
logical pupil of Jedediah Chapman, who was after- 
ward settled at Geneva — had just been licensed by the 
Presbytery of New York; and so acceptable did he 
prove himself in his preaching upon his route, that he 
was called within a few months to the pastoral charge 
of the church at Stillwater, twenty miles north of 

It soon became evident that, in some portions of the 
broad field covered by the Church, the local knowledge 
possessed by the Synods best fitted them to direct the 
laborers that were sent out. The Synods of Virginia 
and the Carolinas therefore (1791), at their own request, 
were allowed to manage the missions within their 
bounds. This was also the case afterward with other 
Synods with which the Assembly sometimes co-ope- 
rated, and from which they expected annual reports. 

i In 1794, the salary of missionaries was fixed by the Assembly 
at forty dollars per month. 


The Assembly, however, did not give the matter 
exclusively into the hands of the Synods. There was, 
indeed, more work to be done than all united could 
properly perform, and the attention of the Assembly 
was directed to those regions which came most directly 
under the notice of its missionary committee as need- 
ing aid. Appointments were sometimes made with the 
understanding that the Presbyteries or Synods should 
unite with the Assembly in the support of mission- 
aries. The fields which were principally regarded by 
the Assembly were those in Delaware, Western Penn- 
sylvania, and Northern and Central New York. The 
latter region was never overlooked in the list of the 
Assembly's appointments. 

To give a wider dissemination to its views on mis- 
sions, the Assembly of 1791 prepared, and inserted in 
the printed extracts from its minutes, a circular letter 
to the churches under its care. It urged in a forcible 
manner the claims of the cause of Christ upon the 
members of the Church, and held up before them the 
animating prospect of the results which by proper 
exertion might be attained. 

In order, moreover, to provide the necessary means 
for the support of the missionaries, who ought not to 
be left to bear alone the whole burden, annual collec- 
tions were directed to be taken \ip in all the congre- 
gations, and to be placed in the hands of the General 
Assembly. The amount realized from this source was 
inadequate to any extended operations ; but it amounted 
in 1795 and 1796 to $1,226.50, and at least enabled the 
Assembly to carry out in form, however feeble in imme- 
diate results, a policy which was to bind the Church 
together in healthful and harmonious co-operation. 
Securing in 1799 a charter of incorporation from the 
State of Pennsylvania, the Assembly prosecuted its 
work with enlarged resources. Donors felt greater 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 281 

security in contributing to its funds. Its plan now was 
to initiate a system that should at once reach the des- 
titutions of the older and frontier settlements, negroes, 
including slaves, and the Indian tribes. 

Yet, as has been noted, the missionary operations of 
the Church were carried on not only through the 
Assembly, but through the Synods. Those of Vir- 
ginia and the Carolinas, and, subsequently, of Pittsburg 
and Kentucky, were all directly employed in the work, 
although some of them retained connection with, and 
received aid from, the Assembly. 

But the Synod of Virginia found itself from the first 
(October, 1789) better prepared than some of the other 
Synods to prosecute its work. The influence of the 
remarkable revival which had visited Ilampden-Sid- 
ney College and Prince Edward county had, through 
the labors of Graham and his younger coadjutors, been 
extended in several other counties, even to Augusta. 
In some neighborhoods the work was very powerful. 
Quite a large number of the students in the two insti- 
tutions were converted, and immediately turned their 
attention to the ministiy. Among them were some 
whose names occupy the highest places of distinction 
in the history of the Church: Legrand, Lacy, Allen, 
Hill, Alexander, Lyle, Campbell, and Stuart, were of 
the number. 

The Synod of Virginia, finding at its command such 
a noble body of young men preparing for or just enter- 
ing the ministry, some of them of superior gifts, and 
all panting for active service, did not fail to seize upon 
and improve the opportunity of enlarging its sphere- 
of effort. At its first session, October 24, 1789, a Com- 
mittee of Synod for Missions, consisting of four minis- 
ters and three elders, was appointed, to whom the 
general charge of this important subject was com- 



The committee met in the following April, and pro- 
ceeded at once to business. The Synod was divided 
into four districts, corresponding to the four Presby- 
teries. The pay of a missionary was to be sixty pounds 
per annum, and Nash Legrand, a probationer of 
Hanover Presbytery, was first commissioned. The 
funds were supplied by the voluntary contributions of 
the people, and the missionaries were to report in 
person at each annual meeting of the Synod. 

The plan worked well. The Synod became an effi- 
cient missionary body. Its meetings were anticipated 
by the people with the deepest interest. From the 
most distant places within the bounds of the Synod 
there w T as an eager desire to be present. The occasion 
w T as regarded almost as a solemn festival. Old and 
young, the patriarchs of the Church and its young 
missionaries fresh from scenes that kindled their zeal 
and love, met together. 1 The narrative of what they 
had seen and felt and experienced, kindled the mis- 
sionary spirit to new fervor. " The tear of sympathy 
coursed down many a patriarchal cheek," and with it 
flowed tears of gratitude for what God had accom- 
plished. Ardent and glowing were the petitions that 
■went up to heaven, as the Synod supplicated upon its 
youthful members, committed to a great work, the 
blessing of Heaven. The spirit of devotion glowed 
brightly. The scene was one of the highest social and 
religious interest. Heart was bound to heart, and all 
felt themselves to be laborers together in a common 

The benefits of these meetings, and especially of the 
missionary tours, the account of which added so much 
to their attraction, were great. A marked change was 
effected in the moral and religious condition of the 

1 See Foote's Sketches. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 283 

people. The demoralizing effects of the war, and the 
pernicious spread of French infidelity, were j.rrested. 
The pulpits that had been vacant, or occupied by super- 
annuated men, were now supplied by those who aban- 
doned other pursuits and lucrative prospects to engage 
in the self-denying work of the ministry. Churches 
that seemed about to die were resuscitated, and new 
cone-relations were gathered. On all sides the Church 
was roused to new life and vigor. " The salutary 
effects" of this work " are still apparent. Many of the 
now flourishing churches in the lower counties owe 
their origin to this epoch • while there is scarcely a 
romantic dell embosomed amid the huge mountain- 
ranges, however unpromising its religious aspect may 
formerly have been, whose echoes are not regularly 
waked by the voice of hallowed praise upon the Sab- 
bath day." 1 

The band of young men consecrated to the Church 
as the fruits of the revival was large. It numbered 
from thirty to forty. But the field that opened before 
them, inviting them to effort, was correspondingly 
large and extensive. Virginia itself had broad wastes 
demanding faithful missionary culture. The Carolinas 
at the South were calling for laborers. Kentucky and 
Tennessee had just been opened to civilized enterprise, 
and population was pouring over the Alleghanies in a 
ceaseless and swelling tide. 

In 1793, a memorial, signed by Warner Mifflin, a 
member of the Society of Friends, was handed, under 
cover, to the moderator, read, and ordered to lie upon 
the table. It related to the subject of slavery, and 
the Assembly, in response, ordered that the minute of 
the Synod of 1787 on the same subject be reprinted in 
the annual issue of extracts from the Minutes. In 

1 Foote's Sketches, and Life of Alexander. 


1795, ar overture was brought in by the Assembly's 
committee to the following effect: — "A serious and 
conscientious person, a member of a Presbyterian con- 
gregation, who views the slavery of the negroes as a 
moral evil, highly offensive to God and injurious to the 
interests of the gospel, lives under the ministry of a 
person, or amongst a society of people, who concur 
with him in sentiment on the subject upon general 
principles, yet for particular reasons hold slaves and 
tolerate the practice in others. Overtured : Ought the 
former of these persons, under the impressions and 
circumstances above described, to hold Christian com- 
munion with the latter?" 

To this the Assembly replied, " that, as the same 
difference of opinion with respect to slavery takes 
place in sundry other parts of the Presbyterian Church, 
notwithstanding which they live in charity and peace 
according to the doctrine and practice of the apostles, 
it is hereby recommended to all conscientious persons, 
and especially to those whom it immediately respects, 
to do the same. At the same time, the General Assem- 
bl} r assure all the churches under their care that they 
view with the deepest concern any vestiges of slavery 
which may exist in our country, and refer the churches 
to the records of the General Assembly published at 
different times, but especially to an overture of the 
late Synod of New York and Philadelphia, published 
in 1787, and republished among the extracts from the 
Minutes of the General Assembly of 1793, on that head, 
with which they trust every conscientious person will 
be fully satisfied." 

At the same time, Mr. Eice, of Kentucky, Dr. Muir, 
of Virginia, and Robert Patterson, an elder, were ap- 
pointed a committee to draft a letter to the Presby- 
tery of Transylvania on the subject of the overture. 
The report of the committee elicited much discussion. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 17S9-1800. 285 

The original draft contained a paragraph which urged 
the duty ot the religious education of slaves. " A 
neglect of this," it declared, " is inconsistent with the 
character of a Christian master; but the observance 
might prevent, in great part, what is really the moral 
evil attending slavery, — namely, allowing precious souls 
under the charge of masters to perish for lack of know- 
ledge. Freedom is desirable, but cannot at all times be 
enjoyed with advantage. A parent, to set his child loose 
from all authority, would be doing him the most essen- 
tial injury. * * * A slave let loose upon society igno- 
rant, idle, and headstrong, is in a state to injure others 
and ruin himself. No Christian master can answer for 
such conduct to his own mind. The slave must first be in 
a situation to act properly as a member of civil society 
before he can be advantageously introduced therein." 

The entire paragraph containing these words was 
stricken out ; and the Assembly, while urging the duty 
of peace and forbearance, contented itself w 7 ith saying, 
that they " have taken every step which they deem 
expedient or wise to encourage emancipation, and to 
render the state of those who are in slavery as mild 
and tolerable as possible." The Presbytery is informed 
that it will be furnished with attested copies of the 
Assembly's decisions upon the subject. 

The original edition of the Confession of Faith and 
Catechisms, issued by the Synod of New York and 
New Jersey as " The Constitution of the Presbyterian 
Church in the United States of America," w T as published 
in 1789. In the introduction the Synod lay down " a 
few of the general principles by which they have 
hitherto been .governed, and wdiich are the ground- 
work" of their plan. They declare themselves unani- 
mously of opinion that " God alone is Lord of the 
conscience." They disclaim any desire " to see any 
religious constitution aided by the civil power, further 


than may be necessary for protection and security •" 
and in this case they would have the aid " equal and 
common to all others." In consistency with such prin- 
ciples, they hold that every Christian Church, or union 
or association of particular Churches, is entitled to 
declare the terms of admission to its communion, the 
qualifications of its ministers and members, and the 
whole system of its internal government, appointed by 
Christ for the preaching of the gospel, the administer- 
ing of the sacraments, the exercise of discipline, and 
the preservation of truth and duty. Holding, more- 
over, to "an inseparable connection between faith and 
practice, truth and duty," they deem it " necessary to 
make effectual provision that all who are admitted as 
teachei's be sound in the faith," while they profess their 
belief that there are truths and forms with respect to 
which good men may differ, and in these " they think 
it the duty both Of private Christians and societies to 
exercise mutual forbearance towards each other." 

Each particular society is entitled also to elect its 
own officers, while Scripture prescribes their character, 
qualifications, and authority. All Church power, more- 
over, is ministerial and delegated merely, since no 
Chui'ch judicatory may make laws to bind the con- 
science, and all its decisions should be founded on 
God's revealed will. While Synods and Councils may 
err, yet " there is much greater danger from the 
usurped claim of making laws than from the right 
of judging upon laws already made and common to 
all who profess the gospel." 

Such were the liberal principles which the Synod 
took care distinctly to enunciate and embody in the 
first edition of the Confession of Faith. This edition 
was published without the Scripture proofs usually 
appended; it was, moreover, soon exhausted; and 
it had been issued simply by the authority of the 


Synod. In 1792, therefore, a committee was ap- 
pointed by the Assembly to revise and prepare for 
publication an edition of the Confession, Catechisms, 
and Form of Government and Discipline. The com- 
mittee consisted of the venerable Dr. Robert Smith, of 
Pequa, Rev. Nathan Crier, of Forks of Brandywine, 
and Rev. Alexander Mitchell, of Upper Octorara. 
They were instructed to select and ari*ange the Scrip- 
ture texts to be adduced in support of the several arti- 
cles in the Confession, &c. Dr. Smith undertook to 
adduce proofs for the Larger and Mr. Crier for the 
Shorter Catechism ; while Mr. Mitchell was to do the 
same for the Confession of Faith and Form of Govern- 
ment. The death of Dr. Smith left his task incom- 
plete ; and in 1793 the moderator, James Latta, was 
substituted in his place. A partial report was made 
by Mr. Mitchell, but the subject was recommitted for 
a report to the Assembly of 1794. In that year Dr. 
Green and Messrs. John B. Smith, James Boyd, 
William M. Tennent, Nathaniel Irwin, and Andrew 
Hunter were appointed to examine the report of the 
committee, revise the whole, prepare it for the press, 
and supervise the publication and sale of the work. 
The change subsequently made in the striking out* of 
certain proofs was in part justified on the ground that 
the work of the committee had never been submitted 
to the Presbyteries for their approval, and hence could 
not be regarded as having the proper sanction of the 
Church as a part of its Constitution. 

The relations of the Assembly to other kindred 
ecclesiastical bodies were now to be defined. The 
annual convention of Presbyterian and Congrega- 
tional ministers which existed before the Revolution 
and was continued down to 1776, had testified the 
strong sympathy which existed between the two deno- 
minations which were represented in it. It manifested, 


moreover, the liberal and co-operative spirit of the 
churches represented by the Old Synod. It had ac- 
complished the main object for which it had been insti- 
tuted; but, in view of other results still to be desired, 
the question now recurred as to whether it should be 
revived or some substitute provided. 

The subject was carefully considered. While there 
were other ecclesiastical bodies — the Reformed Dutch 
and Associate Presbyterian, as well as Congregational 
— to be taken into account, it was felt that some plan 
was desirable which should bring the Assembly into 
correspondence with them all. The consideration of 
this comprehensive plan was not neglected : still, the 
former relations of the. Presbyterian to the Congrega- 
tional Churches entitled the latter to the first place in 
the Assembly's regai'd. In view of this fact, therefore, 
the following resolution was unanimously agreed to by 
the Assembly of 1790 : — 

" Whereas there existed before the late Revolution 
an annual convention of the clergy of the Congrega- 
tional churches in New England and ministers belonging 
to the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, which was 
interrupted by the disorders occasioned by the war; — 
this Assembly, being peculiarly desirous to renew and 
strengthen every bond of union between brethren so 
nearly agreed in doctrine and forms of worship as the 
members of the Congregational and Presbyterian 
Churches evidently are, and remembering with much 
satisfaction the mutual pleasure and advantage pro- 
duced and received by their former intercourse, did 
resolve, that the ministers of the Congregational 
churches in New England be invited to renew their 
annual convention with the clergy of the Presbyterian 
Church ; and the Assembly did for this purpose ap- 
point the Rev. Dr. Rodgers, of New York, and the 
Rev. Dr. McWhorter, of Newark, N.J., to be a com- 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 289 

mittee to take such measures for the obtaining of the 
proposed object as they may judge to be most effectual, 
and to report their proceedings to the General Assem- 
bly at their next meeting." 1 

In 1791, the committee thus appointed made their 
report. Three modes of correspondence were proposed 
for consideration : the first, by letter of committees of 
the Assembly and the Connecticut Association respect- 
ively ; the second, by reviving a convention similar to 
that which existed before the war; and the third, by 
sending delegates reciprocally from each body. 

Action on the several plans offered was deferred till 
the General Association of Connecticut had been con- 
sulted. Drs. "Witherspoon, Eodgers, and McWhorter, 
and Messrs. Chapman, S. S. Smith, Tenuent, and Aus- 
tin, were appointed a committee to confer with that 

The result of this conference was the adoption of 
measures of correspondence, based avowedly on " the 
importance of union and harmony," and " the duty 
incumbent on all pastors and members of the Christian 
Church to " assist each other in promoting, as far as 
possible, the general interest of the Redeemer's king- 
dom;" and, in consideration of the fact that " Divine 
Providence appears to be opening the door for pur- 
suing these valuable objects with a happy prospect of 
success," it was deemed best that the two bodies should 
have, each, a standing committee of correspondence, 
besides a committee of three members having the right 
to sit. in each other's meetings but not >o vote. 
Measures were to be taken to prevent injury to the 
churches by irregular and unauthorized preachers. 
The Presbytery or Association was to certify to the 

1 This movement was made, and the above paper drawn up, by 
Dr. Ashbel Green, who also penned the Plan of Union of 1801. 
Vol. I.— 25 


character of its members travelling at a distance; anc 1 
the certificate of a standing committee, to be appointed 
by the Assembly and General Association respectively, 
was to secure their reception as authorized preachers 
of the gospel in the bounds of the body, whether Pres- 
bytery or Association, within which they might be em- 

The plan thus proposed by the convention was una- 
nimously and cordially approved by the Assembly of 
1792, and the necessary measures were taken for 
carrying it into effect. It was endorsed by the Asso- 
ciation of Connecticut, the only tangible ecclesiastical 
body in New England with which the Assembly could 
correspond ; and in 1793 Timothy Dwight, Jonathan 
Edwards (afterward President of Union College), and 
Matthias Burnet, took their seats in the Assembly as 
delegates of the General Association. 

From this period the intercourse by correspondence 
between the two bodies was continued without inter- 
ruption. The delegates of each body were allowed a 
seat, but not a Vote, in the one to which they were 
sent. There was a change, however, soon made, when 
full membership was allowed. On motion of Dr. Eod- 
gers, the plan was so amended in 1794 that the dele- 
gates from each body respectively were allowed the 
right not only to sit and deliberate, but also " to vote 
in all questions which might be determined by either 
of them." The Association voted a compliance with 
this proposal of the Assembly, and down to 1827 the 
delegates of the General Associations of Connecticut, 
and afterward of Vermont (1809), New Hampshire 
(1810), and Massachusetts (1811), were allowed full 
membership in the General Assembly. Massachusetts 
was not ready to relinquish her claim to the exercise 
of the right which was thus conceded until 1830, and 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 291 

even then only after repeated representations from the 
Assembly. 1 

The correspondence proposed between the General 
Assembly and the Associate Reformed and Reformed 
Dutch Synods was, after a delay of some years, referred 
to a convention of delegates from the three bodies 
which met in New York in 1798. Their report was 
adopted by the General Assembly, but rejected by the 
other two bodies. No active measures to revive this 
or a similar plan were taken for nearly twenty years. 

The subject of Psalmody was one which gave no 
small occasion of anxiety to those who sought the 
union and harmony of the churches. The Synod of 
New York and Philadelphia had left the congregations 
to their own deliberate preferences in regard to the book 
to be used. Some still adbered to the old version of 
the Psalms, and some preferred Watts's Imitation. At 
the first meeting of the Assembly, Adam Rankin asked 
to be heard on the subject. He had crossed the moun- 
tains from Kentucky to disburden his mind of the 
apprehensions which he felt in regard to " the great 
and pernicious error" into which the Synod had fallen 
by " disusing Rouse's Versification of David's Psalms 
in public worship, and adopting, in place of it, Watts's 
Imitation." He asked the privilege of being heard 
upon a subject in regard to which — with all the inten- 
sity of his Scotch nature, aggravated by memories of 

1 In 1796 the Synod of Philadelphia resolved to submit to the 
consideration of the next General Assembly the propriety of taking 
constitutional measures to effect an alteration in the Form of Gov- 
ernment, so as to admit Assemblies to meet only once in three 
years, if they judge it expedient. The reason urged for this was 
the difficulty of convening even a quorum of the Synod, inasmuch 
as its meetings seemed almost unnecessary, from the fact that its 
proper business had been so largely engrossed by the Assembly. — 
Minutes, 1790-1820, p. 110. 


a martyred ancestry — he felt deeply. He was heard 
" at great length," and the Assembly endeavored to 
relieve him from the difficulty under which he appeared 
to labor, but to little purpose. His mind was not open 
to conviction ; and it only remained for the Assembly 
to exhort him to Christian charity and to guard against 
disturbing the peace of the churches. 

Rankin identified the permission given by the Synod 
(1787) to use Barlow's revision of Watts, with an ex- 
clusive endorsement of it. In this he was mistaken ; 
but the importance of uniformity among the churches 
in the form and order of public worship had already 
led many to consider the policy of procuring a book 
which would meet the necessities of the churches under 
the care of the Assembly. Nothing of importance was 
done, however, before 1800. Three years previous 
(1797), President Dwight was recpiested by the General 
Association of Connecticut to revise Watts's Imitation 
so as to accommodate it to the state of the American 
churches, and to supply the deficiency of those Psalms 
which Watts had omitted. This measure was adopted 
in consequence of the ill odor which Barlow's career 
in connection with French politics had given to his 
edition of Watts. Its use in Presbyterian as well as 
Congregational churches had become obnoxious, and 
the advocates of Rouse found a very opportune argu- 
ment against the book which had been the rival of 
their own favorite. 

In these circumstances, Dwight undertook the task. 
He possessed the confidence of both the Presbytei'ian 
and Congregational Churches, and had sat and voted as 
a member of the General Assembly. When his task 
w T as wellnigh complete, the Assembly were informed 
of it, and, with a view to procure a work that shoidd 
answer the demands of its own churches, appointed a 
committee (1800) to meet a similar committee of the 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1S00. 293 

General Association, at Stamford, to examine the result 
of DAvight's labors. The committee consisted of Drs. 
John Rodgers, Jonathan Edwards, and Asa Hillyer. 
They reported their approval of what had been done, 
and President Dwight, at the recommendation of the 
joint committee, appended to the Psalms a collection 
of two hundred and sixty-three hymns. The volume 
in this revised form, with additions, was " cheerfully 
allowed" by the Assembly to congregations and 
churches which might find it for edification. 

Thus cautious and guarded was the Assembly in its 
utterances upon the subject. Nor was it without reason. 
The exclusive advocacy of any form of Psalmody would 
have rent the Church in sunder. In Kentucky espe- 
cially, and in other parts of the Church where Rouse 
had been in familiar use, its advocates regarded it with 
a strange tenacity of affection. It was as sacred in 
their view as the Confession itself. The Presbytery 
of Charleston — succeeding to that which was known 
as the Presbytery of South Carolina before the Revolu- 
tion, and which had applied in 1770 to know the terms 
on which it might be united with the Synod — sent a 
communication to the Assembly of 1800, desiring to 
be taken into connection with that body; but they 
explicitly stipulated, as an indispensable condition on 
their part, that they must not be disturbed in their 
edifying enjoyment of Rouse; and it seems not impro- 
bable that even the moderate measure of the Assembly 
in regard to Dwight's book may have led to their 
deferring any further steps toward the union. It is at 
least certain that it was not consummated till several 
years later. 

At the Assembly of 1791, several of the Synods sent 
in reports in regard to their condition and extent. 1 

1 See Assembly's Minutes. 



The Synod of New York and New Jersey consisted of 
four Presbyteries, — Suffolk, Dutchess, New York, and 
New Brunswick. The first consisted of twelve, tho 
second of six, the third of twenty-seven, and the fourth 
of fourteen, ministers. Within their hounds were thirty- 
five vacancies, about one-half of which were able to 
support a pastor. In the following year the Presby- 
tery of Albany, with seven ministers and more than 
twenty congregations, the larger portion of them 
vacant, was reported in connection with the Synod of 
New York and New Jersey. The other Presbyteries 
now numbered fifty-four ministers and sixty-eight con- 

In the same year (1792), the report of the Synod of 
Philadelphia showed that it consisted of five Presby- 
teries, with an aggregate — independent of the Presby- 
tery of Baltimore, from which there was no report — of 
sixty ministers and ninety-two congregations. The 
Synod of Virginia, exclusive of the Presbytery of 
Transylvania, numbered, in the three Presbyteries of 
Hanover, Redstone, and Lexington, thirty -two ordained 
ministers, with more than ninety congregations. A 
large number of these were in the bounds of Eedstone 
Presbytery, which alone numbered twenty-four. The 
Synod of the Carolinas — exclusive of the Presbytery 
of Abingdon, which made no report — contained in the 
Presbyteries of Orange and South Carolina twenty 
settled ministers, thirteen unsettled, a portion of them, 
licentiates, with over eighty congregations, twenty -nine 
of which were vacant in the bounds of South Carolina 
Presbytery alone. The aggregate in all the Synods 
was not far from two hundred ministers and about 
four hundred congregations. 

There had thus, in the three years which had elapsed 
since the formation of the General Assembly, been a 
rapid growth and extension of the Church. Nor were 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1800. 295 

the labors of the ministry denied signal marks of the 
Divine favor in powerful revivals in different parts of 
the land. The rekindled missionary spirit — dating from 
the formation of the New York Missionary Society in 
1797 — which was first felt on the Atlantic slope, 
extended westward beyond the Alleghanies, in Vir- 
ginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Tennessee. New 
churches were gathered on the frontier, and new Pres- 
byteries were reported at each successive General As- 
sembly. In 1793, the Presbytery of Ohio, with five 
members, was set off from the Presbytery of Eedstone, 
which in ten years had multiplied its numbers more 
than fourfold. In the following year the Presbytery 
of Huntingdon, with ten members, was set off from 
that of Carlisle, erected by the old Synod of New York 
and Philadelphia at the period just previous to its divi- 
sion into the four Synods. In the same year the Pres- 
bytery of Winchester, with five members, was set off 
from that of Lexington. In 1795, the Presbytery of 
Hudson, with seven members, was formed of ministers 
and churches taken from the Presbyteries of Dutchess 
county and New York. In the same year the Pres- 
bytery of Orange, in the Carolinas, was divided, and 
the Presbytery of Concord erected with twelve mem- 
bers. In the following year the Presbytery of Hope- 
well, with five members, was set off from the Presby- 
tery of South Carolina. In 1797, the Presbytery of 
Abingdon was divided, and that of Union, with five 
members, was erected out of it in Eastern Tennessee. 
In 1799, the Presbytery of Transylvania was divided 
to form the new Presbyteries of West Lexington and 
Washington, the three subsequently constituting the 
Synod of Kentucky. In the same year, also, the Pres- 
bytery of South Carolina was divided to form the First 
and Second Presbyteries of that name. 

Tli us before the close of the last century the number 


of Presbyteries had increased from sixteen, the num- 
ber at the time of the organization of a General Assem- 
bly, to twenty-six, and the strength and numbers of 
the Church had increased in nearly the same propor- 

This increase "was certainly greater than in the cir- 
cumstances could have been expected. The influences 
of the War of the Revolution were eminently disastrous 
to the cburches, not only on account of the direct in- 
juries inflicted, and the diversion of thought and energy 
into new channels, but on account of the sympathy 
excited in favor of France and French principles. This 
sympathy prepared the way for French infidelity, and 
its emissaries, in the proud assumption of superior 
intelligence, were bold and unblushing in their attempt 
to spread their errors and undermine the institutions 
of Christianity. In these efforts they were only too 
successful. The cause of religion in many parts of the 
land seemed to be on the decline, and the prospect grew 
darker and more discouraging with each succeeding 
year. Good men despaired of the republic, and Chris- 
tian men trembled for the Ark of God. The evil seems 
to have reached its crisis in 1798. In that year the 
Assembly felt called upon to give expression to its 
apprehensions, and to sound the note of warning. This 
it did in an earnest and startling tone. 

" "When formidable innovations and convulsions in 
Europe" — such was the language of the pastoral letter 
— "threaten destruction to morals and religion; when 
scenes of devastation and bloodshed, unexampled in the 
history of modern nations, have convulsed the world; 
and when our own country is threatened with similar 
calamities, insensibility in us would be stupidity, silence 
would be criminal. . . .We desire to direct your awakened 
attention toward that bursting storm which threatens 
to sweep before it the religious principles, institutions, 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1S00. 297 

and morals of our people. We are filled with deep 
concern and awful dread, whilst we announce it as our 
conviction that the eternal God has a controversy with 
our nation and is about to visit us in his sore displea- 

In this " solemn crisis," the Assembly believe that 
the causes of the calamities felt or feared are traceable 
to " a general defection from God, and corruption of 
the public principles and morals." The evidences of 
the national <>;uilt were seen in " a general dereliction 
of religious principles and practice amongst our fellow- 
citizens; a great departure from the faith and simple 
purity of manners for which our fathers were remark- 
able; a visible and prevailing impiety and contempt 
for the laws and institutions of religion ; and an abound- 
ing infidelity which in many instances tends to athe- 
ism itself, which contemptuously rejects God's eternal 
Son, our Saviour, ridicules the gospel and its most sacred 
mysteries, denies the providence of God, grieves and 
insults the Holy Spirit; in a word, which assumes a 
front of daring impiety, and possesses a mouth filled 
with blasphemy." 

In this alarming state of things, " a dissolution of 
religious society" seemed to be threatened by " the 
supineness and inattention of many ministers and pro- 
fessors of Christianity." "Formality and deadness, 
not to say hypocrisy, a contempt for vital godliness 
and the spirit of fervent piety, a desertion of the 
ordinances, or a cold and unprofitable attendance upon 
them," visibly pervaded every part of the Church ; while 
there were those who denied or attempted to explain 
away the pure doctrines of the gospel, introducing 
errors once unnamed, or named with abhorrence, but 
now "embraced by deluded multitudes." The profana- 
tion of the Sabbath, the neglect of family religion and 
instruction, ingratitude to God for his benefits, "profli- 


gacy and corruption of public morals, profaneness, 
pride, luxury, injustice, intemperance, lewdness, and 
every species of debauchery and loose indulgence/' 
were sins which greatly abounded. In view of all this, 
and the provocation it offered to divine justice, there 
was reason for foreboding. Deep humiliation, sincere 
repentance for individual as well as national sins, sup- 
plication for the outpouring of the Spirit and a revival 
of God's work, — these were the duties most solemnly 
and earnestly enjoined; and, to give effect to the exhort- 
ations and admonitions of the letter, the Assembly 
recommended the last Thursday in the next August as 
a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer, in all 
the congregations subject to its care. 1 The letter itself 
was to be read on that occasion and its truths to be 
enforced in appropriate discourses. 

The statements of the Assembly, grave and startling 
as they were, were by no means exaggerated. The 
prospect for religious progress or improvement was 
almost cheerless. By public men in high station, infi- 
delity was boldly avowed. In some places, society, 
taking its tone from them, seemed hopelessly surren- 
dered to the tender mercies of the impious and the 

But, ere the Assembly met again (in 1799), the signs 
of a great change, which was largely to affect the very 
character of the nation, were apparent. The great 
revivals of Kentucky, of Central and Western New 
York, and of iSTew England, were heralded here and 
there by scenes that testified to the unabated power of . 
the gospel when forcibly presented and applied by the 

1 A general fast was appointed by the General Conference of the 
Methodist Church, for the first Friday of March, 1796, for the same 
reasons, substantially, as those given by the General Assembly. —'s History of Methodism, ii. 22. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1789-1S00. 299 

power of the Spirit. The little cloud, "no bigger than 
a man's hand," had expanded and given promise of 
showers that were to refresh and clothe with verdure 
the desert sands. The Assembly of 1799 could say, 
that, amid much lukewarmness and formality, they had 
" heard from different parts glad tidings of the out- 
pouring of the Spirit, and of times of refreshing from 
the presence of the Lord." " From the East," they 
said, " from the West, and from the South, have these 
glad tidings reached our ears." The report concluded 
with a stirring appeal to the churches, couched in a 
style of lofty and sustained eloquence. It was from 
the pen of the moderator, Samuel Stanhope Smith. 

In the following year (1800) the report was still 
cheering, especially from the West. The success of 
missionary labors was " greatly on the increase." God 
was " shaking the valley of dry bones on the frontiers." 
" A spiritual resurrection" was taking place there. 
Hundreds in a short time, and among them some who 
had been avowed infidels and Universalists, had been 
received into the communion of the Church. 

Thus, the century which was just closing, and which 
had threatened to close with dark and dismal prospects, 
was destined to leave behind it a brighter record. A 
new era had dawned upon the Church, — an era of re- 
vivals. A larger measure of missionary zeal was mani- 
fest. The spiritual lethargy of the nation was shaken 
by the reports which came from the West and from the 
new settlements. Infidelity had been attacked in some 
of its strongholds, and it had fallen before the power 
of truth. The sad effects of the War of the Eevolution 
upon the churches began to disappear, and, with in- 
spiring intelligence to cheer them, the pastors of the 
Church and the missionaries on the frontiers responded 
with alacrity to the Assembly's appeals. 1 

1 Only an approximate estimate of the strength of the Presby- 




At the time of the formation of the General Assem- 
bly, the strength of the Church was to be found prin- 
cipally in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. These two 
States embraced more than half the churches and 
nearly half the ministers under the care of the Assem- 
bly. Within the State of New Jersey was included 
the greater portion of the two Presbyteries of New 
York and New Brunswick, which numbered on this 
field twenty-six ministers and forty -three churches. 1 

At Newark, after a briefly-interrupted pastorate of 
nearly thirty years, which had been signalized by three 
powerful and extensive revivals of religion, was the 
venerable McWhorter, still in the vigor of his years 
and the meridian of his usefulness. A classical scholar, 
a popular preacher, a self-denying and devoted patriot, 
he commanded the respect of the entire community, 
while his unquestioned piety and practical wisdom in- 
spired a more than usual measure of confidence. There 
was a noble manliness in his countenance, person, and 
movements, which would have sufficed, without " his 
clerical robes and large full wig," to produce an abiding 
and favorable impression on the beholder. Dignified 

terian Church at the close of the period here reviewed (1789-1800) 
can be made, owing to the imperfection of the reports. The num- 
ber of ministers, however, could not have been much short of two 
hundred and fifty, while the churches, which in great numbers 
were vacant, must have been something over four hundred and 

1 Exclusive of those in the southern part of the State. 


in manner, perspicuous in expression, and yet under 
the prompting of quick, strong sympathies, the plain 
correctness of his diction sometimes kindled into fervor 
or was subdued to pathos. Faithful alike in the pulpit, 
in the discharge of pastoral duty, and in attendance 
upon the judicatories of the Church, he holds a high 
rank and an unblemished name among the venerable 
fathers of the Assembly which he helped to organize, 
and among the pulpit celebrities of his own day. For 
sixteen years more he was to be spared to labor at his 
post, and then bequeath his falling mantle to one well 
worthy to wear it, — the gifted, eloquent, and lamented 

At Princeton, serving still, as he had done for more 
than twenty years, as pastor of the church and Presi- 
dent of the college, was Dr. Witherspoon, already 
verging upon his ''threescore and ten,'' — the light of 
one eye already quenched, the vigor of his frame some- 
what shaken, but with an intellect as unclouded as 
ever, and with a -presence still second only to that of 
Washington. 1 For five years more he was to be spared, 
continuing in the discharge of his duties as President 
and pastor, and surrendering only with his life the post 
he had so long filled and adorned. 2 

At Orange, in the full exercise of that vigor of mind 
and that energy of character which ten years later 
designated him as the fittest missionary pioneer for 
Central New York, Avas Jedediah Chapman, a native 
of Connecticut, a man of ardent piety, urbane in man- 
ners, sound in judgment, and, although not an orator, 
in the full sense of the word, an acceptable and in- 

1 Dr. Ashbel Green, in Sprague's Annals, iii. 297. 

2 Samuel Finley Snowden was installed pastor at Princeton 
November 25, 1794, dismissed April 29, 1801. — Sprague's Annals, 
iii. 341. 

Vol. I.— 26 


structive speaker. The other principal ministers of 
the State were Samuel Stanhope Smith, the son-in-law 
of Dr. Witherspoon, now a professor, and soon to suc- 
ceed to the Presidency, at Princeton ; John Woodhull, 
already for ten years pastor at Freehold, where for 
thirty-five years longer he was to be spared to labor; 
James F. Armstrong, the successor of the lamented 
Spencer, at Trenton, where for sixteen years more, 
under great infirmities of body, he was to discharge 
his ministerial duties ; Azel Roe, of Revolutionary and 
somewhat facetious memory, at Woodbridge; Aaron 
Richards, at Rahway ; Jonathan Elmer, at New Provi- 
dence ; John Joline, at Mendham ; Israel Reed, at 
Bound Brook; Thomas Smith, at Cranberry; Joseph 
Roe, at Pennington; Joseph Clark, at Allentown ; 
William Boyd, at Lamington ; Peter Wilson, at Inde- 
pendence and Mansfield ; Ira Condiet, at Hardwick ; 
Newton, at Shapanack ; Dr. Timothy Johnes, at Morris- 
town ; Asa Dunham, at Mount Bethel and Oxford; and 
Walter Monteith, at New Brunswick. 

During the ten years that followed, the population 
of the State increased about fourteen per cent. The 
churches grew in about the same proportion in strength 
and numbers. In 1794 there was a powerful revival at 
Newark, but the state of religion generally was far from 
prosperous. The views of French infidelity had begun 
to pervade the country. The voice of admonition and 
alarm uttered by the Assembly in 1798 was called for 
by the general declension of religion. The following 
year, however, brought to view more cheering pros- 
pects. The churches of the State shared to some 
extent in the revival, and the century closed with such 
signs of progress as had not been witnessed for many 
years previous. New churches were reported at Wood- 
bridge (Second), Hackettstown and Pleasant Grove, 
Flemington and Hardwick. The changes in the several 


pastorates had been few. The noble-hearted and de- 
vout Robert Finley had commenced his pastorate at 
Baskingridge in 1795. The clear-headed and genial 
Amzi Armstrong 1 had succeeded Joline at Mendham 
in the following year. Samuel Stanhope Smith had 
been chosen to the Presidency of Nassau Hall ; and in 
1798, George S. Woodhull, son of Dr. Woodhull, of Free- 
hold, was settled at Cranberry, where he remained 
until his transfer to Princeton in 1820. 2 

Besides these, we find several new names, at a date 
shortly subsequent, 3 - on the list of the two Presbyteries 
of tbe State. Elias Riggs had succeeded John Young 
at Connecticut Farms; Eleazar Burnet had taken the 
place of Richards at Rah way; Aaron Condict com- 
menced in 1796 his thirty-five years' pastorate at Han- 
over ; Henry Cook had charge of Woodbridge Second 
Church ; Israel Ward had succeeded Elmer at New 
Providence; John Cornwall was settled at Allentown 
and Nottingham ; David Barclay had succeeded Israel 
Reed at Bound Brook ; Joseph Clark was settled at 
New Brunswick in place of Monteith, who died in 
1799 at Albany; William B. Sloan was at Greenwich, 
Thomas Grant at Amwell and Flemington, David 
Comfort at Kingston, and Holloway W. Hunt at Beth- 
lehem, Kingswood, and Alexandria. 4 

Within the limits of the State of Pennsylvania, at 
the time of the formation of the Assembly, there were, 

1 Father of Rev. William J. Armstrong, late Secretary of the A. B. 
C. F. M. 

2 Gilbert Tennent Snowden was pastor at Cranberry from 1790 to 
1797. He was the brother of S. F. Snowden, settled at about the 
same time at Princeton, and of Nathaniel R. Snowden, of Harris- 
burg, Pennsylvania. 

3 Assembly's Minutes, 1803. 

4 The churches in the southern part of the State were ecclesias- 
tically connected with Pennsylvania Presbyteries. 


besides a few churches connected with the Presbytery 
of New Castle, three Presbyteries, — -Philadelphia, Car- 
lisle, and Redstone, — embracing an aggregate of forty- 
seven ministers and more than twice as many churches. 
In numerous instances, two or more of tbese were 
united to constitute a single pastoral charge, while 
more than forty, most of them too feeble to support a 
pastor, were vacant. 

Tbe leading member of Philadelphia Presbytery 
— already for thirty years the pastor of the first church 
in that city, and for ten years at tbe bead of the Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, as provost of the institution — 
was Dr. John Ewing, now in the fifty-eighth year of 
his age, and destined for thirteen years more to occupy 
the same commanding position. In natural science 
and classical learning he had scarcely a rival on the 
continent. In every branch of collegiate study he was 
thorougbly versed. His Hebrew Bible was constantly 
at his side, and was used from choice for devotional 
purposes. At an bour's warning be was ready and 
fully competent to supply the place of any professor 
who might chance to be absent. In the pulpit he 
sacrificed nothing to display ; yet with a cultivated 
audience few preachers were more popular. On his 
visit to England before the Revolution, he had frequent 
interviews with Lord North, and, with all the firmness 
and zeal of an ardent whig, predicted the issue of the 
approaching contest, warning the prime minister 
against its prosecution. In conference with Dr. John- 
son, he tamed the rudeness, if not insolence, of the in- 
tellectual giant, defending in fearless tone the cause 
of his country. After liberally applying the terms 
rebels and scoundrels to the population of the colonies, 
Johnson turned rudely to Dr. Ewing, demanding, 
"What do you know in America? You never read; 
you have no books there." " Pardon me, sir," said Dr. 


Ewing : " we have read the Rambler." The graceful 
blending of retort and compliment pacified the savage 
essayist, and till midnight he sat with Dr. Ewing in 
amiable and genial conversation. 

In charge of the Second Church, after nearly half a 
century of pastoral labor, was Dr. James Sproat, a 
native of Massachusetts, and a graduate of Yale College, 
in a class of which Dr. Buell, of Long Island, Dr. Hop- 
kins, of Newport, and Governor Livingston, of New 
Jersey, were members. Till 1787 he was sole pastor 
of the church ; but at this time he received for his 
colleague Ashbel Green, whose protracted period of 
service has seemed to link together the present cen- 
tury with the past. 

At the time of the formation of the General Assem- 
bly, Dr. Sproat, though bending under the burden of 
years, was a venerable-looking man. "With a benevo- 
lent countenance, gentle and courteous manners, even 
the wig and the cocked hat which he still retained 
could scarcely have added to the dignity of his bearing. 
As a speaker, he was easy and graceful. He " was such 
a perfect master of the art of persuasion that he 
triumphed over the passions of the most crowded audi- 
tory with all the charms of sacred eloquence." For 
personal piety he was pre-eminent. Praise was an 
employment in which he greatly delighted. Unfeigned 
humility was the habit of his soul. In prayer he was 
subdued yet fervent, and, while not a finished scholar 
like Ewing, he was a master in theology. The vital 
themes of the gospel were those upon which, in his 
public discourses, he loved to dwell. 

To the yellow fever of 1793 he fell a victim, — follow- 
ing first one member after another of his own family to 
the grave. The pathos of his last letter to his son is 
deeply affecting. But when the pestilence had passed 



by, none left a vacant place more fit to challenge tear- 
ful memories than the pastor of the Second Church. 

The pastor of the Third Church was Dr. George 
Duffield, a man who seemed formed expressly for the 
times and lot in which his life was cast. Irish, English, 
and Huguenot blood was commingled in his veins, and 
the history of the family was embalmed in the memo- 
ries of persecutions through which it had been called 
to pass. At the age of twenty-two he was graduated 
at Nassau Hall, and, after studying theology and serving 
as tutor at the college, he was ordained in 1761 pastor 
of the united churches of Carlisle, Big Spring, and 

His place of settlement was on the frontiers of civil- 
ization, and, except at Carlisle, his preaching-stations 
were exposed to the iirroads of the Indians. Often did 
these make hostile demonstrations which required the 
male members of his church to arm in self-defence. In 
all these dangers he cheerfully shared, nor was his 
courage shaken by the dangers of the camp. The 
church at Monaghan was protected by fortifications 
thrown up around it, and behind these — while senti- 
nels were stationed to keep guard — the congregation 
listened to the expositions and appeals of one who 
scorned the aid of desk or manuscript. The exposure 
of the sinner was illustrated by the dangers outside 
the fort, and the refuge offered in the gospel found its 
emblem in the defence which this afforded. Through 
the whole region he was deservedly popular, and his 
fame secured him repeated calls to more inviting fields. 

With all the ardor of his nature he threw himself 
into the cause of his country in her struggle for free- 
dom. He was the earnest, fearless, and powerful advo- 
cate of civil and religious liberty. During the sessions 
of the colonial Congress, after his removal to Philadel- 
phia (1772), John Adams was one of his hearers and 


admirers, and a communicant of his church. On one 
occasion preceding the war, his large church, on the 
corner of Fourth and Pine Streets, — which the First 
Church claimed to control, in spite of an appointment 
which had been made for him to preach, — was barred 
against his entrance. It was opened by the officers of 
the Third Church to admit the throng assembled to 
hear him, and his own entrance was effected through a 
window. Complaint was made to the magistrate, and 
the king's officer was called upon to quell what was 
termed a riot. Shortly after the exercises commenced, 
the magistrate passed through the aisle, and, taking 
his stand before the pulpit, read the riot act, and called 
upon the people to disperse. He was ordered to desist 
by an officer of the congregation, but he continued the 
reading. After a second demand and a second refusal, 
the officer seized the magistrate, who was a small man, 
and, bearing him through the crowd to the door of the 
church, ordered him to begone and no more disturb 
the worship of Clod. The exercises were then con- 
tinued without further interruption ; but the next day 
Mr. Duffield was arrested and brought before the 
Mayor's Court, charged with aiding and abetting a riot, 
and required to give bail. This he promptly refused. 
He felt assured that he had merely discharged his duty. 
In vain did the friendly magistrate offer to make the 
terms easy. In vain did the mayor himself offer to 
become his security. He would not accept it. He 
thanked the mayor for his kindness, but was resolved 
to assert the liberty and rights of a minister of Christ. 
He was told that he must then, if now released, appear 
again in court. But the report of his arrest and 
threatened imprisonment excited a popular ferment. 
The " Paxton Boys," by whom he was greatly esteemed 
and beloved, assembled, and resolved to march in a 
body one hundred miles to Philadelphia to effect his 


release if he was imprisoned. But he was not again 

The religious views and sympathies of Dr. Duffield 
ranged him upon the side of the " New Lights." The 
church of which Dr. Ewing was pastor was in connec- 
tion with the Old side. Hence the attempt to exclude 
him from the edifice over which the First Church 
claimed control. But Dr. Duflield was not a man to 
be overawed. He fearlessly maintained his ground, 
and he carried with him to the day of his death the 
sympathies of his Whig and " New Light" congrega- 
tion. His death occurred within a few months of the 
convening of the first General Assembly (Feb. 1790), 
by which he was appointed stated clerk. In the meri- 
dian of his strength and usefulness, at the compara- 
tively early age of fifty-seven, he fell at his post. 
"Whatever may have been his lack of cold, calculating 
prudence, he was " an eminently devoted Christian 
and an eminently faithful minister." 

His successor was John Blair Smith, President of 
Hampden-Sidney College, and, subsequent to his pas- 
torate in Philadelphia, of Union College. He was the 
son of Eobert Smith, of Pequa, and brother of Samuel 
Stanhope Smith, President of Nassau Hall, of which he 
was a graduate in 1773. No other clergyman within the 
bounds of Virginia Synod was pronounced as a preacher 
more worthy to wear the mantle of President Davies. 
Though president of the college from the year 1780, 
it was not till six or seven years later that his soul 
seemed fully roused to the duty and solemnity of the 
preacher's work. From this time his labors were 
abundant, and were extended far and near. The 
powerful revival which ensued, extending through the 
college and over the surrounding region, was largely 
due to his instrumentality. 

In 1791, he was appointed a commissioner to attend 


the General Assembly. During its sessions he occu- 
pied the vacant pulpit of the Third Church. Such was 
the impression made, that be was unanimously called 
as the successor of the lamented Duffield. Accepting 
the call, he removed to Philadelphia, where he remained 
for five years, when he was invited to the presidency 
of Union College. This post he accepted, and occupied 
for three years, when he was reinstated over the people 
of his former charge. He had hardly resumed his 
labors, however, before the city was again visited by 
the yellow fever, and he was one of the first victims of 
the terrible pestilence. 

In many respects he was a model preacher. His 
heart was in his work, and his whole soul glowed with 
evangelical fervor and the love of souls. His preach- 
ing was clear, distinct, pungent, and yet tender, sub- 
duing opposition or melting it by the pathos of earnest 
appeal. Immense congregations would hang upon his 
lips in breathless silence, or a silence interrupted only 
by the deep-drawn sigh. All tendencies to noisy de- 
monstration were studiously suppressed. His slender 
frame and feeble constitution seemed overtasked by his 
arduous and exhausting efforts; but his buoyant spirit 
and all-absorbing devotion to his work lent to his flag- 
ging energies a recuperative power, and repeatedly 
was he restored to vigor after anxious friends had 
abandoned hope of his recovery and given him over as a 
victim of consumption. Few men within the bounds of 
the Church have labored more zealously or successfully 
than John Blair Smith, who fell at the early age of forty- 
three, and who long deserves to be remembered as one 
of the most gifted and eloquent preachers of his age. 

Another member of the Presbytery, worthy of spe- 
cial mention, was Dr. William M. Tennent, settled since 
1781 as the pastor of the three congregations of Alding- 
ton, Norristown, and Providence. He was a grandson 


of William Tennent, of Neshaminy, and had been 
settled for nine years at Greenfield, Conn. In 1785 he 
was elected a trustee of Nassau Hall, and for more 
than twenty years discharged the duties of the office. 
He was known among his brethren not only as a man 
of devoted piety, but as " a man of great sweetness of 
temper and politeness of manner," and as " given to 
hospitality." In 1797 he was moderator of the General 

At Deep Run was settled James Grier, brother of 
Nathan Grier, of Delaware. A native of the town, it 
was here, with the exception of the period of his pre- 
paratory studies, that he spent his days and closed his 
life. From 1776 he had discharged the duties of pastor; 
but at the early age of forty-three, by the rupture of a 
blood-vessel, his death was hastened. Tinicum, which 
was vacant in 1790, had for some years been supplied by 
him, in connection with his charge at Deep Run. One 
of his congregation, who lived to a great age, said of 
him that " it was impossible to hear him preach and 
refrain from tears." In person he was of medium 
height, exceedingly thin, erect, and graceful in his 
movements. His voice was deep and sonorous, and in 
his later years peculiarly solemn in tone. He used 
little gesture, but was always earnest, and sometimes 
deeply impassioned. On a certain communion Sabbath 
he followed up the sacramental service by a sermon 
from the text, " The door was shut." After reading it, 
he closed the Bible with an action somewhat energetic, 
and, lifting up his hands apparently in deepest agony, 
exclaimed, "My God! and is the door shut?" The 
impression upon the whole congregation was perfectly 
overwhelming, and it is said to have been signally 
blessed in the awakening of the careless. His suc- 
cessor in 1798 was Uriah Dubois, who subsequently 
(1804) gathered the congregation of Doylestown, to 


which, in connection with Deep Run, he continued to 
minister till the close of his life, in 1821. 

The other pastors of the Presbytery were John Sy- 
monton, 1 at Great Valley, Francis Peppard, at Allen- 
town, James Boyd, at Newton and Bensalem, James 
"Watt, at Cape May, George Faitoute, at Greenwich, 
Andrew Hunter, at Woodbury, and Nathaniel Irwin, 
at Neshaminy. The churches of Fairfield, Deerfield, 
Pittsgrove, Penn's Neck, Timber Creek, and Tinicum 
were vacant. Previous to 1800, however, John Daven- 
port was settled at Deerfield, Ethan Osborn at Fair- 
field, Nathaniel Harris at Penn's Neck and Alloways 
Creek, Thomas Picton at Timber Creek and Wood- 
bury, at the last of which he had succeeded Andrew 
Hunter, and Buckley Carll at Pittsgrove. Cape May 
and the Third and Fourth (recently-formed) Churches 
of Philadelphia were vacant. William Clarkson had 
succeeded Faitoute at Greenwich, and had charge also 
of Bridgeton ; Robert Russell had commenced his labors 
at Allentown; William Latta had been settled in place 
of Symonton at Great Valley, with the charge of 
Charlestown; while John B. Linn had commenced his 
brief pastorate of the First Church, and Jacob J. Jane- 
way his more extended co-pastorate of the Second 
Church, of Philadelphia. 

The patriarch of the Presbytery of Carlisle (1789), 
with its twenty-six ministers and fifty-five churches, 
was John Elder, of Paxton and Derry. Here he had 
resided in the discharge of pastoral duty for more than 
half a century. Born in Ireland and educated at 
Edinburgh, he came to this country in 1786, and the 
next year commenced his labors as pastor. At this 
time the region was but sparsely settled. In 1720, 
John Harris, from Yorkshire, located himself on the 

» He died Oct. 21, 1791. 


Susquehanna, in the vicinity of Harrishurg, to which 
he bequeathed his name. T\yo miles east of the city, 
which at that time was scarcely a settlement, the little 
church of Paxton was soon built, and in its beautiful 
graveyard, " the Westminster Abbey of the capital," 
" the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep." The place 
which they selected for their residence was one of the 
most beautiful on the continent. 1 About seven miles 
distant — a sheltering Avail from the northern blasts — 
lies the mountain-range, with its blue summits, which 
bound the view in that direction. The valley itself, 
underlaid with blue limestone, and covered originally 
with the richest and noblest forest growth, includes 
within it the garden of all the Atlantic slope, extending 
from Easton on the Delaware, by Beading, Lebanon, 
and Lancaster, by Harrisburg, York, and Carlisle, by 
Chambersburg. Hagerstown, and Winchester, until it 
loses itself in the North Carolina hills. The gem of the 
whole valley, the point of greatest beauty, is where it 
is cleft by the Susquehanna. 

Nine miles below the present site of Harrisburg 
was the church of Deny, a memorial to the early 
settlers of its Irish namesake, endeared to every Pro- 
testant heart. The pastor of the two churches was 
John Elder. The early years of his ministry were 
years of constant exposure to Indian invasion. The 
members of his congregation generally were trained as 
" rangers," and he shared with them the hardships and 
hazards of a frontier life. Many a family in the course 
of years mourned for its head, shot down by a hidden 
foe or carried off to a hopeless captivity. Whether at 
work in the field, or worshipping Cod in the sanctuary, 
the men carried their arms with them; and their pastor 
himself set them an example. His gun stood by his 

» Presb. Quar.Rev., April, 1860. 


side in the pulpit. The congregation was repeatedly 
threatened with hostile attack, and sometimes the 
threat was fulfilled. On one occasion two or three 
were killed. Mr. Elder himself superintended the mili- 
tary discipline of his people, and was known as the 
captain of the mounted " Paxtony Boys." He subse- 
quently held a colonel's commission in the colonial ser- 
vice, and had the command of the block-houses and 
stockades from the Susquehanna to Easton. 

He was indeed a man for the times. With a robust 
constitution, large stature (he Avas six feet high), com- 
manding presence, great courage, and indomitable 
energy of purpose, " he was one of the true-blue Cove- 
nanter sort, like his fellow Scotch-Irishman, General 
Jackson, always willing to take the responsibility." 
His people, mostly his fellow-countrymen, could appre- 
ciate his qualities; and his influence over them was 
almost unbounded. It did not detract from this, that he 
was equally at home with spiritual and temporal wea- 
pons, and that traditional sympathies commended to 
him the Covenanter war-cry of " The sword of the Lord 
and of Gideon !" In the division he sided with the 
" Old Lights," and extended little indulgence toward 
the other party. Jealous of his own rights over his 
extended parish, he allowed no one, and especially no 
"New side" preacher, to interfere with him. At a 
meeting of Presbytery he complained of a Mr. Hogg 
(Hoge), a " New-Light" minister who had preached on 
the outskirts of his parish. The complaint was couched 
in peculiar phraseology : "a hog," he said, "had been 
rooting in his fields." It was some time after Harris- 
burg was incorporated, before he would allow any 
preaching there. 

The death of Mr. Elder occurred in 1792, when he 
had reached the age of eighty-six, and after having 
been a minister for sixty years. His successor, Dr. 

Vol. I.— 27 


Joshua Williams, a graduate of Dickinson College, and 
a licentiate of Carlisle Presbytery, was ordained and 
installed October 2, 1799. 

Two of the most memorable members of the Pres- 
bytery were located at Carlisle, — one, Dr. Charles Nis- 
bet, President of Dickinson College, and the other, Dr. 
Robert Davidson, a professor in the institution and the 
pastor of the church. The project of a collegiate insti- 
tution in this region had been cherished long previous 
to the close of the Eevolutionary War. Carlisle had 
even been designated as the fittest location. It was 
situated on the great western route from Philadelphia 
to Pittsburg, one hundred and twenty miles west of the 
former, and only eighteen from Harrisburg. It was 
embosomed in a valley distinguished through its whole 
extent for healthfulness, fertility, and the picturesque 
beauty of the mountain-scenery which formed the 
frame of this almost Eden-picture. 

The first meeting of the trustees of the proposed 
institution — among them his excellency John Dickin- 
son, James Ewing, Dr. Rush, Robert Duncan, Stephen 
McPherson, and others — was held September 15, 1783. 
Measures were taken to secure funds, both in Europe 
and this country. At the second meeting, April 6, 1784, 
the sum of two thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine 
pounds was reported to have been collected. Resolving 
to press with increased energy the matter of subscrip- 
tions, and apply to the State for an endowment, tho 
trustees unanimously elected Rev. Charles Nisbet, 
S.T.D., of Montrose, Scotland, principal, and Mr. James 
Ross, — favorably known among classical scholars as 
the author of a valuable Latin grammar, — Professor 
of the Greek and Latin Languages. The grammar- 
school by Ross was at once commenced in "the school- 
house of the borough," a small two-story brick build- 
ing, which still occupies its place in an alley a little 


southeast of what is now the public square. 1 On the 
30th of September, the students numbered fifteen, and 
on the 15th of the following June they amounted to 

It was at this time that Dr. Nisbet arrived in this 
country and took the principal charge of the infant 
institution. The prospect before him was far from 
cheering. There was as yet no college edifice. There 
were no books, apparatus, or adequate funds. The 
Legislature silently passed over the petition for aid, and 
the first task devolving upon the principal was to collect 
the means necessary to carry forward the institution. 
After having undertaken it with uncertain success, his 
health failed, and for seven months he felt forced to 
relinquish his connection with the institution. But 
upon his recovery, a small grant having been secured 
from the State, he resumed his post, and the first class 
of nine was graduated in 1787. In the following year 
there were eleven graduates, and in 1792 the number 
reached thirty-three, — a higher number than Avas again 
attained. The trustees, however, had been unable to 
secure a college building previous to 1802, and in some 
of the intervening years there was no graduating class. 

Dr. Nisbet might well feel some disappointment at 
learning, upon his arrival in this country, the real state 
of the institution over which he was called to preside. 
But, bating "no jot of heart or hope," he gave himself 
up without reserve to the duties of his station, and, 
by a multiform activit}" and unwearied diligence, en- 
deavored to supply, as far as possible, every other 

If any man could be pronounced capable of doing 
this, Dr. Nisbet might well be. He was in the full and 
matured vigor of his years, and, having been born in 

] American Quarterly Register, November, 1836, p. 119. 


1736, was, consequently, upon his arrival in this country, 
little short of fifty years of age. The six years that 
followed his graduation at the University of Edin- 
burgh had been spent in close study at the Divinity 
Hall, where he supported himself by his contributions 
to one of the popular periodicals of the day. After 
serving as stated supply with the church in the G-or- 
bals of Glasgow, he was settled at Montrose; and it 
was here that he was laboring at the time that he was 
invited to Carlisle. Such was his reputation some 
years previous, that Dr. Witherspoon, who at first 
declined the call to Nassau Hall, suggested him for 
the vacant post. 

There were many things which seemed to justify the 
selection of Dr. Nisbet for the office to which he was 
called. He belonged to the Orthodox wing of the 
Scotch Church, and combined evangelical zeal with 
soundness in doctrine. His sympathies all through 
the Revolutionary straggle were on the side of the 
Americans. Of the cause of civil and religious liberty 
he was a fearless and zealous advocate. His intellec- 
tual endowments were of a rare order. His mind was 
remarkably sprightly, and at oiice comprehensive and 
discriminating. Whatever his position, he was sure to 
exercise, even in a minority, a commanding influ- 
ence. His varied talents and acquirements were com- 
bined with sterling integrity and worth. In the dis- 
charge of his duties he feared not the face of man. On 
one occasion during our Revolutionary struggle, he 
preached on a public fast-day a discourse which was 
quite unacceptable to the members of the Town Council 
of Montrose, and soon after its commencement, when 
they had satisfied themselves as to the character of 
what was probably soon to come, they rose in a body 
and left the church. Stretching forth his hand to the 
seat which they had just vacated, he said, with em- 


phas's, as they withdrew, " The wicked flee when no 
man pursueth." 

In the General Assembly of the Scotch Church, Dr. 
Nisbet was a powerful debater. His speeches in this 
body must have told with powerful effect. The very 
grounds on which they are exposed to criticism — an 
excess perhaps of wit, or withering and crushing sar- 
casm — must have inspired a healthful respect for his 
opposition to the laxness and latitndinarianism of mode- 
rate rule. In social life, his conversational gifts shone 
with peculiar brilliancy. His wit and humor are said 
to have been unrivalled. " His memory was not only 
excellent, but bordered on the prodigious." 1 The libra- 
ries to which he had been privileged to have access 
were large and rich; but he himself was proverbially 
called " the walking library." At one time he was able 
to repeat the whole ^Eneid and Young's Night Thoughts. 
But, with all his attainments and his exuberance of 
wit, he was none the less a sincere Christian, a true 
patriot, and a warm friend to the interests of religion 
and mankind. Such was the man who for nearly 
twenty years devoted his energies to the establishment 
and direction of Dickinson College. With all the diffi- 
culties which it had to encounter, and with such rival 
institutions as the University of Pennsylvania and 
Nassau Hall College, located respectively at Philadel- 
phia and Princeton, it is scarcely surprising that no 
more was effected. The comparative failure, however, 
was due, not to the principal, but to circumstances 
which all his tact, energy, learning, and application 
could not control. 

Associated with Dr. Nisbet as a professor in the col- 
lege, and at the same time settled over the church in 
Carlisle, was a man who, in the cause of sacred and 

1 Life of Nisbet, p. 28. 


classical learning and of civil and religious freedom, 
was in full sympathy with him. Robert Davidson 
was a native of Maryland, and a graduate of the 
University of Pennsylvania under Dr. Ewing in 1771. 
Two years later, such was his reputation for learning 
that he was appointed an instructor in the university, 
and chosen as an assistant of Dr. Ewing in the. First 
Church. During the war, his political sympathies and 
his outspoken zeal for his country rendered his residence 
in Philadelphia unsafe, and he was forced to remove. 
When Dickinson College was founded, he was invited, 
through the influence of Dr. Push, to become one of 
its officers. " His name," said Dr. Push, who knew 
him well, " will be of use to us; for he is a man of learn- 
ing and of an excellent private character." His sphere 
in the institution was the Professorship of History and 
Belles-Lettres. In discharging his duties, collegiate 
and pastoral, he was indefatigable. By systematic 
efforts, he steadily enlarged his acquisitions. He made 
himself master of eight languages, was well versed in 
theology, and " familiar with the whole circle of science." 
Astronomy was his favorite pursuit, and he was an 
amateur and composer of sacred music; but he had self- 
denial enough to sacrifice his elegant tastes at the 
shrine of the sterner duties which absorbed his time 
and energy. 

During the Whiskey Insurrection, he was called to 
preach to the troops on their march to suppress it. He 
discharged his duties in a fearless yet prudent manner, 
avoiding the odium which Dr. Nisbet incurred by his 
more caustic rebukes. Upon the death of the latter, 
the charge of the institution devolved upon Dr. David- 
son; but in 1809 he resigned his post in the college to 
devote himself more exclusively to his pastoral duties. 
His death occurred in December, 1812, in the sixty- 
second year of his age. 


Eobert Cooper, of Middle Spring, was one of the 
leading men of the Presbytery by Avhich he had been 
licensed, and of which he had been a member for 
twenty-four years, still retaining his first charge. He 
was a native of Ireland, and was born in 1732. His 
father's family were in humble circumstances, and he 
was forced largely to depend upon his own exertions 
for the means of completing his education. In 1763, he 
was graduated at Nassau Hall, then under the presi- 
dency of Dr. Finley, and his theological studies were 
conducted in part under the care of Dr. Duffield, at 
Carlisle. In 1765, he was called to Middle Spring (Ship- 
pensburg) ; and here he remained till disease forced him 
to seek a dismission, reluctantly granted, in 1797. Low 
in stature, of a thin, spare habit, with a countenance 
more indicative of melancholy than mirth, with a 
delivery that would by no means be considered attract- 
ive, and with a diction rather solid than elegant, the 
real worth of the man was recognized beneath its dis- 
guise, while the integrity of his character commanded 
respect for his Whig principles and his stern doctrinal 
views. As a theologian he was somewhat eminent; and 
numbered among his pupils were Drs. J. McKnight, 
Joshua Williams, and F. Herron. For several years 
after his dismission, and even to the close of his life, he 
engaged in missionary labor, supplying vacant pulpits 
or assisting his brethren of the Presb3 T tery. It was 
several years after his resignation before the church 
found a successor to him in Dr. John Moody. 

At Lower Marsh Creek and Tom's Creek Avas John 
McKnight, a theological pupil of Eobert Cooj^er. His 
collegiate course was completed at Princeton in 1773 ; 
in 1776 he was ordained, and until the close of the w T ar 
he labored with a new congregation gathered by his 
instrumentality. In 1773 he accepted the call to Lower 
Marsh Creek, and here, with a farm of one hundred and 


fifty acres, and amid a large and devoted congregation, 
who strove to anticipate his wants, he spent what ho 
ever regarded as the happiest years of his life. 

Onl} T a few months elapsed after the meeting of the 
Assembly, when Dr. McKnight was called to the city 
of New York as colleague with Dr. Eodgers. For 
twenty years he was removed from the scenes of his 
early days, but in his old age retui-ned again to active 
labor in his native State. His successor at Lower Marsh 
Creek was William Paxton, whose protracted ministry 
extended from 1792 to 1841, a period of almost half a 

At Lower Marsh Creek was John Black, a native of 
South Carolina, but a graduate of Nassau Hall in 1771. 
In 1775, he was installed pastor of this church, but in 
1791, after a pastorate of nearly twenty years, was 
released from his charge, at his repeated and urgent 
request. His last days were spent in the bounds of 
Bedstone Presbytery. He was possessed of a high 
order of talent, and was especially fond of philosophical 
disquisitions. An essay on Psalmody, in reply to Dr. 
John Anderson of the Associate Church, was from his 
pen. 1 

At Upper "West Conococheague (Mercersburg), John 
King had been settled for twenty years. A strict Cal- 
vinist, an elaborate but not brilliant thinker, with a 
voice too weak and hoarse for oratorical effect, he never 
enjoyed an extended popularity ; but in close and logical 
processes of thought, in patience of investigation, and 
in solid attainments, both in science and theology, he 
had few superiors. His pastorate closed with his life 
in 1811. 

At East Pennsborough and Mbnaghan, Samuel TVaiigh, 
a graduate of Nassau Hall in 1773, commenced his pas- 

1 Sprague's Annals, iii. 556. 


torate in 1782. A sound divine, a very acceptable 
preacher, and highly esteemed by his people, his labors 
in this position ended only with his life, in 1807. The 
church of West Hanover from 1788 to 1*45 was under 
the care of James Snodgrass, 1 a man whose modesty 
did not conceal his souud judgment and eminent de- 
votedness to his work. 

In 1793, the united churches of York and Hopewell 
called as their pastor a young man who had but a few 
years previous emigrated from Ireland. This was 
Eobert Cathcart. The friend of every good cause, dili- 
gent and scrupulously conscientious in the discharge 
of his duties, with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, 
and a singularly retentive memory, sternly faithful in 
the utterance of his convictions, and as immovable in 
his steadfast devotion to truth as the limestone rocks 
of York Valley, which he trod for nearly half a cen- 
tury almost as his " native heath," he was spared to 
complete an active ministry of forty-six years in connection 
with the church at York, nor did he cease his labors at 
Hopewell till two or three years before his death, in 1849. 

Besides these men. the members of Carlisle Presby- 
tery in 1789 were Hugh McGill. at Tuscarora and 
Cedar Spring, James Martin, at Piney Creek, Eobert 
McMordie, without charge, James Lang, at Falling 
Spring and East Conococheague, John Craighead, at 
Eocky Spring, Hugh Vance, at Tuscarora, Va., and 
Back Creek, Thomas McFarren, at Lower, East, and 
"West Conococheague. Samuel Dougall, at Path Valley, 
John Linn, at Sherman's Valley, where he was settled 
in 1777, David Bard, at Bedford, Joseph Henderson, at 
Great Conewago, Matthew Stephens, at Derry and 
Wayne, on the Juniata. James Johnston, at Kishaco- 
quillas, John Johnst* n, at Hart's Log and Shaver's Creek, 

1 Fatliei - of Dr. William D. Suodg.ass, cow of Goslieu, N.Y. 


Samuel Wilson, at Big Spring, and Hugh Morrison, at 
Sunbuiy, Northumberland town, and Buffalo Valley. 

The vacant churches of the Presbytery were York 
(town), soon supplied by Dr. Cathcart, Hagerstown, 
Shepherdstown, Charlestown, Falling Waters, Cool 
Spring, Bomney, Patterson Creek, Great Cove, Great 
Aughwick, Standing Stone, Frankstown, Penn's Valley, 
Chillisquaque, Warrior's Bun, Muncy, Lycoming, Ma- 
honing, Fishing Creek, Dick's Gap, Sherman's Creek, 
and Upper Paxton. 

Previous to 1800, some of these vacancies had been 
supplied. The death of Dr. John Elder left Paxton 
and Derry vacant, and Nathaniel B. Snowden, his suc- 
cessor in 1798, became the first pastor of the church of 
Harrisburg, which lay but two miles from Paxton, and 
thus within the bounds of his parish. To the charge of 
the old churches, Joshua Williams had succeeded. David 
Denney was laboring at Path Valley, wdiile Cooper, 
Lang, King, Linn, Waugh, Snodgrass, Davidson, Ste- 
phen, John Johnston, and Morrison remained undis- 
turbed in their pastorates. Frankstown was supplied 
by David Bard, dismissed from Bedford; but within the 
old bounds of the Presbytery there were between thirty 
and forty churches still vacant. The ministers who 
had been dismissed were Cooper, McPherrin, Craig- 
head, Jones, James Johnston, Dunham, and Black. Hugh 
Vance died December 81, 1791, and John Elder, July, 

In 1794, the Presbytery of Carlisle was divided to 
form the new Presbytery of Huntingdon. Previous to. 
the division it consisted of twenty-five ministers, four 
of whom were without pastoral charge, while there 
were sixteen vacancies, and in repeated instances two 
or more churches had but a single pastor. The order 
of the Assembly divided the two Presbyteries "by a 
line along the Juniata River, from its mouth up to the 


Tuscarora Mountain, to the head of Path Valley, 
thence westwardly to the eastern boundary of the 
Presbytery of Redstone, so as to leave the congrega- 
tion of Bedford to the south. The ministers south of 
this line — Snodgrass, Waugh, Linn, Nesbit, Davidson, 
Wilson, Cooper, Craighead, King, Lang, MePherrin, 
Paxton, Black, Henderson, McMordie, and Jones — were 
to constitute the Presbytery of Carlisle ; the others, — 
Bard, John and James Johnston, Stephens, McGrill, Mar- 
tin, Bryson, Morrison, and Iloge, — the Presbytery of 
Huntingdon. In 1800, the Presbytery of Carlisle had 
eighteen ministers, five without pastoral charge, and 
twelve vacancies. The Presbytery of Huntingdon had 
twelve ministers, four without pastoral charge, and 
more than twenty vacancies. 

The region of Western Pennsylvania was covered in 
1789 by the Redstone Presbytery, numbering at that 
time eight ministers, and thirty-one churches, seven- 
teen of which were vacant, and of the fourteen others 
all but two were unable alone to sustain a pastor. 
James Finley was at Rehoboth and Round Hill, John 
Clark at Lebanon and Bethel, Joseph Smith 1 at Buffalo 
and Cross Creek, John McMillan at Chartiers and 
Pigeon Creek, James Power at Mount Pleasant and 
Sewickley, James Dunlap at Redstone and Dunlap 
Creek, while Thaddeus Pod was at Ten -Mile, and 
Samuel Barr at Pittsburg. 

The vacancies were Fairfield, Donegal, Unity, Salem, 
Poke Run, Long Run, Montier's Creek, Glades of Sandy 
Creek, Muddy Creek, Morganstown, George's Creek, 
Pike Run, Potato Garden, Mill .Creek, King's Creek, 
Short Creek, and Three Ridges. 

In 1792, the number of ministers was twelve, but the 
number of vacant churches, through the rapid increaso 

1 Died April 14, 1792. 


of settlements, amounted to twenty-four. The new 
members were Joseph Patterson, James Hughes, John 
Brice, John MePherrin, and Samuel Porter. 

In 1793, the Presbytery of Redstone dismissed five 
of its members, in order to constitute another Presby- 
tery on its western borders, at that time extending 
over the scattered settlements on the northwest of the 
Ohio River. The new Presbytery, though mainly 
within the limits of the State of Pennsylvania, took 
the name of Ohio, and the five ministers by whom it 
was constituted were John Clark, John McMillan, 
Joseph Patterson, James Hughes, and John Brice. 

Of the Presbytery thus erected, the Monongahela 
River, in its windings till it joins the Alleghany at 
Pittsburg, formed the eastern and northern boundary. 
Thence the line ran northward to Presque Island, and 
from this in a westerly direction, including the frontier 
settlements in Ohio. The field occupied was one into 
which immigration was soon to pour at flood-tide. The 
country was rapidly filling up, and the increase of the 
Presbytery in the course of a few years was almost 
unprecedented. In 1794, two more members were 
added to its list, and in 1800, seven years after its 
formation, it had nineteen ministers, one only without 
charge, while under its care it had five probationers for 
the ministry. 

Of its original members, some have already been 
mentioned in connection with Redstone Presbytery. 
John Clark, since 1781 settled over the Bethel and 
Lebanon congregations, was far advanced in years and 
enfeebled by age when he became a member of the 
Ohio Presbytery, the erection of which he survived 
only four years. Grave, sedate, venerable in appear- 
ance, he was pronounced a solemn and impressive 
speaker. His successor was William Woods. 

Next on the list stood the name of John McMillan, 


and in grateful association with it followed the names 
of others who had been his pupils but were now his 
co-Presbyters and coadjutors. Others still were soon 
to be added to the list. Most prominent among these 
were Joseph Patterson, Thomas Marquis, James Hughes, 
and John Brice. 

Patterson was a native of Ireland. 1 His father, when 
a lad, was present at the siege of Deny. The son 
shared in the scenes of our own Revolutionary conflict. 
In 1788, he was licensed to preach, and in the follow- 
ing year accepted the call of the united churches of 
Raccoon and Montour's Run, in Washington county, 
the former eighteen miles from Pittsburg. Like other 
ministers of the day, he made frequent missionary 
tours, and his labors were most abundant. " His jour- 
nal is replete with interesting and surprising incidents, 
and strikingly illustrates the deep spirituality and glow- 
ing zeal of the missionary." 

Thomas Marquis was another of this noble band of 
pioneers of which the Presbytery was constituted. His 
father's death while he was yet a child left him desti- 
tute, and at twelve or thirteen years of age he went 
to learn the trade of a weaver. In 1775, he left his 
home in Virginia, and, iioav at the age of twenty-two, 
and already married, took up his residence in Washing- 
ton county. His cabin was erected, amid all the hazards 
of frontier warfare, in the w T oods near the spot where 
the village of Cross Creek now stands. As dangers 
thickened, he, with others, took refuge in Yance's Fort 
There was not a gospel-minister within seventy miles 
of the place, but within the fort was one pious man 
This was Joseph Patterson, whom w T e have just men- 
tioned. Although not yet licensed, he acted the part 
of a faithful Christian, and, with a piety that remained 

1 Sprague's Annals. Old Redstone. 
Vol. I.— 28 


firm even amidst the storm and terrors of Avar, endea- 
vored to act the part of a faithful monitor to the often 
reckless and hardened men that had fled with him 
to the fort. A revival commenced, and Thomas Mar- 
quis and his young wife were numbered among its sub- 

For several years, though often urged to undertake 
the work of the ministry, the timidity of Marquis led 
him to refuse all solicitations. At length his duty 
became so manifest that he could no longer decline it. 
He prosecuted his studies, first at Buffalo with Dr. 
Joseph Smith, and afterward at Canonsburg with Dr. 
McMillan. It was a period for his family, as well as 
himself, of great self-denial. His excellent wife was 
sometimes compelled to labor in the field to keep the 
children supplied with bread. But the result was that 
Marquis brought to his Master's work, at the ripe age 
of forty, such gifts of energy, humility, and perseve- 
rance as are rarely combined. In 1793, he was licensed 
to preach by the Presbytery of Bedstone, and in the 
following year accepted a call from the congregations 
of Black Lick and Cross Creek. In the first four years 
of his pastorate, one hundred and twenty-three were 
added to the communion of the churches under his 
care. In 179(3, he was appointed a member of the first 
missionary board west of the mountains. His mis- 
sionary labors were abundant, and his tours frequent 
and .sometimes quite extended. In 1801, he declined a 
call from Chillicothe, but soon after made an extensive 
journey " northwest of the Ohio and Alleghany Bivers, 
seeking the wandering sheep, and gathering them into 
little companies, for mutual encouragement and as 
nuclei >f other churches." Kind, courteous, frank, but 
gifted .vith quick intellect and strong emotion, he was 
genial in social life, and almost " irresistible in the 
pulpit." Almost to the last, even when bowed under 


the weight of more than threescore and ten years, he 
continued his labors and gave full proof of his ministry. 

Another honored member of this Presbytery was 
Rev. (afterward Dr.) Samuel Ralston. He was a native 
of Ireland, and his early home was " a nursery of gos- 
pel truth, where religion with its Bible and catechisms, 
instead of politics with its newspapers, early imbued 
his vigorous mind." He was born in 1756, and migrated 
to this country, after completing his studies at the 
University of Glasgow, in the spring of 1794. In 1796, 
he accepted the call of the united congregations of 
Mingo Creek and Williamsport (now Monongahela 
City), where for thirty-five years he continued to labor. 
Remarkable for mental energy, erudition, and a piety 
that never wearied in its work, he was gifted with 
some of the lighter graces of urbanity and wit, and 
for keenness of satire his " curry-comb" might " well 
rank with the ' characteristics' of Witherspoon." It 
defended the revivals of the period — 1800-1805 — from 
the charges brought against them on account of the 
extravagances with which they were connected. 

Still another of this little band was James Hughes, 
brother of Thomas Edgar Hughes, born in York county, 
Pa., about 1765. He was a graduate of New Jersey 
College, and studied theology under Dr. McMillan. 1 
From 1790 to 1814, he was pastor of Short Creek and 
Lower Buffalo Churches. Like his brethren, he per- 
formed a large amount of missionary labor. None of 
his excursions were more profitable than the one which 
he made to Ligonier, Westmoreland county, in 1792. 
Among his hearers was one destined to become a most 
efficient co-laborer in the same field. This was Elisha 
Macurdy, then a young man of twenty-eight years. 
The sermon induced him to purchase a Bible, to learn 

1 Tins is somewhat uncertain. 


■whether the statements and warnings of the preacher 
were sustained by it. A great and permanent change 
"was the result. A good old lady expressed her confi- 
dence in his piety by saying, " If Mr. Macurdy has no 
religion, Clod help the world." Yet at this time he 
was not, in his after-judgment, truly converted. A 
sermon by John McPherrin brought him to clearer 
views of the truth, and Avas blessed in leading him to 
a genuine Christian experience. 

From this moment his course was decided. He sold 
his farm to defray the expense of his education, and 
became a member of the Academy at Canonsburg. 
Here he completed his theological as well as literary 
course (1798). In connection with the Presbytery, he 
abounded in missionary service. He was one of the 
leading spirits of the Western Missionary Society, and 
had an important agency in connection with the great 
revival in Western Pennsylvania in 1801-2. For nearly 
forty years he continued his career of " most self-deny- 
ing and unremitting labor, — for thirty-five years at 
Cross Eoads and Three Springs (1800-1835)." 

Among his teachers in 1796, at Canonsburg, was 
John Watson. At nine years of age the latter was left 
a friendless orphan. A neighbor of his father took him 
into his family ; and here young Watson found a large 
collection of books, especially of novels. These he 
devoured with a strange eagerness, contriving means 
to procure them even after they had been carefully 
locked up. At every leisure moment his beloved books 
occupied his attention. Addison's Spectator fell into 
his hands, and was read with great delight. But the 
Latin sentences, prefixed as mottoes to each number, 
puzzled him. He was mortified at his ignorance, and 
resolved to learn Latin. By the aid of a copy of 
Horace, and an old broken dictionary, without even a 
grammar, he commenced his task. While thus engaged, 


Alexander Addison. President of the Court of Common 
Pleas in the Western Distriet of Pennsylvania, lodged 
at the house where Watson lived. Here he found the 
young bar-keeper, after the family had retired to rest, 
reading Horace by firelight. To his surprise, he learned 
the remarkable progress that the youth had already 
made. With expressions of regret that he had no 
better advantages, the jurist promised to bring him, on 
his return at the next session of court, some more 
suitable books. It was the first encouraging; word in 
regard to his studies which the orphan-boy had heard 
since his father's death. In due time the jurist returned 
with the books. " Never," said Watson, relating the 
incident, " did I experience a more joyful moment. My 
heart was so full I could not utter a word." 

Besides classical works, he was furnished with others 
on History, Belles-Lettres, Philosophy, &c. These were 
eagerly devoured. The teacher of the village gram- 
mar-school gave him valuable aid. At the age of nine- 
teen, his attainments and worth became widelj* known, 
and through the influence of Dr. McMillan he was ap- 
pointed assistant teacher in the Academy of Canons- 
burg. This was in 1792. After a service of eighteen 
months, his venerable patron procured for him a scho- 
larship at Princeton. Eeturning thence on the comple- 
tion of his studies, he was immediately chosen principal 
of the Academy, and soon after, by an able and power- 
ful appeal to the Legislature, he obtained the charter 
of Jefferson College. 

In 1798, he was licensed to preach, and for four years 
aad the pastoral charge of a small congregation three 
miles from Canonsburg. But his career was short. 
His labors were arduous, and his health, injured seri- 
ously already by severe application to study, was fast 
giving way. He died in 1802; and over him might have 
been pronounced, with equal appropriateness, the beau- 



tiful lines in which Byron has commemorated the genius 
and the untimely fate of Henry Kirke White. Yet his 
memory and influence were not lost. Several distin- 
guished ministers were trained in part under his care, 
and his name occupies an honorable place on the records 
of that pioneer Presbytery, — the Presbytery of Ohio. 

About the commencement of the present century, 
another laborer, of kindred spirit and of eminent gifts, 
had joined the little band. This was Mr. (afterward 
Dr.) John Anderson, who had received his entire clas- 
sical and theological education at the Academy of the 
Rev. David Caldwell, pastor at Buffalo and Alamance 
in North Carolina. He was remarkable for his ardent 
and self-denying zeal. In missionary labor he had, even 
in that age, scarce a rival. He was licensed by the Pres- 
bytery of Orange, JST.C, in 1791, and for two years 
labored in the vicinity of the borders of this and the 
adjoining State of South Carolina. From 1793 to 1798, 
he itinerated through the States of Tennessee and 
Kentucky, sometimes crossing the Ohio and preaching 
to the extreme frontier settlements. Unaided by any 
missionary association, and often subjected to great 
dangers and privations, he exhibited just those quali- 
ties which were most necessary in the broad field which 
spread around him. The Ohio Presbytery found in him 
a most efficient co-laborer, and desired him to take up 
a permanent residence among them. For nearly a third 
of a century he was pastor of the Upper Buffalo Church 
of Washington county. 

In the autumn of 1793, Thomas Moore was settled 
as pastor of Ten-Mile, as successor of the pioneer Thad- 
deus Dod, who had died a few months previous. He 
was a native of New England, and was received from 
the Bristol Association of Massachusetts. With a voice 
clear and sonorous, a delivery warm and animated, a 
vigorous intellect, high culture, ardent temperament, 


and active zeal, he proved a valuable accession to the 
Presbytery. 1 His Eastern associations made him the 
principal channel through which reports of the progress 
of the gospel and revivals among the churches were 
communicated to the journals in the older States. His 
own labors, both at Ten-Mile, and subsequently at 
Salem, were largely blessed. In his ten years' ministry 
at the former place, about two hundred persons were 
received to the Church on profession of their faith. The 
log meeting-house built in 1785 at Lower Ten-Mile 
proved too small for the congregation, and during Mr. 
Moore's ministry another was erected at Upper Ten 

Mr. Moore is said to have been " a terrible scourge 
of Arminianism." In theology he Avas a Hopkinsian, 
and his Calvinism was of an ultra type. Tradition 
reports — -although unwarrantably — that he preached 
the doctrine of infant-damnation. The report origi- 
nated, no doubt, in the severe exposition which he was 
wont to give of orthodox doctrine. He dwelt much, in 
his preaching, on the terrors of the law. He was bold 
and uncompromising in his denunciations of sin in all 
its forms, but especially when it assumed the shape of 
formalism and hypocrisy in the Church. 

Other laborers' in the field at this early period were 
Messrs. John Brice, William Wood, William Wick, G-. 
Scott, Joseph Anderson, A. Gwinn, John McClean, and 
J. Snodgrass. By these men an extensive field was 
occupied, and a remarkable amount of missionary 
labor performed. Five of the nineteen ministers were 
settled " over the Ohio River," — one, William Wick, 
thirty-eight miles west of the river, within eight miles 
of Youngstown, where he preached a third part of the 
time as a temporary supply. From the month of 

1 Wiues's Historical Discourse, pp. 16, 17. 

332 history or presbyterianism. 

August, 1799, to November, 1800, the Presbytery or- 
dained ten ministers of the gospel, of whom nine were 
installed, and one dismissed to go and itinerate in the 
State of Tennessee, while one was received from the 
Presbytery of Brunswick, thus in the space of little 
more than a year more than doubling the number of 
the members of the body. 

Meanwhile, three candidates for licensure were on 
trial, and several more were expecting soon to offer 
themselves. The churches were chiefly supplied from 
McMillan's school, " a little academy in Canonsburg, 
with no resources, supported entirely, till of late, by 
the Presbyterian clergy and their people." There was 
an urgent necessity, notwithstanding all that had been 
done, for more laborers. " In this quarter," writes Rev. 
Thomas Moore (January, 1801), " the field is wide and 
extensive, the harvest truly great, but the laborers com- 
paratively few." A most grateful welcome did the mis- 
sionaries of the Connecticut Missionary Society receive 
from the members of the Ohio Presbytery on their way 
to New Connecticut. Two of them, Joseph Badger 
and David Bacon, had already made transient visits to 
that inviting and destitute field, and more were soon to 
follow in their track, Ezekiel J. Chapman in the follow- 
ing year. 

Meanwhile, several of the congregations connected 
with the Presbyter}^ were visited by seasons of refresh- 
ing. There were revivals, some characterized by great 
power, in the churches of which McMillan. Patterson, 
Hughes, Brice, and Moore were pastors. On his way 
to his field of labor (November, 1800) in New Connec- 
ticut, Joseph Badger " passed through and near to 
twenty Presbyterian congregations," where from 1798 
there had been " a pretty general serious awakening." 1 

i Conn. Ev. Mag., 1801. 


Many hundred souls were converted. The revival 
extended nearly eighty miles from east to west. The 
new settlements northwest of the Ohio, to the very 
bounds of New Connecticut, were " visited in a special 
manner." The work was free from enthusiasm, but 
characterized by great power. 1 

By the commencement of the present century, " six- 
teen or seventeen very worthy and pious ministers" 
had been trained for their work in the "academic 
school" of Canonsburg. It was at first thought that 
it would be difficult to supply them all with fields of 
labor. But the revival " opened places enough." By 
September, 1800, there were three ordained ministers 
connected with the Ohio Presbytery in or near the 
Western Reserve. 



Although the Presbyterian Church in this country 
had been first planted on the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land, yet there were many obstacles to its spread both 
in Maryland and Virginia, which, until the close of the 

1 From 1781 to 1807, an extensive work of grace was experienced 
in the churches of Cross Creek, Upper Buffalo, Chartiers, Pigeon 
Creek, Bethel, Lebanon, Ten-Mile, Cross Roads, and Mill Creek, 
during which more than one thousand persons were converted. 
From 1795 to 1799, another series of gracious visitations was 
enjoyed by the churches of Western Pennsylvania, extending to 
the new settlements north of Pittsburg. Dr. McMillan received to 
his church one hundred and ten, and Thomas Marquis one hundred 
and twenty-three persons. Large additions were made to others. - 
Humphrey's "Revival Sketches." 


Revolutionary War. effectually retarded its growth. 
Maryland was a Roman Catholic colony, and hut a 
small proportion of its inhabitants would have been 
disposed to welcome Presbyterian missionary labor or 
Presbyterian institutions ; while Virginia, settled by 
" Cavaliers," and with the Episcopal for the established 
Church of the colony, was long reluctant even to tole- 
rate "Dissenters." The patriotic fervor of the Revo- 
lution, and the worldly and sometimes disgraceful con- 
duct and character of the Episcopal clergy, 1 combined 
to effect a change in popular feeling and sympathy, 
and at the close of the Avar the field was open to Pres- 
byterian effort. 

The laborers, indeed, were few and far between. The 
eloquence of Davies. even, had been like the voice of 
one crying in the wilderness. His own heart was 
deeply burdened that he was left to toil almost alone. 
During the war, little could be done to supply spiritual 
destitution, and the single Presbytery of Hanover, 
feeble in numbers, though enterprising in spirit, was 
left to occupy and supply a region extending on every 
side hundreds of miles. 

In Western Maryland the Presbyterian Church can 
scarcely be said to have had an existence until after the 
close of the war. Hagerstown and two or three other 
congregations were under the care of Carlisle Presby- 
tery, and perhaps as many more feeble congregations 
existed between the Potomac and the Chesapeake. The 
Presbytery of Baltimore was formed, by a division of 
Donegal Presbytery, in 1786. At the meeting of the 
first General Assembly, it reported six members and 
twelve churches. Patrick Allison was at Baltimore, 
Isaac S. Keith at Alexandria. Stephen B. Balch at 
3-eorgetown, James Hunt at Bladensburg and Cabin 

1 Meade's Churches of Virginia. 


John, John Slemons at Slate Kidge and Chance Ford, 
and George Lucky at Bethel and Centre; while Hope- 
well, Frederick, and Soldier's Delight were vacant. 

The First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore dates 
from 1703. During the preceding year, a few Presby- 
terians from Pennsylvania had erected a log church 
edifice within the limits of the future city, which at 
that time could boast some thirty or forty houses and 
some three hundred inhabitants. 1 Allison, a graduate 
of the University of Pennsylvania, and a licentiate of 
the Second Presbytery of Philadelphia, was at the time 
connected with the Newark Academy, at which several 
young men from Baltimore were pursuing their studies, 
and, doubtless through their iufluence, he was induced 
for one or more Sabbaths to supply the pulpit. So 
acceptable were his services, that the congregation re- 
quested of the Presbytery that he might be appointed 
to supply them statedly on a salary of one hundred 
pounds per year. Declining a call to a larger church 
at New Castle, he accepted the appointment, and for 
thirty-five years continued in the pastorate of the First 
Church of Baltimore. 

The congregation, small at first, — numbering, it is 
supposed, but six families, 2 — rapidly increased; the 
small edifice w T as pulled down for the erection of a 
larger one; this was subsequently enlarged; and at 
length, to accommodate the increased numbers, a large, 
expensive, and elegant structure was reared, worthy 
the enterprise of the growing city. 

The personal appearance of Dr. Allison was highly 
commanding and impressive. Of medium height, but 
every way well proportioned, his manners combined, to 

1 Sprague, iii. 254. 

2 Baltimore was laid out as a town by Roman Catholics in 1729, 
and up to 1765 it contained but fifty houses. — Eighty Years' Pro- 
gress, i. 183. 

336 history or presbyterianism. 

a remarkable degree, grace with dignity. "With a 
proper self-respect, yet without ostentation, his bearing 
toward others was courteous and respectful. With a 
character above reproach, with intellectual gifts of a 
high order, which had been improved and expanded by 
more than ordinary culture, ever a diligent student, as 
well as a careful observer of passing events, he exerted 
a powerful and extensive influence throughout the com- 
munity. Of exquisite literary taste, a master of history, 
ancient and modern, wielding a facile and yet a power- 
ful pen, he stood ever ready to defend the cause of his 
country and the cause of religious freedom. During 
the Revolution, and after the close of the war, his pen 
was called into service, first to repel the arrogant 
claims of Episcopacy to state patronage, and after- 
ward in defence of American Protestantism. His large 
foresight and liberal public spirit brought him forward 
on repeated occasions when the cause of education or 
the public welfare demanded an able champion. With 
Old-side sympathies strong to the last, he cannot be 
classed with such men as those who inherited the zeal 
of the Tennents or sympathized with the revival 
efforts of Whitefield ; and yet it is possible that in the 
region where his lot was cast he was better fitted to 
accomplish the work that needed to be done, than he 
would have been with less learning and greater zeal. 
Until his death he was a leading member of the Pres- 
bytery. Of Baltimore College and Baltimore Library 
lie was one of the original founders. In the judica- 
tories of the Church, and in all public bodies in which 
he was called to take a part, he was especially eminent. 
His great sagacity, perfect self-control, and admirable 
command of thought and language marked him out 
as a leader, and warranted the estimate of him pro- 
nounced by President Samuel Stanhope Smith : — " Dr. 
Allison is decidedly the ablest statesman we have in 

MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA, 1789-1800. 337 

the General Assembly." What Franklin -was to the 
State, that, in large measure, he was to the Church ; and 
a striking parallel might be drawn between the shrewd 
sagacity, perspicuity of thought and expression, free- 
dom from impulse, and practical utilitarianism, by 
w T hich the two men were characterized. 

The church at Alexandria was probably formed 
shortly before the commencement of the Kevolution- 
ary War. In 1780, William Thorn, who had supplied 
the congregation for several years, and perhaps been 
settled as pastor, was dismissed, 1 and Isaac S. Keith re- 
ceived " an affectionate and unanimous call" — to which 
"the inhabitants of every denomination echoed uni- 
versal consent" — as his successor. The church was at 
the time in a feeble state, with a limited membership, 
and lai*gely dependent for support on the co-opera- 
tion of other denominations. Mr. Keith, 2 a native 
of Newtown, Pa., a graduate of New Jersey College, 
and a theological pupil of Robert Smith, of Pequa, was 
indeed the man for the place. An apt scholar, an 
elegant writer, fully devoted to the work of the minis- 
try, unwearied in his endeavors to promote the cause 
of Christ, he originated, while at Alexandria, a plan for 
prayer and conference meetings, while as yet they 
were unknown, and endeavored to harmonize in effect- 
ive co-operation the various religious elements of the 
community. For nearly a quarter of a century after 
his dismissal from Alexandria, he was the respected 
and beloved pastor of the Circular Church (Independ- 
ent) of Charleston, S.C. ; and rarely has any career 
been crowned with more honorable memories of use- 

1 William Thorn was a licentiate of Donegal Presbytery in 1771 
(Synod s Minutes, 1772), and was ordained in the following year. 
He probably commenced his labors soon after in Alexandria or its 

9 Remains of Rev. Isaac S. Keith — Biographical Sketch. 

Vol. I.— 22 


fulness and devotion. An American edition of John 
Newton, revised and improved, — his letters, enriched 
with quotations from the " Olney Hymns," repeatedly 
remind us of the good sense and fervent piety of the 
friend of Cowper, Wilberforce. and Scott. The son-in- 
law of Dr. Sproat of Philadelphia, the correspondent 
of Dr. Green, a fast friend of missions, a principal 
founder of the Charleston Bible Society in 1810, exten- 
sively acquainted with the condition and wants of tbe 
country and the world, his life was one of uninterrupted 
and uniform effort in behalf of the cause to which he 
had devoted himself ; and when, in the vigor of his 
years, he fell (1813) at his post, tears of unaffected 
grief from hundreds of mourning friends attested their 
deep sense of the loss which they had experienced. 

His eight years' ministry at Alexandria was a period 
of peace and prosperity to the Church. Commanding 
the respect and confidence of the entire community, 
but especially the regard and attachment of his own 
flock, his resignation of his office was universally 
lamented, and the congregation felt it to be their duty 
earnestly to remonstrate against his removal. (Sept. 
10, 1788.) 

The successor of Mr. Keith, in the following year, 
was James Muir, whose ministry extended from 1789 
to 1820. 

The First Presbyterian Church of Georgetown (D.C.) 
dates from 1780. l In March of that year, Stephen 
Bloomer Balch entered upon this — at the time — most 
unpromising field. He had visited the place some 
months previous, on his journey with a view to mis- 
sionary labor in the Carolinas. The people invited 
him to remain, promising him to build him a church; 
but, though encouraging them to hope for a compliance 

1 Sprague, iii. 411. 

MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA, 1789-1800. 339 

at some future period, lie declined to abandon his pre- 
sent purpose. 

The congregation was small and feeble ; but in 1782, 
a few individuals interested in sustaining divine insti- 
tutions joined in building a very plain house for public 
worship. Seven persons, including the pastor, were 
all who joined in the first celebration of the Lord's 
Supper. But with the increase of population and the 
growth of the place the church steadily increased in 
strength, until it was found necessary first to enlarge 
the church edifice, and at length (1821) to erect one 
more spacious and commodious. 

The ministry of Dr. Balch at Georgetown extended 
over a period of fifty-three years, and was highly suc- 
cessful. His personal qualities endeared him to the 
people of his charge. Uniformly cheerful, and some- 
times almost hilarious in his mirth, — even shaking the 
composure and ruffling the dignity of such a man as 
Dr. Ashbel Green,— he was not only a genial compa- 
nion, and a favorite among his congregation, but an 
earnest and animated speaker, and of unquestionable 
personal piety. In the pulpit he never employed notes; 
and yet his discourses were evidently the fruit of 
mature thought. His death occurred September 7, 
1833, and his successors were John C. Smith and B. T. 

Among other members of the Presbytery wei*e — John 
Slemons, a graduate of Princeton, a licentiate of Done- 
gal Presbytery in 1762, ordained in 1765 by Carlisle 
Presbytery, and soon after, probably, commencing his 
labors in Maryland, but resigning his charge previous 
to 1798 — George Lucky, a graduate of Princeton, or- 
dained by the New Brunswick Presbytery in 1785, 
and settled over the churches of Bethel and Centre — 
and James Hunt (ordained by New Brunswick Pres- 


bytery in 1761), at Bladensburg, Avhere hi.s death 
occurred in 1793. 

Shortly after the decease of the latter, Caleb Johnson 
was settled at Deer Creek, and Enoch Matson at Ber- 
muda. Previous to 1798, Samuel Martin succeeded 
Slemons at Slate Bidge, while Adam Freeman had 
under his charge the three feeble congregations of 
Seneca, Cabin John, and Difficult; and Samuel Knox — 
received in 1795 from the Belfast Presbytery, in Ire- 
land — was settled as pastor of the church at Frede- 
rick, which had been gathered there through the exer- 
tions of Mr. Balch soon after the settlement of the 
latter at Georgetown in 1780. 1 In 1799, William 
Maffit was pastor at Bladensburg, and John Bracken- 
ridg;e 2 had charge of a small congregation at "Washing-- 
ton : the former, however, soon relinquished his post, 
and the latter, with little prospect of encouragement 
in the field, soon withdrew (1800), although destined to 
return to it at a later period. 

At the time of the constituting of the General Assem- 
bly, the Presb} T terian Church in Virginia was repre- 
sented by the two Presbyteries of Lexington and 
Hanover, — the former with ten ministers and twenty- 
eight churches, seventeen of which were vacant, and 
the latter with seven ministers and twenty-one churches, 
of which eight were vacant. 

In Hanover Presbytery, Bichard Sanekey was at 
Buffalo Creek; John Todd 3 at Providence, Bird and 
Ford of Pamunky; "William Irvine at North Garden, 
Bich Cove, Mountain Plains, and Dee Ess; John Blair 
Smith at Cumberland and Briery; James Mitchell at 

1 Sprague, iii. 412. 

2 Maffit and Bracfcenridge were I otli licentiates of the Presbytery. 
See Annual Reports to Assembly, 1791-1800. 

« Died July 27, 1793. 

MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA, 1739-1800. " 3-il 

Peaks of Otter; and John D. Blair at Hanover and 
Henrico. The churches of Cuh Creek, Eock Fish, 
Concord, Hat Creek, Fauquier, Blue Stone, Lancaster, 
and Head of Smith's River were vacant. Within a 
few years the names of some of the most eminent 
ministers of the Church were to he found on the roll of 
this Presbytery, — Archibald Alexander, William Cal- 
hoon, James Turner, Drury Lacy, and James Bo- 
bin son. 

In a field where the name of Davies was a house- 
hold word, and through which Whitefield had passed 
and repassed on his preaching-tours, there were now to 
be found men who, almost sinking under their accu- 
mulated tasks, labored nobly to stay the tide of irre- 
ligion which was sweeping over the land, and to which 
Virginia in an especial manner was exposed. The 
Episcopal Church was, as a body, in a most lamentable 
condition. She had not yet begun to feel that new 
impulse which, through the influence of Wilberforce, 
Newton, Scott, and others in England, and the labors 
of Bishops Madison and White in this country, was 
ere long to open before her brighter prospects. 1 The 
effects of the war, the spread of French politics and spe- 
culation, and the extensive apostasy of many from the 
zeal and devotion of the period preceding the war, de- 
manded special effort on the part of the few Presbyte- 
rian ministers of Virginia. They were surrounded on 
every side . by a missionary field. The churches were 
few and feeble, and the lot of the pastors was one of 
no little self-denial. 

Glancing over the roll of the Presbytery, we find 
names well worthy of honorable mention : — Sanekey,* 
now an old man, — the patriarch of the Synod of which 
he was the first moderator, but still discharging his 

1 Meade's Churches of Virginia. 2 Webster, 457. 


342 • HISTORY or tresbyterianism. 

duties to the Buffalo congregation, who nearly thirty 
years before bad fled from savage incursions to their 
present location, and who still clung to the pastor who 
had shared their lot; Matthew Lyle, 1 his successor at 
Buffalo, which he supplied in connection with Briery, — 
a man of sound judgment and sterling integrity, of uni- 
form temper and devotion, honest, sincere, faithful, 
and in the pulpit discarding notes, but clear, forcible, 
and effective both in thought and utterance; John 
Durborrow Blair, 2 a son of John Blair of Fagg's Manor, 
subsequently principal of Washington Hall Acadenry, 
and in 1785 a licentiate of Hanover Presbytery, — a 
man who was esteemed by those who had listened to 
the eloquence of Davies fit to be his successor, and 
whose elegance of speech and manners was in keeping 
with his refined and exquisite taste; John Blair Smith,' 
who as yet had given but the earnest of that eloquence 
which was to thrill crowded assemblies, and whose 
intense earnestness and glowing piety seemed to lend 
a more than human energy and endurance to his en- 
feebled frame; and James Mitchel, whose ministry at 
the Peaks of Otter extended from 1786 to 1841, and 
whose force, animation, and startling earnestness in 
the pulpit fixed his words like arrows in the heart 
and conscience of the hearer. 

Besides these, but at this time without charge, was 
another member of the Presbytery, whose fame will en- 
dure while literature cherishes the name of the author 
of the " British Spy." It may be that William Wirt 
allowed himself something of a poetic license in his de 
scription of the eloquence of the " old blind preacher;' 
but James Waddel was no ordinary man. Tall, slender 
and erect in person, graceful and dignified in de 
meanor, with a long face, high forehead, Grecian nose 

» Sprague, iii. 629. 2 Ibid. iii. 469. » Ibid. 397. 

MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA, 1789-1800. 843 

blue eyes, and small mouth and chin,i his appearance 
was at once conciliating and commanding. His mind, 
richly stored and well disciplined, was at the same 
time well balanced ; and, though he had never enjoyed 
the advantages of a collegiate education, yet at Dr. 
Pinley's school at Nottingham, first as a pupil, then 
as an assistant teacher, and at length as an assistant 
in Eobert Smith's school at Pequa, he diligently 
amassed those stores of learning which, whether by 
the fireside in familiar conversation, or in the pulpit, 
were so perfectly at command. On a journey to 
Charleston, he met Samuel Davies, then at Hanover, 
and through his influence was led to devote himself to 
the ministry. In April, 1761, he was licensed by the 
old Presbytery of Hanover; and such was the popu- 
lar appreciation of his zeal and ability that at the 
October meeting five calls were put into his hands. He 
declined them all, however, intending to return to Penn- 
sylvania. But representations of the spiritual destitu- 
tion of the county of Lancaster so affected him that 
he consented to accept an invitation to the pastorate 
of Lancaster and Northumberland congregations. 

Here he remained (1762-1776) for fourteen years, 
removing in 1778 to Augusta county and supplying 
for seven years the congregation of Tinkling Spring, 
and for the latter portion of the time that of Staunton. 
In 1785, he removed to Louisa, where he supplied 
several neighboring churches and engaged in the em- 
ployment of teaching, yet without a stated charge. 

It was here — at the little church about two miles 
from his residence, which he named Hopewell — that 
Wirt heard him. His sight was gone, and his limbs 
trembled from the effects of a stroke of palsy. But 
the cultivated taste of the statesman was captivated 

1 Sprague, iii. 239. 


by the sublime simplicity and thrilling utterance of 
the " old man eloquent." As the latter closed his de- 
scription of the crucifixion by the quotation from Bous- 
seau, — " Socrates died like a philosopher, but Jesus 
Christ, like a G-od !" — it seemed to Wirt the climax 
of eloquence. " Whatever," he says, " I may have been 
able to conceive of the sublimity of Massillon, or the 
force of Bourdaloue, had fallen short of the power 
which I felt from the delivery of this simple sentence." 
" I had never seen," he remarks, " in any other orator, 
such a union of simplicity and majesty. He has not a 
gesture, an attitude, or an accent to which he does not 
seem forced by the sentiment he is expressing. His 
mind is too serious, too earnest, too solicitous, and at 
the same time too dignified, to stoop to artifice." 

Under the eastern shadows of the Blue Bidge he had 
lived and died perhaps unknown to fame, but for the 
chance which brought William Wirt within the sound 
of his voice. And yet we have abundant testimony to 
confirm all the impressions that we gather from the 
report of the " British Spy." " I am satisfied," said 
William Calhoon, after having heard him on one occa- 
sion, " that I never witnessed such a torrent of elo- 
quence before or since." In the course of a trial in 
Presbytery, an intelligent elder present, who had heard 
some of Patrick Henry's most successful pleas in crimi- 
nal cases, but who now had the privilege of listening 
to Dr. Waddel, declared that this was the most perfect 
specimen of eloquence which he ever heard. Governor 
Barbour, of Virginia, — a pupil of Dr. Waddel, — shortly 
before his death, stated to a friend in Philadelphia that 
Dr. W. had spoiled him in regard to hearing other 

Yet the eloquence of Dr. Waddel was not spasmodic, 
nor the result of any excessive development of any 
particular intellectual gift. His well-stored mind 


seemed without an effort to pour forth its treasures, 
and in full and graceful volume they floAved along a 
channel rich with native beauty and adorned with 
finished culture. And yet more precious than the 
charm of words was the spell which his own intense 
yet subdued feeling cast over his audience. He spoke 
from the depths of conviction. His hearers were not 
left to criticize his logic, or to admire his elegance of 
speech. No ostentatious display was allowed to obscure 
his theme, or present him in his Master's stead. ]STor 
was the piety of the preacher confined to the pulpit. 
By the fireside, in the social circle, in affliction, on the 
sick and the dying bed, he was still the same intelli- 
gent, calm, trustful, hopeful servant of Him to whom 
he had consecrated his life. Till 1805 he was spared, 
occasionally to occupy the pulpit, and finally to crown 
a devoted life with the serene triumphs of a Christian 

The field of Lexington Presbytery, stretching from 
Northern Virginia near Winchester to the south- 
western portion of the State, and covering the entire 
region west of the Blue Ridge, had but six settled pas- 
tors in 1789. Far to the extreme south, at New Provi- 
dence, was John Brown, the patriarch of the Presby- 
tery. Thirty-five years before, Samuel Davies, who 
preached his ordination sermon (at Fagg's Manor), 
spoke of him as "a youth of piety, prudence, and zeal;" 
and now, after a thirty-years pastorate at Newark, Dr. 
McWhorter could recall the searching discourse which 
from the lips of the youthful preacher had arrested his 
attention and led him to the Saviour. Till 1776, Mr. 
Brown was settled at Timber Ridge and Providence, 
retaining the latter till 1797 ; l and it may afford some 

1 His successor in 1798 was Samuel Brown, a licentiate of the 


idea of the state of things among the seventeen vacant 
congregations of the Presbytery to know how tne 
signers of the call, addressed to him more than the life- 
time of a generation previous, had described their con- 

They spoke of themselves as having been "for many 
years past in very destitute circumstances for want of 
the ordinances of the gospel statedly among us, many 
of us under distressing spiritual languishments, and 
multitudes perishing in our sins for want of the bread 
of life broken among us; our Sabbaths wasted in 
melancholy silence at home, or sadly broken and pro- 
faned by the more thoughtless among us; our hearts 
and hands discouraged and our spirits broken with 
our mournful condition and repeated disappointments 
of relief in this particular." 1 

Lower down the Valley, in Augusta county, at Bethel 
and Brown's Church (Hebron), was Archibald Scott, a 
native of Scotland, a pupil of Finley, and a licentiate 
of Hanover Presbytery in 1777. Poor and friendless, 
without a relative on this continent, he had tasked his 
energies to secure an education, and, while he rested 
from his labors in the field, conned his Latin gram- 
mar, and familiarized the lesson while he followed the 
plough. 2 

Such diligence merited patronage, and received it. A 
worthy physician of Pennsylvania assisted to support 
him at Dr. Finley's school. While there, he was con- 
verted, and devoted himself to the work of the minis- 
try. Removing to the Shenandoah Yalley, he supported 
himself by teaching while he studied theology with 
Principal Graham, of Liberty Hall Academy. Licensed 
to preach, he had not far to go to find a settlement. 
For more than twenty years, and until his death, in 

» AVeVater, 656. 2 Sprague, iii. 387. ^ 


1799, Hebron and Bethel continued to be his pastoral 

The parish was, in fact, a missionary field. It com- 
prehended a district of country some twenty miles 
square. Yet, arduous as were the duties which the pas- 
toral care of it imposed, the ability of the people did 
not suffice to support the pastor, and a scant salary 
was eked out by labors on a farm. Yet, by great energy 
and tireless devotion and perseverance, Mr. Scott was 
enabled to discharge his appropriate duties as a minis- 
ter, without suffering himself to be diverted by secular 
interests. With the zeal of a patriot and the devotion 
and self-denial of an intelligent Christian pastor, he 
exerted himself to assist in laying deep the foundations 
of the Republic in religious truth, and prepare the 
rising generation to understand, appreciate, and pre- 
serve constitutional liberty. 

Augusta Church — the mother-church of Presby- 
terianism in the Valley — had for its pastor William 
Wilson, ordained and installed two or three years pre- 
vious, and destined to retain the pastorate for more 
than twenty years. At Mossy Creek and Cook's Creek 
(from 1780 until his death) was Benjamin Erwin, and 
at Winchester, with congregations at Opeckon and 
Cedar Creek, was John Montgomery ; while John 
McCue had charge of Companion and Good Hope con- 
gi-egations. At Shepherdstown, where the religious 
state of things seemed quite unpromising, Moses Hoge, 
commencing his labors in the autumn of 1787, soon 
gathered around him a large congregation, of which 
he retained the charge until called to the Presidency 
of Hampden-Sidney College in 1807. 

Besides these, the Presbytery had three members 
without pastoral charge, — Wilham Graham, James 
McConnell, and Edward Crawford. But perhaps there 
was not within its bounds a single individual who was 


accomplishing a more important work than "William 
Graham. He occupied in Lexington Presbytery a 
position not unlike that of S. S. Smith in Hanover. 

Previous to 1800, several other names had been added 
to the roll of the Presbytery, mostty from the list of its 
own licentiates. Samuel Houston was settled at Fall- 
ing Water and High Bridge, Benjamin Grigsby at 
Lewisburg and Concord, and Samuel Brown had suc- 
ceeded John Brown at New Providence. In 1799, 
John Glendy, subsequently the pastor of the Second 
Church of Baltimore, but who at this time had just 
escaped — a refugee — from his native land, (Ireland) com- 
menced his brief pastorate as the successor of Archi- 
bald Scott at Bethel and Brown's Church, including the 
congregation of Staunton. During the same year, 
George Addison Baxter succeeded, upon the death of 
William Graham, to the charge of Liberty Hall, while 
he ministered also to the congregations of New Mon- 
mouth and Lexington. Shortly after, Eobert Logan 
commenced his labors at Sinking Spring and Eoanoke. 

Perhaps in no portion of the Church, save on the 
frontiers west of the Alleghanies, had the progress of 
the Church been more cheering for the twelve years 
which followed the establishment of the General As- 
sembly than in the Valley of Virginia. The number 
of ministers had nearly doubled, and, instead of eleven, 
they had charge of twenty-eight congregations, while 
the vacancies had been reduced in number from seven- 
teen to fourteen. 1 This growth was largely in excess of 
the proportionate increase of the population of the 
State. The latter had advanced at the rate of less than 
twenty per cent., while that of the churches of the Val- 
ley had been from sixty to eighty per cent. 

In 1791, the Presbytery of Winchester was erected 

1 Assembly Minutes, 1802. 

MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA, 1789-1800. 349 

by a division of Lexington. It embraced those 
churches which lay at the northern extremity of the 
Valley, and in 1799 had under its care Shepherdstown, 
under the pastorate (1787) of Moses Hcge; Cedar 
Creek and Opeckon, the charge (1790) of Nash Le- 
grand; Charlestown and Hopewell (or Berkeley), under 
William Hill (1792); South River and Flint Run, under 
William Williamson; Frankfort, Romney, and Spring- 
field, for a short time under John Lyle; together with 
the vacant congregations of Concrete, Middletown, 
Back Creek, Lancaster, and Winchester, where William 
Hill in the following year commenced his pastorate of 
thirty-four years. 

Of the pastors of the Presbyterian Church in Vir- 
ginia in 1800, a large proportion had been educated at 
Hampden-Sidney College, and quite a number had 
been converted in the revivals of 1787-9. It is not too 
much to say that these revivals wrought an almost 
entire revolution in the prospects of the Church in this 
region. The names of Blythe, Hill, Allen, Reed, Cal- 
hoon, Lyle, Legrand, Alexander, and others are inti- 
mately associated with aggressive missionary effort, 
not only in Virginia but in the new fields at the West; 
and yet they belong to the class which at Hampden- 
Sidney or Liberty Hall were reached and brought 
into the ministry through the influence of the revival. 

It is a significant fact that the revival commenced 
in connection with the institutions which the Synod 
had established for the education of young men for the 
ministry. At an early period, this subject had claimed 
the attention of the friends of Christian learning 
attached to the Presbyterian Church in Virginia. 

Before the commencement of the Revolution, the 
Presbytery of Hanover had felt the importance of 
making suitable provision for an educated ministry. 
The College of William and Mary, at Williamsburg, 

Vol. I.— 30 


was under Episcopal control, as well as expensive in 
its charges, and was noted, moreover, for the preva- 
lence in connection with it of immoral and deistical 
influences. The University of Virginia — the pet pro- 
ject of the Sage of Monticello — was not yet in exist- 
ence, noi', had it been, would it have answered the 
wants of the Presbyterian Church of Virginia. Prince- 
ton was too remote to suit the convenience or wants 
of those whose limited means forbade them to take the 
distant and expensive journey. The obvious policy of 
the Presbytery was to have institutions more accessible, 
and, moreover, under their own care. Two academies 
were therefore established, — one in the Valley, and the 
other in Prince Edward county. The last grew into 
Hampd en-Sidney College, and the other was known by 
the no less significant title of Liberty Hall. 1 

The first President of Hampden-Sidney was Rev. 
Samuel Stanhope Smith, D.D., who, until his removal 
to Princeton in 1779, proved himself its able and effi- 
cient head. A better man could not have been selected 
for the post. He was the son of Rev. Dr. Robert Smith. 
of Pequa, under whom large numbers of young men 
already in the ministry had pursued their theological 
course. His mother was the sister of Samuel and John 
Blair, a woman of sterling piety and rare intellectual 
gifts. The son proved himself not unworthy of such a 
parentage. At a very early age his mind was seriously 
impressed, and at the same time richly stored with 
acquisitions worthy of more mature years. After com- 
pleting his course at Princeton with high distinction, 
he eno-asfed for a time in assisting his father in the con- 

1 For a history of this institution, known successively as Augusta 
Academy, Liberty Hall, and Washington College, see American 
Quarterly Register for November, 1837. The circumstances which 
led to Washington's donation are there stated. 

MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA, 1789-1800. 351 

duct of his school, but was soon recalled to Princeton 
to fill the office of a tutor in the college. After remain- 
ing- here for two years, he was licensed to preach (1773) 
by the Presbytery of New Castle. For the benefit of 
his health, which had suffered from too severe applica- 
tion, he declined at first any permanent charge, and 
went forth as a missionary to the western counties of 
Virginia. Here he received a hearty welcome, and 
soon became a universal favorite. It seemed to many 
that the mantle of Davis had fallen upon the young 
preacher, by whose eloquence they were scarcely less 

At this period the project for the academy or college 
was started. Smith was designated as the man to take 
successful charge of the difficult enterprise. The sub- 
scriptions were rapidly filled up. The anxiety to retain 
the services of such a man among them led the rich to 
give of their abundance and the poor of their poverty. 
The necessary buildings were erected, a charter was 
secured from the Legislature, and the new institution 
commenced operations under the most favorable aus- 
pices. Mr. Smith took upon him for several years the 
double and difficult task of principal of the seminary 
and pastor of the church. 

But a single seminary was deemed inadequate to the 
wants of so vast a region as that which extended on 
both sides of the Blue Ridge to the south and the south- 
west. In 1774, another was opened, under the patron- 
age of Hanover Presbytery, near the present site of 
Fairfield, in what is now Rockbridge county. It \»^s 
known at first as Augusta Academy, and was placed, 
by the recommendation of Dr. Smith, under the care of 
William Graham, assisted in his duties by John Mont- 

Griahani was the son of a Pennsylvania farmer, and 
from early years was inured to the hardships of fron- 


tier life. In his boyhood he had been posted to defend 
the family with his loaded musket, and had learned to 
face danger without a fear. Of a vigorous and sprightly 
turn of mind, he quickly outstripped his associates in 
study, although he was late in commencing his acade- 
mical course, and in 1773 was graduated at Princeton. 
In college he had come under the notice of Smith, and 
in the following year, at his recommendation, assumed 
the charge of the new academy. 

He proved himself worthy of the trust reposed in 
him. Funds were necessary for the new institution, 
and he did much in collecting them. He travelled to 
oSTew England to solicit benefactions ; but the period 
proved unfavorable for his efforts. The war intervened 
with its discouragements, and Mr. Graham was forced 
to remove the school to his own house. Yet the plan 
was not abandoned. Even in its then humble condition 
the institution was doing a good work. The late Dr. 
Archibald Alexander received his training here; and 
this fact alone would have made the institution famous 
if it had not had a subsequent history. At length a 
frame edifice was erected for its accommodation, and 
in 1782 it was incorporated by an act of Legislature 
under the name of Liberty Hall. At a still later period 
it was endowed by a large benefaction from President 
"Washing-ton, and thenceforward bore his name. The 
humble school first known as Augusta Academy had 
grown into the more imposing institution of Washing- 
ton College. 

At a critical moment, and not, perhaps, in the exer- 
cise of a wise discretion, Graham resigned his post in 
connection with the college. But his usefulness was 
by no means at an end. He turned his attention now 
to the subject of theological education, and had, for 
several successive years, a class of from seven to eight 
under his instruction. Some of these rose to high dis- 


tinction, and his school was, in fact, an " incipient theo- 
logical seminary." 

Between 1786 and 1788, both these colleges, which 
for a time seemed scarcely to give promise of fulfilling 
the hopes of their founders, were visited by a remark- 
able revival of religion. At Hampden-Sidney, then 
under the charge of Rev. John Blair Smith, who had 
succeeded his brother as President, religion was at a 
low ebb. At the time of Dr. Btythe's matriculation 
there was not another student in the college who made 
any serious profession. The celebrated Carey H. Allen 
was commended to him as one of the most sedate of his 
associates; but scarce had he formed his acquaintance 
before he was called to witness him in the act of bur- 
lesquing a Methodist preacher from the counter of a 
merchant's store. This initiatory specimen of college 
life augured badly for what was to follow; but, rebuked 
by the fearless avowal of Christian principle on the 
part of a classmate (William Hill) under serious im- 
pressions, he was recalled to the path of duty. And 
now there gathered round him a little band, nearly 
every one of them destined to subsequent and distin- 
guished usefulness in the service of the Church. Among 
these were Allen himself, and William Calhoon, pioneer 
missionaries, along with Blythe to Kentucky, Clement 
Reed and William Hill, whose names will not soon be 
forgotten even beyond the immediate scene of their 

Great opposition was manifested by the other students 
to the revival. The praying and singing of the little 
band produced almost a riot. The evil-disposed gathered 
with hideous uproar, mingled with oaths and ribaldry, 
to drown the voice of prayer. But, in spite of oppo- 
sition, the seriousness spread. Nearly half of the eighty 
students were brought under conviction. Prayer-meet- 
ings were held, marked with deep, silent, solemn feel- 



ing. President Smith himself seemed to preach with 
new life. Often the trunk of an old tree, fallen in the 
woods, served him for a pulpit, from which on repeated 
occasions he endeavored to deepen the impression that 
had already been made on the minds of those who at- 
tended him, or whom he overtook, in his walks. Two 
hundred and twenty-five persons were added to the 
churches to which he ministered, in the space of eigh- 
teen months; while the revival extended over Prince 
Edward, Cumberland, Charlotte, and Bedford counties 
to the Peaks of Otter. 1 

But the revival was fruitful in other than immediate 
results. Among the converted students, besides those 
already mentioned, were Nash Legrand, Drury Lacy, 
and William Williamson. The band of pious youth at 
this time gathered within the walls of Hampden-Sidney 
were destined to perform most important service in the 
cause of Christ. 

The news of what had taken place in the institution 
under the charge of President Smith reached Graham, 
at Augusta. He scarcely needed the importunities of 
his friend as an inducement to hasten to his assistance. 
He went, accompanied hy two of his students, Samuel 
Wilson and Archibald Alexander, to attend with Dr. 
Smith a three-days meeting at Briery Church, in Prince 
Edward county, a hundred miles distant. Their stay 
was protracted to a fortnight, and when they returned 
it was to communicate in the region of Augusta and 
the neighboring counties the spirit that had been al- 
ready kindled in their own bosoms. Its influence was 
felt through Rockbridge county. ISTash Legrand threw 
his soul, with all its ardor, into the work. A revival 
commenced in the VaHey, and extended as far as Au- 
gusta. Several of the young men who had been intend- 

1 Davidson's Kentucky, p. 43; Pres. Quar. Review, vol. ii. 42-49. 

THE CAROLINAS, 1789-1800. 855 

ing to study for the bar were converted, and turned 
their attention to the ministry. Mr. Graham willingly 
consented to superintend their theological studies. 

The result was that, under the patronage of the 
Synod of Virginia, a theological department was now 
added to Liberty Hall. In January, 1794, a building 
erected for the purpose was opened for the reception 
of students. It was the first theological school in con- 
nection with a college in America. But Mr. Graham's 
resignation, in 1796, gave it a serious, if not fatal, blow. 
The cause of theological education was reserved for 
future and more successful efforts. 


THE CAROLINAS, 1789-1800. 

When, in May, 1788, the Synod of New York and 
Philadelphia determined to constitute a General As- 
sembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, 
it was necessary, as a preliminary step, that some new 
Synods should first be set off; and of these the Synod 
of the Carolinas was one. The Presbyteries which 
united to form the Synod had all grown out of the old 
Orange Presbytery. They were now known as the 
Presbyteries of Orange, South Carolina, and Abingdon. 

The Orange Presbytery consisted of ten members, 
with about three times as many churches. The min- 
isters were Patillo, Caldwell, McCorkle, Hall, whose 
names are already familiar to us, and Eobert Archibald, 
James McEee, Jacob Lake, Daniel Thatcher, David 
Barr, and John Beck. In the Presbytery of South 
Carolina, besides Joseph Alexander and Thomas Eeese, 


already mentioned, there were James Edmonds, John 
Harris, John Simpson, Thomas H. McCaule, James 
Templeton, Francis Cummins, Robert Finley, Robert 
Hall, and Robert Mechlin. The Abington Presbytery 
consisted of Charles Cummings, Hezekiah Balch, John 
Cossan, Samnel Houston, Samuel Carrick, and James 
Balch. The ministers of the entire Synod numbered 

These occupied a territory in which, forty years pre- 
vious, there was to be found but a single Presbyterian 
minister. Quite a number of them had passed through 
the scenes of the Revolutionary conflict, and remained, 
as far as possible, faithful to their parochial duties. 
Amid civil discord and scenes of strife and battle, they 
had seen their congregations scattered, and the seeds 
of military vice and license spring up to a large har- 
vest. But a better day had now dawned. Peace had 
returned. The congregations were again gathered, 
and new churches were rapidly organized. The Pres- 
bytery had grown to a Synod. The few missionary 
stations had multiplied to more than a hundred, — some 
of them flourishing churches. A broad field to the 
South and West invited to yet more abundant labors, 
and among the ministers of the Synod there were not 
a few that were equal, as far as human strength will 
allow, to the demands of the emergency. 

The newly constituted Synod met at Centre Church, 
November 5, 1788. In the course of the two following 
years, the Presbytery of South Carolina had increased 
its number of members by the reception of Robert 
McCulloeh, William C. Davis, John Springer, and 
Samuel Houston. The names of David Kerr, from the 
Presbyteiy of Templepatrick in Ireland, and of William 
Moore, from Hanover, were added to the list of members 
of the Orange Presbytery. One of the first measures 
of the Synod was action on an overture for the publica- 

THE CAROLINAS, 17S9-1SO0. 357 

tion of Doddridge's "Rise and Progress of Religion' 
and his ten sermons on Regeneration. Its members 
felt the necessity of enlisting the press as an ally in 
their work. 

A policy more important in its results was initiated 
in 1791. At its meeting in October of this year, the 
Synod took up the subject of Domestic Missions, and 
resolved to send out four missionaries to act in the 
destitute regions each side of the Alleghanies. A com- 
mission of Synod, to act during its recess, was to give 
them their directions; and their annual support was 
fixed at two hundred dollars. The first missionaries 
appointed for the service were James Templeton and 
Robert Hall, of South Carolina Presbytery, and Robert 
Archibald and John Bowman, of the Presbytery of 
Orange. The two first were to labor, each for four 
months, in the lower parts of South Carolina and in 
Georgia; the two last for three months each, in the 
lower parts of North Carolina. The most important 
rule which was given them was, "not to tarry longer 
than three weeks at the same time in the bounds of 
twenty miles, except peculiar circumstances may ap- 
pear to make it necessary." 

In 1792, the Presb}~tery of Orange reported three 
new members added by ordination, William Hodge, 
James Wallis, and Samuel C. Caldwell. To the first of 
these, reference has been already made. Wallis was 
born at Sugar Creek, educated at Liberty Hall, and a 
student for a time under Dr. Barr, at Winnsborough, 
S.C. His life was spent in the service of the Provi- 
dence Church, and in the fierce contest with infidelity 
which prevailed around him soon after his ordination 
he bore a conspicuous part. Clear, strong, ardent, by 
some more dreaded than loved, he was unfaltering 
and unwearied in his course, and, while carrying his 
religious principles into his political creed, he asserted 


the unlimited eontrol of the word of God in all matters 
pertaining to conscience. Condensing the arguments 
of Watson, Paley, and Leslie into a small pamphlet, 
he sent them forth to stay the prevalent tide of error 
that was desolating the community. 

Samuel C. Caldwell was a native of Guilford, a grand- 
eon of Rev. Alexander Craighead, already mentioned 
as a pioneer in this field. At the early age of nine- 
teen, he was licensed by the Presbytery of Orange 
to preach the gospel, and in 1792 was ordained pastor 
of Sugar Creek and Hopewell Churches. A revival 
followed almost immediately upon his settlement, and 
more than seventy young converts were united with 
the Church on a single sacramental occasion. 

Modest, mild, and gentle in his whole demeanor, 
none could make a greater mistake than to suppose 
him pliant in principle. Clear in thought and utter- 
ance, plain and direct in speech, and never losing his 
self-command, he was a man to be respected as well as 
loved, and the kindness of his nature made his influence 
in behalf of the truth more decidedly felt. Not less 
effectively than Wallis did he act as the champion of 
revelation at a period when his namesake, Joseph 
(afterward President) Caldwell (1797), said, "Religion 
is so little in vogue, and in such a state of depression, 
that * * * every one believes that the first step he 
ought to take to rise into respectability is to disavow, 
as often and as publicly as he can, all regard for the 
leading doctrines of the Scriptures." 

In 1793, Rev. Humphrey Hunter and Robert M. 
Cunningham were reported from the Presbytery of 
South Carolina as new members, and Lewis Feuille- 
teau Wilson, James McGready, Joseph Kilpatrick, 
Alexander Caldwell, and Angus McDermiad from the 
Presbytery of Orange. Some of these men are worthy 
of special mention. 

THE CAROLINAS, 1789-1800. 359 

The most noted among them all, at an after-period, 
was the Eev. James McGready, who already for some 
years had been laboring within the bounds of Orange 
Presbytery. In the subsequent revival of 1800, in 
Kentucky, he was the leading spirit. He was of Scotch- 
Irish descent, a native of Pennsylvania. At an early 
age his father removed with his family to Guilford 
county, N.C., within the bounds of the Buffalo congre- 
gation. From his earliest years young McGready was 
remarkable for seclateness and conscientious regard to 
his religious duties. An uncle of his conceived the idea 
of securing him an education for the ministry. There 
was no doubt, in the mind either of uncle or nephew, 
of the piety of the latter. The young man, exemplary 
in all his deportment, at the age of seventeen united 
with the Church. At a somewhat later period, a 
remark which he overheard from the lips of another, in 
which a doubt of his piety was expressed, first exas- 
perated him, and then led him to serious self-examina- 
tion. The result was the abandonment of his old hope. 
He at length, after a self-exposure which taught him 
to lay open the hiding-places of the hypocrite and the 
self-deceived, found peace in Christ. 

His literary and theological course was pursued 
under the direction of Dr. McMillan, and he was licensed 
by Eedstone Presbytery. On his return to Carolina, 
in 1788, he passed through the scenes of revival which 
then prevailed in that region, making some stay on his 
way at Hampden-Sidney College. His own heart was 
kindled to new zeal, and he resumed his journey pre- 
pared to speak with a fervor and boldness that had 
rarely been equalled in that region or period. At the 
time when he entered upon his labors, the evils which 
had resulted from the war or had been fostered by its 
feuds and license had attained their height. Within 
the sacred enclosure of the Church a fearful conformity 


to the world prevailed. Dancing, horse-racing, intem- 
perance, and kindred mischief had become fashionable 
amusements; while they all found sufficient sanction in 
the popular infidelity which for some years past had 
been boldly advancing its claims. \ 

McGready was not a man to regard these things 
with complacency or in silence. 1 He set himself fear- 
lessly and promptly to stem the tide. His congrega- 
tions were those of Haw River and Stone Creek ; but 
his preaching was by no means limited to these. He 
visited the surrounding region, and left on many minds 
deep and abiding impressions. Solemn, earnest, direct, 
overwhelming in his appeals, and pungent in his deal- 
ing with the conscience, he was a man toward whom 
none could assume an attitude of indifference. They 
were either his warm friends or his bitter opponents. 
Whatever he said or did was with a practical object 
in view, to alarm the secure or convict the careless. 
Repeatedly were his visits to the neighboring congre- 
gations blessed. Revivals commenced in different 
places, and the tide of overflowing iniquity was ar- 

But the bold and almost defiant tone of McGready 
made him many enemies, and, after several years, he 
was constrained to remove to another field. That 
field proved to be one beyond the mountains, in Logan 
county, Kentucky. 

Another of the new members of Synod, to whom we 
have referred as joining it at this period, was Lewis 
Feuilleteau Wilson. He was born at St. Christopher's, 
in the West Indies, and was the son of a wealthy 
planter. He was sent to England to be educated, but at 
the age of seventeen migrated with his uncle to New 
Jersey, and soon after his arrival became a member 

1 Davidson's Kentucky, p. 132; Foote's North Carolina. 

THE CAROLINAS, 1789-1S00. 36l 

of Princeton College. While in college, a revival oc- 
curred, of which he was a subject, and his attention 
was directed to the ministry (1773). He at first pro- 
posed to take orders in the Established Church of 
England ; but, dissatisfied with its condition, he turned 
his thoughts to the medical profession. 

For some time he was settled as a practising physi- 
cian at Princeton, N.J. ; but through the influence 
of James Hall, of North Carolina, with whom he 
had become intimately acquainted during his college 
course, and to whom he was ever after sti*ongly at- 
tached, he was induced to remove to Iredell county, 
N.C., the scene of Mr. Hall's labors. Here his excellent 
qualifications for the ministry soon attracted atten- 
tion, and the good people around him became urgent 
that he should change his profession. His intimate 
and influential friend Mr. Hall seconded the sugges- 
tion. After due deliberation, he concluded to yield to 
the advice, and was licensed by the Presbj^tery of 
Orange in 1791. 

His pulpit-eiforts were received with marked appro- 
bation, and several congregations at the same time 
sought to secure his services. He ultimately accepted 
the call of Fourth Creek and Concord Churches, and 
was installed in 1793. In the remarkable revivals 
which followed throughout the region, ten years later, 
he bore a conspicuous part. 

Humphrey Hunter was a native of Ireland, but at 
an early age emigrated with his widowed mother to 
Mecklenburg county, IST.C. He had scarcely passed 
his boyl.ood when he listened with patriotic enthu- 
siasm to the proceedings of the Mecklenburg Conven- 
tion, and in the years that followed, of Eevolutionary 
strife, he bore an active part in the camp and on the 
field of battle. Some of the incidents of his career are 
of thrilling interest. He commenced his classical edu- 

Vol. I.— 31 


cation at " Clio's Nursery," in Rowan county, under 
the instructions of James Hall. Dr. McWhorter subse- 
quently became his teacher. In 1785, he entered as a 
student of Mount Zion College, at Winnsborough, in 
South Carolina, and in 1789 was licensed to preach by 
the Presbytery of that name. He first labored in con- 
nection with the congregations of Hopewell and Am- 
well, in South Carolina, subsequently at Unity and 
Goshen, in Lincoln county, and, finally, as pastor of 
Steel Creek Church. Earnest, though unassuming, 
and often eloquent, with a talent for refined sarcasm 
and a mind of much originality, he was loved by the 
good and feared by the evil, and in devotion to his 
work was surpassed by few of his contemporaries. 

The name of (Dr.) Robert M. Cunningham is more 
familiar to us in connection with the history of the 
Presbyterian Church of Kentucky, in which the 
strength of his manhood was spent. He was a native 
of Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Dickinson College 
(1789). In 1792, he was licensed by the South Carolina 
Presbytery, and in the autumn of that year went to 
Georgia and organized a church in that part of Green 
county now called Hancock, and ordained elders to a 
church called Ebenezer. In this neighborhood he set- 
tled, preaching a portion of the time at the church at 
Bethany, twenty miles distant. Here he labored faith- 
fully as one of the missionaries of the Synod. At the 
same time, James Hall and Samuel C. Caldwell were 
employed in North Carolina, John Bowman in North 
Carolina and Tennessee, and Robert McCulloch in 
South Carolina. 

In 1794, there appear on the list of the Synod's mem- 
bers some names worthy of especial notice. Besides 
those of William Williamson and Robert Wilson, we 
find those of Moses Waddel and John Brown. Moses 
Waddel was born on the banks of the South Yadkin, in 

THE CAROLINAS, 17S9-1800. 3G3 

1770. His mind was remarkably precocious. At the 
age of fourteen he was named by Dr. Hall as the fittest 
linguist educated at " Clio's Nursery" for a vacant tutor- 
ship in Camden Academy. For some years he taught 
in the neighborhood of Bethany, Ga., and afterward 
in South Carolina. He was graduated at Hampden- 
Sidney in 1791, and licensed by Hanover Presbytery 
in the following year. For the greater part of his 
life he was engaged in teaching; and under his instruc- 
tions some of the most eminent civilians and clergy- 
men of the South received their education. Among 
these may be mentioned John C. Calhoun, William H. 
Crawford, McDuffie, Legare, Pettigru, Butler, Long- 
street, Carey, &c. In 1819, 1 he was elevated to the 
post of President of the University of Georgia, which 
he continued to occupy for ten years. Few men, 
through their pupils, have wielded a more extensive in- 
fluence over the country. Yet, while mainly employed 
as a teacher, he did not withdraw from the pulpit. 
Almost to the close of his life there was scarcely 
a Sabbath when he was not engaged in the duties 
of the ministry. A severe student, a high-minded, 
honorable Christian man, unremitting in his devotion 
to the cause of learning and religion, the Presbyterian 
Church has abundant reason to honor his memory. 

John Brown was a native of Ireland, and while yet 
a child migrated with his father to Chester district, 
S.C. In the scenes of the Eevolutionary conflict he 
was an active participant, sharing with his countrymen 
generally their sympathies for his adopted country. 

He studied theology under Dr. McCorkle, near Salis- 
bury, N.C., and was licensed to preach in 1788. For 
ten years he labored in the pastorate of the Waxhaw 

1 He was pastor of the Presbyterian Church at Wilmington, S.C, 
from which he was called to the Presidency of Georgia University. 


church of South Carolina, and, while pojular in the 
pulpit, rose to high literary distinction. In 1809, he 
was elected to a professorship in the University of 
South Carolina, and two years subsequently he was 
chosen President of the University of Georgia. Many 
of the citizens of these and of the adjoining States 
will long remember him with gratitude. 

In 1795, the Synod was still further strengthened by 
the accession of new members. These were John 
Robinson, James Bowman, John M. Wilson, and John 
Carrigan, from the Presbytery of Orange, and Robert 
B. Walker, William Montgomery, and David Dunlap, 
from the Presbytery of South Carolina. 

Robinson was the father of the Presbyterian Church 
in Fayetteville. A native of Mecklenburg county, he 
pursued his studies at Winnsborough, S.C., and was 
licensed by the Presbytery of Orange in 1793. Bene- 
volent, humble, consistently and devotedly pious, he 
was firm in purpose, and possessed of an intrepidity 
that would quail before no danger. Striking anecdotes 
are told of his fearless courage. For more than forty 
years, as a missionary, as a teacher, and as pastor 
alternately at Fayetteville and Poplar Tent, his labors 
were abundant and largely blessed. 

John Makemie Wilson, like Robinson, was a native 
of Mecklenburg county, and but one year his junior. 
At the age of twenty-two he was graduated at 
Hampden-Sidney with the highest honors, and then 
commenced the study of theology under Dr. James 
Hall. In 1793, he was licensed by the Presbytery of 
Orange, and sent out on a missionary tour through the 
lower counties of the State. For several years he re- 
sided and labored in Burke county, until, in 1801, he 
accepted a call from the congregations of Rocky River 
and Philadelphia Many new churches had been gath- 

THE CAROLINAS, 1789-1S00. 365 

ered by his efforts, and those which before were weak 
had been strengthened. 

His labors as a teacher were popular and successful. 
In 1812 he opened a classical school, which he con- 
tinued twelve years. Fifteen young men from Eocky 
River congregation entered the ministry in about as 
many years, and twenty-five of his pupils became cler- 

The Presbytery of Orange bad now become so large 
and extended that a division of it seemed advisable. 
Accordingly, in 1795, the Presbytery of Concord was 
set off from it. Of this new body, McCorkle, Hall, 
McRee, Barr, S. C. Caldwell, Wallis, Kilpatrick, L. F. 
Wilson, A. Caldwell, J. M. Wilson, and Carrigan, were 
members. In the following year the Presbytery of 
South Carolina was also divided. The members living 
west of the Savannah River, John Newton, John 
Springer, Robert M. Cunningham, Moses Waddel, and 
William Montgomery, constituted the new Presbytery 
of Hopewell. The Presbytery of South Carolina re- 
ported, as new members, John Foster, George Gr. Mc- 
Whorter, John B. Kennedy, Samuel W. Yongue, and 
James G-illiland, the last of strong and decided anti- 
slavery sentiments, and on this account, a few years 
later, leaving for a Northern field. His name occurs 
again in connection with the history of the Presbyte- 
rian Church in Ohio. 1 

At its meeting in November, 1796, the Synod was 
largely engaged in the consideration of questions per- 
taining to slavery. While an order was passed enjoin- 
ing upon heads of families the religious instruction of 
slaves and teaching them to read the Bible, it was also 
decided to be inexpedient " to admit baptized slaves as 

1 Settled at. Red Oak, Ohio, a few miles from Ripley, and a mem- 
ber of that Presbytery during the last years of his life. 



"witnesses in ecclesiastical judicatories, where others 
cannot be had.'' The case of James Gilliland was also 
brought to the attention of Synod. The Presbytery 
of South Carolina, of which he was a member, had en- 
joined upon him to be silent in the pulpit on the sub- 
ject of the emancipation of slaves. This injunction he 
declared to be, in his apprehension, contrary to the 
counsel of God. The Synod took up bis memorial for 
deliberation, and endorsed the action of the Presbytery, 
advising him to be content with using his utmost efforts 
in private to open the way for emancipation. It was 
of opinion that " to preach publicly against slavery, in 
present circumstances, and to lay it down as the duty 
of every one to liberate those who are under their care, 
is that which would lead to disorder and open the way 
to great confusion." 

During the two following years the Synod was 
strengthened by the accession of several new mem- 
bers. George Newton and Samuel Davis had been 
ordained by the South Carolina Presbytery, and the 
erratic but eloquent William C. Davis had united witn 
that body. The Orange Presbytery had added to its 
list of members the names of William T. Thompson, 
William Paisley, John Gillespie, Samuel McAdow, and 
Eobert Tate. 

It was under Paisley, the successor of William Hodge 
in the pastorate of Hawfields, that the great revival of 
1802 commenced. For twenty years he was a success- 
ful laborer in this field. Tate occupied the sphere once 
filled by McAden, and under his ministry " Eockfish, 
Keith, and Hopewell sprang up, and ojjened the doors 
of the sanctuary to a large region of country." Black 
River congregation was long a sharer in his ministerial 

The Synod now (1800) embraced seven Presbyteries. 
In 1797, the Presbytery of Abington, west of the moun- 

THE CAROLINAS, 1780-1800. 367 

tains, had been divided, and the new Presbytery of 
Union formed. The last consisted of but four mem- 
bers. That of Orange numbered fourteen, with four 
licentiates and eight candidates; that of Concord, fif- 
teen ministers and one candidate. The Presbytery of 
South Carolina was most numerous, comprising eigh- 
teen ministers, three licentiates, and two candidates. 
In 1799, it was divided by the Synod, and out of it the 
First and Second Presbyteries of South Carolina were 
constituted. Broad Eiver was made the dividing line. 
West of the mountains, in East Tennessee, the new 
Presbytery of Greenville was erected in 1800. The 
ministers composing it were George Newton, Samuel 
Davis, Hezekiah Balch, and John Gossan. Thus the 
Synod had increased, in the course of fifteen years, 
from the three original Presbyteries constituted of the 
members of the Presbytery of Orange, till it numbered 
seven. From the field occupied a half-century before 
by a single Presbyterian missionary, the bounds of the 
Church had been extended till they included the whole 
or portions of several States. In 1788, the Synod num- 
bered twenty-eight ministers; in 1800, they had in- 
creased to nearly seventy, — considerably more than 
doubling in the course of thirteen years. 

During nearly this whole period the missionary work 
of the Synod had been prosecuted with a good degree 
of energy. One of its original Presbyteries was beyond 
the mountains in East Tennessee, and it had already 
extended its field of effort till two new Presbyteries 
were formed out of it. Throughout the destitute por- 
tions of North and South Carolina, in the northern 
part of Georgia, and in the Mississippi Valley, mission- 
aries bearing the Synod's commission were to be found. 
The leading members of the body did not themselves 
shrink from the self-denying duty of itinerant labor. 
Their names are repeatedly found on the list of those 


appointed both to near and to distant fields. From 
1791 :: ^00, we find James Hall, S. C. Caldwell, John 
and James H. Bowman, Robert McCulloch, Robert Cun- 
ningham, John M. and Robert Wilson, John Robinson, 
and others, engaged in this arduous service. It was 
thus that the bounds of the Church were extended, and 
the reports of the missionaries reacted upon the Synod 
to encourage them to new effort. In some cases these 
annual reports were so extended as to cover sixteen 
folio pages. 


NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 

At the time of the organization of the first General 
Assembly, the Presbyterian congregations in the State 
of New York numbered less than forty: of these, 
eleven were on Long Island, in connection with the 
Presbytery of Suffolk ; nine were under the care of the 
Presbytery of Dutchess County; and nineteen under 
the care of the Presbytery of New York. Besides these ; 
Sampson Occum, a member of Suffolk Presbytery, had 
mission-stations among the Oneida Indians at New 
Stockbridge and Brotherton. 

Within the bounds of Suffolk Presbytery, the churches 
of Jamaica, Hempstead, and Smithtown were vacant. 
The first of these had been without a pastor since the 
dismission of Matthias Burnet (1785),' whose lack of 
patriotic zeal during the war had saved his church-edi- 
fice, but rendered him unacceptable to his parishioners. 
His successor, in 1789, was George Faitoute, whose min- 

1 Afterward settled at Norwalk, Conn. 

NEW YORK, 17S9-1S00. 369 

istry here covered more than a quarter of a century 
(1815). Smithtown and Hempstead had for m^nj ytars 
been supplied by Joshua Hart, but after his connection 
with them ceased they were long vacant, — Hempstead 
until the settlement of William P. Kuypers, June 5, 
1805. l It serves to show the disastrous influence of the 
war, that when, after its close, measures were taken 
to re-gather the Hempstead church, ten members only 
were present at the communion administered by Burnet 
of Jamaica. 2 

At East Hampton was Dr. Samuel Buell (1746-1798), 
succeeded by Lyman Beecher in 1799-1810; at Aqua- 
bogue and Mattituck (Southold), Benjamin Goldsmith 
(1764-1810);* at Huntington, Nathan Woodhull (1785- 
1789), succeeded by William Schenk (1793-1817); at 
Brookhaven (Setauket), Noah Wetmore (1786-1796), 
succeeded by Zechariah Green ; at South Haven (or 
Firplace), David Rose (1765-1799); at Southampton, 
Joshua Williams (1784-1789), succeeded by Herman 
Daggett (1792-1795) and David S. Bogart; at Bridge- 
hampton, Aaron Woolworth (1787-1821); and at West- 
hampton. Thomas Russell (1787-1789), succeeded by 
Herman Daggett (1797-1801). 

Previous to 1800, several other congregations had 
been taken under the care of the Presbytery. Joseph 
Hazard was installed at Southold, June 4, 1797 ; Daniel 
Hall at Sag Harbor, where a feeble church had long ex- 
isted, September 21, 1797; Luther Gleson, successor of 
Joshua Hart (1774-1787), at Smithtown and Islip, Sep- 
tember 21, 1797; Nathan Woodhull, who had been pre- 
viously settled at Huntington, at Newtown, which was 
soon after transferred from New York to Suffolk Pres- 
bytery, in 1790, and who labored here for twenty years. 

1 Prime's Long Island, p. 283. 2 Ibid. p. 262. 

3 At Mattituck his labors did not begin till 1777. 


Of these men, the most memorable, if not the most 
able, was Samuel Buell. A native of Coventry, Conn., 
a graduate of Yale College in 1741, a friend of Brainerd, 
Whitefield, Bellamy, and the elder Edwards, he held pre- 
eminent rank among the preachers and theologians of 
his day. In 1743, he was ordained an evangelist, and 
in 1746 he 'accepted a unanimous call to East Hamp- 
ton, where he remained as pastor for fifty-two years. 

The most striking characteristics of his preaching 
were solemnity and fervor. He had been some time in 
the ministry when he made this entry in his diary : — 
" The first time I ever preached to an assembly where 
tears of affection under the word were not to be seen." 
Yet, with the zeal of a revivalist, he had neither the 
rashness of Tennentnor the fanaticism of Davenport. 
His sermons were rich with scriptural instruction, 
and in their deliveiy his hearers were made to feel 
that every word he uttered came from his inmost 
soul. A rich blessing attended his labors. In the 
revival of 1764, ninety-nine were added to his church 
on a single occasion. Other marked seasons of re- 
freshing were enjoyed by his church, especially in 1785 
and 1791. To extreme old age, with natural force 
scarcely abated, he devoted himself untiringly to his 
work, regarding with Christian anxiety not only the 
spiritual welfare of his own congregation, but that of 
the neighboring churches. On the day that completed 
his eightieth year, he rode fourteen miles, preached, 
and returned home in the evening. His closing hours 
were marked by the triumphant experience of the. 
dying saint. 

Of medium stature and somewhat slender frame, he 
had yet great physical vigor and elasticity. His cheer- 
fulness, vivacity, inexhaustible fund of anecdote, 
sprightliness, wit, and gentlemanly manners made him 
a universal favorite. When the English forces occu- 

NEW YORK, 17S9-1S00. 371 

pied Long Island in the Revolutionary "War, they left 
him — though be never concealed his strong Whig sym- 
pathies — unmolested, or even cheerfully granted the 
favors he requested. Yet his wit was combined with 
boldness in the cause of truth. An English officer told 
him that he had commanded some of the farmers of 
his congregation to appear at Southampton, twelve 
miles distant, on the next day, which was the Sabbath, 
with their teams. " So I have understood," said the 
doctor; "but, as commander-in-chief on that day, I 
have countermanded your orders;" and in consequence 
the project was relinquished. On one occasion he was 
invited by the officers to join them on a deei*-hunt. 
He was tardy in making his appearance, and of one of 
them, evidently impatient, the doctor pleasantly asked, 
what portion of his majesty's troops he had the honor 
to command. " A legion of devils direct from hell," 
was the reply of the ill-humored officer. " Then I pre- 
sume, sir," returned the doctor, assuming an attitude 
of profound respect, " I have the honor of addressing 
Beelzebub, the prince of the devils." 1 

His influence over his people was almost unlimited. 
They regarded him with the utmost love, respect, and 
reverence. A young British officer, recently arrived in 
the neighborhood, rode to his door, and said, " I wish 
to see Mr. Buell." The doctor soon appeared. " Are 
you Mr. Buell 1" was the question. " My name is Buell, 
sir." " Then," said the officer, bowing with great re- 
spect, " I have seen the god of East Hampton." For 
many years Dr. Buell was the patriarch of the Presby- 
tery. His remarkable self-control, quick perception, 
clear judgment, unquestioned piety, and devout prayer- 
fulness gave him great influence. In his large, neat, 
white wig, with his dignified mien and serene aspect, 

1 Sprague, iii. 109; Prime's Long Island, 179. 


on which the lines of firmness, decision, and fearless, 
ness were distinctly traced, he looked — as he was — the 
saintly Puritan. Such was the man of whom President 
Stiles once remarked, " This man has done more good 
than any other man that has ever stood on this conti- 

Benjamin Goldsmith was a fit compeer of Dr. Buell. 
He was a man of sound mind and solid acquirements, 
plain and unostentatious in his manners, diffident of 
his powers, but of unfeigned piety. As a theologian 
he was well read. Edwards, Bellamy, and Hopkins 
were his favorite authors, and Henry's Commentary 
was his daily companion. His sermons were unusually 
well conceived, plain, scriptural, and instructive. In 
manner he was solemn and affectionate. His influence 
was that of a peacemaker, and his labors tended to 
promote the unity and edification of the body of 
Christ. 1 

Aaron "Woolworth, of Bridgehampton, was a son-in- 
law of Dr. Buell. A native of Longmeadow, Mass., a 
graduate of Yale College in 1784, and a licentiate of 
the Eastern Association of New London county, he 
commenced his lahors at Bridgehampton in 1787, while 
the church, subsequently Presbyterian, was yet Con- 
gregational. Of small stature, mild but prepossessing 
countenance, gentlemanly manners, sound judgment, 
deep and active piety, he was widely known as a 
"great, good, and useful man." 2 A more genial spirit 
was scarcely to be found. Erudite as a theologian, 
intellectual, discriminating, and argumentative as a 
preacher, though earnest in delivery and pungent and 
powerful in application, he was also eminent as a 
pastor, and by all classes was regarded with confi- 
dence, affection, and respect. Ever true to his own 

1 Prime's Long Island, 155. 2 Sprague, iii. 4G9. 

NEW YORK, 1789-1S00. 373 

maxim. — Suaviter in modo, fortiter in re, — his example 
enforced his precepts ; and the epitaph on his grave- 
stone, though written by the hand of friendship, and 
eulogistic in its praise, is said, by one whom we musi 
pronounce a competent witness, to contain " not a 
word of fulsome flattery or empty compliment." 1 

Nathan Woodhull, a native of Setauket, and a gra- 
duate of Yale College in 1775, commenced his labors at 
Huntington in 1785, and at Newtown in 1790. Of fine 
personal appearance, gentlemanly and winning man- 
ners, and great vivacity in conversation, he easily won 
and retained a popularity fully justified by his purity 
of character, fidelity in pastoral duty, and power in the 
pulpit. To the last he possessed the undivided confi- 
dence and affection of his people. 2 

Other members of the Presbytery are entitled to 
honorable mention. William Schenk, though not emi- 
nent as a preacher, yet dignified and excellent as a 
man and successful as a pastor f Herman Daggett, 
a native of Massachusetts, a firm Presbyterian, of 
sterling talent, scholarly attainments, spotless charac- 
ter, cheerful yet dignified, — a man who was " never 
known to laugh," and of whom one of his brethren said, 
" Brother Daggett is just a fit man to preach to minis- 
ters;" Zechariah Green, a soldier of the Revolution, 
and as such engaged in routing a company of British 
soldiers from the church in which he afterward preached 
for thirty-four years, 4 — a man of great natural vi- 
vacity, fearless, enterprising, of strong patriotic feel- 
ing and great public spirit; Daniel Hall, of Sag Harbor, 
converted from Universalism, and ever after a remark- 
ably affectionate preacher, a son of consolation rather 
than a Boanerges ; and David Eose, of Southaven, a 

i Prime, 201. 2 Riker's Newtown, 233. 

3 Prime, 255. * Prime, 225. 

Vol. I.— 32 


physician as well as a preacher, and stated clerk of 
the Presbytery. 

A noble band of men were these ; and their liberal 
spirit and superiority to prejudice are testified by the 
circumstance of their adhesion to the Presbyterian 
Church after it was proposed to frame a Constitution 
and establish a General Assembly. Surrounded by 
Congregational churches, several of their own number 
trained as Congregation alists, with strong New Eng- 
land attachments, they felt little sympathy for any 
policy which would introduce upon these shores an 
ecclesiasticism of a rigid Scotch tj T pe ; and in conse- 
quence of this, as well as in view of their compara- 
tively isolated condition, they respectfully asked, in 
1787, of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, a 
dissolution of their union with that body. The letter 
presenting the request was kindly answered, 1 and a 
committee of the Synod was appointed to meet and 
confer with the Presbytery. This committee consisted 
of Drs. Eodgers and McWhorter, and Messrs. Eoe, 
John Woodhull, and Davenport. The Presbytery were 
urged to reconsider their resolution and remain in 
union with the Synod. The subject was discussed 
" with the greatest freedom, candor, and amity," at a 
meeting of Presbytery held at Brookhaven, April 8, 
1788 ; and the result was, that, after a full conference 
and satisfactory explanations on both sides, the Pres- 
bytery agreed to withdraw their request. 2 

The growth of the churches, though not rapid, was 
steady and cheering. The war had inflicted upon 
them serious injury. The membership, exposed to the 
virulence of Tory feeling allied with the forces of the 
enemy, were largely driven from their homes; and 
some of the pastors were forced to flee for their lives 

i Minutes of Synod, 532. 2 Ibid. 544. 

NEW YORK, 17S9-1S0O. 375 

or to escape imprisonment. At Xewtown, public wor- 
ship was suspended ; a few young - Tories, by night, 
sawed off the steeple of the church, and the edifice, 
after having been used as a prison and guard-house, 
was demolished to make huts for the soldiers. 1 At 
Huntington, not only were the orchards cut down, the 
fences burned, and the scanty crops seized, but the 
whole town was given up to depredation. The seats 
in the church-edifice were torn up and the building 
converted into a military depot. 2 The bell was taken 
away, and so injured as to be thenceforth useless. 
The church-edifice at last was pulled down and the 
timber used for block-houses ; barracks were erected in 
the grave-yard, where graves were levelled and tomb- 
stones used for fireplaces and ovens. Long after, 
there Avere those who could testify to having seen 
loaves of bread drawn from these ovens, with the re- 
versed inscriptions of the tombstones of their friends 
on the lower crust. 3 At Islip, the church-edifice was 
torn down by the British soldiery, and its materials 
were carried away for military purposes. 4 Other con- 
gregations were less harshly dealt with, but many of 
them were reduced almost, if not quite, to the verge of 
extinction by the disastrous influence of the war. In 
several instances the membership had become so re- 
duced as almost to necessitate a reorganization. 

But with the return of peace the pastors resumed 
their labors. The Presbyteiy exerted itself to supply, 
or provide for, its feeble and vacant churches. A more 
hopeful aspect of spiritual prosperity cheered the 
hearts of laborers in this field. Here and there re- 
vivals were enjoyed, some of them characterized by 
great power, as at East Hampton in 1785, 1791, and 

1 Kilter's Newtown, 198. 2 Prime, 250. 

3 Prime, 251. * Ibid. 263. 


1800, at Briclgehampton in 1799, and at Huntington 
in 1800. The membership of the churches steadily 
increased. At the close of the war, few of them could 
number more than thirty members, and several fell 
short of this. Hempstead had but ten, Bridgehampton 
had but eleven, male members. Others were almost 
equally desolate. But before 1800, many of them had 
wellnigh recovered their former strength, and some of 
them had enlarged their borders. 

The Presbyterian Church in the city of New York 
felt with peculiar severity the disasters of the war. 
Its two pastors and a large portion of its members 
had been forced to flee for safety. The church-edifices 
had been put to military uses. The Brick Church had 
been converted into a prison, and as such had been 
given up to all kinds of abuse and all manner of filth. 1 
Of the Wall Street Church, the whole interior had 
been destroyed during the war, only the walls and 
roof, or rather the principal timbers of the roof, being 

On November 26, 1783, the day after the evacuation 
by the British troops, Dr. Eodgers returned to the city. 
The numbers of the church had been greatly reduced 
by death and by removals, and the pecuniary resources 
of most had been impaired, and of some exhausted. 
"With a considerable debt which had accumulated, and 
with both houses of worship in ruins, the prospect of 
the church was not encouraging. But in their house- 
less condition, and until their buildings could be re- 
paired, the vestry of Trinity Church kindly invited 
them to occupy alternately St. George's and St. Paul's 
Churches, and the energy of the pastor accomplished 
the rest. By personal solicitation he raised the means 
necessary for repairing the church-edifices, and in the 

i Life of Ethan Allen. 

NEW YORK, 1789-1S00. 377 

course of six months the Brick Church, which had 
been least damaged, was ready for occupancy. But so 
urgent was the demand for pews that it was felt im- 
perative to expedite the repair of the building in Wall 
Street. At a cost of some ten thousand dollars, both 
structures were so far restored as to admit of occu- 
pancy; and, to secure a supply for both pulpits, James 
"Wilson was called in 1785 — after the dismission of Mr. 
Treat — as collegiate pastor with Br. Bodgers. 

In 1789, John McKnight, of Marsh Creek, Ba., was 
called to supply the place of Mr. Wilson, whose failing 
health forced him to seek another climate. In 1796, it 
became evident that another church was needed to ac- 
commodate the increased Bresbyterian population of the 
city, and the Rutgers Street Church was established. 
The new building was completed in May, 1798, and a call 
was extended to Bhilip Milledoler, of the Third Bresby- 
terian Church of Bhiladelphia, which he was induced 
to accept, to take charge of the congregation. The 
three churches, however, continued united until 1809. 

Under the harmonious labors of the three collegiate 
pastors, the churches continued to prosper. The vene- 
rable character, sound judgment, eminent ability, and 
devoted piety of Dr. Bodgers commanded the respect 
not only of the members of his congregation, but of the 
whole community. Liberal in sentiment, prompt to 
respond to the calls of humanity and benevolence, emi- 
nently disinterested, animated and fervent in his pulpit 
ministrations, indefatigable as a pastor, and judicious 
in all his measures, his standing was such that in all 
his relations, whether to his own congregation, to the 
state, or to the Church at large, he exerted a powerful 
and beneficent influence. As the second moderator 
of the General Assembly, the voice of his co-presbyters 
ranked him next to the venerable Witherspoon; and a 
more sagacious and reliable counsellor in the emer- 



gency of the Church, when called to revise and adopt 
her permanent Constitution, was not to he found. 

Dr. Milledoler was a faithful preacher and a highly 
successful pastor. His labors with Eutgers Street 
closed in 1813. 

Dr. McKnight had been laboring in the ministry, in 
Virginia and Pennsylvania, for about fourteen years, 
when he was called to New York. His ministry here 
continued for twenty years, and was characterized by 
an earnest and faithful discharge of his duties as 
preacher and pastor. With much simplicity of charac- 
ter, he was graceful and dignified in manner, free and 
affable in social intercourse, and pleasant and instruct- 
ive in conversation. Although by no means a pulpit 
orator, he was a lucid and logical writer and a pleasant 

North of New York City, quite a number of 
churches, mostly in Westchester county, which had 
been hitherto connected with the Sjmod, declined to 
retain their connection with the Assembly ; and the 
result was the formation of an Associated Presbytery, 
which, except that it was based upon the same princi- 
ples with the Morris County Presbytery and stood in 
intimate relation with it, occupied an attitude of inde- 
pendence. More than a quarter of a century elapsed 
before they returned to their former connection. One 
principle which seems to have characterized their ec- 
clesiastical platform was the un scriptural character of 
appeals in Church courts. 1 

The Presbytery of Dutchess County had, in 1789, 
six members and nine churches. Solomon Mead was 
at Lower Salem, where his pastorate commenced in 
1752 and continued for nearly half a century ; Wheeler 
Case was at Charlotte Precinct, better known as Plea- 

1 Minutes of Assembly, 1789. 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 379 

sant Valley, and served also for some time as supply 
for Poughkeepsie ; Ichabod Lewis, for a time col- 
league, and at length (1769) successor, of John Smith 
at "White Plains and Singsing," 1 was at Philippi; 
Samuel Mills, who, like Lewis, was a licentiate of the 
Presbyteiy, was at Fredei'icksburg ; John Davenport 
was at Bedford ; while Pound Eidge, White Plains, 
West Fredericksburg, and Providence were vacant, 
and Blackleach Burritt was without charge. 

In 1795, Hudson Presbytery was erected, and em- 
braced under its care most of the churches of Dutchess 
County Presbytery, and those of New York Presbytery 
lying on the west side of the Hudson. From this 
date the churches of Fredericksburg, West Fredericks- 
burg, and Providence, previously under the care of 
Dutchess County Presbytery, disappear from the rolls 
This Presbytery had never greatly enlarged its original 
strength or bounds. Albany and Cherry Yalley had 
been transferred to the Presbytery of New York. 
Samuel Sackett, of Hanover, afterwards of Crumpond, 
in 1768, declined their jurisdiction; and, though he is 
said to have sought a readmission, his name no longer 
appears on the list of the Presbytery. William Han- 
na (of Albany), of whom Bellamy from the first had 
an unfavorable opinion, and who was one of the early 
members of the Presbytery, was suspended from the 
ministry in the same year that Sackett withdrew. 2 
The vacancies made by deaths or removals were barely 
made good by their own licentiates. 

The members of New York Presbytery who were 
transferred to constitute the new Presbytery of Hud- 
son were Nathan Ker, pastor at Goshen (1763-1804) ; 
John Close, who labored at New Windsor and New- 
burgh or vicinity (1773-1796); Jonathan Freeman, at 

i Webster, 653. * Minutes of Synod, 378. 


Hopewell (1794-1797), and at Newburgh (1797-1805) ; 
Andrew King, at Wallkill (1777-1815) ; John Minor, at 
Union; 1 and Methuselah Baldwin, at Pleasant Valley.* 

The congregation of Florida, long under the pastoral 
care of Amzi Lewis, and connected with the Morris 
County (Independent) Associated Presbytery, came 
under the care of Hudson Presbytery after his removal 
to North Salem (1787) f and on June 13, 1797, John 
Joline was installed its pastor, 4 in connection with 
Warwick. In the following year, Josiah Henderson 
succeeded to the vacancy occasioned by the resigna- 
tion of Davenport at Bedford some time previous. 5 
Meanwhile, Methuselah Baldwin had been dismissed 
from Pleasant Valley, and shortly after commenced 
his protracted pastorate at Scotchtown. In the re- 
port to the Assembly for 1799, the churches of Plea- 
sant Yalley, Franklin, Newburgh, New Windsor, Beth- 
lehem, Fishkill, and Pound Ridge are mentioned as 

The growth of the Church on the line of the Hud- 
son was far from rapid. The attractions of the West 
drew away the strength of its natural increase to other 
fields. The labors of the pastors were largely mis- 
sionary, and their own churches were for the most 
part feeble. Yet some of the most faithful pastors of 
the Church, although not specially distinguished as 
preachers, were to be found in this region : — Ker at 
Goshen, — a Whig of the Revolution, a volunteer chap- 

1 Somewhat, uncertain. 

2 The Presbytei - y of Dutchess, "n 1794 reduced to four ministers, 
report to the Synod the death of a member, April 8, 1793. The 
name is not given ; but it was probably Mr. Wheeler Case ; and 
Mr. Baldwin was his successor. Mr. Davenport, of Bedford, how- 
ever, died at about the same time. 

3 Sprague, ii. 155. 4 Minutes of Assembly, 1798. 
5 Bolton, i. 22. 

NEW YORK, 17S9-1S00. 381 

lain in the army, a man of well-balanced and culti- 
vated mind, enlarged and liberal views, earnest piety, 
and extensive influence ; Freeman at Hopewell and 
Deer Park, afterward of Bridgeton, N.J., a large con- 
tributor to several religious periodicals, a respectable 
scholar, a faithful pastor, and an acceptable preacher, 
possessed of a good share of mental vigor; King, of 
Wallkill, not specially learned or eloquent, but known 
in the Presbytery as " the peacemaker," and eminently 
successful in the work of the ministry; Mead, of Salem, 
the patriarch of the body, on whose gravestone might 
well be written, " Blest is the memory of the just ;" 
and, well worthy to rank with them, the devoted and 
liberal Lewis and the venerable Davenport. 

Some portions of the field embraced by the original 
Albany Presbytery had long been settled when the 
Presbytery was erected. Albany, Schenectady, Johns- 
town, Cherry Valley, and a few other places, had an 
ante-Revolutionary history. Albany, as a trading-post 
for the Dutch, dates from 1623, and was known suc- 
cessively as Beaverwyk and "Wilhelmstadt until 1684, 
when it received its present name. Schenectady was 
settled in about 1661, x and in 1690, when it was sacked 
by the French and Indians, had a church and sixty- 
three houses. 

The Dutch were the first occupants of the region. 
Even after the colony had passed under English juris- 
diction, three thousand Palatines are said to have 
migrated to this country in a body, some of them set- 
tling in Schoharie county and parts adjacent. 2 Queen 
Anne (1702) offered lands to those Germans who were 
willing to settle on the frontiers; and large numbers 
yielded to the inducements thus held out. But soon 
afterward emigration began from Scotland, and, though 

1 New York Gazetteer. 2 History of Schoharie County. 


checked by the troubles of the French and Revolu- 
tionary Wars, ret the names of many of the settle- 
ments north of Albany indicate the source from which 
the predominant part of the population was drawn. 
Among these Ave find Galway, Xew Scotland, and 
Breadalbane, as well as those which were derived from 
the names of the leading settlers. 

The patent which included the town of Cherry 
Yalley was granted in 173S. The name of the place, 
from the principal patentee and first settler, was 
Lindesay's Bush. In 1740, Samuel Dunlop accepted 
an invitation from the proprietor to procure a body 
of colonists, of whom he was to take the pastoral 
charge. A large portion of these, through his influ- 
ence, were induced to emigrate from Londonderry, 
aSew Hampshire, whither they had first removed from 
the north of Ireland and Scotland. 1 Here, on the bor- 
ders of civilization, and constantly exposed to Indian 
invasion, the pastor and his flock retained their mutual 
relations uninterrupted for more than thirty-five years. 
In 1763, the church was taken under the care of the 
newly-erected Presbytery of Dutchess County, of which 
]VIr. Dunlop became a member. Its relations were sub- 
sequently transferred to the Presbytery of Xew York. 

The quiet history of this little church was at length 
interrupted by one of the most fearful tragedies of In- 
dian warfare. On Xovember 11, 1778, the place was 
attacked by the barbarous foe, thirty or forty persons 
were murdered, others were retained as hostages or 
prisoners, and the houses of the settlement were burned. 
With the close of the war, the scattered inhabitants who 
survived returned to the scene of desolation. Their 
aged pastor was no more. The fate of his family in- 
volved his own. But, true to their early vows, they 

1 History of Londonderry, p. 195. 

NEW YORK, 1780-1800. 383 

again gathered for the ordinances of worship, and in- 
vited, in their feebleness, the compassion of the mis- 
sionaries sent out by the Synod. 1 In 1788, they applied 
for supplies to Xew York Presbytery. 

Johnstown, deriving its name from Sir William John- 
son, was included, together with Kingsborough, in the 
original Kingsborough patent, granted June, 1753. In 
1761, Sir William removed to the mansion still known 
as Johnson Hall, yet standing near the village. 2 The 
tenants upon his lands were numerous, and were 
strongly attached to him. For their accommodation 
he erected a church-edifice (1763), in place of which a 
larger one was built in 1767, in which he allowed min- 
isters of all denominations to officiate. The Episcopa- 
lian and the Presbyterian met here upon equal terms, 
and the policy of the proprietor was simply to gratify 
the tastes or prejudices of his tenants. The approach 
of the Revolutionary conflict forced upon Sir William 
the alternative of loyalty to his native or his adopted 
country; but, while he hesitated in trembling anxiety, 
death relieved him of the stern necessity of a decision 
in either case critical to his fame and fortune. His 
heir sided with the mother-country; his estates were 
confiscated, and at the close of the war the State Legis- 
lature granted the church-edifice to the Presbyterians, 
reserving, however, to the Lutherans and Episcopalians 
their proportionate right to its use in case they applied 
for it. They were, from an estimate of their numbers, 
found to be entitled to it but for eight Sabbaths in the 
year, — four Sabbaths to each denomination : so that the 
congregation was virtually Presbyterian. 3 

The first minister whose services were secured after 

1 Campbell's Tryon County. 2 New York Gazetteer. 

3 Dr. Hosack's sketch of the church, on the files of the old Al- 
Dany Presbyery. 


the building was thus placed in their possession was 
James Thompson, a member of the Presbytery of New 
York. His course, however, was far from exemplary, 
and when he left, in 1787, quite a number of charges 
affecting his character were brought against him. At 
the request of the church, addressed to the Presbytery 
of New York, asking for a supply, Simon Hosack was 
sent them, and, October 8, 1790, he was dismissed from 
the New York to Albany Presbytery, and was settled 
at Johnstown, December 28. 

In other places within the bounds of the Presbytery 
the settlers were from various quarters, quite a large 
number from New England. In 1761, a patent for 
thirty-one thousand five hundred acres of land, includ- 
ing the site of the town of Cambridge, was granted to 
sixty persons, most of them residents of Hebron, Conn. 
Of the six owners, one was Jacob Lansing, the founder 
of Lansingburg. 1 At an early period two congregations 
were formed, one Presbyterian (Associate, John Dun- 
lop, pastor) and the other Congregational. 2 A portion 
of the former coalescing with the latter constituted a 
Presbyterian church, which placed itself under the care 
of the Albany Presbytery. In 1793, Gershom Williams, 
who had performed much missionary service in this 
region, and had repeatedly supplied them, was called 
as their pastor. 

Salem was settled in 1761-6, by a mixed population, — 
some from New England, but a larger portion from the 
north of Ireland. In 1764, a patent was obtained for 
twenty-five thousand acres, — one-half owned by a com- 
pany from New England, mainly from Pelham, Mass., 
and within the bounds of the Boston Presbytery; the 
other half, originally owned by two Government officials, 
was sold by them to a company of Irish and Scotch 

1 New York Gazetteer. * Files of Albany Presbytery. 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 385 

immigrants, who brought with them their minister, 
Thomas Clark. 1 The rivalry between the two com- 
panies led to rapid improvements. One party wished 
to call the place White Creek, and the other New Perth. 
The foreign party, who belonged to the Seceders, were 
too exclusive to suit the tastes of the New England 
men f and the result was that the latter withdrew, and, 
in 1769, organized a church under the care of the Pres- 
bytery of New York. Three years later they com- 
menced the erection of a house of worship, which was 
completed in 1774-5. But during the war (1777-8) it 
was burned to the ground. In spite of this discourage- 
ment, another was erected before the close of the war, 
and the congregation anxiously sought to procure a 
pastor. In May, 1787, John Warford, of New Bruns- 
wick Presbytery, sent out as a missionary to this re- 
gion, agreed to supply them, and in July, 1789, he was 
installed as their pastor. 

Ballston was organized as a town in 1788. It de- 
rived its name from Eliphalet Ball, who, with a portion 
of what had long been his pastoral charge at Bedford, 
Westchester county, removed in that year to this place.' 
Its earliest minister was William Schenk, who had pre- 
viously been settled at Cape May. Galway was first 
settled by Scotch emigrants in 1774. Plattsburg was 
first recognized as a town in 1785, and the first sermon 
in the place was preached by Benjamin Yaughan in 
1787. Stillwater was formed in 1788. Waterford was 
settled by the Dutch at a somewhat earlier date. Ste- 
phentown was formed in 1784; Troy was constituted 
a town in 1791. Lansingburg, founded about 1770, had 
a Beformed Dutch church organized in 1784, and in 

1 New York Gazetteer. 2 Files of Albany Presbytery. 

3 He had been appointed a missionary to this region as early as 
1771. — Synod's Minutes. This was the case also with Mr. Schenk. 
Vol. I.— 33. 


1792 it was reorganized as Presbyterian, and called 
Jonas Coe as its pastor. 

In 1771, a Presbyterian congregation had already 
been gathered at Schenectady, and they were engaged 
in the erection of a church-edifice, for the completion 
of which they applied, through Alexander Miller, to 
the Synod 1 for assistance. Mr. Miller, a pupil of Rev. 
James Findley, a graduate of Princeton in 1764, and a 
student of theology under Dr. Bodgers, of New York, 
was licensed in 1767, and ordained in 1770, when he 
took the pastoral charge of the church. His ministry 
continued for about eleven years, when the perils of 
the war and the dispersion of his people led him to re- 
move. 2 For some years the church appears to have 
been without a pastor or stated supply, and was doubt- 
less greatly reduced in strength. Down to 1790, it was 
only able, in connection with Currie's Bush 3 and Rem- 
sen's Bush, to support a pastor, — John Young, whose 
stay in the field was a brief one, and who left in 1790-1, 
and was dismissed to Montreal Presbyteiy in 1793. 4 In 
1796, he was succeeded by Robert Smith, 5 a graduate, 
probably, of Princeton in 1781 ; but his laborious zeal 
enfeebled his health, and in 1801 he accepted a call to 
Savannah. His successors within a few years were 
William Clarkson (before 1803, who left before 1809), 
Alexander Monteith (before 1814, who left before 1819), 
and Walter Monteith (before 1825). 

In 1760, a very pressing application was made by 
English Presbyterians of Albany to the Synod for sup- 
plies, 6 and Hector Alison, recently dismissed from Draw- 
yers, Del., and Abraham Kettletas, already on the point 
of resigning his charge at Elizabethtown, were directed 
to visit and supply them. In 1763, at the conclusion 

1 Minutes, p. 419. 2 Christian Herald, vii. 97. 

3 Now Princetown. 4 Records of Albany Presbytei*y. 

6 Dwight's Travels, ii. 489. 6 Synod's Minutes. 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 887 

of the PrencL War, a church was organized, and shortly 
after, William Hanna was installed its pastor by the 
Presbyteiy of Dutchess County. He was, however, 
unfit for the position, and occupied it only for two years. 
After quite an interval, during which they were visited, 
at the Synod's appointment, by Dr. Rodgers, of New 
York, Andrew Bay, "a broad Scotchman," but "a 
highly talented and eloquent preacher," was called to 
the pastorate. For nearly twenty years previous, he 
had been settled in Maryland, and, at the request of the 
Synod, in 1768 he spent six Sabbaths in the vicinity of 
Albany and among the Scotch settlements in Washing- 
ton and Montgomery counties. So acceptable were his 
services that he was called by the church at Albany, 
where he remained for five years, when he removed to 
Newtown, L.I. 1 

Previous to his settlement, a church-edifice had been 
erected; but a heavy debt had been incurred in its con- 
struction, and the congregation was in "a distressed 
condition." They applied to Sjmod for assistance 
(1763); but "sincere pity" was all the aid which the 
Synod could afford. In 1771, under Mr. Bay's ministry, 
they repeated their application. Prom their report of 
the case, it appeared that the edifice had cost nearly three 
thousand pounds, for more than two-thirds of which 
three persons only were responsible, one of whom had 
already paid out of his own pocket over one thousand 
pounds. The Synod "cheerfully and cordially" recom- 
mended them "to the assistance of all well-disposed 
Charitable persons within their bounds." The recom- 
mendation undoubtedly answered its purpose; for we 
hear of no further application for aid. 

The effect of the Revolutionary War, however, was to 
disorganize the church. For several years there was 

1 Riker's Newtown. 


no regular religious service or administration of ordi- 
nances. In 1785, the pastoral labors of John McDonald 
were secured, and in the following year the church was 
reorganized. 1 Four elders and two deacons were ap- 
pointed, and in 1787, when the first season of commu- 
nion was held, one hundred and sixteen members were 
admitted to the church. 

In 1796, a new church-edifice w r as erected. It was 
opened (Nov. 2) by a sermon from John Blair Smith, 
then President of Union College. In 1798, Eliphalet 
Nott was installed pastor. The sermon was by Dr. 
Smith; and several of the neighboring Dutch ministers 
joined in the imposition of hands. 

Up to the time of the erection of Albany Presbyterj^, 
the Synod made repeated and urgent efforts to extend 
to this field the benefit of missionary labor, and quite a 
number of the early pastors w r ere those who had gone 
forth as missionaries. This was the case, among others, 
with Schenk of Ballston, Warford of Salem, Condict of 
Stillwater, Williams of Cambridge, and Thompson of 
Hudson, the last of whom, with John Burton, had been 
received as a licentiate from Scotland, and with whom 
in 1787 he was sent into this field. 2 

The Presbytery of Albany was erected by the Synod 
of New York and New Jersey in 1790. Most of its 
churches were transferred to it from the Presbytery 
of New York. Of this number were Albany, Cherry 
Valley, Johnstown, New Scotland, Harpersfield, Balls- 
ton, East Ballston, Cambridge, Kingsbury, Schenectady, 
Currie's Bush, and Eemsen's Bush. In 1788, all but 
three of these were vacant. William Schenk was at 
Ballston, John Warford at Salem, and John McDonald 
at Albany. In the course of the following year, Samp- 
son Occum was received from Suffolk Presbytery, as 

1 Munsell's Albany. a Synod's Minutes for the year 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 389 

his mission among the Oneida Indians fell more properly 
within the bounds of Albany Presbytery, John Lindsley 
commenced his labors — although not installed — at Har- 
persfield, and John Young entered upon his ministry at 
Schenectady in conjunction with Currie's Bush. 

At Johnstown, Simon Hosack commenced his ex- 
tended pastorate December 8, 1790. At East Ballston, 
William B. Ripley began to preach in March, 1791, and 
was installed January 10, 1792, his ministry closing 
September 12, 1797. At Stillwater, which he had pre- 
viously visited as a missionary, and where he had or- 
ganized a church, Aaron Condict was settled, after the 
delay of a year, January 15, 1793. At Charlton, Samuel 
Sturges was installed June 26 of the same year. At 
Cambridge, Gershom Williams, who afterward removed 
to New Jersey, was settled June 25, 1794. At Hudson, 
where a church had been organized but a few years 
previous, John Thompson, who had been sent out by 
the Synod as a missionary, commenced his brief pas- 
torate July 23, 1794. At New Scotland, Benjamin Judd 
began his labors in September, 1795. At Plattsburg, 
the ministry of Frederick Halsey dates from February 
29, 1796. 

The establishment of the Presbytery was hailed with 
joy by the numerous feeble congregations in the pro- 
cess of formation within its bounds. It was flooded 
with applications for assistance. In September, 1791, 
Granville and Westfield asked for supplies. In Feb- 
ruary, 1793, the Congregational and Presbyterian con- 
gi*egations of Cambridge became united, and joined in 
a similar request, the result of which was the settlement 
of Mr. Williams. Stephentown, in a feeble condition 
likewise, made the same application. From Glen's Pur- 
chase, Royal Grant, and Spruce Creek a petition (Feb. 
1793) was presented, asking to be taken xmder the care 
of Presbytery and to be furnished with supplies. In 



1795, the Presbyterian congregation of "VVaterford was 
received, in spite of the earnest remonstrance of mem- 
bers of the Dutch Church, and Abraham Barfield, an 
English Dissenter, was allowed to labor with them as 
stated supply. In March, 1795, Cooperstown was re- 
ceived under the care of Presbytery. In the following 
year Schodack applied for supplies of preaching. Provi- 
dence likewise presented the same request. 

Meanwhile (1795), Thompson had been dismissed 
from Hudson, and the church was served by stated sup- 
plies for quite a period. McDonald of Albany (1795) 
had been deposed from the ministry, and Bogart, who 
had been called in his place, had declined, after a short 
period of service (1797). Young had left Schenectady 
(1791), and the church, supplied for a time by John 
Blair Smith, President of Union College, had called 
Robert Smith, of New Castle Presbytery. Judd had 
been dismissed from New Scotland (Sept. 1796), and 
Lindsley, who had left Harpersfield for Gal way, where 
he remained till September 13, 1796, had been called to 
Kingsborough, where he was installed in April, 1797. 
At the same time, Sturges was dismissed from Charlton, 
to be succeeded, two or three years later, by Joseph 
Sweetman. Eliphalet Nott, received (Aug. 1797) as a 
licentiate from the New London County Association, 
had declined (Aug. 1798) a call to Cherry Valley, and 
accepted one from Albany, where he was ordained 
October 3, 1798. At the same date, Galway and Bread- 
albane gave a call to William Scott, and on November 
13, 1798, John Arnold, from Carlisle Presbytery, was 
settled at New Scotland. In February, 1798, John 
Blair Smith was dismissed to accept the charge of the 
Third Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and Jona- 
than Edwards, his successor in the Presidency of Union 
College, was received in August, 1799. In February, 
1800, Joseph Sweetman was called at the same time to 

NEW YORK, 17S9-IS0O. 391 

Charlton and Ballston, the former of which he chose 
to accept (Sept. 17). At the same time Lindsley was 
dismissed from Kingsborough. In August, Aaron J. 
Booge was called to Stephentown, and was installed 
November 11. In November, Eobert Smith left Sche- 
nectady for his health, and his place was temporarily 
supplied by President Edwards. 

In 1800, the Presbytery consisted of thirteen mem- 
bers, ten of whom had charges, besides which they had 
under their care fourteen vacancies, eight of which were 
able to support a pastor. The report of the following 
year showed that four members had been added to the 
Presbytery, making its number eleven pastors, and six 
without charge. 

The early members of Albany Presbytery were 
largely from New York and New Brunswick Presby- 
teries, although some were from Scotland. To the 
latter class belonged McDonald, Thompson, and two or 
three others, none of whom were of any permanent 
value to the Presbytery. The sad fall of McDonald — 
deposed in 1795 — did not alienate from him. the sympa- 
thies of many of his countrymen, who long insisted on 
his restoration, and finally united to form another 
church, of which he became pastor. Of the other mem- 
bers of the Presbytery, there are several whose names 
are worthy of honor : — Coe, of Troy, a Christian gen- 
tleman, genial, judicious, and faithful as a man and 
devoted as a pastor; Hosack, whose long and success- 
ful ministry at Johnstown, where one of the strongest 
churches of the Presbytery was gathered, testifies to 
his fidelity and efficiency; Condict, of Stillwater, whose 
melancholy humors and dark forebodings could not hide 
his worth or repress his kindness and hospitality, and 
who was eminent for wisdom and humility; Schenk, 
of Ballston, not an orator, but a kind and faithful pastor, 
and who, like Warford, of Salem, had a heart enlisted 


in the cause of Christian philanthropy and missionary- 
enterprise; Ripley, of East Ballston, a man of cool 
judgment and good sense, and who deliberately pre- 
ferred his missionary task to more inviting fields; and 
to these we need only add the names of John Blair 
Smith, President Edwards, and Eliphalet Nott, to form 
a group worthy to hold their place as pioneers at the 
gateway of the young and growing West. 

Union College, at Schenectady, was established in 
1795. The plan of such an institution had been agi- 
tated as early as 1779. The inhabitants of the north- 
ern counties of the State were dissatisfied with the 
remote location, if not the management, of Columbia 
College, and demanded an institution of their own to 
meet their local wants. In the petition to the Assem- 
bly of 1779, Schenectady was designated as the site of 
the institution. 

A favorable report upon the petition was made to the 
Assembly, and the petitioners were allowed to bring in 
a bill to answer their design at the next session; but 
the emergencies of tbe war diverted attention from a 
project which could flourish only in the atmosphere of 
peace. Several years passed by, and the only progress 
which had been made in 1791 — when a petition for lib- 
erty to ask incorporation for a college was laid before 
the State Legislature — was the establishment of an 
academy on the site of the future college. The prayer 
of the petition was not granted, and it was not till four 
years later that a charter could be obtained. 

The institution derived its name from the union of 
different religious denominations in its establishment. 
The Presbyterians and the Reformed Dutch were most 
active in their co-operation. John Blair Smith, a son 
of Robert Smith, of Pequa, was chosen its first Presi- 
dent. For twelve years he had had charge of Hamp- 
dcn-Sidney College, in Virginia, and for four years had 

NEW YORK, 17S9-1S00. 393 

been pastor of the Pine Street Church in Philadelphia , 
He was a decided Presbyterian, but of a liberal spirit 
and well fitted for the post which he was now called to 
occupy. He presided over the infant institution for 
three years with great credit and success; and to his 
influence in this prominent position the future ecclesias- 
tical type of the new settlements in Western New York 
was largely due. 

Soon after his inauguration as President, in the sum- 
mer of 1795, a young clergyman, sent out by the Con- 
necticut Societ} T on a mission to the " Settlements," 
passed through Schenectady, and was invited by Presi- 
dent Smith to spend the night at his house. Inquiring 
of the young man his views, objects, and proposed 
theatre of action, he found that he had been trained in 
the Congregational Church, that his sympathies were 
with it, and that his opinions were in favor of its form 
of church government. Without discussing at large 
the question of denominational forms, President Smith 
directed the attention of his visitor to the fact that the 
orthodox churches of New England held "substantially 
the same faith as the Presbyterian," and, " this being 
the ease," he asked, " is it wise, is it Christian, to divide 
the sparse population holding the same faith, already 
scattered, and hereafter to be scattered, over this vast 
new territory, into two distinct ecclesiastical organiza- 
tions, and thus prevent each from enjoying those means 
of grace which both might much sooner enjoy but for 
such division ? Would it not be better for the entire 
Church that these two divisions should make mutual 
concessions, and thus effect a common organization on 
an accommodation plan, with a view to meet the con- 
dition of communities so situated 'r"' 1 

The arguments used by President Smith were deemed 

1 Sprague's Annals, iii. 403. 


conclusive by the young clergyman. They gave a new 
direction to his efforts, and led, through the influence 
of other Congregationalists whom he induced to co- 
operate, to the formation of numerous Presbyterian 
churches on the accommodation plan, and, finally, to 
the Plan of Union. 

This originated, therefore, with the ex-President of 
Hampd en-Sidney College, and was carried into effect 
largely through the influence of the young clergyman 
who had passed the night with him on his journey to 
his missionary field. That clergyman was Eliphalet 
]STott, who, through the influence of President Smith, 
was induced to accept the pastorate of the Presbyte- 
rian church of Albany in 1798, and in 1804 succeeded 1 
to the post which the latter had occupied as President 
of Union College. 

Thus, six years before the Connecticut General Asso- 
ciation endorsed the " Plan of Union/' it had been sub- 
stantially sketched out and adopted by two men, one 
an uncpiestioned Presbj^terian and the other a decided 
Congregationalist, each a fair representative of his own 
denomination ; and, when it was introduced to the at- 
tention of the General Assembly in 1801, it was on the 
motion of Dr. Edwards, the then President of Union 
College, who was chairman of the committee to which 
the subject was committed. 

And it was indeed time that some method should be 
devised for meeting an emergency that had never oc- 
curred before, of harmonizing the action and effort of 
two denominations differing only in their form of gov- 
ernment and occup3'ing the same field. The tide of 
emigration had begun already to set strongly toward 
the West. By the treaty of 1794 between the United 

1 Dr. Jonathan Edwards was the immediate successor of Dr. 
Smith, in 1799. Edwards died in 1801. 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800 895 

States and the Six Nations, the dangei* of depredations 
to settlers was removed, and a large and fertile region 
was opened to the surplus population of the Atlantic 
States. The Genesee Valley became an El Dorado to 
■fehe youthful enterprise of the East, and the fame of its 
wheat-fields was scarcely less exciting than, at a later 
period, the report of California gold. The want of roads 
was no sufficient check to this newly awakened energy 
of purpose, refusing any longer to be pent up within 
the bounds of the older States. The inhabitants of 
Albany regarded the tide of emigration which passed 
through their city — the principal avenue to the West- 
ern country — in the winter of 1795, as a strange phe- 
nomenon. The old Dutch citizens were not a little sur- 
prised and astonished to see the loaded sleighs and ox- 
sleds go by. Twelve hundred of the former, loaded with 
men, women, children, and furniture, passed through the 
city within three days, and on the 28th of February five 
hundred were counted, on their way, between sunrise 
and sunset. 1 

At this gateway of the West, the young man who 
had become a convert to the views of President Smith 
was stationed at this critical period. The Connecticut 
pastors on their missionary tours would not pass with- 
out stopping on their way to consult and advise with 
their pioneer brother, who had traversed the region 
before them, and whose large heart and sound judg- 
ment were ever at their service. With nothing of 
ecclesiastical bigotry or prejudice to blind their views, 
with hearts all aglow with sympathy for the desti- 
tution which they had witnessed, with deep anxiety for 
the religious welfare of a young empire springing up 
in the wilderness, it was only natural that they should 
feel themselves, and endeavor to impress on others, the 

1 Munsell's Annals of Albany. 


necessity of united effort to plant gospel institutions 
all over a broad waste, soon to be alive with men. The 
General Association of Connecticut, standing already 
on the serai-Presbyterian Saybrook platform, and with 
its leading members, like Dwight, Backus, and Strong, 
decidedly in favor of a nearer approximation to the 
Presbyterian system, felt that it was no recreancy to 
principle, and scarcely a compromise of feeling, to cheer 
on the efforts of Presbyterians in building up churches 
of their order in the new settlements. Hence, when 
the idea of a plan of union was once suggested to them, 
it not only met with no opposition, but was warmly 
favored. The Association readily accepted, therefore 
a plan, first suggested by a leading Presbyterian, then 
seconded by the experience of pastors and missionaries; 
and it was finally adopted, by both parties, without a 
dissenting voice. It is a noble monument of the liberal 
feeling both of the Congregationalists and the Presby- 
terians of that period ; and the Exscinding Assembly 
of 1837 paid it no unmerited tribute when they ad- 
mitted that it was " projected and brought into opera- 
tion by some of the wisest and best men the Presby- 
terian Church has ever known." 

In 1801, a committee was appointed by the General 
Association of Connecticut to confer with a committee 
to be appointed by the General Assembly on the plan 
of union to be adopted. The Committee of the Associ- 
ation consisted of the Eev. Messrs. John Smalley, Levi 
Hart, and Samuel Blatchford ; that of the Assembly, 
of the Eev. Drs. Edwards, McKnight, and Woodhull, 
and Eev. Messrs. Hutton and Blatchford, the last of 
whom, as delegate from the Association, was also a 
member of the Assembly. 

The result of their conference was the adoption of 
the Plan of Union, — a plan which for more than the 
lifetime of a generation secured the friendly and har- 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 397 

monious co-operation of two Christian denominations 
in a work whose magnitude and beneficence future cen- 
turies will record. 

The rapid settlement and growth of Central and West- 
ern New York is one of the irarvelsof the present cen- 
tury. Before the year 1784, 1 when Hugh White, the 
father of the New England settlements in that region, 
removed his family from Middletown and planted him- 
self in Whitesborough, there was not a single spot cul- 
tivated by civilized man between the German Flats and 
Lake Erie, except the solitary Stedman farm, near Ni- 
agara Falls; yet in 1810 this region contained 280,319 

At the commencement, therefore, of the present cen- 
tury, it began to attract the special attention both of the 
General Association of Connecticut and of the General 
Assembly. It was an opportune field for the exertions 
of the missionary societies that had been recently organ- 
ized in New York and New England, and had no unim- 
portant influence upon their formation. The Northern 
Missionary Society of New York, located in the neigh- 
borhood of Albany and embracing mainly the Dutch 
and Presbyterian churches in that region, was in the 
midst of a mission-field where all its energies were re- 
quired. But still beyond, the destitution was far more 
extreme and urgent. The Military Tract, embracing 
the counties of Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Cort- 
land, with portions of Tompkins, Oswego, and Wayne, 
was surveyed in 1789, and was now rapidly filling up 
with immigrants. 

The Indian title to the Phelps and Gorham Purchase 
(still farther west) was extinguished in 1788. Geneva, 
Pittsford, and Eichmond were settled before the close 
of 1790; yet in that year what was then the county of 

1 Dwight's Travels, iii. 530. 
Vol. I.— 34 


Ontario, including the whole Genesee country, con- 
tained only one thousand and eighty-one inhabitants. 
From this period, however, the growth of Western ISTew 
York was unprecedently rapid : immigrants came pour- 
ing into it from all quarters. Some were from Penn- 
sylvania, some from the Old World, but a very large 
proportion were from New England. By 1800, the popu- 
lation had increased to nearly sixty thousand, and in 
ten years more it had multiplied fourfold. 1 

The character of this immigration was one to excite 
alarm and apprehension. The first settlements were 
formed at the period when French infidelity had at- 
tained the largest influence which it ever possessed in 
this country. Even where pious families were to be 
found, they were as sheep without a shepherd, and 
were disheartened and discouraged by the prevalent 
irreligion around them. Some who had been members 
of churches in New England seemed to have left their 
religion behind them. In many places there was no 
one to be found to take measures for the establishment 
of public religious worship. "The habits of the people 
were loose and irreligious. The Sabbath was made a 
day of business, visiting, or pastime. Drinking and ca- 
rousing were frequent concomitants." In other places, 
however, there were those to be found who were still 
mindful of the professions or the privileges of earlier 
days, and who longed for the enjoyment of the means 
of grace. Gathering their neighbors around them, they 
would endeavor to observe in their little assemblies the 
forms of public worship, and seek to edify one another 
in prayer, exhortation, and the reading of the Scrip- 

For some years after the settlement of the country 
commenced, not a minister of the gospel, Presbyterian 

1 See Hotckkin's Ckurckes of Western New York. 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 399 

or Congregational, resided within its bounds. There 
was not even an organized church. Nearly all the mis- 
sionary labor that had been performed in the region 
had been performed by ministers appointed for short 
periods by the General Assembly. Yet, limited as the 
time of their efforts was — in their absence from their 
own charges — the reports of their labors and successes 
were pronounced by the Assembly of 1799 to be "favor- 
able," and to "afford rational ground to believe that 
the appropriations of the voluntary contributions of 
our Christian brethren for the benevolent purpose of 
extending the means of religious instruction in those 
parts of our country will prove satisfactory to them, 
and encourage them to further assistances in that 

Of the ministers sent out Irv the Assembly, Rev. Ira 
Condict organized a church in Palmyra in 1793; Rev. 
Benjamin Judd, one at Windsor, at nearly the same time ; 
and Rev. Daniel Thatcher, in 1795, the three churches 
of Elmira, Lima, and Geneseo. Almost at the same 
time, Congregational churches were organized by mis- 
sionaries from Connecticut, — one by Rev. Mr. Campbell 
at Sherburne, and another by Rev. Zadoc Hunn at East 
Bloomfield. Between 1796 and 1800, several other small 
churches had been organized. Rev. Reuben Parmele 
was installed at Victor in 1799; Rev. Timothy Field at 
Canandaigua in 1800; and Rev. Mr. Grover at Bristol 
in the same year. 

But in 1800 more vigorous measures were taken by the 
General Assembly for the visitation and supply of thi3 
whole region. In 1798, Rev. Mr. Logan had traversed 
the country, and preached with so much acceptance 
that the settlers urgently requested his return. The 
request was approved by the Assembly, and additional 
laborers were appointed for different periods in this in- 
viting field. 


These measures were adopted in accordance with the 
established mission-policy of the Church, but they were 
prosecuted with enlarged vigor in consequence of the 
intelligence from Western New York. A letter of the 
late Dr. Williston, of Durham, N.Y., then a young mis- 
sionary in the service of the Connecticut Missionary 
Society, was published in the New York "Missionary 
Magazine" early in 1800, and spread before the churches 
the cheering success of the previous year. That year, 
for a long period, was destined to be remembered through- 
out the region as the year of the Great Revival. One 
of the most prominent of the ministers who were con- 
nected with it was the late Jedediah Bushnell, of Corn- 
wall, Vt. Six years before, while engaged in his tan- 
ning-mill at Saybrook, Conn., a stranger stepped in to 
inquire of him the way. Having obtained his informa- 
tion, he lingered long enough to ask his informant 
whether he was in the " way" of salvation. A few se- 
rious words were dropped, which led to the conviction 
and conversion of Mr. Bushnell. He immediately gave 
up his business, entered Williams College, was gradu- 
ated in 1707, and in the following year was invited to 
Canandaigua to supply the pulpit of the infant church 
in that place. He went; but, not content with supply- 
ing his own people, he traversed the surrounding region 
as a missionary. Earnest, affectionate, discreet, and 
devoted entirely to his work, he won the affection and 
respect of all. A powerful revival commenced. Mr. 
Williston, who had completed his commission for the 
Military Tract, joined his friend Bushnell. On every 
side the work spread. Places could not be procured 
large enough to accommodate the crowds who pressed 
to hear the word. "It seemed as if there was scarcely 
anybody at home who could possibly get to meeting." 

Intelligence of this state of things was given in Wil- 
liston's letter. He wrote, moreover, " There is a great 

NEW YORK, 1789-1800. 401 

call for preachers in this county and in the other west- 
ern counties of this State. There are scarcely any 
settled ministers in all this extensive, nourishing, and 
growing country." Eev. Walter King, who performed 
a missionary tour in the counties of Chenango and 
Tioga (1798), wrote, "While I have heen a preacher, 
never did I enjoy a season, in so short a time, of so 
much Christian satisfaction or so high a probability of 
being really useful to the souls of men." In the winter 
of 1798 the work began. Through the spring and sum- 
mer following it was characterized by a " wonderful 
display of divine power and grace in the conversion of 
sinners." Throughout the region "individuals appeared 
awakened in most places." Several churches were soon 
organized, although the missionaries said, "We are 
afraid to establish churches while there are no shep- 
herds within call to feed and lead them." 

The revival commenced at Palmyra; it soon ex- 
tended to Bristol, Bloomfield, Canandaigua, Richmond, 
and Lima, and to other places in a less marked man- 
ner. Quite a number of churches were formed, and in 
1800 the Association of Ontario was organized, — at 
first on strictly Congregational principles, but three 
years later its Constitution was so revised and altered 
as to give it jurisdiction over the ministers and churches 
to such an extent as to exclude them from the connec- 
tion if found erroneous in doctrine or practice. 

Here was already, almost contemporaneous with the 
adoption of the Plan of Union, a voluntary approxi- 
mation by the Congregational body to Presbyterian 
principles. The circumstances in which ministers and 
churches in the new settlements found themselves, de- 
manded a stricter discipline than was necessary in the 
towns and parishes of ISTew England. There was thus 
on the part of Congregationalists themselves a dispo- 
sition not to fall back on any favorite form of govern- 



ment, but to select that which was best adapted to the 
emergencies of the case. 

At the close of the eighteenth century the institutions 
of the gospel had been extensively planted in Western 
New York; and it would be difficult to say Avhether the 
preponderating influence was on the side of Presby- 
terians or Congregationalists. It was a question which 
no one was disposed to raise, and the means of its solu- 
tion are not readily to be obtained. The strength of 
the two denominations west of the Hudson seems to 
have been nearly equal, in case the Presbyterian lean- 
ings of the bodies Congregational in name be not taken 
into account. Nearly or quite twent_y churches had 
been organized, although with scarcely an exception 
they were all in a feeble state. By 1793 the churches 
of Sherburne, Windsor, and Cazenovia had been gath- 
ered. In the course of the two or three years that fol- 
lowed, those of Auburn, East Palmyra, and Elmira were 
added to the list. Before or by 1800, the number was 
increased by those of Oxford, Bainbridge, Springport, 
Scipio First, Milan, Geneva, Ovid, Lisle, Naples, and 
probably some few others. 

The " History of the Presbyterian Church in the State of 
Kentucky " by the Rev. Robert Davidson, D. D., with its 
" preliminary sketch of the churches in the Valley of Vir- 
ginia," is a work to which I cheerfully acknowledge my 
great indebtedness for aid in the preparation of the chapter 
upon Kentucky. It has been carefully prepared from a 
great variety of sources, many of them original and some 
of them no longer accessible, and the author has faithfully 
cited his authorities. His biographical sketches are espe- 
cially valuable, and his accounts of the Great Revival and 
the origin of the Cumberland Presbyterians are of perma- 
nent interest. 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1S00. 403 

EAB.LT histobt of the presbytertan church in ken- 

TUCKT, 1775-1800. 

Some estimate may be formed of the urgent claims 
of the great mission-field west of the Alleghanies and 
south of the Ohio, from the fact that the aggregate 
population of Kentucky and Tennessee had increased 
from little more than one hundred thousand in 1790 to 
three hundred and twenty-five thousand in 1800. A 
constant stream of immigration was pouring into it 
from the older settlements, at the rate of something 
like an average of twenty thousand a year. This was 
during a period when New England had scarcely begun 
to colonize west of the Hudson, and when Central and 
Western New York were in process of being surveyed. 
The pioneers were bold and hardy men, ready to brave 
the hardships of the wilderness and contend with the 
beasts of the forest or the scarcely less merciless Indian 
tribes. Their lives were full of strange vicissitude 
and romantic incident. Constant hazard and peril 
seemed to become at length the necessary stimulant to 
healthful energy. 

Among such a people, the recluse scholar, with his 
logical, polished discourse read from the manuscript, 
was not needed. Erudition and refinement were not 
in demand. The hardy backwoodsman required a new 
type of preacher, — one who could shoulder axe or musket 
with his congregation, preach in shirt-sleeves, and take 
the stump for a pulpit. Men of this stamp could not 


be manufactured to order in colleges. They must of 
necessity be trained up on the field. 

They were for the most part thus trained, — many of 
them after their arrival in the region; but it was wise 
and necessary that they should not despise learning. 
A happy influence was exerted over them by the pioneer 
missionary who laid the foundations of the Presby- 
terian Church in this part of the country. Eev. David 
Rice, better known as " Father Rice," at the mature 
age of fifty, crossed the mountains and found a home 
in Mercer county, Ky., as early as October, 1783. He 
was a man of education and ability and of most de- 
voted zeal. He had pursued his classical studies in 
early life under the direction of the celebrated James 
"Waddel, had been graduated at Princeton College 
under the Presidency of Samuel Davies, had studied 
theology with Rev. James Todd, been licensed by the 
Presbytery of Hanover, had labored as a missionary 
in South Virginia and North Carolina, and settled as 
pastor of the church at the Peaks of Otter. During 
the Revolutionary conflict he occupied a new and fron- 
tier settlement, and in that mountainous region and 
among a heterogeneous population acquired that expe- 
rience which fitted him so well for his future field. 
Tall and slender in person, quiet in his movements, but 
with an alertness that continued to extreme age, he 
entered upon his work beyond the mountains with the 
energy and composure of one who knew the greatness 
of the task he had undertaken. Sagacious to discern 
the signs of the times, and quick to detect the character 
and dangers of the society around him, he was fully 
competent to expose the errors which were flooding 
the land, and lay solid the gospel foundations that 
should stay the rushing tide. His " Essay on Baptism" 
did good service in that Western region years before 
the opening of the preser ■*; century, and when a print- 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1800. 405 

ing-press to publish it could not be found west of the 
mountains. Of the cause of freedom he was a bold 
and consistent champion. " Slavery Inconsistent with 
Justice and Policy" was the title of a pamphlet issued 
by him in 1792. The views presented in it were forcibly 
urged by him in the convention that formed the State 
Constitution. Nor did the cause of education find in 
him a lukewarm friend. While a resident of Virginia, 
he had officially labored to promote the cause of liberal 
learning. He took an active part in the establishment 
of Hampden-Sidney College, and had an important 
agency in procuring its two first Presidents, Samuel 
Stanhope Smith and Robert Blair Smith. Kentucky 
needed such a man ; and when the trustees of Transyl- 
vania University met, shortly after his arrival in that 
region, at Crow's Station, he was President of tho 
Board, and was ever its steadfast friend. He felt that 
the School and the Church had a common interest, and 
that Kentucky must educate her own sons. To the 
ripe age of eighty-three he was spared to see new 
laborers gather around him, and the institutions he 
had planted rise to the promise of a blessed harvest. 

Nor was he left long alone in this new field. In 
1784, Eev. Adam Rankin, who settled at Lexington, 
and Rev. James Crawford, 1 who located at Walnut 
Hill, came to his support. Two years later, Andrew 
McClure, who took the first charge of the Salem and 
Paris congregations, and Thomas B. Craighead, of 
North Carolina, whose name is associated with that of 
the Shiloh Church, and of whom the Hon. John Breck- 
inridge said that his discourses made a more lasting 

i James Crawford was a graduate of Princeton in 1777. Two 
years later he was licensed by the Presbytery of Hanover, and in 
1784 removed to Kentucky, settling at Walnut Hill, where he 
gathered a nourishing church. B".s death occurred in 1803. 


impression on him than those of any other man, joined 
the feeble band. These five ministers, with Rev. Zerah 
Templin, recently ordained an evangelist, constituted 
the first Presbytery, October 17, 1786. Twelve congre- 
gations were already at least partially organized. 

In 1790, the first missionaries sent out by the Synod 
of Virginia, and in fact by the Presbyterian Church 
after the formation of the General Assembly, entered 
this field. These were Robert Marshall and the cele- 
brated Carey H.Allen. The first Avas a licentiate of Red- 
stone Presbytery. He was a native of Ireland, but in 
his twelfth year (1772) emigrated with his father's 
family to Western Pennsylvania. He was a wild 
youth, and at the age of sixteen enlisted as a private 
in the army, against the remonstrance of his mother. 
Strangely enough, his course now was more sober and x 
moral than before. He abstained from all the vices of 
camp-life, and, when not on duty, retired to his tent 
and devoted himself to the study of arithmetic and 
mathematics. He was in six general engagements, 
one of which was the hard-fought battle of Monmouth. 
Here his locks were grazed by a bullet, and he nar- 
rowly escaped with his life. After the war he joined 
the Seceders, but was still a stranger to vital religion. 
It was under a searching discourse of Dr. McMillan 
that he was first brought to feel his guilt as a sinner. 
Now he was humbled in the dust : his self-possession 
deserted him, and he fell into a state of the deepest 
anguish. At length hope dawned upon him, and, with 
new views of duty, he devoted himself to the work of 
the ministry. 

He pursued his academical studies at Liberty Hall. 
His theological course was completed under Dr. McMil- 
lan. For some months he labored as a missionary in 
Virginia, and at the close of 1790 set out under the 
commission of the Virginia Synod for Kentucky. 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1800. 407 

He was accompanied b}^ Carey H. Allen. Allen was the 
son of a Virginia planter of Cumberland county- He 
was educated at Hampden-Sidney, and was one of the 
early converts of the revival of 1787. His disposition 
was gay and volatile; and such, to a great extent, it 
remained after his conversion. But his spirit was ever 
cheerful and his good nature imperturbable. "He 
was a mirthful, fun-loving, pleasant companion, and a 
great wit and satirist." Such was his humorous de- 
meanor, and so odd and ludicrous his frequent conver- 
sation, that the Presbytery for some time hesitated to 
license him. But his strange sallies and eccentricities 
were overruled by his controlling devotion of purpose, 
and made, not unfrequently, the means of arresting the 
attention or exciting the religious interest of others. 

The journey of the two young men to Kentucky was 
by no means one that could be considered safe or plea- 
sant. There were but two routes to the Western settle- 
ments, and each was beset with great hazard and 
danger. One was by the Ohio, taking a boat at Bed- 
stone Old Fort, 1 and the other by a forced passage, 
with greater risk of Indian assault, through the wil- 
derness. The last was tolerably safe for large bands 
of emigrants, but more dangerous for individuals. 
Marshall and Allen chose the river-route. While wait- 
ing for the company to be made up, they employed 
themselves in preaching among the neighboring con- 
gregations. In spite of the disaffection produced in 
some quarters by their use of Watts's Psalms and 
Hymns, a favorable impression was made, and a revival 
commenced. It was fairly in progress when they em- 
barked, and continued after their departure. 

The voyage was favorable, and they landed safely 
in Kentucky. They immediately entered upon their 

1 Brownsville, on the Monongahela. 


own congregation of the use of Watts by Allen and 
Marshall during their brief stay in the neighborhood 
of Bedstone fort, that he begged them to desist. 
"Never fear," said Allen: "God will bring order out 
of it." And he did. The young people and the great 
mass of the congregation had no special attachment 
to Rouse's version, and crowded to hear the young 
preachers. The powerful revival referred to above 
soon commenced. 

But the most disastrous results of the change ini- 
tiated were felt in Kentucky. Quite a large number 
of the Bresbyterian settlers were from Scotland and 
strongly attached to the Associate Synod. They needed 
only a champion of Bouse, to give him a warm support. 

This champion soon appeared; but his own character 
injured the cause he advocated, and gave occasion for 
sad divisions. Adam Bankin, born in Western Benn- 
sylvania, was on his mother's side descended from one 
of the Scottish martyrs. In his childhood he had heard 
from her lips the terrible story of the massacre in which 
that ancestor had fallen a victim, and it never lost its 
impression. From the moment of his birth he was dedi- 
cated to the ministry. But his nature was a strange 
compound. He seemed to inherit all the stirring energy 
with no little of the disputatious spirit of the most im- 
practical and theorizing of the martyrs of the Covenant. 
Obstinate and opinionated, nothing could control his 
headstrong purpose. With something of humorous sar- 
casm and acute reasoning on minor points, he was no 
logician, and made up for his lack in tbis respect by a 
Lutheran coarseness of expression. His opponents were 
" swine," " sacrilegious robbers," " hypocrites," " deists," 
"blasphemers." In his disposition there was a dash of 
enthusiasm, bordering on fanaticism. He believed in 
dreams: a dream led him to leave his native home; a 
dream was bis warrant for opposing Watts's version of 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1800. 411 

the Psalms. He met his death at the outset of his con- 
templated journey to Jerusalem, — a journey to which 
he had been impelled by a dream, or his visionary views 
of the prophecies. 

In 1784 he was laboring in Augusta county, Va., 
when a call reached him from the Presbyterians of 
Lexington, who were endeavoring to secure the organ- 
ization of the Mount Zion church. He repaired to the 
field to which he had been invited, and immediately 
found himself surrounded by a large congregation. On 
sacramental occasions, not less than five hundred com- 
municants, it is said, sometimes participated. These 
scenes, somewhat approaching the character of the 
camp-meetings which were soon to be introduced, were 
congenial to Rankin's taste. They allowed full scope 
for his peculiar energies. His own sensibilities were 
intensely excited, and at length seemed to acquire a 
morbid character. But the question of psalmody was 
still paramount to all others. Before Transylvania 
Presbytery (1786) was constituted — at the Conference 
of 1785, when " Father" Bice was the only ordained 
minister present beside himself — Bankin, who had re- 
sided in Kentucky but a few months, brought the sub- 
ject to the attention of the body. It was composed, 
besides two ministers, Bice and Bankin himself, of two 
probationers, Crawford and Templin, and twenty-three 
representatives of twelve different congregations. The 
harmony of the Conference was in great danger of being 
disturbed. The psalmody question at such a crisis could 
be regarded only as an apple of discord. But he stood 
alone in his views; and, while he regarded his minis- 
terial brethren as latitudinarian, they were constrained 
to regard him as little less than a bigot. 

The action of the Synod in 1787 greatly dissatisfied 
him. Instead of regarding the kind counsel of that 
body upon the subject, he was only irritated by it. 


His indignation broke out in censorious invectives. 
The Presbyterian clergy he accounted deists and blas- 
phemers, rejecters of Revelation and revilers of the 
word of God. From the communion of his own church 
he unceremonious^ debarred all Watts' s admirers. 

Such was his zeal in the matter that he attended the 
first General Assembly at Philadelphia, in 1789, and, 
though he bore no commission, handed in an overture 
and a request to be heard upon the subject. His object 
was to obtain a repeal of the resolution of the old 
Synod, allowing the use of Watts in the churches. He 
was patiently heard and considerately and kindly ad- 
vised; but the charity which the Synod recommended 
him to exercise accorded neither with his character nor 
his principles. 

More vehement than ever, he shielded himself under 
the pretence of a divine warrant extended to him in 
dreams. Parodying the words of Christ, his reply on 
one occasion to a question addressed him was, " Tell 
me, was the institution of Watts of heaven or of men, 
and I will tell you by what authority I did these 
things." He would displace Watts to restore Rouse, 
yet gave his own night-visions a place above the autho- 
rity not only of reason, but of the word of God. 

His unwarrantable proceedings could no longer be 
passed over in silence by the Presbytery. A com- 
mittee of prosecution was appointed to examine the 
allegations against him, and, if necessary, make ar- 
rangements for a trial. The result of their labors ap- 
peared in several formal charges and specifications. 
He was cited for trial, but, from reasons easily to be 
surmised, refused to appear. Precipitately withdraw- 
ing from the country, he remained absent two years. 
Rev. James Blythe was appointed to fill his pulpit, upon 
the request of his congregation for a supply. 

Upon his return, the citations were renewed. The 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1800. 413 

trial came on, April 25, 1792. After a protracted in- 
vestigation, he was found guilty of traducing his breth- 
ren, unwarrantably excluding applicants from the 
Lord's Supper, and narrating his dreams as revela- 
tions from heaven. When summoned to hear the 
opinion of the court, he refused to acknowledge his 
fault or make any concessions. "I appeal," he cried, 
"to God, angels, and men. I protest against the pro- 
ceedings of this Presbytery, and will be no longer a 
member of the Transylvania Presbytery." Having 
said this, he withdrew, accompanied by his elder. For 
this open contempt of jurisdiction the Presbytery sus- 
pended him from the exercise of ministerial functions 
until the next stated session. 

This, however, he was prepared to disregard. He 
had not taken the step without calculating his strength. 
No sooner had he pronounced his declinature, than a 
hundred of the spectators stepped forward and, giving 
him the right hand of fellowship, pledged themselves 
to sustain him. A general meeting of his followers was 
soon held, and measures were matured for a separate 
organization. Commissioners appeared, representing 
portions of twelve congregations and five hundred 
families. A narrative of events and declaration of 
principles was drawn up by Rankin. The Presbytery 
were forced to meet it by a counter-statement, and, in 
consequence of his contumacy, to depose him from the 
ministry and declare his charge vacant. Artful mis- 
representations of the matter were spread abroad by 
Rankin's adherents. He was represented as a martyr 
to his adherence to Rouse's Version, and was thus com- 
mended to the sympathies of the Associate Reformed, 
with whom he united in 1793. 

From this period his cause received no new accession 
of strength. In 1798, Armstrong and Fulton, mission- 
aries from the Associate Church of Scotland, visited 



Kentucky, and Rankin's followers left him to join them. 
His own church clung to him with devoted attachment, 
and, when he broke off from the Associate Reformed, 
became Independent. But his cause continued steadily 
to decline, till it became almost utterly insignificant. 
Its only effect had been to rend congregations in sun- 
der, distract them with dissensions, and convulse them 
with disputes, disturbing the harmony of the Church 
and aggravating the difficulties of the field as a sphere 
for missionary effort. 

These difficulties, and others disconnected with them, 
were to be met by fresh bands of Presbyterian mission- 
aries. In 1792, Rev. James Btythe entered the field. 
He was a native of North Carolina, and of Scottish ex- 
traction. His education was acquired at Hampden-Sid- 
ney College, where for a time he was the only member 
who had made a profession of religion. His serious- 
ness, however, vanished as he mingled with his thought- 
less associates; nor was his careless course arrested 
till almost forcing his way into the room of a fellow- 
student, the late Dr. Hill, he found him reading the 
Bible. Attempting to sneer at this oddity in a fellow- 
student, he was stung by the reproof of the reply, and 
found no peace till he had retraced his steps and found 
peace in his neglected Saviour. From this moment he 
broke loose from the snares that surrounded him, and 
gave himself up without reserve to the cause of Christ. 

After his graduation in 1789, he pursued the study 
of theology under Dr. Hall, of North Carolina. He 
was licensed by the Orange Presbytery, and visited 
Kentucky as a missionary in 1791. On July 25, 1793, 
he was ordained pastor of Pisgah and Clear Creek 
Churches. Like his brethren of this period in Ten- 
nessee, he carried his rifle and rode with his holsters, 
for fear of hostile attack from the Indians. For nearly 
forty years he labored in this field, mainly in connec- 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1800. 415 

tion with the Pisgah church. For a long period he 
was a professor, and for twelve or fifteen years acting 
President, of Transylvania University. Subsequently 
he was President of South Hanover College, in In- 

Almost at the same time with Blythe, or shortly 
afterward, Thomas Cleland, John Poage Campbell, 
and Samuel Eannells united with Transylvania Pres- 
bytery. Eannells was a native of Virginia, and a licen- 
tiate of the Presbytery of Lexington. Early in 1795 
he visited Kentucky as one of the Synod's missionaries. 
For twenty-two years he continued pastor of the 
united churches of Paris and Stonermouth. Zealous 
and indefatigable, and remai'kably gifted in prayer, his 
moderate abilities were made effective in conjunction 
with a devoted piety. 

John P. Campbell was unquestionably the most bril- 
liant, in point of intellect, of the whole pioneer band. 
At fourteen years of age he removed with his father 
to Kentucky, and was one of the first of " Father" 
Rice's pupils in Transylvania Grammar-School. He 
returned to Virginia to complete his studies, and at 
the age of nineteen took charge of an academy at 
"Williamsburg, North Carolina. At this time he had, 
unfortunately, imbibed infidel sentiments; but he was 
afterward converted by the perusal of " Jenyns on the 
Internal Evidences of Christianity." From this time 
his views were directed toward the ministry. In 1790 
he was graduated at Hampden-Sidney, and, after study- 
ing with William Graham and Moses Hoge, was li- 
censed to preach in May, 1792. After laboring a short 
time in Virginia, he removed in 1795 to Kentucky, 
where his first charge was the churches of Smyrna and 
Flemingsburg, in Fleming county. 

His subsequent labors were in the regions of Dan- 
ville, Nicholasvillc, Cherry Spring, Versailles, Lexing- 


ton, and Chillicothe. His life was at times one of 
severe hardship. His salary was small and insufficient; 
while his pride kept him from disclosing his neces- 

His eminent gifts forced him into the position of a 
controversialist in defence of the Church at a critical 
period of her history. For this post of distinction he 
was well fitted. He was an accurate and well-read 
theologian. His mind was acute and discriminating, 
quick to unravel the fallacies of the sophist and detect 
the weak points of an adversary. He was a man of 
fine taste; and his style was elaborate and elegant. 
No pen was so efficient as his in the subsequent con- 
flict with the Amain ian New Lights, led off by Stone. 
The Pelagianism of Craighead was soon exposed by 
his vigorous handling. His works on Baptism, although 
considered too learned for popular use, were not with- 
out their influence in settling the views of many. In 
the pulpit, a graceful and energetic elocution, a delivery 
not fluent, but animated, combined with solidity of 
matter and grace of style to give him reputation 
in his early ministry. His appearance was such as 
well became tbe orator. Tall and slender in person, 
his deep-set, dark-blue eyes, under strong excitement, 
flashed like lightning from under his jutting forehead. 
Competent judges pronounced him one of the most 
talented, popular, and influential ministers in the coun- 
try. With the shining gifts, he had also the infirmities, 
of genius. His delicate nervous organization ren- 
dered him acutely sensitive and easily irritated. Ee- 
peatedly he changed his field of labor. Eestless and 
aspiring, he bore with some discontent the poverty he 
was too proud to confess, and could not endure to yield 
where his honor appeared to be concerned. 

Thomas Cleland was born in Maryland, and at an 
early age removed to Kentucky. His religious im- 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1S00. 417 

pressions were deepened under the preaching of Dr. 
Blythe, with whom he pursued his studies at Pisgah Aca- 
demy. Although occasionally serving as an exhorter, 
it was not till 1801 that he entered upon the active 
labors of the ministry. From this period his efforts 
were largely blessed. Several revivals took place 
under his ministry, and in connection with the judica- 
tures of the Church his name occupied a high rank. 1 

In 1795, Joseph P. Howe, from Xorth Carolina, en- 
tered the field, and was ordained over Little Mountain 
(Mount Sterling) and Springfield. A devoted man, 
although of moderate abilities, he took a conspicuous 
part in the Great Revival of 1800. In 1796, he was 
followed by James Welch, a missionary of the Synod 
of Virginia, afterward ordained pastor of the Lex- 
ington and Georgetown churches. He was afterward 
appointed Professor of Ancient Languages in Transyl- 
vania University. 

In 1797, John Lyle and Archibald Cameron brought 
a new accession of strength. Lyle was of Irish de- 
scent, and born in Rockbridge county, Virginia. He 
labored on the farm with his father, who, on principle, 
would not own slaves. When twenty years of age, he 
was converted, and became desirous of devoting him- 
self to the ministry. Overcoming difficulties that 
would have discouraged others, he completed his stu- 
dies at Liberty Hall in 1794, pursued his theological 
course with William Graham, and was licensed by 
Lexington Presbytery, April 21, 1796. For some years 
he labored as a missionarj' in Kentucky, and in 1800 
took charge of the churches of Salem and Sugar Ridge, 
in Clark county. Subsecjuently he occupied other 
fields, but was eminently efficient in promoting the 
cause of education and cheeking the excesses of the 

1 See Life of Cleiand, by his son. 


Revival, which commenced almost contemporaneously 
with his removal to Kentucky. 

Cameron was a native of Scotland, but removed 
with his father's family to Kentucky in 1781. His 
literary course was pursued at Transylvania Seminary 
and at Bardstown, and his theological under the charge 
of "Father" Rice. In 1796 or 1797, he was installed 
over the churches of Akron and Fox Ran, in Shelby 
county, and Big Spring, in Nelson county. For several 
years his labors in this region were abundant. Many 
churches were organized and built up under his effi- 
cient instrumentality. With " a mind cast in the finest 
mould," and possessed of a ripe scholarship, he was 
also gifted with keen powers of satire, and in contend- 
ing for the truth was remarkably direct and pungent. 
In his bhmtness of manner he was a John Knox. 
He possessed great shrewdness and independence of 
thought. His extemporaneous address was charac- 
terized by method, chasteness, and beauty. In prayer, 
rich evangelical thought was blended with hallowed 
tenderness and devout elevation of heart. For nearly 
forty years he pursued his course of extended and 
hallowed labor. 

In 1798, the number of laborers was increased by 
the installation of Robert Stuart, Robert Wilson, and 
John Howe. Stuart was a native of Rockbridge 
county, Va., and, like his kinsman Campbell, could 
trace back his lineage to that eminent Scottish divine, 
Rutherford. He was first awakened under the preach- 
ing of Dr. Alexander, at New Monmouth Church, 
studied at Liberty Hall, was licensed by Lexington 
Presbytery in 1796, and, after performing missionary 
service in Virginia, directed his course to Kentucky. 
In December, 1798, he was appointed Professor of Lan- 
guages in Transylvania University, but resigned his 
post a few months later, to establish a private gram- 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1S00. 419 

mar-school in Woodford county. Quite a number of 
eminent men received their education under his train- 
ing. In 1803, he preached to the Salem Church, and 
in 1804 took charge of the church of Walnut Hill, six 
miles east of Lexington, in connection with which he 
labored forty years. Discreet and prudent, and some- 
times called a " Moses" for his meekness, he was capa- 
ble, when occasion demanded, of keen antagonism to 
error ; and the first publication which stung the Uni- 
tarian President of Transylvania University was from 
his pen. 

Wilson, of Irish descent, was a native of Virginia. 
Like Stuart, he performed missionary labor in his 
native State before his removal to Kentucky. For 
nearly twenty-five years he was settled at Washing- 
ton, near Maysville ; and the neighboring churches 
were greatly indebted to his exertions. 

John Howe was a native of South Carolina, but 
completed his studies at Transylvania Seminary. He 
studied theology with James Crawford, and was li- 
censed in 1795. For several years he preached alter- 
nately at Glasgow and Beaver Creek Churches, subse- 
quently removing to Greensburg, Green county. He 
was amiable, unostentatious, and useful and popular as 
a preacher. Fifty-three years of his ministry were 
spent in Kentucky. He then removed to Missouri, 
where he died in 1856. 

From the date of this accession, the number of minis- 
ters multiplied rapidly, although not in proportion to 
the demand made by the increase of population. Be- 
fore the formation of the Synod, in 1802, the Pres- 
bytery numbered on its list the names of Samuel 
Robinson, Samuel Finley, James Vance, James Kem- 
per, Samuel B. Robertson, John Bowman, John Thomp- 
son, Matthew Houston, John Dunlavy, Isaac Tull, 
William Mahon, John Evans Finley, Peter Wilson, 


William Speer, James Balch, John Rankin, Samuel 
McAdoWj Samuel Ddnnell, Jeremiah Abeel, together 
with Robert Gr. Craighead, James McG-ready, and 
"William McGee. The last three, with Bowman and 
Thompson, were from North Carolina; Houston, Vance, 
and Mahon, from Virginia ; Tull, Rohinson, Dunlavy, 
and McNemar, from Pennsylvania ; and Finley, from 
South Carolina. 

The field to be occupied was large and difficult. It 
extended over the whole region west of the moun- 
tains, with the exception of Tennessee and the field of 
Redstone and Ohio Presbyteries. Northward it ex- 
tended beyond the Ohio, and to the east and west its 
respective boundaries were civilization and barbarism. 
A large population, in sparsely-settled districts, was 
spread over this vast area. The labor of reaching 
them was one of exceeding difficulty, and added new 
discouragements to itinerant missionary labor. 

Nor was the moral aspect of the field at all inviting. 
The seeds of French infidelity had been sown broadcast 
over it. Societies affiliated with the Jacobin Club of 
Philadelphia were formed (1793) at Lexington, George- 
town, and Paris. Politically, they were violent and 
dogmatic ; morally, they were corrupting, and in re- 
spect to religion utterly infidel. The nomenclature 
of towns and counties still attests the French sym- 
pathies of the first settlers. It is quite significant of 
the state of social morals that at this period French 
agents were able to enlist two thousand recruits within 
the bounds of the State to attack the Spanish posses- 
sions on the Mississippi. 

Nor was this all. Years had passed in many settle- 
ments before they were visited by a single missionary, 
or were reminded, by his presence and words, of -reli- 
gious ordinances. A backwoods life created an irre- 
pressible passion for excitement. Lawlessness largely 

KENTUCKY, 1775-1S00. 421 

prevailed. Family education and religion fell into neg- 
lect. The intense cupidity of the settlers, fed by con- 
stant speculation, and incited by land-jobbing, litiga- 
tion, and feuds of various kinds, tended to social de- 
moralization. The variety of religious bodies on the 
ground, each to some extent at variance within itself, — 
the Baptists wrangling between Regulars and Sepa- 
rates, and the Presbyterians convulsed by the ques- 
tion of Psalmody, — greatly aggravated the difficulty. 
Evangelical effort, instead of presenting an unbroken 
front, was torn with intestine feuds and weakened by 
division. The enemies of religion were not slow to 
take advantage of this state of things. Jeffersonian 
influence was as strong west as east of the mountains. 
In 1793, the services of a chaplain to the Legislature 
were dispensed with. The measure was mainly signi- 
ficant as showing the influences which were ascendant 
in high places. A revolution was effected at the same 
time in the Transylvania Seminary by placing at its 
head a disciple of Priestley, and thus virtually alien- 
ating with utter contempt the early friends who had 
toiled and endured so much to lay its foundation on 
the basis of Christian truth. An apostate Baptist min- 
ister was chosen Governor of the State. No public 
remonstrance was raised in consequence of these pro- 
ceedings. Before the close of the century, a decided 
majority of the population of the State were reputed 
to be infidels. As might naturally be expected, vice 
and dissipation attended this influx of fatal error. 

It was no easy task — and it required no ordinary 
boldness to venture — to stem the tide. It seemed to 
roll, with irresistible power over the whole region. 
The few who should have girded themselves for the 
work were divided among themselves. The last hope 
of recovering the ground lost appeared to be fast dying 
away. Yet it was at this very crisis that a reaction 

Vol. I.— 36 


commenced. The Great' Revival, which marks the 
opening of the present century, with all its extrava- 
gances and excesses, effectually arrested the universal 
tide of skepticism and irreligion. It began when reli- 
gion was at the lowest ebb, and spread over a region 
that to superficial view was proof against its influence. 



Returning now to the fountain-head of Presbyte- 
rian emigration in Virginia, we take note of another 
branch of the current, following the line of the Holston. 
In 1785, Abingdon Presbytery was erected by a divi- 
sion of the original Hanover Presbytery. It embraced 
the churches of Southwestern Virginia, and extended 
so as to include the new settlements on the Holston, 
in what is now Eastern Tennessee. In 1797, twelve 
years from its formation, — although Transylvania Pres- 
bj'tery was formed from it in 1786, — it numbered thirty- 
six congregations ; while three others which had been 
under its care had become almost, if not quite, extinct. 1 
Of these, eleven were within the State of Virginia, nine- 
teen were in Tennessee, and seven were in the western 
part of North Carolina. 2 More than two-thirds of the 
whole number were at that time vacant, — viz. : New 
Dublin, Austinville, Graham's Meeting-House, Adam's 
Meeting-House, Davis's, Upper Holston or Ebbing 

] Report to General Assembly, 1797. 

* Nearly all, however, were within the limits of what is now the 
State of Tennessee. 

TENNESSEE, 1775-1300. 423 

Spring, Glade Spring, Bock Spring, Sinking Spring, 

Green Spring, and Clinch Congregation, in Virginia ; 

i^ypper Concord,^i£ew ProvidenceySNew Bethel^Hebron, 

^Providenee^'Chesnut Bidge^^Waggoner's Settlement, 

^Charter's Valley^ \^ap Creek Congregation,^Pent Gap 

ancl^pil Creek Congregations^Hopewell, ^Shiinam, 

O^Lower Concord, anoVEprk Congregation, in Tennessee ; 

and Pimm's Creek Congregation, Mouth of Swananoa, 

Head of French Broad, Tennessee Congregation, and 

Grassy Valley, in North Carolina. 

The pastors at that time were John Cossan at Jones- 
borough, Samuel Doak at Salem, Hezekiah Balch at 
Mount Bethel, James Balch at Sinking Spring, Robert 
Henderson at Westminster, Samuel Carrick at Knox- 
ville, and Gideon Blackburn at Eusebia and New 

The oldest of the Virginia congregations, that of 
Upper Holston, or Ebbing Spring, had been in exist- 
ence for twenty-five years, the others for shorter pe- 
riods, varying from seven to twenty. In Tennessee, 
those of Upper Concord, New Providence, Salem, 
Mount Bethel, and Charter's Valley were organized in 
1780; New Bethel, in 1782; Providence, in 1784; Hope- 
well, in 1785; Chesnut Eidge, Sinking Spring, New 
Providence, Pent Gap, Oil Creek, and Westminster, in 
1787 ; Fork Congregation, Shunam, 1 and Hebron, in 
1790 ; Waggoner's Settlement and Lower Concord, in 
1791; Gap Creek Congregation, in 1792; Knoxville, in 
1793 ; and Jonesborough, in 1796. 

Meanwhile, the Presbytery of Transylvania, formed 
from that of Abingdon in 1786, and consisting of five 
members only at the time of its erection, had out- 
grown the parent Presbytery, and was fast attaining 
the dimensions of a Synod. Its field embraced the 

1 Organized by Carrick perhaps a year or two later. 


new settlements in Kentucky, and already extended 
across the Ohio River. Abingdon Presbytery thus 
marked the grand route by which the pioneer columns 
of the great Presbyterian army were moving on to 
take possession of the new settlements beyond the 

At the commencement of the French War, about 
fifty families had located on the Cumberland River; but 
these were driven off by the Indians. About the same 
time the Shawnees, who bad lived near the Savannah 
River, emigrated to the banks of the Cumberland and 
settled near the present site of Nashville ; but they also 
were driven away by the Cherokees. In 1755, a num- 
ber of persons removed to the west of the present 
bounds of North Carolina, and were the first perma- 
nent colonists of Tennessee. By 1773 the population 
had considerably increased; but in 1776 the Cherokees 
were incited by British agents to attack the infant 
and feeble settlements. Their incursions, however, 
were repelled, and during the war Tennessee colonists 
hastened to join their countrymen east of the moun- 
tains in repelling the attacks of the foe upon the 
Southern States. 

At the close of the war, although the dangers of 
Indian warfare were still imminent and the settler 
stood in constant fear of savage ferocity, t he vast_ ter- 
r itory sparsely occupied by the Cherok ees was too 
i nviting to be _oyerl ooked by pionee r_ _enterprise : and 
the fair valley of the Holston was specially attr active. 
A wilderness of two hundred miles intervened between 
this region and the Kentucky settlements; but the 
grant of military lands brought into the bound s of 
what n ow constitut es the S tate j iot a f ew bold a nd 
hardy men, wh o had been schooled in peril, and to 
whom the trials of the wilderness were only a new 
spur to enterprise and strange adventure. 

TENNESSEE, 1775-1S00. 425 

Those wlio were already on the ground — and they 
were l argely composed of Presbyterians from the up per 
o.onntifis of Mn.r yl.ind and from Pennsylvania — were in 
constant danger from the hostile Indian tribes : yet, even 
thus, they had not been unmindful of the need of gospel 
ordinances. At Brown's Meeting-House, June 2, 1773, 
a call was presented to Hanover Presbytery for the 
services of Eev. Charles Cummings, by the congrega- 
tions of Ebbing Spring and Sinking Spring, on the Hol- 
ston. It was signed by one hundred and thirty heads of 
families. The call was accepted; and Mr. Cummings, 
who had labored for several years in Augusta, removed 
to his new field, as yet unoccupied by a single Presby- 
terian minister, beyond the mountains. 

It was amid strange scenes that the early years of 
his pastorate in this region were passed. The Indians 
were very troublesome, and during the summer months 
the families were compelled, for safety, to collect toge- 
ther in forts. Once (1776) Mr. Cummings himself came 
near losing his life from a hostile attack. The men 
never went to church except fully armed and taking 
their families with them. Mr. Cummings did not fail 
to set an example of precaution. On Sabbath morning 
he was wont to "put on his shot-pouch, shoulder his 
rifle, mount his dun stallion, and ride off to church." 
There he met a large congregation, every man of whom 
had his i"ifle in his hand. Stripping off his military ac- 
coutrements and laying down his rifle, the speaker 
would preach two sermons, with a short interval be- 
tween them, and the people would disperse. For more 
than thirty years this pioneer of Presbyterianism in 
Tennessee was known and revered as an exemplary 
Christian and a faithful pastor. He was "a John Knox 
in zeal and energy in support of his own Church." Be- 
yond the bounds of his more immediate field he per- 



formed a great amount of missionary labor, the fruits 
of which yet remain. 

With the return of peace the tide of immigration 
commenced anew. In 1782, Adam Eankin, whose name 
is more intimately associated with the history of the 
Church in Kentucky, was licensed to preach, and soon 
visited the region of Holston. But he had been pre- 
ceded four years by a man whose name deserves a more 
permanent record. This was Samuel Doak, conjointly 
with Cummings the founder of the Presbyterian Church 
in East Tennessee. Of Scotch-Irish descent, in a hum- 
ble but honorable condition of life, he earty resolved to 
secure himself an education. With this object in view, 
he proposed to relinquish to his brothers his share in 
the patrimonial inheritance and devote himself exclu- 
sively to study. By great self-denial, he prepared him- 
self for college, and in 1775 was graduated at Nassau 
Hall. After studying theology with Dr. Eobert Smith, 
of Pequa, he accepted the office of tutor in the then 
new college of Hampden-Sidney. Here he continued 
his theological studies, and was licensed to preach by 
the Presbytery of Hanover, October 31, 1777. Almost 
immediately he directed his steps to the Holston settle- 
ments. The means of subsistence were very scarce, and 
he was under the necessity of going thirty miles in the 
direction of Abingdon for supplies. His family ran 
great risk of being cut off in the Indian War. Bepeat- 
edly he left his pulpit or his students to repair to the 
camp at some hostile alarm. 

Throughout his life, Dr. Doak was the devoted friend 
of learning and religion. In 1784, he was a member of 
the convention that framed the Constitution of " the 
ancient commonwealth of Franklin," and secured in it 
the provision for a university. At Little Limestone, in 
Washington county, he purchased a farm, on which he 
built a log house for the purposes of education, and a 

TENNESSEE, 1 775-1S00. 427 

small church-edifice, occupied by the " Salem congrega- 
tion." This literary institution — the first that was ever 
established in the Mississippi valley — was incorporated 
in 1785 as " Martin Academy," and in 1795 it became 
Washington College. Till 1818, Dr. Doak continued to 
preside over it. Few men in the history of the Church 
were better fitted, by wisdom, sagacity, energy, and 
learning, to lay the foundations of social and religious 
institutions than Dr. Doak. 

Early in 1785 he was followed by a man of kindred 
spirit, who was destined to exert a vast influence upon 
this growing region. This was Hezekiah Balch, a 
graduate of New Jersey College in the class of 1762. 
After teaching for some years, he was licensed to preach 
by the Presbytery of New Castle, and labored for several 
years as a missionary within the bounds of Hanover 
Presbytery, his field reaching from the Potomac in- 
definitely toward the Pacific. After having labored 
thus in various localities, mainly as an itinerant mis- 
sionary, he directed his course to East Tennessee. 
Here for more than twenty years his labors were abun- 
dant ; and Greenville College owes its existence to his 
exertions. I n May, 1785, he joine d_with Messrs. Cum- 
mings and Doak in a request to Syn od_tliatji Presby- 
tery_jaiig ht be formed _^m .bvflci iig^hfttftrritnrip,s of the 
present States of Kentucky and Tennessee. The result 
was that the AluiagdonUL 1 lg g b T^^y'^ ^^6 1 * ec ^ e d; — soon, 
however, to be div ided—to. compose the new Kentucky 
Presbytery of Tra nsylvan ia. Along witliTDoak, Cum- 
mings/and Balch, the two new members Cossan and 
Houston constituted the Presbytery of Abington after 
the division. The last of these (Houston) had in 1783 
accepted a call from the Providence congregation in 
Washington county; but he labored in the field for only 
about five years. 

A valuable and efficient co-laborer in the pioneer mis- 


sionary work of East Tennessee was found in a young 
man by the name of Eobert Henderson. He was one 
of Doak's pupils soon after Martin Academy, in Wash- 
ington county, was opened. Here he pursued his course 
preparatory to entering the ministry. By Abingdon 
Presbytery he was licensed in or about 1788, and took 
charge of the two churches of Westminster and Hope- 
well, the latter the present county-seat of Jefferson 
county. Here he continued for more than twenty years; 
and few of his associates exerted a more extensive or 
permanent influence. His powers of address were great 
and varied. When, to use his own language, conscience 
said, "Eobert Henderson, do your duty," it mattered 
not who composed his audience. JSTo man was spared; 
and on one memorable occasion, when profanity was 
his subject, and most others would have been overawed 
by seeing some of the most notorious swearers in the 
State present, his delineations, lashings, and denuncia- 
tions are said to have been absolutely terrific. When 
dealing with vice, he used a whip of scorpions. Yet his 
moods were various, — now overwhelmingly solemn, now 
witty and humorous, and again most severe and scath- 
ing. With a matchless power of mimicry, and a perfect 
command of voice, countenance, attitude, and gesture, 
his flashes of wit or grotesquely humorous illustrations 
would break from him in spite of himself, convulsing 
w T ith laughter an audience just trembling under his 
bold, passionate, and at times awfully grand appeals. 
He was aware of his own infirmity, and strove against 
it; but it gave him a popularity and influence with the 
masses such as few others have ever possessed. Thou- 
sands of hearers on a single occasion would be subdued 
and overwhelmed by his melting pathos. A crowd 
was sure to gather where it was known that he was to 
preach; and bis indescribable earnestness, emphatic 
tones, and bold and striking gestures weie "perfectly 

TENNESSEE, 1775-1S00. 429 

irresistible." His longest sermons — unci they were some- 
times very long — were heard without impatience to 
their close. His influence was felt less upon a select few 
than upon the masses; and yet there were some whom 
he helped to train who occupy a distinguished place in 
the annals of the Presbyterian churches of the West. 
Among these was Gideon Blackburn. 

In some respects the pupil surpassed his teacher. 
With less of the comic element in his nature, and hold- 
ing it always under perfect control, Blackburn was 
none the less effective. He might be regarded as the 
best personification of backwoods eloquence. What he 
said to his pupils on the subject of rhetoric he seems 
to have practised himself: — " There is onejuile^not laid 
down in the books^jnorejjiiportant th an a ll : — get your 
head, heart, soul, full oj^yjmrjmbjecj^nd then let nature 
have its own way, des pisin g all rule/' A better illus- 
tration of the application of the rule than he himself 
afforded could not be found. His words, tone, manner, 
were most solemn and impressive. Few men owed less 
to education or art. He was first a student under Doak 
at Martin's Academy, and afterward under the training 
of Henderson. Like the latter, he declined the use of 
notes in the pulpit, uniformly preferring the freedom 
and effect of extemporaneous effort. 

Nurtured amid hardships, and early forced to self- 
l'elianee, he was exactly fitted to the sphere of life in 
which his lot was cast. He could preach in coat-sleeves 
or with his musket by his side, and with equal readiness 
in the pulpit or from the stump. Without a dollar in 
the world, and on the veiy outskirts of civilization, 
amid the alarms of savage invasions, forced to accept 
escorts of armed men from fort to fort, he began his 
work. But the young preacher was daunted by 
no fear, disheartened by no obstacle. In 1792, the 
Presbytery of Abingdon had granted him his license, 


and within a few months he had charge of the two con- 
gregations of New Providence and Eusebia, and had 
organized several other neighboring churches. Shortly 
after this, with Carrick, Kamsey, and Henderson, he 
was associated in the first Presbytery formed in the 
part of the country in which he labored. 

Carrick was a pupil of Graham, at Augusta, Ya., and 
labored for several years in that State. In 1791, he was 
dismissed to the Abingdon Presbytery, and for several 
years had the joint charge of the Knoxville and New 
Lebanon Churches. In 1800, he was chosen by the 
Legislature President of Blount College. In some re- 
spects he presented a contrast to his associates. He 
was of the old Virginia school of ministers, urbane, 
even courtly, in his manners, and in the pulpit grave, 
dignified, and solemn. His views of divine truth were 
clear and definite ; and they lost nothing by his mode 
of exhibiting them. 

The description that is left us 1 of his reception in the 
field which was thenceforth to be the scene of his 
active labors for many years, presents a graphic pic- 
ture of the early settlements. Tradition reports that 
in the spring of 1789 a party of hunters and land- 
mongers pitched their tent just where the Lebanon 
church-edifice now stands. The ancient forest still 
overhung the spot, in all its primitive beauty, un- 
disturbed by the echoes of the woodman's axe. The 
oak, the poplar, and the elm lifted high above them 
their lofty branches, "while the aroma of the walnut 
and the hickory diffused around the camp their delight- 
ful fragrance." Cedars and other evergreens were not 
wanting to add to the finished beauty of the scene. 
Grape-vines, springing from the virgin soil, and encir- 
cling every trunk, spread themselves in lavish luxu- 

' Presbyterian Herald, Feb. 14, 1861. 

TENNESSEE, 1775-1S00. 431 

riance among the tree-tops, or, clustering together in 
beautiful festoons, formed a canopy and an arbor 
around the temporary abode of the backwoodsmen. 
The whole surrounding country was carpeted with 
verdure, and the woods were adorned with their richest 
foliage. With the " upland solitudes " and " the pensive 
beauty of the river-bottoms," '• the scene was lovely 
in the extreme." 

All west of the camp was one unbroken forest, in 
the midst of which the Father of Waters rolled his 
turbid tide. The pioneers had advanced beyond the 
last landmark of civilization, and before them lay 
the unbroken wilderness. Preparing to lay the found- 
ation of stable and orderly government, their first 
step was the appropriation of lands. Schooled in the 
scenes of Eevolutionary conflict, some of them active 
participants in the perils of the field, they yet retained 
on the outskirts of civilization their love of liberty 
regulated by law. 

Here, then, they awaited the arrival of the surveyor. 
He lived in the older settlements, on Limestone, in 
Washington county. On his arrival, he received a 
cordial greeting and a hearty welcome to the civilities 
of the camp. He found the party all clad in domestic 
fabrics, the product of their own industry, each wear- 
ing the hunting-shirt and each armed with his trusty 
rifle. The first salutations over, inquiries were imme- 
diately made for the latest news from the older settle- 
ments, and, among others, what new settlers had come 
in. To the last inquiry the surveyor replied by enu- 
merating the new emigrants, and among others men- 
tioned the arrival on Limestone of a Presbyterian 
minister by the name of Samuel Carrick. 

The little party were electrified by this intelligence, 
and clustered around their informant, manifesting by 
their demeanor the most exciting interest and intense 

432 history or PRESBYTERIANISM. 

curiosity. Most, perhaps all, of them were the sons 
of pious parents, — children of the Covenant, — in the 
older country had known the Sabbath and appreciated 
its privileges, — had bowed in prayer or swelled with 
their own voices the notes of praise, — had listened to 
the preached word and had been impressed by its 
truth. Yielding to the promptings of a restless spirit 
of enterprise and adventure, they had forsaken the 
altar and the fireside, and had thrown themselves 
amid the rough scenes and rude social elements of the 
Western frontier. Here, surrounded by heedless, if 
not vicious, associates, they had become habituated to 
Sabbath-desecration, if not to scenes of immorality 
and vice. Most of them were now heads of families, 
and identified with all the industrial and social inte- 
rests of the new community of which they formed a 
part. Their children were growing up around them 
unbaptized, and in destitution of religious privileges. 
In these circumstances, the scenes of their own youth 
were revived with peculiar freshness; conscience was 
aroused, and memory recalled the Sabbath, the cate- 
chism, the school-house, the ministry, and the ordi- 
nances of other days. 

Thus recalling the past, the enterprise and objects 
of the present — staff, compass, land-warrant, and entry 
— were for the moment forgotten, and they deter- 
mined to appoint a day on which the strange minister 
should be- invited to preach in these new settlements. 
The day was fixed ; the spot was selected, — an Indian 
mound near the confluence of the two rivers, — the 
Foi'k. The surveyor bore back on his return the in- 
vitation to Mr. Carrick. He accepted it, and, by a 
strange coincidence, Hezekiah Balch chanced also to be 
present on the same occasion. To the latter, as the 
older man, Mr. Carrick courteously yielded the prece- 
dence, and, after the sermon, remarked that ho had 

TENNESSEE, 1775 1800. 433 

selected the same subject and the same text, and, as 
the subject was not and could not be exhausted, he 
would pursue the theme. Tradition reports that the 
text was, " We then are ambassadors for Christ," &c. 

Attracted by the importance as well as the novelty 
of the occasion, an immense crowd attended this first 
religious meeting held in all the region. Some came 
from what are now Sevier and Blount counties, armed 
with guns to defend themselves from the possible attack 
of the Cherokees. Parents brought their children with 
them in order that they might be baptized. It was 
soon after this that Mr. Carrick — universally acceptable 
as a preacher — commenced his labors as a pastor of the 
Lebanon Church in conjunction with Knoxville. 1 The 
former he retained till 1803. 2 

Eamsey was the last of the little band composing 
the new Presbytery, to reach the Western field. He, 
too, was a pupil of Graham of Virginia, and soon after 
his licensure, in 1795, extended his missionary tour to 
the " Southwestern Territory." 

As he went from house to house in the frontier settle- 
ments of Knox county, near which a brother of his 
had resided for several years, he found the people 
anxious to enjoy the privileges of the gospel. At each 
cabin a hearty welcome greeted him, and a cordial 

1 The first church in Knoxville was never regularly organized. 
Carrick, after preaching at the Fork, began to preach a part of his 
time in Knoxville (1793-1794), and at a later date to administer the 
ordinances. The elders of the Fork assisted, and subsequently 
acted as elders in Knoxville. — Dr. McCampbell, in the Presbyterian 
Herald, Feb. 1861. 

2 " The first Sabbath I spent in Tennessee," says Dr. John 
McCampbell, "was in the Fork Church, July, 1803. There was no 
minister present on that day. The exercises of public worship 
were as follows: — two sermons were read, one by Col. F. A. Ram- 
sey, the other by Archibald Rhea. Four prayers were offered, with 

Vol. I.— 37 


wish was expressed that the young man would remain 
in the country and organize churches in the wilder- 
ness. He went from fort to fort and station to station, 
preaching to multitudes who had not for years heard 
a Presbyterian sermon. Thousands came out to listen 
to the strange minister. They followed him from place 
to place, and hung in rapt attention upon his lips. 
Young Ramsey felt that he was not at liberty to neglect 
the Macedonian cry that followed him from the Western 
wilderness back to Virginia. In 1797, he returned to 
Tennessee, and settled at Mount Ebenezer, eleven miles 
west of Knoxville. Here he extended his labors over 
a vast surrounding region, ministering to several con- 
gregations, and tasking his powers to the utmost, till 
he sank under his burden. Gentle, winning, concilia- 
tory, and prudent, he bound his people to himself by 
the strongest ties, while his whole course, eminently un- 
selfish and self-denying, commanded universal respect. 

Such were the men who led the way in planting the 
Presbyterian Church in Tennessee. Of varied gifts, 
untiring zeal, and entire consecration to their work, 
they were eminently successful. Under their eyes and 
by their hands the foundations of the Church were 
firmly laid in a new region, where it was to be widely 

Yet this early period was not without its peculiar 
trials. The Presbytery of Abingdon was connected 
with the Synod of the Carolinas; and the attention of 
the latter was repeatedly called to questions gene- 
rating strife and division that had risen west of the 
mountains. Hezekiah Balch was a decided Hopkinsian. 
He had visited New England, and from the lips of the 
very author of the " New Divinity" had heard his views 
expounded. These views commended themselves to 
his own mind, and he was charged with saying that 
he was " fifty thousand times stronger" in his peculiar 

TENNESSEE, 1775-1800. 435 

belief " than he was before he went away." His only 
objection to the charge was that it was not strong 
enough: the fifty thousand should have been five hun- 
dred thousand. 

Some of his church, as well as of his ministerial breth- 
ren, were greatly dissatisfied. They complained of his 
Hopkinsianism and kindred errors, as they regarded 
them. All this, however, did not constitute his real 
crime. There were others who held Hopkinsian views, 
and some who were far more eminent in the Presby- 
terian Church than Mr. Balch. But he was indiscreet. 
His convictions were strong, his feelings ardent, and 
he acted often from impulse rather than judgment. In 
his own congregation some unwise measures had been 
adopted which brought him into variance with his Ses- 
sion. Suits at law were threatened against him. A 
new Session was constituted, and Presbytery and Synod 
had to interfere repeatedly to restore peace. Yet none 
could question the piety, or Christian spirit generally, 
of Mr. Balch. His labors were unremitting and efficient 
in promoting the cause of religion and learning. His 
journey to New England was more to collect funds for 
his college than to listen to the apostle of the New 
Divinity. But he had a strong propensity to overlook 
consequences; and it was not his nature to consult pru- 




The commencement of the present century opened a 
new era in the history of the American Presbyterian 
Church. A revived missionary spirit gave enlarged 
scope and increased energy to its operations. Almost 
simultaneously, in New York, Pennsylvania, and New 
England, missionary societies were formed to extend to 
the frontier settlements and among the Indian tribes 
the knowledge of the gospel. Of these the New York 
Missionary Society took the lead. It was formed Nov. 
1, 1796. A few months later, the Northern Missionary 
Society, embracing the region in Northern New York, 
was organized. In May, 1797, the Connecticut General 
Association formed itself into a missionary society 
The Massachusetts Society was formed in the following 
year. Almost contemporary was the Berkshire and 
Columbia Missionary Society ; and in 1802, the Western 
Missionary Society at Pittsburg commenced operations. 
But for the alarm occasioned by the presence of the 
yellow fever in Philadelphia, a kindred society would 
have been formed there in 1798. l 

The effect of this newly-enkindled missionary zeal, 
extending to different denominations, was to promote 
fraternal feeling and hearty co-operation. The New 
York Society sustained for a period a Baptist mission- 
ary to the Indians of Central New York, whom the 

1 Dr. Green's letter, in the N. Y. Miss. Mag., i. 110. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 437 

churches of his own order were too feeble to support. 
In the plan for social prayer adopted (Jan. 18, 1798) by 
the directors of the society, the second Wednesday even- 
ing of every month was appointed to be observed as a 
season for concert of prayer, and the. meetings were to 
be held in rotation in the Eeformed Dutch, Presbyterian, 
and Baptist churches. The General Assembly partook 
largely of this fraternal and co-operative spirit. This 
is manifest in the "plan for correspondence and inter- 
course" between the Presbyterian, Reformed Dutch, 
and Associate Eeformed Churches, which was adopted 
by the Assembly of 1799. In this, " the communion of 
particular Churches, the friendly interchange of minis- 
terial services, and a correspondence of the several 
judicatories of the conferring Churches" were recom- 
mended, and the report favoring it was unanimously 
adopted by the Assembly. 1 

Nor was this all. The wants of the mission-field al- 
ready opened to Christian effort in New York and Ohio 
demanded the united efforts of Presbyterians and Con- 
gregationalists. The Connecticut Association had re- 
solved itself into a missionary society, and its mission- 
aries were already to be found in friendly co-operation 
with the ministers sent out by the Assembly to itine- 
rate through Central and Western New York. It was 
of the highest importance that there should be no de- 
nominational conflict or collision. The claims of mis- 
sionary evangelization were felt by both parties to be 
paramount to all denominational interests. With the 
best intentions, and " with a view to prevent aliena- 
tion and promote union and harmony in these new set- 
tlements, which are composed of inhabitants from these 
bodies," the General Association of Connecticut pro- 
posed to the General Assembly of 1801 " a plan op 

1 Rejected, however, by the other bodies. 


union." This plan strictly enjoined " mutual forbear- 
ance and accommodation." It allowed a Congrega- 
tional church to settle a Presbyterian pastor, reserving 
to him the privilege of appeal to Presbytery or to a 
mutual council equally composed of Presbyterians and 
Congregationalists. In case a Presbyterian church set- 
tled a Congregational pastor, he might (appeal to, or) 
be tried by his Association, or a mutual council equally 
constituted of both denominations. In a Cono-rega- 
tional church, the body of the male communicants of 
the church constituted the virtual Session ; yet here 
the appeal might be to a mutual council or to Presby- 
tery, in which the delegate of the church should have 
the right to sit and act as a ruling elder. 

Exception might have been taken to the irregular 
constitution of inferior judicatories in which these prin- 
ciples should be adopted and allowed to prevail; but no 
objection was urged. It was felt that the strictness of 
ecclesiastical forms should be held subordinate to the 
higher objects of Christian effort, and that to sacrifice 
the last to the first would be but to "tithe mint, anise, and 
cummin," against the " weightier matters of the law." 1 

1 [There was no such diversity of views or ecclesiastical prefer- 
ences as to justify collision or to excite mutual suspicions between 
the two bodies ; and every Christian principle demanded just that 
co-operation which the Plan of Union secured. In proof of this, 
we quote the following statement of views and polity. 

In 1799, the Hartford North Association of Ministers, composed 
of such men as Drs. Strong and Flint, of Hartford, and Dr. Perkins, 
of West Hartford, made the following declaration of their princi- 
ples : — 

" This Association give information to all whom it may concern, 
that the constitution of the churches in the State of Connecticut, 
founded on the common usages, and the Confession of Faith, Heads 
of Agreement, and articles of Church Discipline, adopted at the 
earliest period of the settlement of the State, is not Congregational, 
but contains the essentials of the government of the Church of Scotland, 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815; 439 

Such were the feelings of the time. No one called in 
question the wisdom of the plan till experience had re- 
vealed its defects. The next fifteen years were to 

or [the] Presbyterian Church in America ; particularly as it gives a 
decisive power to ecclesiastical councils ; and a Consociation, consist- 
ing of ministers and messengers, or a lay representation from the 
churches, is possessed of substantially the same authority as Pres- 
bytery. The judgments, decisions, and censures in our churches 
and in the Presbyterian are mutually deemed valid. The churches, 
therefore, in Connecticut at large, and in our district in particular, are 
not now, and never were, from the earliest period of our settlement, Con- 
gregational churches, according to the ideas and forms of church order 
contained in the Book of Discipline called the Cambridge Plat- 
form. There are, however, scattered over the State perhaps ten or 
twelve churches (unconsociated) which are properly called Congre- 
gational, agreeably to the rules of church discipline in the book 
above mentioned. Sometimes, indeed, the associated Churches of 
Connecticut are loosely and vaguely, though improperly, termed 
Congregational. While our Churches in the State at large are, in. 
the most essential and important respects, the same as the Presby- 
terian, still in minute and unimportant points of church order and 
discipline both we and the Presbyterian Church in America acknow- 
ledge a difference. "] F. 

The fact is also stated (Am. Quar. Reg., Aug. 1839) that in 1790, 
by the General Association of Connecticut, "a further union with 
Presbyterians was declared to be expedient," and a committee of 
correspondence was appointed for the accomplishing of this object. 

For many years after the adoption of the Plan of Union, the dis- 
position to favor the Presbyterian system continued. The action of 
the General Association in repeated instances is quite decisive on 
this point, to say nothing of the avowed sentiments of many of the 
leading ministers of the State. In 1812, the question of the mutual 
relation of pastor and people was brought up for discussion in con- 
nection with the subject of the frequent changes and removal of 
pastors; and among other conclusions was the following ; — '< that this 
scheme of settling a minister places the dissolution of the contract 
between him and his parishioners chiefly in the power of the con- 
tracting parties, and to a great extent removes it from under the 
control of an ecclesiastical council ; that, in consequence of this fact, 


decide grave questions in regard to the destiny of the 
country as well as the prospects of the Presbyterian 
Church. An unexampled emigration from the settled 
regions of the East was to pour westward, swelled on 
its course by heterogeneous elements from other lands. 
The combined influence and effort of all who loved the 
cause common to Presbyterians and the churches of 
New England was necessary to control the current, or 
direct it in the channels of sobriety and religion. With 
unprecedented rapidity, new cities and villages were 
to spring up in the forest and along the lines of traffic, 
for whose urgent necessities of missionary and pastoral 
labor both denominations united would be tasked to 
furnish a supply. The time of conflict had come. The 
great struggle of the century — to shape the future des- 
tiny of a growing nation — had commenced. It forbade 
all minor dissension, and demanded the hearty co-opera- 
tion, on broad principles, of all who loved the common 

The very spirit of the occasion did much to win the 
battle. With the adoption of the " Plan of Union," a 
new vigor seemed to pervade the Church. On all sides 
there was progress. The very next year after the adop- 
tion of the Plan (1802), the General Assembly was 

the bands of ecclesiastical discipline will (we think) be gradually 
loosened, and the solemn business of placing a minister over a con- 
gregation, and of committing them to his charge, be finally left in 
the hands of the contracting parties, in direct contradiction, as we 
apprehend, to the order of Christ's house." 

In the following year it was decided that a member of Associa- 
tion dismissed from his pastoral relation was still responsible to 
the Association, and that "no dismissed minister shall be accounted 
at liberty of himself to lay aside the ministerial office, or to dis- 
solve his connection with the Association." These are but speci- 
mens of the tone of ecclesiastical sentiment in Connecticut. — Conn. 
JEv. Mag., 1812, 1813. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1S15. 441 

called to divide the Presbytery of Albany into the three 
Presbyteries of Albany, Columbia, and Oneida, which 
were in 1803 constituted the Synod of Albany. Two 
years later, the Presbytery of Oneida was divided and 
the Presbytery of Geneva was erected. 

In 1807, the Synod of Albany exjjressed their readi- 
ness — with the approbation of the Assembly — to form 
as intimate a connection with the Middle Association 
(Congregational) of the Military Tract as the Consti- 
tution of the Presbyterian Church would admit, inviting 
them to become a constituent branch of the Synod, 
and assuring them of the disposition of the Synod to 
leave their churches undistui-bed in the administration 
of their own government until they should be better 
acquainted with the Presbyterian mode and voluntarily 
adopt it. Delegates from the churches should be re- 
ceived as ruling elders, and they, as well as ministers, 
on "adopting our standard of doctrine and govern- 
ment," might sit and vote as a constituent part of the 
body. This plan was sanctioned by the Assembly of 
1808; and the Middle Association, and Presbytery of 
Geneva, covering in part the same ground, were sub- 
sequently constituted, with some interchange of mem- 
bers, the Presbyteries of Geneva and Onondaga. The 
liberal spirit of the Assembly, accordant with the 
" Plan of Union," is evinced by their sanction of this 
kindred measure. 

In obtaining an act of incorporation, which was se- 
cured in 1799, and which authorized the possession of 
property yielding not over ten thousand dollars annual 
income, 1 exclusive of annual collections and voluntary 
contributions, the Assembly had in view the import- 
ance of securely holding an amount of property which 
should suffice as a fund for missionary purposes. This 

i Minutes of 1790-1820, p. 175. 


project was first brought forward in the Assembly of 
1791. 1 It was recommended that a permanent fund 
should be raised, and the several Presbyteries were 
enjoined to take effectual measures to secure annual 
collections from their churches for this object. The 
amount collected for several succeeding years exceeded 
what was required for the payment of the missionaries 
annually employed; and upon the examination of re- 
ports of agents for soliciting donations, it was found, in 
1801, that the Assembly held to its credit the sum of 
twelve thousand three hundred and fifty-nine dollars 
and ninety-two and a half cents. This was, by the de- 
cision of the Assembly, to be regai'ded as capital stock, 
which should " at no time be broken in upon or dimi- 
nished," but invested in secure and permanent funds. 
The interest of these, only, was to be employed for the 
support of missions. 

In 1805, the Committee of Missions were recom- 
mended to publish, by subscription, a periodical maga- 
zine " sacred to religion and morals," and pay the profits 
into the funds of the Assembly, to be applied to mis- 
sionary purposes. 2 The work was commenced, and the 
ministers within the bounds of the Church were re- 
peatedly urged to contribute to its columns; but the 
project failed, and the publication of the magazine was 
suspended in January, 1810. 3 

The success of the Connecticut Missionary Society 
in carrying out a similar project led the Assembly to 
overlook the greater difficulties which they would have 
to encounter. That society, while diffusing religious 
intelligence by means of its " Evangelical Magazine," 
had secured annually, as profits of the enterprise, a sum 
ranging from thirteen hundred dollars to over two" 
thousand dollars, which was devoted to the purposes 

i Minutes, 1790-1820, pp. 38, 40. ? lb. 317. 3 lb. 450. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 443 

of the society. With such economy and success was 
the plan managed, that the permanent fund in the 
course of a few years amounted to more than thirty 
thousand dollars ; and in some years, when collections 
were not secured from the churches, the interest of the 
fund and the profits of the magazine sufficed to provide 
for the support of the missionaries employed. For 
several years the Assembly prosecuted a kindred policy ; 
but the rapid extension of the mission-field soon baffled 
every attempt to supply it by means of the interest of 
a permanent fund. 

There seemed more feasibility in the plan which the 
Assembly proposed (1800) in behalf of ministerial edu- 
cation. This was intended to secure a fund which should 
suffice to provide candidates for the ministry with the 
necessary means for a partial or entire support. In 
each Synod a theological professor might be appointed, 
to whom students should be at liberty to resort, and 
who should receive from the fund a moderate com- 
pensation. 1 But this plan was ere long deranged by 
the adoption of the Seminary system of instruction, 
which left only the support of the student in his course 
of study to be provided for. 

In 1802, a change was made by the Assembly in its 
method of conducting its missionary operations. Ex- 
perience had shown that to give to these system and 
efficiency it was necessary that they should be put in 
the charge of men who should not only be empowered 
to act during the intervals of meetings of Assembly, but 
who should give the subject careful attention and be 
so situated as to have frequent opportunities of mutual 
conference. It was therefore resolved that a commit- 
tee be chosen annually, to be denominated the " Stand- 
ing Committee of Missions." It was originally to con- 

1 Minutes, 1790-1820, p. 196. 


sist of seven members, — four ministers and three laymen 
but in 1805, on the suggestion of the committee itself 
its numbers were increased by the addition of five more 
members from Philadelphia and its vicinity, and one 
member from each of the seven Synods constituting 
the Church. It was made the duty of the committee 
" to collect, during the recess of the Assembly, all the 
information in their power relative to the concerns of 
missions and missionaries;" to digest this information, 
and report thereon at each meeting of the Assembly ; 
to maintain such a correspondence on the subject of 
missions as the cause might require, and make such 
suggestions or arrangements as should enable the As- 
sembly to act intelligently in its appointments; and, in 
fact, to " superintend generally, under the direction of 
the Assembly, the missionary business." It was not till 
1816 that the style of the committee was changed to 
that of the " Board of Missions" and it was authorized 
to act with a large measure of independence. 

The appointment of the committee (1802) was contem- 
poraneous with a revived zeal in the cause of missions 
throughout the bounds of the Church. The Synod of 
Pittsburg began its existence (1802) as a missionary 
body, assuming the name of the Western Missionary 
Society. Its attention was directed largely to the new 
settlements northwest of the Ohio, and to methods for 
christianizing the Wyandotte Indians. The latter por- 
tion of their project was interrupted by the war, and 
the burning of the mission-premises; but on the con- 
clusion of peace the plan of an Indian mission was re- 
sumed, and for some years received aid annually from 
the funds of the Assembly. Among the new settle- 
ments lying properly within its own bounds or those 
of the Synod of Kentucky, its missionaries were dili- 
gently employed, sometimes, however, receiving their 
compensation from the Connecticut Missionary Society, 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 445 

who could secure funds more readily than men for the 
distant field. 

The Synod of Virginia, at the same time, prosecuted 
the mission work within its own limits, but with a 
marked decline of energy after the erection of the 
Synod of Pittsburg within its original bounds. For 
several j^ears it had only from three to five mission- 
aries in the field, — one of these to its own black popu- 

In 1802, before the erection of the Synod of Pitts- 
burg, its report showed that it had sent nine mission- 
aries to the west of the Alleghanies, three of whom 
visited the Shawanese and other Indians about Detroit 
and Sandusky. In 1807, when the Indian Mission had 
passed under the care of the Pittsburg Synod, and the 
missionary zeal of the Virginia churches had some- 
what abated, the Synod wished to resign their mission- 
ary business into the hands of the Assembly; but the 
latter declined to accept the trust. 

In 1803, the newly-formed Synod of Kentucl^y stated 
to the Assembly that the missionary field on their fron- 
tier was " so extensive and promising that the Synod 
find themselves inadequate to the demand." They 
asked that the Assembly " take the business under their 
own care and direction." The request was granted, 
and the destitutions of the Synod thenceforth received 
the attention of the Assembly in its annual appoint- 

The Synod of the Carolinas, from the time of its 
erection, had given special attention to the subject of 
missions. Among its ministers were some who rank 
among the foremost and most efficient in this field of 
Christian enterprise. The Synod continued its efforts 
till the amount of its own immediate destitution forced 
it (1812) to resign the charge of missions to the care 
of the Assembly. 

Vol. I.— 38 


Meanwhile, the New York Missionary Society had 
sent out missionaries among the Indians of that State, 
and Joseph Bullen was commissioned to labor among 
the Indian tribes at the Southwest, in Mississippi Ter- 
ritory. In 1803, Gideon Blackburn — in all probability 
imbibing his views, or kindled to greater activity by 
Mr. Bullen's zeal — determined to see what could be ac- 
complished in bebalf of the Cherokees. He had vainly 
sougbt (1799) to engage his Presbytery (Union) act- 
ively in the work, and he now presented the cause to 
the attention of the Assembly. It received their favor- 
able notice. Appropriations were made for it for many 
successive years from the Assembly's funds; and the 
zeal of Blackburn, sustained by the recommendation 
of the Assembly, accomplished still more by individual 
application in the Eastern cities. Such was the found- 
ation of the Cherokee Mission. 

The Assembly's committee at first had their atten- 
tion directed especially to the destitutions of Northern, 
Central, and Western New York. But soon appeals for 
aid reached them from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and 
Tennessee. The deficiencies of the Synods were sup- 
plemented by the Assembly's appointments, and Pres- 
byteries applying for aid were repeatedly authorized 
to employ missionaries at the Assembly's expense. In 
1803, the number of appointments made by the recom- 
mendation of the committee, independent of those em- 
ployed by the Synods, was only five. The next year it 
rose to twelve. In 1807 it amounted to fifteen, while 
five hundred dollars were appropriated to the Cherokee 
Mission. In 1811 the number had risen to forty, and in 
1814 to over fifty, exclusive of such as the Presbyteries 
or Synods were authorized to employ at the Assembly's 
expense, — the Pittsburg Synod also receiving aid, during 
a portion of the period, for its Indian missions. 

To sustain this extended and still extending plan of 

- GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1S00-1815. 447 

operations, the Assembly was forced to make repeated 
appeals to the churches for aid. Presbyteries were 
urged (1811) to send out " their members, either by 
pairs or individually, to act as missionaries in the coun- 
try contiguous to their residence ;" and, as some of them 
failed to send in their annual missionary collections, 
they were directed to take "the most prudent and effec- 
tual measures" to forward "an annual contribution to 
the treasurer of the Assembly." 

A great and beneficent work was thus accomplished. 
In 1810, the Assembly stated, as evidence of progress, 
that in the space of the preceding eleven years the 
number of ministers in the western parts of the State 
of New York had increased from two to nearly fifty. 
In other regions the growth of the Church had been 
less rapid; but there had been a steady and healthful 
advance. Much good had been accomplished, doubtless, 
by subsidiary agencies. Local societies of various kinds 
— missionary, tract, and Bible — had heartily co-ope- 
rated with the Assembly in missionary efforts; and this 
co-operation was (1811) gratefully recognized. Each 
Synod (1809) was recommended, in view of the great 
and increasing good that had accrued to the Church 
" through the distribution of small, cheap religious 
tracts," to take measures for " establishing as many 
religious tract societies, by association of one or more 
Presbyteries," as might be convenient for the purpose. 
Books were purchased (1802) by the funds of the 
Assembly for distribution in the frontier settlements. 
They were put (1805) into the hands of individuals and 
Presbyteries to distribute, or missionaries were sup- 
plied with the means to procure them for the fields in 
which they labored. In 1806, it was resolved that one 
hundred dollars should be appropriated annually — if the 
funds of the Assembly would allow — toward procuring 
and distributing religious books. Among those which 


received the commendation of the Assembly were Vin- 
cent's Exposition of the Shorter Catechism, and Andrew 
Fuller's " Gospel worthy of all Acceptation," — the last 
a work appropriate for circulation in this country, in 
which Brainerd and Eliot — through the reading of 
whose lives and labors Fuller was led to adopt the 
sentiments it presents — had accomplished their noble 

But the advance of the Church during the period under 
review was largely due to the powerful revivals which 
pervaded almost every portion of the land. The move- 
ment had commenced in Kentucky in 1797, and for 
several years it continued to spread and deepen, till 
society was shaken to its foundations. But the tares 
sprung up with the wheat, and the simple work of the 
gospel was marred by ill-regulated and fanatic zeal 
as well as illustrated by most remarkable conversions. 
In 1799, the revival commenced in the feeble and sparse 
settlements of Central and Western New York, and 
continued to extend during succeeding years. In 1802, 
the great revival of "Western Pennsylvania was almost 
contemporary with the erection of the Pittsburg Synod, 
and resulted in supplying it with not a few of its fu- 
ture missionaries. In North Carolina and a portion of 
South Carolina, in Western Virginia and in New Jer- 
sey, the opening years of the px*esent century were 
characterized by most remarkable outpourings of the 
Spirit. In repeated instances the face of society was 
changed. Churches almost extinct were restored to 
vigorous life. 

The General Assembly made glad and grateful men- 
tion of " the very extraordinary success" which in 
many places had attended the ordinances of the gospel. 
" From the East, from the West, from the North, and 
the South, the most pleasing intelligence" had (1802) 
been received. In 1803, there was (i scarcely a Presby- 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 449 

tery under the care of the Assembly from which most 
pleasing intelligence had not been announced;" and from 
some of them communications had been made which 
displayed illustriously "the triumphs of evangelical 
truth and the power of sovereign grace." In most of 
the Northern and Eastern Presbyteries, revivals had 
prevailed, but free from " bodily agitations or extra- 
ordinary affections." At tbe South and West there had 
been a more remarkable awakening, but characterized 
by some features " of the origin and nature of which" 
the Assembly declined to express its opinion. In 1804, 
there had been a marked advance in nearly all parts of 
the Church, the exceptional features of revival which 
objectors had magnified having been limited to a single 
portion of the field. Tbe report of 1805 was of a more 
varied character, and called attention to the excesses of 
the revival, — remarking that " true religion is a most 
rational and Scriptural thing." In 1806, while the 
Assembly felt constrained to bear testimony against 
Socinian error and reprehensible attempts to counter- 
feit the work of God, they could yet speak of the plea- 
sure with which they had heard of the general exten- 
sion and prosperity of the Church throughout the land. 
The narrative for 1807 speaks rather the language of ap- 
prehension and admonition than of gratulation. The 
reaction of the revivals of preceding years had produced 
its effects. But in 1808, although the Assembly found 
abundant " cause of sorrow and humiliation," and felt 
constrained, in view of the aspect of public affairs, to 
appoint for the observance of the churches a day of 
fasting and prayer, there was yet not a little which 
cheered them in the review of the year. At Newark a 
most powerful revival of religion had prevailed, under 
the labors of Dr. Griffin. The Synod of Albany had 
been also highly favored. 

In 1813, aftnr three or four years of steady growth, 



received the commendation of the Assembly were Yin- 
cent's Exposition of the Shorter Catechism, and Andrew 
Fuller's " Gospel worthy of all Acceptation," — the last 
a work appropriate for circulation in this country, in 
which Brainerd and Eliot — through the reading of 
whose lives and labors Fuller was led to adopt the 
sentiments it presents — had accomplished their noble 

But the advance of the Church during the period under 
review was largely due to the powerful revivals which 
pervaded almost every portion of the land. The move- 
ment had commenced in Kentucky in 1797, and for 
several years it continued to spread and deepen, till 
society was shaken to its foundations. But the tares 
sprung up with the wheat, and the simple work of the 
gospel was marred by ill-regulated and fanatic zeal 
as well as illustrated by most remarkable conversions. 
In 1799, the revival commenced in the feeble and sparse 
settlements of Central and Western New York, and 
continued to extend during succeeding years. In 1802, 
the great revival of Western Pennsylvania was almost 
contemporary with the erection of the Pittsburg Synod, 
and resulted in supplying it with not a few of its fu- 
ture missionaries. In North Carolina and a portion of 
South Carolina, in Western Virginia and in New Jer- 
sey, the opening years of the present century were 
characterized by most remarkable outpourings of the 
Spirit. In repeated instances the face of society was 
changed. Churches almost extinct were restored to 
vigorous life. 

The General Assembly made glad and grateful men- 
tion of " the very extraordinaiy success" which in 
many places had attended the ordinances of the gospel. 
" From the East, from the West, from the North, and 
the South, the most pleasing intelligence" had (1802) 
been received. In 1803, there was "scarcely a Presby- 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 449 

tery under the care of the Assembly from which most 
pleasing intelligence had not been announced ;" and from 
some of them communications had been made which 
displayed illustriously "the triumphs of evangelical 
truth and the power of sovereign grace." In most of 
the Northern and Eastern Presbyteries, revivals had 
prevailed, but free from " bodily agitations or extra- 
ordinary affections." At the South and West there had 
been a more remarkable awakening, but characterized 
by some features " of the origin and nature of which" 
the Assembly declined to express its opinion. In 1804, 
there had been a marked advance in nearly all parts of 
the Church, the exceptional features of revival which 
objectors had magnified having been limited to a single 
portion of the field. The report of 1805 was of a more 
varied character, and called attention to the excesses of 
the revival, — remarking that " true religion is a most 
rational and Scriptural thing." In 1806, while the 
Assembly felt constrained to bear testimony against 
Socinian error and reprehensible attempts to counter- 
feit the work of God, they could yet speak of the plea- 
sure with which they had heard of the general exten- 
sion and prosperity of the Church throughout the land. 
The narrative for 1807 speaks rather the language of ap- 
prehension and admonition than of gratulation. The 
reaction of the revivals of preceding years had produced 
its effects. But in 1808, although the Assembly found 
abundant " cause of sorrow and humiliation," and felt 
constrained, in view of the aspect of public affairs, to 
appoint for the observance of the churches a day of 
fasting and prayer, there was yet not a little which 
cheered them in the review of the year. At Newark a 
most powerful revival of religion had prevailed, under 
the labors of Dr. Griffin. The Synod of Albany had 
been also highly favored. 

In 1813, affc3r three or four years of steady growth, 



but characterized by few extended revivals, the Assem- 
bly was cheered by the report of " scenes resembling 
those of Pentecost," in various parts of the Church. 
Revivals had prevailed in the Presbyteries of Jersey, 
Hudson, Onondaga, and Albany, and to a considerable 
extent elsewhere. It was found that in four years the 
membership of the Church had increased nearly twenty- 
five per cent., — from about twenty-eight thousand in 
1809, to thirty-four thousand six hundred and twenty- 
four in 1813. 1 

The influence of the war, although deleterious, and 
bearing severely upon certain portions of the Church, 
was less disastrous than might have been anticipated. 
During its continuance, a day of fasting and prayer 
was annually appointed by the Assembly, and marked 
outpourings of the Spirit did not wholly cease. The 
Assemblies of 1814 and 1815, while constrained to speak 
in warning tones of the spread of intemperance and 
kindred vices, could recount also special favors enjoyed 
by the Church in various portions of the land. 

It is more than possible that the mention of intem- 
perance in this connection was due less to any unpre- 
cedented development of the evil than to the fact that 
public attention had recently been called to it in a 
special manner. For several years individuals in dif- 
ferent parts of the country had been reflecting anxiously 
upon the subject; but in 1811, by a concert of action, the 
General Assembly and the General Associations of Mas- 
sachusetts and Connecticut were led to appoint a com- 
mittee from each of their several bodies to co-operate 
in devising measures for preventing the numerous and 

1 Probably these numbers as reported are much below the actual 
membership. The additions in 1813 were unusually large, amount- 
ing to three thousand seven hundred and twenty-one. — Panoplist, 
ix. 93. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 451 

alarming evils of intemperance. In the sat:je year, one 
thousand copies of a pamphlet by Dr. Rush, entitled. 
"An Enquiry into the Effects of Ardent Spirits on the 
Human Body and Mind," were given (or presented) to the 
Assembly, to be divided among the members and by them 
distributed amons; the congregations. T a 1812, the 
committees appointed by the General Association of 
Connecticut and by the Assembly made their reports. 
The committee of the former body admitted the alarm- 
ing evils of intemperance, but confessed that they did 
not see that any thing could be done. Dr. Beecher, who 
was present, and who at recent ordinations of minis- 
ters had witnessed the extent to which the drinking- 
usages of the times had been sanctioned by ministerial 
example, 1 rose at once to propose the appointment of a 
committee who should report at that meeting the ways 
and means of arresting the tide of intemperance. As 
chairman of this committee, he penned their report, — 
"the most important paper," as he declared nearly half 
a century later, that he ever wrote. It glowed with 
the earnest eloquence characteristic of its author, and 
far and near produced a deep effect. 

The report adopted by the General Assembly was 
less extended, but was alike pertinent and practical. 
It sounded the note of alarm, which echoed abroad over 
the land and gave a powerful impulse to the cause of 
reform. It recommended to ministers " to preach as 
often as expedient on the sins and mischiefs of intempe- 
rate drinking, and to warn their hearers, both in public 
and private, of those habits and indulgences which may 
have a tendency to produce it." It enjoined special 
vigilance on the part of Sessions, the dissemination of 
addresses, sermons, and tracts on the subject, and the 

1 At the ordinations of Mr. Hart, of Plymouth, and Mr. Harvey, in 
Goshen, Conn. — Autobiography of Dr. L. Beecher. 


adoption of practical measures for reducing the number 
of places at which liquors were sold. It was in the 
light of facts which several years of observation had 
spread before the community, that the Assembly felt 
warranted to speak as they did of the alarming evils 
of intemperance. 

Other matters pertaining to the cause of sound morals 
claimed the attention of the Assembly. The death of 
Hamilton, who fell in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804, 
thrilled the nation with horror. In the Synod of New 
York and New Jersey, Dr. Beecher — against strong 
political influences — secured the solemn condemnation 
of any indulgence or toleration of the "code of honor." 
The Presbytery of Baltimore instructed its commis- 
sioners, in 1805, to endeavor to engage the Assembly to 
recommend to its ministers to refuse to officiate at the 
funeral of any one who was known to have been con- 
cerned in a duel or had given or accepted a challenge. 
The Assembly, in reply, expressed its utter abhorrence 
of the practice of duelling, pronounced it " a remnant 
of Gothic barbarism," " a presumptuous and highly 
criminal appeal to God as the Sovereign Judge," " in- 
consistent with every just principle of moral conduct," 
"a violation of the sixth commandment," and a thing to 
be utterly discountenanced. They complied fully, more- 
over, with the request of the Presbytery of Baltimore, 
and recommended that no one who had been concerned 
in a duel, unless he had given unequivocal proof of re- 
pentance, should be admitted to the distinguishing pri- 
vileges of the Church. 1 

In the Assembly of 1815, the slavery question, which 

1 In 1805, several slight amendments — mainly verbal — of the Form 
of Government, vrhich had been submitted to the Presbyteries by the 
Assembly of the previous year, were found to have been approved 
by a majority of the Presbyteries, and were, consequently, adopted. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1S00-1815. 453 

had been left undisturbed for twenty years, was again 
Introduced. It was brought to the notice of the As- 
sembly by the petitions of certain elders who enter- 
tained conscientious scruples on the subject of holding 
slaves, and of the Synod of Ohio, asking a deliverance 
of the Assembly upon the subject of buying and selling 
slaves. The report on the subject, after being read and 
amended, was as follows : — 

" The General Assembly have repeatedly declared 
their cordial approbation of those principles of civil 
liberty which appear to be recognized by the Federal 
and State Governments in these United States. They 
have expressed their regret that the slavery of the 
Africans and of their descendants still continues in so 
many places, and even among those within the pale of 
the Church, and have urged the Presbyteries under their 
care to adopt such measures as will secure at least to 
the rising generation of slaves, within the bounds of 
the Church, a religious education ; that they maybe pre- 
pared for the exercise and enjoyment of liberty when 
God in his providence may open a door for their emanci- 
pation." The petitioners are then referred to the action 
of the Synod of 1787, republished by the Assembly of 
1793, and to the action of the Assembly of 1795. To 
the first petition this was considered a sufficient answer; 
but as to the second, from the Synod of Ohio, " the As- 
sembly observe that, although in some sections of our 
country, under certain circumstances, the transfer of 
slaves may be unavoidable, yet they consider the buying 
and selling of slaves by way of traffic, and all undue 
severity in the management of them, as inconsistent 
with the spirit of the gospel. And they recommend it 
to the Presbyteries and Sessions under their care to 
make use of all prudent measures to prevent such 
shameful and unrighteous conduct." 

One of the most perplexing matters which during this 


period was brought before the Assembly was the policy 
to be adopted with reference to the Synod of Kentucky. 
The powerful revival which had prevailed for some time 
within the bounds of that Synod was without a pre- 
cedent in the history of the Church. From a state of 
almost hopeless decline, the churches were aroused to 
unexampled activity. The power of a hitherto pre- 
valent infidelity was paralyzed. The spell of worldli- 
ness was broken. The hardened, the blasphemer, the 
skeptic, the atheist, were smitten with conviction; and 
hundreds, if not thousands, were added to the member- 
ship of the churches. 

But the work was chai^acterized by extraordinary 
manifestations, of which the more conservative ministers 
could not approve. The "Bodily Exercises," of various 
kinds, began to prevail as the work progressed, till in 
some minds they came to be regarded as its inseparable 
adjuncts. The enthusiasm of some, and the fanaticism 
of others, carried them beyond the limits of discretion. 
Uneducated but zealous men began to exhort, and at 
length to assume the work of preachers. The demand 
for their labors — increased by the revival — perplexed 
the Presbytery. To license them might flood the Church 
with inexperienced men, who would do mischief. To 
refuse them license or approbation as catechists or ex- 
horters might be not only regarded as invidious, but as 
opposing the progress of the revival. " Father" Eice 
wrote a letter to the Assembly (1804), asking advice. 
The reply was cautious and discreet. It pointed out the 
dangers to be apprehended from introducing unedu- 
cated men hastily into the ministry, yet allowed the 
Presbytery to sanction catechists and exhorters, if men 
of sound judgment, over whom the Presbytery was to 
keep careful watch and supervision. 

But the mischief apprehended had already taken 
place. The Presbytery and the Synod were divided into 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 455 

two parties in reference to the question; and to such an 
extent had they been carried in their zeal that friendly 
co-operation was no longer possible. Messrs. Blythe, 
Lyle, and Stuart, members of tbe Synod, applied to the 
Assembly (1804) for advice as to the course to be pur- 
sued for healing the breach. In response, Drs. Hall 
and Green and Eev. Mr. Marquis were appointed a 
committee to meet and confer with the Synod at their 
next meeting. The report of this committee in the fol- 
lowing year showed that the grievances of the seceding 
brethren consisted in what they regarded as the viola- 
tion of their own rules by the majority of the Synod, 
and the fatalism taught in the Confession of Faith. In 
their own defence the Synod had addressed themselves 
to their churches in their own vindication, exposing 
the inconsistency of those who would reject the use of 
creeds and disregard the authority of the judicatories 
of the Church. 

The Assembly approved of the course pursued by the 
Synod, as " firm and temperate ;" but it was felt — whe- 
ther justly or not — that the evil had already gone too 
far to be reached by any measure which might be adopted 
either by the Synod or Assembly. Yet in the follow- 
ing year (1805), the " Presbytery of Cumberland" ad- 
dressed the Assembly a letter of complaint, which the 
latter characterized in their reply as " respectful and 
interesting," while they disclaimed any intention to 
cast reproach on the revival or upon those who were 
connected with it. But the irregularities of the Pres- 
bytery on several points invited the reprehension of the 
Synod ; and the latter, by extraordinary measures, en- 
deavored to put a stop to these irregularities. To some 
of these measures the Assembly took exceptions (1807), 
and advised the Synod to review them. In reply to 
the aggrieved members of Cumberland Presbytery, the 
Assembly could only say tbat, had their case enme up 


before them properly by way of appeal, the desired re 
lief might perhaps have been afforded. 

But already the hope of reconciling the parties at 
variance had vanished. The Assembly itself was not 
unanimous in regard to the policy to be pursued. 
Some — and among them Dr. Dwight — were strenuous 
in vindication of the cause of the Synod. Others — 
like Dr. Wilson, of Philadelphia — felt that a judicious 
combination of leniency and decision might have 
healed the breach and prevented the Cumberland se- 
cession. But as the latter became conscious of their 
own strength, and were largely sustained by popular 
sympathy, they became less and less disposed to seek 
a restoration to the communion of the Presbyterian 
Church. At length, in 1814, the Assembly, in response 
to the inquiry how those who had belonged to the late 
Presbytery of Cumberland, but who upon its dissolution 
had erected themselves into a new one, should be treated, 
replied that they should be viewed as " having derived 
no authority from us for the exercise of discipline, 
&c," and that " our regular members cannot treat with 
them as a body, but only as individuals." Such was 
the origin of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. 

Notwithstanding all the adverse influences exerted 
by the fanaticism, extravagances, and irregularities of 
the Kentucky revival, and the effects of the war, with 
the political passions and party zeal which preceded 
and accompanied it, the period under review was for 
the Presbyterian Church in this country one of steady 
and even rapid progress. It was characterized to a re- 
markable extent by a spontaneous missionary activity. 
Local as well as more general societies for the distri- 
bution of Bibles, tracts, and religious books, or for send- 
ing out missionaries to the destitute, were organized. 
New York and Philadelphia had each a city missionary 
society, the first organized in 1809, and the latter in 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1315. 457 

1807-8. The Church Session of Savannah, under the 
labors of the gifted Kollock, generously made provision 
(1810) for the support of two missionaries — one the Eev. 
Mr. Storrs, of Massachusetts, who had just completed 
his theological course at Andover — in the interior of the 
State of Georgia. In all parts of the land there was 
more or less of this disposition to volunteer mission- 
ary effort. In New Brunswick (1810) a Sabbath-school 
was established for the gratuitous instruction of poor 
children in moral and religious truth; and the fact was 
deemed so important as to be made a subject of grateful 
mention by the Assembly of 1811. The devoted Pat- 
terson of Philadelphia heard of it, and introduced the 
system of Sunday-schools into his own church; and in 
a few years more it had become general throughout the 

The evidence of progress w T as evinced also by the in- 
crease in the number of Presbyteries, the organization 
of new churches, and the constant increase in the ag- 
gregate membership. In 1801, the four Synods num- 
bered twenty-eight Presbyteries, with probably not far 
from two hundred and twenty-five ministers, and four 
hundred and fifty churches. In 1815, there had been an 
increase of nearly one hundred per cent. In 1801, Erie 
Presbytery was erected. In 1802, Columbia, Oneida, 
and Cumberland; in 1805, Geneva; in 1808, Hartford 
and Lancaster; in 1809, Jersey and Harmony; in 1810, 
Cayuga, Onondaga, West Tennessee, Muhlenberg, and 
Miami; in 1811, Northumberland; in 1812, Fayetteville; 
in 1814, Grand Eiver and Champlain; and in 1815, Louis- 
ville and Mississippi, were successively erected ; and the 
summary for the latter year embraced forty-one Pres- 
byteries, five hundred and twenty ministers, eight hun- 
dred and fifty-nine churches, and thirty-nine thousand 
six hundred and eighty-five members. A full report 

Vol. I.— 39 


would doubtless have added at least five per cent, to 
the number of ministers, churches, and members. 

This was certainly a most rapid growth ; but it had 
not overtaken the wants of the mission-field. As the 
circle of light expanded, it was encompassed by a still 
more extended circumference of darkness. The ex- 
plorations of Messrs. Mills and Schermerhorn, who in 
1812 and 1813, under the patronage of the Massachu- 
setts and other missionary societies, visited the Western 
and Southwestern frontier of the field, afford us some 
feeble idea, at least, of the destitutions which prevailed. 
They went prepared to examine and to report back to 
the Eastern churches the necessities of the region they 
traversed, and the measures to be adopted for its supply. 
The statistics which they gave constituted the most 
eloquent appeal for enlarged effort. 

In Pennsylvania west of the Alleghanies there was 
a population of about two hundred thousand inhabit- 
ants, and one hundred and one Presb} T terian churches. 
In Ohio, with a population of three hundred and thirty 
thousand, there were seventy-eight Presbyterian and 
Congregational churches and forty-nine ministers. In 
Virginia, with a population little short of a million, 
there were about seventy Presbyterian churches and 
forty ministers. Old Virginia, as it was called, — the 
portion of the State lying on the seaboard, — was repre- 
sented as in a deplorably destitute condition. Three- 
fourths of the entire State exhibited " an extensive 
and dreary waste." West of the Alleghanies it had 
but twelve Presbyterian churches and three ministers. 
Kentucky, with a population of four hundred thousand, 
had ninety-one Presbyterian churches and forty minis- 
ters. Three infidel publications were issued from the 
press in Lexington. Of the two hundred and ninety- 
three Baptist societies in the State, quite a large num- 
ber were Arian or Socinian. Tennessee, with a popu- 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1315. 459 

lation of more than two hundred and sixty thousand, 
had seventy-nine Presbyterian churches and twenty- 
six ministers. At its two colleges, one at Ivnoxville and 
the other in Green county, several students were prepar- 
ing for the ministry. Here also was organized the only 
missionary society west of the Alleghanies, except the 
Synod of Pittsburg. The State of Louisiana, with a 
population of seventy-seven thousand whites and thirty- 
five thousand blacks, had not a single organized Pres- 
byterian church. This was the case also with Mis- 
souri Territory, with a scattered population of twenty- 
one thousand. At New Orleans, Mr. Schermerhorn 
preached to a congregation of two hundred persons, 
and regretted that he could not accept their invitation 
to remain and labor among them. 

Mississippi Territory, with a population of fifty-eight 
thousand, had but six Presbyterian churches and four 
ministers. "The state of society" was " deplorable." 
It was believed " that more innocent blood was shed in 
this Territory and in Louisiana in one year than in all 
the Middle and Eastern States in ten years \" 

Indiana Territory ivas in no better condition in 
respect to religious destitution. With twenty -five thou- 
sand inhabitants, it had but one Presbyterian church 
and minister. Illinois Territory, with thirteen thou- 
sand inhabitants, could not lay claim to be represented 
by a single church or minister of the Presbyterian deno- 

This whole region thus surveyed was, for the most 
part, one great missionary field. It did not contain 
two-thirds as many ministers, Presbyterian and Con- 
gregational, as were to be found in the single State of 
Massachusetts. In some portions of it the Baptists and 
Methodists were quite numerous; but many of their 
preachers were utterly unqualified for their work, and 
in some cases their influence was disastrous rather 


than otherwise. Yet it was in these destitute fields 
that the largest future advance of the Church was 
already anticipated. In many of the older portions 
of the country there had been not only no positive in- 
crease, hut in some there had been in fact an actual 
loss.- In Virginia quite a number of the early churches 
were falling to decay. Too feeble without aid to sup- 
port a pastor, they sank for years into a gradual de- 
cline. "I think the state of religion in this country," 
says Dr. Bice, in a letter to Dr. Alexander (Jan. 1810), 
" worse by some degrees than when you left it. Pres- 
byterian congregations are decreasing every year, and 
appear as if they would dwindle to nothing." This was 
also the case, to a considerable extent, on the Eastern 
Shore of Maryland, and in Delaware. Central Penn- 
sylvania was depleted by emigration ; and some of 
the oldest churches were reduced to great feebleness. 
New Jersey was steadily but yet slowly gaining ; while 
in Western Pennsylvania the growth was rapid. In 
Western New York, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, 
the Church received large accessions. 

The funds at the command of the Assembly were 
scant indeed. The annual expenditure during this 
period for missions rarely exceeded two thousand five 
hundred dollars, and sometimes came far short of it. 
Yet the funds were judiciously applied. The salary of 
the missionary was sometimes thirty-three dollars per 
month, at others one dollar per day and his expenses. 
At length, forty dollars per month was allowed : yet it 
was not always accepted. It is impossible to peruse 
the reports of missionaries to the Assembly without a 
deep impression of the self-denying generosity of men 
who for the merest pittance were willing to brave all 
the hardships of the wilderness, and exposure to storm 
and fatigue, in order to accomplish their missionary 
work. There is more than is expressed to the eye in 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 461 

such statements as these : — that Mr. Chapman (of Ge- 
neva) " received forty -five dollars and thirty-two cents, 
travelled two thousand miles, and preached above one 
hundred sermons ;" — that John Lindley, absent for four 
months, " baptized eleven children, preached ninety-six 
times, and received twelve dollars and fifty cents •" — 
that Mr. Coe (of Troy) "served as a missionary for six 
weeks, and received three dollars and seventy-five and 
a half cents;" — that James Hall, missionary to the 
Mississippi Territory, " served on his mission seven 
months and thirteen days, and received eighty-six 
dollars." Behind the dry statistical facts of the com- 
mittee lie hidden whole chapters of welcome hardship, 
of heroic self-denial, and of results achieved enduring 
yet, the history of which no human pen can fairly trace, 
but whose " record is on high." 

There was an urgent demand during this whole 
period for an increase in the number of ministers. The 
field was white for the harvest, but the laborers could 
not be procured. This lack of men fitted for pastoral 
and missionary work was felt to be a serious and 
growing evil. In 1805 it was brought before the As- 
sembly by an overture from the pen of Dr. Ashbel 
Green. " Give us ministers, such" — it declared, — " is 
the cry of the missionary region ; Give us ministers, 
is the importunate entreaty of our numerous and in- 
creasing vacancies; Give us ministers, is the demand of 
many large and important congregations in our most 
populous cities and towns." Weak and illiterate minis- 
ters could not supply the want or meet the emergency. 
Pious but educated men were needed; and a problem 
of the first importance was, How can they be secured ? 

The first thing proposed was an effort, by means of 
increased salaries, to remove discouragements of a tem- 
poral kind, especially the fear of inadequate support, 
which prevented young men from entering the ministry. 



The other was a plan to be adopted by the Assembly 
for requiring the Presbyteries to do what lay in their 
power in the way of seeking out and assisting proper 
candidates. The overture was laid over till another 
year, and recommended to the attention of the Pres- 
byteries. In 1806, their replies were received; and the 
general unanimity which they manifested warranted 
the Assembly in earnestly recommending, to every 
Presbytery under their care, increased endeavors on 
their part to bring forward a larger " number of pro- 
mising candidates for the holy ministry." They were 
to urge the subject upon the attention of the congre- 
gations. Parents of pious youth were to be exhorted 
to educate them for the Church, and the youth them- 
selves were to be persuaded "to devote their talents 
and their lives to this sacred calling." Vigorous exer- 
tions were to be made to raise funds for their support, 
and reports of their success were to be annually for- 
warded to the Assembly. 

A letter from the trustees of the College of New 
Jersey was also (1806) recommended to the attention 
of the Presbyteries. It stated that they had "made 
the most generous provision for the support and in- 
struction of theological students." They might pursue 
their studies at Princeton " at the moderate charge of 
one dollar a week for board, and enjoy the assistance 
of the President and Professor of Theology, without 
any fee for instruction." 

The overture of Dr. Green may be perhaps regarded 
as the germ of the project which issued in the establish- 
ment of Princeton Theological Seminary. Nothing, 
however, was publicly spoken with direct reference to 
such an institution until it was mentioned in the open- 
ing Assembly of 1808, by Dr. Alexander. Encoiuaged 
by the favor with which the suggestion was received, 
the Presbytery of Philadelphia, at the instance of Dr. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1S00-1815. 463 

Green, brought the subject, by overture, to the atten- 
tion of the Assembly of 1809. It is probable that the 
success of the institution at Andover, which had been 
recently established, and which already numbered thirty- 
six students, was a weighty argument in favor of the 
project. The Assembly, after mature deliberation, deter- 
mined to submit to the Presbyteries three plans for the 
promotion of theological education, and to adopt that 
which the reports of the following year should desig- 
nate as preferable. These plans were — first, the establish- 
ment of "one great school" in some central position; 
secondly, the establishment of two, one for the North- 
ern and the other for the Southern portion of the 
Church ; and thirdly, one for each Synod. The reports 
made to the Assembly of 1810 showed that the first of 
these plans was preferred; and steps were immediately 
taken for carrying it out. A committee was appointed 
to draft the constitution of the proposed seminary; and 
upon Dr. Green, as the chairman of the committee, the 
task of doing it devolved. Adopted by the Assembly 
(1811) with slight alterations, vigorous measures were 
taken to endow the institution. The first meeting of 
the directors was held June 30, 1812, and the corner- 
stone was laid September 26, 1815. 1 

1 After adopting this plan of the Seminary, the General Assembly 
•which met in 1811 did little more than take measures for collecting 
funds for the proposed institution, by appointing a number of agents 
in all the Synods for that purpose. They also appointed a com- 
mittee to confer with the trustees of the College of New Jersey, at 
Princeton, respecting any facilities and privileges which the said 
trustees might be disposed to give to a theological seminary if 
located at Princeton. 

At the meeting of the next Assembly (1812) the location of the 
Seminary was fixed at Princeton, a board of directors was elected, 
and Dr. Alexander was appointed Professor of Didactic and Polemic 
Theology. The first meeting of the directors was held at Princeton, 
cn the last Tuesday of June. On August 12, Dr. Alexander was 


But the institution had already commenced its ses- 
sions. Early in 1814, the number of its students 
amounted to twenty-four : yet its state was pronounced 
to be " at once promising and critical," and its friends 
were exhorted to continue their efforts for its endow- 
ment. Year after year the attention of the Assembly 
was directed toward measures for procuring funds, and 
the ablest and best ministers of the Church were engaged 
in the task of soliciting contributions. The cause met 
with general acceptance, and even favor, and from every 
direction contributions were received. The amount for 
the year closing May, 1813, was not far from twenty- 
four thousand dollars. 

A survey of the Church at the close of this period 
(1815) will bring to view some of the leading minds by 
which its policy was shaped and its success promoted. 
In New England were Samuel Taggart, a member of 
the Londonderry Presbytery, and pastor of Coleraine, 
Mass., for many years a member of Congress, a man 
of most remarkable memory and rigid logic ; Dr. 
Daniel Dana, of Newburyport, and Morrison, of Lon- 
donderry, the last a model pastor, strict without 
austerity, and fervent without enthusiasm, sound in 
judgment, independent in thought, searching as a 
preacher, and as impressive in his sermons as in his 
prayers. In New York were Dr. Samuel Blatchford, of 
Lansingburg, trained as an English Independent, re- 
spectable as a scholar, kindred in spirit with Dwight 

inaugurated. At this time, on the opening of the institution, the 
number of students was three. In May of the following year (1813) 
it was eight. The Assembly then elected Dr. Miller, of New York, 
Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government, and he 
was inaugurated September 29. The seminary was now located 
permanently at Princeton. In the autumn of 1817, the edifice for 
the students was first occupied. It was of stone, one hundred and 
fifty feet long, fifty broad, and four stories high. — Dr. Miller, in 
Am. Quar. Register, x. 35. 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1§0<)-1815. 465 

and Edwards, with whom he was for years associated, 
of a large Christian heart, the friend of learning, phi- 
lanthropy, and missions, and instructive and sometimes 
powerful in the pulpit; Jonas Coe, of Troy, great in 
character rather than in intellect, wit, or eloquence, pure- 
minded, judicious, and the model of the Christian gen- 
tleman; David Porter, of Catskill, eccentric, but land, 
tender-hearted, of exquisite sensibility, a man of sharp 
discrimination, original thought, clear judgment, and a 
master in theology; President Nott, of Union Collegej 
then in the zenith of his fame and the vigor of his 
powers, eminent as a scholar, an orator, and a teacher; 
Aaron Woolworth, of Bridgehampton, L.I., discreet, 
benevolent, modest, but with heart and lips that amid 
revival scenes seemed as if touched by " a live coal from 
off the altar," and with a daily life that in the fra- 
grance of goodness was " as ointment poured forth ;" 
and M. L. Perrine, Gardiner Spring, and John B. Bo- 
meyn, of New York City; the first "the beloved dis- 
ciple," "wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove;" the 
second in the flush of youthful enthusiasm, but faithful 
to the purpose which diverted him from the bar to the 
pulpit and has now crowned his age with the memories 
of a successful pastorate ; the latter, with rich stores of 
knowledge, a sprightly, active intellect, a ready utter- 
ance, but with an earnestness of tone, manner, and 
gesture which dissipated all doubts of his sincerity, and 
gave to the tide of his discourse the force of a torrent. 
In New Jersey were Eichards and Griffin, of Newark, 
— the former practical, sagacious, discreet, carrying his 
unfeigned piety with him into every sphere, a safe 
guide, a trusted counsellor, and devoted pastor, the 
latter physically and intellectually a giant, just returned 
from his battle w T ith the Anakims of Boston Unitarian- 
ism; Ashbel Green, President of New Jersey College, 
of sound rather than sprightly intellect, sternly con- 


scientious even if wrong-headed, persistent in purpose, 
with theories that were convictions, and with convic- 
tions that were acts, — grave, dignified, courteous, leav- 
ing no man in mistake as to his aims, opinions, or posi- 
tions, however objectionable, and with a pride of cha- 
racter and standing that none might call in question; 
Archibald Alexander, lovely in mind and person, idol- 
ized alike as pastor and teacher, in the pulpit fascinat- 
ing rather than impressive, and destined for more than 
thirty years yet, as theological professor at Princeton, 
to shape the views, character, and destiny of hundreds 
of the pastors of the Church ; and Samuel Miller, the 
Christian gentleman, the model of urbane and dignified 
deportment, with a consistent piety, a sound judgment, 
and a balance of character which exempted him alike 
from the brilliancy and the infirmities of genius, yet 
fitted him admirably to serve as the compeer of Alex- 
ander in training up an educated ministry. 

In Pennsylvania were Wilson, Janeway, Skinner, 
Potts, and Patterson, of Philadelphia; the first liberal 
in spirit, profound in scholarship, unanswerable in 
argumentation ; the second, of fair abilities and careful 
culture, a faithful pastor and discreet preacher; the 
third, just entering upon a ministry of long-continued 
and extended usefulness, and already giving earnest, in 
his " pungent appeals," of the force of truth pressed 
home by a clear logic and a glowing heart ; the fourth, 
a practical worker, pastor of a church built up by his 
own efforts, kindly, judicious, sympathizing, and liberal- 
minded ; the last, all this and far more, — a man who in 
dealing with sin and proclaiming the terrors of the law 
might almost be said to speak thunder and gesticulate 
lightning, and who seemed to draw his vital breath in the 
atmosphere of revival; F. A. Latta, of Chesnut Level, 
a poet, a classical scholar, and an orator; Wm. Paxton, 
of Lower Marsh Creek, modest, affectionate, untiring 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1800-1815. 467 

in pastoral duty, his tall, manly frame a fit index to his 
large heart; Henry R. Wilson, of Carlisle, as pastor or 
professor, ever active, energetic, enterprising; Samuel 
Porter, of Eedstone Presbytery, the Patrick Henry of 
the pulpit, a man who had the boldness, tact, and elo- 
quence that enabled him successfully to confront the 
Whiskey insurrectionists of 1794 on their own ground, 
and who with the advantages of early culture might 
have taken his place among the foremost metaphysicians 
and scholars of the age ; Andrew Wylie, President of 
Jefferson College ; John McMillan, of Chartiers, — the 
patriarch of the Presbytery, the father of Canonsburg 
Academy and Jefferson College, impetuous and almost 
irresistible in his appeals and denunciations; Matthew 
Brown, successively President of Washington and Jef- 
ferson Colleges, if impetuous and hasty, yet never 
shrinking or timid ; Macurdy, of Cross Eoads, intensely 
practical, but intensely devoted to his work, the friend 
of missions, and a powerful revivalist; Marquis, "the 
silver-tongued," of Cross Creek, whose voice was music, 
and whose art of persuasion was wellnigh perfect; and 
James Hughes, a faithful pastor, a scholar, a philanthro- 
pist, for years a superintendent of the Indian missions, 
and finally President of Miami University. 

Returning eastward of the Alleghanies, we find at 
Wilmington, Del., Thomas Read, none the less vene- 
rable that he retains the manners, dress, and even wig 
of the olden time, — an example of hospitality, sym- 
pathizing with every form of benevolence, a pastor 
and yet a missionary, retaining still the sympathies of 
his youth, and as devoted to the Church as he had been 
to his country ; at Baltimore, Inglis and Glendy, the 
first a most accomplished orator, charming every 
listener by the elegance — sometimes excessive — of 
his rhetoric, and the grace of his utterance, but falling 
short of that higher standard which Cowper commends; 


the last, an Irish exile, and in every sermon betraying 
his national relationship to the Irish orators represented 
by Counsellor Phillips, and in his daily intercourse, 
and even in the pulpit, venting his Irish wit and humor, 
yet never forgetful of the character and manners of a 
Christian gentleman j at Georgetown, the humorous 
but sensible, shrewd, and genial Balch ; at Alexandria, 
James Muir, with his staid Scotch gravity and dignity, 
kind-hearted, studious, Biblical in his preaching, spot- 
less in reputation, and called, in reference to his stature 
as well as his meekness, "the little Moses." 

In connection with the Synod of Virginia, we find 
Moses Hoge, President of Hampden-Sidney and Pro- 
fessor of Theology, — in the pulpit ungraceful and even 
uncouth in manner, but with a mind of uncommon 
vigor, well disciplined and richly stored; James Mit- 
chel and his youthful colleague James Turner, at the 
Peaks of Otter, the first animated, fervent, sometimes 
quaint in the plans of his discourses, but suffering 
nothing to- divert his aim from the heart and conscience; 
the latter, master of " soul-stirring, tear-drawing elo- 
quence ;" John H. Pice, at Richmond, with his varied 
scholarship, fervent piety, practical talent, and lovely 
spirit; George A. Baxter, President of "Washington 
College, and pastor of Lexington and New Monmouth, 
a man as modest as he was great, with an understand- 
ing comprehensive, profound, clear, and logical, a me- 
mory wonderfully retentive, a judgment that rarely 
erred, and a fervent emotion which it needed but the 
occasion to evoke ; Conrad Speece, of Augusta, with all 
his wit and drollery, a giant in intellect as well as per- 
son, and insatiable in his thirst for knowledge; and, 
besides these, not a few who had caught the spirit of 
the great revival at Hampden-Sidney, or had been con- 
verted under its influence. 

Still farther to the South, we meet with the venerablo 

GENERAL ASSEMBLE, 1800-1815. 469 

David Caldwell, long a patriarch among the churches 
of North Carolina, — learned, pious, patriotic, a Revolu- 
tionary whig, a genial friend and trusty counsellor as 
well as successful teacher and able preacher ; Robert 
H. Chapman, President, and Joseph Caldwell, Professor, 
of the State University, both from New Jersey, and 
men of sterling worth ; James Hall, of Bethany, a man 
of rare gifts, and, with his magnificent person and his 
hoary head, — " a crown of glory," — the beau-ideal 
of nature's nobleman, — untiring in missionary zeal, 
and shrinking from no hardship ; Andrew Flinn, of 
Charleston, as attractive in the pulpit as unwearied in 
his pastorate, winning not only by the charm of his elo- 
quence, but by his grace of manner; Moses Waddel, 
of "Wellington, eminent as a teacher, subsequently Pre- 
sident of Georgia University, a man whose prayerful, 
beneficent, and useful life well earned him the epithet 
"blessing and to be blessed;" Francis Cummins, to 
whom the people for hundreds of miles around looked 
as their missionary pastor, — a profound theologian, an 
original thinker, and in the pulpit impressing on every 
hearer his own deep reverence; and, eminent among 
many others, John Brown, for several years Professor 
in Oglethorpe University, and pastor at different 
periods of several churches, — humble, unassuming, con- 
fiding, with the law of kindness on his tongue, and 
called by some of his parishioners "our Apostle John,' 1 
— opening his lips to pour forth a clear, silvery stream 
of evangelical instruction, rich with the stores of ample 
learning and personal experience. 

Beyond the mountains, and in the new States of the 
West, there were men who had been, or eventually 
were to be, heard of on the Atlantic slope, — men like 
Blackburn, Henderson, Coffin, Ramsey, and Anderson, 
of Tennessee, Rice, Cunningham, Balch, Blythe, Nel- 

Vol. L— 40 


son, Stuart, and Cleland, of Kentucky, and Hoge, Gilli- 
land, and the Wilsons, of Ohio. 

Such were the men who held, in the concluding por- 
tion of the period under review, the foremost place in 
directing the councils and carrying into effect the 
policy of the Church. We may indeed regard them as 
representative men. Not a few of their co-presbyters, 
in humbler spheres or more remote fields of labor, were 
full as worthy, full as gifted as themselves; and pos- 
sibly more self-denying. An obscure parish could en- 
joy then, with less fear of molestation than now, the 
gifts and graces of their favorite pastor. Hence, in 
quiet country neighborhoods, or perhaps supporting 
themselves in part by labor on the farm or in the work 
of instruction, many wei*e to be found whose names 
might have graced a more resplendent record than the 
Session-book or the list of Presbytery, but whose work 
has proved not less valuable, enduring, or important, 
that the only star that hovers over their names is that 
which college catalogues affix in token of the dead. 

Yet the men who have been enumerated, while some 
of them, of course, take rank above their less distin- 
guished brethren in natural gifts, intellectual culture, 
and the graces of eloquence, were fair representatives 
of the liberal spirit, enlarged policy, and consecrated 
aims of the Church. These were the men whose wis- 
dom framed and whose energy executed the plans 
which resulted in equipping the Church more fully for 
her mission, enlarging, or perhaps new-creating, the 
means of ministerial education, and perfecting measures 
for aggressive evangelical effort. They were by no 
means fully accordant on all theological points; but 
they were kindred in spirit and harmonious in effort. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 471 


PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 

At the commencement of the present century, the 
Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania was represented 
by the six Presbyteries of Philadelphia, Carlisle, Hun- 
tingdon, Redstone, Erie, and Ohio, — the three last con- 
nected with the Synod of Virginia. The Presbytery 
of Philadelphia consisted of eighteen ministers and 
about twenty churches ; that of Carlisle, of eighteen 
ministers and twenty-nine churches; that of Hunting- 
don, of twelve ministers and thirty-seven churches; that 
of Redstone, of about twelve ministers and thirty 
churches; that of Erie, of about eight ministers and 
thirty churches; while that of Ohio numbered 1 eighteen 
ministers and over thirty churches. The aggregate 
within the bounds of the State amounted to not far 
from eighty-two ministers and nearly one hundred and 
eighty churches. Of these, in repeated instances, two 
or three were united to form a single pastoral charge; 
while nearly half the number were vacant. 

For several years the principal growth of the Church 
was in the western portion of the State. Immigration 
was multiplying the new settlements, while the eastern 
and central portions were depleted of their natural in- 
crease to swell the tide that was drifting toward Ohio 
and the regions South and West, and furnishing on the 
frontier '-the seeds of new congregations." 2 The popu- 
lation of the State increased from 1800 to 1810 at the 

i N. Y. Miss. Mag., 1801. 2 Minutes for 1807, p. 382. 


rate of thirty-three per cent., and from 1810 to 1820 at 
the rate of twenty-five per cent., amounting at the last 
date to a little over one million of inhabitants. 

The increase of the Church was not greatly dispro- 
portioned to that of the population. The ministers 
had increased from eighty-two to one hundred and 
thirty-five, and the congregations from nearly one 
hundred and eighty to two hundred and eighty. The 
growth had been most rapid in the region around Pitts- 
burg. Western immigration, spreading along the Ohio 
valley and the lines of the tributaries of that river, 
had begun to develop the vast resources of the West; 
and the southwestern portion of Pennsylvania shared 
in the impetus thus given to industrial and commercial 

In 1820, there were nine Presbyteries, mostly within 
the bounds of the State. Of these, Philadelphia, Car- 
lisle, Huntingdon, and Northumberland were connected 
with the Synod of Philadelphia, while Eedstone, Ohio, 
Erie, Steubenville, and Washington were connected 
with the Synod of Pittsburg. To these was added in 
1820 the Presbytery of Alleghany. 

The Presbytery of Philadelphia, which in 1800 had 
eighteen ministers and twenty congregations, had now 
twenty-six ministers and thirty-seven congregations. 1 
At Fairfield (X.J.) was Ethan Osborn, whose pastorate 
here was already one of more than twenty years, 2 and 
was to continue some fifteen years longer. At Bridge- 
ton and Greenwich (N.J.), Jonathan Freeman, who had 
been settled at Newburgh (N.Y.) for eight years, com- 
menced his labors as pastor in 1805. and remained in 
the pastorate until his death in 1822. 

1 The report for 1819 in the Assembly's minutes is the authority 
on which I have had mainly to rely for the following year. 

2 Settled previous to 1795. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1S00-1S20. 473 

Hie predecease rs in the pastorate were George Fai- 
toute ■ and William Clarkson. 2 At Allen's Township 
(Allentown) was Robert Russell, who succeeded Francis 
Peppard in the pastorate previous to 1800, and who had 
been laboring here, therefore, for more than twenty 
years. At Deep Run 3 and Doylestown was Uriah Du- 
bois, a descendant of Louis Dubois, a Huguenot refugee 
who settled at New Paltz in Ulster county, N.Y., in 1660. 
He was himself a native of New Jersey, a graduate of 
the University of Pennsylvania in 1790, a theological 
pupil of Dr. Ashbel Green, and in 1796 a licentiate of 
the Presbytery of Philadelphia. He was installed, 
Dec. 16, 1798, as pastor of the churches of Deep Run 
and Tinicum ; but, resigning the latter in 1804, he re- 
moved from Deep Run to Doylestown, where he be- 
came Principal of a large and flourishing school, and 
where also he established a Presbyterian congregation, 
to which, in connection with that of Deep Run, he con- 
tinued to minister to the close of his life, Sept. 10, 1821. 
He was a man of great energy and industry, an excel- 
lent classical scholar, an accomplished instructor, and 
an earnest and attractive preacher. 4 His successor for 
a short period was Charles Hyde. 

At Great Valley and Charlestown was William Latta, 
the successor of John Simonton and John Gemmil. He 
was a son of James Latta, and a graduate of Pennsyl- 
vania University in 1794. In 1799 4 he was installed, 
and his pastorate continued until February, 1847, when 
he had nearly completed his fourscore years. 5 He was 
a fine scholar and a graceful writer. 

In the city of Philadelphia, the pastors of the Pres- 

1 Assembly's Minutes for 1789. 

2 Assembly's Minutes for 1800. 

3 James Latta was pastor here from 1761 to 1770. 

4 Sprague, iii 200. 5 Sp ra gue, iii. 205. 



byterian churches in 1820 were Drs. Wilson, Jane way, 
Ely, Potts, Skinner, and Neill; while John Gloucester 
had charge of the African Church. The pastorate of 
James Patriot Wilson over the First Church extended 
from May, 1806, to the spring of 1830. Dr. Ewing had 
died in 1802, and John Blair Linn, who was settled in 
1799 as co-pastor with him, closed his ministry with 
his life, in August, 1804, at the early age of twenty- 

Dr. Linn was a son of Dr. William Linn, one of the 
pastors of the Reformed Dutch Collegiate Church of 
New York. After his graduation at Columbia College, 
in 1795, at the age of eighteen, he commenced the study 
of law with the celebrated Alexander Hamilton. But 
this pursuit was far from a congenial one. His taste 
for poetry and elegant literature revolted from dry 
legal technicalities, and his mind, under the serious im- 
pressions made upon it by more mature reflection, 
was drawn to the Christian ministry. Under Dr. Ro- 
meyn, of Schenectady, he pursued his theological studies 
with great ardor, and after his licensure, in 1798, the 
popularity of his first pulpit efforts gave brilliant pro- 
mise for his future. But the severe duties of his pas- 
torate were too much for a constitution at best feeble, 
and anxiety, care, and intellectual effort told with 
speedy effect upon his sanguine temperament, his ex- 
quisite sensibilities, and his delicate frame. He bad the 
brilliant gifts, but he had also the infirmities, of genius. 
A fancied slight destroyed his composure; .and he 
dwelt more on the dark than the bright side of the 
picture of life. His poetic inclinations were perhaps 
too freely indulged, and he was too read}- to draw upon 
the strength that should have been reserved for the 
more plain and prosaic duties of life. His published 
poems, for one so youthful, were quite numerous; and 
one of them was republished in England. Nor did he 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 475 

shrink from the arena of controversy. His reply to 
Dr. Priestley indicated vigorous intellect and exten- 
sive research. 1 But, while with years his mind became 
more equable, he was still haunted by gloomy fancies. 
He doubted his adequacy to the duties of the minis- 
try • he scrupled his right to salary for such services 
as he could render ; he looked upon his spiritual state 
with frequent and deep distrust. In August, 1804, the 
frail tenement which had been racked by too exquisite 
sensibilities and imprudent efforts gave way, and the 
hopes inspired by his early attainments were finally 

His successor, Dr. Wilson, was, at the time of Dr. 
Linn's death, pastor of Lewes, in Delaware, his native 
place, where his father had for many years labored in 
the ministry. Graduated at the University of Penn- 
sylvania in 1788, he had fitted himself for the bar, en- 
tered upon the practice of law, and attained a repu- 
tation unsurpassed perhaps in his native State. The 
skepticism of his earlier years was disturbed by a series 
of distressing afflictions, and he was finally brought, by 
reflection and examination, not only to a conviction of 
the truth of Christianity, but to a full and hearty ac- 
ceptance of it. He at once relinquished the honors and 
emoluments of his profession, and devoted himself to 
the ministry. After ten years' labor in Delaware, he 
entered upon the pastorate of the First Church in Phila- 
delphia, where he remained for about a quarter of a 

Few names in the history of the Church are entitled 
to more honorable mention than that of Dr. Wilson. 
His was one of the leading minds of the denomination. 
Of tall stature, with a countenance grave rather than 
animated, his features bore the stamp of kindly feeling 

1 Sprague, iv. 212. 


and high intelligence. Uniformly urbane and obliging, 
fastidiously modest, of a truly catholic and liberal 
spirit, he was the model of a Christian gentleman. His 
learning was thorough and extensive. Almost a recluse 
in his habits, he devoted himself to study, and was 
perhaps the only clergyman in the country of whom it 
might be said that he not only had read all the Greek 
and Latin Fathers, but that "he almost literally lived 
among them." 1 Yet he was by no means a mere pedant 
or bookworm. Few men have ever so thoroughly di- 
gested their laboriously acquired knowledge. His mind 
was disciplined to its tasks; and, though he never used 
a note or read a line in the pulpit, the logic of his ar- 
gument was clear, concise, consecutive, and conclusive. 
On a blank leaf of the Tract by Ware on " Extempo- 
raneous Preaching" he left the following testimony 
over his own signature: — "I have preached twenty 
years, and have never written a full sermon in my life, 
and never read one word of a sermon from the pulpit, 
nor opened a note, nor committed a sentence, and have 
rarely wandered five minutes at a time from my mental 
arrangement previously made." 

His piety was in keeping with his simplicity and 
humility. His convictions of the truth of what he 
preached were firmly grounded in his own experience. 1 
His sermons, if rarely imaginative, were replete with 
lucid exposition or solid instruction. He sought to 
bring forth the real meaning and to elucidate the 
teachings of the Scriptures. Erudite, and usually un- 

1 Sprague, iv. 359. 

2 He once sent to Dr. Green a Hopkinsian work, together with a 
note expressing his views of it. " The first dissertation," he says, 
" would require me to change my prayers ; the second would invert 
the order of my conceptions ; the third, alter my Bible ; the fourth, 
make ma abandon God's justice and frustrate his grace in Jesus 


impassioned, none would mistake him for a brilliant, 
but all would admit him to be an able, man. 

His eccentricities might many of them excite a 
smile, but they were never assumed for effect, and they 
threw light on his generous, noble, kindly, or modest 
bearing. He did not like to be put under obligation 
to any one. He was even proudly independent. For 
mere forms he had no relish, and for mere authority 
no revex'ence. A rigid Presbyterianism was by no 
means to his taste. His dislike of all egotism was 
attested by a sometimes almost ludicrous use of the 
regal plural, — we. His sensitiveness to any thing inde- 
corous was extreme. But one who had ever listened 
to his familiar, instructive, and edifying conversation, 
or who had ever felt the impress of his warm, loving 
heart, or who had followed him in his clear and forcible 
presentation of the sublime truths of revelation, would 
have felt that all his peculiarities were lost from view, 
like spots on the disk of the sun. 1 His impetuousness 
when engaged in debate or controversy — so unlike his 
ordinary manner — was studiously checked; and when 
he feared that he could not master it he would absent 
himself from the place of meeting. 

The pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church — till 
1812 the colleague of Dr. Green — was Jacob J. Jane way, 
whose long term of public service has made his name 
familiar in the annals of the Church. A native of New 
York City, a graduate of Columbia College in 1794, and 
a student of theology under Dr. Livingston, of the Ee- 

1 Dr. Ely states that he once heard Dr. Ashbel Green say of him- 
self and Dr. Wilson that they were both proud men. " But I am 
proud," said Dr. Green, " and know it ; he is proud, and is ignorant 
of it." Dr. Green doubtless pronounced him proud, because he 
had too much independence to be the satellite of any man, even of 
Dr. Green. One who knew him intimately has pronounced him 
remarkable for humility. 


formed Dutch Church, he was ordained as colleague 
pastor of Dr. Green in 1799. Here he remained till 
called in 1826 to the Theological Professorship in the 
"Western Seminary at Alleghany City. This post he 
retained but a short time, and from 1830 to 1839 was 
connected with the Reformed Dutch Church, as pastor 
in New Brunswick (1830- 32) and Vice-President of 
Rutgers College (1833-39). His closing years were 
devoted to the promotion of the various benevolent 
enterprises of the Church, in connection with its Boards. 
At the age of eighty -four, after a gradual decline, he 
died at New Brunswick. 

Neither remarkably profound nor brilliant, he was 
yet a man to inspire respect and confidence : conserva- 
tive in council, discreet, yet prompt in action, he was 
ever ready for every good cause and work. By his 
influence and example he contributed largely to the 
prosperity of the Church and. her institutions. His 
liberality was marked, and on principle he gave away 
in charity one-fifth of his annual income. Kind, affec- 
tionate, easy of access, he was venerated and loved by 
all who formed his acquaintance. 

In the Third Church, as successor to Dr. Alexander, 
was Ezra Stiles Ely, son of Rev. Zebulon Ely, of Lebanon, 
Conn., where the father was settled and where the son 
was born. His first settlement was in Westchester 
parish, in the town of Colchester, Conn. ; and at that 
time his course was scarcely such as his later years 
would approve. But a change at length took place, and 
the rash fancies or ill-regulated humor of youth gave 
place, at least to a great extent, to a genuine devotion 
to the work of the ministry. Zealous in behalf of the 
vital doctrines of the gospel, he believed them to have 
been assailed by Hopkinsian error; and forthwith he 
placed himself at the head of its opponents, and through 
the press and in the ecclesiastical assemblies sought to 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 479 

smite it down. His octavo volume in which various 
heresies are ranged in parallel columns is a literary, or 
perhaps we should say a theological, curiosity. Time, 
however, cooled his anti-Hopkinsian zeal, or rather it 
subsided into a genial and kindly recognition of the 
Christian character and worth of those whom he found 
upon acquaintance to be, in spite of every prejudice, his 
brethren in Christ. 

A man of his active mercurial temperament could 
not be idle. He was identified with all schemes of 
benevolence, constantly engaged in works of charity 
for the poor and suffering, and in all projects of Chris- 
tian enterprise stood ready, both by word and example, 
to endorse and commend them. His house was ever 
open to all who loved his Master, and ministers and 
students shared his Christian hospitalities, not niggardly 
bestowed. His literary ability placed him in the front 
rank of those who exerted influence by the tongue or 
pen. While preaching to his own charge, and attend- 
ing to the duties of a pastor as well as a preacher, he 
was also editor of the "Philadelphian," and proved 
himself ready as a writer as well as skilful in argu- 
ment. The journal of his experience during his labors 
in New York, where he was residing when called to 
Philadelphia, was reprinted in England, under the title 
of " Visits of Mercy." In 1828, he published his " Col- 
lateral Bible, or Key to the Holy Scriptures," and sub- 
sequently a memoir of his father. His labors showed 
him to be a man of determination and enthusiasm, 
more than of cold calculation. Quick and clear, rather 
than profound, his sermons were enriched with frequent 
illustrations; and, gifted with a voice musical and dis- 
tinct, and a full enunciation, and possessed of a self- 
reliance that never gave way, he moulded his audiences 
at will. 

From 1825 to 1836 he was stated clerk of the General 


Assembly, and in 1828 he was chosen its moderator 
In 1834, he conceived the plan of establishing a college 
(Marion) in Missouri, and in connection with it a theo- 
logical seminary; but the financial crisis of 1837 over- 
whelmed the project with defeat, and in 1844, after 
his return to Philadelphia, he resumed his ministerial 
duties as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, 
Northern Liberties, where with unabated zeal he 
labored till struck down by paralysis in 1851. His 
mind was thenceforth a wreck : yet for ten years longer 
he lingered, manifesting at intervals the religious sym- 
pathies of his heart. 

The pastor of the Fourth Church was George C. 
Potts, 1 an emigrant from Ireland in the stormy times 
of 1797-98. A native of that country, he had been edu- 
cated at the University of Glasgow, and licensed to 
preach by the Presbytery of Monaghan. But the zeal 
with which he espoused the cause of his country's 
indejiendenee rendered his longer residence in Ireland 
unsafe, and he directed his course to this country. 
After preaching for some time to vacant churches in 
Pennsylvania and Delaware, he removed to Philadel- 
phia. Here, with the sanction of the Presbytery, he 
undertook to gather a new congregation in the south- 
ern part of the city; and his labors were crowned with 
success. In June, 1800, he was installed pastor of the 
church, which from small beginnings became large 
and flourishing. Popular as a preacher, faithful in the 
discharge of pastoral duty, distinguished for sound 
judgment and kindly and liberal spirit, he was spared 
to complete a pastorate of thirty-six years over the 
same church. His death occurred September 23, 1838. 

The Fifth Church was under the pastoral care of 

1 Father of Dr. George Potts, pastor of the church in University 
Place, N.Y. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800- 1820. 481 

Thomas H. Skinner, who had commenced his labors in 
Philadelphia, some years previous, as co-pastor — upon 
the dismission of Dr. Green — of Dr. Janeway, of the 
Second Church. 1 With this Second Church the First 
Church of the Northern Liberties was connected, the 
two constituting a single pastoral charge under Messrs. 
Janeway aud Skinner. But it was thought that the 
interests of religion would be best promoted by sur- 
rendering the Church of the Northern Liberties to a 
single pastor, who should devote to it his whole time 
and energies. James Patterson, of Bound Brook, N.J., 
w T as accordingly called to take charge of it, and was 
installed January 11, 1814. For one year longer the 
pastors of the Second Church continued to preach once 
on each Sabbath at Northern Liberties ; but after this 
the new church was left to the care of the pastor 

Meanwhile, in hearty co-operation with Mr. Patterson 
in revival efforts, and through an enlarged acquaintance 
with the New England divines, the vieAvs of Mr. Skin- 
ner on some theological points had become more de- 
cidedly Edwardian, and his preaching gave evidence 
of the fact. He was indeed on this account^al though 
unjustly — charged with holding Hopkinsian tenets, and 
a portion of the Second Church became disaffected 
toward him as colleague pastor. Such was the feel- 
ing of opposition that charges of heresy w T ere brought 

1 Dr. Skinner is said to have been awakened under the preaching 
of Benjamin H. Rice, while the latter, laboring as a missionary of 
the General Assembly, was itinerating in North Carolina. Mr. Rice 
preached two sermons at Edenton, on a certain Sabbath, and 
among his hearers (1811-12).was Dr. Skinner, then a student of 
law. He went to hear, not without strong prejudice both against 
the preacher and the truth ; but his prejudices were overcome, and 
the sermons were made instrumental in his conversion. — Obituary 
Sermon on Dr. Rice, by W. E. Schcnk. 

Vol. I.— 41 


against him, and a request was presented to Presbytery 
that his pastoral relation to the church might be dis- 
solved. The injustice of the charge was manifest to the 
Presbytery; and so long as it was not withdrawn, Mr. 
Skinner persisted in opposing the request of the disaf- 
fected portion of the congregation. But upon its with- 
drawal and the adoption of a compromise which secured 
his own rights and those of his friends, he felt it ex- 
pedient and desirable that his pastoral relation to the 
church should cease. It was accordingly dissolved by 
Presbytery (Nov. 5, 1815), and, together with the por- 
tion of the congregation which still adhered to him, 
he withdrew, accepting a call to the Fifth Church, which 
occupied a small house in an uninviting locality in 
Locust Street. 

This church had been gathered in 1810 by James K. 
Burch, a native of Albemarle county, Va., and a gra- 
duate of Washington College at Lexington. He was 
licensed and ordained by Orange Presbytery in 1807, 
and, after preaching for some time at JSTewbern and 
afterward at Washington, was, through the influence of 
Dr. Alexander, introduced to the pulpit of a Reformed 
Dutch congregation then worshipping in the Fourth 
Street Academy, Philadelphia. It was his desire to 
have them connect themselves with the Presbyterian 
Church, and, when they declined to do so, he left them, 
and, with a colony that was organized as the Fifth 
Presbyterian Church, commenced his pastorate, which, 
with varied experience, was continued till a short time 
previous to Mr. Skinner's dismissal. A man of more 
than ordinary eloquence, but greatly lacking in stabi- 
lity, he was quite unfitted to secure the confidence in 
himself or his measures which was necessary to build 
up a prosperous congregation. 

The church was at the lowest point of depression 
when Mr. Skinner took charge of it; and for seven 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1S00-1S20. 483 

years, until his call to New Orleans in 1822, his labors 
in its behalf were devoted and unremitting. But, 
although not without result, his efforts were not pros- 
pered as in other circumstances they might have been ; 
and at this juncture it was resolved by his friends, as 
the only method of retaining him in the city, to seek 
out a new locality. This was found in Arch Street, 
near Tenth. Here a large and commodious house of 
worship was soon erected, and it was not long before 
crowded assemblies testified to the popularity and suc- 
cess of the new enterprise. The clear, forcible, logical, 
earnest presentation of truth 1 from the lips of the 
youthful pastor produced a deep impression, and ere 
long the prosperity of the church was fully assured. 
For many years Dr. Skinner remained in the pastorate 
of the church, — at a later period filling posts of honor 
in the Seminaries of Andover and New York, and in 
the pastorate of the Mercer Street Church, gathered 
by his labors in the latter city. 

The Sixth Church was organized in 1815-16, 2 and its 
first pastor was William Neill. A native of Western 
Pennsylvania (1778), he was exposed in early years to 
the hardships of frontier life, and, while yet a child, 
both his parents were killed by the Indians. Thrown, 
thus as an orphan upon the kindness of generous friends, 
he was placed by them in a store at Canonsburg, where 
he enjoyed the pastoral oversight of Dr. McMillan. Here 
he was converted, and immediately resolved to devote 
himself to the ministry. Completing his preparatory 

1 Dr. J. W. Alexander, in his Letters, vol. i. p. 75, speaks of "the 
unanswerable arguments of Dr. Wilson, and the pungent appeals 
of Mr. Skinner." 

2 The Sixth Church grew out of a division of the old Pine Street 
Church, of which Dr. Alexander was pastor when called to Prince- 
ton in 1812. On the settlement of Dr. Ely, soon after, the division 
took place, find the Sixth Church was formed. 


studies at the Old Academy, he directed his course to 
Princeton, where he was graduated in 1803. Engaging 
subsequently as tutor in the college, and prosecuting 
at the same time his theological studies, he received in 
1805 a call to the church at Cooperstown, where he 
labored till 1809, when he was called to the charge of 
the First Presbyterian Church of Albany. Here he 
remained until his removal to Philadelphia. 

In 1824 he was called to the Presidency of Dickinson 
College, which he retained till 1829, when he became 
Secretary and General Agent for the Board of Educa- 
tion. After two years' service, he relinquished the posi- 
tion, and commenced his labors with the G-ermantown 
church, which had maintained for some years a some- 
what precarious existence, and which he found in a 
deplorable condition, — broken down, peeled and scat- 
tered, with few symptoms of spiritual life. In 1842 he 
left this field, and ceased from the active duties of the 
pastorate. He survived, however, in the gradual decay 
of his vital powers, till 18G0. 

Active, devoted, and useful, he stood ever ready to 
meet the calls of duty and supply others' lack of ser- 
vice by extra diligence of his own. His preaching was 
lucid and replete with gospel truth, and persuasive and 
tender in appeal. As a pastor, he was exemplary in 
looking after the interests of his flock. His successors 
were John H. Kennedy, and subsequently S. G-. Win- 

The Seventh Church was established in 1820-21, occu- 
pying the building — Eanstead Place— which had beer 
erected for the use of an Independent church some years 
previous. The latter church was organized in 1810-11 
mainly through the exertions of a Mr. Hay, from Lon- 
don, and in 1812 he was succeeded in the pastorate of 
the church by the Eev. John Joyce. Upon the failure 
of the enterprise, the building was purchased by Messrs. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1300-1820. 485 

Ralston unci Henry of the Second Church, and devoted 
to the use of the congregation tinder Eev. Win, E 
Engles, which assumed the name or* the Seventh Church 

The Eighth or Scots' Church had been in existence 
for some years, but first came into connection with the 
General Assembly upon the union with it of the As- 
sociate Reformed body in 1822. In the following year, 
William L. McCalla was installed pastor, and remained 
in this connection till 1835, when he was succeeded by 
Alexander Macklin. Fiercely orthodox, Mr. McCalla's 
zeal was sometimes excessive ; acute, chivalrous, gene- 
rous, fearing not the face of man, it was to his praise 
that he never failed to acknowledge that he feared 
God. His construction of the constitution of the Church 
was rigid, and he made no concealment of his senti- 
ments, however obnoxious. His pulpit talents are said 
to have placed him in the front rank of the clerical 
orators of his day, and under his ministrations the 
church became large and influential. Mr. McCalla 
was dismissed from his people at his own request, 
though parting from them with strong regret. After 
an absence of two or three years, during which he 
travelled at the South, and is said to have extended 
his journey to the wilds of Texas, he returned to 
Philadelphia, and gathered a congregation — composed 
in part of members of his former charge — which met 
in a building at the corner of Fifth and Gaskill 
Streets. 1 

The Ninth Church was organized about the year 
1823, and in 1825 reported a membership of a little over 
one hundred, but in 1828 had fallen to forty -three. Sub- 
sequently Wm, J. Gibson was installed as pastor; and 
in 1836 the membership had increased to three hundred 
and sixty-six. 

1 Reported (1837-8) as the Fourth Church. 



In 1828-29, the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Churches 
are first named in the minutes of the Assembly. Shortly 
after, Thomas M'Auley was called to the -pastorate of 
the Tenth, John L. Grant to that of the Eleventh, and 
Thomas Eustace to that of the Twelfth. Meanwhile (pre- 
vious to 1836) the churches of German town (gathered 
about 1818 by the labor of a devoted layman, afterward 
licensed, by the name of Magoffin), Southwark, and the 
Second of [Northern Liberties, had been gathered, of the 
former of which James Rooker was pastor, and of the 
second of which Truman Osborn was stated supply, — ■ 
succeeded soon after by Charles Hoover, — while of the 
third James Smith was pastor. The Second Church 
of Southwark,- first reported in 1827, with a member- 
ship of twenty-seven, had William Ramsey for some 
years as stated supply, succeeded in 1830-81 by Samuel 
Bertron, soon after which the church disappears from 
the roll of Presbytery. 

Upon the death of Joseph Sanford, who had succeeded 
Dr. Janeway (1829-31) in the pastorate of the Second 
Church, the Central Church was organized by a colony, 
and Dr. McDowell was called from Elizabethtown to the 
pastorate of it. In 1836, the Western Church, with 
twenty-six members, and "Arch above Tenth," with 
ninety-two members, are reported. 

The Eirst African Church, founded in 1807, owed its 
existence, and for many years its continued support, 
largely to the "Evangelical Society of Philadelphia," 
organized upon the recommendation and through the 
influence of Dr. Alexander. 1 Its first pastor, although 
never installed, was John Gloucester, a slave of Dr. 
Blackburn, of Tennessee. He had attracted the atten- 
tion of the latter, under whose preaching he was con- 
verted, by his piety and natural gifts, and by him was 

1 Semi-centenary Discourse, by Rev. W. T. Catto, pastor. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1S20. 487 

purchased, and encouraged to study with a view to the 
ministry. After having been licensed and ordained by 
Union Presbytery, he was in 1810 received from that 
body by the Philadelphia Presbytery, and, under the 
patronage of the "Evangelical Society," continued in 
charge of the African Church until his death in 1822. 
The house of worship, located on the corner of Shippen 
and Seventh Streets, was completed in 1811. 

Mr. Gloucester first commenced his missionary efforts 
by preaching in private houses ; but these were soon 
found insufficient to accommodate his congregations. 
A school-house was procured near the site of the future 
edifice; but in clear weather he preached in the open 
air. Possessed of a strong and musical voice, he would 
take his stand on the corner of Shippen and Seventh 
Streets, and while singing a hymn would gather around 
him many besides his regular hearers, and hold their 
attention till he Avas prepared to commence his exer- 
cises. Possessed of a stout, athletic frame, and charac- 
terized by prudence, forbearance, and a fervent piety, 
he labored with unremitting zeal, securing the confi- 
dence and respect of his brethren of the Presbytery, and 
building up the congregation which he had gathered. 
His freedom was granted him by Dr. Blackburn, and 
by his own application he secured the means in Eng- 
land and this country to purchase the freedom of his 
family. He is said to have been a man of strong mind, 
mighty in prayer, and of such fervor and energy in 
wrestling supplication that persons sometimes fell under 
its power, convicted of sin. 

On Harch 23, 1814, the First Presbyterian Church of 
Kensington was organized, with only seven members. 
Its first, and for nearly half a century its only, pastor, 
was George Chandler, a native of Middletown, Connec- 
ticut, a graduate of Yale College, and in 1813 a licentiate 
of Huntingdon Presbytery. He had preached for a short 

488 HISTORY or presbyterianism. 

time at Newark, when he was called to take charge of 
this feeble congregation. Its prospects were far from 
promising; but he proved to be a devoted minister and 
a hard worker, attending conscientiously and faithfully 
to his own duties, and in other respects almost seclud- 
ing himself from public notice. Not great, but good, 
soundly orthodox, but liberal toward those who dif- 
fered from him, a warm friend of revivals, and em- 
ploying unhesitatingly all lawful means to lead sinners 
to Christ, his ministerial life for forty-five years was 
one of quiet usefulness. He received to the com- 
munion of his church, during his protracted ministry, 
between thirteen hundred and fourteen hundred mem- 
bers. Spared to baptize, marry, and bury successive gene- 
rations, he commanded to the last increasing respect 
and affection. Kensington Church was the home of 
his heart. He had no ambition for fame or ecclesias- 
tical eminence. Lively, fluent, earnest, sincere, and 
intelligent as a preacher, he sought only success in his 
Master's work. Every good cause found in him a warm 
and steadfast friend; and in the habitual exercise of a 
meek and quiet spirit he discharged his long, laborious, 
and successful ministry, leaving behind him a name, 
example, and memory worthy of lasting honor. He 
died in 1860, and on his marble monument is the just 
inscription, " He was the representative of Christianity 
in its purity." 

At this period the First Church, Northern Liberties, 
had for its pastor a man who seemed to combine the 
pungency of a Baxter with the zeal of an apostle 
His church, which for some years had been a portion 
of the charge of the two co-pastors of the Second 
Church of the city, in 1813 unanimously called James 
Patterson — who, since 1809, had been settled at Bound 
Brook, N.J. — as their pastor. He was installed Jan. 11, 
1814, and entered at once upon a difficult and hitherto 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 489 

neglected field. It was by no moans an invi ring sphere 
of effort for one who consulted his ease or thirsted for 
human distinction. Among its rapidly increasing popu- 
lation ignorance and vice abounded. The sanctuary 
and the institutions of religion were but lightly re- 
garded. The feeble organization numbered only fifty- 
three members, and most of these were by no means 
efficient; while the congregation was composed almost 
exclusively of the poorer classes. 

It was not long until there was a marked change. 
The halt-filled house had become crowded with eager 
listeners. It was necessary to enlarge it. The pastor's 
visits to the lanes and alleys revealed to him scenes of 
vice and degradation, and his heart was moved by wit- 
nessing the hundreds of poor and neglected children 
that swarmed the streets and seemed hopelessly aban- 
doned to courses of indolence and crime. He had 
heard of a lady of New Brunswick who had gathered 
a number of poor children at her house on the Sabbath 
for instruction j and this sufficed to prompt his own en- 
terprising philanthropy to a similar experiment on a 
larger scale. " The Sabbath-School Association of the 
Northern Liberties" was the result. One hundred 
children were immediately gathered for instruction, 
and many more were soon added to the number. The 
success of the enterprise led to the formation of similar 
institutions, until at length the churches of the land, 
generally, availed themselves of their advantages. 

Nor Avas this all. Prayer-meetings were established, 1 

1 Mr. Patterson's first prayer-meeting was held in a little frame 
house, with the aid of two apprentice boys, — lads of sixteen or 
seventeen years of age. His people soon "laid hold of the thing," ■ 
and "it went well."' In the course of a few years he had in his 
church forty-four meetings of this kind every week, and four 
thousand persons were brought under religious instruction, besides 
those in the church. The meetings were held in the lanes and 


enlisting the co-operation of the members of his church, 
whose efficiency and usefulness he endeavored to pro- 
mote. The " lay preaching" — as it was denominated 
by some — which was thus introduced was viewed by 
some of his co-presbj^ters as an unwarranted innova- 
tion, and for some time was the subject of warm discus- 
sion in the Presbyter}". The general current of sen- 
timent was against it, and Mr. Patterson was left to 
stand alone, except as he was countenanced by Drs. 
Wilson and Skinner, and perhaps one or two others. 
Some of his measures may have been imprudent; but 
none could question the philanthropy or piety by 
which they were dictated. 

His position was peculiar, and called, possibly, for 
peculiar instrumentalities. He was among a people 
who had enjoyed nothing worthy the name of religious 
education, and who in many cases combined the hard- 
ened features of civilized depravity with the ignorance, 
waywardness, and undisciplined moral feeling of hea- 
thenism. To attract their attention, to hold them to- 
gether, to present the truth to their minds in the most 
impressive manner, and to train them, when brought 
to repentance, to habits of intelligent Christian act- 
ivity, required a rare combination of tact, talent, and 

Yet this was the task which Mr. Patterson accom- 
plished. The forcible exposition and stirring appeals of 
the pulpit were seconded by the fidelity and vigilance 
of pastoral duty. Eevival followed revival, through 
a ministry of nearly a quarter of a century, with rare 
frequency and power. Scores upon scores were re- 

•alleys of the city, some of them two, three, or four miles oif. At 
every communion, from fifteen to forty were added to the church. 
The circulation of printed matter by the prayer-meeting agents— 
the matter being furnished by Mr. Patterson — led to the establish- 
ment of the "Philadelpbian." — Patterscm's Pamphlet, 1836, pp. 8, 9. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 491 

ceived, successively, at single seasons of communion. 
His influence was felt not only in his immediate neigh- 
borhood but throughout the city, and even to distant 
places. His labors in Alexandria, in Washington City, 
and in other regions, were remarkably blessed. 

And yet Mr. Patterson was not a, great man, intellect- 
ually. He had, indeed, far more than average ability. 
He had a mind well stored and disciplined. But his 
devotion to his work supplied the place of genius, or, 
rather, it was something higher and better than genius. 
It put to their most effective use the advantages which 
nature had supplied. It gave, in his utterance of 
searching truth, a more commanding aspect to his 
tall, slender, but erect, dignified, and well-proportioned 
frame. It gave a more penetrating glance to his black 
and piercing eye. It kindled his intellect to a more 
untiring activity and a loftier grasp, and it roused to 
ardor all the emotions and sympathies of his soul. He 
was ever engaged in his Master's service. He would 
become " all things to all men, that he might gain some." 
Affable and kind, he won the love of the children ; faith- 
ful and affectionate, he commanded the respect and con- 
fidence of all. 

If not studiously original, he was never common- 
place. He spoke for effect upon the heart and con- 
science ; and an imagination more fertile than chaste 
supplied him with ready and striking, rather than ele- 
gant, illustrations. His nervous Saxon words fell like 
the blows of the stalwart arm upon the anvil, and under 
their crushing weight the convicted soul was little dis- 
posed to criticize one who could handle the sledge-ham- 
mer better than the scalpel. Measured by the ordinary 
standards of pulpit eloquence, Mr. Patterson came 
short; and tried by the rules of decorum and ministe- 
rial propriety, he could scarcely have secured a verdict 
in his favor. But his ministry, notwithstanding, wap 


remarkably successful, and to the last Ins zeal, devo- 
tion, and self-denial were unabated. If Horace Wal- 
pole would have sneered at him, or Chesterfield have 
called him a ranter, Baxter would have admired him. 1 

The pastorate of James Boyd at Newtown and Ben- 
salem, which commenced before 1789. continued for 
more than twenty years; and his successor at Newtown 
was Alexander Boyd. In 1814, John F. Grier, — a son of 
James Grier, of Deep Bun, — a graduate of Dickinson 
College in 1803, and a teacher for several years at Pequa 
and at Brandywine Academy, commenced his labors as 
pastor at Beading, where he continued until his death 
in 1829. Solesbury had Thomas Dunn (in 1814 at 
Gerruantown) as pastor previous to 1819. At Pitts- 
grove, 2 N.J., G. "W. Janvier, whose pastorate continued 
for many years, commenced his labors previous to 1814. 
Cape May, which had been united with it as a pastoral 
charge under John Jones (previous to 1803), had pre- 
vious to 1819 Isaac A. Ogden as its pastor,— although 
for a short time preceding it seems to have been 
united with Penn's Neck, under the pastoral care of 
David Edwards. In 1811, shortly after the death of 
"Wm. M. Tennent, pastor of Abington, Norristown, and 

1 In 1837, the Presbj'terian churches of Philadelphia were:- — the 
First, Albert Barnes, pastor; Second, Dr. C. C. Cuyler; Third, 
Thomas Brainerd ; Fourth, Wm. L. McCalla; Fifth, Thomas Watei-- 
man; Sixth, S. G. Winchester; Seventh, S. D. Blythe; Eighth, 
Alexander Macklin; Ninth, Wm. J. Gibson; Tenth, H. A. Board- 
man; Eleventh, John L. Grant; Twelfth, vacant; Central, John 
McDowell; First Kensington, George Chandler ; Second Kensington, 
vacant; First Southwark, Albert Judson ; Second Southwark, va- 
cant; First Northern Liberties, James Patterson; Central Northern 
Liberties, vacant; Germantown, Wm. Neill, stated supply; First 
African Church, Charles S. Gardner; Second and Third African 
Churches, vacant. 

2 Several of the churches of New Jersey were under the care of 
Philadelphia Presbytery. 


Providence, he was succeeded by William Dunlap at 
Abington. Norristown and Providence were at a later 
period under the charge of Joseph Barr, whose min- 
istry, commencing previous to 1814, extended to a date 
subsequent to 1819. Frankford, which in 1814 had 
John M. Doak, had before 1819 Thomas J. Biggs as 
pastor; and his ministry continued to a date later than 
1825. The death of Nathaniel Irwin, March, 1812, left 
Neshaminy vacant; but in the following year Bobert 
B Belville commenced, as his successor, his extended 

The vacant churches of the Presbytery in 1819 were 
— Abington, 1 the young and feeble churches of Moya- 
mensing, Springfield, Ashton, and Middletown, Deer- 
field, Grermantown, Cohocksing, Bensalem, Tinicum, 
Alloway's Creek, Durham, and Millville. 

Central Pennsylvania, including the Susquehanna 
Valley, was in 1800 included within the bounds of Car- 
lisle and Huntingdon Presbyteries. The aggregate 
membership of the two Presbyteries was thirty. In 
1811 the Presbytery of Northumberland was erected; 
and in 1819 the three jointly numbered thirty-eight 
ministers and had under their care eighty congre- 

The growth of the Church in this region, during this 
period, was slow. The ministers had increased in 
numbers more rapidly than the churches. Emigration 
overleaped this field for the more inviting regions north 
and west of the Ohio. The powerful revivals which 
prevailed among the churches of the Pittsburg Synod 
soon after its formation in 1802 do not seem to have 

1 John Steel was pastor in 1825 of Abington, John Smith of Ash- 
ton, James Rooker of Germantown, while John W. Scott was stated 
Bupply of Bensalem, and Francis G. Ballantine had been settled at 

Vol. I.— 42 


extended to this field. The churches were depleted 
by removals, and largely robbed of their natural in- 

In 1819, there were ten vacant churches in the Pres- 
bytery of Carlisle. These were Harrisburg, — of which 
W. JR. Dewitt was the same year installed pastor, — 
Greencastle, Waynesburg, Great Cove, Bedford, Cum- 
berland, Monaghan, Petersburg, Lower West Cono- 
cocheague, and Williamsport. Of these, the four last 
were unable to sustain a pastor; and of the whole num- 
ber four only had enjoyed a settled ministry during the 
period of twenty years. At Paxton and Deny, N. E. 
Snowden (1798-96) was succeeded by Joshua Williams 
(1791-1801) and James Sharon. 1 At Harrisburg, which 
had formed part of the charge of Mr. Snowden, James 
Buchanan — who had cbarge also of Middle Paxton 
— was installed in 1809. He was dismissed in 1815, 
and in 1819 was succeeded by Wm. R. Dewitt, the 
present pastor. Bedford had Alexander Boyd for its 
pastor from 1808 till 1815, and Jeremiah Chamberlain 
from 1819 till 1822. Their successors were Daniel 
McKinley (1827-31), Baynard E. Hall (1832-38), El- 
bridge Bradbury (1839-41), and Wm. M. Hall. Mona- 
ghan and Pennsborough were left vacant by the death 
of Samuel Waugh in 1807, but had subsequently John 
Hayes (1809-15), after whose dismission the church 
was dependent on supplies for many years. 

Of the pastors of the Presbytery in 1800, six only 
remained in 1820. These were John Linn at Sherman's 
Valley, James. Snodgrass at Hanover, Robert Cathcart 
at York and Hopewell, William Paxton at Lower 
Marsh Creek, David Denney at Upper ^and Lower Path 
Valley (1793-1800) and at Chamber'sburg (1800-38), 

1 Died April 18, 1843. — ■Neviri's Churches of the Valley. He was 
Bettled previous to 1809. See Assembly's Minutes. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1S20. 495 

and Joshua Williams at Deny and Paxton (1799-1801) 
and at Big Spring (1802-29). 

The ministry of Mr. Linn closed in 1820. Of manly 
form, vigorous constitution, and great powers of endu- 
rance, his disposition was social and cheerful, and his 
presence in every circle was cordially welcome. His 
sermons, delivered memoriter, with a voice of remark- 
able clearness, were uttered with great solemnity and 
impressiveness ; while his discharge of his pastoral 
duties was unremitted and exemplary. The pastorate 
of Mr. Snodgrass at Hanover was protracted till 1845, 
and that of Dr. Ca^.hcart at Hopewell till 1835, and at 
York till 1837. Mr. Denney was pastor at Chambers- 
burg till 1838. 

Upon the removal of Dr. McKnight to New York, he 
was succeeded at Lower Marsh Creek and Tom's Creek 
by a young man who, without a collegiate education, 
had, by great diligence and application, fitted himself 
for the work of the ministry. This man was William 
Paxton, a native of Lancaster county, the son of a 
farmer; and he had devoted himself, till twenty-four 
years of age. to agricultural pursuits. But his thirst 
for knowledge led him to seek the advantages of edu- 
cation, and his warm piety induced him to prepare him- 
self for the work of the ministry. In 1792, he was called 
to succeed Dr. McKnight; and for forty-nine years 
Lower Marsh Creek enjoyed the labors of a pastor 
whose diligence, promptitude, and fidelity could not 
well be surpassed. Of large stature, full six feet in 
height, — of a manner solemn, dignified, commanding, 
and graceful, — dispensing in the pulpit with the use of 
notes, yet never failing to make full and careful pre- 
paration, — he was as a preacher highly interesting and 
acceptable, while as a pastor he was faithful and affec- 
tionate. Spared till 1845, he departed in the eighty-sixth 
year of his age, a patriarch indeed, his memory crowned 


by his friends and admirers with honors which his own 
modesty forbade him to seek. 

Joshua Williams was pastor of Big Spring from 1801 
till 1829. His preceding ministry at Derry and Pax- 
ton had lasted less than two years. He had pursued 
his studies, preparatory to college at Gettysburg, under 
Rev. Alexander Dobbin, and even then was distin- 
guished for uncommon skill in debate and great flu- 
ency in extemporaneous speaking. In 1795, he was 
graduated at Dickinson College, and pursued his theo- 
logical studies under Dr. Robert Cooper. 

Dr. Williams was accounted " an able and profound 
theologian." 1 His intellect was of a high order, and 
distinguished for acuteness and power of discrimination. 
As a preacher he was highly instructive and evan- 
gelical, — although his style was more philosophical than 
colloquial. In manner he was grave and dignified, 
earnest but not vehement. Though fond of debate, 
his nervous temperament unfitted him for the conflicts 
of ecclesiastical bodies; yet in private company or the 
social circle his conversational gifts were of a rare 
order. His piety was not fitful or spasmodic, but 
accorded with the character of his mind, — solid, 
deliberate, and perhaps more than usually inclined to 

A classmate of his at Gettysburg and at Dickinson 
College, although in age considerably his junior, was 
David McConaughy, for nearly thirty-two years pastor 
of the churches of Upper Marsh Creek and Great Cone- 
wago. His ministry here commenced in October, 1800, 
and continued till 1832, when he accepted a call to 
the Presidency of Washington College, which oflice 
he sustained until 1849. His death occurred some 
three years later, when he had reached the seven ty- 

1 Sprague, iv. 199. 


seventh year of his age and the fifty-fifth of his 

The congregation of Upper Marsh Creek removed 
in 1813 to Gettysburg, the county seat. 1 Their new 
house of worship was not completed and ready for 
occupancy till 1816. But the congregation after its 
removal retained not only its name, but its con- 
nection with Great Conewago. The people of both 
were devotedly attached to their pastor. Kind, sym- 
pathizing, faithful, and affectionate, he was an object of 
universal love, esteem, and confidence. Above all his 
titles — and he was " doctorated to the highest point" — 
his distinction was that of " a good man." 2 At college 
he bore off the highest honors of his class; and in the 
positions he subsequently occupied he proved himself 
equal to the emergency. His discourses, both in matter 
and style, bore marks of careful preparation. Bich in 
evangelical truth, they were characterized by a classic 
elegance of style, and delivered in an earnest and per- 
suasive, if not altogether attractive, manner. 

Of superior natural endowments, careful culture, ex- 
tensive and accurate scholarship, his unswerving in- 
tegrity, dignity of deportment, kindness of heart, and 
anxiety for the welfare and improvement of his pupils, 
admirably fitted him for the post of President of "Wash- 
ington College, which he filled, with honor to himself 
and profit to others, for the space of seventeen years. 

1 The Associate Reformed Church in this neighborhood was 
under the charge of Dr. McLean. Dr. Charles G. McLean was 
born in Armagh county, Ireland, March 11, 1787. Emigrating to 
this country, he studied theology under Dr. John M. Mason, having 
first been graduated at Pennsylvania University. In 1812, he was 
ordained pastor of the Presbyterian church near Gettysburg, Pa., 
where he preached for twenty-nine years. He died at Indianapolis 
in IS'IO. 

J Sprague, iv. 202. 



The monument of his fidelity and ability is the record 
of the college itself. 

Eobert Kennedy, a graduate of Dickinson College 
in 1797, commenced his pastorate at Welsh Bun (or 
East and West Conococheague) in 1802, 1 resigning his 
office in 1816, but resuming it, after a nine-years resi- 
dence in Maryland, in 1825, and continuing to dis- 
charge the duties until his death in 1843. 

At Silver Spring, which, together with Monaghan, 
was left vacant by the death of Mr. Waugh in 1807, 
Henry Eowan Wilson was settled in 1813. He too, 
like Williams and McConauglry, was a pupil of Mr. 
Dobbin and a graduate of Dickinson College. In 1802, 
soon after his licensure, he removed to Bellefonte, Cen- 
tre county, and commenced preaching. The Eresby- 
terians had as yet no organized church and no house 
of worship. But, securing the use of the court-house, 
and devoting himself to his work, he soon gathered a 
congregation, and a church was organized. At Lick 
Eun, twelve miles distant, another was formed through 
his exertions. Of these congregations he was installed 
pastor; and, as there was no church-edifice in the re- 
gion, and no private house sufficiently capacious, the 
exercises were held in the woods. 

For four years he retained the pastorate, but in 1806 
was called to the Professorship of Languages in Dick- 
inson College. Here he remained for seven years, 
assisting Dr. Davidson in the pulpit on the Sabbath. 
After this, he commenced his labors at Silver Spring. 
The church, which since Mr. Waugh's death had been 
in a languishing state, began ere long to revive, and 
in the seven years of Mr. Wilson's ministry the mem- 
bership was more than doubled. His successor, after 
his dismission in 1823, was James Williamson. 

1 Successor of Thomas McPkerriu. — Assembly's Minutes, i. 101. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 49D 

Dr. Wilson was a man of remarkable activity and 
untiring usefulness. His personal appearance was 
prepossessing. All his movements indicated manly 
strength and vigor ; while his manners were dignified 
and gentlemanly. Honest and open-bearted, he could 
not always disguise his scorn of any thing bordering 
on duplicity, even when prudence would have dictated 
reserve. As a preacher, he was able, energetic, and 
popular. Rich blessings attended his labors; and he 
was the instrument of bringing many souls to Christ. 

Upon leaving Silver Spring, he removed to Shippens- 
burg, where his devotion to his work would have done 
honor to the zeal and enterprise of a frontier mission- 
ary. 1 He was accustomed regularly to open the Sab- 
bath-school in the morning with reading, singing, 
prayer, and a short address, preach at ten o'clock, 
and again at twelve, then mount his horse and ride 
four or five miles into the country, to preach in some 
school-house or dwelling-house, then return and preach 
at night in his church, — making four sermons, in addi- 
tion to the Sabbath-school service, — and riding on horse- 
back — often under hot suns or in severe storms — from 
eight to ten miles. He had four preaching-places in 
the four corners of his congregation, at one of which 
he preached every Friday. Neither bad roads, unfavor- 
able weather, nor slight indisposition, prevented him 
from fulfilling his appointments. His ministry at Ship- 
pensburg closed in 1838, and from 1842 to 1848 he was 
Bellville's successor at N eshaminy. His death occurred 
in 1849. 

At Upper and Lower Path Yalley, David Denney 
succeeded Samuel Dougall in 1793; but, resigning his 
charge in 1800, he was in 1802 succeeded by Amos A. 
MxGinley, who retained the pastorate till 1851. Within 

1 Sprague, iv. 301. 


about thirty years after Mr. McGinley's settlement, his 
church had attained a membership of between four and 
five hundred. 

At Middle Spring, John Moody succeeded Dr. Robert 
Cooper, after an interval of several j^ears, during which 
the church was reported vacant. His pastorate com- 
menced in 1808; and in 1883 this church, which he still 
continued to serve, had a membership of nearly three 
hundred. His pastorate closed in 1858-4. 

At Upper West Conococheague, the successor of the 
venerable Dr. John King, whose resignation took place 
shortly before his death in 1811, was David Elliott, 
subsequently professor in the Alleghany Theological 
Seminary. At Rocky Spring, Francis Herron com- 
menced his labors, as successor of John Craighead, in 
1800 ; but in 1810 he resigned his charge of the church, 
and his place was supplied by Dr. McKnight, who had 
retired from New York to this vicinity, and who, except 
for the short interval during which he filled the post 
of President of Dickinson College, continued in charge 
till his death in 1823. 

Piney's Creek and Tom's Creek, vacant in 1800, had 
for their pastor, previous to 1803, Patrick Davidson, 
who remained till subsequent to 1809, and, after a va- 
cancy of some years, Robert S. Grier, who was still 
pastor of the church in 1862. 

The church of Carlisle had been left vacant, by the 
death of Dr. Davidson at the close of 1812; but in 
1816, George Duffield 1 was called to the pastorate, and 
remained in charge of the church until his removal to 
Philadelphia in 1835. 

In 1800, the Presbytery of Huntingdon numbered 
twelve ministers, of whom four — John Hoge, Asa Dun- 
ham, Hugh McGill, and James Johnston — were without 

1 Now tli ) venerable Dr. Duffield, of Detroit. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1:20. 501 

charge. Of the others, David Bard was at Frankstown, 
Matthew Stephens at Shaver's Creek, John Johnston at 
Huntingdon and Hart's Log, Hugh Morrison at Buf- 
falo and Sunbury, John Bryson at Chillisquaque and 
"Warrior Bun, David Wiley at Spring Creek, Isaac 
Grrier at Pine Creek, Lycoming, and Great Island, and 
Samuel Bryson at Spruce Creek and Sinking Valley. 
More than twenty vacant churches were under the care 
of the Presbytery. 

Of the pastors in 1800, John Johnston and John 
Bryson were the only ones who continued to retain the 
pastoral charge till 1820, the latter remaining at his 
post till subsequent to 1825. Previous to 181)3, James 
Johnston was settled at Dry Valley and East Kisha- 
coquillas, and was still pastor in 1820. This was the 
case also with William Stuart at Sinking Creek and 
Spring Creek, and with John Coulter at Lower and 
Middle Tuscarora, both of them continuing in the pas- 
torate of these churches till about 1834. At Mahoning 
and Derry John B. Patterson commenced his labors 
previous to 1803, and his pastorate continued, in con- 
nection with Derry, for nearly forty years. At Buf- 
falo and Milton, the pastorate of Thomas Hood, which 
began previous to 1809, continued till 1834-35. For a 
portion of his time Washington formed a part of his 
charge. At Mifflintown and Lost Creek, John Hut- 
chinson commenced his labors, as the successor of Mat- 
thew Brown, previous to 1809; and here he labored as 
pastor till 1834-35. At Bellefonte and Lick Bun, where 
congregations had been gathered in 1802 by Dr. Henry 
B: Wilson, subsequently at Shippensburg, James Linn 
was settled as his successor (1813), and continued in 
the pastoral charge for more than twenty years, the 
united churches numbering nearly four hundred mem- 
bers. After the resignation of Isaac Grier, who had 
charge of Northumberland, Sunbury, and Shamokin, in 


1809-14, he was succeeded by Samuel Henderson at 
Shamokin, with which Bloomsburg and Brier Creek 
were made a joint charge, and at Northumberland and 
Sunbuiy by Robert F. N. Smith. Isaac Grier had pre- 
viously been settled, as successor of James Martin, at 
Piney Creek and Great Island, of which, after a vacancy 
of some years, John H. Crier became pastor, remaining 
in charge some twenty years. 1 Samuel Henderson re- 
mained from about 1817 until near 1829 at Bloomsburg, 
Brier Creek, and Shamokin, and in the last-mentioned 
year was stated supply at Shamokin, New Columbia, 
and Holland Bun. Previous to 1819, James Galbraith 
was settled at Prankstown and Williamsburg, his pas- 
torate continuing till 1834-35; at nearly the same period, 
Nathaniel R. Snowden was settled at Millerstown and 
Liverpool, his pastorate closing previous to 1825. This 
was likewise the case with William Kennedy at Lewis- 
town and West Kishacoquillas, William A. Boyd at 
Spence Creek and Sinking "Valley, and James Thomp- 
son at Shaver's Creek and Alexandria. 

In 1811, the Presbytery of Northumberland was 
erected, the pastors of it, transferred from the Presby- 
tery of Huntingdon, being Asa Dunham, John Bryson, 
Isaac Crier, John B. Patterson, and Thomas Hood. It 
embraced the churches of Warrior Run, Chillisquaque, 
Northumberland, Sunbury, Shamokin, Mahoning, 
Derry, Buffalo, Washington, Milton, Lycoming, Pine 
Creek, Brier Creek, Greenwood, and Catawissa. No 
other churches seem to have been added to the list 
previous to 1820. 

The Synod of Pittsburg was erected in 1802. It 
consisted of the Presbyteries of Redstone, Ohio, and 
Erie, — all previously connected with the Synod of Vir- 

1 Isaac Grier — but probably another person than the one mentioned 
above — was subsequently (1816) pastor at Washington. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1800-1820. 503 

ginia The Presbytery of Erie was formed from the 
two others in 1801, and a portion of its churches were 
within the bounds of the State of Ohio, — several on 
or near the Western Eeserve. At the time when the 
three Presbyteries were constituted a Synod, Redstone 
Presbytery had eleven ministers and thirty-five congre- 
gations, Ohio Presbytery had sixteen ministers and 
thirty-four congregations, while Erie Presbytery had 
five ministers and forty congregations. The aggregate 
was thirty-two ministers and one hundred and nine con- 
gregations, of which not more than ten or twelve were 
outside the limits of Pennsylvania. 

Of Redstone Presbytery, the members were James 
Power (1779-1817) at Mount Pleasant, Joseph W. Hen- 
derson (1799-1824) at Bethlehem and Ebenezer, Jacob 
Jennings (1792-1811) at Dunlap's Creek and Little Red- 
stone, John McPherrin (1790-1803) at Salem, Samuel 
Porter (1790-1825 1 ) at Congruity, George Hill (1792- 
1822 1 ) at Fairfield and Donegal, 2 William Swan (1793- 
1818) at Long Run and Sewickley, David Smith (1798- 
1803 1 ) at Rehoboth and Round Hill, James Adams 
(1795 ?-1814) at George's Creek and Union, James Dun- 
lap (1782-1803) at Laurel Hill, and Francis Laird 
(1799-1831) at Poke Run and Plumb Creek. 

The accessions to the Presbytery in the following 
years were William Speer at Unity and Greensburg 
(1803-29 1 ), Robert Steel at Pittsburg (1803-1 1 ), Thomas 
Moore at Salem (1803-09), William Wylie at Rehoboth 
and Round Hill (1805-17), James Guthrie at Laurel Hill 
and Tyrone (1805-50), James Graham at Pitts Town- 
ship (afterward reported as Beulah) (1804-32), N. R. 
Snowden at Pittsburg, Second Congregation (Oct- 
Dec. 1805,) James Galbraith at Harmony (1805-12) and 

1 Died in the latter year. 

2 In lator years, Fairfield and Ligonier. 


Gilgal (1805-17), 1 Eobert McGarrough at New Beho- 
both and Licking (1807-22), 5 John Boggs at Pittsburg, 
Second Congregation (Dee. 1807-April, 1808), Thomas 
Hunt at Pittsburg, Second Church (1809-18), Francis 
Herron at Pittsburg, First Church (1810-50), Eobert 
Lee at Salem (1813-19), William Johnston at Dunlap's 
Creek (1813-39) and Brownsville (1813-41), Eobert 
Johnston at Eehoboth (1817-32) and Bound Hill (1817 
-31), John Eeed at Indiana and Gilgal (1818-29), 
John Boss at Somerset (1817-19), Ashbel G. Fairchild 
at Morgantown and George's Creek, Asa Brooks at 
French Creek and Buchanan (1819-27), Elisha P. 
Swift at Pittsburg, Second Church (1819-33), William 
Swan at Long Bun (1819-22), William Wylie at Union- 
town (1819-24), Aretus Loomis at Tygart's Valley 
(1820-23), David Barclay at Jefferson, Lower Plumb 
Creek, Glade Bun, s. s. (1820-28), and A. O. Patterson 
at Mt. Pleasant and Sewickley (1821-34). 

In 1802, Bedstone Presbytery had under its care 
thirty-eight congregations supplied with pastors, and 
seventeen vacant; in 1808, with sixteen pastors, eleven 
of its thirty-eight congregations were vacant; in 1815, 
with eighteen pastors and the same number of congre- 
gations as in 1808, ten were vacant. In 1820, it num- 
bered nineteen ministers and thirty-eight congrega- 

1 According to Wilson's " Historical Almanac," James Galbraith 
was born in Adams county, Pa., in 1780. His academical 
course was pursued at Jefferson College, and bis theological with 
Dr. King. In 1807, he was ordained by Redstone Presbytery over 
Mahoning and Indiana Churches. In 1828, he preached for Franks- 
town and Williamsburg Churches, in Huntingdon Presbytery. In 
1841, he supplied Middle Sandy Church, New Lisbon Presbytery, 
in 1843, Weathersfielcl and Rehoboth ; but at length he declined any 
stated charge, preaching occasionally as his strength permitted. 
He was a man of sterling integrity, faithful in the discharge of his 
luties. He sank under the infirmities of age, March 28, 1858. 

3 Transferred to another Presbytery. 

PENNSYLVANIA, 1S00-1S20. 505 

tions, of which nine were vacant, and six unable to 
support a pastor. 

The venerable Dr. Power, the patriarch of the Pres- 
bytery, was spared till 1830, and died in his eighty- 
fifth year. A strange transformation of the wilderness 
to the fruitful field, and of the haunts of savages to 
smiling; cities and villages, had been wrought before 
his eyes. There were scores of churches scattered 
over the region which, when he first traversed it, was 
little more than a hunting-ground for barbarous tribes. 
The place which he selected for his field of labor was 
far from any of the beaten tracks of civilization. It 
lay beyond the mountains, one hundred and twenty 
miles from the settlements of white men. No macadam- 
ized road, canal, railroad, or navigable stream led to it. 
The only route to the " backwoods" was a horse-path 
over rocks, precipices, and marshes, or through the 
shadows of the deep and tangled forest. Parties of 
hostile Indians hovered about the more frequented 
tracks, armed with their tomahawks and scalping- 
knives. The very nomenclature of the towns along 
the route — " Burned Cabins," and " Bloody Run" — indi- 
cated the experience which the traveller had to dread. 
No hotel, no settler's cabin even, stood convenient to 
welcome him after the fatigues of the day. And when 
he had reached the "backwoods," he found himself 
surrounded with evidences of pioneer hardship and 
primitive destitution. Iron had to be tediously trans- 
ported over the mountains. Salt cost five dollars the 
bushel. Mills for grinding had not yet been erected, 
except at remote points ; while the terrors of Indian 
warfare brooded over the scattered and feeble settle 

There was not in the whole region a church-spire to 
greet the traveller's eye. Except in inclement weather, 
nature furnished temples in her forests, and "the aisles 

Vol. 1.— 43