LAWS OF THE DIOCESE AND COMMONWEALTH OF MASSA-
CHUSETTS, NOVEMBER 17, 1851.
PRINTED BY THURSTON, TORRY & EMERSON.
THE Episcopal Mission to Seamen, which was commenced in Boston, February, A. D. 1845, and which was subsequently adopted by the Convention of that year, will henceforth be continued in Boston, under the name of "The Free Church of St. Mary for Sailors,"--a corporation duly organized, in conformity with the Canon and Statute Laws of this Diocese and Commonwealth; and with the consent of the major number of the parochial clergy of the Churches in Boston. The Rev. JOHN P. ROBINSON has been unanimously chosen Rector, and has now signified his acceptance of that office. His faithful labors in this maritime parish for the last seven years, and their spiritual results, are a guarantee that no other man could build on his foundation, with equal hopes of success in reconciling the sailor to the faith once delivered to the saints. We therefore thank God and take courage, in recommending to your fervent prayers and effectual cooperation, the cause of his Divine Master under the charge of this humble ambassador.
MR. ROBINSON'S Parish is the Port. His foundations are literally in the Deep. Sailors, and the maritime population inhabiting the shores of the city, constitute his congregation and parochial cure. But he will also include, as formerly, the Marine Hospital at Chelsea, as one of the fields of his constant labor. His place of worship is in Richmond Street, the building formerly occupied as the Methodist Chapel, where he has a room for consultation and business connected with his mission.
NOTE.--It is obvious, that the Free Church of St. Mary for Sailors, although a Mission Church, must be confined to the former Parish of Mr. Robinson, and cannot therefore fulfil the province of the Board of Missions for Seamen. For the latter was constituted with the view of ministering to seamen in all or any of the ports of this Diocese; the former must of necessity be confined to Boston.
IT is an axiom in the Church, that its regular organization is the best instrument for effecting its purposes, when it can be obtained.
It has accordingly been determined by some of the friends of the Rev. Mr. Robinson, encouraged by the spiritual fruits of his Mission, that the precious cause, in which he has labored, shall not be abandoned without an effort for its rescue. His parish accordingly now presents itself (to those, who are willing to sacrifice somewhat for the purpose of extending their Redeemer's kingdom,) as a regularly organized Church, with its Rector, Wardens and Vestry, and as a Corporation with its established Constitution.
We invite particular attention to the Constitution of this Parish. By a careful examination it will be manifest, in the first place, that it provides that all things shall be done decently and in order; and in the second place, affords an assurance to all our contributors, [5/6] that their bounty will be devoted to the general purposes of the Mission, unless otherwise ordered. When any contributor shall direct a special application of his bounty, such direction will be strictly complied with. In order to obviate the many difficulties which result from a want of stated appropriations for the necessities of the Parish, a proper and systematic distribution will be made, from week to week, of the means which may be on hand. It will also be observed that, by our Constitution, all contracts must be guaranteed in such a manner as to secure us from pecuniary embarrassment, otherwise our organization would at once be dissolved.
The Annual Reports of the Missionary, the commendations of our Bishop, and the sanction of the Convention, furnish us with abundant testimony that if pecuniary embarrassment can be avoided, "a great door and effectual is opened unto" this Mission. Few, probably, are aware of the nature and number of the encouragements, which are derived from the extracts, which we propose to make, from the Reports to our Convention and from other documents, as to the amount of spiritual good effected by this Mission.
Organized though it be, this must always be a Missionary Church and a Free Church. We cannot expect sailors to purchase pews or to hire seats; they must contribute as they can, or what they will. Neither will the sailor consent to be admitted or repelled from public worship according to the charity or caprice of the pew-owners. He must have a Church of his own, and landsmen must contribute to its support, [6/7] otherwise the poor will not have the gospel preached unto them.
Concerning the principles, on which this Mission will be conducted, it is sufficient to declare that they will remain unchanged. Our Rector is well known to our Bishop and Clergy. He is sure of the watchful care of the one, and of the support and sympathy of the other; and he has been on this, his legitimate ground, so long, and knows the sailor and his home so well, that we doubt not of his prudence in submitting to lawful authority, his humility in respecting wise counsel, and his fidelity in dispensing the Holy Word and Sacraments.
For his ability to distribute the Holy Bible and Tracts, he must be dependent, as heretofore, upon several of the philanthropic societies organized for that purpose. But we understand from him, and he wishes it to be distinctly understood, that (with all respect for the societies and individuals who differ from him in their views of the expediency of his determination) he must continue to decline making his mission a trading-post for the sale of any publications to any of his flock. An experience of seven years has confirmed him in his convictions, that all his ministrations should be gratuitous, the recipient contributing according to his option or ability. Mr. Robinson has never sold a Bible, and he has heard with great joy that his example, in that respect, has from the first been concurred in by the Rev. Missionary for Seamen in Philadelphia, who is understood to be as well convinced as Mr. Robinson himself, that the sailor will value as sacred the very gift, which, as a purchase, he would [7/8] consider comparatively worthless, and barter or sell for a profitable trade.
We know of no man, who has made such a distribution of Bibles, Testaments and Tracts throughout the maritime population as Mr. Robinson, and we believe the benefit, which the community have derived from that branch of his labors alone, is more than an equivalent for all the labors and expenses of his Mission.
And no other man has ever volunteered to assume the perilous and heavy burden of visiting the sick at our Marine Hospital, and ministering to them the consolations of our holy religion. This he will continue to do.
We hope, therefore, that our brethren will not regard us as having embarked in a desperate enterprise. We know that, at the last Convention, the Board of Missions reported a debt of $239.63 due to their Treasurer for advances, and that late in the autumn a still larger amount remained due to their Missionary for his salary; and we think we have perceived in the late action of the Board, a token of discouragement, which the immense usefulness of this Mission ought to rally us to overcome. In that hope, and bound by that duty, we have resolved to make a fresh and fervent effort. Mr. Robinson freely gave his consent to the formation of a Sailor's Parish on his own ground; the Clergy and laity in number sufficient to authorize the attempt, and to warrant a hope of success, signified their concurrence, and all that we now need is the help of those who know what help is, and who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.
 In the month of February, 1845, the undersigned commenced visiting the Sailor boarding-houses in Ann, Richmond, Fleet and Commercial Streets, and the North Square, with a view of ascertaining the feelings and wishes of the landlords and sailors in reference to the opening of a place of worship for them according to the rites and usages of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Encouraged wherever he went by hearty good wishes for success, he obtained the sanction of the Right Reverend the Bishop of the Diocese and his brethren of the Clergy, and with the aid of a friend he effected a lease of the loft, corner of Ann and Ferry Streets. This upper room, through the kindness of a few friends, was soon put in a condition to be occupied as a temporary Chapel.
Sunday, March 30th, being the first Sunday after Easter, he said Morning Prayer and preached. This was the first service for seamen ever held in the city of Boston, or in the New England States, by a Clergyman of the Church. There were present fifteen persons. The responses were audibly made, and the music good. The attendance in the afternoon same as in the morning.
At 7 1/2 P. M., Evening Prayer by the Missionary, and a sermon from 9th chapter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews, 27th verse. Congregation large, attentive, and devout.
Second Sunday after Easter, after Morning Prayer, the holy communion was administered to twelve persons. Two young English sailors were among the number, who remained to speak their gratitude for the services of the Church in a foreign land.
 P. M. Thirty-two persons present. 7 1/2 P. M. Chapel so much crowded that some were unable to find seats. J. P. ROBINSON.
Extract from the Bishop's Address to the Convention of 1845.
"On the second Sunday after Easter, April 6th, I preached in the evening in a Chapel which has been opened in Ann Street, in this city, for the purpose of promoting the spiritual welfare of seamen and others in that populous district. The Rev. Mr. Robinson having resigned the charge of Christ Church, Quincy, of which he was formerly Rector, is now the officiating Minister in this truly Missionary field. The benevolent undertaking thus begun, and for the means of whose support we are indebted to the exertions of several members of our Church in Boston, holds out encouraging prospects of permanence and success. May that God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, send down upon it the healthful Spirit of his grace, and pour upon it the continual dew of his blessing."
Rev. Mr. Robinson's First Report to the Convention of 1845.
To the Right Rev. the Bishop of Massachusetts:
The subscriber reports that he has officiated forty-three Sundays during the past year. Since his appointment as the Seamen's Missionary, three services have been held in the Chapel on Sunday, and one day in each week has been devoted to visiting the hospital at Chelsea. Baptisms, 3; communicants, about 15; marriage, 1; funerals, 10.
JOHN P. ROBINSON, Missionary.
Boston, June 13, 1845.
REMARKS.--It will be observed that the Board of Missions to Seamen was instituted at the above Convention, and that the Rev. Mr. Robinson was acknowledged as the officiating Minister in his "Chapel in Ann Street, in this city," for a long time previous to the creation of that Board. The present organization of "The Free Church of St. Mary's for Sailors," will be a continuance of the original mission of Rev. Mr. Robinson, and not under the control of the Board.
Extract from the Bishop's Address to the Convention of 1846.
"The Chapel in Ann Street in this city, for the use of Seamen and others, the opening of which I mentioned in my Address of last year, has been in highly successful operation ever since the commencement of the undertaking. I must here be allowed to bear my testimony to the unwearied faithfulness and activity of the Rev. Mr. Robinson, who is the laborer at this station. The report of this indefatigable Missionary, and the Annual Report of the Board of Missions to Seamen, will show the interest manifested by numbers of the seafaring population in the services thus [11/12] dispensed to them, and the magnitude of the field of usefulness which is here opened. I would affectionately commend the object to the love of the lay-members of our Church. Among those to whose labors this country is indebted for its prosperity, and to whom, therefore, its return of gratitude is due, there is no class of persons which takes a more prominent place than that of mariners; and in no way can our interest in their welfare be so appropriately evinced, as by provision for their spiritual necessities. May we not hope confidently that the time will soon arrive, when a commodious sanctuary shall be reared for their use, and set apart to the worship of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and the ministry of the blessed gospel of Him who came to seek and to save them that are lost?
"I would add, in connection with this subject, that several candidates have been, for some time, ready to be presented in this Chapel for Confirmation; but the number of my previous appointments has prevented my administration of the rite."
Extract from the First Annual Report of the Board of Missions for Seamen, to the Convention of 1846.
"The Rev. J. P. Robinson was appointed the Missionary of the Board, and assigned to the temporary Chapel on the corner of Ann and Ferry Streets, which was adopted as one of their stations. The Chapel had been previously fitted up for the ministrations of our Church by a voluntary association of young men, who [12/13] felt an interest in the spiritual welfare of seamen. It is eligibly located for its designed object, and will accommodate about two hundred persons.
"In the selection of a Missionary, the Board felt that they were performing a most responsible duty. They found Mr. Robinson officiating as a Seamen's Missionary under the organization of the association before referred to, and, as it appeared to them, manifesting high capabilities for the situation. As has been already stated, he was appointed as the Missionary of the Board, and they do but faint justice to his unwearied zeal and devotion in the service of his Divine Master, when they bear their humble testimony to the fidelity with which he has discharged his laborious duties.
"The gratuitous distribution of the Holy Scriptures and Book of Common Prayer, was primarily adopted as a fundamental principle of action; and it has been the aim of the Missionary, in conformity with this principle, to refuse no applicant for these precious volumes, but to supply all, freely. The Bible Society of Massachusetts has supplied the wants of the Board, in this respect, to a limited extent. The Board are also greatly indebted to the American Bible Society for a valuable gift of Danish and Swedish Bibles; to the American Tract Society, and the Tract Society of our own Church, in this Diocese, for a bountiful supply of tracts."
Extract from the Bishop's Address to the Convention of 1847.
"On the evening of the same day, I had the gratification of administering the rite of Confirmation, for the first time, in the Chapel for Seamen in Ann Street, Boston. [September 27th, 1846, sixteenth Sunday after Trinity. On this impressive occasion, seven persons renewed their covenant with God, and received the laying on of hands. It added greatly to the solemnity of the scene, that, among the seafaring men confirmed, was one of the survivors of the awful conflagration and wreck of the Kent, East Indiaman, the horrors of which were so graphically portrayed, many years since, by a pious officer of the British Army, who was witness of the whole. Three other seamen, invalids, who had intended to present themselves for Confirmation at this time, were prevented from attending by a violent storm, which came on just before the commencement of the service."
Extract from the Second Annual Report of the Board of Missions for Seamen, to the Convention of 1847.
"The Board has continued to employ the Rev. John P. Robinson, as its Chaplain, and we take pleasure in bearing testimony to his entire-and continuous devotion to the duties of his office. He is constantly on the spot, makes frequent visits to boarding-houses, and vessels, converses with seamen, distributes Bibles, [14/15] Prayer Books, and Tracts among them, and renders them aid in want and sickness. Divine service has been performed at the Chapel, three times on each Sunday, and the Missionary visits the Marine Hospital at Chelsea regularly each week, where he is much depended upon by the officers and the seamen. In the course of the year he has performed the burial service seventeen times, has baptized thirteen persons, and presented eleven to the Bishop for confirmation. He has distributed one thousand one hundred and sixteen Bibles, and four hundred and thirty-one copies of the New Testament in the English language, and two hundred and sixty-six in other languages, chiefly German, Swedish, Danish, French, Spanish, and Portuguese, twelve hundred and sixty-two Prayer Books, one thousand five hundred and eighty volumes, and twenty-one thousand Tracts. These books have the card of the Mission in them, and have often been the means of directing strangers to the Chapel, and are found in all parts of the globe.
"The Chapel is regularly attended by several families living on shore, but in various ways connected with seafaring pursuits, forming the nucleus, we trust, of a permanent maritime parish. The attendance of seamen has been large and encouraging. Many now consider this their regular place of worship, and repair to it at the end of each voyage, while it is often visited by the floating and irregular masses of seamen, among whom it is believed occasionally to have made lasting impressions.
"An agreeable feature in this Mission is the relief it has been able to afford to shipwrecked and [15/16] distressed mariners. Mr. Robinson has made constant application for clothing and other necessaries, which has been to a good extent liberally met, and he has distributed in the course of the year above five hundred articles of clothing. Each act of this description connects the Mission with the warmest feelings of the sufferers and their friends, and is the surest means of commanding the respect and enlisting the affections of seamen."
Extract from the Bishop's Address to the Convention of 1848.
"On Whitsunday, June 11, I confirmed in the evening two persons in the Chapel for Seamen in Ann Street, in this city. My thanks are due, on behalf of the Board of Missions for Seamen, to such of the Clergy as responded to the circular recently sent through the Diocese, asking aid in sustaining this highly interesting establishment. Subscriptions have been recently commenced towards the desirable object of building a suitable Chapel. The work goes on slowly, but I trust is destined to ultimate success."
Extract from the Report of the Board of Missions for Seamen, to the same Convention.
"The Board has confined its operations to the Mission in Boston. We are happy to say that the services of the Rev. J. P. Robinson, the Missionary, have been [16/17] rendered in a manner creditable to himself, and acceptable to all with whom he is brought in contact. We attribute the success which has attended the Mission in a great measure to his indefatigable exertions, and the confidence felt by the seamen in his sincerity and good-will. The Report which he presents to the Bishop, shows the nature of the labors he has performed. Public worship has been held in the Chapel three times each Lord's Day. He has visited the Hospital one day in every week; has administered baptism, and performed the funeral and marriage services, visited the poor and sick, relieved distressed mariners, and distributed Bibles, Prayer Books and religious tracts, and has spent his time uninterruptedly in the services of the Mission. He has distributed upwards of one thousand Bibles, eight hundred copies of the New Testament, nine hundred Prayer Books, and nineteen thousand tracts in almost all the languages of Modern Europe."
Extract from the Bishop's Address to the Convention of 1849.
"In the evening, confirmed three in the Episcopal Chapel for Seamen in Ann Street, Boston. Since the last Convention, the Board of Missions for Seamen have relinquished the inconvenient place of worship which had been occupied from the commencement of the undertaking, and have procured a commodious room, eligibly situated, in the same street; where, under the ordinances of the gospel, and by the distribution of the Scriptures and of Tracts, it is humbly [17/18] believed that much good is done to this interesting class of our fellow-men."
N. B. We have not been able to find the Report of the Board for 1849.
Extract from the Bishop's Address to the Convention of 1850.
"My Brethren of the Clergy and Laity:--On the Sunday after the rising of the last Convention, being the Sunday after Ascension Day, May 20, I confirmed one in the evening, in the Episcopal Chapel for Seamen in Ann Street, Boston. This interesting Mission continues to dispense uncounted benefits, temporal and spiritual, to the sailors who enter and leave this port. I commend it afresh to the sympathy of the Clergy, and to the generous support of the lay-members of our Church throughout the Diocese. It belongs to the Diocese, and not to Boston alone; for the crews of our commercial vessels are replenished from every quarter of the State of Massachusetts."
Extract from the Report of the Board of Missions to Seamen, made to the same Convention.
"The Board is gratified that the Missionary, in his Report to the Bishop, is able to give some evidence of the continued usefulness and success of the Mission--some evidence that those friends of the Redeemer, who have sought to aid His cause by alms through this channel, have not in vain 'cast their bread upon the waters.'
 "At the commencement of the year, the Mission was burthened with a debt of about $900, which had accrued principally from the expenses incident to the fitting up of the new and better located Chapel in Ann Street. This debt had to be provided for, and also means procured for the current expenses of the Mission; and to meet these wants, the friends of seamen in the Church, and also on the exchange, have been called on for contributions. From these collections, and from annual subscribers to this Mission, funds have been obtained equal in amount to all the current expenses of the year, and also sufficient to reduce the debt somewhat, leaving now a debt of about $500.
"A part of this debt is owing to the faithful Missionary, whose labors have built up the Mission, and whose subsistence for himself and family depends on the salary allowed him by the Board. That salary is now in arrear. The remainder of the debt is mainly due to the Treasurer, who, to relieve the embarrassments of the Board, has often and constantly advanced from his own funds whatever sums were necessary to carry on the Mission. The Board record with satisfaction their grateful acknowledgments for the liberal aid and judicious services rendered by their Treasurer, B. C. Clark, Esq., in the financial business of the Mission."
Report of the Board of Missions to Seamen, to the Convention of 1851.
This Board has held stated meetings throughout the past year, for the consideration of the interests of the Mission to Seamen. Their labors for the year began [19/20] with an estimated expense of about $1500 to support the Mission, a debt of about $500, and an empty treasury. By the persevering efforts of the Missionary and the great kindness and liberality of the Treasurer, the Mission has sustained itself and paid the greater part of its indebtedness, and may be said to be free from debt; the amount expected from subscriptions now due being reported as equal to the balance due the Treasurer.
The whole amount of receipts from all sources for the year has been $1880.99, and the whole amount of expenditures $2120.64, leaving a balance due the Treasurer of $239.63. [We understand that the above debt was afterwards augmented, and that at a meeting of the Board, this autumn, they did not feel authorized to extend their engagement with the Rev. J. P. Robinson, (whose salary was still in arrear,) any longer than to the meeting of the next Convention. Whatever may be the design or destination of the Board of Missions to Seamen, Mr. Robinson's friends were unwilling to incur the hazard of an abandonment of his Mission, whose blessings are acknowledged in the extracts we have presented, and we have therefore secured his services in the manner already mentioned.]
The Board have heard with satisfaction the Report of their Missionary of the continued usefulness and success of the Mission, and so far as their own personal observation has enabled them to judge, they concur in the statements he has made to the Bishop respecting the same.
FREE CHURCH OF ST. MARY FOR SAILORS
THE name of this Corporation shall be--"THE FREE CHURCH OF ST. MARY FOR SAILORS." Its primary object is to provide a Free Church for sailors in the port of Boston, for those mechanics and laborers who are employed in building, and working about ships, and for their families and children; and its doctrine, discipline and worship shall be that of The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and no other;--and, as one of the Parishes thereof, it accedes to the Constitution and Canons of this Church in the Diocese of Massachusetts, at and from the time when it shall be admitted into union with the Convention thereof.
The members of this Corporation shall be the Rector and Assistant Rector, if any, ex officio, and the [21/22] following named persons,--Joseph Burnett, Jonas Chickering, Benjamin S. Codman, M. D., Francis Dana, Jr., Alexander Fullerton, Kimball Gibson, J. B. Kettell, William W. Morland, M. D., William F. Otis, Henry M. Parker, Henry T. Parker, Richard H. Salter, M. D., John P. Tarbell, Peter Wainwright, John L. Whipple, and their successors, and such other persons in addition to the Rectors, not less than twelve or more than twenty in all, who shall be stated worshippers in said Protestant Episcopal Church, and shall reside at or transact business in and about the Port of Boston.
Vacancies may be filled by a vote of a majority (if a quorum) at the Annual Meeting or any special meeting.
There shall be an Annual Meeting of this Corporation on Friday in Easter Week, at which the Clerk, Treasurer and Collector, two Assessors, and other Officers shall be chosen, and the number of the Vestry for the ensuing year shall be fixed, and all necessary business transacted. Special meetings may be called by order of the Rector, either Warden, or five members, at which no business shall be transacted but such as is set forth in the notice of the meeting. The hour and place of meeting, if not fixed by those ordering it, shall be at the discretion of the Clerk.
Notice of all meetings (except in cases where those absent shall have given their assent in writing) shall [22/23] be given to each member by written or printed notice directed to him, by mail, three days at least before the time fixed. Seven members present shall constitute a quorum, if with them there be enough absent members represented by proxy to constitute a majority of the whole Corporation. All proxies must be in writing, and the names of the constituents must be recorded as present by proxy. The Clerk or any members present may adjourn a meeting not to exceed one month.
All votes for persons shall be by ballot; all other questions shall be taken by hand vote, or by yea and nay (if demanded by two persons) called and recorded.
The Rector shall be chosen for life, the Assistant Rector, if any, for a time to cease at farthest with the next ensuing Annual Meeting. The Wardens, Vestrymen, Treasurer and Clerk shall continue in office until the next Annual Meeting, and until others be chosen in their places.
The contract with the Rector shall be dissoluble only for the causes and in the manner provided by the Canons. He shall have the whole charge and responsibility of all the spiritual concerns of the Church. He must have received authority to execute the office of a Priest in the Church of God by lawful Episcopal ordination, and shall be entitled to all the privileges [23/24] and prerogatives of his office. But the Wardens and Vestry shall always have authority to prohibit the teachings of any person, and the use of any book of instruction, unauthorized by this Church. And whenever the Rector shall have been absent two consecutive Sundays, the Wardens and Vestry shall have the right of appointing a temporary substitute for any further vacancy, first notifying the Rector by mail or in person of their intention so to do. A substitute for the Rector must always be a duly ordered minister of this Church; but if it should be necessary, upon any emergency, to resort to lay-reading, the same shall be done by a member of this Church, and not by a minister or member of any other church or sect.
All grants, donations, gifts, bequests and devises, to or for the use of this Corporation, shall be strictly held and sacredly devoted to the sole object and exclusive purpose for which they were bestowed. All unspecified collections, annual and other subscriptions to whomsoever paid, shall be appropriated three-fifths thereof for the Rector's salary, and the remainder for the other purposes of the Corporation:--Provided, that whenever the Rector shall have received a compensation of twelve hundred dollars in any one year, the whole amount of all other receipts shall be applied to defray the general expenses, or be funded.
The Wardens and Vestry shall have all the authority belonging to their office, and shall with the Treasurer [24/25] have the whole charge and responsibility of the temporal affairs of the Corporation. They may fill any vacancies in their Board, shall authorize all payments to he made by the Treasurer, and shall audit and report to the Annual Meeting the result of his account. But no contract shall be made by them or any other person or persons, unless there be a previous guarantee in writing by some individual of competent means to execute the same, in case the Corporation funds shall be insufficient to do so.
The Treasurer shall keep accounts of all moneys received from whatever source, and of all payments made, and shall foot them up and report them at every meeting of the Corporation; he shall adjust accounts with the Rector every Monday morning, and keep his books open for the inspection of any member of the Corporation or Vestry; he may notify meetings in case of the absence or disability of the Clerk, making certificate of his doings.
The Clerk shall keep records of all the Meetings of the Corporation and Vestry, and the same shall be always subject to the inspection of any member, and to the approval of the subsequent meeting. All clauses shall be recited in the vote, which alters or repeals them. The Clerk shall certify correct copies of the records when required by vote; he shall notify meetings and adjourned meetings, when convenient or required by vote.
This Constitution must be signed by the Rector and all the members of the Corporation, and shall not be altered unless by the concurrent votes of two consecutive meetings, and by the assent in writing either of the Rector and two-thirds of the members, or of four-fifths of the members, exclusive of the Rector.
Any member, on written request filed with the Clerk, or who shall absent himself from three successive meetings of the Corporation, may be discharged by vote and certificate thereof, notified to him by the Clerk and recorded.
THE undersigned reports the following duties performed since last Convention.
Public services in the Chapel, 157. Visits at the Marine Hospital, 59. Seamen conversed with, 6,153.
Bibles distributed: English, 733; Danish 11; Swedish, 18; Norwegian, 3; German, 7; French, 6; Spanish, 2; Portuguese, 2. Testaments: English, 112; Danish, 16; Swedish, 23; German, 19. Prayer Books, 604; Volumes, 716; Tracts, 6,699; Religious papers, 4,000.
Baptisms, 12. Marriages, 5. Funerals, 21.
Visits made in connection with Mission, 1,578. Aggregate number of Seamen attending on the services of the Chapel the past year, 3000.
Aid has been extended to many destitute seamen, and to a number of poor families.
Contributions paid to the Treasurer from collections in the Chapel, $97.65.
J. P. ROBINSON, Missionary.
Report of the Missionary to Seamen in the Port of Boston, 1847. Rt. Rev. MANTON EASTBURN, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts:
Dear Sir:--The year past has been one of much interest to the Missionary in leis ministrations among seamen, and his heart has been so cheered with many manifestations of the blessing of Heaven upon the means used to promote their welfare, that he cannot but regard it, with all its labors and anxieties, as one of the happiest of his life. The first point to which he would refer, is, the public services of the Church, and the preaching of the Gospel three times on each Sunday, at the Chapel. To more than four thousand seamen who are exerting an influence for weal or woe, at home, and in foreign and heathen lands, he has been privileged to make known the gospel of reconciliation. Bearing in mind the solemn fact, that among those who come up to worship with us on the Lord's day, there are some, who, in all probability, will never hear again the message of mercy, he has endeavored to teach them those truths of the greatest possible moment to sinful creatures: Man's lost and ruined state by nature; the death of Christ for sin; Christ "bearing our sins in his own body on the tree," "and that we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of his grace;" "Christ crucified;" "Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption," and the only hope of fallen man. Instructing them in these [28/29] first principles of God's word, he has sought to give them right views of their own condition as sinners, and of the suitableness and ability of Christ as a Saviour. To what extent these ministrations have been successful, the last great day alone will determine. Still God has not left us altogether without encouragement; evidence has been afforded that the Holy Spirit has been present, and his word made "the power of God, and the wisdom of God unto salvation." Some have felt the great importance of the gospel, and that it was essential to their happiness and salvation, and have repented and believed, and have turned unto the Lord. A pleasing circumstance, in connection with the public ministration at the Chapel, is the bringing together seamen of every clime, and teaching them to hear and obey that blessed gospel, which proves its own divine origin by its adaptation to men of every nation under heaven. The African, the Portuguese, the Spaniard, the Dane, and the Swede, the German, the Englishman, and the native of the Islands of the Pacific, may often be seen side by side, respectfully witnessing if not participating in the services of our Church.
The second point to which the Missionary would call attention, is the gratuitous distribution of the Word of God to all seamen who are without it. This principle was adopted by the Board in the commencement of the Mission, and with few exceptions has been carried out. To no part of his work does he look with so much comfort and hope as this; he feels that if the Mission had done nothing else, it has done a good work in placing in the chests of thousands of seamen, the word of God, the Book of Common Prayer, and works of a [29/30] practical and religious character. A few years ago, seamen were not only indifferent about taking a Bible to sea with them, but ashamed to acknowledge they had one, if perchance, through the kindness of a pious friend, it had been placed in their chest. "I wish I could cause my voice to be heard effectually by all young seamen," writes a captain in the navy, "when I declare the regret I felt, when a young man and clinging to a piece of wreck among the rocks of Scylla, when I saw my chest floating from under the bends after daylight, that I had not more diligently read the Bible which that chest contained. But such was the awful state of the service at that period, that in order to read my Bible and avoid ridicule and persecution for so doing, I was obliged to read it spread open in my chest, holding the lid open with my head, as if looking for something; and many a time have I gone to the mast-head out of hearing, disgusted with the wickedness around me."
Captain Elliott, in his speech before the Naval and Military Bible Society, stated: "A court-martial was assembled on board the vessel he belonged to at that time; the court met, the witnesses were ready, hut not a copy of the Scriptures could be found to swear them on. It was asked about the ship, who had got a Bible, and none would acknowledge they had one; the court was obliged to wait until a Testament was procured from another ship. There was at least one copy of the Scriptures in the ship at the time, but the possessor was ashamed to own that he had it, so strong in truth was the dread of the ridicule that such an avowal might have brought upon him." Those two cases clearly prove [30/31] that those were not Bible-reading days among seamen. How great the change which has taken place in this particular, let the number of seamen who crowd around the Missionary every Sunday night, to solicit Bibles, Prayer Books, and other good books, testify. It is a melancholy truth, that the great mass of seamen are still under the power and dominion of the God of this world, and led captive at his will, though many have felt their degradation, renounced their allegiance, and are now faithful subjects of the Lord Jesus. Others among them are awakening to the importance of consideration, for the Spirit of God is moving upon the face of the deep. In proof of this I might mention, within the period of three months, seventy-five distinct applications have been made by seamen going to sea, for "Baxter's Call to the Unconverted." The following statistics will exhibit the number of books distributed:
English Bibles, 1,116; French, 20; German, 29; Swedish, 30; Danish, 13; Norwegian, 5. Total Bibles, 1,213.
English Testaments, 431; French, 9; German, 30; Swedish, 37; Danish, 29; Portuguese, 20; Italian, 6; Spanish, 29. Total Testaments, 591.
Prayer Books, 1,262; Volumes, 1,582; Tracts, 21,141.
The third and last point to which the Missionary would call attention, is the charity which this Mission has already dispensed. The opportunities afforded him for relieving the necessities of many destitute seamen, and administering to their temporal wants, have been frequent, and he is rejoiced td add that, through the kindness of friends, and particularly the Ladies of the [31/32] Dorcas Society of St. James's Church, Roxbury, none have been turned away without relief. The number of shipwrecked and distressed seamen, who have received aid through this Mission, will enable it to compare well with the older institutions in the City for the benefit of the tempest-tossed mariner. Some of the cases relieved were of severe and peculiar suffering. Indeed, none who have looked over the list of marine disasters, the past winter, can be ignorant of the extreme suffering to which many were exposed. In several instances entire crews have been aided, who had only escaped with their lives, after enduring hardships which it would seem impossible to live through: not a few of these were clothed from head to foot. In the above charity, 575 articles were distributed and given in proportion to the wants of the applicant, and the supply on hand at the time. The Missionary submits these facts, confident that they will encourage you to attempt greater things for the next year. He might go on, and with much propriety, perhaps, tell you of toils and privations, of hardships and dangers, of losses of ship and life, of many who have found their graves among the corals of the deep; and the recital might rouse your sympathies. But he wishes not to appeal to your feelings by a narration of miseries endured. He would show what has been done by the Mission, unpretending as it is, to arouse the energies of the Church to do her duty in this noble work. With such facts as it is the pleasing office of the Missionary to submit in this Report, he cannot, for a moment, suppose that means will hereafter be reluctantly bestowed, until every sailor shall have a Bible and Prayer Book, and a [32/33] Church consecrated for Seamen according to the rites and usages of the Protestant Episcopal Church, shall open its doors to welcome them, when they return from their voyages of danger and peril.
For every class of men, we, as a Church, are deeply concerned; and shall we any longer be regardless of those to whom we must be indebted for conveying the gospel to the ends of the earth? Shall not the voice of prophecy, which points out this maritime field, and encourages to prompt, efficient labor, be at once regarded and obeyed? "Surely the isles will wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and gold with them unto the name of the Lord thy God."
There have been 13 baptisms; 2 adults and 11 infants. Confirmations, 11. Marriages, 4. Funerals, 17.
JOHN P. ROBINSON, Missionary.
Annual Report of the Missionary to Seamen in the Port of Boston. 1848. To the Rt. Rev. MANTON EASTBURN, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts:
The Missionary to Seamen presents his Annual Report with feelings of unmingled thankfulness to Almighty God, for the success with which He has crowned the Mission. At first but an experiment, the lapse of each year demonstrates its importance and efficiency, and excites an increasing interest in the bosoms of churchmen throughout the Diocese.
The duty of Missions to Seamen is now, thank God, a settled question. It is recognized as a legitimate, [33/34] imperative branch of Christian effort. We need no longer plead that sailors are men--men with immortal souls--men exposed to peculiar privations--men deprived, for the most part, of religious privileges. The blessing of God, which here and every where has rested upon the Missions which have been established for their improvement, shows this is the effort on which He bestows His peculiar smiles. Not many years ago, when the Christian world seemed to agree that religion was not designed for sailors, what was the condition of things? At sea, no voice of prayer and praise was heard; the Bible found no place in the sailor's chest; a pious captain, or at least a pious seaman, was a thing unknown; and regularly as the daily meals, were served out the daily drams.
Now it is computed that in the Marine of this country and of England, there are eight hundred captains of vessels, who glory in the service of a Heavenly Master, and not less than ten thousand seamen, who are communicants of some Christian body, and from a large number of our merchant vessels the intoxicating cup is altogether banished. Such are the cheering results of an extended view of efforts among seamen. The past year also affords much encouragement. The Missionary is not without good reason to hope that his efforts have been blessed. Very little indeed of what has been effected, can be gathered up and written. In this department of Christian effort, emphatically, the preached word is "bread cast upon the waters." It is carried we know not whither; it blesses we know not whom; it returns we know not when. But we rely upon the promise, that the word [34/35] of truth shall not return void, and that if we cast our bread upon the waters, after many days it shall return. In a number of instances it has already returned. A young man, to whom I gave a Bible, Prayer Book, and some religious volumes more than a year before, on his leaving Boston for a voyage round the Cape, exclaimed, when he saw me on his return, "I have come back, Sir, a broken-hearted prodigal. God has been pleased to open my eyes and convince me of the sinfulness of the course I have been pursuing for six years past. I have implored his mercy; I have pleaded for forgiveness, and through His grace I am endeavoring to renounce all those sins which have held me in abject slavery since I left my father's house." Having returned to his heavenly Father, he remembered the parents he had left long before, and returned to a father who had crossed the ocean seeking his son, and to a mother Who had not ceased to sorrow over his loss. On another occasion, a young colored sailor, whose heart had been touched on reading the New Testament, bore testimony to the power of religion in his soul. "I was never happy," said he, "when I was doing wrong, and I was always doing wrong until I read the books you gave me. I do wrong now, but I feel bad when I do it, and I play God to forgive me, and I try to do better; but it is so hard to do what I know is right." Here was the beginning of a gracious work, which we may hope has been carried on, and will only terminate in the perfect renewal of his heart. These facts, selected from many others, are cheering proofs of God's favor. They afford occasion of gratitude for the past, and of encouragement for the future. [35/36] Hitherto, we may well say, hath the Lord blessed us, and hereafter we may infer, He will continue to bless, if our prayers and our efforts are not wanting. The past is but an earnest of the future; the good that has been done, an incitement to do more; the blessing that has rested on the offerings to this cause, an argument for richer gifts and more abundant means. When we compare what has been done with what remains undone, we feel that there is urgent need of more exertion.
The fact, that the experiment made by the Church to benefit this long degraded class of our fellow-men, has been so signally blessed of God, should be regarded as an imperative demand to increase the accommodations and facilities for extending the gospel of Jesus Christ to the many thousands of seamen who annually visit our port. Ample as many think the accommodations for seamen in Boston, there is not church-room, to say the least, for one-third of those who are temporarily on shore.
Consider, moreover, how our commerce is extending. Year by year it stretches out its arms, till now our whalers are on every sea, our traders in every harbor, and even along every barbarous shore. "From a recent report of the Treasury department, it would appear that the tonnage of the United States employed in trade, is at this moment but one-fifth less than hers, who so long has written herself undisputed mistress of the seas." Influenced by facts like these, and feeling that the duty of the Church is independent of the efforts of other Christian bodies around us, the Board have resolved to erect a permanent Church, as soon as [36/37] funds can be collected; and it remains for the Church to say, how long it shall be before it is accomplished. Other ports, with a less commerce, and an inferior trade, have their permanent Chapels; and shall Boston Churchmen, who have ever been foremost in works of benevolence and love, be indifferent, and suffer their Mission to labor under the inconveniences of an upper room? The general plan of effort adopted at the commencement of this Mission having been found efficient, has been steadily carried out. When we consider that upwards of five thousand seamen have visited our Chapel this year, the various climes from whence they have come, and to which they have gone--the number of Bibles, Prayer Books, religious books, tracts and papers they have carried with them, the instruction imparted to them while with us--we cannot doubt that a vast amount of influence for good has been put into circulation, and that it will eventually be found to have borne fruit, sixty or an hundred fold.
The following statistics exhibit the number of services, &c. Public worship at the Chapel three times each Lord's day. Visits at the Marine Hospital, on Thursday of every week. Communicants, 50. Marriages, 8. Baptisms, 8. Confirmed, 2. Funerals, 24. Bibles given to seamen going to sea: English, 985; Swedish, 34; Danish, 13; German, 20; French, 18; Spanish, 2; Portuguese, 6;--total of Bibles, 1078. Testaments: English, 647; Swedish, 42; Danish, 48; German, 30; French, 8; Spanish, 11; Portuguese, 19; Italian, 4;--total Testaments, 807. Prayer Books, 902. Volumes of religious books, 2354. Tracts, 19,000. Articles of clothing given to shipwrecked [37/38] and destitute seamen, (furnished chiefly by the Ladies of St. James's Church, Roxbury,) 208 pieces.
The Missionary closes his Report in the language of the Bishop of Pennsylvania:
"And yet, what, thus far, has the Church of American Episcopalians, the Church blessed by this Book of Common Prayer, done for sailors? In whatever proportion she has peculiar means for promoting their welfare, is she not bound in the same proportion to use them? As a Church, too, planted especially in large cities, and embracing within her pale multitudes who are engaged in commerce, are not her resulting obligations the more imperative? We ask, then, what has this Church done, as yet, for sailors? But three or four Chapels, where they can worship according to the order of our service, have been opened along the whole extent of our seaboard; and these have been opened only within the last six or seven years. To those bearing other Christian names, we have left the toil and the glory of conducting the sailors' worship, and breaking to them the bread of life. Well, then, may we blush for the past, while we bless God that our supineness is at length disturbed; that while we commend the noble zeal of others, we have come at last to feel the awakening influence of their example; that we are now purposed to share in the burden of this work, and are resolved that if sailors be not won to the faith and obedience of Christ and him crucified, the fault shall not be ours."
J. P. ROBINSON, Missionary.
Annual Report of the Missionary to Seamen in the Port of Boston. 1849. To the Rt. REV. MANTON EASTBURN, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts:
It becomes once more the duty and privilege of the Missionary to Seamen, to submit to you the Report of his labors for the year ending with this date. And in presenting this, his Fourth Annual Report, he trusts his heart is filled with grateful praise and thanksgiving to Him, whose blessing has ever been over us in this good work, and in a special manner during the past year. While he returns thanks to the Great Head of the Church, who has honored him with the ministry of reconciliation to poor seamen, he feels that be cannot withhold the expression of gratitude to you, Rt. Rev. Sir, and the members of the Board of Missions, for their kind and unintermitted cooperation in extending the blessings and privileges of the gospel to the thousands of seamen who throng our port. The amount of good accomplished in carrying out the purposes of the mission, cannot easily be computed; enough however has been made manifest, to cheer us with the assurance that God has been with us, and to encourage all the friends of this truly Christian charity to continue their prayers, their benevolent aid, and their earnest exertions. Three stated services have been held in the Church each Sunday. This has been the rule from the beginning, and there has been no exception to it. The number of seamen to be found worshipping with us, depends in part on the number in [39/40] port, but more on the efforts used by the Missionary, and a few of his friends, to make them acquainted with the locality of our Church, and in giving them invitations to attend our services. Upwards of five hundred cards, such as we use for pasting in our books, are distributed for this purpose every Sunday. This is a work which is followed up every Sunday, and as often during the week as time is found to attend to it. Seamen need to be thus entreated to come to Church, and time and again must the importance of religious duties in the House of God on his holy day be impressed on their hearts, before they are led to frequent it, and improve the opportunities there afforded them for becoming wise unto salvation. They always receive these invitations kindly--sometimes thankfully--and when they are made to understand our motive in being so solicitous for their presence, they rarely refuse the request. When once brought to attend service, they seldom require a second invitation.
Adjoining the chancel is the Missionary's study, where seamen are affectionately requested to call and see him before going to sea. All are gratified by the invitation, while many every week, who have been in this way gathered in from the boarding-houses, the forecastles and the wharves, seek him for religious conversation and prayer. An important feature connected with the Mission, is the gratuitous distribution of Bibles, Prayer Books, and books of a practical religious character. As in former years, so in the past year, have these books been made the messengers of salvation. Many seamen, numbered among the [40/41] followers of Christ, attribute their first serious impressions to the books given them by the Missionary.
Through this instrumentality, a young man recently confirmed, was made acquainted with his sinfulness, and as soon as he left the vessel hastened to tell his minister what God had done for his soul. He went to sea careless about religious things, and with a heart wholly occupied with the pleasures of sense; he returned penitent and believing, and anxious to take upon him the name and faith of Christ. He is new a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven, and leading a life which sheds an influence for good on all around him.
"I was satisfied with my morality," said a young sailor to me, "and flattered myself while I kept away from those grosser vices in which my shipmates freely indulged, I had no reason to apprehend the Divine displeasure, and was on the whole as good as many who called themselves Christians. I read my Bible daily, not from any desire to have my mind enlightened, but because I had promised you I would do it. While I was thus living in forgetfulness of God, it pleased Him who is rich in mercy to touch my hard heart. He pitied me when I had no pity on myself. He sought me when I was a great way off. He loved me when I hated and despised him. He made me feel that there was sin in other things, besides open acts of wickedness. There was sin in not believing in and receiving Him, whom God sent into the world to save sinners. I now love that dear-Saviour, because he first loved me; and may daily prayer is, that I may have grace to show forth His praise, not only with my lips, but in my life."
 "I have read my Bible through seven times," said a sailor to the Missionary. "I don't profess to be a Christian, though I wish to be one; but I am a happier man than ever I was before. For upwards of two years I have knocked off swearing, drinking, going to the theatre, and all other places of dissipation. You know what a miserable creature I was when you picked me up four years ago. I have now a good stock of clothes, and a clever sum in the bank. I became very fond of reading the Bible you gave me--it was the first I ever owned. I had not read it many weeks, when I found I must knock off some of my bad habits or give up the good book. I have continued to read its holy pages, and often have I lifted up my prayer that God would open my eyes to understand his law, but I dare not take to myself the hope, that I am what my Bible tells me I must be, before I can enter into the kingdom of heaven." Though this young sailor seemed afraid to admit it, yet I could not but believe, from the great change in his character, and the whole tenor of his conversation, that he is one of Christ's chosen disciples.
One case more, which seems providentially to have been brought to the knowledge of the Missionary, to encourage him to cast in the seed of the Gospel, trusting to God's word, that it shall return after many days. Passing along one of the streets of Philadelphia, ten days since, he was stopped by a young man, who called him by name, and who expressed the strongest emotions of pleasure at meeting him. The Missionary did not recognize him, until he mentioned his name. When he left Boston, he was much emaciated by [42/43] sickness, now he was robust and healthy. He spoke with much feeling of the kindness shown him three years before at the Marine Hospital, and of the deep and abiding impressions made on his heart at our Seamen's Church. These feelings he said never left him, but led him a year afterwards in Philadelphia to seek the prayers and counsel of the Rector of St. Paul's Church. He was subsequently confirmed by Bishop Potter. I am happy to add, from testimony received since my return home, that he is maintaining an humble walk with God, and while serving as sexton of the floating Church of the Redeemer, is an active and efficient laborer in visiting the vessels in port, and inviting his brethren of the sea to come up and worship God in their beautiful house of prayer. There is one feature more connected with the Mission, which has been productive of a vast amount of good. He refers to the aid rendered to sick, shipwrecked, and destitute seamen. Notwithstanding the numerous applications for relief in the way of clothing, he has always been able to meet the demand, except for outside garments; some special effort has generally been necessary to obtain these, which has mostly been successful. For the various articles of under-clothing, he has been chiefly indebted to the "Ladies of the Dorcas Society of St. James's Church, Roxbury;" a Society which has never been weary in well-doing, and whose labors of love have contributed largely to the efficiency and usefulness of the Missionary in this department. He records with pleasure, a box of clothing, and a contribution for Prayer Books, from "The Ladies of St. Peter's, Salem," as a token of their good-will, with the assurance of a [43/44] lively interest in the Mission and devout prayers for its prosperity and success. He also acknowledges a bundle of shirts from "The Young Ladies' Sewing Circle of St. Andrew's Church, Hanover." Other kind friends have sent supplies of cloth, flannel, guernsey shirts, &c.
These benefactions to the poor unfortunate sailor, may, perhaps, be forgotten by those who made them--they are remembered by Him who will not forget a cup of cold water, and who has said, "inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto me."
The following statistics exhibit the number of services, &c. Public worship at the Church three times each Sunday. The number of seamen attending the Church the past year exceeds 5000. Visits at the Marine Hospital, when the Missionary has not been prevented by sickness, on Thursday of each week. Communicants, 86. Marriages, 5. Baptisms, 6 infants and 1 adult. Confirmed, 3. Funerals, 13. Bibles given to seamen going to sea: English, 763; Swedish, 23; Danish, 13; German, 18; French, 14; Spanish, 6; Portuguese, 10. Total of Bibles, 847. Testaments: English, 473; Swedish, 35; Danish, 31; German, 37; French, 7; Spanish, 16; Portuguese, 21. Total of Testaments, 620. Prayer Books, 865. Volumes of religious books, 1,142. Tracts, 16,000. Articles of clothing to shipwrecked and destitute seamen, 235.
While these results fall far short of the ardent wishes of the Missionary, he humbly prays it may be found when the final records of our doings are unrolled, that the efforts put forth the past year, in the [44/45] preaching of the gospel, the circulation of the Word of God, the Prayer Book, and hundreds of religious volumes and tracts, have been to many poor souls the means of salvation. It has been well said, that the results of truly religious institutions should be calculated by a very different standard from all others--the good done in them is so immense, so durable, so secure from all vicissitude, although it should be applied to only one being, that being viewed as an immortal being, is of so high a value, that the greatest sacrifices appear simple and natural for such an interest. If, therefore, it can be said that only one abandoned sinner, who had been an agent of evil wherever he went, has been brought under the power of the Gospel of Christ, and he is now gone forth a new man--a missionary of the cross among his shipmates, and in foreign lands--if it has saved one such, and led him from sin to holiness, from the service of the devil to the worship and service of his Creator and Redeemer,--the labors of the mission have not been in vain.
J. P. ROBINSON, Missionary. May 14th.
Fifth Annual Report of the Missionary to Seamen in the Port of Boston. 1850. To the Rt. Rev. MANTON EASTBURN, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts:
The Missionary, in presenting this, his Fifth Annual Report, is happy in being able to record that the progress of our Mission, during another year, suggests abundant reason for heartfelt gratitude and encouragement [45/46] for renewed exertion. A review of the past has awakened emotions of renovated hope, and devout thankfulness to Him from whom all blessings flow, for the measure of success which has hitherto crowned our labors.
The labors of this year, like those preceding it, have been blessed to the conversion of some who have been living in forgetfulness of God, but having now obtained mercy, have gone forth under the banner of the cross to win others to the faith and hope of the gospel. Occasionally we are mercifully favored with evidence of the divine blessing upon our labors, to encourage us to trust in his faithful word that the seed planted in faith, and the bread cast upon the waters, shall not be in vain. We are generally, perhaps, more anxious to see the fruits of our efforts, and our offerings to the cause of God, than we should be; seeing that it is our duty to plant and to water, while it is the province of God alone to give the increase. The fact that our eyes do not behold a harvest from the seed which our hands have sown, is no proof that a harvest never will spring from those seeds thus planted. Yet when God does grant us, in some degree, the results of our labors in the cause of his truth, it should serve not only to gladden our hearts, and move us gratefully to acknowledge his goodness, but to increase our faith, and to inspire us with renewed zeal to prosecute our labors of love, with a firmer resolution to labor henceforth with greater diligence and confidence for the benefit of our fellow-men, and the glory of Him who redeemed them with his own precious blood. The following interesting fact bears gratifying [46/47] testimony to the good our Mission is effecting in behalf of that long-neglected class of men, for whose benefit it was established, and is now sustained.
Can any one who has contributed a single dollar towards the support of this Mission, or remembered it in his prayers, feel otherwise than thankful that they have done something for the spiritual welfare of the sons of the ocean, when they read this statement, written by a Clergyman of our Church, in testimony of the results of missionary labor in behalf of seamen, in the conversion of one of this class, whose soul, in the sight of God, is as precious as the most favored of the children of men?
"In my visitation of the sick wards connected with the Blockley Alms-House, Philadelphia," says the Rev. Mr. Jones, "I recently met with a patient whose case elicited immediate interest. He was a sailor, a South American by birth, and possessed of a good degree of intelligence. I found him busily occupied in perusing a Spanish New Testament, and upon further inquiry ascertained that it was the gift of the Rev. Mr. Robinson, a Clergyman of our Church, in charge of the Seamen's Chapel of the Port of Boston. He said that he attended the ministrations of that gentleman whenever he was in port, and was much attached to him as a minister of Christ. Originally a member of the Roman Church, he had been brought to a knowledge of the truth, and for the last few years had been endeavoring to lead a consistent life. He said that the New Testament, thus kindly furnished him, had been his companion in successive voyages to the West Indies and London, that he prized its contents, and [47/48] regularly read it through; and now, that blessed volume is his guide and counsellor, while confined to his bed in weakness of body, rejoicing his heart, and giving light to his mental eye. I must say that I never saw an instance where a more exalted estimate seemed to be placed upon the sacred volume! Should not this fact encourage those who are engaged in furthering the spiritual interests of those who do business upon the great waters? Should it not stimulate all to redoubled ardor in the great work of Christian effort, and lead us not only to pray, but labor for the advent of that day when the ways of God shall be known upon earth, his saving health among all nations?"
A lady residing in one of the Azores thus writes:--"You ask me to tell you something about the distribution of the Portuguese Testaments I received through your kindness. They were received with so much eagerness and gratitude, and so many were so desirous. of possessing a volume,--some offering to pay any amount within the compass of their means, if they could only obtain one,--that I regretted exceedingly that I had not more to dispose of. I was careful to disperse them as widely as possible, and to give them to those who, I had reason to think, would benefit others as well as themselves by their perusal. I have alluded to the interesting scene which occurred in our own house on that dreadful night of the earthquake. We, who called ourselves Christians in its highest sense, were for a time appalled and despairing, and only by a violent struggle could we obtain that perfect reliance upon a Heavenly arm, which alone could support us, amid the convulsions of nature. But these poor, [48/49] ignorant creatures seemed calm and collected, while sitting in a group, listening to one of their number, who read aloud to them. I hardly ever witnessed a scene which affected me more deeply. After it became known that I had given to some "the Life of Jesus," as they expressed it, I was importuned for more. The common people, as I have often witnessed, seem as much delighted and fascinated, while listening to the reading of God's word, as I ever saw persons in a novel; and I cannot help hoping and believing that some of the ground where the divine seed has been cast, may prove rich and productive."
The Missionary has made the above extract, because it has a bearing upon a class of seamen who evince a most remarkable anxiety to become possessed of the Word of God. Within the last month he was called on by six Portuguese seamen, from the immediate vicinity of the place where the effects of the earthquake were most felt. They were shipmates, and had been directed to the Chapel by the cards pasted in the books which had been given to their countrymen; they hastened up to see him as soon as they could leave their vessel; and rarely has he met with a deeper feeling of gratitude than was manifested by these men, when he gave each of them a copy of the Bible.
A young sailor, one of the crew of the Ohio, after an absence of over three years, has returned to tell me that the impressions made upon his heart, when he attended the services in the Chapel, could not be thrown off altogether, though surrounded with hundreds of ungodly shipmates. "I soon began to prize my books; and, I can truly say, had it not been for them, [49/50] I know not how I could have resisted the torrent of wickedness, and the temptations to sin, always to be met with on board a man-of-war. 'The Counsels to Young Men' helped me much, and I read it whenever I had opportunity. My Bible and Prayer Book I was ashamed to read openly, for a long time, on account of the ridicule of some who made sport of religion. On the passage home, I was enabled to rise above the scorn of the blasphemer; sickness and death entered our noble ship, when officers and crew sunk under the attack of the terrible visitation. I then felt it was time for me to be in earnest for my salvation; nor was I alone in my feelings; some fifteen of my shipmates met with the chaplain for prayer, whenever we had opportunity."
An aged seaman returned home last week, having been gone three years and four months. In reply to a question addressed him, he said, "I have tried to profit by the books you gave me, when I parted with you in your Church. I love to read them, and they have made me feel sometimes happy; they have been read by most of my shipmates, for books are not very plenty in the forecastle of a vessel trading in the Mauritius. I could have sold them, twenty times for any price, but they were worth more to me than money; no offer could buy them. I do love to read my Bible; and when I have been using my Prayer Book, I have felt encouraged to pray, because so many were offering up the same prayers. I hoped mine, sinner as I was, for Christ's sake, would be heard; but it is hard work for us, poor sailors, with our cursing officers and wicked shipmates, to be religious men." This old [50/51] sailor brought, as a token of gratitude to the Missionary, two carved shells.
The Missionary might add other cases of like interest; but these few facts, he trusts, are sufficient to encourage the friends of this Mission to believe that the preaching of the Gospel, the regular services of the Church, the distribution of the Holy Scriptures, the Book of Common Prayer, and books of a practical religious character, and tracts innumerable, have been the means of salvation to many whose home is on the sea.
The public worship at the Chapel has been celebrated three times each Sunday; the number of seamen in attendance averages about the same as reported last year. An exact list of communicants cannot be made; the number considering themselves as such, when in port, exceeds one hundred. The Communion is administered on the first Sunday of the month, and the number of communicants varies from twenty to thirty. Marriages, 7. Baptisms, I adult, and 10 infants. Confirmed, 1. Funerals, 15. Bibles given to seamen: English, 723; Swedish, 27; Danish, 7; German, 30; French, 15; Spanish, 8; Portuguese, 35. Total of Bibles, 945. Testaments: English, 450; Swedish, 39; Danish, 20; German, 40; French, 12; Spanish, 23; Portuguese, 44. Prayer Books, 525. Practical religious books, 963. Clothing to shipwrecked and unfortunate seamen, 247 pieces. The Missionary must be permitted to record here the gifts of piety from the Ladies of the Dorcas Society of St. James's Church, Roxbury; from the commencement of the mission, their labors have furnished large supplies of the best [51/52] under-clothing for our unfortunate seamen, and their example has occasionally led to supplies from other sources. For every benefaction to this cause, the ardent prayer is offered, that at the last great day, when the sea shall give up her dead, many a ransomed sailor may rise to bless those who remembered them in their degradation and misery, and provided means for their temporal and spiritual health.
J. P. ROBINSON, Missionary.
Boston, May 15, 1850.
Sixth Annual Report of the Missionary to Seamen in the Port of Boston. 1851. To the RT. REV. MANTON EASTBURN, D. D., Bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts:
The close of another Conventional year calls upon the Missionary to report the condition of the Mission under his care, and again to record, with feelings of devout gratitude, the continued evidences of Divine favor and goodness, which have so far followed and blessed the humble instrumentalities which have been employed for the spiritual and temporal good of those "who go down to the sea in ships, and that do business in great waters."
The Mission to Seamen in the Port of Boston, may now be considered no longer in the light of an experiment, but as a permanently established institution. In the mind of the Missionary, there has never been any doubt of the ultimate success of this important work of [52/53] usefulness. The wonder is, not that it has succeeded, but that it had not been undertaken by our Church at an earlier period. When it is considered what numbers of Englishmen, Swedes, Danes, and Norwegians are found in our mercantile marine, and who, in their native lands, have been accustomed from infancy to the use of a Liturgy very similar to our own; and in addition to this, the number of sailors from the British Provinces, crowding our port during the summer months, most of them more or less acquainted with the services of the Church, we cannot over-estimate the importance of providing free churches in our great commercial cities, in which these men may worship God in the way in which they have been brought up. At least nine-tenths of the foreign sailors in our ports, and a portion of our American seamen, are nominally Episcopalians, or Lutherans. Whatever religious training they have enjoyed, has been imparted to them through the medium of a Liturgy. As a general thing, also, the religious services held on shipboard, are conducted according to some prescribed form. While there are so many, then, whose early prejudices are in favor of a liturgical worship, we are disposed to believe that hundreds, if not thousands of seamen, since the establishment of our Mission, have been induced to attend our services, who would have spent the day of rest in idleness, or in riot and debauch, had there been no Episcopal Chapel provided for their accommodation. The probability is, that if they cannot find "their own church," or something kindred to it, they will attend no place of worship; or if they do, they will not hear with so willing a mind, and so [53/54] teachable a heart, the pulpit instructions uttered in connection with an extemporaneous worship, as those which accompany "the form of sound words," to which they have been accustomed.
The services of the Chapel have been held regularly every Sunday, and the Holy Communion administered on the first Sunday of the month.
The attendance on our services has of course varied with the number of seamen in port; but our congregations have generally been large, and always most orderly and attentive. This fact has been particularly noticed by some of my clerical brethren who have aided me in my labors. On some occasions during the last winter, sailors have left their vessels at Roxbury, Dorchester, and South Boston, and have found their way to our evening service, cheerfully undertaking a long and cold walk for this purpose, and thus showing their appreciation of the privileges of the sanctuary.
The plan hitherto adopted is still pursued, of visiting the boarding-houses and vessels for the purpose of conversation with the seamen. On Sunday morning before service, from three to five hundred cards are distributed in the boarding-houses, on shipboard, and along the wharves, describing the locality of the Chapel, and the hours of service; also, the time when the Missionary can be found in the Chapel, by those who desire a private interview with him, for religious counsel and advice.
An interesting feature in this Mission, from its commencement, is its charities.
By the kindness of our many friends we have been enabled to supply the wants of many shipwrecked and [54/55] destitute seamen, by furnishing them with necessary articles of clothing, to an extent beyond what has been done by any similar institution in this city. For the ability to do this, so generously placed in his hands, the Missionary feels truly grateful; and desires to take this occasion to express his thanks to those who have, with such kind hearts and industrious hands, enabled him to alleviate so much suffering.
The distribution of Bibles, in nearly all the European languages, Prayer Books, and other religious books, tracts, and newspapers, has still been continued, during the week and on each Sunday evening, through the year. It is truly delightful to witness the evident gratitude and pleasure with which, in most instances, these books are received; and we cannot doubt that a vast amount of good is thus effected.
In numerous cases we have had actual evidence that God's Word has "prospered in the thing whereunto it was sent;" and enough of the Bread of Life, thus literally "cast upon the waters" has returned after many days, to encourage our hearts, and to animate us "not to be weary in" this mode of "well-doing."
The Hospital has been visited as usual.
The Missionary is rejoiced in being able to report, in conclusion, that during no previous year of its existence has the Mission to Seamen in the Port of Boston been more evidently blessed and prospered than during the last twelve months. Praise be to God that He has not rejected our humble efforts, but has condescended to use them, and to make them available, as we trust, for the salvation of many souls!
The number of seamen in attendance is about the [55/56] same as last year. The aggregate of seamen who have worshipped at our Chapel since it was first opened, exceeds thirty thousand. Communicants, 120. Marriages, 8. Baptisms, 10. Confirmed, 10. Funerals, 17. Bibles given to seamen: English, 675; Swedish, 23; Danish, 9; German, 26; French, 13; Spanish, 6; Portuguese, 39; Total of Bibles, 791. New Testaments: English, 375; Swedish, 34; Danish, 23; German, 19; French, 10; Spanish, 25; Portuguese, 53; Italian, 6; Total Testaments, 545. 487 Prayer Books. 865 Practical Religious Books. Total of books, past year, 2,678. Clothing to shipwrecked and unfortunate seamen, 273 pieces.
The sum total of distribution among seamen, from the commencement of the Mission, is the following:--Bibles, 5,656; Testaments, 3,361; Prayer Books, 4,645; Religious Books, 7,622; Gross amount, 21,284. Clothing, &c., 1838. During the inclement weather of last winter, the Missionary had a soup room, where a large number of our most deserving poor received, every other day, a sufficient amount of food for their necessities.
The Missionary is unwilling to close this Report without referring to the efficient aid which the Mission has received from its able and excellent Treasurer, B. C. CLARK, Esq., who has always taken the greatest interest in the welfare of the Chapel, has been a constant attendant at the services during a portion of every day, and has rendered important assistance to the Missionary, in the distribution of Bibles, &c. His indefatigable kindness and care have thus been of the greatest aid to us, and have set a noble example to other influential [56/57] laymen, to encourage them to "Go and do likewise."
J. P. ROBINSON, Missionary.
Contributions in money, cloth, clothing, books, &c., for the charities of the Mission, will be thankfully received b the Missionary.
The Missionary submits the following statement of duties performed in connection with the Mission in Ann Street, since his last Report. Public worship as usual in the Chapel. Baptisms, infants, 4. Funerals, 6. Bibles given to Seamen: English, 216; Portuguese, 18; Swedish, 10; Danish, 4; German, 7; Italian, 3; French, 5. Testaments: English, 165; Swedish, 10; Danish, 6; Portuguese, 20; Spanish, 18; German, 8; Dutch, 2; Welsh, 2; Italian, 4; French, 5. Prayer Books, 75. Other books, chiefly from the Tract Depository, 250.
The Missionary is always careful in his distribution, to supply only those who seem to appreciate the value of the gift they receive, and especially those who are going on long voyages. If he gave a Bible to all who asked for one, it would require at least five times the number he has been furnished with the past year. He has supplied twenty-three shipwrecked seamen with changes of flannel shirts and drawers. Four of these [58/59] young men belonged to a coal vessel, run down in the Roads, ten days since, and three to the schooner Bellisle, which came in collision with the William Penn last Saturday night. Four of the crew of the latter vessel were drowned. A young seaman named John Maitland, who fell and broke his leg, which subsequently was amputated at the Massachusetts Hospital, has, through the kindness of a few individuals, and the skill and liberality of Dr. Phelps, been fitted with a leg, which so far answers the place of the lost one, as to enable him to work in a sail-loft, for the support of his wife and two children. Without the aid offered him by the Missionary, his destination must have been the almshouse.
An interesting portion of his labor, for over six years past, has been at the Marine Hospital, where he is regarded by the physician, the steward, and his excellent lady, as almost belonging to the establishment. His custom has been to carry with him a supply of tracts, and furnish each sailor with one or more, as the case may seem to require. When there is a death in the house, all who are well enough to leave the wards, are gathered by the steward, in one of the larger rooms, when the Missionary addresses the seamen in reference to the solemn occasion which brings them together; afterwards, prayers are offered, and all whose health will permit, follow the corpse to its final resting-place, the grave-yard of the Hospital, where the funeral service of the Church is performed. He has received two letters during the month, from young seamen belonging to the Chapel, from each of which he makes an extract.
 "Dear and Reverend Pastor:--I have enjoyed excellent health since I left Boston, and hope I have also made some progress on the road to heaven. I see more and more my faults, and, by God's assistance, try to overcome them. I find that I must strive, or I shall not be able to enter the strait gate. But it is not a small thing I am running for, so I should not faint. I do not trust in my own strength, for long since I found that was useless. I gave several of the books I received from you to the Armenians at Constantinople. The Prayer Books were highly prized by those who received them. They were the first that had ever been seen there."
The second letter is dated, Rio Janeiro, Aug. 28, 1851.
"Reverend Sir:--Pardon my audacity to send you a few lines. On our parting, you requested me to write. I could have asked no greater favor, than to be allowed to address you. It made me quite happy to think that I too, like others, could say in a foreign port, I will send a letter home. O Sir! you may well imagine how much worth those last few words arc; to a sailor, how easy he feels after having communicated his thoughts to his friends, and relieved his mind of many a heavy burden. I went on board of the Independence, on Saturday afternoon, February 22d, when we hauled into the stream and anchored. Much against my will I had to start on Sunday morning, when I should have liked to have been at Church, rather than on shipboard. I was well pleased with the ship and officers, but I never heard of a more wicked ship's [60/61] crew. Fifteen out of the twenty were gamblers. It is impossible for me to tell you how much I had to suffer, and it was really a hard task for me not to fall into the tempter's hands. May the Lord bless and keep you a faithful Minister to our little Church."
In closing his Report, the Missionary would mention an important part of labor on Sunday morning, and which is never omitted except in very stormy weather. This is the distribution in person, and with the aid of his sons, and sexton, of three or four hundred notices among seamen. The harbor and boarding-houses are districted, and each takes his regular round. This work is begun at nine o'clock, and if a few members of the Board would aid the Missionary in carrying out the plan more thoroughly, a large attendance would always be secured at the chapel.
J. P. ROBINSON,
Missionary to Seamen in the Port of Boston.
October 29, 1851.
THE FREE CHURCH OF ST. MARY FOR SAILORS. FRANCIS DANA, JR. Senior Warden.
WILLIAM W. MORLAND, Junior Warden.
WILLIAM W. MORLAND, Treasurer and Collector.
HENRY T. PARKER, Clerk.
JOSEPH BURNETT, Vestrymen.
J. B. KETTELL,
JOHN S. WHIPPLE,
Please send such contributions as you may feel inclined to bestow, either to the Treasurer above named, or to
REV. JOHN P. ROBINSON, Rector.
BOSTON, JANUARY 16, 1832.
N. B. The place of worship is on Richmond street, between Hanover and Salem streets.
THE following letter from "Father Taylor," whose fame, as the friend of seamen, is well known throughout the civilized world, has been handed to us just at the moment of putting these sheets to press. The friend to whom the Rev. Mr. Taylor's letter was addressed, has kindly permitted the use we now make of it.
"I have been frequently inquired of, of late, as to my opinion of the character and usefulness of Rev. Mr. Robinson, Chaplain of the Episcopal Bethel, in Ann Street. I have great pleasure in saying, that for seven years past he has been engaged in this work near me. We have been on terms of intimacy; and with pleasure I bear testimony to his fidelity and worth among the seamen, especially in the Chelsea Hospital. He has surpassed any I have known, in vigilance, soundness of principle, and truly ministerial dignity. I have sent many sailors to him, and, so far as my knowledge extends, their applications were not in vain. It affords me great pleasure to learn that there are efforts towards retaining him permanently at the North End. I hope it will prove true, for the seamen's sake as well as my own. May the blessing of God attend the efforts of both himself and friends.
"I remain, with great respect,
"E. T. TAYLOR.
"No. 1, Prince Street,
Boston, Jan. 19, 1852."