Project Canterbury









JUNE 25TH, 1851.






Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008

Officers of the Protestant Episcopal Historical Society


The Rt. Rev. T. C. BROWNELL, D. D. LL.D.

Vice President,


FREDERICK S. WINSTON, Esq., 60 Cedar street, N. Y.



The REV. WM. BACON STEVENS, D. D., Philadelphia, Pa.
The REV. PHILIP SLAUGHTER, Petersburg, Va.
The REV. A. B. PATERSON, Princeton, N. J.
The REV. J. H. HOBART, New York, N. Y.
The REV. W. I. KIP D. D., Albany, N. Y.
The REV. T. W. COIT, D. D., Hartford, Ct.
The REV. T. C. PITKIN, New Haven, Ct.
JOHN H. ALEXANDER, Esq., Baltimore, Md.
SAMUEL H. HUNTINGTON, Esq., Hartford, Ct.
ROBERT BOLTON, Jun., Esq., New Rochelle, N. Y.
G. M. WHARTON, Esq., Philadelphia, Pa.
E. A. NEWTON, Esq., Pittsfield, Mass.
G. L. DUYCKINCK, Esq., New York, N. Y.



THE PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY held its first annual meeting at the Stuyvesant Institute, New York, on Wednesday evening, June 25, A.D. 1851.

In the absence of the President, the Rt. Rev. T. C. Brownell, D. D., LL.D., the Rev. F. L. Hawks, D. D., LL.D., Vice-President, took the chair.

The meeting was opened with a few introductory remarks from the chair, when the Secretary read the Report of the Executive Committee. It was ordered to be printed, and is as follows:


ONE year has now elapsed since the establishment of the Protestant Episcopal Historical Society. A long period before, in the year 1830, public attention had been drawn to the necessity and importance of collecting and preserving the historical memorials of the Church in America. Two clergymen of Philadelphia at that time addressed a "Circular to the clergy and laity of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States," calling attention to the danger then existing of historical loss, by means of the death of old men and the destruction of existing memorials. One of the clergymen above referred to, having continued his exertions to the present day, has made a very large and valuable private historical collection. In addition to this collection, he has also formed another under the auspices of the General Convention, by which body he was some years since appointed historiographer of the Church in America.

[4] Other individuals in different parts of the Church, acting without official appointment, have made valuable contributions to American church history. Several volumes of worth and interest have appeared, together with great numbers of short parochial narratives; while the newspapers are continually publishing traditions well deserving preservation for historical purposes.

These facts gave sufficient assurance of the existence of historical matter, abundant and important enough to warrant the establishment of a historical society.

It was argued that no single individual, even under official appointment, could possibly collect all the papers, memorials, and traditions which would be necessary for a full and accurate account of the words and deeds of the American Church in every period of her existence. Many of these were already in the hands of the General Convention's conservator of documents, but some, it was feared, would be too remote for access, and many more might be suffered to die away under the impression that they were not worth preservation. Simple anecdotes, which old men remember and only occasionally repeat, sometimes throw a strong light upon dim periods. These were too valuable to overlook longer, and papers preserved as interesting family records were also too valuable to be left entirely to the hazards of private custody. Indeed many instances were known in which not only private collections had been injured, scattered, or lost, but even those made by authority also.

To show how vain it is to expect that historical materials will be preserved by any other than a society exclusively devoted to history, we may instance a circumstance relative to the venerable Propagation Society itself. One would suppose that if the correspondence of our colonial missionaries would anywhere be safe, it would be in the hands of that society, one of whose glories is her fostering care of the infant American Church. Yet when the historiographer of this Church went to England for the purpose of collecting the materials of her history, he was unable to find the correspondence of the early missionaries in all the archives of the Propagation Society. He made extensive inquiries, but none of the then acting officers could give any account of them. At last [4/5] one very old member recollected faintly something about a resolution passed long before, to remove that correspondence to Lambeth Palace. It was only after diligent inquiry that they were discovered in the upper room of an unfrequented tower, where the floor even was so much decayed that it was repaired before it was considered safe to walk upon. In the middle of this floor, carelessly heaped together, and on old book-cases about the walls, were discovered these forgotten memorials of the early history of the American Church. A few more years of oblivion, or any one of the most common accidents of a day, might have thrown a dimness never to be dispelled over long and important periods of our ante-revolutionary church history.

"Is the history of the Episcopal Church in America worth preserving, or is it not?" was the question that presented itself to the founders of this society, one year ago. So self-evident seemed to them the reply, that they almost feared the charge of presumption if they propounded the question. They did not venture to proceed until they had conversed and corresponded widely with influential clergy and laymen in various parts of the Church. From all they received one answer: "That it was important to collect and preserve all the materials for our church history, and that the time for doing so was already late."

The next step was to frame and put in operation effective means.

It was plain that a society should be established. Private effort had proved itself unequal to the task even of collecting and preserving all the materials of past history. But it was argued that current and future history would be no less important than past. Any one accustomed to look outward upon the philosophical and religious thoughts and sentiments prevailing around us, and upon the rising theories which affect political, social, and domestic life, and upon the rendings and fall of many organizations which have claimed to be founded upon the Rock of Ages, and who feels the throes and throbs of the Church in her present trial season, must be assured that her great battle and labor are to come, and that the culminating point of her history is yet future. It was thought that a society, while collecting the records of the times gone by, might also gather up passing incidents as they float; and, by a continued [5/6] existence in vigor, might carry forward the work through years and generations to come.

In order to secure its effective operation, it was plain that the society should embrace active members from every part of the Church. Without the cordial co-operation of churchmen residing [6/7] in every locality, it could not bring its labors to that perfection which is essential to complete success.

Secular historical societies were already in existence in nearly every State in the Union, and it was assumed by some that they would do the work which was designed by our own association. But it was replied that such bodies could not be expected to take sufficient interest in matters exclusively ecclesiastical to insure the collection and preservation of full historical materials--that they were too much scattered to afford facilities for investigation, and that they could not be trusted, because, though they might possess the best intentions, it was too much to expect that they would regard the Church with an interest equal to the wants of her history, as they would appear to her own children.

These considerations having been duly weighed, it was thought that the meeting of the Board of Missions in Hartford, in June, A.D. 1850, afforded a convenient opportunity to attempt the establishment of the Society. Its objects were stated and its plans freely discussed both in public and private. An entire unanimity of opinion existed as to the importance of the work, and a full acquiescence and cordial approval was expressed by the bishops, other clergy, and many of the laity there assembled, in the steps which resulted in the organization of the Protestant Episcopal Historical Society under its present form.

So universal was the approval which the Society met at its commencement, and so general was the expression of interest in its work, that it was hoped great numbers of the clergy and laity would enroll themselves among its members, and set it at once upon a vigorous and permanent footing.

The annual subscription was put at the small sum of two dollars.

The Executive Committee was selected with reference to variety in theological opinion, so far as that end was compatible with the [6/7] leading object of the Society. Their services are rendered without charge.

Corresponding members were early appointed in every diocese and missionary region; and they have contributed more or less to the Society's collection of facts, publications, and documents.

Other individuals have sent in papers and historical materials of various kinds, so that the collection is steadily though slowly increasing.

The Society had not been established long before it was discovered, that notwithstanding the universal approval of its objects, and the general expression of satisfaction with its constitution and order, it would be obliged to pass, like other similar bodies, through its period of trial. With that peculiar prudence for which the members of the Episcopal Church in America are by some thought remarkable, it seems to have been determined, before giving it a vigorous support, to wait and see whether it would continue or come to naught. Or, in other words, the great body of those who must be supposed to feel a strong interest in securing and disseminating the history of the Church in America, came to the conclusion that it would be wise for themselves to withhold their names and small annual subscriptions from the Society, until it should appear that the few who had originated it were able to carry it forward by themselves. It may not be presumptuous to suggest that it would have been equally as wise to have given the Society a fair trial by joining it in sufficient numbers to start it vigorously.

The opposite, however, appearing to be the chosen policy of the great body of the Church, it was resolved by the officers who had been elected, if their exertions could accomplish the result, that the Society should be put upon a basis which would command the attention and co-operation of enough, at least, to keep it alive and active. Their experience in other things had taught them that the permanent interest necessary for their ends could not be obtained by moving appeals and manifestoes. They studied, therefore, the greatest simplicity in all their announcements. They contented themselves with stating, as clearly and succinctly as possible, their objects, and the manner in which they proposed to accomplish them. They supposed that the very general expression of approval [7/8] which they received would be followed up by numerous names and subscriptions voluntarily offered. In the latter expectation they may not have been wise. They certainly were mistaken. They determined, therefore, to present the objects and claims of the Society to individuals in private. As far as its immediate pecuniary interest was concerned, the subscriptions might have been obtained through agencies; but they wished to excite a lasting interest in the object, and they chose, therefore, to present its claims themselves. They persevered until above three hundred members had enrolled themselves, comprising, among others, all the bishops, and a majority of the Lower House of General Convention. They then published a report which had been presented at a regular meeting in Cincinnati, and their Secretary soon put forth a statement and appeal in the public prints.

The result of their efforts thus far is, that the Society has a sufficient number of members to enable it to work. It already possesses by far the most valuable historical collection in existence relating to the Church in this country; and is continually, though slowly, adding to its stock. It is not without hopes of obtaining a perfect collection of all that is past, while it carefully culls and preserves everything that is valuable in current history.

The hope continues of obtaining accommodations for its meetings and a place for its library, in a fire-proof building in New York; and, though it will take some time for the Historical Society of that city, which is about to erect the building, to complete it, we are informed by the President of that body, that the wants of the Protestant Episcopal Historical Society will no doubt be considered in the plan, and provided for on liberal terms.

The tardiness of members in remitting their subscriptions, which this Society has experienced, in common with all other similar bodies, has delayed the issue of the first volume of publications. It is now, however, going through the press. It will contain, among other matters, a reprint of the "Journal of Travels" of the Rev. George Keith, a missionary of the Propagation Society, in the earliest years of the eighteenth century, with a sketch of his life, and several of his unpublished letters; the correspondence of the Rev. John Talbot with the secretary of the Society for the [8/9] Propagation of the Gospel; the original documents, &c., relating to the two non-juring bishops, who were consecrated for America, A. D. 1722, most of which articles will appear for the first time in print. As additional copies of a work can be printed, while it is going through the press, at small cost, it is evident that the funds accruing to the Society from an increase in the number of its members, would enable it largely to increase the amount and variety of its annual publications. It is therefore the interest, as well as the duty, of the members of this society, to endeavor to obtain additions to their numbers.

The manifest advantages which the Society possesses over any other body, in collecting, preserving, and keeping open for study and reference the materials for American church history, are such as to assure its present usefulness, though a much larger list of members than we now have, is necessary for its thorough efficiency. We are already informed of much historical matter existing in the records of old parishes, which, as soon as our means will allow, we intend to have copied and preserved. We have already a large collection of letters and other documents, which exhibit the Church as she appeared to the clergy; but the records and other papers of old parishes will give the Church from the laity's point of view. Both are needed for a perfect history.

If the Church will foster our association, in the manner which its needs demand, and its objects deserve, there can be no doubt of its rapid and complete success. It is strong enough with its present number of members to perform no mean labors. But it is desirable that the whole Church should join it, so as to gather in one collection all that relates to our history. The Society is sure of the importance of its work, and satisfied that its perfection is only a question of time. What might be done at once with the ample means which a large subscription would give, can be done slowly with the means already promised and in hand. Its officers would much rather share with the great body of the Church the labor as well as the honor of making, as far as possible, a complete historical collection; but if it is put upon them, they will take the burden and bear it. Those who have favored the Society with historical contributions, may therefore be assured of the security [9/10] of their deposits, and those who have such in their possession may send them forward, with full confidence that they will be safely preserved, and at the same time placed where free access to them may be obtained.

The Society continues to be under obligations to several of the proprietors of church periodicals, for the contribution of their respective issues to its library. These are filed with care, and will be bound and indexed for reference.

It is also under obligations to the Rev. Dr. Hanckel, of Charleston, for a rare historical work, and several valuable pamphlets; to the Bishop of New Jersey, for some interesting manuscripts; to Mr. John Read, of Trenton, N. J., for a portrait of one of his ancestors, the Rev. Aeneas Ross, an early colonial missionary, and for some rare old manuscripts; to the Rev. Samuel Cowell, of Brownsville, for a manuscript account of the early planting of the Church in Western Pennsylvania; and to several other individuals for convention journals, parish histories, and the like.

It observes with satisfaction a recommendation of its organization by the convention of Massachusetts; and a resolution passed by the late convention of New Jersey, ordering to be deposited in its collection, such manuscript parish histories as may be written, in answer to a resolution requesting all the clergy of that diocese to prepare such histories.

It may be well to state, that it is the intention of the committee to print only such a number of copies of their publications, as may be sufficient to supply members not in arrears to the society; a measure incumbent upon them in the judicious management of the funds committed to their charge.

All which is respectfully submitted,
By order of the Executive Committee,
B. FRANKLIN, Secretary.

[11] The Rt. Rev. BISHOP HOPKINS then delivered the


THE history of the Church of Christ, in its various aspects, presents a vast array of events, worthy, beyond all others, to engage the best attention of the human understanding, and excite the strongest emotions of the human heart. Established by the glorious Son of God, at the stupendous price of his own atonement-offering upon the cross--planted by the labors of his inspired apostles in the midst of persecution--attracting universal observation by miraculous gifts and signs and wonders, and endowed with the inward energy and sanctifying graces of the Holy Ghost, we behold the Church in the beginning, resplendent in purity and virtue, fervent in brotherly love, full of beneficence and zeal and self-denial, ready for every sacrifice, whether of property, or ease, or credit, or honor, or liberty, or life itself, so that it might secure the prize of immortality, and manifest to all mankind the goodness and the mercy of the Redeemer. Through the omnipotent might of its divine Founder, it grew and multiplied in despite of opposition. The rage of Satan and the madness of men assaulted it alike in vain. It withstood the terrors of the most torturing deaths, triumphant in faith, invincible in patience, steadfast in hope, and rejoicing in martyrdom. Crowds of willing proselytes abandoned the sensualities of heathenism and the subtle sophistries of philosophy, for the sake of that heavenly truth which could rise in such victorious strength over all the weakness of humanity. And the marvellous results of little more than two centuries from the last of the apostles, were exhibited before an astonished world, in the subversion of idolatry and the supremacy of the glorious gospel, throughout the immense extent of the old Roman empire.

But the brilliant dawn of Christianity was soon overcast with clouds, arising from the indirect influence of heathenism. The bitter and malicious opposition of enemies from without the Church, was followed by far worse and more complicated assaults from enemies [11/12] within. Among the clergy themselves, according to the prediction of St. Paul, men arose "speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." Heretics and schismatics had indeed appeared, even in the time of the apostles, and their erroneous teaching had given much trouble to the disciples of Christ. Nor was the Church at any period altogether free from the painful task of protesting against the inroads of false doctrine. But after the emperor Constantine had conferred wealth and title upon the bishops, worldly ambition led a far greater number of ungodly men into the ministry, and the love of pomp and power, inherent in every unconverted heart, opened a wide door to innovation, through which the subtlety of Satan introduced a sad variety of errors, under the sanction of supposed expediency. Thus expediency seemed to require an immense display of imposing pomp in the outward service of the sanctuary, for the purpose of attracting the respect and veneration of the heathen, who had been so long attached to the splendid ceremonies of a gorgeous, refined, and sensual idolatry. Expediency seemed to justify a large infusion of superstition, to suit the feelings of the multitude, and to accommodate the celestial truths of the gospel to the prevailing spirit of the times. Expediency seemed to demand the establishment of a more perfect hierarchy, fashioned after the model of human government throughout the empire: and hence arose the secular rights bestowed upon the bishops, the high prerogatives of metropolitans and patriarchs, and the centralizing schemes of the great dignitaries of the Church who presided at Rome and Constantinople. By degrees, the original purity of the apostolic system became contaminated by new doctrines, new customs, new festivals, new modes of penance, new objects of worship, new claims of priestly power, new standards of holiness. A life of self-imposed austerity, to which the Saviour had given no sanction, either by precept or example, became the favorite characteristic of the saints. Monachism undertook to serve the Lord in a state of imaginary perfection, marked out, not by the word of God, but by the fanatical self-will of men. Celibacy was advanced to the highest rank among the Christian virtues, in spite of Scripture and of reason. False miracles were connected with the relics of the martyrs, and [12/13] prayers, which in the fourth century were offered for the virgin and the saints, began to be offered to them. Purgatory was established, and placed under the supreme authority of the priests. Persecution which, during three centuries, was used against the Church, became the favorite weapon of the Church herself, against those whom she denounced as heretics and schismatics, notwithstanding the solemn language of the Lord to Peter, "Put up thy sword into the sheath, for they that take the sword shall perish by the sword." The fierce contentions for the supremacy of Rome over Constantinople broke up the communion between the East and the West, and the one Holy Catholic Church, which had hitherto been not only an article of the creed, but also a living fact in the visible unity of Christians throughout the world, thenceforth remained as a point of faith only,--"The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Europe, which was no longer under the sceptre of the ancient empire, became subject, more and more, to the bondage of the papal Church, until the pontiffs, in their arrogance, made footballs of the crowns of kings, and claimed, as the sole vicars of Christ, not only a spiritual but a temporal authority, from which they allowed of no appeal. Long ages of darkness brooded over the nations. The education of the higher ranks among the laity was confined to the art of war, and reading and writing were seldom seen amongst the accomplishments of even the nobility. So honorable was the profession of arms, that the priests themselves were tempted to play the warrior. Bishops led their own troops to battle, and were often foremost in the field of blood. The churches and the monasteries were frequently polluted by the grossest ignorance and the foulest debauchery. The clergy were ambitious to be the leading spirits in all secular as well as all religious matters. The better informed amongst them not only argued the suits at law, and presided in courts of justice, but the prelates acted as ambassadors and prime ministers; the cardinals guided the policy of courts, and their immense wealth enticed them to emulate the luxury of kings in their style of living. The gospel of love was mainly sustained by the influence of fear and terror. The formal sentence of the Church was followed up, in all the nations of Europe, by the secular power, which burned the [13/14] unhappy culprit alive; and the horrible Inquisition was established, under the sanction of the popes, which racked its wretched victims in private with every variety of studied torture, as a preliminary to the public agony of the stake. And all this tremendous machinery was brought to bear upon the purest and the best of men, in support of doctrines which had no real sanction in the truth of Christianity. A crusade was proclaimed, and fire and sword were used to exterminate the Waldenses. The Inquisition assailed Galileo for maintaining the motion of the earth. Torments and flames enforced the papal figment of transubstantiation. In a word, so completely had Antichrist become seated in the temple of God, showing himself that he was God, by placing his usurped authority in the throne of supreme dictation, and commanding all men to obey him at the peril of property and liberty and life, that the history of the world cannot exhibit an example of so much diabolical delusion, cruelty, and despotism in any heathen priesthood, as Satan had contrived to establish in the hierarchy of the merciful and compassionate Redeemer.

And yet, through the marvellous pity and overruling providence of the Most High, the promises of Christ did not fail, nor was his Church delivered over, as some have supposed, to total apostasy. For still the Scriptures, though seldom read even by the mass of the clergy themselves, and hardly ever by the laity, were acknowledged as the Word of God; and still the cardinal doctrines of the faith remained, though surrounded by corruption. The ancient creeds were still professed, notwithstanding the additions of these fearful errors. And there were a few still reserved, from age to age, even in the bosom of the Church of Rome, who protested against the tyranny and licentiousness of her rulers; and doubtless many thousands who, in secret, mourned over the prevailing sins of the times, and were led, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, to rest their souls on the only sure foundation. Even thus it was that the gates of hell were not allowed to prevail against the word of Christ, although the powers of hell were suffered so long to exercise such awful authority. And hence, when Rome had reached the pinnacle of her ambition, and the shameful traffic of indulgences was set on foot, to build the church of St. Peter's on a scale of [14/15] magnificence, which was intended to command the wonder and the homage of the world, the compassion of the Lord hearkened to the prayers of his suffering saints, and the decree went forth for a glorious Reformation.

It is not my purpose to occupy your attention by even an outline of the great events, which introduced the happy consummation of the marvellous struggle between the rightful claims of apostolic truth, and the strong and established force of papal error. I shall not pause over the career of our English Wickliff, who was the great leader in the mighty impulse, although another century elapsed before the triumph of the pure and unadulterated gospel could be fully secured. Nor shall I dwell on the labors of the Bohemian Huss, who followed in the steps of Wickliff, and left, along with his disciple, Jerome of Prague, a long-remembered legacy of martyrdom. Nor have I space even for the heroic Luther of Saxony, who was raised up, in more favorable times, to rouse the mind of Europe against the hoary despotism of Rome; nor for the great reformer of Geneva, the celebrated Calvin; nor for the bold Zuinglius, the enlightener of Switzerland; nor for any of the smaller stars which spread the light of scriptural truth in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Scotland, France, and other kingdoms of the continent. I do not even purpose to enlarge upon that portion of the mighty work, which was effected, under God, by the noble army of martyrs in our Mother Church of England; although there alone it was accomplished in what we hold to be its perfect form, not only restoring the precious doctrines of apostolic truth, but preserving, in all their integrity, the sacred rules of apostolic order. My main design is rather to present that peculiar aspect of modern ecclesiastical history, which belongs to the progress of the English Church, in the diffusion of her primitive system amongst the destitute and heathen parts of the earth; or, in other words, her prosecution of the great missionary enterprise, which has produced such admirable results in our own day. And to a slight sketch of this, I have now to ask your attention.

It ought to be premised, however, that the first formal movement of a missionary character proceeded from the Church of Rome, in the constitution of the Jesuits, with the express design--but too successfully [15/16] carried out--of checking the progress of the Reformation, and spreading the errors of the papacy throughout the world. It was the avowed plan of the fanatical Ignatius Loyola, that he and his associates should be organized as a new and peculiar order, under a stringent vow to go, unhesitatingly, and without recompense, wherever the pope should send them, as missionaries for the conversion of infidels and heretics, or for the service of the Church in any other way, and to devote all their powers and means, with the most implicit submission, and at any sacrifice, to the accomplishment of their purpose. This society was established by Pope Paul III., in A. D. 1540; and I need not remind you of the immense field which they have traversed, in North and South America, in China, in India, in the Philippine Islands, in Japan, and other places. Their character is as notorious as their successes, and much more likely to be enduring. Even the Church of Rome, notwithstanding their vast usefulness, to her interests, has been more than once compelled to condemn and to abrogate the order. Over and over again have they been expelled from the countries of Europe for their dangerous and immoral doctrines: and yet they have been restored, and still exist, though with much diminished power and credit, as the favorite instruments of that unscrupulous Church, which cares but little for the means, if she can only enjoy the spoils of victory. God forbid that the missionaries of our Mother Church should resemble these!

But the zeal of Rome was not content with the order of the Jesuits, in her missionary efforts. In A. D. 1022 the famous Society De Propaganda Fide was founded by Pope Gregory XV., consisting of eighteen cardinals and some papal ministers and officers of the College, the design of which was to direct and arrange all measures relating to the extension of the Romish faith and the extirpation of heretics. Connected with this was the Collegium seu Seminarium de Propaganda Fide, instituted about five years later, by Pope Urban VIII., for the education of missionaries. These establishments have been of immense importance to the Church of Rome, and there are many features in their organization, their management, and the steady zeal with which they have been sustained, which entitle them to be considered as model institutions, [16/17] notwithstanding the foul corruption of the system which they are devoted to uphold.

It was not until seventy-seven years after the rise of the Romish Propaganda, that our mother-Church made a formal movement in the missionary enterprise. The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was founded in A.D. 1699, and this was followed, in A.D. 1701, by the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which was designed, however, only for the "plantations, colonies, and factories of Great Britain," while the former contemplated an unrestricted range, and did not confine its zeal to the planting of the Church, but was ready to co-operate in any direction of the work which was of a Protestant character. Thus, when the Royal Danish Missionary Society was instituted by Frederick IV., in A.D. 1704, at Copenhagen, the Christian Knowledge Society entered at once into correspondence with it, and appropriated considerable sums, sometimes amounting to more than $8000 annually, to the support of Danish and Lutheran missionaries in the East Indies. Their munificence and zeal had a happy result, in the establishment of the present dioceses of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay, and the history of the work deserves our notice.

The year 1706 was distinguished by the first landing of Protestant missionaries at Tranquebar, a Portuguese establishment on the coast of Coromandel. Of these, the admirable Ziegenbalg was the chief, and Plutscho was his colleague; both Lutherans, appointed by the Royal Danish Missionary Society, through the agency of the excellent Professor Francke, of the University of Halle, a man to whom the missionary cause in modern times is most deeply indebted, as the father of that useful and honored institution, "The Oriental College of Divinity," designed expressly to furnish qualified laborers for the propagation of the gospel in the East.

So great was the zeal of those devoted men, that in less than six months from the time of their arrival, they had acquired sufficient knowledge of the two languages spoken by the inhabitants at Tranquebar--one of which was a kind of mongrel Portuguese, and the other was the Tamul, or the Coromandel dialect--so that they could preach and catechize in either tongue at pleasure. Their success, on the whole, was highly encouraging. Other missionaries [17/18] were sent out to assist in the work. A house of worship was erected, several schools were established, the New Testament was translated into Tamul, and a volume of discourses and another of hymns were printed in the same language, by the indefatigable Ziegenbalg. In A.D. 1717, he addressed a letter to George I., the king of England, on the duty and expediency of diffusing the gospel among the British settlements in India; and the sovereign, being doubtless influenced by the excellent Archbishop Wake, who was the President of the Christian Knowledge Society and a warm and constant friend of the Danish mission, made a kind and favorable reply. On the death of Ziegenbalg in 1719, the archbishop applied to Professor Francke for a new supply of missionaries, and three other Lutherans, being first episcopally ordained at Copenhagen, were sent out soon afterwards, of whom Benjamin Schultz was the most prominent. From this beginning, the work extended by the Divine blessing to several other parts of India. A mission was established at Tanjore in A.D. 1728, besides a commencement at several of the factories in Southern India; at Madras, in A.D. 1730, under Rev. Sartorius; and at Cuddalore, in A.D. 1740, under Rev. Giesler. A new translation of the New Testament was produced by the Rev. Fabricius, in the Tamul language, which was superior in elegance to that of Ziegenbalg, and the Old Testament, which that energetic man had begun, was completed by Schultz, his indefatigable successor. In A.D. 1759, the mission at Calcutta was established under Kiernander; and in 1766, the famous Schwarz became the missionary of the Society at Trichinopoly, displaying the most extraordinary zeal and tact, and acquiring an influence over the petty sovereigns of India which was wholly without example. Many other missionaries of less note were united in the work, besides several native converts. But no English clergyman was found ready to undertake the task until the year 1788, when the Rev. Mr. Clarke was taken, for a short time, into the employment of the Society. With this exception, all the missionaries, from the commencement in 1706, had been furnished from the same quarter, the Danish Missionary Institution. Schwarz died in the zealous prosecution of his admirable labors, in 1798, full of honor, at the age of seventy-two, leaving his entire property, which was [18/19] of considerable value, for the benefit of the great enterprise to which his life had been so nobly devoted. The researches of Dr. Buchanan, who had gone out as chaplain to Bengal in A.D. 1794, excited a fresh impulse in favor of the sacred cause, and the efforts of the Christian Knowledge Society were at length crowned with the best result by the Act of Parliament, which established the see of Calcutta, in A.D. 1813. Soon afterwards, Bishop Fanshaw arrived to take possession of the new diocese, and thus the preparatory work of those zealous Lutherans had its prosperous consummation, when the spiritual interests of India passed into the exclusive care of the venerable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

Of this society I wish to speak in much fuller detail, because it was the blessed instrument of extending the Church of Christ in our own land, and of securing to us the precious privileges which we now enjoy, as a prosperous and growing branch of the Church universal.

Towards the close of the seventeenth century, it pleased God to put it into the hearts of many faithful members of the Church in England, to look upon the melancholy condition of their countrymen in the American colonies, with respect to their religious destitution. Though subjects of the British crown, they were as aliens from the British Church, sheep without a shepherd, perishing for lack of knowledge, Episcopalians in principle so far that they could not unite cordially with any Christian sect, while yet they could not be Episcopalians practically, for want of the means of grace ordained to be dispensed through the regularly commissioned ministry of the gospel. The result of a careful inquiry established the astounding fact that there were at that time only four Episcopal clergymen in the whole continent of America! The necessity of some special effort to improve this deplorable state of things was too apparent for doubt or hesitation. And hence they resolved to petition King William III, from whom they obtained, on the 16th of June 1701, a royal charter, constituting them a corporation, with the title of The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

The reasons which the charter set forth, for the establishment of such a society, deserve to be specially commemorated. They [19/20] were as follows: First, that in many of the colonies, the provision made for ministers was very mean. Secondly, that many other colonies were wholly destitute of a maintenance for ministers and the public worship of God. Thirdly, that for want of such maintenance, many of the king's subjects were without the administration of God's word and sacraments, and seemed to be abandoned to atheism and infidelity. And fourthly, that for want of learned and orthodox ministers, Romish priests were encouraged to pervert the king's subjects to popish superstition and idolatry.

The charter being obtained, the Society commenced the principle, from which it has never departed, of placing at the head of its management the primate and bishops of the Church of England. The chair of its president has thus been occupied by the successive archbishops of Canterbury--Tenison, Wake, Potter, Herring, Hutton, Secker, Cornwallis, Moore, Sutton, Howley, and Sumner; and all the bishops of the United Church of England and Ireland are vice-presidents.

The first operations of the Society were directed to our own country, by sending a few clergymen and schoolmasters, with presents of books, to the British subjects in the American colonies, including the Indian tribes. The Iroquois, or Five Indian Nations, New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Carolina, were all the objects of its care. For eighty-two years--from the time of its incorporation up to the period of our national independence after the Revolutionary War--the Society made our land the chief, although not the only, recipient of its bounty; and many volumes might be filled with the details of those early missionaries, who were called to contend with difficulties which we can hardly estimate. That some of them were unhappily selected, and proved to be in no respect adapted for the peculiar work committed to their trust, was undoubtedly to be deplored. In the nature of the case, it could hardly have been otherwise. The missionary spirit had not yet been thoroughly awakened in the Church at large. Men of established character and position, or of high prospects of preferment at home, could not often be found willing to exile themselves, perhaps for life, and brave the perils of what was frequently, at that day, more than a two months' voyage, and [20/21] abandon friends, and books, and all the comforts of high civilization which long habit had almost made necessary, to labor in the distant wilderness, whose dangers and privations were sure to be exaggerated by report, while no one could have reasonably anticipated the marvellous growth and prosperity of its future advancement. And therefore, as the Society could only employ those who were willing to go, and the majority of the applicants were likely to be of a class whose personal prospects might be improved by such a change, the only wonder is, not that some of them were found to be poorly qualified for a spiritual work which demanded such peculiar zeal, prudence, and self-denial, but that so many of them proved to be worthy and faithful laborers in the vineyard. Even with respect to these, however, I am perfectly aware that, as it is hardly possible for us to appreciate fully the extent of their toils and sacrifices, we are seldom able to render them the homage of praise and admiration which they deserved. But their record is on high. And blessings far beyond the applause of man have followed their work, and the holy efforts of the noble Society which sent and sustained them on their heavenly mission.

And now let us contemplate, for a little while, the course which this venerable institution pursued, as the chosen instrument of God to propagate the gospel in other quarters. For it is a powerful lesson of faith and hope to behold the vast amount of spiritual good which the steady and well-directed energy of a few devoted hearts may accomplish, through the favoring Providence of the Almighty.

The West Indies was an early object of the Society's attention. In the year 1710, General Codrington's bequest of a large estate in Barbadoes led to the erection of a college. And this has been a fruitful source of advantage to the progress of sound religion in those islands, to which the Society has continued to send missionaries since the year 1732.

Its first missionary to Newfoundland went out in A.D. 1729, and in 1749 it commenced its beneficent labors in Nova Scotia.

In 1752, the Society sent an itinerating missionary to the negroes in Guinea. A native African, who had been educated and ordained in England, was stationed on the Gold Coast in 1765, and in 1787 a catechist was appointed at Sierra Leone.

[22] Soon after the independence of the United States had dissolved the political bond of connexion with the mother-country, the Society began to send missionaries to the Canadas, Cape Breton, and New Brunswick.

Its bounty was extended to New South Wales in 1795, and to Norfolk Island two years after.

The year 1818 was marked by the transfer of India to the care of the Society, not long subsequent to the establishment of the diocese of Calcutta. The Cape of Good Hope received a missionary from it in A. D. 1820, and in 1839 it despatched the first missionary to New Zealand.

These facts are deserving of note, as indicating the gradual extension of the work; but our best view of its immense importance must be derived from a brief statement of its present operations, which embrace British North America, the West Indies, Africa, Asia, and Australia.

Commencing with British North America, there is the diocese of Newfoundland, with a population of 106,421, and 53 clergymen, of whom there are 36 missionaries of the Society; the diocese of Rupert's Land, population 103,000, 7 clergymen and 1 missionary; the diocese of Quebec, population 330,000, and 37 clergy; and the diocese of Montreal, population 440,000, with 45 clergymen, in both of which dioceses the Society has 55 missionaries; the diocese of Toronto, population 723,292, 139 clergymen, of whom 119 are missionaries; the diocese of Frederickton, population 200,000, and 52 clergymen, of whom 41 are missionaries; and the diocese of Nova Scotia, population 283,634, with 62 clergymen, comprising 53 missionaries. Here we behold 7 dioceses, with their zealous bishops, and 397 clergy, of whom 265 are missionaries; and the last year's expenditure on this branch of the society's operations has been £31,193, or nearly 156,000 dollars.

In the West Indies, we see the diocese of Jamaica, population 418,847, with 116 clergymen, of whom 14 are missionaries; the diocese of Antigua, population 104,990, clergymen 28, of whom two are missionaries; the diocese of Barbadoes, population 274,133, with 70 clergymen and 4 missionaries; and the diocese of Guiana, population 121,678, with 31 clergymen and 7 missionaries. Here [22/23] are four dioceses, 245 clergymen and 27 missionaries, among which the Society's annual expenditure has been £5,425, or about 27,000 dollars.

Asia displays a far larger field, for here we find the enormous diocese of Calcutta, with a population of 72,900,000, clergymen 109, comprising 14 missionaries, and a noble missionary institution, Bishop's College, founded in 1819, with 23 scholarships. Between forty and fifty clergymen and catechists have already been sent forth from this admirable seminary to all parts of India, and several of the students now within its walls are natives of the Island of Ceylon. Next in magnitude stands the diocese of Madras, population 13,500,000, with 84 clergymen, of whom 23 are missionaries. Third in importance is the diocese of Bombay, population 7,800,000, with 34 clergymen and 1 missionary. And fourth, is the diocese of Colombo, with a population of 1,442,062, and 36 clergymen, comprising 6 missionaries. These are the regions of that awful Hindoo idolatry, on which it has been a work of such long and enduring effort to make an impression. But of late years, the prospect has become highly encouraging. The last return from the Calcutta missions to the heathen shows 113 villages, 2,451 persons baptized, 1,127 communicants, and 26 places of worship. In the single district of Tinnevelly, four large and seven small churches, with accommodation for 3,000 persons, have been erected within a short period, besides four central and ten village schools. There are also a seminary and grammar-school at Vepery; one at Vediarpuram, in Tanjore, and another at Sawyerpuram, in Tinnevelly. The seminary in Tanjore contains 50 native students, and that at Tinnevelly contains 140, from which a body of native clergy and catechists are expected to be trained for the future wants of India. The last year's appropriation of the Society in maintaining their sublime enterprise in that dark and heathen land, was £23,169, or about 115,000 dollars. The diocese of Victoria, in China, has been recently added to their field of labor, but their expenditure, as yet, has been small in that quarter; no one among the ten clergymen engaged being on the list of missionaries.

Lastly, we come to that extraordinary continent of Australia, [23/24] the destined home of many future nations, of whose native population we have no full estimate. But here there are already six dioceses with their bishops and clergy, actively engaged; the metropolitan diocese of Sydney, containing 54 clergymen, of whom 17 are missionaries; the diocese of Newcastle, with 27 clergymen and 6 missionaries; the diocese of Melbourne, with 15 clergymen, of whom all but one are missionaries; the diocese of Adelaide, with 22 clergymen, half of whom are missionaries; the diocese of Tasmania, with 53 clergymen, of whom 4 are missionaries; and the diocese of New Zealand, with 31 clergymen, of whom 8 are missionaries. The aggregate population of these six dioceses is stated at 498,924, nearly half a million, and the last year's expenditure of the Society for their account has been £9,526, or about 47,000 dollars.

It is an interesting fact that the Church in Australia, so soon as the royal assent can be obtained, designs to form a province under the metropolitan, the admirable Bishop of Sydney, holding a provincial convention, and also diocesan conventions, "consisting in the former case of the bishops and delegates from the clergy and laity of each of the six dioceses; and in the latter, of the bishop of each diocese, with the clergy and lay representatives." This arrangement is in such entire conformity with our own ecclesiastical system, where the laity always form an integral part of our general and diocesan conventions, that we cannot fail to regard it with special thankfulness and satisfaction. Nor am I without a lively hope, that the principle will extend from diocese to diocese, until every part of our beloved Mother Church shall enjoy the advantage of lay co-operation. I would further express the deep gratification with which I have read the account of the great meeting of the six bishops, with the clergy and a crowd of laymen, on the evening of the 29th day of October last, at which it was unanimously resolved to enter zealously upon the serious and important work of evangelizing the native race, who have hitherto presented such strong repugnance to the adoption of Christianity. The information on both these subjects was communicated to me by a copy of the Sydney Morning Herald, dated November 2d, 1850, accompanied by the official record of a highly interesting conference [24/25] held by the six bishops, both of which were also sent to all the members of our American episcopate. And thus we have another instance of that fraternal spirit of affectionate comity, which the dignitaries of our revered Mother Church have so often and so kindly manifested; renewing the beautiful principle of primitive unity, and giving hope and promise of a still brighter day, when we shall realize, in a yet higher degree, how perfectly we are all one in Christ Jesus.

The only remaining topic which I shall notice, in the extensive operations of the venerable Society, is the excellent provision which it has adopted since the year 1849, in supplying chaplains, catechists, and books for the instruction of emigrants proceeding to colonies south of the equator, besides furnishing materials for the employment of the men, and for their tuition in useful arts during their voyage, which seldom occupies less than four or five months, a period so long, that it is of vast importance to have it wisely employed, and carefully guarded from the temptation of idleness and profanity. And such has been the success of this beneficent arrangement, that already, since April 1849, thirty-one emigrant ships have been supplied with clergymen or schoolmasters, whose labors, we may be well assured, were attended with an abundant blessing, in the improved knowledge, principles, and habits of the thousands concerned.

Thus, then, I have briefly set before you the beneficent operations of the admirable Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, which commenced its work of piety one hundred and fifty years ago, with feeble means and very moderate expectations, scarcely looking beyond the colonies in North America, and having only an annual fund of £800, with the accession of £1,700 occasionally subscribed, equal to about $12,000. Mark, I pray you, its marvellous growth in extent and in resources, when, in the year 1850, it was able to report a list of 452 missionaries dispersed, not only throughout the British provinces on our own continent, but in the West Indies, Asia, Africa, and Australia, at an expenditure of £75,138, equal to about 375,000 dollars of our currency! And especially, let us remember the glorious results, that the regions in which, at the beginning of its labors, not a dozen ministers of [25/26] the Church could be found, now exhibit the wonderful aggregate of 57 bishops, 2,750 clergymen, and three millions of the laity! Well may we adopt the language of Scripture, and exclaim: "Truly it is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes!"

And yet there is another aspect of the question which has been scarcely touched, although it would multiply, to a vast extent, the fruits of this admirable enterprise. It is that here we behold the fountain-head of the great Protestant missionary work throughout the whole length and breadth of Christendom. The Christian Knowledge Society and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, both the offspring of our venerable Mother Church of England, were the pioneers of Protestant missions. They led the way. To them the blessed idea was first communicated. By them the first great difficulties were met and overcome. Through them the impulse was given in every other quarter. And, hence, in them we behold the guides and models of all the zealous efforts which are at this moment striving to secure the glorious victory of the Cross over barbarism and heathen idolatry, and every other form of human ignorance and degradation.

That such a Society should mark the third period of fifty years since its commencement, as a jubilee of the Church throughout the world, is surely a most becoming and appropriate act of religious gratitude to Him whose spirit suggested the grand design, and whose providence and grace have so signally prospered its execution. So widely diffused is the mighty realm of England, that the sun in the natural firmament is always shining on some portion of its territory, and there is doubtless no quarter of that immense empire which refuses to unite in this period of rejoicing. True, indeed, it is, that we do not belong to the same realm in the government of earth, yet we rejoice not the less sincerely that we are their fellow-subjects under the government of heaven--their fellow-members in the Church which is illumined by the Sun of Righteousness--that Sun which can never set, since it is the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever! We rejoice with them, in thankful acknowledgment of the blessings vouchsafed to their instrumentality. We rejoice with them in the vast extent of its marvellous [26/27] success. We rejoice with them, that our own Church has been, as it were, the favorite child of their adoption, through more than eighty years of "nursing care and protection." We rejoice that we are now ourselves employed, as faithful followers of our parent stock, in the same blessed missionary enterprise. And we rejoice with them in the prospects and enlarging vigor of that Church which is destined, as we trust, to be more and more the distinguished leader of the world in the cause of heavenly truth, against the hosts of infidelity, idolatry, and superstition, until the coming of the Lord shall fill the whole earth with his glory.

Oh! how wonderful is the contrast, when we look back upon those hundred and fifty years, and think of all the changes, the wars, the fierce contentions, the bloody conflicts, the confusion and the strife, which our world has witnessed in the bitter contests of earthly interests, and compare them with the quiet but ever-onward progress of that Church which is the spiritual kingdom of the Prince of peace! How, in the one, the mighty captains and conquerors have won their laurels at the cost of misery to untold millions; while, in the other, the humble missionaries, with far more real heroism, were diffusing around them the blessings of truth and holiness, comforting the mourners with the promise of heavenly hope, and imparting to them the knowledge of life and joy eternal! How, in the one, crowns have been won and lost, empires have risen and passed away, revolutions have trampled on the head of royalty, and then given place to despotism, and all the holocausts so freely offered to the shrine of power, have only left mankind on the ever-shaking verge of violence and anarchy; while, in the other, the conquests of the Church have been steadfast, peaceful, beneficent, filled with blessings to the bodies and souls of all within her influence, and permanent beyond the reach of earthly mutation! How, in the one, the car of the successful soldier and the chariot of the popular statesman have been followed by the shouts of applauding multitudes, and the crazy hosannahs of the infatuated croud and the roar of cannon have proclaimed the madness of the idolatry which bows down in adoration of human greatness, so soon to disappear; while, in the other, the missionaries of the Cross have gone forth in the midst of far more frequent and constant [27/28] dangers, turning their backs on all the comforts and allurements of the world, their struggles unnoticed, their victories despised, their sacrifices unrecompensed, their perils and their toils uncared for by the insane folly of mankind: and yet the whole has been laid up in the archives of heaven, marked with pure transport by angels and archangels, and sure to be acknowledged and gloriously rewarded by the Almighty Sovereign, before the assembled universe, when all the brightest triumphs of earthly policy and eloquence and heroism shall have perished in the dust!

Blessed then, my friends, yea, blessed for ever be the cause of missions, for it is the cause of God. Blessed be the men, and blessed the honored societies of men, who have labored and still labor in this, the noblest, the most sublime and comprehensive, and the only enduring track of mortal progress in felicity. Blessed should we esteem ourselves in beholding the precious fruits of this celestial work; and still more blessed, if we have grace to aid its advancement, with our substance, our encouragement, and our prayers.

I have only to add my cordial congratulations to the assembled members of our Church's Historical Society, that the happy design to collect and embody the scattered details of this admirable enterprise, has secured the aid of your organized agency, with a special regard to the rise and progress of its successes in our own land. The plan is most wisely conceived, and I doubt not that it will be most ably executed. Commenced in a more limited form some years ago, and already exhibiting several eminent specimens of remarkable research and ability, on the part of its principal projector, no churchman can reasonably doubt the deep interest and high value of the volumes which may, in due season, be expected to appear, under the more systematic and extended auspices of your Society. Most true, indeed, it is, that the history of the Church must occupy a far wider field than the history of missions. But I have addressed myself chiefly to that department on the present occasion, because it stands so closely connected with our past advancement, our existing wants, and our future duty. It is my humble hope, that the importance of my theme may secure your favor, notwithstanding the imperfections of the advocate; and it is [28/29] my fervent prayer, that the blessing of God may make this Society a source of new usefulness and honor, to the advantage of his Church and of the world.

On motion, this Address was requested for publication.

Notice was given that after the adjournment, opportunity would be given to any who might wish to join the Society.

On motion, the Society adjourned.

F. L. HAWKS, Chairman.
B. FRANKLIN, Secretary.

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