The Church in Connecticut 1705-1807 - Letters

From The Church in Connecticut 1705-1807 page 10



St George Talbot to the Secretary.

New York Septembr 10-1762

Revd Sir

I received your favor of the 24th of Febr last in July. I congratulate your appointment to so Honorable a Post as Secretary to the Incorporated Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign parts ; & employed upon the most pious & benevolent design, and Blessed be the Almighty who is the giver of every good & perfect who hath enabled me to be instrumental in furthering their pious designs. I have taken no small pains since they have done me the Honor to make me a member of their Honorable Board to acquaint myself with the Religious state of the people both in this Province & sundry Towns in the Western part of Connecticut Governmt as well as this, deserving my notice and charity I have this summer given to Saint John Church at Stamford £100 more to be immediately laid out in finishing the Church, and silver plate for the Communion Service, I have also given £100 to the Church of Norwalk to purchase Land in the Society's name to add to that Glebe, the Deed to be recorded and sent over to the Venerable Society.

I have also given £200 to Trinity Church at Fairfield for the same use I have also given £100 to Derby for the same use, all in the Society's name. A more particular account I judge you mav receive from the several missionaries that doth receive them — in October last I desired the Revd Mr Dibblee of Stamford who is indefatigable in his endeavours to serve the Interest of true Religion and our Holy Church, whose services I find universally acceptable, and his life agreeable to his Public Character, to meet me at St. George's Church at North Castle, the second Sunday in Octr last, and was surprised both at the number and devout behaviour of the People, for the church, could not contain them, the particular service he performed beyond doubt be will transmit to you, if he hath not done it. He accompanied me from thence to Bedford, Coompond, Peach Kills, Croton, & returned by the White Plains. The state of Religion I truly found deplorable enough, for excepting Bedford, they were as sheep without a shepherd a prey to various sectaries & enthusiastic lay teachers, there are many well wishers and professors of the Church among them which doth not hear the Liturgy in several years. The worthy Mr Wetmore hath made the same Tour with me. Nay larger even to Fish Kills (there I offered them £1,000 to purchase a Glebe and a House & he agreed for the same if they would have done their part, & subscribe £40 per annum to administer support, since they have had the concurrence of Society in their favour, but zeal is too cold there) I think it would be happy if an Itinerant Missionary could be fixed at North Castle, for when even the vacancy at Rye shall be supplied as the Revd Mr. Punderson when I was at Darby in June last, said that if he had a call to Rye he would gladly accept it (with the liberty of the venerable society). As I now know that he is called & hath accepted it. The Revd Mr. Lamson preached the Convention Sermon to the great satisfaction not only of the Brethren but myself, and I think they are all a sett of worthy Pious Sober Clergymen, and are usefully employed in their several missions. I have proposed to Mr Dibblee to take another Tour to the former places and to visit some others who hath requested the favour of me, for the which the Revd Messrs Lamson & Leaming hath also consented to take a tour with me. For I cannot be easy to see such numbers of People live without God in the world, for where there is no regard to Sunday, to the Public Worship of Almighty God, there is scarce any sense of Religion among a People & their moral state is soon as deplorable as their Religious, after which a more particular account of these places, their number, their particular professions, distances each place from the other and from any Clergymen in Holy Orders of our Church, I shall lay before the Venerable Board together with my humble Opinion what ought in Charity, to be done for the support of their spiritual wants. My mite yearly whilst Life by the Blessing of the Almighty, shall be always moving.

[Manuscripts of the General Convention, New York, II, pp. 308-311.]


Barn Island July 1. 1763.

Revd Sir,

Agreeable to my last intimation and from a zeal to promote the interest of pure and undefiled Religion, I have again taken another journey into Connecticut Colony, and attended Convention at Ripton, about 73 miles distance. The Revr Dr Johnson being requested to preach delivered an excellent pathetical spirited sermon, adapted to the occasion and acceptable to the clergy, (and all who had the pleasure to hear him) pressing them to the utmost fidelity and Diligence in doing the Duties of their respective Cures. Twelve missionaries were present, who appear to be an ornament to their ecclesiastical profession and very usefully employed, having had the opportunity to acquaint myself with the state of most of their respective Missions. 4 or 5 promising young Gentlemen candidates for Holy Orders were present, Mr Kneeland, Reader of Divine Service and Sermons among the destitute people at Huntington on Long Island in the Province of New York, Mr. Hubbard of Guilford, and Mr. Jervis of Middletown in Connecticut. I have judged Guilford worthy and a proper object of my Charitable notice and have engaged to bestow £200 New York currency on that Church for their further encouragement, conditionally that the Venerable Board is pleased to appoint them a Missionary & which favour they flatter themselves with hopes and expectations of the said money to be paid when they have a settled Mission to purchase Glebe Lands and made over to the Society for the use of their Missionary for the time being &c.

I have found at Stamford already the good fruit and effect of my Charitable Encouragement of the Church there, in seeing their Church decently finished and their number increasing, which excites envy and jealousy of their dissenting neighbors who are in general alarmed at the increasing, & flourishing state of our Holy Church wherever it is propagated. A late malcontent at Stamford hath endeavoured to disturb the Peace and unity of that Church and very ill used their worthy Minister who hath sacrificed his family interests to serve them, but he hath lost his influence & in revenge forsaken the Church, but the Wardens and Vestry assure me that neither his Minister nor Bretheren have given any Ground of Offence. I have ordered the Church of Stamford, to lay out £300 in Glebe Land that lieth very convenient in the Town with a good house thereon, which is now offered on sale, for Mr Dibble's successors to be made over to the Society as formerly mentioned, for the use of their Missionary for the time being after the decease of myself and housekeeper, the present rent to be employed in paying me my Interest as reserved when first bestowed. On my return from Connecticut, I desired Mr Dibblee to accompany me to Salem where he preached the first Sunday in Trinity, to a large congregation, notwithstanding it was a very rainy day, too many to be well accommodated in a private House, and gave the Communion to about 30 persons who behaved very devoutly, there they have built & have almost covered a Church, this is in the Province of New York, which People Mr Dibblee hath taken the principal care of for several years. This Church at Salem is about 4 miles from Ridgbury, to the West, and 17 miles from Ridgfield where they have raised a Church about 45 feet by 30, and are now covering it. Ridgfield is about 25 miles from Norwalk and in Mr Learning's Mission, there they have a church already built and in a good way of finishing. Ridgbury is newly made a Parish out of Danbury and Ridgfield, and if they may be made so happy as to be made a mission (they lay very contiguous to be united together and as Ridgbury is most convenient for their minister to reside at and to serve those Churches — I have for their encouragement engaged to give them £150 New York currency (for the benefit of a Minister) to purchase a Glebe to serve those Churches. I think a Missionary is much wanted among them, they have by advice engaged a modest worthy young man to read services, viz Mr Clark, whom they and I wish that it might be the attention of the Government to make provision for the regular establishment of the Doctrine Disciplin and Worship of our Holy Church in the Colonies for rectifying their religious mistakes, and securing their Fidelity, which I think is previously necessary to the propagating of the Gospel amongst the Heathen, and to render that successfull. Mr Beach tells me, that as thro age and Bodily infirmities, he is obliged to remove his family to Newtown, where the greatest Burden of Duty lie, as soon as the inconveniences which he is thereby put to is removed, he shall he willing to resign half his salary from the Society to provide for Reading, Danbury &c.

And as the Church increases in other missions I hope there may be an Increase of Missionaries without any increase of charge to the Board, and am frankly of the opinion that with the advantage of my Benefactions, the Church of Rye may be able with the salary the Government hath settled to maintain their Minister if the present salary from the Society of £50 be withdrawn which was partly agreed to by the late worthy Mr Wetmore whom the Parishioners treated according to his merit, (the people are wealthy & have taken very irregular steps since the death of that worthy missionary.)

At North Castle about 18 miles from Rye there is great want of a Missionary, the Church there is within 5 miles of Bedford & about 7 or 8 miles off Crompond there is a great many families of our holy Church which hath applied to me. & if New Rochel was joined to East and West Chester, I am humbly of opinion that Church might well be supplied, as it is not 4 miles from Church to Church. The French protestants understand English very well. And it is also my humble opinion that Col. Frederick Philip's Estate is able to build several Churches and to settle 200 acres of Land to every one of them, & that he and his Tenants are able to maintain ministers without any assistance from the Venerable Board, &c.

And it is thought by Dr Johnson & myself and many others that the two Catechists one in New York, the other in Philadelphia to the Negroes might well be supported on some other footing in those two oppulent cities, both are able to support them and free schools, but whilst they can have it gratis they chuse it. As the Venerable Board hath refused to establish a mission at Flushing (I informed Mr. Treadwell before he went over for Orders) I have withheld my designed benefaction to that place until the pleasure of the Society be further known, as that mission is well supported as long as they continue united with Jamaica it being only 4 miles from Church to Church. I only add that Mr Beach hath told me that his parishioners are wealthy and can maintain a minister without the Society's bounty should it be withheld. (Norwalk is a rich Town and very large.) I am under an embarrasmt to know how I shall secure to mv heirs the Venerable Societv my lands at my decease, since if then sold they cannot receive the money arising from the sale, I do not understand whether that clause in the abstract extendeth to America, I shall be glad to be informed to that &c. I am willing to secure it whilst I am living if I cannot at my death. The place where I dwell is a very valuable & pleasant situation, few or none exceeds it, it being seven miles from the City by Land or by Water, I have been offered £3000 for it, prompt payt and to enjoy it as long as I should live, only the purchaser would reserve a room in the House in Summer &c. Whilst it shall please the Almighty to prolong my days, I shall make it my study and endeavour to promote his Glory and the well being of his Church in concurrence with the pious design of the Venerable board to whom I present my most dutiful regards and with an humble compliment to yourself, I subscribe revd Sir

Your very humble Servant

St Geo Talbot.

[Manuscripts of the General Convention, New York, II, pp. 315-322.]