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period Berkley's donation of books was given to the Library of Yale College, and Johnson, who was then at West Haven, entered upon the perusal of the Bangorian controversy with interest and avidity. He read, reflected, and conferred with his brethren, until Cutler, and Johnson, and Wetmore, and Brown, were prepared to avow their belief in the invalidity of Presbyterian, and the necessity of Episcopal Ordination. Cutler was President of the College, Brown a Tutor, and both popular men, and not, therefore, to be displaced without reason. A disputation was had before the Governor,—the students became interested, and fourteen young men who were graduated at Yale within the next dozen years, came into the Church, most of them having been first ordained among the Congregationalists. It was thus, that Episcopacy received its first impulse in Connecticut, and he who would trace it to its real first beginning, must go back to the pious SMITHSON and his Prayer Book.
The personal influence of Dr. Johnson over these men, might fairly be inferred from the following facts, were there no direct evidence on the subject. Brown and Wetmore, who declared for Episcopacy with him in 1722, were his classmates in college. John Beach, a Congregational minister in Newtown, who declared for Episcopacy in 1732, was in college while the discussion of Episcopacy was going on with Johnson and his associates, and was his neighbor after leaving college. Jonathan Arnold, a Congregational minister of West Haven, who declared for Episcopacy in 1734, was in college at the same time-graduated 1723. The elder Seabury was also a member of Yale, but leaving in consequence of these difficulties, was graduated at Harvard in 1724. He was a Congregational minister at Groton, and declared for Episcopacy in 1732. Henry Caner, a Congregationalist of New Haven, was also in College at the same time,-graduated 1724. Richard Minor, a Congregational minister in (what is now) Monroe, who declared for Episcopacy in 1742, and Ebenezer Punderson, a Congregational minister of Groton, who declared for Episcopacy about 1740,-both entered college in 1722, at the very time of the disputation before the Governor. Isaac Browne, graduated in 1729, brother of. Daniel Browne, who went to England with Dr. Johnson for Orders-was one of his West Haven parishioners. Three of his classmates became Churchmen, Ephraim Bostwick, John Pierson, and Solomon Palmer, the latter having been a Congregational minister in Cornwall until 1754. Ebenezer Thompson, who was graduated in 1733, was a parishioner of Dr. Johnson's in West Haven. Henry Barclay and Ebenezer Dibble, were in college with Thompson, being in the class below him. Richard Caner-graduated in 1736, was brother of Henry. Hezekiah Watkins, and Barzillai Dean, were in the class next below Caner, and Seth Dean in the class next younger. Christopher Newton-graduated 1740—declared for Episcopacy in 1755, was a Congregational minister in the town adjoining Dr. Johnson, as was also Richard Minor, already mentioned.
The direct influence of Dr. Johnson can be clearly seen in all these cases.
The indirect influence of the same man, may also be recognized in the history of Richard Mansfield and Joseph Lamson, graduated 1741-Ichabod Camp, graduated, 1743 — Jonathan Copp, graduated 1744— Thomas Bradbury Chandler, Jonathan Colton, William Sturgeon, and Jeremiah Leaming, graduated 1745. Of these twenty-seven clergymen, all but two or three are known, and the others supposed, to have been educated Congregationalists, and all owed their conversion to the Church, more or less directly to the acts and influence of Johnson, who may justly be styled the Father of Episcopacy in Connecticut. Of the influence exercised by a man like the one of whom we are speaking, in the important position of President of King's (now Columbia) College, we need not speak, and we can only add, in regard to the others, that of thirty-five different works, written and published in this country before the Revolution, in defense of the Church and her doctrines, twenty-eight of them were written by Dr. Johnson, and those mentioned above, as having been brought into the Church through his influence.
There is also still further evidence bearing on the point we are endeavoring to illustrate. In 1730 a number of persons conformed to the Church, on the very spot (Guilford) where Johnson had received his first knowledge of it. About the same period, one of the family of Browne removed from West Haven to Waterbury, and laid the foundation of the Church there, from which have proceeded Watertown and Naugatuck. When the parish of Watertown was first organized, four of the principal men were descendants of the Churchmen of West Haven. The Church in Oswego, N. Y., was planted with the aid, if not by the efforts of the Clarks from West Haven ; and the Church in Lithgow, N. Y., in a similar manner by the Prindles from the same place. The parish of Plymouth was planted by Churchmen from North Haven, who had embraced Episcopacy with Wetmore, and yet enough remained to form the nucleus of Union Parish, from which have proceeded the Churches of Wallingford, Cheshire, North Haven, Meriden, and Northford. The Church in New Haven, in its greatness and strength, was at first an offshoot from the little parish of West Haven, and those of Derby and Milford were planted from that place.*
So much is known of the connection and dependence of the history growing out of Smithson's Prayer Book,—and yet, but a small portion of the parochial annals of Connecticut has been written. Of its hundred parishes, not the history of a quarter of them has been sketched. The following are the chief. Brief notices are given in the Churchmen's Magazine, of Fairfield, Norwalk, Newtown, and Roxbury; in the Chronicle of the Church, of Hebron, Stratford, Norwalk, New Milford, Watertown, Woodbury, Norwich, West Haven, Derby, and North Haven; and in the Calendar, of Plymouth. We have beside, short histories, in pamphlet form,-of West Haven by Chapin, Cheshire by Beardsley, New London by Hallam, Derby by Scott, and Litchfield by Jones. If the history of all the parishes in the Diocese was written as faithfully as it should be, each might be traced to its beginning, which would often be found in some circumstance, apparently trifling in the judgment of man, but which might have been fraught with consequences of immense importance, in the counsels of the Almighty. It is only in this way we can see the hand of God in the government of His Church. Those providential dealings which give such sure indication of God's
presence with His people, are to be sought in the humble walks of life, away from the admiration and gaze of the world ; even as while on earth, our LORD performed most of His mighty works, as it were in secret, hidden from the sight of man. That history, therefore, which regards not these things, is not the history of the Church. The acts described, so far as described, may all be true, and yet the history be false. The connecting links are wanting,—those events which explain and interpret other events have been overlooked, and consequently, no sound or just conclusions can be drawn.
* The increase of the Church in Connecticut, before the Revolution, was about as follows:
Year. Clergy. Parishes. Families.
The history of the Church, should begin, therefore, with the parish, and must generally begin with the minister of the parish. And to those who have never borne part in recording the history of God's covenant people, it may not be amiss to suggest some of the sources from which they must derive the materials for their work. The Records of the Parish, and the Journals of the Diocese will furnish a few, but only a few particulars. The Notitia of former Clergymen are of the greatest service, especially in determining dates, and where these can not be had, the entries in the Family Bible of the parishioner, and the inscription on the village Tomb Stone, may in part supply the deficiency. Town, County and Probate Records should also be called in aid, while the memory of the aged is consulted, and the periodicals of earlier days are interrogated. Public history, especially biographical and private correspondence, may also furnish a good share of help, until all the more important events are determined with a high degree of accuracy.
The materials for a general history of the Church in this country, are exceedingly meager and unsatisfactory. The works mentioned at the head of this article, are the principal ones on the subject, and all are more or less imperfect and unsatisfactory in showing the connection of cause and consequence, through the deplorable deficiencies existing in parochial annals. This want is in part supplied, as it regards particular Churches, by Dorr's History of Christ Church, Philadelphia ; Berrian's History of Trinity Church, New York City; and Updike's History of the Church in Narragansett, -all full and accurate works. We should be glad to see the example set by these men, followed by the Clergy and laity of all the older parishes, until there should be no lack of materials for a complete history of the American Church. We give below a brief outline of such facts as we have been able to glean from various sources, concerning the Church in the colonies, previous to the eighteenth century,--that is, before the formation of the Venerable Society for Propagating the Gospel in Foreign Parts, A. D. 1702.
VIRGINIA. The rise of the Church in this colony, was coeval with the planting of the colony itself. Its first Clergyman,--Rev. Robert Hunt, one of the petitioners to James I. for the Charter granted to the London Company in 1606, was a man of great prudence, sound learning, and fervent piety, and seems to have undertaken the voyage to Virginia with the sole object of serving God in the far off wilderness of the west. Twice he was mainly instrumental in saving the colVOL. I.-NO. 1.
ony from annihilation-once, when jealousy and discontent had well nigh frustrated the undertaking,--and once, when an accidental fire had laid the infant colony in ruins. His Christian fortitude and pious example upheld the drooping spirits of the colonists, when a majority of their number had fallen victims to disease in less than half a year; and his confidence and zeal, over the ashes of a large and valuable library, gave a degree of energy and spirit to others, which saved Virginia from desolation. He fell asleep in the place where he laboured, and was succeeded, at Jamestown, by Rev. Mr. Bucke, in 1610, the chaplain of Lord de la War. In 1611, Rev. Alexander Whitaker, the worthy successor of a most worthy man, “the Apostle of Virginia,” came to that colony, and commenced his labors in behalf of the infant Church at Henrico. His earnest appeals for help, engaged the then Bishop of London in its behalf, and as early as 1619, there were five faithful Clergymen, earnestly and heartily engaged in the cause of religion and the Church. This year more energetic mea. sures were taken to carry into effect a plan previously formed for educating the youth of the country, by the incorporation of the “University of Henrico ;” among the contributors to which we find the name of the sainted Ferrar, with many Bishops and Clergy of the Mother Church. Even the King and many of the nobility added their mite in aid of the University, and but for the occurrence of events beyond the foresight and controul of man, the oldest University in this country, would have been that of Henrico, founded and endowed before the Puritans had ever set sail for Plymouth rock. In 1621, a school, in connection with and subordinate to the University, was established, under the name of the East India School, the condition and regulations of which attest the deep interest felt in the colony, on the subject of religion and education. Had the subsequent settlers carried out the designs of their predecessors, in the spirit in which they had been conceived, and had all the later Clergy been as faithful as the earlier, Virginia could not failed of having been one of the best educated countries in the world.
The facts already mentioned show the interest of the colonists in the cause of religion. And yet, notwithstanding the great mass of them were Churchmen, no religious establishment existed until thirteen years after the settlement of the colony; and was then introduced by the Company, and not by the colonists. The new charter brought over by Sir George Yeardly, in 1619, provided that a glebe of one hundred acres should be set out in every parish, for the use and