Page images

in Malabar; both which objects were speedily effected: and a correspondence was settled with many persons of worth' and influence in the most eminent places subject to Great-Britain in India: by which expedient the Society is informed, from time to time, of the state of religion, the conduct and success of their Missionaries, and other particulars connected with the propagation of the Christian Faith in those regions. Since the date above specified, (1710) the Mission has gradually been extended to Madras, Cu dalore, Tritchinapally, and Tanjore.

To the assistance derived from the So. ciety, by its regular transmission of money, printing paper, presses, and other requisite materials, it has likewise been in a great degree owing, that the Mission aries have been enabled, at different times, to translate and publish several editions of the whole or parts of the Holy Scrip tures, the Book of Common Prayer, Psalter, and many books and tracts, connected with Religion and civilization, in the Tamulian, Bengalee, and Portuguese Languages: in which department, as well as in every thing else relating to these Missions, the views of the Society were for many years very successfully promoted by the active services of their lamented Missionaries, the apostolical Swartz and Gerické.

In the year 1720, the Society extended their regard to the Greek Church in Palestine, Syria, Mesopotamia, Arabia, and Egypt; and for their use printed in the Arabic language an edition of above 6000 Psalters, 10,000 New Testaments, and 5000 Catechetical Instructions, with an abridgment of the History of the Bible annexed, at an expense amounting to nearly 3000l. to which his Majesty King George I. in testimony of his approbation of the proceedings of the Society, was a bountiful contributor, by a gracious bene faction of 5001. Most of these books have been sent to those parts; into Syria by means of the Society's correspondents at Aleppo, by the Patriarch of Antioch, &c. &c. into Persia through their correspondents in Russia; into India, through the hands of their Missionaries; and into Africa, latterly by means of the Sierra Leone Company.

Recently (1809, &c.) the Society have been liberal contributors to the Arabic Bible, begun by the late Rev. Professor Carlyle, which is now finished, and is ready for distribution, as opportunity shall arise. In addition to the above three-fold division of the principal designs of the Society, there yet remain some other under takings of a more specific character, highly interesting to every friend to religion and his country, which cannot therefore be passed over in silence, even in a brief abstract like the present

In the beginning of the year 1732 the Society, when they heard the melancholy account of the sufferings of the Protes tants in Saltzburgh, having first obtained his Majesty's leave, resolved upon doing all that laid in their power to raise collections for their persecuted brethren. To this end, about the middle of the same year, they published In Account of the sufferings of the persecuted Protestants in the Archbishopric of Saltzburgh, and appointed certain of their members to receive and collect contributions. Afterwards they published a farther account of the sufferings, &c. and thirdly, an Extract of the Journals of Mr. Commissary Von Reck, who conducted the first Transport of Saltzburghers to Georgia, &c. &c. (1734.) These Ac counts, being enforced by the generous example of many noble and honourable persons, as also by liberal contributions, and earnest exhortations from the Right Reverend the Bishops and their Clergy, had, through God's blessing, so good an effect upon the minds of charitable and well-disposed Christians, of every rank and denomination, that the Society, be sides making many large remittances to Germany, was enabled to send over to the English colony in Georgia, in four dif ferent years, four transports, containing more than two hundred Protestant emigrants, chiefly Saltzburghers, who, with two Missionaries and a Schoolmaster, settled themselves at Ebenezer, upon lands assigned to them by the trustees for establishing the said colony. - The revolution in America ending in a separation between that country and this, the Mission is now discontinued; and the funds which the Society had appropriated to its support, have been applied to the general designs. The last Missionary still continues to receive an annual pension from the Society.

From a very early period of our operations the spiritual necessities of the Army and Navy have constituted one important department of the Society's concern; and from its stores copies of the Holy Scrip tures, and certain other books, have frequently been granted to both those great National Establishments. In the year.

1701, 3000 Soldier's Monitors, and the same number of a Pastoral Letter from a Minister to his Parishioners, were sent over to the English army in Holland: and in the same year the Seaman's Monitor and some other tracts were very extensively distributed in the Navy. In the year 1722, the Society projected another very large distribution of the Soldier's Monitor amongst his Majesty's land forces. The design was communicated to some individuals of the Privy Council, and upon their encouragement and approbation a large impression was prepared. In the following year similar proceedings

were instituted with respect to the Seaman's Monitor for the Navy; and só acceptable were both these undertakings to his Majesty King George I. that he directed the whole charge of the printing, binding, and distribution of those works, amounting to nearly 500l. to be defrayed from his Majesty's treasury.

With regard to the Navy, especially, the Society was, for a great many years, and at a very considerable annual expense, accustomed regularly to furnish to the commanders of vessels, gratuitously, on their special application, for the use of the crews under their command, Bibles, Common Prayer Books, Psalters contain ing the Church Service, and some short select practical Tracts, in proportion to the number of each ship's company; and while these, together with similar applications from the commanders of the shipping of the Hon. EAST-INDIA COMPANY, have, especially of late years, kept continually increasing to the very great increasing charge upon the funds of the Society, the Board have had peculiar satisfaction in observing that this branch of their designs has, through the Divine blessing, in many instances been productive of very salutary effects.

In the year 1812, the Lords Commis sioners of the Admiralty, in token of their approbation of the Society's past services in this department, and with a desire that the benefits of Christian knowledge might be still more extensively diffused throughout the Navy, through the medium, as heretofore, of this Society, were pleased to direct a communication to be made to the General Board, that their Lordships had ordered the Commissioners of the several Dock-Yards to receive such books as shall be sent to them by the Society, on the suggestion of the Chaplain General, and to form depots; which books are, from time to time, to be given to the Captains of his Majesty's ships in the proportions directed by their Lordships. And their Lordships have further signified their pleasure, that a speeial account be kept by the Society of all books thus issued, for the purpose of defraying the expenses of the same. This pious and beneficent purpose promises to be attended with the happiest effects: and every good man will rejoice at the contemplation of the enlarged opportunities thereby afforded of the consolations and the instructions of religion to the defend. ers of our country.

In like manner, from the earliest period of its institution, the attention of the Society has been directed, as occasion required, and their means would allow, to the religious wants of the poor and afflicted in Hospitals, Prisons, Work Houses, Alms-Houses, and other public institutions. In the year 1710, they pro

moted a subscription for fixing large 4to. Bibles, and other Religious books, in the prisons in and about the cities of London and Westminster. In 1725, they presented a packet of books to every County Gaol in the kingdom; and in the year 1731, and at other periods, they exerted them?selves, not without considerable effect, (printing in 1732 one thousand copies of a Proposal, &c.) to promote the introduction of Divine Service into those institutions; as they did about the year 1729, and at other times, to establish family prayer, and to set up schools for the education of poor children in WorkHouses. And, with regard to all those establishments above enumerated, which are not provided with any proper fund for the purchase of books, the Society, desirous that a repository should be known to which they might have the power to resort in the hour of necessity, did, in the year 1811, extend to them also its offers of gratuitous supplies; not doubting but that upon a public representation (should such representation at any future time become necessary) any extraordinary pres sure upon the Society, hereby occasioned, would speedily be relieved by the bounty of the charitable and well-disposed: and still further, from the same motives, and with similar hopes, it invited the making of inquiries generally, through the paro chial Clergy and other Members of the Society, into the wants of the indigent and labouring classes in all parts of the kingdom, in order to a removal of those deficiencies, so far as the means reposed in its trust shall allow, by grants of the Holy Scriptures, and other publications of the Society, at the usual reduced prices.

The sources from which the Society has hitherto been enabled to carry on all these and other important and extensive designs, have been the annual subscriptions of its Members, together with the legacies and occasional donations of very many pious and charitable benefactors: and the General Board, when they adopted those very considerable enlargements of the beneficent and gratuitous undertakings last mentioned, did not take that step,

but in the humble trust that the same gracious Providence, which for so many years has enabled them to carry on their designs for promoting Christian knowledge, and edifying the body of CHRIST, will still furnish the means whereby those objects may be pursued with increased. activity and vigour.

And, while the General Board express reverently this their assured reliance in the Divine protection, and add their persuasion that the above statement of the designs of the Society will not have been in vain, but will continue to call forth, from year to year, the cordial aid of many

pious and public spirited Benefactors, it must not be omitted, that among the instrumental means for the accomplishment of these its expectations, and for success in all its undertakings, the Society looks with peculiar hope and satisfaction to the permanent zealous aid and co-operation of the Diocesan and District Committees, which, in compliance with the resolutions of the Society, bearing date June 12, 1810, and March 5, 1811, and under the direc tion and approbation of our Prelates, have been established in almost all parts of the kingdom.

The end aimed at in these Institutions, was to extend the usefulness of this Society; to increase its influence; and to promote the union and co-operation of the Clergy and Laity throughout the kingdom, in all its sundry important charitable designs.

In prosecution of these purposes the Committees have provided for their meetings on a certain day in each quarter of the year, and oftener, as occasion may require. They have severally appointed a Secretary and Treasurer. They receive and transmit to this Board voluntary benefactions and donations, annual subscriptions, and payments for packets of books. They transmit requests for books and tracts dispersed by the Society; and the usual recommendations of persons proposed to become Members; which, by their means, have been very largely augmented. They promote annual or occasional parochial or general contributions throughout their respective districts; in return for which they obtain books to the amount of two thirds of the sums so raised, at the usual reduced prices of the Society; whereby the capital annually devoted to pious uses is incalculably increased; the number of persons united in bands of co-operation and sympathy with this Society proportionably enlarged; the sphere of charitable offices extended; and the pecuniary pressure upon the parochial Clergy greatly diminished, at the same time that their means of doing good are multiplied. In one word, these Committees direct their attention to such objects within their several districts, as occupy on a larger scale in London the deliberations of the General Board.

In fine, no one can be able to form an adequate estimate of the importance of this Society to the prosperity of religion and charity, but by taking into the calculation that such as the transactions are of this Board, as imperfectly detailed in the present account, such, likewise, according to their measure, are the proceedings of the several Diocesan and District Committees, wheresoever dispersed throughout the kingdom.

And when it is considered, that, by these means, in many districts almost every VOL. I.

clergyman is a member of this Society, and thus stands at the head of his parish, in that situation, in which the Providence of the Great Head of the Church has placed him, in a capacity by associating to himself the most respectable part of the laity, as subscribing members, or as contributors to the parochial, or other local collection, to extend effectually to all parts of his charge the many spiritual advantages which are to be obtained in connexion with this Society; and when it is further considered, that these members, both of the Clergy and Laity, are occasionally brought together, beyond the limits of their own parishes, to the meetings of the Committees, to lend their aid to provide for the necessities of their respective districts and neighbourhoods; to consult upon the promotion of religious education; upon the dispersion of books of Christian edification; and upon a provision for the spiritual wants of the afflicted and needy in work-houses, hospitals, prisons, and other public institu tions; and when, at the same time, all this is prosecuted in strict conformity with the principles of the English Constitution, both in Church and State, and for the purpose of preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, no true friend to our country and our religion can, it is presumed, contemplate the whole scheme without feelings of devout thankfulness to the Author of all good, and without looking forward with cheerful hope to the preservation amongst us, and to the enlargement and stability of the inestimable interests of peace, and piety, and true religion.

The first Annual Report of" the Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society of Young Men and others," presented at the Anniversary Meeting, on the 2d of December, 1817.

On the occasion of the first anniversary of a society established for purposes universally admitted to be laudable and pious, much is usually expected at the hands of those who have been intrusted with the management of its concerns. Aware of this general, and, perhaps, not unreasonable expectation, the Board of Directors would evince great insensibility, if they did not feel their peculiar responsibility.

It must be remembered that this society originated under circumstances peculiarly inauspicious. Se sp


vere was the pressure of the times, and so various the existing channels through which the benevolence of the public would necessarily flow, that the institution of another society, requiring great individual effort, and pecuniary aid, could not be justified, but on a principle of the most imperious necessity, and the strongest conviction of duty. That necessity did exist; that conviction of duty was felt. Unpromising as was the prospect, in humble confidence of the blessings of heaven, an effort has been made-An appeal has been made to the pious munificence of our fellow Episcopalians, and the appeal has not been in vain.

To prevent even the partial desertion of the boundless field for missionary labour, was an object worthy of ambition; and although our hopes have not been completely realized, yet we feel the highest pleasure in being able to say that much has been done. The aid that has been rendered by this society to the Bishop and Committee, who, by the canons of the Church have the management of missionary concerns, has been feelingly and gratefully acknowledged. As the object of this society is simply the accumulation of funds, with which to assist the authority of the Church in the employment of Missionaries, its operations cannot be either various or complex; therefore the detail of the proceedings of this society will, at no time, derive its interests from the variety of its matter.

Soon after the organization of the society, the Board of Directors appointed a Committee, with discretionary powers, to adopt such measures as might be deemed expedient, to augment the funds. At the first meeting of that Committee, it was determined to address a printed circular to the Episcopalians of this city, soliciting their aid, either as annual subscribers or donors. To the faithful and diligent labours of that Committee, the society is essentially indebted for the largest portions of its funds. Among the many instances of individual efforts, the Board of Directors deem it an act of justice to

notice particularly the pious and unwearied efforts of a female member of Christ Church in this city, to whose exertions the society is indebted for upwards of one hundred dollars of its funds! May such instances of zeal, for the extension of our apostolic Church, be numerous, and abundantly rewarded by its glorious Head.

It is to be regretted, that the prevalence of a general disposition to grant donations, in preference to becoming annual subscribers, has prevented the increase of the latter to as great an amount as could be desired; it being the only species of aid that possesses the quality of permanency, and which is indispensably necessary to the future usefulness of the society. It appears, from the report of the Treasurer to the Board of Directors, that there has been paid into the Treasury $ 976 18; the principal of which sum has been derived from donations, several of which evince a spirit of liberality and Christian benevolence worthy of the cause which they were intended to promote. The total amount of annual subscriptions will not exceed the sum of $620. This is to be deeply regretted, and ought to operate as a powerful stimulus to renewed and vigorous efforts to increase the number of annual subscribers. The partial success of past efforts, it is true, is somewhat discouraging; but the times are changed; means are more abundant; and we trust that more flattering success will crown the exertions of our successors. Pursuant to the order of the President, $800 have been paid into the hands of the Church Missionary Committee. The current expenses of the year, have been $ 88 95, and the balance in the Treasury is now $87 25. About $200 remain_unpaid, and falls due at this time. Preparatory measures have been made, to collect all that may remain unpaid after this period.

The Rev. Samuel Johnson, Missionary in the western, the Rev. Joshua M. Rogers, Missionary in the northern, and the Rev. Charles W. Hamilton, Missionary in the northeast part of this state, are the Mis


sionaries aided by the funds of the affairs have been intrusted to their


The Board refer to the journal of the late Convention of the Church for a very interesting exhibition of the gratifying fruits of Missionary exertions. The Missionaries employed are fifteen in number. Their la bours are directed principally to the new settlements, and to some old but reduced congregations. They have been instrumental in organizing many flourishing Churches. There are several places where additional Missionaries could be most advantageously employed. We are assured that the people in these new settlements contribute fully in proportion to their means; which, however, are incompetent to the support of Clergymen. The Bishop, in his address to the Convention, states the inadequacy of the missionary collections hitherto to pay the salaries of the Missionaries, which, in consequence of the pressing calls for the ministrations of our Church, have been engaged; and without an increase of the fund, the number of Missionaries, or their salaries, must be materially reduced. The field for missionary labours is most ample; and nothing is wanting, under the smiles of a gracious Providence, but pecuniary means, in order to extend our apostolic Church to the remotest bounds of our widely extended country. To aid in extending the ministration of the word and ordinances of the Gospel of peace and salvation to our destitute spiritual brethren, and to be instrumental, in any degree, in the moral and spiritual improvement of our fellow men, are duties, the discharge of which must yield the most unmixed gratification to the benevolent feelings of the Christian,and to a heart suitably affected with a sense of the spiritual blessings we enjoy.

The Board of Directors cannot close the report of their proceedings without a grateful acknowledgment of the providential care. and protection of HIM who is the "Author of every good and perfect gift," and offering their fervent prayers for the future enlargement and usefulness of the society, whose

[blocks in formation]

On motion of the Rev. Dr. How, Resolved, That the Society accept, with great satisfaction, the Report of the proceedings of their Board of Di-' rectors for the past year, and return them their thanks for the zealous and faithful discharge of the duties of their office.

Resolved, That the Society feel. more and more deeply impressed with the importance of the object for which they have been associated, and that they will continue, under the Divine blessing, to prosecute it with unabating diligence.

On motion of the Rev. Mr. Lyell, Resolved, That the Society feel deeply indebted to those young ladies who have, by their zealous exertions, contributed to the increase of its funds.

On motion of Mr. Smith, Resolved, That the title of the Society be, and is hereby altered to that of "The New-York Protestant Episcopal Missionary Society."

The society then proceeded to ballot for officers for the ensuing year. The following gentlemen were declared unanimously elected.

The Right Rev. Bishop Hobart, being President, ex-officio.

Dr. John Watts, 1st Vice-Presidents Floyd Smith, 2d Vice-President; Dr. G. A. Cooper, 3d Vice-President; D. A. Cushman, Treasurer; Ferris Pell, Corresponding Secretary; J. Smyth Rogers, Recording Secretary. Other Managers.

William Onderdonk, jun. Cornelius R. Duffie, Thomas N. Stanford, Lewis Loutrell, Warmaldus Cooper, Charles Keeler, Alexis P. Proal, William Baker, David R. Lambert, Luther Bradish, George R. A. Ricketts, Edward Hitchcock, Edward M'Vickar.

N. B. Subscriptions and donations will be thankfully received by the Treasurer, 189 Broadway, or either of the managers.

« PreviousContinue »