A MEMORIAL REPRESENTING THE
PRESENT STATE OF RELIGION,
ON THE CONTINENT OF
NORTH-AMERICA.

BY THOMAS BRAY, D.D.

LONDON

Printed by William Downing, for the Author, 1700.

To his GRACE THOMAS [NOTE: Tenison (1636-1715)] Lord Arch-Bishop OF CANTERBURY, Primate and Metropolitan OF ALL ENGLAND, The following MEMORIAL Is with all Submission Humbly Dedicated by Thomas Bray.

/5/ A
MEMORIAL
HUMBLY laid before

The Right Reverend the Lord Bishops of this Kingdom, and other Right Noble, and Worthy Patrons of Religion; representing the Present State thereof, in the several Provinces on the Continent of North America, in order to the Providing a sufficient Number of proper Missionaries, so absolutely necessary to be sent at this Juncture into those Parts.

May it please Your Lordships, &c.

Amongst other Reasons for my Return at this time, of Consequence to our Church in America; in reference to which I have been happy in the Approbation of those my Ecclesiastical Superiors, to whom I am more immediately accountable in Things relating to my Mission, there is one of Concernment to be laid before all Your Lordships, the Universities also of this Kingdom; And I dare promise my self, will not be thought unworthy the Notice of all the Lovers of Christ, and his Religion. And it is to represent to You, the present State of Religion in MARY-LAND, PENSYLVANIA, the EAST AND WEST-JERSEYS, NEW-YORK, ROAD-ISLAND, LONG-ISLAND, NORTH and SOUTH-CAROLINA, BERMUDAS, and NEWFOUND-LAND. And this in order to the Propagation of the true Christian Religion in those Parts, at a Crisis, when, as many Thousands are in a happy Disposition to embrace it, so Infidelity and Heresie seem to make their utmost Efforts to withdraw, and to fix those People at the greatest distance from it.
I. And to begin where I am more immediately concerned, with MARY-LAND. Here, through the mercies of God, and after many Struggles with the Quakers, 'tis to be hop'd, we are in a fair way at last to have an Establish'd Church: /6/ The Law for which I have brought over with me for the Royal Assent. And thereby is provided a Maintenance for the Clergy of 40l. of Tobacco per Pole, tax'd upon each communicable Person; which amounts in some Parishes to about 80l. per Annum, according to the rate which Tobacco has born these three last Years; tho' that is higher than they can promise themselves the same for the future: But in 12 of them at least, by reason of the thinness of the Inhabitants, not to above a third of that Value. And yet these latter Parishes having built their Churches, think they ought to have Ministers as well as the rest: And had I not in my PAROCHIAL VISITATION, given them good Words, and fair Promises, speedily to supply them, I fear our Law would not have passed altogether so easily as it did. And yet how to make good that Promise to them, I shall be sadly at a loss, except the Proposals hereafter given may find Favour with Your Lordships, and those to whom you shall please to recommend them.
The Papists in this Province appear to me not to be above a twelfth Part of the Inhabitants; but their Priests are very numerous; whereof more have been sent in this last Year, than was ever known. And tho' the Quakers brag so much of their Numbers and Riches, with which Considerations they would incline the Government to favour them with such unpresidented Privileges, as to be free from paying their Dues to the Established Church, or rather, would fain overthrow its Establishment; yet they are not above a 12th Part in number, and bear not that proportion, they would be thought to do, with those of the Church, in Wealth and Trade.
II. As for PENSYLVANIA, I found too much Work in Mary- Land, to be able to visit Personally that Province, tho' most earnestly solicited thereunto by the People. But there pass'd Letters betwixt my self, and that Church, full of the greatest Respects on their sides: And by such Notices as I have receiv'd from some of the Principal Persons of that Country, I am fully made to understand the State of Religion there; where, I think, if in any part of the Christian World, a very good proportion of the People are excellently dispos'd to receive the Truth.
The Keithites, [NOTE: Quaker followers of George Keith] which are computed to be a Third Part, are truly such; and so very well affected are they to the Interest of our Church, that, in the late Election of Assembly-Men, even since Mr. Penn came into his Government, they had almost carried it for the Church-men, to their great Surprize; so as to let them see, they had been only wanting to themselves in not timely applying.
There are in Pensylvania two Congregations of Lutherans, being Swedes, whose Churches are finely built, and their two Ministers lately sent in, nobly furnished with 300l. worth of Books by the Swedish King: And they live in very good Accord with our Minister, and his Church. There is but one Church of England Minister as yet there, and he at Philadelphia, well esteem'd and respected by his People: And they do most importunately solicit both from thence, and from other Parts of that Province for more, where, I am assured, there are at least six wanting.
/7/ There are some Independents, but neither many, nor much bigotted.
III. Adjoyning to this, are the two Colonies of EAST and WEST-JERSEYS, where they have some pretty Towns, and well-peopled; but are wholly left to themselves, without Priest, or Altar. The Quakers are very numerous in the Jerseys. But the Keithians, who are many there, are a like affected to us, as in Pensylvania. And I think there would be a Reception for six Ministers in both the Jerseys. IV. From NEW-YORK, I have an Account that a Church of England Clergy are much wanted there: And there will be room for at least two Ministers, besides one which they have already; the one to assist at NEW-YORK, th'other to be plac'd at Albany; where, besides the Inhabitants of the Town, which are many, we have two Companies of Soldiers in Garrison, but all without a Preacher.
I shall not here speak of the Number of Missionaries requisite to be sent to Convert the Native Indians, lying on the back of this, and all our other Colonies on the Continent. Now that the French of Canada do, by their Priests, draw over so many of these Indians, both to their Religion, and their Interests, in the Opinion of many wise Persons, who understand the active and inveterate Spirit of Popery, the Nature of the Indians, and the Scituation of those Parts, the Civil Government has very great Reason to take Umbrage, so as to think it of the highest consequence to the Preservation of our Plantations, to have those Indians, which border upon us, brought over to our Religion, in order to hold them in a stricter Alliance with us. This, I hope, may facilitate another Memorial relating to that particular Case, so as to obtain from the Publick such a Fund, as may maintain at least Twenty such Persons, as will learn their Language, live with them, and preach the Gospel amongst them. But the Reasons for making Provision for the Support of Religion within the Colonies, being not, as commonly apprehended, of so National a Concern; it is from particular Persons, and such only as are more than ordinarily zealous for the Honour of God, and the Good of Souls, that we can with much Assurance promise our selves a necessary Assistance towards Promoting in these so good a Work. And therefore shall address, in relation to them, in another way of Proposal. To proceed then.
V. In LONG-ISLAND there are Nine Churches, but no Church of England Minister, tho' much desired; and there ought to be at least Two sent to that Colony.
IV. In ROAD-ISLAND, for want of a Clergy, many of the Inhabitants are said to be sunk downright into Atheism. The New Generation, being the Off-spring of Quakers, whose Children, for want of an Outward Teaching, which those Enthusiasts at first denied, being meer Ranters; as indeed the Sons of Quakers are found to be such in most Places, and equally to deny all Religion. However through the Noble Assistance of Colonel Nicholson, Governor of Virginia, there is a Church rais'd in that Colony, and something subscribed towards a Maintenance of one Minister. But there will be Work enough for Two substantial Divines at least.
/8/ VII. NORTH-CAROLINA lies betwixt Virginia and South-Carolina: It has two Settlements; th'one called Roanoak, the other Pamplico, 100 Miles distant from each other. And as there will be Occasion for at least Two Missionaries to be sent amongst them; so the Governor, who is now going over to that Colony, being a very worthy Gentleman, I dare promise will give the best Countenance and Encouragement which shall be in his Power.
VIII. SOUTH-CAROLINA is the last Province that I shall now speak of, on the Continent, a very thriving Colony, and so large, as to want at least Three Missionaries, besides one lately sent there.
IX. Over against South-Carolina, lie the Bermudas, or Summer-Islands, formerly reckoned very plentiful, as well as pleasant and healthful; but are now known to be very poor and barren; which is commonly attributed to two Reasons: First, The fall of their Cedars, that shelter'd them from hurtful Winds; since which time, these Islands, formerly so famous for their Oranges and Lemons, are now continually blasted: And, Secondly, To a certain Worm or Ant, so much encreased upon them, as totally in some places to devour their Corn. But from whatever Causes the Poverty of the Place proceeds, so it is, that tho' there are Eight Tribes or Parishes, with so many Churches, endow'd with some Shares of Land, which formerly might afford a mean Provision, now there is but one Minister upon the Place, and he but barely subsisted; so that considering the Extent of that Knot of little Islands, Three Missionaries at least will be wanting there.
It is no part of my Province to speak to Virginia, it being under the Jurisdiction of a very worthy Person, Mr. Commissary Blaire; [NOTE: James Blair (1756-1753), Anglican missionary to Virginia] whose Abilities, as they fit him for great Designs, so his Industry has been for some Years exercised in doing uncommon Services to that Church.
But the Gratitude, which all that are well-affected to Christianity, do owe, more especially the Clergy, and above all my self, to that admirable Patron of Religion and Learning, Colonel Francis Nicholson, the present Governor thereof, forbids me to pass over in silence those glorious Works which he is there carrying on, with such unusual Application; and which, when accomplished, must render his Memory sweet to all succeeding Generations.
The Two great Designs, which he is now so intent upon, for the Good of that Church, (not to mention here what a Patron, or rather a Founder, he has been to it, in most of the other Provinces now named) are the Erecting of a College in Virginia, or rather an University; for which he has obtain'd a Charter from his Majesty, with a Noble Endowment, and the Building of which he has already far advanced; and the Settling of the Church by Law, on such a Foot, and Constitution, as will render that Clergy and Province mutually happy in one another.
Considering this Governor's late Heroick Actions in the Conquest of the most desperate of Enemies, the Pirates, who were so infatuated, as to approach his Province, and in whose /9/ Reduction, his own Personal Presence and Valour had a share, but that it was necessary to the Service of his Prince, of his Government, and of its Trade, almost to a Fault: It's hard to say, whether Arms or Letters have the greatest Right to challenge him for their General. But when we consider the extream disproportion betwixt the Numbers of Persons in Publick Post, who are studious of the Good of God's Church, compar'd with such, as are thought serviceable to the State in Arms, it ought to be the hearty Prayers of all the Friends of Religion and Learning, not only in his own Province, but all over that Continent, that whenever the Service of the Publick shall oblige him again to expose his Person to such Dangers, that God would preserve him; for should he fall, in all humane Appearance, the Loss would be irreparable.
Nor do I think my self oblig'd to speak here of New- England, where Independency seems to be the Religion of the Country. My Design is not to intermeddle, where Christianity under any Form has obtained Possession; but to represent rather the deplorable State of the English Colonies, where they have been in a manner abandoned to Atheism; or, which is much at one, to Quakerism, for want of a Clergy settled among them. And, I think, I have one remaining Instance of such Neglect in this kind, as if it provokes me to some warm Reflections upon our Nation (for the Church, I know, wants Power and Riches to do much of it self) I conceive the Occasion will bear me out.
X. And it is with reference to the last Colony in America, that I shall speak any thing to at present, namely, NEWFOUND-LAND, near whose Coast we were drove, in my Voyage to Mary-Land; and I could have been very glad, if, with the Safety of our Ship and Lives, we had been thrown into it, that I might have Personally seen the Condition of the Place and People. But this Curiosity was in a great measure satisfy'd, by the Account I received from the Master of a Ship on Board of us, who had made many Voyages there, and gave me this Account of the Island, so far as it is in the Possession of the English: That there are Harbours in it belonging to us, 26; Families, 274; Inhabitants, as well Winter as Summer, on the Island, about 1120; Workers, about 4200; Ships Crew, in the Fishing Season, 3150; and Men in the Ships, sent at the latter end of the Year to carry home the Fish, 1200.
And now, is it possible to imagine, that from a Nation professing Christianity in its Purity, desecate of the least Tincture of Dross, and Corruption; the sole Tendency of whose Principles is, to inspire all its Disciples with the noblest Thoughts of God, with an ardent Zeal for his Honour and Glory, and with a boundless and unlimited Love to Mankind; a Love as Extensive as the whole World, and as Intensive as that we have to our selves? Is it credible, that in a Colony of so many Thousand Souls, who are all of them Natives from England, from whence our Shipping do sail to it, during many Months in the Year, and in whose Navigation our best Seamen are bred up; and where so many Hundred Families abide perpetually, some 20 Years, most the /10/ whole course of their Lives; and from whose Trade such Profit accrues to the Nation, as contributes, next to the Woollen Manufacture, to turn the Balance of Europe in Commerce on our side? Can any one believe it, when he is told, that from such a Nation, so little Care has been taken, with respect to such a Colony, that there never was, nor yet is, any Preaching, Prayers, or Sacraments, or any Ministerial and Divine Offices, performed on that Island; but that they should be suffered to live as those, who know no God in the World! Are Rome and Mecca, whose Sons are so apt to compass Sea and Land to gain Proselytes to Superstition and Folly, so regardless of their own People? And will it not then be more tolerable for that Tyre, and this Sydon, than for us, in the Day of Judgment? For if they had known the things which we do, the most rude and uncultivated of those Parts, which we possess, should not have remained uninstructed in the best Religion in the World.
The Truth of it is, this Indifference of ours in Propagating the Religion which we profess to believe, in those Parts, where, as well our Power does enable us, as our Duty oblige us, to take some Care thereof, is the Amazement of all whom I ever yet heard make serious Reflection upon it. But since, from what I have yet found, I am not sanguine enough to hope for any publick Funds for the PROPAGATION OF CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, either in this, or the other Colonies: and the only hopes is from the pious Clergy themselves, and such particular Persons amongst the devout Laity, whose Hearts are inflamed with a Love of God, and of those Souls which he has purchased with his own Blood: I shall rather turn my self to you, my most Reverend Fathers, and other Noble Patrons of Religion, giving you a general Estimate of the Number of Missionaries, which we hope to be supplied withall from your Paternal Care, and Pious Assistance: And as there will be need of at least Two to be sent for Newfoundland; so, upon the whole, it appears, that there are at present wanting no less than Forty Protestant Missionaries to be sent into all these Colonies. And the Necessity that there should be both so many, and those singularly well qualify'd for the purpose, I am next to shew you. And that there should be at least that Number sent into each of these Colonies, as I have now mentioned, appears from hence, That even then their Business will lie extreamly wide; but chiefly for this Reason, that there is so great an Inclination to embrace Christianity amongst many Quakers, all over those Parts where Mr. Keith has been, that it will be fatal Neglect, if our Church should not close with that Providence, which offers so many Proselytes into her Bosom. And the Plantations growing now into populous and powerful Provinces, with all submission, in my Opinion, ought not to be so neglected, as that it should be indifferent to us, whether they be made Christians, or abandoned to Infidelity.
Nor is the Necessity less that these Missionaries should be singularly well qualify'd, than that they should be at all sent. And indeed, in order to make the better Choice, agreeable to what I have observed of the State, the Temper, and Constitution of the Country and People, is one great Reason that hath perswaded me so soon back. And the persons which alone can do good there, as I conceive, must,
/11/ In the First place, be of such nice Morals, as to abstain from all Appearance of Evil; there being not such a calumniating people in the World, as the Quakers are every where found to be. And it is the worst Fault of the Plantations, that they give their Tongues too much liberty that way, especially if they can find the least Flaw.
Secondly, They must be Men of good Prudence, and an exact Conduct, or otherwise, they will unavoidably fall into Contempt, with a people so well vers'd in Business, as every the meanest Planter seems to be.
Thirdly, They ought to be well experienced in the Pastoral Care, having a greater Variety, both of Sects and Humours, to deal with in those Parts, than are at home; and therefore it would be well, if we could be provided with such as have been Curates here for some time.
Fourthly, More especially they ought to be of a true Missionary Spirit, having an ardent Zeal for God's Glory, and the Salvation of Mens Souls.
Fifthly, Of a very active Spirit, and consequently, not so grown into Years, as to be uncapable of Labour and Fatigue, no more than very Young, upon which account they will be more liable to be despised.
And, Lastly, They ought to be good substantial, well- studied Divines, very ready in the Holy Scriptures, able with sound Judgment to explicate and prove the great Doctrines of Christianity, to state the Nature and Extent of the Christian Duties, and with the most moving Considerations to enforce their Practice, and to defend the Truth against all its Adversaries: To which purpose, it will be therefore absolutely requisite to provide each of them with a Library of necessary Books, to be fix'd in those places to which they shall be sent, for the Use of them, and their Successors for ever: This to be a perpetual Encouragement to good and able Divines, always to go over, and to render them useful when they are there: A Design of whose Usefulness, of whose Necessity, I am now so fully perswaded, since I have been in, and know the Wants of those parts, that I am resolved to have no hand in sending, or taking over any one, the best Missionary, who shall not be so provided. Well, but the great Quaere is, How we may be able to procure so great a Number of such able Missionaries? How to maintain them? And how to furnish them out with such Libraries? In order to all which, I crave leave to offer these following Considerations.
First, That the Colonies now named, consisting chiefly of Quakers, or such, as for want of the Gospel being preached amongst them, are in a manner of no Religion; They are in that respect to be considered as almost so many Heathen Nations. And it will seem unreasonable, to expect that a People, before they are converted, and made to understand the Goodness and Advantages of true Religion, should be induc'd to maintain its Ministry: And especially in this Case of the Quakers, the Persons chiefly to be proselyted, who, /12/ above all other Rites of the Church of Christ, have been deeply prejudiced against the Maintenance of the Clergy.
Secondly, That if the Missionaries, which shall be sent into each of those Colonies, shall be well chosen, and duly qualified, I am perswaded they will find the Work of God to prosper so well in their Hands, that in Three Years time the People will, out of pure Devotion, subscribe, or settle a plentiful Maintenance both for them, and their Successors. To support me in which Conjecture, we have Two very emenent, and late Instances; the one in Pensylvania, th'other in Carolina. In the former of which, Mr. Clayton, who at his first going over, Three Years ago, and whilst his Congregation was not above Sixty Persons, had scarcely 50l. per Annum Maintenance; yet upon the Accession of new Converts, to upwards of 700, (for so is that Church increased in Three Years) has brought the Maintenance of the Minister of Philadelphia to 150l. per Annum. And in Carolina, Mr. Marshall, through his excellent Preaching, and singular Conduct, so gain'd upon the People, that from a poor Subscription-Maintenance at first, they settled upon him and his Successors, within Two Years after his being amongst them, what amounts to 200l. per Annum. And at his Death, the general Assembly of that Province were so kind to his Widow, as to present her with 200l. at her Return home.
Thirdly, I conceive therefore, that in the Interim, and during the first Three Years, it will be absolutely necessary, that these Missionaries should be subsisted from hence; and it shall be my utmost Care in that time to have them so provided of Glebes, and the same so stock'd, as that they may thenceforward live comfortably upon the Emoluments of their own places.
Fourthly, The Method by which I would humbly propose to have these Missionaries, which I desire, both well chosen, and supported from home, in their Service for the first Three Years, is as follows.
1. As to the Choice, That every Bishop be pleased to pitch upon some proper Person within his own Diocess, such as his Lordship shall judge best qualified, as aforesaid, for the Mission:

And then,

2. As to his Support, That his Lordship having countenanced the following Proposal in such measure, as (considering the many other like Calls upon those in his Station, more than upon any other) his Lordship shall think fit, he be pleased to recommend it to the dignify'd, and other the most considerable Clergy within his Diocess; and they, to the well disposed Laity within their respective Parishes, to subscribe what may maintain one Missionary at least, to be sent from such Diocess.
3. That where there happens to be any such Persons, as of noted Zeal for God's Glory, and the Salvation of Mens Souls; so of Ability withal to maintain of themselves a Missionary; especially, if such as have not Children to inherit their Estates, and consequently, whom Providence seems to have design'd to be publick Benefactors to Mankind; That a more particular /13/ Application be made to such, as those, who have reason to be glad of an Opportunity to entitle themselves to expressly, as this will, to the exalted Degrees of Glory, promised to those wise Persons who turn many to Righteousness, Dan. 12.3.
4. That the Summ subscribed for each Missionary be 50l. per Annum for Three years. And as less will not be sufficient to encourage a Person of Learning and Worth to undertake the Mission; so it will not suffice to subsist even a private Minister in those Parts, where every thing is very dear, which must be bought for Money, and not bartered for by the Product of the Country; which no Clergy-man will be Master of, till he can have a Glebe, and shall have cultivated his Plantation.
5. That the Subscriptions be paid in to the Arch- Deacons at their Easter-Visitation, and be forthwith returned by them to the Hands of the Bishop of the Diocess; or to such Person, or Persons in London, as his Lordship shall appoint to receive it, and so pay it to the Order of the Missionary sent by such Diocess.
6. That beside the 50l. per Annum, allow'd each Missionary for his subsistence, 20l. a-year be appropriated towards buying a Library of necessary, and useful Books, both for himself, and his Successors in the Town, or other Place wherein he shall be setled.
Lastly, That the first Payment of the 50l. and 20l. be advanced at his first going off (which I could wish might be before Christmas next) that so being sufficiently furnished with all Necessaries, he may not appear to come, as an indigent Person into the Place where he shall be appointed, and as one that is to have Free Quarters upon those he is to proselyte. The Quakers being very prying into the Condition of those who come over; whome if they find poor, they proclaim Hirelings, and to come meerly for Bread; but if otherwise, they have been found at a loss what to say against them. And to be well provided at first, will succeed the better to the advantage both of the Missionary himself, and the Church; To the support and continuance of which, he will undoubtedly lay a good Foundation, who being happy in his Conduct, shall come first. And indeed, my Lords, could we but have such Men at first, as by their real Worth might be able to gain the Esteem and Affections of those People, I do not in the least doubt from what I have already found, but that in my next Visitation I could obtain large Tracts of Glebes, and good Houses, built by the respective Parishes in Maryland, and the Proselyte-Churches in the other Colonies; so as both those, who shall now go over, will themselves in a few years be in a comfortable Condition, and their Successors after them in a happy Settlement.
And as neither the Clergy's Condition can be comfortable, nor can it be properly call'd a Settlement, till they shall be in Houses, and on Glebes of their own; so now is the time /14/ to endeavour both, or it will be too late hereafter to think of obtaining either. For as yet Land may be taken up, or had upon easie Terms; but should the Plantations continue to increase, as they have done of late, within Seven Years Land will not be purchased at treble the value, as now.
For my own part, I take this to be so happy a Juncture to lay the Foundation of lasting Good to the Church of God in those Provinces, that though after the Expence already of above a Thousand Pounds in its Service, and though it is likely to be still at my own Charge, when I go again, yet I shall not make the least Difficulty in accompanying your Lordships Missionaries, which from your respective Diocesses you shall please to send into those Parts. And being therefore so little interested my self in the Mission, I hope I may with a better Countenance, through your Lordship's Patronage, presume to offer the following Proposals to the very Reverend Dignitaries, and wealthier Clergy, and other well-disposed Persons of the Church, for a small Subscription from each of them towards the Maintenance of those Missionaries, their Brethren, whom your Lordships shall please to send.

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/15/ PROPOSALS for the Propagation of the Christian Religion in the several Provinces, on the Continent of North-America. WHEREAS it has pleased God of late to stir up the hearts of many People in the American Plantations, who seem'd formerly to have forgot Religion, now to be very solicitious, and earnest for Instruction, so as of themselves to call for those Helps, which in Duty they ought to have been prevented in, by us, from the beginning: And whereas, to our shame, we must own, that no Nation has been so guilty of this neglect as ours: The Papists, of all Countries, having been most careful to support their Superstitions where-ever they have planted: The Dutch with great care allowing an Honourable Maintenance, with all other Encouragements, for Ministers in their Factories and Plantations: The Swedes, the Danes, and other small Colonies, being seldom, or never deficient in this Particular; and we of the English Nation only being wanting in this Point: And lastly, Whereas though it be true that some of our most considerable Plantations have set out Parishes, and Allowances for Ministers, yet it is not so in all; and where some Provision is made, it is as yet far short of being sufficient to maintain a Minister: And there is a total Neglect of informing the poor Natives. Out of all these Considerations, we do not think a more charitable Work can be carried on, than as much as in us lyes, to contribute towards the Redress of these great Failures: And therefore do subscribe, to that purpose, the several Summs to our Names annex'd.

(E-text furnished by Dr. Hans Rollmann; typed by Ms. Heather Russell)


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