Letter from Henderson Walker to Henry Compton
Walker, Henderson, ca. 1659-1704
Volume 01, Pages 571-573
[From N. C. Letter Book of S. P. G. 21st Oct. 1703.]
HENDERSON WALKER TO THE BISHOP OF LONDON.
North Carolina, 21st October, 1703.
May it please your Lordship:—
The great and pious designs of your lordship toward these American parts, for the propagation of the Christian Church, of which you are so pious and good a pillar, emboldens me to lay before your lordship the present state of North Carolina, as to their Christian well-being; and I was the more encouraged to do it by reason that our lords proprietors were pleased to write to us concerning Mr. Bray, your lordship's commissary, coming to visit us.
My lord, we have been settled near this fifty years in this place, and I may justly say most part of twenty-one years, on my own knowledge,
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without priest or altar, and before that time, according to all that appears to me, much worse. George Fox, some years ago, came into these parts, and, by strange infatuations, did infuse the Quakers' principles into some small number of the people; which did and hath continued to grow ever since very numerous, by reason of their yearly sending in men to encourage and exhort them to their wicked principles; and here was none to dispute nor to oppose them in carrying on their pernicious principles for many years, till God, of his infinite goodness, was pleased to inspire the Rev. Dr. Bray, some time about four years ago, to send in some books of his own particular pious gift, of the explanation of the Church catechism, with some other small books, to be disposed of and lent as we thought fit, did, in some measure, put a stop to their growth; and about a year after, did send to us a library of books for the benefit of this place, given by the honorable the Corporation for the Establishing the Christian Religion, by one Mr. Daniel Brett, a minister appointed for this place. He for about half a year behaved himself in a modest manner, but after that, in a most horrid manner, broke out in such an extravagant course that I am ashamed to express his carriage, it being in so high a nature. It hath been a great trouble and grief to us who have a great veneration for the Church, that the first minister who was sent to us should prove so ill as to give the dissenters so much occasion to charge us with him. My lord, I humbly beg you to believe that we do not think that the Rev. Dr. Bray knew anything of the life and conversation of the man. We did, about this time two years, with a great deal of care and management, get an Assembly, and we passed an act for building of churches and establishing a maintenance for a minister amongst us; and in pursuance thereto we have built one church, and there are two more a going forward; and his excellency, Francis Nicholson, Esq., governor of Virginia, was pleased, of his pious goodness, to give us £10 to each church, and we sent copies of that act of Assembly to our lords proprietors to get the same ratified, and likewise a copy to Dr. Bray, to entreat his favor with them to obtain a ratification, which we are in hopes to obtain this shipping; but they not being come, we are in a great loss. My lord, I humbly beg leave to inform you, that we have an Assembly to sit the 3d November next, and there is above one half of the burgesses that are chosen are Quakers, and have declared their designs of making void the act for establishing the Church; if your lordship, out of your good and pious care for us, doth not put a stop to their growth, we shall the most part, especially the children born here, become heathens. I humbly entreat your lordship to send some worthy, good man amongst us to regain the
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flock, and so perfect us in our duty to God, and establish us by his doctrine, life, and conversation in the fundamentals of our Christian profession, that we in our time, and those as come hereafter, may bless God that he has raised up so noble a pillar as your lordship to regain those who are going astray, and put a stop to the pernicious, growing principles of the Quakers.
Your lordship may see the copy of our act by Dr. Bray, and I humbly beg your lordship's pardon for giving you this trouble, and take leave to subscribe myself, my lord,
Your most humble and obedient servant,