I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your letters of the following dates Viz, 2d March & 10th November 1767. 28th April and 17th December 1768. The Reverend Mr Morton whom you mention in the first has left this province upwards of two years and settled in Virginia. I am told he is well married. His conduct in Northampton County, where I had inducted him was exemplary and his departure much lamented by his parishioners.
The grievances you inform me Mr Stuart complains of, shall meet with every redress in my power.
I entertain the properest sense of the handsome offers made me by the Society in favor of the Reverend Mr Agar, They have been communicated to him at Nottoway Parish in Virginia. By his undetermined answer, I discover he does not think it an object for him to change his situation while he remains in America, I must
Mr Barnett has left Brunswick and gone to Northampton County, into the parish of which county I propose to induct him on his waiting on me again. I had in a former letter mentioned my postponing Mr Barnetts presentation in Brunswick county till St Philips church was far enough advanced to have divine service performed therein. Upon Mr Barnetts consecration thereof last summer I acquainted some gentlemen of the county (as I had heard some whispers of discontent) that I should give Mr Barnett letters of presentation. The Church Wardens some time after called a Vestry, and the question being put whether they were for a minister being inducted, it was carried in the negative. This step I assured Mr Barnett should not divert me from exercising the just right of the crown delegated to me and I was ready to induct him into St Philips parish. He well knew, he said, it was contrary to the intentions and desire of the inhabitants in general to have an inducted minister, and that was he to accept of the presentation he was conscious his stay would be made uneasy, if not unhappy to him, and consequently deprive him of rendering the duties of his office beneficial to his parishioners, for these reasons he said if agreeable to me, he would prefer Northampton County, I acquiesced and he accordingly set out for Northampton the end of December last. I desire his mission may be continued to him
The Reverend Mr Cramp at present officiates at Brunswick, He has promised me he will not stay in this government on any terms than induction from me I have urged him to accept of presentation to this parish, his answer was “they will starve me, for none like the inducted parson.” I have offered to advance him what money he may want for his support, till the right of presentation is determined in a course of law, and the salary that is detained recovered from the Church Wardens, as I told him I was sure he would have every support of the Society, on so important an undertaking. He is at present ill of the gout, and I hear inclined to return to England.
The Reverend Mr Hobart Briggs I have inducted into Duplin County, having just recommended him to the Vestry to which reommendation they paid little regard. It is yet a doubt if his residence will be made agreeable to him. I have however obtained foro Sampson, one of His Majesty's Council for this province who lives in the county.
The Reverend Mr McCartney is not yet fixed to any parish as he desired three or four months time before presentation in order to form a judgment where he could live with most satisfaction and advantage to himself and family.
That you may be informed agreeable to your desire of the circumstances of the parishes in this colony, I shall herewith transmit to you a list of the counties, the names of their parishes (each county forming but one parish) and the capacity of their supporting ministers, agreeable to the provision made for them in 1765. The people of this country from the variety of sectaries on one part, and a too general neglect of religion on the other, are uneasy under the provisions of the Clergy Bill passed in 1765, and which I got further explained by the amendatory Act (I now inclose) passed last session of Assembly.
Some Vestries idly imagine the power of presentation is still vested by implication in them; because say they, neither the Crown nor the Governor is in express words declared to have the right of presentation. I purpose to bring this matter on some future occasion to tryal that they may be convinced of the obstenacy and error of such a notion, since I find in some parishes, candid argument will not avail.
The inclosed letter from the Reverend Mr Fiske will state the ungenteel and cruel treatment he has received from his parishioners, I recommend him to sue the Church Wardens and Vestrys for his salary. I am told his parish is full of quakers and anabaptists, the first no friend, the latter an avowed enemy to the mother church. It is certain the preeminence the Church of England has obtained over the sectaries by legislative authority has drawn upon her their jealousies. The disturbances in the province have inspired no religious sentiments among us, and the difficulty of raising the taxes for want of a medium to pay them, makes many parishes very slack to encourage public worship.
It is really my opinion this province under its present circumstances cannot experience the full benefit of the establishment of the clergy, unless they receive other support than the provisions in the Clergy Bill.
A minister who embarks for this province is separated (perhaps forever to every beneficial purpose) from his friends and connections
The infancy of the established religion in this province is undoubtedly the period and crisis for setting the Church of England here on a solid basis. We have laid a more firm and permanent foundation than any other colony can boast, she now stands in need of the utmost assistance of her friends to raise the superstructure. Upon these considerations I trust the Society will not withdraw the missions of £50 per annum from those gentlemen who now enjoy them, but rather exert every other aid in their power to facilitate the propagation of the gospel here. The bounty of the Society of £20 per annum for two years to every minister coming out to this province is certainly of real service: If it could be continued for a longer duration it would be more beneficial. This additional munificence possibly might exceed the limits of the Societys economy I do not presume to set bounds to their liberality, my intention is singly to represent what encouragement I judge would most effectually promote the cause of religion and consequently the felicity of the inhabitants of the colony.
That the Society may be informed of the share the Reverend Mr Micklejohn took to quiet the minds of the people, during the disturbances in this country, I send you inclosed the sermon he preached to the troops at Hillsborough: A discourse that gave great satisfaction as it was well adapted to the then situation of public affairs. I also transmit you the Presbyterian ministers address to their flock: The good effects of the principles they inculcated I had the happiness to experience, services I shall ever gratefully remember.
The Presbyterians and Quakers are the only tolerated sectaries under any order or regulation, every other are enemies to society and a scandal to common sense.
I shall conclude this long letter with requesting the favor of you to present my respects to the Society, with assurance of the high sense I entertain of their indulgence to my recommendations and the great attention with which they have always honored my proposals: testimonies I flatter myself will be continued to co-operate with my