ALTHOUGH the legislature of Connecticut, during the con-troversy respecting the union of the colonies, judged it expedient to transact nothing relative to the religious controversies then in the country, yet, as soon as the union was well established, they entered seriously upon measures to bring them to a final issue. For this purpose, they passed the following act.

"This court doth conclude, to consider of some way or means to bring those ecclesiastical matters, that are in difference in the several plantations, to an issue, by stating some suitable accom-modation and expedient thereunto. And do therefore order, that a synod be called to consider and debate those matters; and that the questions presented to the elders and ministers that are called to this synod, shall be publicly disputed to an issue. And this court doth confer power to this synod, being met and constituted, to order and methodize the disputation, so as may most conduce, in their apprehension, to attain a regular issue of their debates."

The court ordered, that all the preaching elders, or ministers, who were or should be settled in this colony, at the time appointed for the meeting of the synod, should be sent to, to attend as mem-bers of it. It was also ordered by the legislature, that Mr. Mit-




chell, Mr. Brown, Mr. Sherman, and Mr. Glover, of Massachusetts, should be invited to assist as members of the synod. It was also ordered, that, upon the meeting of a majority of the preaching elders in the colony, they should proceed as a synod. Further, it was enacted, that the questions proposed by this assembly, should be the questions to be disputed by the synod. The meeting of the synod was appointed on the third Wednesday in May, 1667. The secretary was directed to transmit to all the ministers in this col-ony, and those invited from the Massachusetts, a copy of this act of assembly, and of the questions to be disputed.

It seems, that the ministers had objections to meeting as a synod, and to the order of the assembly vesting them with synod-ical powers. Numbers of the ministers and churches appear to have been too jealous for their liberties to admit of the authority of synods appointed by the assembly. The legislature, to ease this difficulty, in their May session, judged it expedient to alter the name of the council, and to call it an assembly of the ministers of Connecticut, called together by the general court, for the discuss-ing of the questions1 stated, according to their former order.

The assembly of ministers convened at the time appointed, and having conversed on the questions, and voted not to dispute them publicly, adjourned until the fall, determining then to meet again, and make their report, should it be the desire of the legislature. The questions were the same which had been exhibited ten years before.2 The same points of controversy still subsisted. The churches continued in their former strict method of admitting members to their communion, and maintained their right to choose their ministers, without any controul from the towns or parishes of which they were a part. It does not appear, that one church in the colony had yet consented to the baptism of children, upon their parents owning the covenant, as it was then called. It was insisted, as necessary to the baptism of children, that one of the parents, at least, should be a member in full communion with the church, and in regular standing.

It seems, that the assembly's particularly inviting the gentle-men from the Massachusetts, in their name, to attend the general assembly of ministers and churches, was to enlighten and soften the minds of the ministers of Connecticut in those points, and to obtain a majority in the assembly for a less rigid mode of proceed-ing. Mr. Mitchell was the most powerful disputant of his day, in New-England, in favour of the baptism of children, upon their parents owning the covenant, though they neglected to obey and honour Christ, in attending the sacrament of the Lord's Supper.

1See note, p. 252. The fact that "the same points of controversy still subsist-ed" may have had something to do with the error of assuming that the questions were identical.-J. T.

2See chapter xiii. p. 252, 253.




It appeared, however, that this party were not able to carry any point in the assembly, and that the questions were not likely to be determined according to the wishes of the majority of the legis-lature. Measures were, therefore, adopted to prevent the meeting and result of the assembly, at their adjournment in the fall.

In September, the commissioners of the united colonies met at Hartford, and they interposed in the affair. They resolved, "That when questions of public concernment, about matters of faith and order, do arise in any colony, that the decision thereof should be referred to a synod, or council of messengers of churches, indif-ferently called out of the united colonies, by an orderly agreement of all the general courts; and that the place of meeting be at, or near Boston." This vote was, doubtless, obtained by the art of those gentlemen, among the civilians and ministers, who wished to prevent the meeting of the assembly of ministers, and their re-sulting upon the questions.

The reverend elders Warham, Hooker, and Whiting, in a writ-ing under their hands, represented to the assembly, at their session in October, that it was the desire of the assembly of ministers, that there might be a more general meeting of ministers from Massa-chusetts, to assist in the consideration and decision of the ques-tions proposed. It was also represented to the assembly, that though they and others were for disputing the questions publicly, and offered to do it, yet the major part of the assembly refused the offer.

The Rev. Mr. Bulkley and Mr. Haynes, on the other hand, in a letter addressed by them to the assembly, represented, that the assembly had authorized a major part of the ministers to method-ize the proceedings of the assembly, and that a majority were against a public disputation of the questions: That it was viewed as what would dishonour God, disserve the peace and edification of the churches, and the general interests of religion; and it was judged most expedient to deliberate upon and decide the ques-tions among themselves, as was usual in councils, without a public disputation. They therefore observed, that whatever fair offers were made them to dispute the questions publicly, they could not consistently do it, as it was contrary to a major vote of the as-sembly of the ministers, and, in their opinion, would disserve the interest of the churches. With respect to the present application, made by Messrs. Warham, Hooker, and Whiting, they observed, that it appeared strange to them, as a considerable number of the ministers were positively against it, and others were neuter, and not in the vote for a more general council; and that it was the vote of the assembly of ministers, to meet again on the third Wednes-day in October. They assured the legislature, that they were ready and determined to obey all their lawful commands; and they desired information from them, whether the assembly of min-




isters should meet again, according to adjournment, or not? The general assembly voted, that the questions had not been decided, and desired the several churches and plantations in the colony, to send their teaching elders, at their own expense, to sit in council, with such of the elders of Massachusetts and Plymouth as should be appointed, to consider and determine the points in controversy. The assembly desired, that the general court of Massachusetts might be certified of the affair, and would appoint time and place for the meeting of a synod, if they should judge it expedient.

Whether the assembly really wished to have a general council, or whether this was only a matter of policy to prevent a deter-mination of the questions contrary to their wishes, is not certain. No general council, however, was called; nor does it appear, that any motion was made afterwards for that purpose. Indeed, the legislature seem to have fallen under the conviction, that the clergy and churches would not give up their private opinions, in faith and practice, to the decisions of councils; that honest men would think differently, and that they could not be convinced and made of one mind by disputing. No further attempts were ever made by them, to bring those points to a public discussion.

While these affairs were transacting in Connecticut, a remark-able transaction took place in the first church at Boston, the most considerable church in New-England. Their pastor, the Rev. Mr. Wilson, was one of the synod in 1662, and one who had adopted its determinations relative to the subjects of baptism. His church also appeared to have consented to the practice of admitting per-sons to own their covenant and bring their children to baptism. Nevertheless, after Mr. Wilson's decease, they elected the Rev. Mr. Davenport, of New-Haven, for their pastor, as the only gen-tleman worthy to succeed the distinguished lights which had illuminated that golden candlestick. He had publicly written against the synod, and was one of the most strict and rigid minis-ters, with respect to the admission of members to full communion, the subjects of baptism, and with respect to church discipline, in New-England. He had now arrived nearly to seventy years of age, yet, in 1667, upon the application of the church and congrega-tion at Boston, he accepted their invitation, and the next year removed to that capital. He had been about thirty years minister at New-Haven, and was greatly esteemed and beloved by his flock. This circumstance, with his advanced period of life, made his re-moval very remarkable. His church and people were exceed-ingly unwilling that he should leave them, and, it seems, never for-mally gave their consent. The affair, on the whole, was unhappy. It occasioned a separation from the first church in Boston; and the church and congregation at New-Haven, for many years, re-mained in an uncomfortable state, unable to unite in the choice of any person to take the pastoral charge of them.




The town of Windsor had, for many years, been almost in per-petual controversy, relative to the settlement of a minister. After Mr. Warham became advanced in years, he wished for a colleague, to assist him in ministerial labors. Various young gentlemen were invited to preach in the town; but such as one part of the people chose for the minister, the other would violently oppose. Sometimes one party would appear with great zeal for one candi-date, and the other would strive with equal engagedness for an-other. In such case advice had been given, that both the persons, for whom they were thus contending, should leave the town, and that application should be made to some other candidate. Much heat and obstinacy, however, continued between the parties, and all attempts to unite them were unsuccessful. It seems, that their passions were so inflamed, that, upon occasion of their meetings, their language and deportment were unbrotherly and irritating. One Mr. Chauncey was now preaching in the town, and parties were warmly engaged for and against him. The general assembly, in this state of their affairs, enacted, "That all the freemen and householders in Windsor and Massacoe should meet at the meet-ing-house, on Monday morning next, by sun an hour high, and bring in their votes for a minister, to Mr. Henry Wolcott: That those who were for Mr. Chauncey to be the settled minister of Windsor, bring in a written paper, and those who were not for him to give in a paper without any writing upon it: That the in-habitants during the meeting forbear all discourse and agitation of any matter, which may serve to provoke and disturb each other's spirits, and when the meeting is over return to their several occa-sions."

Mr. Wolcott reported to the assembly the state of the town, that there were eighty six votes for Mr. Chauncey and fifty five against him. The assembly, upon the petition of the minor party, and a full view of the state of the town, gave them liberty to settle an orthodox minister among themselves, and to the church and ma-jority of the town to settle Mr. Chauncey, if they judged it expedi-ent. It was enacted, that the minority should pay Mr. Chauncey until they should obtain another minister to preach and reside in the town. Mr. Chauncey was not finally ordained, but the affair was carried so far that a separation was soon after made in the church, and a distinct church was formed by the minority. The town continued in an unhappy state of division, for about sixteen years from this time.

The legislature, having given over all further attempts to com-pose the divisions in the colony, by public disputation and the de-cisions of general councils, determined to pursue a different course. They conceived the design of uniting the churches in some general plan of church communion and discipline, by which they might walk, notwithstanding their different sentiments, in




points of less importance. With this view, an act passed au-thorizing the Rev. Messrs. James Fitch, Gershom Bulkley, Joseph Elliot, and Samuel Wakeman, to meet at Saybrook, and devise a way in which this desirable purpose might be effected. This ap-pears to have been the first step towards forming a religious con-stitution. From this time it became more and more a general ob-ject of desire and pursuit, though many years elapsed before the work could be accomplished.

Notwithstanding the divisions in the church at Hartford, some years since, had been so far composed and healed, that it had been kept together until this time, yet there were really different senti-ments among the brethren and between the ministers, relative to the qualifications of church members, the subjects of baptfsm, and the mode of discipline. Mr. Whiting and part of the church were zealous for the strictly congregational way, as it has been called, practised by the ministers and churches, at their first coming into New-England. Mr. Haynes and a majority of the congregation were not less engaged against it. The difference became so great, that it was judged expedient, both by an ecclesiastical council and the assembly, that the church and town should be divided. An ecclesiastical council having first advised to a division, the general assembly, in October, 1669, passed the following act.

"Upon the petition presented by Joseph Whiting, &c. to this court, for a distinct walking in congregational church order, as hath been settled according to the council of the elders, the court doth commend it to the church at Hartford to take some effectual course, that Mr. Whiting, &c. may practise the congregational way, without disturbance, either from preaching or practice, di-versely to their just offence; or else to grant their loving consent to their brethren to walk distinct, according to such their congre-gational principles; which this court allows liberty in Hartford to be done. But if both these be refused and neglected by the church, then these brethren may, in any regular way, relieve themselves without offence to this court." 1

The next February, Mr. Whiting and his adherents resolved and covenanted in the manner following, and formed the second church in Hartford.

"Having had the consent and countenance of the general court, and the advice of an ecclesiastical council to encourage us in em-bodying as a church by ourselves, accordingly upon the day of completing our distinct state, (viz. February 12th, 16692) this paper was read before the messengers of the churches and con-sented to by ourselves. Viz.

"The holy providence of the Most High so disposing, that pub-

1Parties ran high at this time in the colony; four assistants and fourteen depu-ties dissented, and desired their dissent and names to be recorded.

2This, according to the present mode of dating, was February, 1670.




lic opposition and disturbance hath, of late years, been given, both by preaching and practice, to the congregational way of church order, by all manner of orderly establishments settled, and for a long time unanimously approved and peaceably practised in this place, all endeavours also (both among ourselves and from abroad) with due patience therein, proving fruitless and unsuccessful to the removing of that disturbance; We, whose names are after men-tioned, being advised by a council of the neighbouring churches, and allowed also by the honorable general court, to dispose our-selves into a capacity of distinct walking, in order to a peaceable and edifying enjoyment of all God's holy ordinances, Do declare, that according to the light we have hitherto received, the foremen-tioned congregational way (for the substance of it) as formerly settled, professed and practised, under the guidance of the first leaders of this church of Hartford, is the way of Christ; and that as such we are bound in duty carefully to observe and attend it, until such further light, (about any particular points of it) shall ap-pear to us from the scripture, as may lead us, with joint or general satisfaction, to be otherwise persuaded. Some main heads or prin-ciples of which congregational way of church order are those that follow. Viz.

1. "That visible saints are the only fit matter, and confederation the only form of a visible church.

2. "That a competent number of visible saints, (with their seed) embodied by a particular covenant, are a true, distinct, and entire church of Christ.

3. "That such a particular church, being organized, or having furnished itself with those officers which Christ hath appointed, hath all power and privileges of a church belonging to it.

"In special,

1. "To admit or receive members.

2. "To deal with, and if need be, reject offenders.

3. "To administer and enjoy all other ecclesiastical ordinances within itself.

4. "That the power of guidance, or leading, belongs only to the eldership, and the power of judgment, consent, or privilege, be-longs to the fraternity, or brethren in full communion.

5. "That communion is carefully to be maintained between the churches of christ according to his order.

6. "That counsel, in cases of difficulty, is to be sought and sub-mitted to according to god."

Having made this declaration, the brethren proceeded to cove-nant in the following manner:

"Since it hath pleased god, in his infinite mercy, to manifest himself willing to take unworthy sinners near unto himself, even into covenant relation to and interest in him, to become a god to them, and avouch them to be his people, and accordingly to com-




mand and encourage them to give up themselves and their chil-dren also to him;

"We do, therefore, this day, in the presence of god, his holy angels, and this assembly, avouch the lord jehovah, the true and living god, even god the father, the son, and the holy ghost, to be our god, and give up ourselves and ours also unto him, to be his subjects, and servants; promising through grace and strength in christ (without whom we can do nothing) to walk in professed subjection to him as our lord and lawgiver, yielding universal obedience to his blessed will, according to what discoveries he hath made, or shall hereafter make, of the same to us; in special, that we will seek him in all his holy ordinances, ac-cording to the rules of the gospel, submitting to his government in this particular church, and walking together therein, with all brotherly love and mutual watchfulness, to the building up of one another in faith and love unto his praise. All which we promise to perform, the lord helping us, through his grace in jesus christ."

Nearly at the same time, when the contentions commenced in the church at Hartford, the people at Stratford fell into the same unhappy state of controversy and division. During the adminis-trations of Mr. Blackman, their first pastor, the church and town enjoyed great peace, and conducted their ecclesiastical affairs with exemplary harmony. However, he was far advanced in years, and about the year 1663 became very infirm, and unable to perform his ministerial labors. The church, therefore, applied to Mr. Israel Chauncey, son of the president Charles Chauncey, of Cam-bridge, to make them a visit and preach among them. A majority of the church and town chose him for their pastor, and in 1665 he was ordained.1 But a large and respectable part of the church and town were opposed to his ordination. To make them easy, it was agreed, that if, after hearing Mr. Chauncey a certain time, they should continue dissatisfied with his ministry, they should have liberty to call and settle another minister, and have the same privi-leges in the meeting house as the other party. Accordingly, after hearing Mr. Chauncey the time agreed upon, and not being satis-fied with his ministerial performances, they invited Mr. Zechariah Walker to preach to them, and finally chose him for their pastor. He was ordained to the pastoral office in a regular manner, by the Rev. Mr. Haynes and Mr. Whiting, the ministers of Hartford, sometime about the year 1667, or 1668. Both ministers performed public worship in the same house. Mr. Chauncey performed his services at the usual hours, and Mr. Walker was allowed two hours in the middle of the day. But after some time, it so happened, that

1His ordination was in the independent mode. It has been the tradition, that Elder Brinsmade laid on hands with a leathern mitten. Hence it has been termed the leathern mitten ordination.




Mr. Walker continued his service longer than usual. Mr. Chaun-cey and his people coming to the house and finding that Mr. Walker's exercises were not finished, retired to a private house, and there performed their afternoon devotions. They were, how-ever, so much displeased, that the next day they went over to Fair-field, and exhibited a complaint to major Gould, one of the magis-trates, against Mr. Walker. The major, upon hearing the case, advised to pacific measures, and that Mr. Walker should be al-lowed three hours for the time of his public exercises.

In May, 1669, the general assembly advised the town to grant Mr. Walker full three hours for his exercises, until the next as-sembly in October. In the mean time, the parties were directed to call an able council to give them advice and assistance, and if possible to reconcile them. All attempts for a reconciliation, how-ever, were unsuccessful. The parties became more fixed in their opposition to each other, and their feelings and conduct more and more unbrotherly. At length, Mr. Chauncey and the majority ex-cluded Mr. Walker and his hearers the meeting house, and they convened and worshipped in a private dwelling.

Governor Winthrop, affected with the unhappy controversy and animosities subsisting in the town, advised, that Mr. Walker and his church and people should remove, and that a tract of land, for the settlement of a new township, should be granted for their en-couragement and accommodation. Accordingly, Mr. John Sher-man,1 Mr. William Curtiss, and their associates, were authorized to begin a plantation at Pomperaug. Consequently, Mr. Walker and his people removed and settled the town of Woodbury, about the years 1673 and 1674. This gave peace to the town of Stratford, and Mr. Walker and his church and congregation walked in harmony among themselves and with their sister churches.

The tradition is, that Mr. Walker and his church were not so in-dependent, in their principles, as the church of Stratford; and that Mr. Walker was a more experimental, pungent preacher, than Mr. Chauncey. Mr. Chauncey was learned and judicious. They both became sensible that their conduct towards each other, during the controversy at Stratford, had not, in all instances, been brotherly, and, after some time, made concessions to each other, became per-fectly reconciled, and conducted towards each other with broth-erly affection.

During these transactions, those venerable fathers, who had been singularly instrumental in planting, and had long illuminated the churches of Connecticut and New-England, the Rev. John Davenport and the Rev. John Warham, finished their course. Mr. Davenport died at Boston, of an apoplexy, March 15th, 1670, in

1Mr. Sherman was son of the Rev. John Sherman, of Watertown, he was some years speaker of the lower house, and afterwards one of the magistrates of this col-ony. He was one of Mr. Walker's principal hearers.




the 73d year of his age. He was born in the city of Coventry, in Warwickshire, 1597. His father was mayor of the city. At about fourteen years of age, he was supposed to become truly pious, and was admitted into Brazen Nose college, in the university at Ox-ford. When he was nineteen, he became a constant preacher in the city of London. He appears, from his early life, to have been a man of public spirit, planning and attempting to serve the gen-eral welfare of the church. About the year 1626, he united with Dr. Gouge, Dr. Sibs, and Mr. Offspring, the lord mayor of Lon-don, the king's sergeant at law, and with several other attorneys and citizens, in a design of purchasing impropriations, and, with the profits of them, to maintain a constant, able, and laborious ministry, in those parts of the kingdom, where the poor people were destitute of the word and ordinances, and such a ministry was most needed, and would be of the greatest utility. Such in-credible progress was made in this charitable design, that all the church lands, in the hands of laymen, would have been soon hon-estly recovered to the immediate service of the reformed religion. But Bishop Laud, viewing the undertaking with a jealous eye, lest it might serve the cause of non-conformity, caused a bill to be ex-hibited in the exchequer chamber, by the king's attorney-general, against the feoffees, who had the management of the affair. By this means, an act of court was procured, condemning the pro-ceedings, as dangerous to the church and state. The feoffments and contrivances made to the charitable design, were declared to be illegal, the company was dissolved, and the money was confis-cated to the use of his majesty. But as the affair met with general approbation, and multitudes of wise and devout people extremely resented the conduct of the court, the crime was never prosecuted. Laud, however, watched Mr. Davenport with a jealous eye, and as he soon after discovered inclinations to non-conformity, he marked him out as an object of his vengeance. Mr. Davenport, therefore, to avoid the storm, by the consent of his people, re-signed his pastoral charge in Coleman-street. He hoped, by this means, to enjoy a quiet life; but he found his expectations sadly disappointed. He was so constantly harassed by one busy and furious pursuivant after another, that he was obliged to leave the kingdom, and retire into Holland. In 1633, he arrived at Amster-dam, and, at the desire of the people, who met him on his way, be-came colleague pastor with the aged Mr. Paget. After about two years, finding that he could not conscientiously administer bap-tism in that loose way, to all sorts of children, practised in the Dutch churches, he desisted from his ministry at Amsterdam. While he was in this city, he received letters from Mr. Cotton, at Boston, acquainting him, that the order of the churches and com-monwealth was then so settled, in New-England, by common con-sent, that it brought into his mind the new heaven and the new




earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. He, therefore, returned to London, and having shipped himself, with a number of pious peo-ple, came into New-England; and, as has been related, settled at New-Haven. He was a preacher of the gospel about fifty-four years, nearly thirty of which were spent at New-Haven. He was eminently pious, given to devotion in secret and private; and it was supposed that he was abundant in ejaculatory prayer. He is characterized as a hard student and universal scholar; as a labo-rious, prudent, exemplary minister; as an excellent preacher, speaking with a gravity, energy, and agreeableness, of which few of his brethren were capable. It is said, he was acquainted with great men, and great things, and was great himself.1

The Rev. John Warham survived Mr. Davenport but a short time. He expired on the 1st of April, 1670. He was about forty years minister in New-England; six at Dorchester, and thirty-four at Windsor. He was distinguished for piety and the strictest morals; yet, at times, was subject to great gloominess and relig-ious melancholy. Such were his doubts and fears, at some times, that when he administered the Lord's supper to his brethren, he did not participate with them, fearing that the seals of the cove-nant did not belong to him. It is said, he was the first minister in New-England who used notes in preaching; yet he was ap-plauded by his hearers, as one of the most animated and energetic preachers of his day. He was considered as one of the principal fathers and pillars of the churches of Connecticut.

After the close of the war with Philip and the Narraganset Ind-ians, the general assembly recommended it to the ministers through the colony, to take special pains to instruct the people in the duties of religion, and to stir up and awaken them to re-pentance, and a general reformation of manners. They, also, appointed a day of solemn fasting and prayer, to supplicate the divine aid, that they might be enabled to repent, and sincerely amend their ways. The same measures were recommended, at the May session, the next year, and the people were called to hu-miliation and prayer, under a deep sense of the abounding of sin and the dark aspects of Providence.

The general court, about three years after, for the more effect-ual preservation and propagation of religion to posterity, recom-mended it to the ministry of this colony, upon the Lord's day, to catechise all the youth in their respective congregations, under twenty years of age, in the assembly of divines, or some other orthodox catechism. To continue and increase unity in religious sentiments among the people, and that they might have the ad-vantage of participating in the variety of ministerial gifts, it was

1Magnolia, B. III. p. 51-57. He left a respectable family, and his descend-ants have supported its dignity to the present time. Some of them have been in the ministry, and others magistrates of this colony.




also recommended to the ministers, to attend a weekly lecture in each county, on Wednesday, in such manner as they should judge most subservient to these purposes.1

The religious state of the colony, at this time, is given in an answer to the queries of the lords of trade and plantations. It is to the following effect.

"Our people, in this colony, are some of them strict congre-gational men, others more large congregational men, and some moderate presbyterians. The congregational men, of both sorts, are the greatest part of the people in the colony. There are four or five seventh day men, and about so many more quakers."

"Great care is taken for the instruction of the people in the Christian religion, by ministers catechising of them, and preach-ing to them twice every sabbath day, and sometimes on lecture days; and by masters of families instructing and catechising their children and servants, which they are required to do by law. In our corporation are twenty-six towns, and twenty-one churches. There is in every town in the colony a settled minister, except in two towns newly begun." In some towns there were two min-isters; so that there were, on the whole, then about the same number of ministers as of towns. There was about one minister, upon an average, to every four hundred and sixty persons, or to about ninety families.

While settlements and churches were forming in various parts of the colony, and the English inhabitants were providing for their own instruction, some pains were taken to instruct and christianize the Connecticut Indians. A law was made, obliging those under the protection of the government to keep the Chris-tian sabbath. The Rev. Mr. Fitch was particularly desired to teach Uncas and his family Christianity. A large bible, printed in the Indian language, was provided and given to the Moheagan sachems, that they might read the scriptures. When the council of ministers met at Hartford, in 1657, the famous Mr. Elliot, hearing of the Podunk Indians, desired that the tribe might be assembled, that he might have an opportunity of offering Christ to them for their Saviour.

By the influence of some principal gentlemen, they were per-suaded to come together, at Hartford, and Mr. Elliot preached to them in their own language, and labored to instruct them con-cerning their creator and redeemer. When he had finished his sermon, and explained the matter to them, he desired an answer from them, whether they would accept of Jesus Christ for their Saviour, as he had been offered to them? But their chief men, with great scorn and resentment, utterly refused. They said the English had taken away their lands, and were at-tempting now to make them servants.

1Records of the colony.




Mr. Stone and Mr. Newton, before this time, had both been employed, at the desire of the colony, to teach the Indians in Hartford, Windsor, Farmington, and that vicinity; and one John Minor was employed as an interpreter, and was taken into Mr. Stone's family, that he might be further instructed and prepared for that service. Catechisms were prepared by Mr. Elliot and others, in the Indian language, and spread among the Indians. The Rev. Mr. Pierson, it seems, learned the Indian language and preached to the Connecticut Indians. A considerable sum was allowed him by the commissioners of the united colonies; and a sum was also granted by them, for the instruction of the Ind-ians in the county of New-Haven.1 The ministers of the several towns, where Indians lived, instructed them, as they had oppor-tunity; but all attempts for christianizing the Indians, in Con-necticut, were attended with little success. They were engaged, a great part of their time, in such implacable wars among them-selves, were so totally ignorant of letters and the English lan-guage, and the English ministers, in general, were so entirely ignorant of their dialect, that it was extremely difficult to teach them. Not one Indian church was ever gathered, by the English ministers, in Connecticut. Several Indians, however, in one town and another, became Christians, and were baptized and admitted to full communion in the English churches. Some few were admitted into the church at Farmington,2 and some into the church at Derby. One of the sachems of the Indians at Nauga-tuck falls, was a member of the church at Derby, and it has been said that he was a sober well conducted man. Some few of the Moheagans have professed Christianity, and been, many years since, admitted to full communion in the north church in New-London.

The gospel, however, hath had by far the most happy effect upon the Quinibaug, or Plainfield Indians, of any in Connecticut They ever lived peaceably with the English, and about the year 1745, in the time of the great awakening and reformation in New-England, they became greatly affected with the truths of the gospel, professed Christianity, and gave the strongest evidence of a real conversion to God. They were filled with the knowledge of salvation, and expressed it to admiration. They were entirely reformed as to their manner of living. They became temperate, and abstained from drinking to excess, which it had before been found utterly impossible to effect by any other means. They held religious meetings, and numbers of them formed into church state and had the sacraments administered to them.3

1Records of the united colonies.

2There was an Indian school formerly kept in this town, at the expense of the society for propagating Christian knowledge among the Indians. The number of Indian scholars was sometimes fifteen or sixteen.

3Manuscripts from Plainfield. These Indians were numerous at the time when the town was settled, amounting to 4 or 500.




Upon the assembly's granting liberty to the minor party in Windsor to call and settle an orthodox minister, they immediately called one Mr. Woodbridge to preach among them. Mr. Chaun-cey and Mr. Woodbridge continued to preach, one to one party, and the other to the other, from 1667 to 1680. Several councils had been called to advise and unite the parties, but it seems none had judged it expedient to ordain either of the gentlemen; but after a separation of about ten years, a council advised, that both ministers should leave the town, and that the churches and par-ties should unite, and call and settle one minister over the whole. As the parties did not submit to this advice, it seems, that another council was called three years afterwards, May, 1680, which gave the same advice, but the parties did not comply. The general assembly therefore interposed and passed the following act, Oc-tober 14th, 1680.

"This court, having considered the petition of some of Windsor people and the sorrowful condition of the good people there, and finding, that notwithstanding all means of healing afforded them, they do remain in a bleeding state and condition, do find it nec-essary for this court to exert their authority towards issuing or putting a stop to the present troubles there; and this court do hereby declare, that they find all the good people of Windsor obliged to stand to, and rest satisfied with the advice and issue of the council they chose to hear and issue their matters; which advice being given and now presented to the court, dated January, 1677, this court doth confirm the same, and order that there be a seasonable uniting of the second society in Windsor with the first, according to order of council, by an orderly preparation for their admission; and if there be objection against the life or knowledge of any, then it be according to the council's advice heard and issued by Mr. Hooker and the other moderator's suc-cessor; and that both the former ministers be released: And that the committee appointed to seek out for a minister, with the ad-vice of the church and town collectively, by their major vote, do vigorously pursue the procuring of an able, orthodox minister, qualified according to the advice of the governor and council, and ministers, May last; and all the good people of Windsor are hereby required to be aiding and assisting therein, and not in the least to oppose and hinder the same, as they will answer the contrary at their peril."1

In consequence of this act, Mr. Samuel Mather was invited to preach to the people, and about two years after, was ordained to the pastoral office over the whole town. The two parties were generally united in him, and to complete the union of the town and churches, the assembly enacted, May, 1682, "That the people

1Records of the colony.




at Windsor should quietly settle Mr. Mather and communicate to his support: That such as, on examination, should satisfy Mr. Mather of their experimental knowledge, should upon proper testimony of their good conversation, be admitted on their return from the second church."1

Both churches, and the whole town, were united under Mr. Mather, and their ecclesiastical affairs were, under his ministry, conducted with harmony and brotherly affection.

Notwithstanding the result of the synod, in 1662, and the vari-ous attempts which had been made to introduce the practice of what has been generally termed owning the covenant, it does not appear to have obtained in the churches of this colony until the year 1696. It appears first to have been introduced by Mr. Woodbridge, at Hartford.2 The covenant proposed, bearing-date, February, 1696, is for substance as follows,

"We do solemnly, in the presence of God and this congrega-tion, avouch God, in Jesus Christ, to be our God, one God in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and that we are by nature children of wrath, and that our hope of mercy with God, is only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, ap-prehended by faith; and we do freely give up ourselves to the Lord, to walk in communion with him, in the ordinances ap-pointed in his holy word, and to yield obedience to all his com-mandments, and submit to his government. And whereas, to the great dishonor of God, scandal of religion, and hazard of the damnation of many souls, drunkenness and uncleanness are pre-vailing amongst us, we do solemnly engage before God, this day, through his grace, faithfully and conscientiously to strive against these evils and the temptations leading thereunto."

Sixty nine persons, male and female, subscribed this in Feb-ruary; on the 8th of March, one fortnight after, eighty three more subscribed. In about a month, the number of subscribers amounted to one hundred and ninety two; which appears to have been nearly the whole body of young people in that congregation.

The like practice was, about the same time, or not many years after, introduced into the other church, and the practice of own-ing the covenant by people, and offering their children to bap-tism, was gradually introduced into other churches,

The practice of the ministers and churches at Hartford, in some respects, was different from that in other churches. The minis-ters, Mr. Woodbridge and Mr. Buckingham, with their deacons, went round among the young people and warned them, once ev-ery year, to come and publicly subscribe, or own the covenant.

1Records of the colony.

2It appears from church "records" quoted by Styles, that this covenant was adopted by Mr. Warham, at Windsor, in 1657, suspended in 1664, and resumed in 1668. Ancient Windsor, 1st ed. p. 172.-J. T.




When such persons as had owned or subscribed it came into family state, they presented their children to baptism, though they made no other profession of religion, and neglected the sacrament of the Lord's supper and other duties peculiar to members in full communion. In other churches, the covenant was owned by persons, sometimes before marriage, but more generally not until they became parents, and wished to have baptism adminis-tered to their children.

The practice of making a relation of Christian experiences, and of admitting none to full communion, but such as appeared to be Christians indeed, yet prevailed; and the number of church members, in full communion, was generally small. In those churches where the owning of the covenant was not practised, great numbers of children were unbaptized.

While the inhabitants and churches, in Connecticut, were con-stantly increasing, and the calls for a learned ministry, to supply the churches, became more and more urgent, a number of the ministers conceived the purpose of founding a college in Con-necticut. By this means, they might educate young men, from among themselves, for the sacred ministry, and for various de-partments in civil life, and diffuse literature and piety more gen-erally among the people. The clergy, and people in general, by long experience, found the great inconvenience of educating their sons at so great a distance as Cambridge, and in carrying so much money out of the colony, which otherwise might be a consider-able emolument to this commonwealth. A well founded college might not only serve the interests of the churches in this gov-ernment, but in the neighbouring colonies, where there were no colleges erected; might not only prevent a large sum of money annually from being carried abroad, but bring something con-siderable into it, from the extensive country around them. Col-leges had been anciently considered as the schools of the church; and not only the prophets had been encouragers and heads of them; but the apostles and their immediate successors had taken great care to establish schools, wherever the gospel had been preached, for the propagation of the truth, and to transmit the religion of the Redeemer to all succeeding ages. The ministers therefore conceived it to be entirely in character, and as happily corresponding with the great design of the first settlement of New-England and Connecticut, for them to be the planners and founders of a college.

The design was first concerted, in 1698, by the Rev. Messieurs Pierpont of New-Haven, Andrew of Milford, and Russell of Bran-ford. These were the most forward and active, in carrying the affair into immediate execution. The design was mentioned to principal gentlemen and ministers in private conversation, at oc-casional meetings of the clergy, and in councils. In this way




the affair was so far ripened, that ten of the principal ministers in the colony were nominated and agreed upon to stand as trus-tees, to found, erect, and govern a college. The gentlemen thus agreed upon were the Reverend Messieurs James Noyes of Ston-ington, Israel Chauncey of Stratford, Thomas Buckingham of Saybrook, Abraham Pierson of Killingworth, Samuel Mather of Windsor, Samuel Andrew of Milford, Timothy Woodbridge of Hartford, James Pierpont of New-Haven, Noadiah Russell of Middletown, and Joseph Webb of Fairfield.

In 1700, these gentlemen convened at New-Haven, and formed themselves into a body or society, to consist of eleven ministers including a rector, and determined to found a college in the col-ony of Connecticut. They had another meeting, the same year, at Branford, and then founded the university of Yale college. The transaction was in this manner. Each gentleman gave a number of books, and laying them upon a table, pronounced words to this effect, "I give these books for the founding of a college in this colony." About forty volumes in folio were thus given. The trustees took possession of them, and appointed Mr. Russell of Branford, to be keeper of their library.

Various other donations, both of books and money, were soon after made, by which a good foundation was laid for a public sem-inary. But doubts arising whether the trustees were vested with a legal capacity for the holding of lands, and whether private do-nations and contributions would be sufficient to effect the great design which they had in view, it was, upon the best advice and mature deliberation, determined to make application to the legis-lature for a charter of incorporation. The draught was made by the honorable judge Sewall and Mr. secretary Addington of Bos-ton. This was presented to the general assembly with a petition signed by a large number of ministers and other principal char-acters in the colony praying for a charter. The petition repre-sented, "That from a sincere regard to, and zeal for, upholding the Protestant religion, by a succession of learned and orthodox men, they had proposed that a collegiate school should be erected in this colony, wherein youth should be instructed in all parts of learning, to qualify them for public employments in church and civil state; and that they had nominated ten ministers to be trustees, partners or undertakers for the founding, endowing and ordering the said school." The gentlemen were particularly named, and it was desired, that full liberty and privilege might be granted to them for that end.

To facilitate the design, the honorable James Fitch, Esq. of Norwich, one of the council, before the petition was heard, made a formal donation under his hand, predicated on "the great pains and charge the ministers had been at in setting up a collegiate school; and therefore to encourage a work so pleasing to God,




and beneficial to posterity, he gave a tract of land, in Killingly, of about 600 acres; and all the glass and nails which should be necessary to build a college house and hall,"

The general assembly, at their session in October, 1701, incor-porated the trustees nominated, granting them a charter, and vesting them with all powers and privileges necessary for the government of a college, the holding of lands, and the employ-ment of all money and estates which might be given for the bene-fit of the college. The charter ordained that the corporation should consist of ministers only, and that none should be chosen trustees under the age of forty years. Their number was not, at any time, to exceed eleven nor be less than seven. The assembly made them an annual grant of one hundred and twenty pounds, equal to about sixty pounds sterling.

The trustees, animated with their charter privileges and the countenance of the legislature, met the next November, at Say-brook, and chose the Rev. Abraham Pierson of Killingworth, rector of the college, and the Rev. Samuel Russell was chosen a trustee to complete the number of the corporation. They also made rules for the general government and instruction of the collegiate school.

It was ordered, "That the rector take special care, as of the moral behaviour of the students at all times, so, with industry, to instruct and ground them well in theoretical divinity; and to that end, shall neither by himself, nor by any other person whom-soever, allow them to be instructed in any other system or synop-sis of divinity, than such as the trustees do order and appoint: But shall take effectual care, that said students be weekly (at such seasons as he shall see cause to appoint) caused memoriter to recite the assembly's catechism in Latin, and Dr. Ames's Theo-logical Theses, of which, as also Ames's Cases of Conscience, he shall make, or cause to be made, from time to time, such ex-planations as may, through the blessing of God, be most con-ducive to their establishment in the principles of the Christian Protestant religion."

"The rector shall also cause the scriptures daily, except on the sabbath, morning arid evening, to be read by the students at the times of prayer in the school, according to the laudable order and usage of Harvard college, making expositions upon the same: And upon the sabbath, shall expound practical the-ology, or cause the non-graduated students to repeat sermons: And in all other ways, according to the best of his discretion, shall, at all times, studiously endeavour, in the education of the students, to promote the power and purity of religion, and the best edification of these New-England churches."

At this meeting, it was debated where to fix the college. Though the trustees were not fully satisfied or agreed on the




most convenient place, yet they fixed upon Saybrook, until, upon further consideration, they should have sufficient reason to alter their opinion. They desired the rector to remove himself and family to Saybrook. Until that could be effected, they ordered, that the scholars should be instructed, at or near the rector's house, in Killingworth. The corporation made various attempts to remove the rector to Saybrook, but his people were entirely opposed to it, and such other impediments were in the way that it was not effected. The students continued at Killingworth dur-ing his life. The library, for that reason, was removed from Bran-ford, to the rector's house.

The ministers had been several years in effecting their plan, and a number of young men had been preparing for college, under the instructions of one and another of the trustees. As soon as the college became furnished with a rector and tutor, eight of them were admitted and put into different classes, ac-cording to the proficiency which they had respectively made. Some, in a year or two, became qualified for a degree.

The first commencement was at Saybrook, September 13th, 1702. The following gentlemen appear, at this time, to have received the degree of master of arts, Stephen Buckingham, Sal-mon Treat, Joseph Coit, Joseph Moss, Nathaniel Chauncey, and Joseph Morgan. Four of them had been previously graduated at Cambridge. They all became ministers of the gospel, and three of them, Mr. Buckingham, Mr. Moss, and Mr. Chauncey, were afterwards fellows of the college.

To avoid charge and other inconveniences, for some years at first, the commencements were private. Mr. Nathaniel Lynde of Saybrook, was pleased generously to give a house and land for the use of the college, so long as it should be continued in that town. For the further encouragement and accommodation, in 1703, there was a general contribution through the colony, to build a college house at Saybrook, or any other place wherever it should finally be judged most convenient to fix the college.1

1This year that venerable man, the Reverend James Fitch, pastor of the church in Norwich, finished his course, at Lebanon, in the 8oth year of his age. His his-tory and character are given in the inscription upon his monumental stone.

In hoc Sepulchro depositae sunt Reliquiae Viri vere Reverendi D. jacobi FlTCH; natus fuit apud Boking, in Comitatu Essexiae, in Anglia, Anno Domini 1622, Decem. 24. Qui, postquam Linguis literatis optime instructus fuisset, in Nov-Angliam venit, AEtate 16; et deinde Vitam degit, Hartfordiae, per Septennium, sub Instructione Virorum celeberrimorum D. Hooker & D. Stone. Postea Munere pastorali functus est apud Saybrook per Annos 14. Illinc cum Ecclesiae majori Parte Norvicum migravit; et ibi cseteros Vitss Annos transegit in Opere Evan-gelico. In Senectute, vero, prae Corporis infirmitate necessarie cessabit ab Opere publico; tandemque recessit Liberis, apud Lebanon; ubi Semianno fere exacto ob-dormivit in Jesu, Anno 1702, Novembris 18, AEtat. 80.

Vir Ingenii Acumine, Pondere Judicii, Prudentia, Charitate, sanctis Laboribus, et omni moda Vitse sanctitate, Peritia quoque et Vi concionandi nulli secundus.

In English to this effect. In this grave are deposited the remains of that truly reverend man, Mr. james




During the term of about seventy years from the settlement of Connecticut, the congregational had been the only mode of worship in the colony. But the society for propagating the gos-pel in foreign parts, in 1704, fixed the Rev. Mr. Muirson as a missionary at Rye. Some of the people at Stratford had been educated in the church of England mode of worship and admin-istering of the ordinances, and others were not pleased with the rigid doctrines and discipline of the New-England churches, and they made an earnest application to Mr. Muirson to make a visit at Stratford, and preach and baptize among them. About the year 1706, upon their invitation, he came to Stratford, accom-panied with colonel Heathcote, a gentleman zealously engaged in promoting the episcopal church. The ministers and people, in that and the adjacent towns, it seems, were alarmed at his coining, and took pains to prevent their neighbors and families from hearing him. However, the novelty of the affair, and other circumstances, brought together a considerable assembly; and Mr. Muirson baptized five and twenty persons, principally adults. This was the first step towards introducing the church worship into this colony. In April, 1707, he made another visit to Strat-ford. Colonel Heathcote was pleased to honor him with his company, as he had done before. He preached, at this time, at Fairfield as well as Stratford; and in both towns baptized a number of children and adult persons. Both the magistrates and ministers opposed the introduction of episcopacy, and advise the people not to attend the preaching of the church mission-aries; but the opposition only increased the zeal of the church people. Mr. Muirson, after this, made several journeys to Con-necticut, and itinerated among the people. But there was no missionary, from the society, fixed in Connecticut, until the year 1722, when Mr. Pigot was appointed missionary at Stratford. The churchmen at first, in that town, consisted of about fifteen families, among whom were a few husbandmen, but much the greatest number were tradesmen, who had been born in England, and came and settled there. Some of their neighbors joined them, so that Mr. Pigot had twenty communicants, and about

fitch. He was born at Boking, in the county of Essex, in England, the 24th of December, in the year of our Lord, 1622. Who, after he had been most excellently taught the learned languages, came into New-England, at the age of sixteen; and then spent seven years under the instruction of those very famous men, Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone. Afterwards, he discharged the pastoral office, fourteen years, at Saybrook. Thence he removed, with the major part of his church, to Norwich; where he spent the other years of his life in the work of the gospel. In his old age, indeed, he was obliged to cease from his public labors, by reason of bodily indispo-sition; and at length retired to his children, at Lebanon; where, after spending nearly half a year, he slept in Jesus, in the year 1702, on the 18th of November, in the 80th year of his age.

He was a man, as to the smartness of his genius, the solidity of his judgment, his charity, holy labors, and every kind of purity of life, and also as to his skill and energy of preaching, inferior to none.




a hundred and fifty hearers. In 1723, Christ Church in Strat-ford was founded, and the Rev. Mr. Johnson, afterwards Dr. Johnson, was appointed to succeed Mr. Pigot.1

The first plan of the college was very formal and minute, drawn in imitation of the ancient protestant colleges and universities in France. It was proposed, that it should be erected by a general synod of the consociated churches of Connecticut. It was de-signed, that it should be under the government of a president and ten trustees, seven of whom were to be a quorum: That the synod should have the nomination of the first president and trus-tees, and have a kind of general influence in all future elections, that the governors might be preserved in orthodox sentiments. It was designed, also, that the synod should agree upon a confes-sion of faith, to which the president, trustees, and tutors should, upon their appointment to office, be required to give their con-sent; and that the college should be called the school of the church. Indeed, it was proposed, that the churches should con-tribute to its support.

Though this plan was not formally pursued, yet at a meeting of the trustees, at Guilford, March 17th, 1703, they wrote a cir-cular letter to the ministers, proposing "to have a general synod of all the churches in the colony of Connecticut, to give their joint consent to the confession of faith, after the example of the synod in Boston, in 1680." As this proposal was universally ac-ceptable, the churches and ministers of the several counties met in a consociated council, and gave their assent to the Westmin-ster and Savoy confessions of faith. It seems, that they also drew up certain rules of ecclesiastical union in discipline, as prepara-tory to a general synod, which they had still in contemplation.

The Cambridge platform, which, for about sixty years, had been the general plan of discipline and church fellowship in New-England, made no provision for the general meeting of minis-ters, or for their union in associations or in consociations, yet, at an early period, they had a general meeting, both in Connecti-cut and Massachusetts, and began to form into associations. Their annual meetings were at the times of the general election at Boston and Hartford. At this time, they had handsome enter-tainments made for them at the public expense.2 In these gen-eral meetings, they went into consultations respecting the gen-eral welfare of the churches, the supplying them with ministers, providing for their stated enjoyment of divine ordinances, and the preservation of their peace and order. The general interests of literature were consulted, and advice given in cases in which

1Manuscripts from Stratford, and Dr. Humphrey's History of the Incorporated Society's Missionaries.

2The legislature have continued this generosity to the present time. A genteel entertainment is made not only for the clergy of Connecticut, but of the neighbor-ing colonies, who are present on the occasion.




it was requisite. Sometimes measures were adopted to assist the poor and afflicted, in particular instances of distress. The affair of civilizing and christianizing the Indians, came under their serious deliberations. Sometimes they consulted measures, and gave general directions respecting candidates for the ministry, and the orderly manner of introducing them into the churches.

The ministers of particular neighborhoods, in various parts of the country, held frequent meetings, for their mutual assistance, and to instruct and advise the churches and people, as circum-stances required. This particularly was the practice in Connect-icut.

The venerable Mr, Hooker was a great friend to the meeting and consociation of ministers and churches, as a grand mean of promoting purity, union, and brotherly affection, among the min-isters and churches. During his life, the ministers in the vicinity of Hartford, had frequent meetings at his house. About a week before his death, he observed, with great earnestness, "We must agree upon constant meetings of ministers, and settle the conso-ciation of churches, or else we are undone." Soon after his de-cease, ministers in various parts of New-England, and especially in Connecticut, began to establish constant meetings, or associa-tions, in particular vicinities, and agreed on the business to be done, and the manner in which they would proceed.

They did not, however, all adopt the same mode. Some of the meetings, or associations, fasted and prayed, and discussed ques-tions of importance for mutual instruction and edification. A moderator was chosen to conduct the business of the meetings with order and decency, to receive all communications which might be made from the churches, or other similar meetings, and to call the associated brethren together on particular emergen-cies. These meetings were always opened and concluded with prayer.

Some of the associations were very formal and particular in covenanting together, and in fixing the business which should be transacted by them. They covenanted to submit to the coun-sels, reproofs, and censures of the associated brotherhood; and that they would not forsake the association, nor neglect the ap-pointed meetings, without sufficient reasons. They engaged, that in the meetings they would debate questions immediately respect-ing themselves and their conduct: That they would hear and consider all cases proposed to them from neighboring churches or individuals; answer letters directed to them from particular churches or persons; and discuss any question, which had been proposed at a preceding meeting. In some of these associations, it was agreed to meet statedly once in six weeks or two months.1 As the design was for their own mutual improvement and the

1Magnalia, B. V. p. 58.




advancement of Christianity in general, the associations attended a lecture in the parishes in which they convened for the instruc-tion and edification of the people. In Connecticut, after the res-olution of the assembly, in 1680, the ministers had county meet-ings every week.

But these associations and meetings were merely voluntary, countenanced by no ecclesiastical constitution, attended only by such ministers, in one place and another, as were willing to asso-ciate, and could bind none but themselves. The churches might advise with them if they chose it, or neglect it at pleasure. There was no regular way of introducing candidates to the improvement of the churches, by the general consent either of themselves or the elders. When they had finished their collegiate studies, if they imagined themselves qualified, and could find some friendly gentleman in the ministry to introduce them, they began to preach, without an examination or recommendation from any body of ministers or churches. If they studied a time with any particular minister or ministers, after they had received the hon-ors of college, that minister, or those ministers introduced them into the pulpit at pleasure, without the general consent and ap-probation of their brethren. Many judged this to be too loose a practice, in a matter of such immense importance to the divine honor, the reputation of the ministry, and the peace and edifica-tion of the churches. Degrees at college were esteemed no suffi-cient evidence of men's piety, knowledge of theology, or minis-terial gifts and qualifications.

Besides, it was generally conceded, that the state of the churches was lamentable, with respect to their general order, government, and discipline. That for the want of a more general and ener-getic government, many churches ran into confusion; that coun-cils were not sufficient to relieve the aggrieved and restore peace. As there was no general rule for the calling of councils, council was called against council, and opposite results were given upon the same cases, to the reproach of councils and the wounding of religion. Aggrieved churches and brethren were discouraged, as in this way their case seemed to be without remedy. There was no such thing, in this way, as bringing their difficulties to a final issue.1

For the relieving of these inconveniences, there were many, in the New-England churches, not only among the clergy, but other gentlemen of principal character, who earnestly wished for a nearer union among the churches. A great majority of the legis-lature and clergy in Connecticut, were for the association of min-isters, and the consociation of churches. The synod, in 1662, had given their opinion fully in favor of the consociation of churches. The heads of agreement drawn up and assented to,

1Wise's vindication, p. 165, Boston edition, 1772.




by the united ministers, in England, called presbyterian and con-gregational, In 1692, had made their appearance on this side of the Atlantic; and, in general, were highly approved. The VII. article of agreement, under the head of the ministry, makes express provision for the regular introduction of candidates for the ministry. The united brethren say, "It is expedient, that they who enter on the work of preaching the gospel, be not only qualified for the communion of saints; but also, that, except in cases extraordinary, they give proof of their gifts and fitness for the said work, unto the pastors of the churches of known abil-ities, to discern and judge of their qualifications; that they may be sent forth with solemn approbation and prayer; which we judge needful, that no doubt may remain concerning their being called unto the work; and for preventing, as much as in us lieth, ignorant and rash intruders." In these articles, it is also agreed, "that in so great and weighty a matter, as the calling and choos-ing a pastor, we judge it ordinarily requisite, that every such church consult and advise with the pastors of the neighboring congregations."

In this state of the churches, the legislature passed an act, at their session in May, 1708, requiring the ministers and churches to meet and form an ecclesiastical constitution. The apprehen-sions and wishes of the assembly will, in the best manner, be discovered by their own act, which is in the words following:

"This assembly, from their own observation, and the complaint of many others, being made sensible of the defects of the disci-pline of the churches of this government, arising from the want of a more explicit asserting of the rules given for that end in the holy scriptures; from which would arise a permanent establish-ment among ourselves, a good and regular issue in cases sub-ject to ecclesiastical discipline, glory to Christ, our head, and edification to his members; hath seen fit to ordain and require, and it is by the authority of the same ordained and required, that the ministers of the several counties in this government shall meet together, at their respective county towns, with such mes-sengers, as the churches to which they belong shall see cause to send with them, on the last Monday in June next; there to consider and agree upon those methods and rules for the man-agement of ecclesiastical discipline, which by them shall be judged agreeable and conformable to the word of God, and shall, at the same meeting, appoint two or more of their number to be their delegates, who shall all meet together at Saybrook, at the next commencement to be held there; where they shall compare the results of the ministers of the several counties, and out of and from them, to draw a form of ecclesiastical discipline, which, by two or more persons delegated by them, shall be offered to this court, at their session at New-Haven, in October next, to be con-




sidered of and confirmed by them: And the expense of the above mentioned meetings shall be defrayed out of the public treasury of this colony."

"A true copy of the record.

"Test ELEAZER KIMBERLY, Secretary."

According to the act of the assembly, the ministers and churches of the several counties convened, at the time appointed, and made their respective drafts for discipline, and chose their delegates for the general meeting at Saybrook, in September.

The ministers and messengers chosen for this council, and its result, will appear from their minutes.

"At a meeting of delegates from the councils of the several counties of Connecticut colony, in New-England, in America, at Saybrook, Sept. 9th, 1708,


From the council of Hartford county:-The Rev. Timothy Woodbridge, Noadiah Russell, and Stephen Mix. Messenger, John Haynes, Esq.

From the council in Fairfield county:-The Rev. Charles Chauncey and John Davenport. Messenger, deacon Samuel Hoyt.

From the council in New-London county:-The Rev. James Noyes, Thomas Buckingham, Moses Noyes, and John Wood-ward. Messengers, Robert Chapman, deacon William Parker.

From the council of New-Haven county:-The Rev. Samuel Andrew, James Pierpont, and Samuel Russell.

"The Rev. James Noyes and Thomas Buckingham being chosen moderators. The Rev. Stephen Mix and John Woodward being chosen scribes.

"In compliance with an order of the general assembly, May 13th, 1708, after humble addresses to the throne of grace for the divine presence, assistance, and blessing upon us, having our eyes upon the word of God and the constitution of our churches, we agree that the confession of faith owned and assented unto by the elders and messengers assembled at Boston, in New-Eng-land, May 12th, 1680, being the second session of that synod, be recommended to the honourable general assembly of this col-ony, at the next session, for their public testimony thereunto, as the faith of the churches of this colony."1 "We agree also, that the heads of agreement assented to by the united ministers, formerly called presbyterian and congrega-tional, be observed by the churches throughout this colony." "And for the better regulation of the administration of church discipline, in relation to all cases ecclesiastical, both in particular churches and councils, to the full determining and executing the rules in all such cases, it is agreed,"

1This was the Savoy confession, with some small alterations.




"I. That the elder, or elders of a particular church, with the consent of the brethren of the same, have power, and ought to exercise church discipline, according to the rule of God's word, in relation to all scandals that fall out within the same. And it may be meet, in all cases of difficulty, for the respective pastors of particular churches, to take advice of the elders of the churches in the neighbourhood, before they proceed to censure in such cases."

"II. That the churches which are neighbouring to each other, shall consociate, for mutual affording to each other such assist-ance as may be requisite, upon all occasions ecclesiastical. And that the particular pastors and churches, within the respective counties in this government, shall be one consociation, (or more, if they shall judge meet,) for the end aforesaid."

"III. That all cases of scandal, that fall out within the circuit of any of the aforesaid consociations, shall be brought to a coun-cil of the elders, and also messengers of the churches within the said circuit, i. e. the churches of one consociation, if they see cause to send messengers, when there shall be need of a council for the determination of them."

"IV. That, according to the common practice of our churches, nothing shall be deemed an act or judgment of any council, which hath not the act of the major part of the elders present concur-ring, and such a number of the messengers present, as makes the majority of the council: provided that if any such church shall not see cause to send any messengers to the council, or the per-sons chosen by them shall not attend, neither of these shall be any obstruction to the proceedings of the council, or invalidate any of their acts."

"V. That when any case is orderly brought before any council of the churches, it shall there be heard and determined, which, (unless orderly removed from thence,) shall be a final issue; and all parties therein concerned shall sit down and be determined thereby. And the council so hearing, and giving the result or final issue, in the said case, as aforesaid, shall see their determina-tion, or judgment, duly executed and attended, in such way or manner, as shall, in their judgment, be most suitable and agree-able to the word of God."

"VI. That if any pastor and church doth obstinately refuse a due attendance and conformity to the determination of the coun-cil, that hath the cognizance of the case, and determineth it as above, after due patience used, they shall be reputed guilty of scandalous contempt, and dealt with as the rule of God's word in such case doth provide, and the sentence of non-communion shall be declared against such pastor and church. And the churches are to approve of the said sentence, by withdrawing from the communion of the pastor and church, which so refused to be healed."




"VII. That, in case any difficulties shall arise in any of the churches in this colony, which cannot be issued without consid-erable disquiet, that church, in which they arise, (or that minister or member aggrieved with them,) shall apply themselves to the council of the consociated churches of the circuit, to which the said church belongs; who, if they see cause, shall thereupon con-vene, hear, and determine such cases of difficulty, unless the mat-ter brought before them, shall be judged so great in the nature of it, or so doubtful in the issue, or of such general concern, that the said council shall judge best that it be referred to a fuller council, consisting of the churches of the other consociation with-in the same county, (or of the next adjoining consociation of another county, if there be not two consociations in the county where the difficulty ariseth,) who, together with themselves, shall hear, judge, determine, and finally issue such case, according to the word of God."

"VIII. That a particular church, in which any difficulty doth arise, may, if they see cause, call a council of the consociated churches of the circuit to which the church belongs, before they proceed to sentence therein; but there is not the same liberty to an offending brother, to call the council, before the church to which he belongs proceed to excommunication in the said case, unless with the consent of the church."

"IX. That all the churches of the respective consociations shall choose, if they see cause, one or two members of each church, to represent them in the councils of the said churches, as occasion may call for them, who shall stand in that capacity till new be chosen for the same service, unless any church shall incline to choose their messengers anew, upon the convening of such councils."

"X. That the minister or ministers of the county towns, or where there are no ministers in such towns, the two next min-isters to the said town, shall, as soon as conveniently may be, appoint time and place for the meeting of the elders and messen-gers of the churches in said county, in order to their forming themselves into one or more consociations, and notify the time and place to the elders and churches of that county who shall attend at the same, the elders in their persons, and the churches by their messengers, if they see cause to send them. Which elders and messengers, so assembled in council, as also any other council hereby allowed of, shall have power to adjourn them-selves, as need shall be, for the space of one year, after the be-ginning or first session of the said council, and no longer. And that minister who was chosen at the last session of any council, to be moderator, shall, with the advice and consent of two more elders, (or, in case of the moderator's death, any two elders of the same consociation,) call another council within the circuit,




when they shall judge there is need thereof. And all councils may prescribe rules, as occasion may require, and whatever they judge needful within their circuit, for the well performing and orderly managing the several acts, to be attended by them, or matters that come under their cognizance."

"XI. That if any person or persons, orderly complained of to a council, or that are witnesses to such complaints, (having regular notification to appear,) shall refuse, or neglect so to do, in the place, and at the time specified in the warning given, ex-cept they or he give some satisfying reason thereof to the said council, they shall be judged guilty of scandalous contempt."

"XII. That the teaching elders of each county shall be one association, (or more, if they see cause,) which association, or associations, shall assemble twice a year, at least, at such time and place as they shall appoint, to consult the duties of their office, and the common interest of the churches, who shall con-sider and resolve questions and cases of importance which shall be offered by any among themselves or others; who also shall have power of examining and recommending the candidates of the ministry to the work thereof.

"XIII. That the said associated pastors shall take notice of any among themselves, that may be accused of scandal or heresy, unto or cognizable by them, examine the matter carefully, and if they find just occasion shall direct to the calling of the council, where such offenders shall be duly proceeded against."

"XIV. That the associated pastors shall also be consulted by bereaved churches, belonging to their association, and recom-mend to such churches such persons, as may be fit to be called and settled in the work of the gospel ministry among them. And if such bereaved churches shall not seasonably call and settle a minister among them, the said associated pastors shall lay the state of such bereaved church before the general assembly of this colony, that they may take order concerning them, as shall be found necessary for their peace and edification."

"XV. That it be recommended as expedient, that all the as-sociations in this colony do meet in a general association, by their respective delegates, one or more out of each association, once a year, the first meeting to be at Hartford, at the general election next ensuing the date hereof, and so annually in all the counties successively, at such time and place, as they the said delegates shall in their annual meetings appoint."

The confession of faith, heads of agreement, and these articles of discipline having unanimously passed, and been signed by the scribes, were presented to the legislature the succeeding Octo-ber, for their approbation and establishment. Upon which they passed the following adopting act.

At a general court holden at New-Haven, October 1708.




"The reverend ministers, delegates from the elders and mes-sengers of this government, met at Saybrook, September 9th, 1708, having presented to this assembly a Confession of Faith, and Heads of Agreement, and regulations in the administration of church discipline, as unanimously agreed and consented to by the elders and churches in this government; this assembly doth declare their great approbation of such an happy agreement, and do ordain, that all the churches within this government, that are, or shall be, thus united in doctrine, worship, and discipline, be, and for the future shall be owned and acknowledged established by law; provided always, that nothing herein shall be intended or construed to hinder or prevent any society or church, that is or shall be allowed by the laws of this government, who soberly differ or dissent from the united churches hereby established, from exercising worship and discipline, in their own way, accord-ing to their consciences.

"A true copy, Test,

"eleazer kimberly, Secretary."

Though the council were unanimous in passing the platform of discipline, yet they were not all of one opinion. Some were for high consociational government, and in their sentiments nearly presbyterians; others were much more moderate and rather verg-ing on independency; but exceedingly desirous of keeping the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, they exercised great Christian condescension and amicableness towards each other.

As it was stipulated, that the heads of agreement should be ob-served through the colony, this was an important mean of recon-ciling numbers to the constitution, as these did not carry points so far as the articles of discipline. These did not make the judg-ments of councils decisive, in all cases, but only maintained, that particular churches ought to have a reverential regard to their judgment, and not to dissent from it without apparent grounds from the word of God, Neither did these give the elders a nega-tive in councils over the churches; and in some other instances they gave more latitude than the articles of discipline. These therefore served to reconcile such elders and churches, as were not for a rigid consociational government, and to gain their con-sent. Somewhat different constructions were put upon the con-stitution. Those who were for a high consociational government, construed it rigidly according to the articles of discipline, and others by the heads of agreement; or, at least, they were for soft-ening down the more rigid articles, by construing them agreeably to those heads of union.

Notwithstanding the Savoy confession was adopted, as the faith of the Connecticut churches, yet, by adopting the heads of agreement, it was agreed, that with respect to soundness of judgment in matters of faith, it was sufficient, "That a church




acknowledge the scriptures to be the word of God, the perfect and only rule of faith and practice, and own either the doctrinal part of those commonly called the articles of the church of Eng-land, or the confession or catechisms, shorter or longer, compiled by the assembly at Westminster, or the confession agreed on at the Savoy, to be agreeable to the said rule."

The Saybrook platform, thus unanimously recommended by the elders and messengers of the churches, and adopted by the legislature, as the religious constitution of the colony, met with a general reception, though some of the churches were extremely opposed to it.1

The elders and messengers of the county of Hartford met in council, at Hartford, the next February, and formed into two distinct consociations and associations for the purposes expressed in the constitution. The ministers and churches of the other three counties afterwards formed themselves into consociations and associations. There were, therefore, soon after, five consocia-tions and the same number of associations in the colony. The associations met annually, by a delegation of two elders from each association, in a general association. This has a general advisory superintendency over all the ministers and churches in the colony. Its advice has generally been acceptable to the ministers and churches, and cheerfully carried into execution. The meeting of the general association was anciently in September; but the time of meeting, after some years, was altered, and for more than sixty years has been on the third Tuesday in June.

The corporation of college having now obtained a confession of faith, adopted by the churches and legislature of the colony, adopted it for college, and the trustees and officers of the col-lege, upon their introduction to office, were required to give their assent to it, and to the Westminster confession and catechisms.

But before this could be effected, Mr. Pierson, the president, was no more. He died on the 5th of March, 1707, to the un-speakable loss and affliction both of the college and the people of his charge. He had his education at Harvard college, where he was graduated, 1668. He appears first to have settled in the ministry at Newark in New-Jersey. Thence he came to Killing-worth, and was installed in 1694. He had the character of a hard student, good scholar, and great divine. In his whole con-duct, he was wise, steady, and amiable. He was greatly respected as a pastor, and he instructed and governed the college with gen-eral approbation.

1Though Messrs. Andrew, Pierpont, and Russell, were influential characters, yet it is observable, that the churches, in that county, sent no messengers to the synod; and the tradition is that the church and people of Norwich were so offended with their minister, Mr. John Woodward, for consenting to it, that they never would forgive him and be reconciled; but made such opposition to his ministry, that, by the advice of council, he resigned it and left the town.




Upon the death of rector Pierson, the Rev. Mr. Andrew was chosen rector pro tempore. The senior class were removed to Milford, to be under his immediate instruction, until the com-mencement. The other students were removed to Saybrook, and put under the care and instructions of two tutors. Mr. Andrew moderated at the commencements and gave general directions to the tutors. Mr. Buckingham also, who was one of the trustees, and resided at Saybrook, during his life, had a kind of direction and inspection over the college. In this state it continued, with-out any material alteration, until about the year 1715.

The ministers of Connecticut were exceedingly attentive to the morals and qualifications of those, whom they recommended to the improvement of the churches, or ordained to the pastoral office. The general association, September 12, 1712, at a meet-ing of theirs, at Fairfield, agreed upon the following rules, and recommended them to the consideration of the several associa-tions for their approbation and concurrence.

"Rules agreed upon for the examination of candidates for the ministry.

"Agreed upon, that the person to be examined concerning his qualifications for the evangelical ministry, shall be dealt with, in his examinations, with all candor and gentleness.

"1. That he be able to give satisfaction, to the association ex-amining him, of his skill in the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin tongues.

"2. That he be able to give satisfaction, to the association ex-amining him, of his skill in Logic and Philosophy.

"3. He shall be examined what authors, in divinity, he hath read; and also concerning the main grounds or principles of the Christian religion; and shall therein offer just matter of satis-faction to the association examining him; and shall give his as-sent to the confession of faith publicly owned and declared to be the confession of the faith of the united churches of this colony.

"4. That if the life and conversation of the person to be ex-amined be not well known to the association examining him, then said person shall offer sufficient evidence to said association of his sober and religious conversation.

"5. That the person to be examined shall publicly pray, and also preach, in the presence of the association examining him, from some text of scripture which shall be given him by said association, and at such time and place as they shall appoint, in order to prove his gifts for the ministerial work.

"Rules relating to the ordination of a person to the work of the ministry.

"Agreed, I. In case of ordination, those who are to ordain ought to be satisfied, that the person to be ordained is apt to teach, and of his inclination to the work of the ministry.

"2. That they shall be satisfied with his prudence and fitness




for the management of so great a trust, as that of the work of the ministry.

"3. The persons to ordain shall be satisfied, that his preaching and conversation be acceptable to the people over whom he is to be ordained.

"4. That he shall be able to explain such texts of scripture as shall be proposed to him.

"5. That he shall be able to resolve such practical cases of conscience as shall be proposed to him.

"6. That he shall shew, to the satisfaction of the pastors to ordain him, his competent ability to refute dangerous errors, and defend the truth against gainsayers.

"7. That he shall give his consent to the church discipline of this colony as established by law; yet the pastors to ordain are not to be too severe and strict with him to be ordained, upon his sober dissent from some particulars in said discipline."

Such has been the pious care of the venerable fathers of the churches in Connecticut, to preserve in them a learned, orthodox, experimental ministry. The associations have examined all can-didates for the ministry and recommended them to the churches previously to their preaching in them. In their examinations, they have carefully enquired into their knowledge in divinity, their ex-perimental acquaintance with religion, their ministerial gifts and qualifications, and have paid a special attention to their morals, and good character. Hence these churches have been distin-guished and singularly happy in a learned, pious, laborious, and prudent ministry.

About this time a very valuable addition of books was made to the college library, at Saybrook. In 1713, Sir John Davie, of Groton, who had an estate descended to him in England, with the title of baronet, gave a good collection. The next year a much greater donation was made by the generosity and procurement of Jeremiah Dummer, Esq. of Boston. He was then in London, in the capacity of an agent for several of the New-England col-onies. He sent over above 800 volumes. About 120 of them were procured at his own charge. The rest were from principal gen-tlemen in England, through his solicitation and influence. Par-ticularly from Sir Isaac Newton, Sir Richard Blackmore, Sir Richard Steele, Doctors Burnet, Halley, Bentley, Kennet, Cal-amy, and Edwards; and from the Rev. Mr. Henry and Mr. Whis-ton. These severally gave a collection of their own works, and governor Yale put in about 40 volumes. The library now con-sisted of about nine hundred volumes.

From 1702 to 1713 inclusively, forty six young gentlemen were graduated, at Saybrook. Of these, thirty four became ministers of the gospel, and two were elected magistrates. Notwithstand-ing the infant state of the college, numbers of them, through their




native strength of genius and the instructions of those excellent tutors, Mr. John Hart and Mr. Phineas Fisk, became excellent scholars, and shone not only as distinguished lights in the church­es, but made a figure in the republic of letters. Seven of them afterwards were fellows of the college, at New-Haven; and an­other of them was that excellent man, the Reverend Jonathan Dickinson, president of the college in New-Jersey.

The number of ordained ministers in the colony, this year, exclusive of those in the towns under the government of Massa­chusetts, was forty three. Upon the lowest computation there was as much as one ordained minister to every four hundred per­sons, or to every eighty families. It does not appear, that there was one bereaved church in the colony. Besides, there were a considerable number of candidates preaching in the new towns and parishes, in which churches were not yet formed. At or about this time, Mr. Thomas Towsey began to preach at Newtown, Mr. Joseph Meacham at Coventry, Mr. John Bliss at Hebron, and Mr. John Fisk at Killingly, at which places churches were soon after gathered and those gentlemen ordained. Several other can­didates were preaching in other places.

A Catalogue of the ministers of Connecticut, from 1630, to 1713, inclusively


As the gathering, or forming of the churches, as far as can be found, was uni-versally on the day of ordination, no column is made to certify the time of their formation; but wherever this mark + is set after the figures expressing the time of ordination, it gives notice that the church was formed at the same time.

1Mr. Edwards was nearly sixty-four years in the ministry, and able to preach until he was about 84 years of age.


1Mr. Bulkley was son of the Rev. Peter Bulkley, of Concord, in Massachusetts, and a gentleman of a very eminent character. It is thus given upon his monument: "Who was of rare abilities, extraordinary industry, excellent in learning, master of many languages, exquisite in his skill in divinity, physic and law, and of a most exemplary and Christian life." By reason of infirmity he resigned the ministry many years before his death.

2Mr. Rowlandson, the fourth minister of Weathersfield, removed from Lancas-ter, in Massachusetts, after that town was burnt by the Indians, in 1676.

3Mr. Samuel Stow preached some years at Middletown, but as he was dis-missed before the church was gathered, he is not reckoned in the list of its ministers.

4This name should be Jeremiah Peck. The date of his ordination and the es-tablishment of this church should be Aug. a6, 1691, as appears by MS. notes in Dr. Trumbull's handwriting, confirmed by the Colonial Records, which show that the General Assembly granted permission to establish this church, at the May session, 1691.-J. T.

5The Rev. Mr. Hobart was first ordained at Topsfield, in Massachusetts. Thence he removed to Long-Island, and afterwards to Haddam, where he died in the min-istry, at a very advanced age. Before him, Mr. Nicholas Noyes preached thirteen years in the town ; but during this time no church was formed; and he left the town, and was afterwards ordained to the pastoral office in a church at Salem, in Massachusetts.

6After the removal of Mr. Davenport, Mr. Street continued the only instructor of the church until his death; and after his decease the church and people were eleven years without a pastor. A great variety of preachers were invited into the town, but none could unite them until Mr. Pierpont was called. Under his ministry they enjoyed great peace, and were edified.