354 Petition of Episcopalians

    [August 1727]

    Province of the Massachusetts Bay

    To the Hon[orable] William Dummer Esq. Lieut. Governor and Commander in chief, the Hon[orable] the Council and Representatives in General Court assembled,

    The Memorial of Sundry the Ministers and others of the Church of England in New England,

    Humbly Sheweth,

    That Whereas by the antient establishment of the Gen[eral] Court held in Boston the eighth of September 1642, the Governor and Deputy for the time being, and all the Magistrates of this jurisdiction, together with the Teaching Elders of six next adjoining Towns, that is, Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester, and the President of the College for the time being, are made and appointed Overseers of the College at Cambridge, for the ends and purposes in the same Act expressed, and by force and virtue of that Act, All those persons, and among the rest, the Ministers of the Church of England in Boston lately have been deemed and taken to be Overseers of the said College, and from time to time, ever since have assembled and met together, and ordered and disposed the affairs of said College, as the Overseers.

    But so it is, may it please this great and honorable Court, these last three years, the Ministers of the Church of England in Boston have been neglected, and not called to the meeting of the Overseers aforesaid; and upon application made to them by the Reverend Dr. Timothy Cutler and Mr. Samuel Myles, two of the Ministers of the Church of England on the 15th of June last, the Honorable the Overseers, upon consideration of the Constitution aforesaid, Voted, Declared, and Recorded their Opinion, that the said Dr. Cutler and Mr. Myles have not, nor ever had, by the said Constitution, a Right to sit, as Overseers of H[arvard] College.

    We consider that College, as the common Nursery of Piety and Learning to New England in general, as well to them that are of the Order of the Church of England, as to them that are of the Order of the Churches of New England, The common interest of both to support it, and a blessing to both, when it flourisheth; And therefore apprehend that it is a pity, those different Orders should be made differing Parties, not only in the Churches, where they are different; but in the College where they are entirely one; And will tend to discourage those of the Order of the Church of England from doing those services to the College, or receiving those benefits from it, as otherways they might.

    We are not so imprudent, as to imagine, that the admission of those two gentlemen can make us a party in the ordering of that College, and serve any secret designs or separate interests (which is in the nature of this case impossible) but only seek that all especial Votes of groundless distinction and disesteem towards us may be abated; and an universal good understanding among us all promoted and established. It seems by the Vote of the Honorable the Overseers abovementioned, as tho’ they did not look upon the Ministers of the Church of England to be Teaching Elders. But we would humbly hope there is no ground sufficient, upon a calm thought, to maintain such an opinion; For they have both been ordained Teaching Elders by the Bishop of London, and have their several Credentials for that purpose, and have been both orderly sent, to execute that their Function in Boston; which they are able also to prove. And as for a Minister of the Church of England his being a Teaching Elder; it has never been questioned and disputed by those of the Orders of the Churches of New England, that we have heard of. Indeed there have been disputes raised and maintained concerning Ruling Elders, and each several Order have claimed to themselves the right of ruling Elders. But neither Order has ever questioned but that the Elders of our Church were Teaching Elders before now, if it be now questioned.

    Wherefore, forasmuch as this Great and Honorable Court has the superintendency and government of all affairs within this Province for the common good and general quiet and happiness of all his Majesty’s good subjects here; And the Reverend Dr. Cutler and Mr. Myles have made this Honorable Court their last resort here, both as the common and impartial Patrons of all good men, and the best Expositors of your own Acts.

    We therefore, in concurrence with them, humbly pray this Honorable Court, that, according to the original, fundamental Constitution of the said Overseers, these worthy Gentlemen may be deemed, reputed, and declared by this Honorable Court to be two of the said Overseers of the said College at Cambridge; And your Honors most humble Orators shall ever pray for the prosperity and happiness in this Government, and that of the College at Cambridge, and every interest of New England both civil and sacred.

    Thomas Selby230

    Church Wardens of Majesty’s Chapel.

    Edward Watts

    Church Wardens of Christs Church

    Thomas Phillips

    Leonard Vassall

    • Thomas Lechmere
    • John Read
    • P. Mascarene
    • George Shore
    • Robert Auchmuty
    • Thomas Creese junior
    • Joshua Wroe
    • Job Lewis
    • Robert Skinner
    • William Speakman
    • William Randle
    • John Powell
    • James Smith
    • Thomas Amory
    • William Lambert
    • Estes Hatch
    • Cyprian Southark
    • John Overing
    • Samuel Weekes
    • Henry Caswall
    • Peter Faneuil
    • Edward Tothill
    • George Campbell
    • Edward Mills junior
    • H. Marshall
    • George Pemberton
    • James Gordon
    • John Gibbs
    • [Ronald?] Houghton
    • Thomas Greaves
    • Gillam Phillips
    • William Patten
    • George Monk
    • Henry Laughton
    • William Price
    • Robert Temple
    • John Eastwicke
    • Thomas Child
    • Charles Apthorp
    • Jonathan Pue
    • Jeremiah Forster
    • John Cutler
    • John Howard
    • Nathaniel Gilford
    • Henry Jenner
    • Thomas Cannington
    • Henry Whitton
      James Calley

      William Bartlett
      Church Wardens
      John Oulton

      Nicholas Andrews
      Benjamin James
      Joseph Majory
      Thomas Cavendish
      Nicholas Tucker
      John Chapman
      Patrick Boyles
      Thomas Holder
      Matthieu Sinnet
      Bartholomew Jackson
      George Tucker
      Charles Wheden
      Abraham Howard
      George Slowne

    A true copy


    John Avery Secretary231

    [Endorsed:] Memorial of sundry Ministers and Others of the Church of England, No. II.

    College Papers, 1. 72 (No. 151). This petition (of which this is a later copy) is printed in Quincy, History, i. 563–565 (App. LXII), but without the signatures. See also Hoffmann, Commonwealth College, pp. 610—623. The principals, Cutler, Minister of Christ Church, and Myles, Minister of King’s Chapel, have been mentioned earlier.