859 | To Thomas Oliver1

    Hampstead, Octr. 2nd. 1770.


    I have been informed upon my Agent2 demanding the Communion Plate, which I lent to your Church,3 it has been intimated to him that if he persists in his Demand, a publication against me will be put in the Papers and an Action will be brought against me for the Use of a Pew in your Church. I know not who is to conduct this Publication: I hope no one of the Gentlemen of your Church with whom I had the Pleasure of being acquainted is capable of such a Proceeding; as the Church of England in general has been distinguished by not joining in the diabolical Spirit of Calumny which is so prevalent in your Country. And I should be sorry if any one Member should bring such a Disgrace upon your Church as to make it depart from the general Principles of those of its Communion. But in such Case I desire that a true State of the Case may be attended to.

    At the building of the Church I subscribed 10 Guineas being as I was advised by those whom I consulted, as much as could be expected from me, it not being my Church nor at that time probable that I should ever have an Opportunity to frequent it. At the Dedication of the Church I put my Mite into the Plate: and about the same time being informed that it would be convenient to the Church to postpone perchasing the Communion Plate, I lent them an Ewer and Chalice being what I had with me at New Jersey and which I had allways intended to keep by me for occasional Use at such Places where I might find them wanting. I mention this to shew that I could have no Intention to give this Plate to the Church at that time. For if I had, the Plate alone would have been an ample Benefaction without any Money & my making a Gift in Money shows that I did not intend to give the Plate. And I am sure I have never given Room for such an Expectation since: for I never have seen the Reason of my making such an Addition to my former Benefaction. This being the Case, if I should be induced by threats of being abused in the Papers to give that which otherwise I should not be obliged give, should I not bring a Disgrace upon your Church by admitting an Insinuation that it was privy to such illiberal Means to procure a Bounty? I abhor the Thoughts of such a Charge, and for your Sake as well as my own will treat the Intimation with due Contempt.

    As for the Pew I don’t know that we differ in facts: Upon my intimating to you that I had thoughts of using the Church of Cambridge instead of my own at Boston in Summer time, you showed me a Pew in the Side Isle and offered to fit it up for me, as what was called the Governors Pew had been taken down. I declined the fitting, as my Use of it was very precarious. I sat in it 8 or 10 times in the summer of 1768 & perhaps two or three times the Year preceding: but Lady Bernard finding upon Trial that the Church did not suit her Health I left off coming there for a year I beleive before I left the Province. If I had known that there had been Duties owing for the Pew, I should have paid them; if you would have demanded them you would have received them. But you will not bring an Action for what has been neither demanded nor refused.

    As I have been treated so very ungenerously, & some Members of your Church,4 from whom I might have expected such a Vindication as Truth & Justice would have dictated, have been very indifferent about me, I have desired Govr Hutchinson to interpose on my behalf & see that what is write & just is done.

    I am &c

    Thos Oliver Esqr

    L, LbC      BP, 8: 124–126.