« PreviousContinue »
Rev. Samuel SPRING, D.D.
The meeting was opened with prayer by the Rev. Dr. Dwight. During the session the following gentlemen were unanimously elected members of the Board, viz. the Hon. John LANGDON, Esq. and the Rev. Seth Parson, D. D. of New Hampshire, the Rev. HENRY Davis, D.D. of Vermont, JEREMIAH Evarts, Esq. of Massachusetts, his Excellency WILLIAM JONES, Esq. of Rhode Island, the Hon. John JAY, Esq. LL. D., the Rev. Samuel Miller, D.D. the Hon. EGBERT Benson, Esq. LL. D. and the Rev. ELIPHALET Nort, D.D. of New York, the Hon. Elias BOUDINOT, Esq. LL.D. and the Rev. JAMES RICHARDS of New Jersey, and the Rev. AshBEL Green, D.D. and Robert RALSTON, Esq. of Pennsylvania.
The following gentlemen were elected officers of the Board; viz.
WILLIAM BARTLET, Esq.
JEREMIAH EVARTS, Esq.
JEREMIAH'Evarts, Esq. Treasurer.
SAMUEL H. WALLEY, Esq. Auditor. The Treasurer's Accounts were exhibited. Mr. Goodale, the late Auditor, having removed to a distant part of the country, these accounts could not be audited before the meeting of the Board; but were referred to the present Auditor.
The Rev. Dr. Morse, the Rev. Dr Worcester, and Mr. Evarts, were appointed a committee to prepare and publish an address to the public on behalf of the Board.
Voted, That the Prudential Committee pay an immediate and particular attention to the circulation of the Holy Scriptures in the various languages of the unevangelized nations; and that, as soon as expedient, they expend upon this object as much at least of the funds of the Board as the Act of Incorporation requires.
The report of the Prudential Committee was read and accepted.
The instructions of the Prudential Committee to the Missionaries, who lately sailed for India under the direction of the Board, were read and approved.
Voted, That the Prudential Committee annually transmit a copy of the report of the doings of this Board 10 the General Association of New Hampshire, the General Convention of Congregational and
His Honor WILLIAM Phillips, Esq. and W1lLIAN BARTLET, Esq. were presented artending the meeting. VOL. V. New Series.
the Presbyterian ministers in Vermont, the General Association of Massachusetts Proper,the General Association of Connecticut,and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States.
Voted, That the Treasurer be requested to return the thanks of this Board, as far as practicable, to all those who have heretofore contributed for the purposes of the institution.
Voted, that the Hon. John Hooker, Esq. and the Rev. Dr. Lyman be a committee to procure the printing, in the Iroquois language, of such Christian writings as in their judgment may be expedient for the use of the Iroquois Indians; and that they distribute them according to their discretion.
Voted, That the Treasurer give bond to the Board for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, in the sum of twenty thou. gand dollars, with sufficient sureties, to be approved by a major part of the Prudential Committee.
Voted, That this Board will receive Mr. Eleazer Williams under their patronage, and support him in completing his education for the ministry; provided, he shall consent to submit himself to the direction of the Board.
Voted, That the President of this Board, the Rev. Dr. Lyman, and the Rev. Mr. Chapin, be a committee to consider, and report upon, that part of the report of the Prudential Committee, which regards an intercourse between this Board and the Auxiliary Forcign Mission Societies.
The Editor of the Panoplist, made a written proposition to the Board to the following effect;—That all the profits of that publica. tion, after a reasonable allowance for his services as Editor shall have been deducted, be devoted to the promotion of the missionary. cause under the direction of this Board; and that the amount of such reasonable allowance be fixed, at the close of each volume, by a committee mutually agreed upon between himself and the Board. This arrangement to commence with the next volume,* should the work be continued as usual.
To prevent misconceplion, it was expressly stated, that the Editor did not wish to have such an arrangement considered as an approbation of the Panoplist on the part of the Board, or as connecting she Board in any manner with that work; but simply as a method mutualiy agreed upon 10 find what are the real profits of the publication.
It was also stated, that it shall always be in the power of the Committee to designate the specific objects to which said profits shall be applied, and which shall always be such as said committee shall judge to be peculiariy important to the missionary cause.
The foregoing proposition was accepted, and the following gentlemen were mutuaily agreed upon as the Committee; viz. the Rev. Joshua Huntington of Boston, the Rev. John Codman of Dorchester, Dr. Reuben D. Mussey of Salem, Henry Gray, Esq. of
• A similar arrangement exisis with respect to the current volume; though the Board, noi being in session when it was formed, could not be made a party Cita
Boston, and the Rev. Moses Stuart, Professor in the Theological Seminary at Andover.
Voted. That the Treasurer loan or invest the money in the Treasury, or such part of it as may be judged expedient, with the concurrence and under the direction of the Prudential Committee.
Voted, Thạt the next annual meeting of the Board be held at Concert Hall in Boston, on the third Wednesday of September, 1813, at 10 o'clock, A.M.
The Rev. President Dwight was appointed to preach on the occasion; and the Rev. Mr. Chapin was appointed his substitute.
Voted, That the President and the Recording Secretary present the thanks of this Board to Mr. Henry Hudson for the proof of his regard to the cause of Foreign Missions, manifested by the very hospitable and generous manner in which he has provided for the members during the present session.
The session was closed with prayer by the Vice President
The foregoing account of the proceedings of the Board was, is consequence of their direction, compiled by the Prudential Committee from the minutes of the Recording Secretary.
The Rev. Dr. Strong of Hartford waited on the Board, the first day of the session, and politely committed to their disposal more than six hundred dollars, subscribed on papers issued by him, for the encouragement of the Eastern Translations. The exact-sum will be published among the donations, when remitted.
THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE PRUDENTIAL COMMITTEE OF
THE AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS.
With high sensibility, and with lively gratitude to the Redeemer and King of Zion, the Prudential Committee of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions nieet their Brethren on the present occasion, and make their annual Report.
The purposes of the Board, distinctly expressed at the last meeting, it has been the desire, and endeavor of the Committee to carry into effect as early, and to as great an extent, as practicable. As soon as convenient, an address to the public on the subject of missions to the heathen was prepared and printed, and care was taken to giv eit an extensive and efficacious circulation. In the separate sheet, and in the Pancplist and Missionary Magazine, it has found access to the different parts of our country; and there is reason to believe that its effect, in exciting attention to its great object, and in awakening and spreading the missionary spirit, has been very considerable. The Committee, however, could not entirely rely on the address, or any other means which had been put in operation, for the immediate and permanent supply of funds requisito to answer their wishes and those of the Board. Four missionaries were waiting, and had long been waiting, with a degree of impa.
tience, to be sent out with the everlasting Gospel to the perishing millions of the East; and the Committee were earnestly desirous to relieve their iṁpatience, and to embrace the carliest opportunity for conveying them to the destined field of their labors. But for this purpose thousands of dollars were wanting.
When contemplating possible ways and means, no plan presented itself to the Committee as more eligible, than to institute in the principal towns in New England and in other states, as far as practicable, societies auxiliary to this Board, and whose special business should be to aid in procuring funds. This plan, it was hoped, would bring immediate help in the existing exigency, combine extensively the influences of the friends of missions, give increase and efficiency to the missionary spirit, and open durable sources of supply to the treasury. The plan was adopted early in the winter. Mr. John Frost, a licentiate preacher, in whom the Committee had great confidence, was appointed an agent, and invested with a commission to assist in carrying it into execution; and the success has exceeded the most sanguine expectations. About twenty societies have been formed; more than four thousand dollars have been remitted from them to the treasury; and the annual subscriptions in them, though they cannot be accurately estimated at present, amount to a very considerable sum. These societies cannot but be regarded as vastly important to the general concern, and as claiming very particular attention; and the Committee would respectfully submit, whether some measures should not be adopted to extend, to animate, and to strengthen them; and to establish between them and this Board a regular and permanent intercourse.
Though the Committee were very desirous to be in a state of preparation to send out the waiting missionaries by the first conveyance; yet, such were the commercial einbarrassments, but little expectation was entertained, that a conveyance would soon occur. But He who has the times and the seasons in his hands, and whose, espece ially, is the missionary cause, knew the day and the hour. In the latter part of January, Messrs. Newell and Hall, the two missionary brethren, who had resided for some time at Philadelphia on account of the medical advantages there enjoyed, returned in haste with the intelligence, that a ship called the Harmony was shortly to sail from that port for Calcutta, and would afford accommodations for the missionaries. This return was by the particular advice of Robert Ralston, Esq. a name well known, and greatly endeared to the friends of missions, in Europe and India, as well as in this coun. try; and from him they brought a letter presenting the opportunity in a very favorable light, and kindly offering assurances of his aftention and aid. The Committee immediately met, and the moinent was an important one. The Harmony was to sail in about a fornighi; if that opportunity were not embraced, it could not be foreseen when another would occur; but the funds then at the disposal of the Committee did not exceed twelve hundred dollars, Alter serious deliberation, however, the Committee were impresss ed with the persuasion that divine Providence called for an immediate and great effort; and they resolved to send out the four missionaries by the Harmony, and took their measures accordingly.
It was on Monday the 27th of January that this resolution was taken. The ordination of the missionaries was appointed to be on the Thursday of the next week; the latest day, which would leave time for them to get on to Philadelphia in season. Notice was immediately given to the friends of the mission in the vicinity, and means were put in operation with all possible activity, and to as great an extent as the limited time would allow, for raising the requisite funds.
In the mean time, Mr. Luther Rice, a licentiate preacher from the Theological Institution at Andover, whose heart had long been engaged in the missionary cause, but who had been restrained from offering himself to the Board by particular circumstances, presented himself to the Committee with good recommendations, and with an earnest desire to join the mission. The case was a very trying one. The Committee were not invested with full powers to admit missionaries, and they still felt a very heavy embarrassment from the want of funds. In view of all the circumstances, however, they did not dare to reject Mr. Rice; and they came to the conclusion to assume the responsibility, and admit him as a missionary to be ore dained with the four other brethren, and sent out with them. This responsibility still rests upon the Committee. But with the pleasing consciousness that they acted in the case under an impressive sense of duty, and with a sacred view to advance the great design of this Board, they cheerfully submit themselves to the inquiry and to the judgment of their brethren.
While the preparations were making, it came to the knowledge of the Committee, that the brigantine Caravan, of Salem, was to sail for Calcutta in a few days, and could carry out three or four passengers; and, after attention to the subject, it was deemed advisable, that two of the missionaries with their wives should take pas, sage in that vessel. This lessened the general risk, and was attended with several advantages.
According to appointment, on the sixth of February the mission. aries were ordained, at the Tabernacle in Salem. A season of more impressive solemnity has scarcely been witnessed in our country. The sight of five young men of highly respectable talents and attainments, and who might reasonably have promised themselves very eligible situations in our churches, forsaking parents, and friends, and country, and every alluring earthly prospect, and devoting themselves to the privations, hardships, and perils of a mission for life to a people sitting in darkness, and in the region and shadow of death, in a far distant and unpropitious clime, could not fail deeply to affect every heart, not utterly destitute of feeling. Nor less affecting were the views, which the whole scene was calculated to impress, of the deplorable condition of the pagan world, of the riches of divine grace displayed in the Gospel, and of the obligations on all, on whom this grace is conferred, to use their