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X I. The Mixisters of ConnectiCUT IN THE REVOLUTION :
By Rev. William Chauncey Fowler.
By Rev. Myron N. Morris,
XIV. THE GROWTH OF A CHRISTIAN LITERATURE:
By Rev. Joseph Anderson,
V. THE INFLUENCE OF NEW ENGLAND IDEAS ON THE HIS-
TORY OF THE COUNTRY:
By Prof. Cyrus Northrop,
MINISTERS OF CONNECTICUT
THE REVOLUTION .
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE
APPOINTED BY THE
GENERAL ASSOCIATION OF CONNECTICUT.
WM. CHAUNCEY FOWLER, LL.D.
“A vestal state, which power could not subdue,
Nor promise win---like her own eagle's nest,
At the meeting of the General Association in Danbury, June 16, 1875, the following committee was appointed “On the Ministers of Connecticut in the Revolution,” namely: Leonard Bacon, Henry Jones, Dennis Platt, Leverett Griggs, Samuel Rockwell, William Thompson, Adam Reid, John Churchill, Anson C. Beach, William C. Fowler, Joel Mann, Hiram P. Arms, Abram Marsh, Joseph Ayer.
Leonard Bacon was made chairman of this committee.
At the meeting of the General Association at Norwalk, June 20, 1876, the committee of 1875, “On the Ministers of Connecticut in the Revolution,” presented a report, which was accepted and discussed, and it was
Resolved, That William C. Fowler is hereby instructed, in conference with the registrar, to condense the materials presented, and publish them in the Minutes, or, if too voluminous, in some religious periodical, or in any manner that may seem to them advisable.
THE MINISTERS OF CONNECTICUT IN THE REVOLUTION.
If we would take a correct view of the “ Ministers of Connecticut in the Revolution," it is necessary to look at the historical position of the Order, both before and after that era ; just as in viewing an object with the bodily eye, it is necessary to look at the field of vision in which that object is placed.
The earliest ministers of Connecticut, in learning, general intelligence, good manners, and Christian graces, were superior to the congregations that followed them into these parts. Society being then in its elements, they very naturally, in the new order of things then instituted, had the pre-eminence. The universal cry of the people was, “To the worthiest !” To the ministers, therefore, as the worthiest, the leadership of the people was given. One of these leaders, Rev. Samuel Stone of Hartford, described Congregationalism as a "speaking aristocracy in the face of a silent democracy.”
In the “ Assembly of Divines' Catechism” is the following question and answer : “What is required in the fifth commandment? The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties belonging to every one in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals."
They continued to be leaders of the people from 1636 down to 1776, during the Revolution and afterwards, because they continued to be superior to them in learning, general intelligence, good manners, and Christian virtues. They had that knowledge which is power, and that goodness which is wisdom, for using the power for noble ends.
In Roman Catholic England, down into the reign of Henry the VIII, the people distributed large measures of veneration and love to popes, cardinals, bishops, and the inferior clergy. In Protestant Episcopal England, during the reign of Elizabeth and James I, and afterwards, the people distributed veneration and love to archbishops, rectors, and deacons. In Puritan Connecticut, the people of the several congregations concentrated their veneration and love upon their own minister, as the accredited “ambassador for Christ," and clothed with his authority.
The earliest ministers were educated in the best institutions of learning in England. After they passed off the stage of human action, the ministers succeeding them received their education at Harvard College for sixty years or more, and subsequently to 1700, generally at Yale College.
An examination of the history of the times would show how it was that the “ Ministers of Connecticut in the Revolution " should be much the same in principles and character, as the ministers of Connecticut had been from 1776 back to 1636, when the first English settlers established themselves at Wethersfield, Hartford, and Windsor. Within that period most of those who were destined for the pulpit pursued classical studies, at first under some minister, with whom they were fitted for college, and afterwards in the college founded by the ministers. Under the guidance of the older ministers, many of them studied the same text books in theology, and when settled in the ministry pursued the same course of instruction with their people that the older ministers did.
The ministers of Connecticut were strongly inclined to educate their own successors in the ministry. They were not disposed to permit tramps in the highways and by-ways, or religious squatters and gypsies to establish themselves on the public domain. It was a beautiful custom among the churches of Connecticut that when a minister died, his place was supplied for a number of Sabbaths by the members of the Association. These visits were like balm to the bereaved hearts of the wife and family, if there were any, and it gave the Association an opportunity of knowing what was the condition of the parish, and enabled the committee of the Association, appointed for the purpose, to recommend a suitable