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event which he had often expressed a wish to witness. During the war the current of events was made a topic in his Sunday morning prayer, which occupied a full run of the hour-glass at his side. One Sunday morning he gave in his prayer a somewhat detailed account of an important battle, which, in the (afternoon) on the receipt of more recent news, he was compelled to contradict.
JOSEPH STRONG, D.D., Norwich, First church, 1778–1834. Soon after the installation of Dr. Strong, Lafayette passing through town with a detachment of 2,000 men, encamped on the plain, and in the morning invited Mr. Strong, the pastor of the place to pray with them, which he did.
NATHANIEL WHITAKER, Norwich, Second church, 1761-1769. Mr. Whitaker published two sermons, “An Antidote against and the Reward of Toryism,”—one at the commencement, the other at the close of the Revolutionary War.
He was a Presbyterian, a Controversialist, and stayed but a short time in a place.
JOSEPH Fish, North Stonington, 1732-1781. Rev. M. N Morris says of him, (Sprague, I: 362.) As a subject of the king he was loyal, but with a warm patriotism, he espoused the cause of his country. In the last year of his life, and near the close of the war of independence, he was invited to address his fellow-townsmen assembled to meet the call of Gen. Washington, for an immediate reinforcement, and in his speech he declared ; "were it not that my nerves are unstrung and my limbs enfeebled with age, on such a call as you have, I think I should willingly quit the desk, put off my priestly garments, buckle on the harness, and, with trumpet in hand, hasten to the battle."
Prof. Benjamin Silliman, his grandson, says of him : “One of the most remarkable of his letters is that addressed to my father, Gen. Silliman, July 2, 1776, when he was on the point of taking the field in the great cause of the American Revolution. He decidedly enjoins it upon him, from the highest motives of Christian duty and patriotism, to leave his wife and his happy home to encounter the hazards of war for the most' noble of causes." The Professor adds, “The letter is well worthy of being published as a specimen of the spirit which actuated the good clergymen of that day.”
Prof. Silliman, in a letter to Dr. Sprague, continues : Although Mr. Fish was now more than seventy years old he made a journey, in 1776, to the American camp on Harlem Heights and remained several days with my father in his military quarters, the powerful armies of the British being in sight, and conflicts on the outposts not unfrequently taking place. (Sprague, 1 : 365.)
ZEBULON ELY, Lebanon, 1782-1824; Yale, 1779. Dr. Sprague says of him, (2: 192), “When the British were approaching New Haven in July of his senior year, he was employed at an advanced post in firing at them, in company with a few of his fellow-students. He kept his station behind a tree till he was left alone; and before he was aware of it, a scouting party of the enemy concealed under the fence, was well nigh-upon him. He escaped however with the loss of his hat and coat in the chase, in which he was briskly followed by bullets.” Associated afterwards with the Trumbulls, and Williamses, as he would not be likely to lose any of his patriotism.
REV. John Ellis, West Farms, Franklin, was Chaplain in the army of Col. Jedediah Huntington's regiment. He entered the army in 1776, and continued through the warseven years. In 1779 he took a dismission from his people. After a ministry of ten years at Rehoboth, he returned to Franklin, where he died in 1805. No monument tells where his body lies. Miss Calkins says of him : “ He was a man of energetic action, glowing with Christian enterprise. He took a lively interest in those pioneer missions to the West which preceded the formation of the Connecticut Missionary Society, was agent and treasurer of the General Association for New London County.”
ANDREW LEE, D.D., Hanover, 1768-1832. Dr. Cogswell of Windham, often mentions him in his diary. He often speaks of his glowing patriotism during the Revolution, and even doubts whether his zeal in sustaining the American cause did not sometimes outstrip his prudence. (Sprague, 1: 672.)
Rev. NATHANIEL EELLS, Stonington, 1762-1786. The records of the General Assembly tell us that “Rev. Nathaniel Ellis of Stonington, was appointed Chaplain of the regiment to be raised and stationed at and near New London.” The name should undoubtedly have been written Eells, as there was in Stonington, at that time, no minister or layman of the name of Nathaniel Ellis. The records of the church and society, however, make no mention of his connection with the army. (See letter of Hon. Richard A. Wheeler.)
In a Thanksgiving sermon, preached November 20, 1777, immediately after the defeat of Burgoyne, he says:
“God has blessed the arms of the country with victory and success, beyond our most sanguine expectations. . Hereby that part of our land, tossed and shaken, enjoys rest and quietness: Our secret and intestine enemies stunned and disheartened, new life and spirit conveyed to our armies, and all the inhabitants of the land, animated with strength and gladness to congratulate one another, and to praise the Lord most high. And what a damp must this prove to the European troops, when they hear that the Lord is with us to fight our battles and to pull down our enemies. And when the news does cross the Atlantic, [no cable telegraph,] and pierce the ears of the king and ministry, and parliament of Great Britain, how will they gnash their teeth and melt away to hear that their boasted general, and so great a part of their chosen troops are become a prey to the poor Americans, whom they so evilly treated, so cruelly despised and oppressed."
Rev. STEPHEN JOHNSON, Lyme, 1746-1786. Harper's Magazine for February, 1876, p. 319, gives an account of the part which this gentleman bore in the early movements of the Revolution.
He had for a parishioner John M'Curdy, a Scotch Irish gentleman of wealth and education, occupying and owning the house now the residence of the Hon. Charles J. M'Curdy. “The two had many conferences on the subject of the possible independence of the colonies. They grew indignant at the serene composure of Gov. Fitch and his associates. The first published article pointing toward unqualified rebellion in case an attempt was made to enforce the stamp act was from the pen of Rev. Stephen Johnson, and it was written under this roof. M'Curdy privately secured its insertion in the Connecticut Gazette. It was a fiery article, designed to rouse the community to a sense of the public danger.
Others of a similar character soon followed ; while pamphlets from, no one knew whence, fell, no one knew how, into conspicuous places.
Could these walls speak, what tales they might reveal ; two sagacious and audacious men trying to kindle a fire; one feeding it with the chips of genius and strong nervous magnetism, the other fanning it with the contents of his broad purse. The alarm was sounded; organizations of the Sons of Liberty' were formed in the various colonies ; treasonable resolves were handed about with great privacy in New York, but no one had the courage to print them.” John M'Curdy took a copy and soon they were published and spread far and wide through New England. This was in September 1765, Before the close of the month, the famous crusade, (which embraced nearly every man in the town of Lyme,) moved from New London and Windham counties against Mr. Ingersoll, the stamp commissioner. “It was then and there that the
egg of the Revolution may be said to have been hatched.”
MR. AVERY TO ABRAM MARSH.
THOMAS BROCKWAY was the pastor of the Congregational church in Columbia, (then Lebanon church,) during the Revolutionary War. He was born in Lyme, Conn., in the year 1744. He was graduated at Yale College in 1768. He was ordained as pastor, June 24, 1772, and died while on a visit to his native place, July 4, 1807, having held the pastorate thirty-five years. His funeral was attended in Columbia, July 6, the sermon being preached by Rev. Zebulon Ely of Lebanon, from Hebrews 13: 7, 8. The slab resting over his grave bears this inscription : “As an husband, he was tender; as a father, affectionate ; and as a friend, sincere. As a minister of Christ, he shunned not to declare all the counsel of God, and was wise in turning men to righteousness.” His children were three sons and ten daughters. Rev. Diodate Brockway, pastor of the Congregational church in Ellington, Conn., 1799-1849, was one of his sons.
Mr. Brockway was small in stature, but of a bold spirit and warm in his advocacy of his country's independence. It is a tradition, believed by persons now living, to be trustworthy, that during public worship, on the Sabbath or lecture day, news came of the burning of New London by the British under Arnold, and that Mr. Brockway dismissed the congregation and “started off with his long gun, and deacons and parishioners to assist in doing battle with the enemy."* That he was willing to share with his people in the pecuniary struggles of that time is clearly shown from the record of the Ecclesiastical Society under date October 18, 1779. His salary was £90 a year, and from the depreciation of the currency, had fallen behind to the amount of £196. And then we have this record :—“Out of the £196 Mr. Brockway proposes to grant £90,- £45 for tax and actual service, which is £15 a year for three years past; the other £45 he gives, the one half to the parish, the other half to support the gospel for the poor of the parish, to be disposed of according to the discretion of the society committee. And for the time to come Mr. Brockway proposes to give £15 a year till the enemy withdraw, and after they withdraw, £10 a year till the Continental debt be paid, and the remainder to be made good as when he settled.
“The above proposals of Mr. Brockway were, this 18th day of October, 1779, publicly, at a legal society meeting, read and explained, and after reasonable time of consideration it was put to vote whether the parish accept of Mr. Brockway's proposals, and voted in the affirmative.”
* Sprague's Annals, Vol. I, p. 605, Note.