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vessels appeared off New London, and news of the event was brought to New Britain on the Sabbath, and made public, Captain Gad Stanley having given notice at the close of divine service, to his military company to assemble at the church the next morning, Dr. Smalley gave very marked expression to his disapprobation of their course in fighting against the king. This occasioned great excitement at the time, though afterwards quietness was restored, and he may, in a measure, have acquiesced in the results of the war, and in the independence of the country, but he remained to the last a bitter foe to that democracy which gained ascendency in Jefferson's administration, and he was not afraid to "preach politics " when occasion required.
Rev. John EELLS was pastor of the first church in Glastonbury, during the Revolution. Another Mr. Eells was pastor of the East Society, called Eastbury (now Buckingham), at the same time—the latter being a cousin of Rev. John Eells. The ministry of the two cousins spans the entire period of the Revolution, in which the people of Glastonbury deeply sympathized from the outset, and it is to be presumed that both of these pastors were eminently patriotic. “News of the battle of Lexington reached Glastonbury during divine service, and the facts were announced from the pulpit.” Another cousin of this patriotic family was minister of North Branford, "who, having raised a volunteer company in his own congregation, was chosen captain, and entered the Revolution in that capacity.”
SAMUEL WOODBRIDGE, pastor of the East Society, was chaplain for a time during the Revolution.
Rev. William Lockwood, afterwards pastor of the first church, was chaplain in the Revolution, and on terms of friendly acquaintance with General Washington. He frequently received invitations to dine with him.
Rev. JOSHUA BELDEN was pastor of the Newington church during the Revolution—from May, 1747, was active pastor until Nov., 1803--Rev. Joab Brace being settled as his colleague in 1805. Mr. Belden died July, 1813. Active pastor 56 years, and nominal pastor ten years longer. A sketch of him may be found in the Connecticut Evangelical Magazine for the year 1813. Nothing special is known of his patriotic record during the war, but Newington furnished its full proportion of soldiers for the army, and it is presumed the pastor sympathized with his people in relation to the cause of his country. The records of the church and society, indeed, give evidence of his cheerful self-denial to aid the common cause. He was, no doubt, actuated by a patriotic spirit.
Rev. David S. ROWLAND, pastor at Windsor from 1776 to the time of his death, 1794, at the age of 75. His first settlement was in Plainfield, Conn., 1747–8; dismissed 1761; next settled in Providence.
“ He was a firm and zealous defender of the liberties of his country against foreign oppression.” So obnoxious did he become to the enemies of the country that when the town of Providence was invested by the British, he was obliged, with his family, to flee in disguise. He is described as a powerful and eloquent preacher, of commanding person in the pulpit, and of fine elocution. He preached and published many patriotic sermons. While minister of Providence he preached a sermon on Fast Day at Wrentham, Mass., entitled, “Despotism illustrated and improved from the character of Rehoboam." It was a time of great political excitement, and occasioned a marked sensation. It was a year before the battle of Bunker Hill, about the time of the destruction of tea in Boston harbor. "A close parallel was drawn with a zealous and patriotic hand, between Rehoboam and George the Third.” “The Hon. Judge Daggett, of New Haven, was present when the discourse was delivered, and stated that it produced a very great excitement.”
Nathan PERKINS, D. D., born May 14, 1749; New Jersey College, 1770; settled 1772 in West Hartford; died, January 18, 1838.
On the second of June, 1775, he preached a sermon to a company of soldiers who went from his parish in defense of their country. His text was Ps. cxl, 1-2: "Deliver me O Lord from the evil man; preserve me from the violent man, which imagine mischiefs in their heart; continually are they gathered together for war.” After an apology for introducing into the pulpit a topic so different from what his hearers usually heard him discuss, the preacher announced for the three heads of discourse:
I. Mischiefs are imagined against us by evil men.
III. Deliverance and preservation must be sought from the Lord.
Under the first head are sketched the character, aims, and success of the Pilgrim fathers, and their successors; the friendly relations established between the colonies and the mother country; the adverse sentiments and conduct of the parent state, pushing coercive measures under pretext of just government. “They have undertaken to give and grant our money without our consent; they show no regard to our persons or our rights. No conquered province was ever dealt more hardly by. Our precious liberties are invaded. Our sacred charters are violated. Foreign troops—the bane of government-are quartered among us in time of profound peace. The cruel superstition of Popery established, Protestanism only tolerated, and a despotism dangerous in the last degree in a neighboring province."
II. Under this head is shown the falseness of the claim set up by the advocates of unconstitutional submission, on the ground of what the New Testament teaches respecting obedience to the powers that be. “We must resist unto blood, or be slaves. It would be criminal to give up our liberties. We should defend ourselves, and appeal to heaven for the justice of our cause.” At the close, the soldiers are exhorted to be courageous, orderly, and to fear the Lord. “You fight, not for your daily bread—not for your pence sterling a day—but for your lives, your property, your native land, your dearest friends, your just rights, all you hold dear as men, and sacred as Christians—your all. Play the men, therefore, for your God and your people, and the cities of
EBENEZER GAY, D. D., born, 1719; Harvard College, 1737 ; minister at Suffield ; died, 1796, having been in the ministry 53 years.
He addressed a company of soldiers belonging in the town, as they were on the eve of joining the army. He urged the lawfulness and necessity of taking up arms in defense of the country, and closed with a stirring appeal to the soldiers. An examination of his neatly written sermons shows that during the war he was accustomed to plead the cause of freedom and independence.
AMMI RAHUMAH Robbins, son of Rev. Philemon Robbins, of Branford, was born 1740; Yale College, 1760; ordained at Norfolk, October 28, 1761 ; died 1813, after a ministry of fifty-two years, in which he was greatly distinguished for usefulness and success.
“ Until the close of his ministry, the whole population of the town were preserved in one religious denomination. It would be difficult to select a minister in Connecticut who has been more popular with the people of his charge, or who exercised over them a more and complete and useful control. Bland and courteous in his manners, with a comely figure, a winning face, and constitutional agility, he ruled the old men, being at once their counselor and their boon companion. The young were his children ; the great mass of them were under his ministry born into the kingdom of God.” (From Dr. McEwen's discourse at the Litchfield county celebration.)
Mr. Robbins became a chaplain in the American army in the northern campaign of 1776. He left Norfolk on Monday, March 18th, and late on the evening of the next day arrived at Albany, near which the army was encamped. He kept a daily journal, which I have seen, and certainly the amount of labor which he performed was truly wonderful, during his presence with the army. He preached twice at least every Sabbath, besides visiting and praying with the sick and wounded. And during the week, he was day and
night engaged in this benign Christian work-never sparing himself if he could be of any service to the poor, suffering soldiers. The result was, that his health broke down, and he was compelled to leave the army for a time. He reached home on Wednesday, June 5th. But his heart was with the army, and although his health was only partially restored, he left Norfolk, July 2d, to join the regiment. It was an unwise step. Before the end of the month he was sick and had high fever. I quote from his journal :
“ Monday, 29.—Was brought in a carriage to Stillwater, where Doct. Merwin attended me, who says my disorder is of the dissolvent, putrid kind. He talked encouragingly, but says no prospect of my being able to return to the camp and
duties under three or four weeks; and as I could ride a little, recommended me to try to get home. I am peculiliarly unfitted to do the duties of a chaplain, on account of my bilious constitution. I envy Brother Avery his health. He will go through the hospital when pestiferous as disease and death can make it, with a face as smooth as a baby's, and afterwards an appetite as healthy as a wood-chopper. I cannot; after inhaling such diseased breath, am sick and faint; besides their sorrows take hold of me. I would not shrink from the work. Our war is a righteous war; our men are called to defend their country ; whole congregations turn out, and the ministers of the gospel should go and encourage them when doing duty, attend and pray for and with them when sick, and bury them when they die. I hope to return to my work."
He reached home on the third day of August. After a rest of sixteen days, he took leave of friends at home to join the regiment, in company with Captain Watson, “ both of us feeble soldiers.” Thus he went on in this impaired state of health, till the close of the campaign for that year, “in spending and being spent,” for the welfare of the soldiers.
I close with the last entry in his journal :
“ Thursday, 31 October.—Arrived at night in my own home, after near three months absence in fatigue, perils and dangers, having experienced the most distinguishing marks