Page images
PDF
EPUB

yet be done for the mission in so fine and flourishing a part of our country.

With every effort it had not been practicable seasonably to supply the associations in Tennessee with the Report of the Board ; nor but partially to supply them finally. Wherever it has been circulated among them, the information contained in it has produced, so far as is yet discoverable, the happiest effects. There appears, indeed, ample reason to calculate on the favourable countenance of these associations towards the missionary cause, as soon as they shall have opportunity to possess sufficient information upon the subject. Already have most of them adopted measures for a regular connexion and intercourse with the Board. It bad, indeed, been my expectation to spend time enough among these churches to form at least one missionary society; but was so late in getting away from Kentucky as to render this impossible.

Nashville was left behind the 24th of February ; Knoxville the 8th of March, 1816; and the ensuing Sabbath found me with the Bent Creek church, Jefferson county, Tenn. Having, after sermon, offered to the congregation a few remarks relative to the missionary business, read a part of the Report, and signified that if any were prepared and telt inclined to bestow any thing for the promotion of the object it would be thankfully received, the willing liberality displayed under such circumstances could not fail to impress me with a conviction that the eastern as well as western part of Tennessee, will not refuse the privilege, when proper facilities shall be afforded, to assist in diffusing among the heathen the light of the gospel.

The next Sabbath furnished, at the Rev. Mr. Black's meeting, Clerk of the New River Association, Wythe county, Virginia, a similar opportunity, which was improved in a similar manner, and with similar success, as the preceding. And the following Sabbath gave me the great satisfaction to arrive at a meeting of the Roanoke Baptist Missionary Suciety to aid in propagating the gospel among the heathen, at which a number of the ministers belonging to the Roanoke Association were present.

The 27th of March conveyed me to Richmond, Virginia. The hope had been cherished the fore part of the season, of being able to go farther to the south than has been the case; and of passing through part of the Mississippi Territory, Georgia, and the Carolinas, before my return to Philadelphia ; but the Lord has ordered otherwise. While in Kentucky, however, circumstances brought me to become acquainted with the Rev. James E. Welch, a young minister of talents, and of missionary zeal, who has spent the winter in Georgia, and appears to have been active in the business there. At a meet ing appointed by the Hephzibah Association, and held at Bark Camp, Burke county, Ga. for missionary purposes, Mr. Welch was present, and assisted in the formation of the Hephzibah Baptist Society for itinerant and Missionary exertions. He also obtained the minutes of several associations, and formed arrangements for the circulation among them of the annual Report of the Board.

In Richmond the opportunity occurred of attending the annual meeting of the Richmond Female Baptist Missionary Society. Their request conferred on me the honour and satisfaction to deliver their:

K

annual missionary sermon, the evening of the 11th of April. The contribution on the occasion amounted to nearly 870; to which the Rev. Mr. Rice, a Presbyterian, added 85 the next day. This socie. ty remits to the general Treasurer this year $130. Last year about 880 to the Treasurer of the Richmond Baptist Foreign and Domestic Mission Society. The evening of the 8th the managers of this last mentioned society had a meeting, and voted to remit to the gene'ral Treasurer this year, as usual, $250. The people of colour in Richmond have also manifested a disposition to assist in missionary efforts; but they wish the funds of their Society to be appropriated particularly to an African mission. Could this be the case, it is thought they would do something handsome.

Saturday the 13th brought me once more to Fredericksburg, to attend a meeting of the Fredericksburg Foreign and Domestic Miso sionary Society. They voted to remit to the general Treasurer 850. More may be expected hereafter. The activity and zeal of the Fe. male Mission Society in the same place are highly gratifying and praiseworthy.

At the Flat River Association, whose last meeting was in Meck. lenburg county, Va. the 27th of April, opportunity again invited me to deliver a missionary sermon, and a public collection was taken up for missionary purposes. Had circumstances been such as to have permitted me to remain on the Sabbath, no doubt the collection would have been larger. Taken as it was at tbe opening of the session, the people unapprized of it before hand, its amount, as well as the fact itself, exhibits pleasing evidence of the disposition of the association, and of the people of the neighbourhood, to assist the benevolent and evangelical operations of the Board. The two succeeding days indulged me the satisfaction of being with the Meherrin Association, whose meeting this year was also in Mecklenburg county, Va. A public contribution was put into my hands for the mission, and a very laudable zeal was manifested for its promotion.

Returning again to Richmond immediately, and proceeding thence as fast as possible to Philadelphia, to render an account to the Board; but finding that an adjourned meeting of that body was to take place in New-York at the time now present, opportunity has been allowed me of meeting again with the New York Association, and of witnessing again their happy zeal for promoting the missionary cause; also of attending the Warwick Association the first week in this month. At the recent meetings of both these associations, missionary sermons were delivered, and collections taken up in aid of the general missionary fund.

During the past year it was thought proper that the Savannah Baptist Society for Foreign Missions should be dissolved, for the purpose

of forming others in the same quarter on a different scale; consequently, one has been formed in Beaufort, S. C., one in Sunbury, Geo., and perhaps one in the Great Ogechee church, not far from Savannah, as that church has sent on to the general Treasurer about 8150. By the Sarepta Association, a meeting was appointed to be held at Moriah meeting-house, Madison county, Geo. the Friday before the first Sabbath in June, “ in order to adopt some measure to aid in missions, or to form themselves into a Mission So

ciety.In the bounds of the Ocmulgee Association it appears an Auxiliary Mission Society has been formed.

In the north the multiplying of similar societies has not been less rapid than in the south. In Maine, the Lincoln Baptist Female Cent Society for promoting the mission to the Indies, and the Maine Baptist Auxiliary Society to aid foreign missions, have been originated, besides a Society by the people of colour in Portland, with a view specially to an African Mission, should God in his Providence favour their wishes. In New Hampshire, several new auxiliary Mission Societies, some of them Female Societies, have been formed. A Female Society for the promotion of missions has been formed in Brandon, Vt. and perhaps others during the year in the same state. In Massachusetts, the Baptist Missionary Society of Norfolk county and vicinity, to aid in foreign or domestic missions. In Rhode Island, the Bristol Female Mite Society to encourage and aid in diffusing the sacred scriptures, and sending missionaries among the destitute both at home and abroad. The Warren Female Mite Society, formed in 1808, assists the funds of the foreign mission. The Windham and Hampton Female Mite Society, and the Lebanon Female Mite Society, in Connecticut. In the state of New York, the New York Northern District Society auxiliary to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions. The Female Society of Whitestown, to assist in sending the gospel among the heathen. The Henderson United Female Society, co-operating with the Black River Baptist Association, to aid in foreign missions. A Female Society also in Ellisburg. At the last session of the Ontario Association, a Mission Society was formed auxiliary to the Board. Also at the recent session of the Black River Association, something has been done which may be considered as, equivalent to the formation of a Mission Society auxiliary to the Board. It is expected, too, that another mission society will be formed in Henderson, Jefferson county, N. Y. The formation of the Junior Mission Society of the 2d baptist church in Philadelphia, has likewise taken place during the past year.

The Female Societies mentioned in this letter are such as have actually assisted the foreign missionary funds, or whose constitutions respectively embrace expressly the object of foreign missionary efforts.

Perhaps several of this description have been formed in various places of which information has not yet been receivelt. Besides these, there are many Female Mite Societies and Cent Societies in almost all parts of our country, which will, no doubt, most of them, either directly, or indirectly, aid the general fund. Indeed, the great number and rapid increase of these laudable FEMALE INSTITUTIONS cannot fail to create emotions the most lively and gratifying hopes and anticipations of the most ardent and animating nature. The Boston Female Society for missionary purposes, which was formed in 1800, and was the first of this kind, it is believed, in the United States, a considerable time since “ had,” as they affectionately express themselves, “the privilege of an epistolary correspondence with near SIXTY SOCIETIES” of this description. But sixty is much below the present number of these amiable societies. In a letter just received from brother Chessman, he has furnished me with a list of seventy

+

TWO ; and remarks, that all these societies meet statedly for prayer. Some few confine themselves to domestic charity ; but almost all assist the missionary cause. Information of what the American ladies have done, has reached England, as appears in one of the late English Baptist Magazines, and the leaven will probably commence its operation there, as they are not willing to say that the American ladies surpass them in piety or zeal. May the whole lump on both sides the Atlantic be leavened."

The societies mentioned in this letter as auxiliary to the Board, and those mentioned in my letter of May, 1815, exhibit the pleasing and very encouraging fact of at least SEVENTY-ONE MISSION SOCIETIes, distinctly combining their means and their exertions in the noble design of aiding the heralds of the cross to preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.

In closing this communication, it is impossible for me to abstain from an expression of devout gratitude to the Father of Mercies for his great goodness in conveying me in safety through the various and extended journeyings of so many thousand miles the year past; frequently in lonely ways, usually solitary, and sometimes in the night: but no disaster has been permitted to occur.

Also the uniformly favourable countenance and kindness of the people in all places through which my course has led, have alleviated the painfulness of toil, exposure, and fatigue ; beguiled anxious solicitude, supported and strengthened a confidence in the enlarged success of the undertaking, and claim my warmest thanks.

With affectionate salutations to yourself, dear Sir, and all due respect to the Board of Foreign Missions, permit me to subscribe, Your agent in the mission service,

LUTHER RICE. Rev. DR. STAUGHTON, Cor. Sec. of the Baptist

Board of Foreign Missions for the U. States. S

New-York City, 19th June, 1816. P. S. On separate papers allow me to submit the following communications,

to wit: (A.) (B.) (C.) (N.) (A.) exhibits the “State of the Associations, Churches, and Mission Societies

in relation to the objects of the Board.” (B.) is a “ Table of the Associations." (C.) presents a statement of monies received subsequent to 11th May, 1815,

and onward to 191h June, 1816 ; including various expenditures

during the same time.” (L.) contains “ Miscellaneous Articles.”

(A.) STATE OF THE ASSOCIATIONS, CHURCHES, AND MISSION SOCIETIES,

IN RELATION TO THE OBJECTS OF THE BOARD, The facts and observations which serve to illustrate the subject referred to in this paper, have been partly anticipated in my letter to the Corresponding Secretary. But it is desirable to take a nearer and more particular view of this subject than could consistently be done in that letter. It will be most convenient in this survey to take a geographical sweep from Maine through Neve

Hampshire and Vermont, and then along the atlantic states to Georgia, thence westwardly to the Mississippi Territory, and from that turn northwardly through Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio, and close with the Indiana Territory.

MAINE-Three Associations, and two Mission Societies, besides several Female Mite or Cent Societies. With the advancing population, and growing attention to missionary concerns, in this quarter, permanent and increasing assistance to the general object may justly be expected.

The Bowdoinham Association took up a collection last session amounting to $32 22, and appointed a standing “ committee on the subject of foreign mis. sions ;" which committee “ advised the churches to consider themselves a mis. sionary society, and bring forward their donations at the next session.” It is thought " the missionary spirit is rapidly increasing in that quarter.”

The Lincoln Association is voted to recommend to the churches that there be a contribution of one cent per month for each member, to be applied to missionary purposes."

The ladies of the Cent Society for promoting the mission to the Indies, thus tenderly address their sisters of the association : “Cast, for a moment, imagination's eye on the dark corners of the world, where ignorance and superstition hover around immortal souls, as precious as our own-behold them sacrificing their children and themselves to their god! behold them bowing to wood and stone, enveloped in thick darkness; without one cheering ray from the Sun of Righteousness to illumine their benighted souls! If ever you have felt the benign influences of the religion of Jesus, you will not, you cannot, remain inactive.” In the same quarter the Maine Auxiliary Society has already sent on to the mission society in Boston, to be remitted to the general fund, $100. “ One of the members” of this society, at its formation, “declared that five years before he had conceived a design of giving ten vollars a year to the missionary cause, and therefore embraced this first opportunity of subscribing the whole fifty.”

The Cumberland Association, equally zealous, appointed a committee upon this subject, last session, and on the minutes appears the following notice : “The trustees of the Maine Baptist Missionary Society, feel deeply impressed with the importance of the foreign mission; and earnestly recommend to the churches that compose this association, to take the matter under serious and prayerful consideration ; and they most devoutly hope that they will enter into the spirit of the subject; and that they will '“ of their abundance lay by in store" against another year “ their liberality," with their brethren who are before them in the work, that the object be not hindered for the lack of pecuniary aid.”

The Mission Society formed among the people of colour in Portland would, perhaps, assist the funds of the Board in the event of an African mission being undertaken. From the Mite and Cent Societies assistance will very certainly be afforded, either directly or indirectly to the general fund.

New Hampshire-Three Associations, and three or four Mission Societies, besides Female Mite or Cent Societies ; of the same views with their brethren and sisters in Maine ; much aid to the general fund may be looked for from this state.

The New-Hampshire Association, last year, entered into the missionary busi. ness with the zeal to "recommend to the churches to form auxiliary societies to promote the design," appointed a secretary to correspond with the Board, and appeared, indeed, to be "highly pleased to learn that a missionary spirit obtains in the United States."

The Meredith Association, last session, appointed a corresponding secretary, who should also “receive subscriptions ; " “voted to recommend to the churches to form auxiliary societies for missionary purposes ;” and “eleven dollars were contributed for foreign missionary use. “ Some of those societies," their Se. cretary states, “have already been formed," and others, it is hoped, will soon follow the example. Elder Crockett writes "on the decline of life, yet I rejoice to hear and to know of the exertions made for the spread of the gospel.” Elder Bailey—“I shall take the utmost pains to promote the missionary cause. I want to know more of India than I can learn by reading. I long to see it. 0!

« PreviousContinue »