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PREACHED, OCTOBER 10, 1769, IN CHRIST-CHURCH,
AT THE FIRST MEETING OF THE CORPORATION FOR THE RE
LIET OF THE WIDOWS AND CHILDREN OF CLERGYMEN, IN THE COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, IN AMERICA.
TO WHICH IS PREFIXED,
A SHORT ACCOUNT OF THE ORIGIN OF THE PIOUS DESIGN,
AND A COPY OF THE CHARTERS
WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING THE FUNDAMENTAL LAWS,
AND AN ABSTRACT OF THEIR PROCEEDINGS, &c.
TO THE MOST REVEREND AND HONOURABLE
LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY;
THE MOST REVEREND AND HONOURABLE
LORD ARCIBISHOP OF YORK;
AND THE RIGHT REVEREND
Most WORTHY PRELATES!
THE Corporation lately erected “ for the relief of the Widows and Children of Clergymen, in the communion of the Church of England in America,” having honoured me with their commands to publish the following Sermon, together with some account of the rise and progress of the pious and charitable design which it recommends; permit me to offer Both to the world under your patronage not only as, by Charter, the management of the Charity itself is committed to the inspection of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, and the Bishop of London, for the time being; but likewise as an humble acknowledgment of the obligations which each of you, my Lords, who now adorn those Sees, have been pleased to confer on,
Your most dutiful, and
Most obedient son and servant,
Philadelphia, October 14, 1769.
The distressed circumstances, in which the Episcopal Clergy in the more northern provinces of America, (and especially the Missionaries in the service of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts,) have too frequently been obliged to leave their families, had long been matter of discouragement to many from entering into the ministry of our Church, as well as of regret to pious and worthy members thereof.
After sundry overtures, from time to time, it was at length resolved, at a meeting of the Clergy at Elizabeth-town, in NewJersey, October 1767, to appoint a committee to frame some plan of provision for the distressed widows and children of such of our Clergy as should die in narrow or necessitous circumstances. The committee were the Reverend Dr. Smith, Provost of the College of Philadelphia, the Reverend Dr. Auchmuty, Rector of Trinity Church, the Reverend Dr. Cooper, President of King's College, both of New-York, and the Reverend Mr. Cooke, Missionary in Monmouth county, New-Jersey. We met at Perth-Anboy, May 12, 1768; and drew up a plan, and draughts of a Charter to be solicited by the Members of the committee in each of the three provinces of New York, NewJersey and Pennsylvania, that there might be a body corporate, in whichever of these provinces we might have occasion to meet.
This plan and the drafts of the Charters having obtained the approbation of several succeeding meetings of the Clergy, two persons were appointed in each province to solicit the passing thereof; viz. the Reverend Dr. Auchmuty, and Dr. Cooper, in New-York; the Reverend Mr. Cooke, and Mr. Odell, in NewJersey; and the Reverend Dr. Smith, and Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Peters,* in Pennsylvania. And justice requires, that the most public and grateful testimony should be preserved of that readiness and cheerfulness, with which the several Governors consented to the grant of the Charters, in their respective provinces.
The Charter for Pennsylvania was obtained on the 7th of February, 1769; the honourable John Penn, Esq. the Governor, having ordered the seal to be put to it on the first application. His excellency, Governor Franklin, shewed the same readiness, and the Charter from New Jersey was completed in May, 1769. That for New York, although cheerfully assented to by his excellency Sir Henry Moore, Baronet, was delayed by his indisposition and death; but the passing it was one of the first acts of his successor, the honourable Lieutenant Governor Colden, who put the seal to it, the 29th of September, 1769.
A copy of that Charter follows; not meaning thereby any other preference than what is usually claimed by that colony, in virtue of seniority, among her sister ones.
Then Rector of Christ Church and St. Peters, Philadelphia.
OF THE CORPORATION, FOR THE RELIEF OF WIDOWS AND CHIL
DREN OF CLERGYMEN, IN THE COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, IN AMERICA,
GEORGE the Third, by the Grace of God, of GreafBritain, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, and so forth ; To all to whom these presents shall come, Greeting. Whereas our loving subjects, the Clergy of our province of New-York, in North America, in communion of the Church of England, as by law established, by their humble petition, presented to our trusty and well-beloved Sir Henry Moore, Baronet, our Captain General and Governor in Chief in and over our province of New York, and the territories depending thereon in America, Chancellor and Vice-Admiral of the same, and read in our council for our said province, on the twenty-second day of March now last past, Have set forth, that the Clergy of the Church of England in the American colonies, and especially the Missionaries in the service of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel in foreign parts, are, with great difficulty, able to provide for their families, so that their widows and children are often left in great distress; that for remedy thereof corporations have, by charters, been erected in the provinces of Pennsylvania and New-Jersey, for receiving, managing and disposing of such sums of money, as may be contributed and given as a fund towards the support and relief of the widows and children of the said clergy; and for the further promotion of which laudable and charitable design, the petitioners humbly prayed our royal charter, under the seal of our said province of New-York, to create them, and such other persons as should be named therein, a body politic and corporate, with the like powers and immunities as are contained in the above-mentioned charters. granted in the colonies of Pennsylvania and New. Jersey, or such other powers and privileges, as might be thought