RepositoryLambeth Palace Library
LevelFile
Alt Ref NoMS 1123/1
Extent280 ff.
TitleTHOMAS SECKER: PAPERS RELATING TO THE CHURCH IN THE AMERICAN COLONIES
Date1641-1754
DescriptionPapers of Thomas Secker (1693-1768), Bishop of Oxford 1737-58 and Archbishop of Canterbury 1758-68, relating to the church in the American colonies. Many of the papers relate to the work of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, of which the Archbishop of Canterbury was President.
The papers have endorsements in Secker's hand and may have been arranged by him.
Secker included here papers of his predecessors, John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury 1737-47, and Thomas Herring, Archbishop of Canterbury 1747-57.
The papers continue in MSS. 1123/2-3.

f. 1. Flyleaf, with a note in the hand of Samuel Wayland Kershaw, Lambeth Librarian 1868-1910.
ff. 2-5. List of the contents of this volume. 18th century.
ff. 6-14 [item 1]. Printed pamphlet entitled 'A petition of W.C. exhibited to the High Court of Parliament now assembled, for the propagating of the Gospel in America: and the West Indies; and for the setling of our plantations there which petition is approved by 70 able English divines ...' by William Castell ([London]: s.n., 1641). Wing, C1230. Lack pp. 3-4.
ff. 15-58 [item 2]. Printed pamphlet entitled 'Plain dealing: or, Newes from New-England : a short view of New England's present government, both ecclesiasticall and civil ...', by Thomas Lechford (London: printed by W.E. and I.G. for Nath Butter, 1642). Wing, L810.
ff. 59-60 [item 3]. An anonymous printed item, attributed to Thomas Bray, concerning the provision of parochial libraries in the colonies: 'Proposals for the encouragement and promoting of religion and learning in the foreign plantations ...'. With an added title: 'The present state of the Protestant religion in Mary-Land'. ?Wing, B4296.
ff. 61-80. [items 4-5]. A printed item: 'The last will and testament of the most reverend father in God, Thomas Tenison, late Lord Arch-bishop of Canterbury : who departed this life in peace, on the fourteenth day of December, 1715' (London: printed for John Wyat, at the Rose in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1716). ESTC T37583. With a section underlined in ink concerning Tenison's bequest for the support of episcopacy in America.
ff. 81-98 [items 6-13]. Copies, written in a single hand, of papers relating to a petition from a convention of Boston ministers to the lieutenant-governor, council and representatives of Massachusetts, asking that a synod be convened. 27 May 1725. Comprising:
ff. 81-82 [item 6]. Copy of the petition, signed by Cotton Mather in the name of the ministers assembled in their general convention. 27 May 1725. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 172-3.
ff. 83-90 [items 7-10]. Copies of three letters from Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, to, Thomas Pelham-Holles, 1st Duke of Newcastle, concerning the petition and problems which may arise from it. 17, 21 and 31 Aug. 1725. With a reply to Gibson from Charles Delafaye, Under Secretary of State, 24 Sept. 1725. Gibson's letters are printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 179-84.
ff. 91-94 [items 11-12]. Copies of two letters from Charles Delafaye to the solicitor general and attorney general, directing them to investigate the legality of the proposed synod. 24-25 Sept. 1725. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 187-8.
ff. 95-98 [item 13]. Copy of a letter from Charles Delafaye to the governor of New England, stating that proposed synod is illegal, and should, if in session, be interrupted. 7 Oct. 1725. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 189-90.
ff. 99-106 [items 14-15]. Copy of a petition of the Rev. Timothy Cutler (1684-1765) and others, on behalf of congregations of the Church of England in the province of Massachusetts Bay, for the repeal of several acts passed in Massachusetts prejudicial to members of the Church of England. Addressed to the King in Council. n.d. With an account of steps taken in response to the petition between March and November 1727. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 191-202.
ff. 107-109 [item 16]. A printed item: 'Commissio regia pro exercenda jurisdictione spirituali et ecclesiastica in plantationibus Americanis' [London?: s.n., 1728]. ESTC, n044375. Annotated by Secker with the date 29 April 1728.
ff. 110-111 [item 17]. Anonymous letter recommending Robert Auchmuty for governor of Massachusetts in place of Jonathan Belcher. Boston, New England, 25 June 1737. Endorsed by Secker: 'Letter to Archbishop Potter...' [John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury]. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 318-9.
ff. 112-115 [item 18]. Letter from Alexander Garden (1730-1791) to Philip Bearcroft (1695-1761), Secretary to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, sending a copy of his letter to the Society of 6 May 1740 proposing a plan for the education of negro and Indian slaves. Charleston, 30 Sept. 1740. An enclosure with Bearcroft's letter to Secker of 28 Jan, 1740/1 (ff. 116-7).
ff. 116-117 [item 19]. Letter [to Secker] from Philip Bearcroft on business of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, enclosing a letter from Alexander Garden (ff. 112-5) and reporting on action taken by the Society. 28 Jan. 1740/1. Endorsed by Secker: 'Papers relating to the Society for Propagating the Gospel and to my sermon before them'.
ff. 118-119 [item 20]. Letter [to Secker] from Philip Bearcroft concerning money voted by the Pennsylvania assembly, and relations between Episcopalians and Dissenters. 3 Feb. 1740/1. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 336-8.
ff. 120-123 [items 21-22]. Letter to Secker from Philip Bearcroft, enclosing a letter received by him from Thomas Moore, Minister of St. Botolph, Aldgate, objecting to a statement in Secker's sermon that no serious or good man had ever been refused membership of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. 21 Feb. 1740/1. On Secker's sermon, preached on 20 Feb. 1741, see Ingram, p. 209 onwards.
ff. 124-125 [item 23]. Letter to Secker from Philip Bearcroft, replying to queries, arising from Secker's sermon, concerning the treatment of the Church of England in Pennsylvania and New England. 14 March 1740/1. Endorsed by Secker: '.... about the public money raised by the Pennsylvania Quakers and the treatment of members of the Church of England by Dissenters'. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 338-9.
ff. 126-130 [items 24-26]. Two letters to Secker from George Whitefield, promising to send information correcting Secker's sermon before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel with regard to missionaries in America. 9 and 18 June 1741. With Secker's copy of his reply, 15 June 1741.
ff. 131-132 [items 27-28]. Letter to Secker from Philip Bearcroft concerning letters from George Whitefield to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel critical of the corruption of Church of England ministers in America, and enclosing a copy of Whitefield's letter dated 30 Nov 1740. 27 June 1741.
ff. 133-137 [item 28]. A printed item: 'Pennsylvania : Several proceedings in the two late sittings of Assembly [in July-August 1740] on the affair of raising money, man &c. for the expedition now on foot against the Spanish West-Indies' [S.l.: s.n., 1740?].
ff. 138-143 [items 29-30]. Letter to Secker from George Whitefield sending information correcting Secker's sermon before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel with regard to the character of Church of England missionaries in America. 28 July 1741. With Secker's copy of his reply, 17 Sept. 1741.
ff. 144-145 [item 31]. Petition to George II from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel for a general collection in England and Wales to assist its work. n.d. Endorsed by Secker with the date 1741.
ff. 146-148. [item 32]. A printed item: 'A royal letter from the King's most excellent Majesty: to the most Reverend Father in God, John, Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, to cause a publick collection of charity to be made for the good uses of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts'. [London: s.n., 1741]. ESTC, T206767. The letter is dated 18 Nov. 1741. Lacks all before p. 3.
ff. 149-156 [item 33]. A printed item: Edmund Gibson, Bishop of London, 'A letter from the Lord Bishop of London, to the clergy of his diocese' [London: s.n., 1741]. Concerns the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Text dated 8 Feb. 1741/2.
ff. 153-156 [item 34]. A printed item: Thomas Secker, Bishop of Oxford, 'A letter from the Lord Bishop of Oxford, to the clergy of his diocese' [London, 1742]. ESTC, t221980. Concerns the collection for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.
Text dated 16 April 1741, corrected in Secker's hand to 1742.
ff. 157-160 [items 35-36]. Letter to Secker from Samuel Johnson (1696-1772), thanking Secker for his role in procuring Johnson's Oxford doctorate, praising Secker's S.P.G. sermon, and commenting on the training of missionaries in colonial colleges and the need for bishops in America. Stratford, New England, 25 July 1745. With Secker's copy of his reply, 8 March 1745/6.
f. 161 [item 37]. A printed item: 'Abstract of two letters from the Rev. Mr. Hoedemaeker, and the Rev. Mr. Pielat, Ministers at the Hague, and deputies of the synod of South Holland, containing what they offer to the consideration of the ministers of His Majesty's Dutch Chapel at St. James's, and the Dutch ministers of London, and what they desire of them in behalf of the Palatines in Pensilvania' [London?, 1746?]. ESTC, t225239. Endorsed by Secker: 'About 1746'.
ff. 162-163 [item 38]. Letter to Thomas Herring from clergy of the Church of England in New England and New York, congratulating him on becoming Archbishop of Canterbury. 1 June 1748. With 18 signatures, including Samuel Johnson and Samuel Seabury (1706-1764).
ff. 164-166 [item 39]. Letter from Letter from Charles Henry ('Harry') Frankland (1716-1768), Baronet, to his uncle, describing the state of religion in Boston. London, 13 Dec. 1748. With endorsements by ?Thomas Herring and by Secker. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 423-5.
ff. 167-168 [item 40]. Copy from a letter or memorandum criticising New England government ("Liberty is here Licentiousness; a Junto rule"), and suggesting it would be advisable for the Crown to resume the government. n.d. Endorsement in the hand of Thomas Herring 'Dr Johnson New England' [Samuel Johnson, D.D.].
ff. 169-170 [item 41]. Copies of letters [to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel] from Revd. William Gibbs, Simsbury, Connecticut, 9 October, and from Hartford gaol, 28 December 1749. Complaining of injustice that Episcopalians should be forced to contribute to the support of a Dissenting minister, and enclosing copy of the warrant for his commitment for non-payment of church rates. The letters are referred to at f. 174v where there is an annotation in the hand of Thomas Herring: 'account of the imprisonment of Mr. Gibbs, missionary'.
ff. 171-172 [item 42]. Letter to Secker from Samuel Johnson, urging the need for bishops in America. 5 March 1749/50.
ff. 173-174 [item 43]. Minutes of a general meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, containing reports from missionaries in Newport, Narragansett, Newbury, Providence, etc., 20 April 1750. Incomplete.
ff. 175-176 [item 44]. Letter to Thomas Herring from Henry Barclay (d. 1764), on behalf of the clergy of the province, urging the appointment of bishops for America. New York, 9 April 1750.
ff. 177-178 [item 45]. Petition to George II from Hans Jacob Reimsperger, formerly of Tuggenburgh, Switzerland, and now of Saxe-Coburg, South Carolina, concerning Swiss and German settlers in South Carolina. n.d.
ff. 179-188 [item 46]. Letter to Thomas Herring from William Tutty (c.1715-1754), missionary at Halifax, Nova Scotia, concerning the church there and relations with the Dissenters. 18 July 1750.
f. 189 [item 47]. Minutes of a general meeting of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, containing a report on the oppression of members of the Church of England by collectors of rates to support dissenting ministers, 20 July 1750. Endorsed by Thomas Herring: 'N.B. These sort of complaints come by every ship almost, there are now some ministers of the Church of England in prison on account of these prosecutions from the Dissenters'.
f. 190 [item 48]. Note in the hand of Philip Bearcroft, Secretary to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, on the charter of Connecticut, New England, and a complaint that members of the Church of England there have been imprisoned for failing to pay rates for Presbyterian meeting houses and ministers. n.d.
ff. 191-192 [item 49]. A note in the hand of Philip Bearcroft on the accounts of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. 1750.
ff. 193-194 [item 50]. Letter to Philip Bearcroft from Ferdinand John Paris [a London lawyer] concerning the investment of Archbishop Thomas Tenison's bequest of £1000 to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel for the support of episcopacy in America. 20 Dec. 1750.
ff. 195-196 [item 51]. Letter [to Secker] from Horatio Walpole, afterwards 1st Baron Walpole of Wolterton, against the appointment of bishops for the West Indies or the American colonies. 2 Jan. 1750/1.
ff. 197-198 [item 52]. Copy of a letter from George Cadogan and three others to the Trustees for Georgia concerning the church at Augusta. 31 Aug. 1751.
ff. 199-202 [item 53]. A printed item: 'A letter from the Most Reverend Father in God, Thomas Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, to the suffragan bishops of the Province of Canterbury; to cause a publick collection of charity to be made for the good uses of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts' [London : s.n., 1751]. ESTC t221949. Endorsed by Secker: 'The Archbishop's letter for a collection on Nov. 12 1751 to his suffragan bishops'.
ff. 203-204 [item 54]. Letter from Thomas Secker to Thomas Herring with comments on a draft by Philip Bearcroft of an address recommending the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. 22 Jan. 1752. In Secker's hand.
ff. 205-208 [item 55]. A printed item: 'A letter from the Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury, to the clergy of his peculiars' [London : s.n., 1751]. Endorsed by Secker: 'The Archbishop's letter to the clergy of his peculiars Feb. 12 1752'. A letter recommending the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, to be read in churches 5 July 1752.
ff. 209-212 [item 56]. A printed item: 'A letter from the Lord Bishop of London, to the clergy of his diocese' [London: s.n., 1752.]. ESTC t221979. A letter from Thomas Sherlock, Bishop of London, dated 20 Feb. 1752, recommending the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel .
ff. 213-216 [items 57-58]. Two letters to Secker from Philip Bearcroft concerning the printing of a second edition of Secker's sermon before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, with suggsted corrections. 22 and 28 Feb. 1752.
f. 217 [item 59]. Copy of a letter from Secker to Samuel Johnson concerning the ordination of Chandler [Thomas Bradbury Chandler] and about obtaining a degree for him. 27 Feb. 1752. In Secker's hand.
ff. 218-224 [items 60-61]. Letter to an unnamed correspondent from Joseph Paice. [London], 18 July 1752. Enclosed is a copy of a letter from Jonathan Edwards to Joseph Paice, relating to the education of Indians, and contrasting French and English policies in this matter. Stockbridge, New England, 24 Feb. 1752. With an endorsement in the hand of Thomas Herring: 'Stockbidge in New England...'.
ff. 225-226 [item 62]. Minutes of a meeting of the Society for the Pennsylvanian Germans. London, 23 March 1753.
ff. 227-228 [items 63]. Letter [to Thomas Secker] from Samuel Johnson introducing William Smith (1727-1803) and commending his defence of the proposal to build a church college at New York. Also signed by Samuel Seabury and five others. Stratford, New England, 25 June 1753. With a note or reply by Secker in shorthand.
ff. 229-230 [item 64] Letter [to Thomas Herring] from Samuel Johnson introducing William Smith and commending his defence of the proposal to build a church college at New York. Also signed by Samuel Seabury and five others. Stratford, New England, 25 June 1753.
ff. 231-232 [item 65]. Letter to Thomas Herring from Henry Barclay introducing William Smith. New York, 27 June 1753.
ff. 233-234 [item 66]. Letter to Thomas Secker from Henry Barclay introducing William Smith. New York, 25 July 1753.
ff. 235-236 [item 67]. Letter to Thomas Herring from James De Lancey, Governor of New York, recommending William Smith. New York, 27 July 1753.
ff. 237-238 [item 68]. Letter to Thomas Herring from Thomas Penn recommending William Smith. Braywick, 23 Sept. 1753.
ff. 239-240 [item 69]. Letter to Thomas Secker from Timothy Cutler on controversial pamphlets published in New England on the state of the church. Boston, 30 Aug. 1753. With a brief note by Secker in shorthand of his reply.
ff. 241-242 [item 70]. Letter to Thomas Herring from Benjamin Avery (d. 1764) dealing with the case of John Pitts, of Ashford, Connecticut. Guy's Hospital, 9 Nov. 1753.
ff. 243-244 [item 71]. Letter to Thomas Herring from David Thomson thanking him for his support in obtaining a gift from George II of £1000 for the cause which Thomson was promoting in Great Britain. Amsterdam, 16 Nov. 1753. Endorsed by Secker: 'papers relating to the Germans settled in America'.
ff. 245-246 [item 72]. Extract from a letter to Dr. Avery [Benjamin Avery] from Revd. Thomas Prince concerning freedom of worship in Boston and in Connecticut. Boston, New England, 31 Dec. 1753. Printed in Perry, vol 3, pp. 448-50.
ff. 247-250 [items 73-75]. Two letters to Thomas Herring from Samuel Chandler concerning German emigrants to America. 5 and 26 Feb. 1754. With a copy of Herring's reply, 7 Feb. 1754.
ff. 251-252 [item 76]. Letter [to Secker] from Samuel Chandler regretting [Secker's] declining to preach a sermon for the governors of a charity school and concerning German emigrants to Pennsylvania. 17 March 1754. With an endorsement in Secker's hand.
ff. 253-254 [item 77]. Letter to Thomas Herring from Samuel Johnson introducing Solomon Palmer, a dissenting minister now a candidate for holy orders in the Church of England. Johnson also reports his own appointment as President of King's College, New York. New York, 10 July 1754.
ff. 255-256 [item 78]. Letter [to Secker] from Samuel Johnson introducing Solomon Palmer, a dissenting minister now a candidate for holy orders in the Church of England. Johnson also reports his appointment as President of King's College, New York. New York, 10 July 1754. With an endorsement in Secker's hand.
ff. 257-259 [items 79-80]. Letter to Thomas Herring from Michael Schlatter (1716-1790), minister and promoter of German emigration to Pennsylvania. London, 29 July 1754. With a copy of Herring's reply, 2 Aug. 1754.
ff. 260-261 [item 81]. Letter [to Secker] from Timothy Cutler on controversial publications in the colonies, and giving his opinion of Jonathan Edwards, "A New Light ". Boston, 28 Aug. 1754.
ff. 262-265 [item 82]. Narrative by James Macsparran (1693-1757), S.P.G. missionary at Narragansett, Rhode Island, of the lawsuit concerning the glebe land at Narragansett. n.d. From the papers of Thomas Herring. Endorsed by Secker: 'In or about 1752'.
ff. 266-267 [item 83]. Letter [to Secker] from William Smith, pleading for more missionaries on the frontiers. Philadelphia, 17 Oct. 1754. With an endorsement in Secker's hand.
ff. 268-274 [item 84, part]. A printed item: 'The charter of the College of New-York, in America : Published by order of His Honour the lieutenant governor, in Council' (New-York: Printed and sold by J. Parker and W. Weyman, at the new printing office in Beaver-Street), 1754. ESTC, w015125. Concerns King's College, New York.
ff. 275-276 [item 84, part]. A printed item: 'The additional charter granted to the governors of the College of New-York, in America ...' (New-York: printed and sold by J. Parker and W. Weyman), 1755.
ff. 277-278. Letter to Secker from Samuel Johnson concerning publications and about relations with the Dissenters. Stratford, New England, 25 Oct. 1754.
ff. 279-280 [items 86-87]. Petition to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel from James Macsparran, missionary at Narragansett n.d. With a letter [to Thomas Herring] from Philip Bearcroft reporting a decision of the Society on 20 Dec. 1754 to give Macsparran a benefaction of £100.
LanguageEnglish
FindingAidsNew description by Richard Palmer, 2013, drawing on text in C M Andrews and F G Davenport, 'Guide to the manuscript materials for the history of the United States to 1783 ...' (1908), pp 290-301.
PhysicalDescriptionCloth binding, 354 x 290 mm., 20th cent.
Paper leaves, various sizes.
CopiesMicrofilm: Lambeth Palace Library MS Film 773

Available from World Microfilms Publications:
Lambeth Palace Library: Miscellaneous American Material. Reel 2 (pts. 1-2), Reel 3 (pt. 3).
Copies of the microfilm may be available in other libraries.

Copies are available from the British Library Microform Research Collections:
https://www.bl.uk/services/document/microrescoll/rescoll.html#127
PublnNoteA number of items are printed from this manuscript in William Stevens Perry, 'Historical collections relating to the American colonial church', 5 vols (Hertford, Connecticut, 1870-78). [Lambeth Palace Library H5833]

MSS 1123/1-3 used in Robert G. Ingram, 'Religion, Reform and Modernity in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Secker and the Church of England', Studies in Modern British Religious History, 17 (The Boydell Press, 2007) [Lambeth Palace Library H5198.SI6]

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CodeNameDates
DS/UK/3520Delafaye; Charles (-1762); Under Secretary of State-1762
25Secker; Thomas (1693-1768); Archbishop of Canterbury1693-1768
27Herring; Thomas (1693-1757); Archbishop of Canterbury1693-1757
28Potter; John (?1674-1747); Archbishop of Canterbury?1674-1747
75Gibson; Edmund (1669-1748); Bishop of London1669-1748
DS/UK/3517Bearcroft; Philip (1695-1761); Antiquary1695-1761
DS/UK/3860Cutler; Timothy (1683-1765); clergyman1683-1765
226Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; 1701-19651701-1965
DS/UK/3516Whitefield; George (1714-1770); Calvinistic Methodist1714-1770
DS/UK/3798Johnson; Samuel (1691-1772); President of King's College (New York)1691-1772
DS/UK/3865Smith; William (1727-1803); clergyman in Philadelphia1727-1803
DS/UK/3797King's College in the Province of New York; 1754-17841754-1784
DS/UK/3863Pelham-Holles; Thomas (1693-1768); 1st Duke of Newcastle; statesman1693-1768
30Tenison; Thomas (1636-1715); Archbishop of Canterbury1636-1715
DS/UK/3515Mather; Cotton (1663-1728); New England Puritan Minister1663-1728
NA2491George II (1683-1760); King of Great Britain and Ireland1683-1760
DS/UK/3864Barclay; Henry (-1764); Rector of Trinity Church, New York-1764
GB/109/16695Walpole; Horatio (1678-1757); 1st Baron Walpole; diplomat1678-1757
DS/UK/3861Edwards; Jonathan (1703-1758); American theologian and metaphysician1703-1758
DS/UK/3868De Lancey; James (1703-1760); Lieutenant Governor of New York1703-1760
DS/UK/3870MacSparran; James (1693-1757); Rector of St. Paul's Narragansett, Rhode Island1693-1757
GB/109/17159Garden; Alexander (1730-1791); naturalist and physician1730-1791
DS/UK/3521Penn; Thomas (1702-1775); Proprietor of Pennslyvannia1702-1775
DS/UK/3522Avery; Benjamin (-1764); Presbyterian Minister Physician-1764
DS/UK/3518Chandler; Samuel (1693-1766); Nonconformist minister; author1693-1766
DS/UK/3881Auchmuty; Robert (-1750); lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts-1750
GB/109/22040Seabury; Samuel (1706-1764); American clergyman1706-1764
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NA3553/New York/New York/United States of America
NA3547/Boston/Massachusetts/United States of America
NA3056/Massachusetts/United States of America
NA3283/New England/United States of America
NA3053/Pennsylvania/United States of America
NA3184/Nova Scotia
NA3051/Connecticut/United States of America
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