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and allow them a “ sober, virtuous, and religious education, either here or elsewhere, as in Britain, New England or Philadelphia."* Colonel Jenkins was one of the oldest Presbyterians in Maryland, and the laws of the state prove, that there were few men, if any, of higher standing on the Eastern Shore. Public documents prove, that before 1696, he was entitled to the adjuncts which Mr. Makemie prefixed to his name. My purpose in writing this paragraph, is to show that Mr. Makemie's dying wish was, that the Presbyterian church might prosper, and, that his children should have a sober, virtuous and religious education, under the direction of their Presbyterian mother, or of his Presbyterian friends.
* See in Appendix B. the part of his will which relates to the education of his daughters.
The question when were Presbyterian churches first organized in Somersct coun
ty, Maryland, brought under consideration.
I now approach a question of much interest in the history of the Presbyterian church in America.-At what time were Presbyterian churches organized in Somerset county?
For a long time after the settlement of Virginia, dissenters were not permitted to preach within her limits on any terms; and although Mr. Makemie had become domiciliated there anterior to the year 1690, yet he was not authorized to preach there until October 15, 1699. He must have been ordained in Europe ; I believe by the Presbytery of Donegal, Ireland. Reflect upon his character and answer the question for yourself:—would such a minister, and such a man remain quietly at home and kept silence for ten, or twenty, or for aught we know, for thirty years, by laws more cruel than those which he had left behind him ? Tradition, common sense, and authenticated facts, seal the conclusion, that it is impossible he could have so spent so many years of his life. But where did he execute the duties of the office, into which he was initiated by the laying on of
hands of the presbytery? The answer is at hand : By travelling a few miles over as level a country as the sun shines upon, he was beyond the reach of the laws and constituted authorities of Virginia—he was in Somerset county, in Maryland, where there were many Presbyterians, and where he could do his Master's work, without hinderance or molestation from any quarter. Do you ask me how I ascertain that there were Presbyterians in Somerset before the year 1699 ? Because of some of them I know the names, and the names of their children, grand children, and great grand children ; and because public documents show where they lived, and when they died; and evidence which would be admissible in a court of law, fixes the name of the religious persuasion to which they were attached. An ancestor of my own, who had probably affixed his name to the solemn league and covenant, was a citizen of Somerset county many years before the period mentioned above, unless public and private records speak falsehood. My own conviction is, that Mr. Makemie resided in Somerset county, and organized churches there previously to his settlement in Accomack. A town to be called Snowhill, was established in Somerset, now Worcester county, by an act of the provincial legislature, passed in the year 1684, and I believe, that the Presbyterian church in that place, is nearly, or quite as old as the town. Snowhill was settled by English Episcopalians, and Scotch and Irish Presbyterians, and it is certain that persons resided there at the time, or soon after the time, in which the town was laid out, who were afterwards members of the Presbyterian church. My ancestor, to whom I have already alluded, was a ruling elder in that churchhe was the father of five children, all of them natives of Snowhill or its neighbourhood, the youngest of whom was born in April, 1698. I am persuaded that he lived in Maryland the last twenty years of the seventeenth century. Do you ask for the evidence of any connexion between that church and Mr. Makemie? I doubt whether the memory of any gospel minister was ever held in higher honour by an American congregation, than was that of Mr. Makemie by the people of Snowhill. His praises have not yet left the church, although he has rested from his labours almost a hundred and thirty years. Tradition has made a record of his labours and many excellencies of character; one generation has uttered his praises in the ears of its successor, and you may even yet, hear their echo. Parents made his surname, the christian name of their children, until in the neighbourhood of Snowhill, it has become a common one. The church has had no pastor from 1708 until this time, whose name it so profoundly venerates. Information derived from aged lips, which it was once my pleasure to listen to, and my duty to honour, produces peculiar feelings whenever I hear the name of Francis Makemie. Further proof of Mr. Makemie's connexion with the church in Snowhill, and indeed with the other churches in Somerset, is derived from the fact, that those churches were organized when there was no other Presbyterian minister on the continent, to effect their organization There is record evidence of the fact, that there were five church edifices and as many organized Presbyterian congregations in Somerset county, on the 13th day of March, 1705,* and neither popular tradition, nor public nor private documents, know any thing of any Presbyterian clergyman within the bounds of the existing Presbytery of Lewes at that time, except Francis Makemie. The building of a country church now, where population is comparatively dense, and money abundant, is a difficult work; how then can we account for the existence of five churches and congregations within the limits of Somerset county, on the day mentioned above, but by the supposition, that the word had been preached to the people for years previously? The country was newly settled, the population sparse and money scarce, indeed tobacco was the currency—the legal circulating medium.t Can any one believe, that the gathering together of five congregations, and the building of five houses of worship, was the work of a few months, or even of a single year? And that those emigrants so straitened, erected those churches with
* See Appendix D. Extract 5, and Makemie's will, Appendix A.
+ This reminds me of an error into which some one has fallen, I think it is the editor of the Christian Advocate or some one of his correspondents. He speaks in commendatory terms of the Rev. Mr. Hampton, for agreeing to receive his salary in tobacco. The fact is, in Maryland all public dues were taxed in tobacco; and all public bonds made payable in that commodity until 1810.