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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
E. H. GILLETT,
AUTHOR OF "THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN HU88."
1334 CHESTNUT STREET.
NEW YORK: A. D. F. RANDOLPH, 683 BROADWAY.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by the PRESBYTERIAN PUBLICATION COMMITTEE,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
More than seventy years have elapsed since the attention of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States was called to the subject of preparing a history of the denomination in this country. In 1791, Rev. Drs. Witherspoon, McWhorter, and Green, and Rev. Messrs. William Graham, James Hall, and James Templeton, were appointed a committee" to devise measures for the collecting of materials necessary" to carry out the project. In accordance with the suggestions of their report, it was enjoined upon each Presbytery “strictly to order their members to procure all . the materials for forming a history of the Presbyterian Church in this country, in the power of each member, and bring in the same to their Presbytery, and that the Presbyteries forward the said collection of materials to the next General Assembly.”
In 1792, and in successive years till 1795, the subject was considered, and “delinquent Presbyteries” were called upon for their reports. But no further action was taken till 1804, when Dr. Green and Mr. Ebenezer Hazard were appointed, from the materials gathered, to write the history. Delinquent Presbyteries were again called upon to complete their narratives.
In 1813, Dr. Green and Mr. Hazard stated to the
Assembly that they had found it impracticable to go on with the work, and their request that the papers which they possessed might be transferred to Dr. Miller, who should be authorized and requested to complete the history, was granted. In 1819, Dr. Green was by vote of the Assembly associated with Dr. Miller in the preparation of the work. Their request, in 1825, to be discharged from the duty committed to them, was received with “unfeigned regret;" and although it was granted, the project of the preparation of the History was not abandoned. Measures were adopted “to insure the continuation and completion of the work with the least possible delay.” A new committee, consisting of Drs. Green, Janeway, and Ely,' was appointed for this purpose.
Here, however, the matter was suffered to rest. It was left to individual enterprise and effort to investigate the history of the Church during different periods and in different localities. Works of great value for reference and authority in compiling a general history of the Church have thuse been produced; and while important materials have been irrevocably lost by the lapse of time and past neglect, the task of preparing a connected history has in some respects been greatly facilitated.
In these circumstances, the Publication Committee of the Assembly judged, several years since, that the long-deferred project should be undertaken afresh. Nothing could be gained, and much might be lost,
1 Upon Dr. Ely's resignation in 1836, Dr. Luther Halsey was appointed in his place.