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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 thus 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.
by further delay. With each successive year matters of great value were passing to oblivion. Presbyterians, moreover, ignorant of the history of their own Church, and of its policy as illustrated by that history, might justly claim such information as would serve at once for the vindication of their own ecclesiastical preferences and the position of the denomination with which they were identified.
It was resolved, therefore, to take steps for the preparation of a work not too voluminous for popular perusal, yet sufficiently minute to combine a measure of local with general interest,—a work which should present an outline of the origin and progress of the Church, the methods and results of its efforts, and the spirit and policy by which those efforts have been directed.
Selected by the committee for the task of preparing such a work, I have endeavored to embody with historic impartiality the most important facts, accessible to diligent and faithful investigation, in the work which is now offered to the Church. The labor has been by no means a light one. Materials have been gathered from most diverse and unlooked-for sources.
By correspondence, and by the examination of old records, letters, and narratives,--some of which must have slept unmolested on the files of Presbytery for more than half a century, I have endeavored to supply the lack of other authorities; and in this I have been greatly aided by the most ready and efficient co-operation of numerous individuals who have cheerfully rendered their assistance. To some of them I have been indebted for valuable information which will
be found in the notes, or has been incorporated in the body of the work.
But the labor, I need scarcely say, has been “a labor of love." Much of the history of the Church in this country has been hitherto buried in obscurity and neglect, and the exploration of it has been like the search for hidden treasures. Time-stained journals and moth-eaten volumes have possessed a rare charm when, like the “Catacombs,” they have given back to us the memorials of a patience, toil, and fidelity which deserve an honor second only to that of the primitive disciples. Something of the gratification of one who lights upon the soiled and dustcovered masterpiece of a great painter, and who finds that by care and diligence he can restore its faded lineaments, has been afforded in recovering from an ever-deepening obscurity the features of those heroic pioneers of Christian effort to whom not only the Church, but the country and the world, are so deeply indebted. To enter as a partisan into such a field as this, would be a peculiar profanation of the sanctity of historic truth; and if any misrepresentations of the facts or aspects of the periods of controversy through which the Church has been called to pass are here to be found, they are at least not due either to any conscious design, or to any bias received from personal participation in the scenes of strife. Almost an entire generation has passed from the stage since the memorable conflict by which the Church was rent in sunder; and he who can now survey the period with other feelings than those of regret for human weakness, and sorrow for the causes of mutual alienation, must have a con
science which the old rust of controversy still gnaws or the zeal of partisanship still blinds. Yet there should be no ignoring of the historic position of the Church. If that reunion which is so confidently anticipated by many is ever consummated, it is wise that it should rest on a solid basis, and not be built upon either ignorance or misconception of the facts of history. This is apology enough for not passing over facts of which the historian himself would be gladly spared the detail.
In the preparation of the work, I have, as far as possible, availed myself of authorities contemporaneous with the facts narrated. Among these are. to be classed the minutes of the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, and those of the General Assembly; those also of Synods and Presbyteries, so far as accessible; “The Literary and Theological Magazine,” “New York Missionary Magazine,” "Connecticut Evangelical Magazine,” Annual Reports of the Connecticut Missionary Society from 1793 to 1820, “ Assembly's Magazine,” “Panoplist," "Christian Advocate," “Christian Spectator," "Biblical Repository,” “Presbyterian Quarterly Review,” “Princeton Review,” “ American Quarterly Register,” “New York Observer,” “New York Evangelist," "Christian Herald” (1816-21), “Presbytery Reporter,” “Home Missionary,” Reports of the different Domestic Missionary Societies, &c., besides files, more or less complete, of the various Presbyterian journals at the South and West.
New Orleans “True Witness,” “Presbyterian Herald,” “Southern Presbyterian," “ North Carolina Presbyterian,” “Central Christian Herald," &c.
Next in importance to these have been local histories, such as Prime's Long Island, Hotchkin's Western New York, Nevin's Churches of the Valley, Foote's Sketches of Virginia and North Carolina, Davidson's Kentucky,“Old Redstone,” Bolton's History of Westchester County, Smyth’s Second Church of Charleston, Macdonald's History of the Church of Jamaica, Riker's Newtown, Hoyt's Church of Orange, Stearns's Church of Newark, Hall's Church of Trenton, Eager's Orange County, Campbell's Tryon County, Munsell's Annals of Albany, Murray's Elizabethtown, Hewatt's History of South Carolina, History of Londonderry, Histories of Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis, &c., Greenleaf's Churches of Maine, Greenleaf's Churches of New York City, Dwight's Travels, Reed's Christian Traveller, &c.
In biography, Dr. Sprague's Annals, so far as they have extended, have been invaluable and indispensable; although in some instances I have been constrained to differ from the views which they present. Very important materials also have been derived from such memoirs as those of Drs. Alexander, Green, J. H. Rice, Nesbit, Rodgers, Griffin, Cleland, Macurdy, Baldwin, Rowland, Baker, Holley, and Rev. Messrs. Badger, Christmas, Porter, Cornelius, Larned, Bruen, and others. Wilson's “Historical Almanac" has furnished information nowhere else accessible, and has proved of material service.
Among works of a more general historical character which have been profitably consulted, must be mentioned Prince's History, Felt's Ecclesiastical History of New England, Histories of the United