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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Ebenezer Taylor to David Humphreys [Extract]
Taylor, Ebenezer, ca. 1660-1720
April 23, 1719
Volume 02, Pages 331-333

[From N. C. Letter Book of S. P. G.]

Perquimons Precinct
April 23rd1719.

Hond Sir

During my officiating on the South West Shore of Chowan, I preached every Lords day throughout this year, and I would have administered the Lords Supper several times this year, If I could but have had the small number of Communicants, which our Church requires, But I could not truly get this small Number, and therefore I must confess I did not administer it at once, nor do I know when I shall here—The people are so little inclined to receive it which is one thing makes me very weary of living in this place. When I give notice of my intentions to administer the Holy Communion on Easter Day, a Few Lords Days before, a considerable Person after the Public Worship of God was ended, said to me now Mr. Taylor is going to damn his Parishoners, I suppose he said this, because he thought, that they that would receive were very unfit for it, and would Eat and Drink unworthily and so eat and Drink Damnation to themselves, and I must confess it, the People here generally, and almost all of them are very ignorant, and very irreligious; and very worldly wicked, and do very little desire to be better informed, or reformed which is another thing, that makes me weary of living here; yet I hope I may say, I did some good too, this year that officiated in the South West Shore of Chowan, that I promoted knowledge of the best things, and Religion in some there; and persuaded them to be less worldly and Wicked than they were before.

In this year I caused a pretty many of the children to learn our catechism, and catechis'd them, in public, in this year I Baptized one Adult

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White Young Woman, and Thirty White Children, and one Adult Negro Young Woman, and one Mustee Young Woman and three Mustee Young Children, in all 36. I hope I took a method with the Negro Young Man, and with the Mustee Young Woman, whom I baptized, which will please the Society, which was this, I made them get our Church Catechism perfectly without Book, and then I took some pains with them to make them understand it, and especially the Baptismal Covenant, and to persuade them, faithfully and constantly to perform the great things they were to promise at their Baptism, and ever after to perform to God: and then I caused them to say the catechise, one Lords Day, and the other another Lord's Day before a large congregation, without Book which they did both distinctly, and so perfectly, that all that heard them admired their saying it so well, and with great satisfaction to myself, I baptized these two persons. These two persons were Esquire Duckenfield's Slaves, (The Gentleman with whom I lived most of this year) & whose house was our church all this year. This gentleman had several other Slaves, who were as sensible and civil, and as much inclined to Christianity and things that are good: as ever I knew any slaves, any slaves in any place, where ever I have been, and indeed, so are the slaves generally in this Province, and many of the slaves of this country I am persuaded would be converted, Baptized and saved, if their Masters were not so wicked as they are, and did not oppose their Conversion, Baptism, and Salvation, so much as they do, I had for some time great hopes of being the Minister that should convert and Baptize the rest of the Esqr Duckenfield Slaves, which I was very desirous and ambitious to be, and I would have begrudged no pains, but would most freely and with the greatest pleasure have done all I could to promote and accomplish this so great, and so good a work. And in order thereunto I was preparing 4 more of them for Baptism, and had taught one of those 4 their Catechism very perfectly, and the other 3 a good part of it, and now as I was about this good work, the enemies to the conversion and baptism of slaves, industriously and very busily buzzed into the Peoples Ears, that all slaves that were baptized were to be set free, and this silly Buckbear so greatly scared Esqur Duckenfield that he told me plainly I should Baptize no more of his slaves 'till the Society had got a Law made in England that no Baptized Slave, should be set free because he is Baptized and send it here, and many more are of the same mind, and so this good work was knocked in the head which is a great trouble to me, because so many slaves are so very desirous to become Christians without
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any expectation of being set free when they are Baptized—I fear this good work will not be revived and prosper here till such a Law is enacted by the Parliament of Great Britain and this people are acquainted with it, for I perceive nothing else will satisfy them; This and some other rubs I met with, and the great need of a Church of England Minister, which the interest of the Church of England stood in here, where there are many Quakers, who make it their business to gain as many of our Friends over to them as they can; wherein they have been too successful and leavened some of our people with their Principles and practices too much and especially with anti-Baptism, and many of their children and of themselves too are unbaptized, and used commonly to go to the Quakers Meeting because there was no Public Place of Worship for them to go to. These things were the chief Reasons of my leaving the South West Shore of Chowan and coming here where I hope I shall increase the Interest of the Church of England and cause the Interest of the Quakers to decrease and then I persuade myself that the most excellent Society will not be offended at my removing here——