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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from John MacDowell to [Philip Bearcroft]
MacDowell, John, 1717-1763
February 09, 1760
Volume 06, Pages 224-226

[North Carolina Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Mr. Macdowall to the Society

Brunswick St Phillips Parish
in North Carolina, Feby 9, 1760

Sir, I have had the favour of your letter, with the present of very valuable books from the venerable society, for which I humbly beg leave to return my hearty thanks. They came in Via Charlestown, the 6th ult, to his excellency Govr Dobbs at Brunswick, His Excellency's Mr. Reeds, Mr. Earles & mine came all safe to hand.

Nothing can give me greater pleasure, than to hear that my conduct is approved of, by them; it is impossible for me fully to express my sentiments of gratitude & thankfulness to the society for their kind notice of me, and thus rewarding my services. They may be assured I will persevere in the duty of my holy function, with vigor and alacrity, while I have the honor of being an ambassador of Jesus Christ.

To convince them of this great truth, I beg leave to represent to them that this was my great pleasure, before ever I was so happy, to be taken notice of by them; or had any expectation of receiving gratuity or reward from them—nor did I ever ask or know of any one directly or indirectly to recommend me to them.—what I did was entirely owing to the ardent desire I have & will have to promote the glory of Almighty God & the salvation of men by Propagating the Gospel of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ in the world. Especially having these encouragements, that they that be wise shall shine, as the brightness of the firmament and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever and that we are assured by the lip of truth, that many shall come from the east & from the west from the north & from the south and shall sit down in the Kingdom of God. That he will be with us to the end of the world.—who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season? blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing—and with the great apostle of the gentiles, I can truly say who [woe] is unto me if I preach not the gospel.

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These were my motives; these were my encouragements to persevere in my duty without fee or reward—but I must likewise own it gives me great pleasure to be taken notice of by so venerable a body of worthies—and I should be much to blame not to be duly sensible of the great honor they do me.

In particular I beg leave to thank them for the kind intimation they are pleased to send me “that they will consider me for what extraordinary services I do in my visits to the several Parishes in N. Carolina”—That is a branch of my duty I have never been deficient in; for I could not ansr the neglect of it, either now to my own conscience or to my great Judge at the last day. I sincerely believe I have never been exceeded by any one, for the same space of time that ever came to America. So that were they to reward me for all the services of that kind I have actually done I might expect something great indeed, but whatever they are pleased to allow me, shall be acceptable and as soon as they please, as my family is lately increased by the birth of a fine son.

Every year when I agree with my vestry I reserve 4 Sundays to be employed in other parishes, besides the places I can attend between Sunday & Sunday. In a fortnight or 3 weeks time, I have gone thro' 2 sometimes 3 large parishes or counties & been every day employ'd in Preaching & baptizing and this not for once or twice but every year since I have been in, which is now going on 7 years, and that many times every year, which I can prove by a cloud of witnesses besides the vestries of the several parishes.

Since I wrote last to the Society, I have been out as far as the borders of So Carolina, where I had so great a number of People from both Provinces, that we were obliged to assemble under the Shady trees. I baptized one day on that visit 32 children and Adults, among whom were 5 free mulattoes.

I am to set out the 18th inst on a visit to Bladen & Cumberland counties which will take me up 4 or 5 weeks & will give me good employment every day.

I am sorry to hear, the Society do not think proper to grant me a mission here, the reason I presume is, because my parishioners have not a church & parsonage house actually built for me. But I hope the Venble Society will not think me the less deserving, who have been labouring all this time in places destitute of many conveniences. As therefore the Society do not think proper to grant me a mission here I humbly request the favour of them to send me

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their missionary to New England or New York government, where I understand several parishes are vacant & have applied to the Society for a missionary. It is impossible for me to continue here where my salary is so small and every thing so dear.—I could not have continued so long had I not had some fortune with my wife; which if I continue here much longer must all go. I was obliged to sell a slave last year to help us to subsist, tho' no persons ever liv'd in a more frugal manner.

Wherefore If the Society have any regard for me, they have it now in their power to make my life quite comfortable & happy, by sending me to one of the vacant Parishes to the northward. and I humbly entreat they will be pleased to grant this my ardent request.

They may be assured I will continue to serve my God and my generation most faithfully in the holy office it hath pleased the Almighty to call me unto.—I will continue here this ensuing summer till I hear from the Society, and in the mean time I will get ready, certificates from the vestry of my own Parish & the vestries of the other Parishes I have visited, of my services & good behaviour, to send to the Society if they desire me.—and am with profound submission and respect,

The venerable societys most dutiful
& most obt humble Servt