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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Letter from Charles Edward Taylor to Daniel Burton [Extract]
Taylor, Charles E.
August 20, 1771
Volume 09, Pages 20-23

[N. C. Letter Book. S. P. G.]
Revd Mr Taylor to the Secretary (Extract)

St. George's Parish, Northampton County
North Carolina, August 20th 1771

Reverend Sir,

Must be obliged to you to acquaint the Society with my safe arrival in this Province the 3rd May, after a tedious passage of

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11 weeks and 2 days. Should have waited upon His Excellency Governor Tryon, on my arrival but he was gone to Suppress a set of Rebels, who I make no doubt you have heard resided in the Western parts of this Province, for they, principally instigated by one Husbands a Quaker resident among them, despised Government, and refused to pay their Taxes. As I imagine you have already received Authentic Accounts of His Excellency's Engagement and victory over them it would be needless for me to say anything on that head. I proceed therefore to inform you that finding things in this Situation, I adjudged it expedient for me to seek a parish for myself, and to wait on His Excellency with your Letter on his arrival at Newbern but his sudden Embarkation for his new Government, prevented my purpose, I have therefore settled myself for a while in St George's Parish Northampton County, void by the resignation of Mr Barnet one of the Society's Missionaries: who I am informed, has fled into Virginia, being charged with crimes, too base to be mentioned. It is great pity but an American Episcopate were established, if it tends to no other purpose than to take cognizance of the behavior of the Clergy, some of whom (I am sorry to say) are the greatest scandal to religion we have. I have been very ill used by Mr Earl one of the Society's Missionaries in Chowan County, for as it had been the place of my Residence from my first arrival in Carolina, the Inhabitants of my acquaintance were very desirous of my preaching in the church which he absolutely refused and being asked his reason (since not a fortnight before that he had not only permitted but made an offer of his church to a Presbyterian preacher, to hold Meetings therein,) he asserted a palpable falsehood saying he had examined me before I went to England and found me incapable, and has reported it in the public houses in Town (his places of Rendezvous) in all companies. Things of this kind have great weight with the people in this Country, who may from hence be induced to think that the Bishop of London would ordain any one that made application, and from hence must consequently proceed a total disrespect to all the Clergy. His reasons for this usage I am an entire stranger to, unless it proceeds from a fear of his parishes being divided, which has been talked of and they have expressed a desire of my coming into the best part of it where the Town of Edenton stands; however upon my signifying to some Gentlemen my intentions of writing home concerning his conduct and he being informed of it, the next time I went to Church he made me an offer
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of his Desk pulpit, which I accepted; and he has since sought a familiarity but his manner of life not concurring with mine induced me to avoid it, and I have now removed myself so far from him, as I hope will break all further communication. I would not have it thought to proceed from any private pique, that I mention his misbehaviour, for I look upon it the indispensible duty of every professor of the Christian Gospel to endeavour to suppress immoralities of every kind, but more especially those which proceed from the root from whence true religion ought to branch and spring up. By writing to James Blount Esquire one of the Representatives for his County, you will be informed that he made a charge of 30 shillings for going to administer the Sacrament to his Mother who lay at the point of Death and at the same time obliged a poor Man in that Neighbourhood to pay him 15 shillings our money (equal to 10 shillings Sterling) for baptizing his sick child, and was not satisfied with that. I have of my own knowledge seen a man as he passed his door desire him to call in and baptize his child which lay sick and he has refused and in consequence of that the child died unbaptized. Thanks be to God, the people themselves have a greater regard for Religion than he, otherwise it would dwindle into nothing in his parish.

This misbehaviour in the Clergy has induced the people to be very cautious of having a Minister inducted to their parishes, as they see so much misconduct and no remedy easily to be obtained since every one of them dislikes being the first complainant.

I have agreed with the Vestry of this Parish till Easter at which time, (provided we unite in approbation) they are desirous of having me inducted. It is as wealthy a parish as any in the province, but rather too large. I have 4 churches to attend which in the course of every month, lays me under the necessity of travelling very near 200 miles, exclusive of my Journies to visit and baptize in cases of necessity. I suppose (God willing) to administer the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper next Sunday; which has not been administered but twice in this parish in the space of 7 years. It is my intention to order my affairs in such a manner as to administer it 8 times in the year, which will be twice at each church in the parish. I have communicated this plan to the church wardens and several orderly people who seem very much rejoiced at it, and are very desirous of receiving.

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The people in general seem very fond of coming to church and my congregations are very much crowded. I have been in this parish exactly a month, and have baptized 66 white and nineteen black infants, besides 18 black adults. I purpose to take a Journey yearly through some parishes which are greatly in want of a minister and but poor, who I understand have scarcely ever an opportunity of having their children baptized yet preserve some sparks of religion among them. I should be very happy in my parish were it not for some Sectaries who call themselves New Light Baptists, and harbour in the skirts of my Parish and are very troublesome, but with the blessing of God I hope to eradicate them by convincing them that the Old Light is the only true one. I have talked with some of them and find them to be in general a very ignorant set of people yet notwithstanding that they busy themselves with the most mysterious parts of Scripture and believe they are absolutely bound to understand them. There is as yet no Glebe in my parish but the vestry purpose buying one immediately, if I am inducted into the parish and the reason they give why there is none, is, because they never had a Minister they would like to settle among them. There is a great want of Books in this parish as there were never any distributed here The Vestry have desired me to write home for three prayer Books and Bibles for three of the churches, one being provided. I told them I would write and enquire if the Society were willing to send them, and if they are not must beg the favor of you to give my respects to Mr Rivington and desire him to send them, as I shall direct, and should desire he were paid for them out of my Salary the Society allow. Respecting the balance of last years Salary I have judged it most expedient to defer drawing for it till this present years Salary becomes due, I shall take the liberty to preadvise you thereof.

If the Society are desirous of making any enquiry into my conduct, I hereby humbly beg leave to acquaint them that Willie Jones, and Howell Edmunds, Esquire are the two Representatives for this county, and Howell Edmonds and Mr. Samuel Lockhart the present church wardens, who I hope can never give me any other than that character which I have hitherto preserved untainted, and I pray that the Almighty may always afford me his assistance to discharge the trust reposed in me, and to grant that after I have preached to others, I myself may not become a castaway.

I am with submission &c.