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A History of the Baptists

The General Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States.

Luther Rice?His Character?Kingsford's Account?Note in His Journal?Before the American Board?Appeal to the Baptists?The Savannah Baptist Society?Organization of the Triennial Convention?The Numbers of the Baptists Small?The Messengers?The Constitution?Dr. Furman Preaches the Sermon?Judson Accepted as Missionary?Hough and Wife Sent to India?Domestic Missions?The Program?Indian Missions?Isaac McCoy?Rice Visits the Churches?A Great Crisis?A Resume of the Work.

As yet the Baptists of the United States had not organized any general meeting. There were many hindrances in the way of such a gathering. The distances were great; much of the country was sparsely settled; the roads were often impassable; the modes of travel were slow and often dangerous; and as yet there was no commanding motive for such a body. The conversion of Judson furnished the motive, and the opening of a mission in Burma the inspiration. Under these conditions the General Convention of the Baptist denomination in the United States, generally known as the Triennial Convention, was organized.

Luther Rice, who returned to America to arouse the Baptists to the support of Judson and foreign missions, was a most remarkable man. He was not without faults, he made mistakes, but his virtues and zeal outshone them all. He has been described as follows:

By nature he was endowed with many of the essential attributes of an effective speaker. His appearance was highly prepossessing, Above the ordinary height, with a robust and perfectly erect form, there was at once produced on the mind of the beholder a most favorable impression. None could fail to entertain respect, for it was demanded by s peculiar dignity of appearance and manner. Especially was thin true, when he arose in the pulpit. With a full face, and comparatively small eyes, there was sometimes rather a dull and heavy teat of countenance, which immediately changed when he became animated by speaking; his voice was clear and melodious. He had but little action, which, however, was appropriate and graceful. He was, at all times, whey he addressed an assembly, remarkable for self possession. Nothing seemed capable of discomposing his mind. Perhaps few speakers have bean apparently leas affected by external circumstances; whatever might be the character of the congregation, whether large or small, intelligent or ignorant, whether in the city or country, he was always distinguished for the same dignity and readiness of utterance . . . The style of Mr. Rice?s sermons was, in many respects, superior. A refined, critical taste, could, perhaps, have discovered, at times, a redundancy of words and phrases; but thin was no more than might have been expected from discourses which were always extemporaneous, especially when it is known that the multiplicity of other duties allowed but little time for preparation . . . The moment he began to speak, attention was roused, and uniformly the interest thus awakened was kept up throughout the services. The clearness of his conceptions, the accuracy and force of his language, and the solemn dignity of his manner, all contributed to render him one of the moat interesting public speakers of our land. Occasionally, his eloquence was overpowering, particularly when he advocated the more sublime doctrines of our holy religion. Indeed, in the discussion of such topics, he may be regarded as having been moat felicitous. There seems to have been a coincidence between the operations of his own mind, and those truths which, in their very nature, are vast and grand. The terribleness of Jehovah?s wrath, the severity of his justice, and the rectitude of all of his decisions, were themes which gave ample scope to his vigorous intellect, and is the discussion of which, he was not only instructive, but exceedingly impressive (Taylor, Memoir of Luther Rice, one of the First American Missionaries of the East, 271-273. Baltimore, 1841).

A most interesting account of Rice is given by Edward Kingsford, Augusta, Georgia, December 31, 1840, describing his courage and perseverance. He says: "Nothing but absolute necessity ever prevented him from accomplishing any purpose which he had formed in his mind, or from fulfilling an engagement be had previously made. In his numerous journeys in the South, he had frequently to cross deep and rapid streams, yet he appeared never to have been disconcerted by the threatened impediment, or deterred from making the passage, however dangerous. At one time, on approaching a stream, he perceived by the turbid state of the water, that it could not be forded without some danger, he left the horse and sulky on the bank, and plunged into the river. Just as the water reached his neck, he found himself approaching the opposite shore; he then returned and with his horse and carriage, dashed through. the foaming flood. At another time, on a similar occasion, discovering that he could not keep his books, papers, and other baggage dry, if he swam his horse and sulky through the water, he disengaged his horse from the vehicle, and with portions of his books, crossed the stream thirteen times, and then, wet as he was, pursued his journey. Once, when he came to a very deep and rapid river on which stood a mill, he called to the miller to help him over. ?Help you over?? said the man, with astonishment, ?you will not be able to cross that river today.? ?Yes, I shall,? said Rice, ?if you will help me.? Immediately alighting, he commenced operations. He first took one wheel off the sulky and carried it through the mill; he took off the other, and transported it in the same way. Afterwards, by the aid of the miller, he carried the body of the sulky through. By a number of successive trips, he conveyed over the harness and the baggage, then mounting his horse he swam him through the river, and then went on his way to secure the object to which he had devoted his life. Upon another occasion, a friend sent him in a carriage to a place where he was to be met by another; but the latter failed to meet him, he pursued his journey carrying a small trunk. A part of his journey was pursued through a long and dreary swamp. Being asked by friends, sometime after, if he did not feel afraid while passing through the swamp on foot and alone; he replied, ?I thought of nothing except the object that was before me"? (The Baptist Banner and Pioneer, February 16, 1841) .

Such was the man American Baptists sent forth to represent their cause. While on his voyage home, March 25, he entered the following note in his journal: "This day I am thirty years old. I renewedly give myself to the Lord, renewedly devote myself to the cause of missions, and beg of God to accept me as his, and particularly as devoted to the missionary service." After spending two months in the city of St. Salvador, where he remarks, "the Catholic superstition was entirely predominant, forming a state of heathenism as bad as any other," he obtained passage to New York.

On September 15, in Boston, he appeared before the American Board of Commissioners. He laid before that body a verbal and written account of his change of sentiments and the reasons for them. He was courteous and kind but received scant recognition in return.

From henceforth Rice entered into a new relation; engaged in new, important and very laborious and responsible endeavors to awaken the Baptist churches in the United States to the desirableness and practicability of combining their energies in. the cause of missions.

Everywhere the movement took form and societies for the promotion of foreign missions were constituted. The appeal of the Savannah Association, Georgia, written by Dr. W. T. Brandy, Sr., is characteristic of many others, and is sufficient, in this place, to show the spirit of the Baptists:


To the Inhabitants of Georgia, and the adjacent parts of South Carolina:

Friends and Brethren?As the great family of man are connected together by the same fraternal bond, it is the high duty and interest of all of its members to use the best means in their power for the benefit of the whole. Of all those means which have been employed for that great end, none have been found so effectual as the preaching of the everlasting gospel. The obligations to contribute to its extension, therefore, must be proportionately binding.

The gospel of Christ exhibiting the moat important truths and furnishing the moat exalted motives for action, accurately delineating the path to pure, unalloyed happiness, and deriving its authority from Jehovah himself, produces, in its diffusion, results in relation to the benefit of man, which human sages, lawgivers and kings have for ages labored in vain to effect. Alienated from his God by sin, deprived of the favor of his Creator by apostasy, man wanders in the earth a wretched object, a forsaken rebel, a child of hell. No ray of light, no gleam of hope issues from his dark abode to point out the way to restoration, happiness sad glory. No human efforts can relieve his hopeless condition. But in the gospel of Christ the sun of righteousness is seen rising with healing under his wings. His divine rays, wherever they penetrate, scatter the mists which overwhelm man in despair. These discover to him the way of deliverance and joy, and lead to the portals of bliss. On a great part of the earth, these rays have fallen with happiest effect, illuminating the extensive regions, turning their inhabitants from darkness to light, and preparing them for immortal felicity. But a far greater part of the earth remains unvisited by these beams, and consequently continues in darkness, and sees no light. But this part waits their appearance, and shall not wait in vain. The time approaches when those who have long eat in the region and shadow of death, shall have light to spring up unto them. The sun of righteousness shall diffuse among them the beams of light, and the whole earth shall be full of his glory.

Late events in divine providence prove, with convincing testimony, that this time fast approaches. Ware and rumors of wars, the overturning of nations, the rapidly increasing destruction of the Man of Sin, and the growing spread of divine truth-events predicted by the prophets, and represented by them as preclusive to the general diffusion of the gospel clearly show that the universal triumph of Christ, the King of Zion, is sot far distant. What deserves particular notice in this view, is the missionary spirit which, within a few years peat, has been kindled with enthusiastic ardor in Europe, at the altar of divine love. Under its influence great things have been attempted and performed in idolatrous nations.

America, catching the same hallowed spirit, has been animated to similar exertions. Besides many societies formed for missionary efforts in this country, one, to the immortal honor of our Congregational and Presbyterian brethren, has been organized by them, of considerable extent and importance. Under their patronage, missionaries have been sent out for the purpose of effecting establishments in the East, for the diffusion of the gospel among the heathen tribes. That our brethren of these denominations should not be alone, in this great work, God, in the arrangement of infinite wisdom, hoe been pleased to bring some of their missionaries over to the Baptist persuasion. These, still desirous of pursuing then? generous, disinterested career, for the benefit of the heathen, now present themselves to the American Baptists for support. And shall they present themselves in vain? Fiends and brethren, can the finger of divine providence, so evidently marking out the path for us, be mistaken? Can the Lord?s will, so clearly made known in this dispensation, be misinterpreted? Surely not! It cannot be! If then, it be the high duty and interest of the great family of man to promote each other?s happiness, Bind the benefit of the whole, and that it cannot be denied; and if the diffusion of the gospel of Christ be the most effectual means of securing those objects?a truth that must be admitted; then it is undoubtedly our duty and our interest to embrace the present suspicious moment, and engage is joyful haste and determined energy in the great work of evangelizing the poor heathen.

Since the secession of our dear brethren, Rice, Judson and lady, the individuals alluded to above, several missionary societies have been formed by the Baptists of America. These societies have for their object tie establishment and support of foreign missions; and it is contemplated that delegates from them all will convene in some central situation in the United States for the purpose of organizing an efficient and practicable plan, on which the energies of the whole Baptist denomination, throughout America, may be elicited, combined and directed, in one sacred effort for sending the word of life to idolatrous lands. What a dime spectacle will the convention present l A numerous body of the Lord?s people, embracing in their connection from 100,000 to 200,000 souls, all rising in obedience to their Lord, and meeting by delegation, in one august assembly, solemnly to engage in one sacred effort for effectuating the great command: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature"

What spectacle can more solemnly interest the benevolent heart! What can be more acceptable to our heavenly Father! We invite you, dear friends, and brethren-we affectionately and cordially invite you-to embrace the privilege of uniting in so glorious a cause, so divine a work. God has put great honor upon us in giving us so favorable an opportunity of coming up "to the help of ?the Lord against the mighty." In doing so, he has conferred on us a distinguished privilege. Shall we be insensible to the honor? Shall we disregard the privilege? God forbid l Living in a country whose generous soil yields, with moderate industry, more than a sufficiency of the comforts of life, and professing, in great numbers, to be redeemed from our iniquities, our obligations to exert ourselves for the benefit of our race and the glory of God, are great indeed. O let us feel, impressively feel, the force of these obligations and act correspondingly with them l And we trust, in our attempt to act is this manner, no sectarian views, no individual prejudices, no party considerations, will have leave to operate any unfriendly influence upon a design conceived in disinterested benevolence, and having for its object the good of man and the honor of his Creator.

Connected with this address to you, friends and brethren, is the constitution on which our society is organized. According to this, you may either become members with us, or donors, or both. In either character we will cheerfully receive your aid; and, in both, we hope to have the pleasure of ranking great numbers of you.

Wishing you grace, mercy and peace, we remain affectionately, your servants in the gospel, for Christ?s sake.

William B. Johnson, President,
William T. Brantly, Corresponding Secretary.
Savannah, 17th December, 1813.

A meeting of a few leading brethren was held in Boston early in the autumn of 1813, to consult on the best course to pursue. At first, it was thought advisable to make the Boston society?formed in consequence of Judson?s change of sentiments, under the broad name of "The Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel in India and other Foreign Parts," and which had already assumed the support of the Judsons?the parent institution, to which all others should become auxiliary (Daniel Sharp, Sketch of the Origin and Progress of the Triennial Convention, The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Record, February, 1842. I. 33).

Rice succeeded, however, in modifying this plan to the effect that a meeting of delegates from all parts of the country should be called at some central point as soon as practicable, to form an organization for conducting missionary operations on a more enlarged scale. With the concurrence of the brethren in the vicinity of Boston he devoted himself, during the remainder of the autumn and the ensuing winter and spring, to preparing the way for the contemplated meeting. For this purpose he visited successively New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Charleston and Savannah, together with most of the prominent towns in the southern States especially, and met with encouraging success. The brethren whom he consulted were almost unanimously desirous of a denominational movement and organization in favor of missions. Isis personal labors, and very extensive correspondence, resulted in the meeting of delegates from eleven States and the District of Columbia, in Philadelphia, on May 18, 1814; where, after mature deliberation, The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States was duly organized, to be regularly convened once in three years. On this account it was called the Triennial Convention (Barnas Sears, Memoir of Luther Rice, The Christian Review, VI. 337, 338. September, 1841).

In 1814, there were known to exist, in the United States, less than 120 Baptist associations, containing about 2,000 churches, 1,500 ministers, and 160,000 communicants. There were in 1820 a population in this country of 9,637,119.

Of this important general organization, the first among the Baptists of America, Richard Furman, of South Carolina, was chosen President, and Thomas Baldwin, of Massachusetts, Secretary. The following delegates were enrolled, the "geographical situation" being kept in view:


State of Massachusetts?

Rev?d Thomas Baldwin, D.D.

Revd Lucius Bones, A.M.

State of Rhode Island?

Rev?d Stephen Gano, A.M.

State of New York?

Rev?d John Williams.

Mr. Thomas Hewett.

Mr. Edward Probyn.

Mr. Nathaniel Smith.

State of New Jersey?

Rev?d Burgisa Allison, D.D.

Rev?d Richard Proudfoot.

Rev?d Josiah Stratton.

Rev?d William Boswell.

Rev?d Henry Smalley, A.M.

Mr. Matthew Randall.

Mr. John Sisty.

Mr. Stephen Uatick.

State of Pennsylvania?

Rev?d William Rogers, D.D.

Rev?d Henry Holcombe, D.D.

Rev?d William Stoughton, D.D.

Rev?d Wm. White, A.M.

Rev?d John Peckworth.

Rev?d Horatio G. Jones, A.M.

Rev?d Silas Hough.

Rev?d Joseph Mathias.

Stale of Delaware?

Rev?d Daniel Dodge.

State of Maryland?

Rev?d Lewis Richards.

Rev?d Thomas Brooke.

District of Columbia?

Rev?d Obadiah Browns (not present).

Rev?d Wm. Pilmore (not present).

Rev?d Luther Rice.

State of Virginia?

Rev?d Robert B. Semple.

Rev?d Jacob Grigg.

Rev?d John Bryce (not present).

State of North Carolina?

Rev?d James A. Ranaldaon.

State of South Carolina?

Rev?d Ricard Forman, D.D.

Hon. Matthias Tallmadge.

State of Georgia?

Rev?d W. B. Johnson.

The Constitution was discussed at great length and was finally adopted as follows:

We the delegates from Missionary Societies, and other religious Bodies of the Baptist denomination, in various parts of the United States, met in Convention, for the purpose of carrying into effect the benevolent Intentions of our Constituents, for organizing a plan for eliciting, combining and directing the Energies of the whole Denomination in one sacred effort, for sending the glad tidings of Salvation to the Heathen and to nations destitute of pure Gospel light, do agree to the following Rules of fundamental Principles, viz.:

I. That this body shall be styled "The General Missionary Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States of America, for Foreign Missions."

II. That a triennial Convention shall, hereafter, be held, consisting of Delegates, not exceeding two in number, from each of the several Missionary Societies, and other religious bodies of the Baptist Denomination, now existing, or which may be hereafter formed in the United States, and which shall each, regularly contribute to the general Missionary Fund, a sum, amounting to at least one hundred Dollars, per annum.

III. That for the necessary transaction and dispatch of business, during the recess of the said Convention, there shall be a Board of twenty-one Commissioners, who shall be members of the said Societies, Churches, or other religious bodies aforesaid, triennially appointed, by the said Convention, by ballot, to be called the "Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States"; seven of whom shall be a quorum for the transaction of all business; and which Board shall continue in office until successors be duly appointed; and shall have power to make sad adopt by-laws for the government of the said Board, and for the furtherance of the general objects of the Institution.

IV. That it shall be the duty of this Board, to employ Missionaries, and, if very, to take measures for the improvement of their qualifications; to fin on the ?Field of their Labours, and the compensation to be allowed them for their services; to superintend their conduct, and dismiss them, should their services be disapproved; to publish accounts, from time to time, of the Board?s Transactions, sad as annual Address to the public; to call a special meeting of the Convention on any extraordinary occasion, and, in general, to conduct the executive part of the missionary concern.

V. That such persons only as are is full communion with some regular Church of our Denomination, and who furnish satisfactory evidence of genuine Piety, good Talent, and fervent Zeal for the Redeemer?s Cause, are to be employed as Missionaries.

VI. That the Board shall choose by ballot, one President, two Vice Presidents, a Treasurer, a Corresponding, and a Recording Secretary.

VII. That the president, or in case of his absence or disability, the senior vice-president present, shad preside in all meetings of the Board, and when application shall be made is writing, by any two of the members, shall call a special meeting of the Board, giving? due notice thereof.

VIII. That the treasurer shall receive and faithfully account for all the moneys paid into the treasury, keep a regular account of receipts and disbursements, make a report thereof to the said Convention, whenever it shall be is session, sad to the Board of Missions annually, and as often as by them required. He shall also, before he enters on the duties of the office, give competent security, to be approved by the Board, for the stock cad funds that may be committed to his care.

IX. That the corresponding secretary shall maintain intercourse by letter with such individuals, societies, or public bodies, as the interest of the institution may require. Copies of all communications made by the particular direction of the Convention or Board, shall be by him handed to the recording secretary, for record and safe keeping.

X. That the recording secretary shall, ex-officio, be the Secretary of the Convention, unless some other be by them appointed in his stead. He shall attend all the meetings of the Board, and keep a faithful record of their proceedings, and of the transactions of the Convention.

XI. That in the case of the death, resignation, or disability of any of its officers, or members, the Board shall have power to fill such vacancy.

XII. That the said Convention shall have power, and is the interval of their meeting the Board of Commissioners, on the recommendation of any one of the constituent bodies belonging to the Convention, shall also have power, to elect honorary members of piety and distinguished liberality, who, on their election, shall be entitled to a seat, and take part is the debates of the Convention; but it shall be understood that the right of voting shall be confined to the delegates.

XIII. That in the case any of the constituent bodies shall be unable to send representatives to the said Convention, they shall be permitted to vote by proxy, which proxy shall be appointed by writing.

XIV. That any alterations which experience may dictate from time to time, may be made is these Articles, at the regular meeting of the Convention, by two-thirds of the members present.

Three of the delegates were from New England, twenty-one from the Middle States, seven from the Southern States, and Luther Rice from the District of Columbia. Dr. Furman preached the sermon from Matthew 28: 20. A Board of twenty-one members was selected, and Dr. Baldwin became its president. Luther Rice was "appointed, under the patronage of this board, as their Missionary, to continue his itinerate services, in these United States, for a reasonable time; with s view to excite the public mind more generally, to engage in Missionary exertions; and to assist in organizing Societies, or Institutions, for carrying the Missionary design into execution" (Minutes of the Meeting).

Joseph Mathias, a messenger to the initial meeting of the Triennial Convention, has left some interesting reminiscences. He says:

As it was my province to preach the introductory sermon at the opening of the Philadelphia Baptist Association, in October, 1813, by previous appointment, I went early to the city and called upon Dr. Holcomb, the pastor of the first Baptist church (at whose meeting house the association was to assemble), and while there, brother Luther Rice came in, an entire stranger, presented to Dr. H. some letters of introduction from brethren in Boston, New York, &c., by which he was recognized and fraternally received. He accompanied us to the meeting, was introduced to the brethren, and at a suitable time addressed the association, stating the change of his views, with respect to the ordinance of baptism, as well as those of his brother Judson and wife; his motives for returning from the East, which were particularly to elicit the patronage of the Baptists in the United States in the cause of Foreign Missions, and to take immediate measures for sustaining brother Judson, and wife in the foreign field, &c. His address was listened to with deep interest, and his pungent appeal was not made in vain. A large committee was appointed, of whom your correspondent was one, to adopt measures to facilitate the formation of a Society for Foreign Missions. That committee noon met, a society was auspiciously formed, and delegates were appointed to meet delegates from other societies in a convention, that was expected soon to be called. It is among my happy reminiscences, that I was numbered among the delegates of that Convention, which met May 18th, 1814. I saw the first movements of that body in the appointment of the President and Secretary; the selection appeared to augur favorably; that brethren from the South and North, and whose spheres of labor were near a thousand miles apart, should be unanimously called, and with one consent should sit so near together, as the united organ of that body. Assemblages of people are generally adjudged to be large or small by comparison. At that period, so many ministering and other brethren, from eleven different states, meeting together to adopt measures and to mature plans relating to the interests of the Redeemer?s kingdom, was reckoned large and propitious; but convocations of a more recent date, consisting of four or five hundred, and in some instances of a thousand and upwards, from a score or more of these United States, having in view the moral and religious state of the community, gives to that meeting rather a withering appearance; but when we consider, that though it was, in its incipient state; its deliberations, resolutions, and subsequent action, awoke many from their slumbers, and has elicited the prayers, the concentrated energies and talents, as well as the liberality of thousands in the great and noble enterprise; we may therefore contemplate that Convention as the pivot upon which the great wheel has revolved, grasping within its extensive circle, both by its centripetal and centrifugal effects, an influence and sympathy that has already astonished even the most sanguine, and which, under the blessing of God, shall continue to revolve through succeeding generations, until every nation, "who see the light and feel the sun," shall be brought under the sweet and benign influence of the irradiating beams of the Son of Righteousness, through the instrumentality of the blessed gospel, "which brought life and immortality to light, and which shall be published in every land."

At the morning session of the first day, Dr. Furman was requested to preach that evening upon the occasion. He complied. His text was Matthew 27:20? "And, to l I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (The Baptist Memorial and Monthly Chronicle, 191, 192. June, 1842).

The following interesting table illustrates the progress of the Triennial Convention:







States Rep.

Convention Sermon






Dr. Furman.






Dr. Baldwin.






O. B. Brown.






Dr. Stoughton.


New York




Dr. Mercer.






Dr. Sharp.


New York




Dr. Wayland.






Dr. S. H. Cone.


New York




B. Stow.






R. Fuller.






Dr. S. W. Lynd.


It was also determined that Adoniram Judson, "now in India, be considered as a Missionary, under the care and direction of this Board; of which he shall be informed without delay: That provision be made for the support of him and his family accordingly; and that one thousand dollars be transmitted to him by the first safe opportunity: That the Secretary of the Particular Baptist Society, for Missions in England, be informed of this transaction; and that this Board has assumed the pledge given by the Boston Mission Society, to pay any bills which may be drawn on them, in consequence of advances made in favor of Mr. and Mrs. Judson" (Minutes of the Meeting of the Baptist Board, 13). Burma was chosen as the field of operation and "Mr. Rough, who was twenty-eight years of age, a native of Winsor, Vt., and a member of the Baptist church at Pawtucket, R. I.," was sent out to assist Judson in the mission (The First Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States, 28. Philadelphia, 1815) . At the time this report was made the Board had not as yet heard from Judson.

A very timely caution is given in the second annual report as follows:

An error against which it becomes the friends of missions carefully to guard, is the expectation that their plans and contributions shall immediately produce great and animating effects. A language, and in some instances a very difficult one, is to be acquired, before a Missionary can begin his labors; when they are commenced, it is merely the seed time, not the harvest. A minister of Jesus introduced among the heathen, is placed in circumstances peculiarly delicate. When he observes their attachment to superstitions which have obtained sanction in the minds of idolaters by the approbation of ages, and of thousands of their populace, their priests and their philosophers; a sense of his own insufficiency, the temptations of the adversary, and the occasional assaults of unbelief, to which the beat of men are subject may often originate despairing sentiments. Should he at any time express them, the sympathies of the disciples of Christ ought to be called into exercise. It were foolish and cruel to conclude a station untenable, or an adventure abortive, because existing aspects may have created temporary dismay; and still more so to censure a Missionary for having not done what God alone can accomplish. The kingdoms of this world moat become the Lord?s. Burma shall se assuredly bow to the Messiah se shall the United States, or Europe, or Hindoostan. God, in his providence, opens channels for the diffusion of his gospel; and in ways, transcending all human calculations, levels mountainous impedimenta into plains. The Moravian Missionaries laboured long without any visible fruit. At the expiration of six years the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal were not satisfied that s solitary native had been converted to Christ (The Second Annual Report of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions, 69, 80. Philadelphia, 1818).

At first the duties of this Board were confined to foreign missions; but at the Convention of 1817 the following provision was added in regard to Domestic Missions:

That the Board of Foreign Missions for the United States, have full power at their discretion to appropriate a portion of the funds to domestic missionary purposes, in such parts of the country where the seed of the Word may be advantageously cast, and which mission societies on a small scale do not effectively reach (Minutes of the Convention for 1817, 131).

As a result of this action of the Convention the following program was inaugurated by the Board in the appointment of a number of missionaries:

Resolved, That the Board contemplates, with deep concern, the miserable condition of the various tribes of Indians on our continent; that they regard a .favorable indication in Providence, the anxious solicitude which many, particularly is the neighborhood of the Indians, manifest for introducing the Gospel among them; that the Board will avail itself of the earliest opportunity, when any suitable person or persons shall offer for the service, to make a vigorous effort in relation to some of the tribes; and that, pursuant to this determination, the Corresponding Secretary be instructed to write to the Rev. Humphrey Poesy, from whom some interesting information has been already received, to learn of him still further views, particularly in relation to the Cherokees, in whose neighborhood he has resided, whether he would be willing to labour among them, and if so, what plan of operation would he suggest as most eligible, and what support would be requisite.?Also, that the Corresponding Secretary be instructed to write to the Corresponding Secretary of the Sarepta Mission Society on this subject, and to any others from whom he may judge important information may be obtained.

Application was made on the part of the Rev. Messrs. John M. Peck, and James E. Welsh, for an appointment to a Western mission, having reference ultimately to the Western Indians. This application was accompanied with a statement by their tutor, the Rev. Dr. Stoughton, much in favor of their religious character and deportment while members of his family; and of their talents and acquirements for the sacred ministry, which was highly satisfactory to the Board.

Resolved, unanimously, That the said brethren, James E. Welsh and John M. Peck, be accepted as missionaries of this Board; that they be instructed to proceed, as soon as convenient, to the westward, with a view to commence their labors at St. Louis, or rte vicinity, in the Missouri Territory; that 1,000 dollars be placed in their hands, to assist them in going with their families to St. Louis, and to support them in the commencement of their missionary exertions; that they be authorized and requested to make collections of money, and of books, as opportunities offer, with a view of aiding the Western mission, and give an account of the same to the Board; that they be instructed also to make inquiries, after arriving in the missionary field, relative to the native tribes in that quarter; and that, on the ensuing Sabbath, they be solemnly set apart to the service of the said Western mission.

Resolved, That the Corresponding Secretary be instructed to write to the Rev. Isaac McCoy, informing him of the designation of the two brethren to missionary service in St. Louis, and the surrounding country, for which station they have been for a considerable time preparing; that his application has been received by the Board with emotions of pleasure and satisfaction; and that they request him to inform them whether there is not in that quarter, and perhaps nearer to Vincennes than is St. Louis, some other station in which a missionary is equally needed, and in which he would be willing to labor.

Also, that the Corresponding Secretary be requested to write to the Rev. John Young, of Kentucky, in reply to his letters, informing him, that on applying to the committee for the Western section of our country, appointed for the examination of applicants for missionary service, should he think proper to do so, they will make such a representation of the case to the Board as their piety and prudence may dictate, and to which the Board will find pleasure in paying the earliest attention.

A letter from the Rev. James A. Ranaldson at New Orleans, in which he signifies a willingness to accept a missionary appointment in that quarter, where, it appears, an extensive field for missionary labour calls for the hand of cultivation, was taken into consideration. The case of Mr. Ranaldson was also recommended by a letter from the Rev. William B. Johnson.

Resolved, unanimously, That the Rev. Mr. Ranaldson be employed as a missionary of this Board in New Orleans and its vicinity; and that he be requested to visit such of the Indian tribes in that quarter se he has referred to in his letter, and others if he can; and inquire into the practicability of establishing schools among them; and that 500 dollars be forwarded to his assistance (Minutes of the Convention for 1817, 140, 141).

In this manner the Convention began labor among the Indians and the whites on both sides of the Great River. The home work done by the Board was never quite satisfactory. In the Life of Spencer H. Cone, by his two sons, McCoy has been thus described: "Isaac McCoy was one of the most lovable men we ever had the happiness to be acquainted with. Living his whole life among the wild Indian tribes, and wilder frontiersmen; living a life of exposure, vicissitude and hardships scarcely to be described; always in the saddle or the camp, and every day risking life and limb to preach the gospel amongst those whom all the rest of the world seemed to conspire to destroy or forget?his mind and manners, instead of becoming rude or hard in these rough uses and associations grew, all the while, softer, holier, and more loving. Nothing could be finer than his manners. Never familiar, and carrying in his quiet eye an indescribable something which prevented anyone from ever being familiar with him, he never repelled. On the contrary, he attracted; children loved him. Men were compelled to feel, in his company, that they were near something good, kind and noble. The warm coloring of the heart tinged his words and manners, quiet as they were, in everything he did or said. If you had done anything true or good you knew he loved you for it. When he looked at you, you felt that there was no selfish thought or scheme working in his mind; but that he was thinking what he could do for your benefit or happiness, or for the benefit of some poor soul that was in need of others? help and kindness" (Walter N. Weyth, Isaac McCoy and Early Indian Missions, 233, 234. Philadelphia, 1895). For the poor Indians he did a monumental work.

For a whole year after the formation of the Convention Rice visited the churches, associations, and missionary anniversaries in the northern and eastern States. At the same time he carried on an active correspondence with leading brethren throughout the country. The next year, 1815-16, he spent in a similar manner in the southern and western States. From his annual report to the Board in 1817, a single sentence will show his toil: "In fifteen weeks, besides traveling more than 3,300 miles and attending the North Carolina General Meeting of Correspondence, a yearly meeting in Virginia, a meeting of the Kentucky Baptist Mission Society, and assisting the formation of a mission society in Tennessee; a kind Providence has enabled me to visit fifteen associations, spread through Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi Territory, the Carolinas and Georgia, securing at each association a public collection to aid the missionary funds, and the adoption of a plan of regular intercourse and correspondence with the Board." In ten months his collections had amounted to more than ten thousand dollars. The receipts of the Board for that year were about double their expenditures; and looking at their position with the advantage of all the light it would have been deemed best for Rice to have returned to India (The Christian Review, VI.).

By the year 1824 the missionary enterprise reached a crisis; and the Board was critically involved in debt. Its affairs were badly entangled with those of Colombian College. The Convention in 1826 cut loose from the college. The Board had already been removed to Boston, and avowedly determined to pursue work only among the heathen. Some of the difficulties are thus recorded in the report of the Board for 1826 to the Triennial Convention:

The Committee to whom was entrusted, since October, 1824, the care of the Foreign Missions, entered upon their duties without delay, and they trust, with a measure of prayerful dependence upon divine aid. They found, as they expected, from the state of your treasury, the spirit of Missions in the churches, very low. They forbear to go into detail of the circumstances which have contributed to this result, and will rather dwell on the measures adopted to remedy the evil. These have been limited in their application, not of choice, but of necessity. But a few of the means of which they wished to avail themselves, were in their power. They could secure but little of the aid which is derivable from discreet and active Agents. They could not at once address themselves to all those whose cooperation was desired, by means of periodical publications, for by many of them these were neither taken nor read. They were not sure of the concurrence of even their ministering brethren, for some of them yet remain to be satisfied of their duty to be workers together with Christ, in sending the gospel to the heathen, But by these considerations your Committee was not discouraged. If they could not accomplish all that was desirable, they were willing to attempt what was practicable. They were also willing to exercise patience and charity toward their brethren, who took no part in the benevolent operations of the day, believing that when more information of the actual state of things was diffused among them, they would come up to the help of the Lord. As then they could make but limited efforts, they deemed it their duty to direct these first, to places nearest to them, and as effectually as possible, to secure the grounds passed over. They digested and caused to be-printed, a plan for the information of Societies, such as they thought would prove convenient in all parts of the country. Upon this plan they have acted in their own country. Upon this plan they have acted in their own churches, and have been seconded with the best effect by many ministers and churches in Massachusetts. The same has been done and with similar success in the State of Maine, and they indulge the hope that the system may prevail through the country. By these measures, together with sums which have come into the treasury from older establishments, they have been able to meet the wants of the Missions abroad, and have ascertained to their satisfaction, that provided the moneys be discreetly and faithfully applied, the churches will be disposed to furnish all that will be necessary to a vigorous prosecution of the objects in hand (Minutes of the Convention for 1826, 8, 9).

The foreign work and liabilities of the Baptist General Convention, April 1, 1846, were as follows: Missions, 16; stations and out-stations, 143; missionaries and assistants, 99, of whom 42 are preachers; native preachers and assistants, 155; churches, 82; members of churches, 5,373, including 604 baptized the previous year; schools, 54; and pupils in attendance, 2,000.

Receipts, $100,219.94, including $29,203.40 toward the debt. Remainder old debt, $10,985.09. Total liabilities, $34,835.09.

Two hundred fifty-seven missionaries had been sent into the field, 213 from the north and west, and 23 from the south; the others, not of this country. The contributions to the Triennial Convention from 1814 to 1845 were $874,027.92.

The Memorial of August, 1846, referring to the south, used this language: "In thirty-three years of the operations of our Foreign Mission organization, the slave holding States have paid into the common treasury $215,856.28, or less than one-fourth of what has been contributed for this object."

Books for further reference:

Proceedings of the General Convention of the Baptist Denomination in the United States at their various meetings.

The Annual Reports of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions of the United States.

The Latter Day Luminary; by a Committee of the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions for the United States. February 18, 1818, to November, 1825. 6 volumes,

Isaac McCoy, History of Baptist Indian Missions: embracing remarks on the former and present Condition of the Aboriginal Tribes; their Settlement within the Indian Territory, and their future Prospects. Washington, 1840.