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throne of grace, that I may be finally pardoned and accepted in the Beloved.

With my most hearty respects to you, and all friends with you, and wishing you a more useful and successful ministry, with a firm health, and long time of serviceableness here, and more abundant rewards hereafter from our great and good Lord and Master, I subscribe,

Dear Sir,

Your unworthy brother,

And fellow laborer in the Gospel,

Marblehead, November 14, 1766.


[At the regular monthly meeting of the Massachusetts Historical Society, held Jan 28, 1836, the following Paper was read by the Rev. Abiel Holmes, D. D. a resident member. Whereupon it was voted that it be referred to the Committee of Publication, and be inserted in the next volume of the Society's Collections.-Pub. Com.]

To the Massachusetts Historical Society.

In the Annals of America [under A. D. 1664] an Act of the General Assembly of Rhode Island, 1662, is stated to have allowed all men of competent estates and of civil conversation, “ Roman Catholics only excepted," to be admitted freemen. The authenticity of the excepting clause has been disputed; but, if a subsequent repeal of such an exception be conclusive evidence of its original insertion, the question is now settled. A copy of the Act of Repeal is now before me in the handwriting of Mr. John Howland, President of the Rhode Island Historical Society. The document being of some historical importance, is now communicated, with an account of its discovery as given me by my correspondent in a letter dated

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Providence, March 4, 1834. "A paper relating to the Roman Catholic exception in the Act of Toleration passed in 1663 by the Colonial Assembly of Rhode Island has fallen into my hands, and I herewith enclose it to you, as it sets at rest in my mind the question contested. In conversation a few days since with Mr. John Howland, an aged, intelligent and respectable antiquary, I adverted to the above subject, when it suddenly occurred to his recollection that there was an Act passed by the General Assembly between 1780 and '84, and published in the newspaper of the day, repealing the exception made in 166 against Roman Catholics. Whereupon I went to the file of newspapers of that day, preserved in the Foster Collection, but found they were not entire. But in the mean time, Mr. Howland went to the schedules of the Assembly, filed in the office of the Secretary of State, and found the Act in print, a copy of which I here enclose, in the handwriting of Mr. Howland.

"February Session, 1733. "Be it enacted, &c. That all the Rights and Privileges of the Protestant citizens of this State, as declared in and by an Act made and passed the first day of March, A. D. 1663, be and the same are hereby fully extended to Roman Catholic citizens, and that they being of competent estates, and of civil conversation, and acknowledging and paying obedito the Civil Magistrate, shall be admitted Freemen, and shall have liberty to choose and be chosen Civil or Military Officers within this State: Any Exception in said Act to the contrary nowithstanding."

"The above is on page 79."

Respectfully communicated

to the Mass. Hist. Society.

A. H.


THE REV. JOHN ALLYN, D. D. was born at Barnstable, Mass., on the 21st of March, 1767. He pursued the preparatory studies for admission to college under the care of the Rev. Mr. Hilliard, who was then minister of Barnstable, but afterwards the colleague and successor of the venerable Dr. Appleton of Cambridge. He entered Harvard University in 1781, and took the usual degrees of A. B. in 1785 and of A. M. in 1788. Not long before he was graduated, he was seized with a violent and dangerous illness, in consequence of which he was unable to appear in the part assigned to him. at the Commencement. Though but in his eighteenth year when he left college, yet during his whole academic course he was distinguished by persevering industry, and by a developement of talent which gave him a very high rank among the members of his class. He returned to Barnstable, where he was for some time engaged in the business of instruction. Having determined to devote himself to the work of the Christian ministry, he studied theology under the direction of the Rev. Dr. Samuel West of Dartmouth, now New Bedford,―a man distinguished for his Scriptural learning and metaphysical powers, as well as for eccentricities, of which some anecdotes are still current in our community.

In September, 1788, the subject of this notice received an invitation from the church and society in Duxbury to settle with them in the ministry. On the 12th of the following October he signified his acceptance of the invitation. He was ordained on the 3d of December, 1788. The sermon was preached by the Rev. Samuel West of New Bedford, from 2 Timothy, ii. 15; the charge was given by the Rev. Dr. Hitchcock of Pembroke; and the right hand of fellowship presented by the Rev. David Barnes of Scituate. These performances were printed.*

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* It is observable that in the record of the ordination the clergy of the council are called bishops. Thus it is said, Bishop Hitchcock gave the charge, and Bishop Barnes the right hand of fellowship." I know not whether this was a common style in such records at that time, or a peculiarity of this case.

The ministry of Dr. Allyn in Duxbury was long, and for the most part, happy. He discharged his duties with uniform fidelity and ability. He was the personal friend as well as the spiritual guide of his people,-heartily devoted to their temporal and eternal welfare, judicious but fearless in rebuk-. ing sin, wise and faithful in the administration of the interests of religion. The purpose, which lay nearest to his heart was, to build up the cause of righteousness and of practical truth. He was the benefactor of the poor, the comforter of the distressed, the counsellor of all; and the affectionate respect of those, for whom he labored, rewarded for many years his zealous and unwearied services.

His professional reputation was continually increasing, till he stood among the first clergymen in the Commonwealth. His opinions were valued and his aid sought in those ways, which implied that his judgment was regarded with respectful confidence. He was alone in the ministry of his church at Duxbury till June 7, 1826, when the Rev. Benjamin Kent was settled as associate pastor. After that time, Dr. Allyn seldom engaged in any public services, as his strength and spirits were constantly declining. He died on Friday, July 19th, 1833, and was buried on the following Monday. The corpse was borne to his meeting-house, where his old friend and classmate, the Rev. Professor Ware of Harvard University, who always loved and honored him, preached a funeral sermon from Luke xx. 36. The body was deposited in the tomb of a highly respected parishioner and friend, the Hon. George Partridge, one of the worthies of the Revolution. When Dr. Allyn died, he was in the 67th year of his age, and in the 45th year of his ministry. The Rev. Mr. Kent, after a faithful, laborious, and trying ministry, had resigned his office, as colleague, a short time before the death of the senior pastor.

It will be conceded by all who knew Dr. Allyn, that in the general cast of his mind there was much striking originality. He was seldom content to think, or to express his thoughts, like ordinary men; and when he did utter a truth in itself common-place and obvious, he often placed it in such an attitude, or exhibited it in such relations, as to give it all the interest of novelty. This disposition to avoid the beaten tråck of thought was sometimes indulged to an excess, which rendered his expressions liable to misconstruction by those who

were unacquainted with his intellectual habits. He certainly had none of that dread of giving offence by contradiction, or by peculiarity of sentiment, which sometimes degenerates into the timid and unmanly pliancy so expressively designated by the assentatio of the ancient Romans. A man, who unites with such a disposition an incautious frankness of conversation, is quite likely to be misunderstood. His remarks may easily be taken out of the connection and circumstances in which they were uttered, and may be represented in such a bald manner as to give them a strange and objectionable aspect. This sometimes happened to Dr. Allyn. But those who were familiar with the character of his thoughts, and saw the application and bearing of his maxims or his general observations, were struck at once with their far-reaching wisdom and their felicitous novelty. The same turn of mind which rendered him impatient of every thing obvious or trite in conversation, enabled him frequently to surprise and delight those who heard him by elicting rich instruction from the most ordinary object or passage among the cares and employments of social life, and by connecting with topics apparently the most barren or unworthy of notice, maxims and truths that were not soon forgotten. He often laid open a valuable mine, where others saw only the stones of the field or the common soil of earth.

Dr. Allyn had a rich, but peculiar imagination. It was by no means poetical, but might be designated as the playful and homely imagination of strong common sense, throwing around every subject the most apt and pertinent illustrations, placing his views in a strong light by familiar and amusing comparisons, and supposing cases to exhibit in a most forcible and interesting manner the application of principles. His peculiar excellence did not lie in sustained and continuous reasoning, which indeed he would occasionally allow himself unwarrantably to undervalue,—but rather in striking out single views distinguished by their freshness, and by their tendency to kindle and stir up the minds of others. He had but little of that patience of investigation, which goes through a long process to arrive at an ordinary result. He loved rather to throw out his thoughts in a desultory and startling manner, wandering delightfully from one topic to another, sometimes by casual associations, and sometimes by resemblances and relations, which, however apparently strange at first, were perceived

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