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one is. At one side was a dwelling house, inhabited by the preacher, and cared for by colored women. The church was sixty feet long and forty-two feet broad, the walls being of stone. Galleries were on each side, access to them being obtained by ladders. Here, no doubt, the boys and young men went, while the older people sat below, the men on one side and the women on the other. For a long time there were no backs to the seats. There were no class rooms and no lecture rooms, and Sunday schools were still unknown. By 1770 the congregation had increased so much that it sometimes numbered over a thousand, and its members felt that an experienced and able preacher was required. In this Mr. Embury, their temporary pastor, no doubt coincided, for he was a carpenter, and wrought at that calling all the week. With his own hands he had raised the frame of the building in which they worshipped, and put the timbers together. Others who were employed upon it were David Morris, a carpenter;
, John Gasner, a painter and glazier, and Samuel Edmonds, a mason. He was the grandfather of the late Judge Edmonds. The name conferred upon the edifice was Wesley Chapel. This was the first time this appellation was used, either here or abroad, for John Wesley would certainly have forbidden it in England as savoring of vanity.
The John Street Church was favored with earnest and effective ministers and officers during the third of a century which elapsed between its beginning and the end of the century. The first preacher, as before remarked, was Philip Embury. He retired from New York in 1770, settling in Ashgrove, Washington County, and died near there five years after. He was then fortyfive years of age. The next preacher was Robert Williams, who arrived here from England in 1769. Mr. Wesley gave him a permit to preach here under the direction of two missionaries whom he was about to send over, but he arrived in New York before them. His passage was paid by a friend. The trustees defrayed his bills, some of which will excite a laugh. The Rev. J. B. Wakeley, in his entertaining and instructive book, "Lost Chapters in the History of Methodism,” gives extracts from the account book of the church at this period from which we reproduce the following:
1769. Sept. 20. Mr. Jarvis for a hat for Mr. Williams
5 0 Sept. 22. Book for Mr. Williams
9 Oct. 9 Cloak for Mr. Robert Williams
3 06 1770. July 26. Paid Mr. Maloney for shaving preachers 2 5 6 Nov. 22. Paid Mr. Boardman for one quarter's clothing 7 10 0
1771. May 16. Castor oil for Mr. Pilmoor..
0 3 0 1772. July 16. Cleaning the dwelling-house and housekeeping, washing for the preacher, etc.
5 3 8
The two missionaries named by Mr. Wesley were Richard Boardman and Joseph Pilmoor, able and earnest men. Both did much work elsewhere than in New York. Before the war began they returned to England, Boardman dying there in 1782. Mr. Pilmoor came back to America, becoming an Episcopalian clergyman. Francis Asbury and Richard Wright were the next missionaries, the former being the great organizer of the church in America. They were followed in 1773 by Thomas Rankin, 1774 George Shadford, 1775 James Dempster, 1776 Daniel Ruff, 1777 John Mann, 1778 to 1782 Samuel Spraggs, and 1783 and 1784 John Dickins. Of these Daniel Ruff was the first American, all those before him having been Englishmen. John Mann was a local preacher, who stepped into the gap when the regular ministers deserted the church, and preached and exhorted until relief came in the shape of Samuel Spraggs, from Philadelphia. Mr. Spraggs was probably the only Methodist minister who was ever stationed five years at one appointment. This was compulsory. He could go nowhere else, nor could any one be obtained to come here.
Many historians have been led into error respecting the posi. tion of this church during the Revolution. It has generally been supposed that it was closed up. But Watson, in his Sketches of Olden Times in New York, says: “ The Presbyterian clergymen were, throughout the war, zealous to promote the cause of the Revolution. The Methodists, on the contrary, then few in num. ber, were deemed loyalists, chiefly from the well-known loyalism of their founder, Mr. Wesley. Perhaps to this cause it was that the society in John street enjoyed so much indulgence as to occupy their church for Sunday night service, while the Hessians had it in the morning for their own chaplains and people.” The records of the book discovered by Mr. Wakeley show this to be
When the English preachers returned to their country, and the services seemed likely to stop, John Mann, at that time only a local preacher, came forward and led the society each Sun. day. After a time Mr. Spraggs arrived here from Philadelphia, and Mr. Mann resigned his position to him. The expense account went on, as did the receiving of money. The collections during the war were larger than before, so that there was no financial stringency. This is accounted for by the fact that during most of the Revolution New York was the British metropolis, receiving the bulk of the supplies from the other side, as well as purchasing for the use of the army. There were many hangerson, and many Tories came to town from other places, so as to be protected. All must spend money. Several of the churches had been closed by the war, and one of the English churches had burned down. With, therefore, a larger and richer population than usual, and fewer churches, it is no wonder that the collections were great if the preachers had any attractiveness. The last payment to Mr. Spraggs was June 10, 1783. His successor was John Dickins, who is given the credit of beginning the Methodist Book Concern in Philadelphia, later removed to New York. His son was for many years Secretary of the United States Senate.
DIARY OF DR. ALEXANDER ANDERSON.
Dr. Alexander Anderson, the father of American wood engraving, was born in this city on the 21st of April, 1775, and died in Jersey City January 17, 1870, lacking only a few months of being ninety-five years old. He was the first engraver of note in this city, and the first in America who engraved on wooden blocks. All previous work had been done on type metal. He began his diaries when a very young man, those for the years 1795 to 1798 being still preserved, having been added to the Library of Columbia College by the Phænix bequest. They comprise over a thousand pages, of about the size of an 18mo, and are written in
, a very clear and beautiful hand. Each month begins a chapter, and each chapter is decorated with a suitable drawing both for its head and ending. The extracts given here begin in January, 1795, when he was not quite twenty years of age, and was studying medicine with Dr. Joseph Young, a surgeon of reputation in
a the Revolutionary struggle. The title page to the volume, neatly written by Anderson, is “ A. Anderson's Journals for 1795, 1796, 1797, 1798, New York."
1st. Morning-1 cast over again the plate of Type-metal for Cressin's work.
A slight fall of snow.—Attended at the Doctors.—Kindled a fire in the shop.—Call’d upon N. Birdsall* and receiv'd 8/ 10.
Scene the Dr’st Shop-Gen. Campbell enters and after the usual compliments undertakes to prove that Woman was made upon the 7th day.--Dr. Youle F arrived - Political Justice & Criminal codes became the subjects of discussion.-Dr. Smith
* Nathaniel Birdsall, printer and bookseller, at 80 Cherry street.
+ Dr. Joseph Young. Dr. Anderson had then been with him since May 1, 1789.
| Dr. Joseph Youle, who lived at 97 Beekman street. He was at that time the Scribe of the Council of Tammany.
made his appearance and the Gen. not long after, his exit.-A System of Education on the principles of Moral Chemistry was sketch'd out—the Company was augmented by the arrival of Johnson Butler and Mr. Nixon—the Drs departed & Mr. Watson,* Merchant Taylor, came in—made a short stay.
At 4 O'clock, dinner being ready I sat down, in company with about 14, to 9 or 10 dishes--I eat but little meat but was not so reserv'd with the pies, to which I impute the disorder of my stomach afterwards—about 5 I left the table and went homemet A. Tiebout who was going to the play.—At my Father's, + Dr. Davidson and my brother were getting ready for the play. I attempted to drink tea, but nature pointed to a contrary indication, in short, I had no need of emetic or cathartic.-Mr. Scoles 7 came and sat awhile-paid me 1/ for mending the stamp-some strictures on Mr. Stanford. §-About 7 I return'd to the Dr's and read-still felt sick at my stomach.—Before 9 I came home, fell to work at polishing a type-metal plate, and with my employment, found the tone of my stomach returning.
2d. Morning--polishing type-metal. our Family invited to dine with the Dr. to-morrow.-I went to Dr. Smith's and Dr. Youles with the same invitation—at the latter place, was presented with a cake & wine-Dr. Youle was endeavoring to convince Mr. Hawes that “plants have sensation.—As I was enter
* Matthew Watson, of 166 Pearl street.
+John Anderson, his father, had been in business as a printer and publisher of a paper in this city before the Revolution, but had been compelled to fly on the approach of the British, to whom his paper was thoroughly obnoxious. After the war, he was for a time in his old calling, as printer, not publisher, but abandoned it, and in 1795 was an auctioneer at 77 Wall street. He was a Scotchman by birth. 1 John Scoles, the engraver, then at 36 Fair (now Fulton) street.
He was a very young man, and had picked up the art himself.
$ The Rev. John Stanford, schoolmaster, at 81 Fair street.
| The type-metal plates then used probably had to be mounted on wooden blocks, and were quite thin. Their surface was irregular, and needed to be shaved down and then rubbed till there was no scratch or flaw anywhere.
• William Pitt Smith, Professor of Materia Medica in Columbia College. His residence was at 79 Beekman street.