290 – Oct. 17 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

Baptists did not seek revenge

 

1770 – In their meeting, the Baptists of the Philadelphia Association read letters from churches in New England, such as those from Ashfield, Mass., who wrote explaining their problems which involved unfair taxation. Even though the Baptists had  established the township and most of the families were Baptist and had founded a Baptist house of worship, the Presbyterians families decided to build a meetinghouse, hire a pastor and tax the Baptist families for the costs. The Baptists petitioned the general court for relief, but in April 1770 the court ruled in favor of the Presbyterians. One Baptist had his house and garden sold, others saw their young orchards, meadows, and cornfields sold, one purchaser being the Presbyterian minister. In all, the Baptists lost 395 acres of land valued at ₤363 8s. The total auction price was ₤35 10s. Inasmuch as the Presbyterians still needed ₤200 more for their building, two additional auctions were held to dispose of Baptist property. The Baptists finally sought redress before the assembly at Cambridge and were told, “The general assembly has a right to do what they did, and if you don’t like it you may quit the place!” The Warren Association called for a period of fasting and prayer. The seizures continued. On May 9, 1773, Gershom Proctor (82) and his son Henry, along with Nathan Crosby, for ministerial rates, were carried to Concord jail. It should be noted that when the Baptists finally got the upper hand, they did not seek revenge against their persecutors. [William G. McLoughlin, ed., The Diary of Isaac Baacus (Providence, R.I.: Brown University Press, 1979), 2:780. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. 568-70.]  Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

 

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