(This narration was given by Dale several years before he handed me three tapes in response to my request to learn about his studies and his varied international experiences. The transcribing was by my secretary, Laurie Peatross Reynolds, March 2001. There were many areas of blank spaces, and numerous times that best guesses were entered by Laurie. Punctuation, spelling, and other corrections are very likely needed. References (such as the Leviticus practices) are needed and welcomed. Dr. John R. Clark MD, Payson, Utah Interview 19 March 2001.)
George Clark, later known as Deacon Clark, arrived in Boston Harbor in 1636, and later moved to Milford in 1639. He was to participate in a landmark event with symbolizes the rise of civilization. There are a number of philosophers and political historians who teach that the social structure was changed during that period. The distinguished scholar Carl J. Friedrich pinpoints the time being in the 1660s that the greatest social change occurred. This period signaled the end of royal absolutist power and it was the time when the under pinning of feudal social structure were swept away. It was the time when individuals could own property in their own name and not be serfs on the property of the lord of the manor and therefore under his control.
It was in 1639 that Carpenter George Clark joined the congregation of Peter Prudden and established a new colony at Milford. The constitution adopted was the Bible itself. The Bible was a revolutionary doctrine. In the book of Leviticus it provides that a man may distribute property to all the members of the family. 1 This is contrary to the British principle where property goes to the eldest son. This doctrine of primogeniture is the basis for the monopolistic control of property and the monopolistic imposition of government authority. When Deacon George died in 1690 he left a will 2, which provided for distribution to all his children, but with a double portion to his eldest son. This was in accordance with the law of Leviticus. In the new land of America with its vast frontier and land free for the taking it was impossible for the British government to strictly enforce the British law. However, they maintained the doctrine and it was this doctrine that the will of Deacon George Clark was to contest in a case that went all the way to parliament and became history. A consideration of the Clark case makes it clearly apparent whey the Revolutionary War happened---why it was impossible over the long run to rule 13 colonies from far across the Atlantic Ocean. There is one word that would be sufficient to sum up the difficulty: bureaucracy. Deacon George Clark had died in 1690 and the settlement of his estate at the parliament level did not take place until 1745. That is 55 years this in testate matter was tied up in bureaucracy.
The Clark case was not a simple case. It involved fundamental questions of the constitutionality and the rights between the mother country and the colonies. There was this fundamental issue at stake: must Connecticut submit its laws to the Crown for approval. Many of the colonies were required to do this but Connecticut had a special charter with unheard of rights, which had been secured by a small group of people of which Deacon George had been at the center. Because the Clark case was a question of the right of Connecticut, the Colony of Connecticut took over the prosecution of the case. They were, however, unwilling to prosecute it too vigorously because of the fear that their liberal charter would be revoked or revised. Indeed, this very action was threatened many times by the Crown.
From the standpoint of strategy the Clarks had it all over the King. They (Clarks) based their rights on their constitution and their constitution was the Bible and the Bible was the King James Bible. Can you not imagine the quandary faced by the king's lawyers when they were told by the Connecticut lawyers that the position they were taking was based upon the King James translation of the Bible, the sainted ancestor of the then present line of kings.
When the decision came from the privy council 55 years after the death of Deacon George, it was clear and decisive as reported by the historian Robert J. Taylor. In his volume Colonial Connecticut, A History, he writes: "Thus the whole point at issue was whether common law applied to the colonies authomatically….The Clark case at long last resolved the in testate in Connecticut's favor."
It was a further victory, which would earn for Connecticut the title "The Constitution State."
Within Connecticut there were a number of patriot families with unusual qualities of patriotism and idealism. They worked at village level. They provided leadership at democratic town meetings held in New England. They strengthened democratic institutions at the local level. This is what the real revolution was about: strength and activity and the exercise of judgment at the local level.
It is said that the Revolutionary War made little difference to the ordinary New England resident. The changers were at the top. If you were to go into the country courthouse as I have done in New England county seat towns, you will find that the process of government as carried on at the time of Deacon George Clark differed little from the time of the Revolutionary War or even today. The property transfers recorded in the office of the recorder in those same large books are about the same then as now. The same legalese is employed. If you consider, however, that in the age of the British common law it was illegal for a parent to transfer his property in his will equitably to his children, this made a real difference. This unalienable right was at the core of the revolution and of the constitution and of justice. This was the right initiated by Deacon George Clark and followed by succeeding generations right up to the time that a descendant, Abraham Clark, signed the Constitution of the United States.
We pay tribute to the ideals of the American Revolution if we take the case of two families and show how revolutions are a "bottoms up" deal.
Throughout the ages man has aspired to form a social order that would reflect the highest values and aspirations of mankind. We read of experiments like Utopia, the City of God, the City of Mjan; Zion is the name of a number of experiments. The founding of the Republic of Milford reflected this innate desire. They therefore formed a civil society that was in harmony with the will of God, a society that would be conducive to defense of the faith. They adopted as their constitution The Holy Bible.
Milford was settled under the leadership of a puritan minister, the Reverend Peter Prudden. Carpenter George Clark was an immigrant who had arrived at Boston Harbor two years earlier. He became acquainted with Peter Prudden at Weathersfield where the Reverend Prudden was the leader of a popular congregation. There were two ministers there and so like the bees in a hive, when there are two queens one of them leaves. Peter Prudden gathered with him portions of congregations in towns from England and New England where he had preached. As this congregation made its plans to move and form a more perfect society, the Reverend Prudden was a defender of the faith as proclaimed in the Bible. However, there was a need for a more practical approach to the defense of this congregation. They had their eyes on moving to Milford at the mouth of the Weepawog River. This was an area where they had been a bitter battle, which had nearly eliminated the Pequat tribe of Indians. A Sergeant Tibbals who had taken part in this military action had praised the advantages of the harbor on the Weepawog as an ideal place to form a settlement. How could an entire congregation be moved through forest areas where they might be ambushed by some remainders of the tribe seeking revenge? You may be assured that they made good use of the young Carpenter George Clark. When the congregation arrived at the site, which is now Milford, a combination fortress and church had already been built where they could find shelter and defense from any hostile attacks. The building was constructed in sections in a harbor to the north and then floated down to Milford on a barge where it could be quickly assembled. It stood read for the congregation when they marched through the forest and arrived at Milford. The young Carpenter must have taken on additional responsibilities quickly for he grew in influence and his name was changed from Carpenter George Clark to Deacon George Clark. There is a remarkable similarity between these families. They had the same name, their wives had the same name, they died in the same year, and there was intermarriage between the two families. The Clarks of Utah are descended from both families in this narrative and they are treated as one family.
There is some indication that Carpenter George Clark was actively interested in the Cromwell Revolution before he left England. This is evident by the fact that when these Stuart Kings were restored to power a manhunt was begun for those who had taken a primary part in the execution of King Charles I. The judges who pronounced the death sentence on King Charles I, now known as the regicides, escaped and came to America, landing in Boston Harbor in the 1660s. They looked up the puritan activists who had left England ahead of them and here they found comfort and protection. People who secreted them were, of course, guilty of treason and the regicides became a danger to their friends who had given them seclusion. When it becomes dangerous for them to remain in the Boston area they fled to New Haven with the king's men in hot pursuit.
Regicides Whalley and Goffe fled to Milford where they had personal friends. According to a book written by the president of Yale University, the regicides were secreted for part of their time in Milford by Carpenter George Clark. This gives credence to the fact that George Clark was a political activist on the side of the puritans when he was back in Hertfordshire England. This area was a hotbed of revolution against the king and many of the members of Peter Prudden's congregation had come from that area.
Because of the fact that this whole episode was held in strict secrecy we would seem to be entitle to a little Sherlock Holmes speculation about George Clark's participation based on some well-known facts about him.
George Clark had a penchant for being first and he built the first home in Milford that was to be located outside the city wall. It was a perfect place to conceal refugees from the King's men. It was located on the old Boston Post Road. It backed up to a wild craggy wooded area, which extended to the bay. Alongside this rough area was a level low land, which was thick with bulrushes. You read of Moses being concealed in the bulrushes and imagine it would be something like the cattails that one is familiar with in one's home area. It was nothing like this. These bulrushes were taller than a man and so dense that they testified to the wisdom of those who concealed Moses. There was no way you could find a man hidden there without being subjected to great danger.
There is other evidence of the wisdom of George Clark who was carrying on the cause of Cromwell although in America. There was soon another residence located on the far side of walled town of Milford. Connecting these two homes was a lane, which was then referred to as Clark Lane but is today designated at Clark Street. The other house was occupied by the head of the local militia, obviously a man with military experience dating back to the Cromwell Revolution. There was no was a fugitive could be apprehended as long as he was under the protection of these two outposts. The one house backed up to an area known on all the maps as "Dismal Swamp." The secret of these two escapees was so well kept that only a few people in the town knew about it. However, after two years, that is November 1661, they were secreted to Hadley Massachusetts.
Whally and Goffe became legends. In Hadley they were secreted in the belfry of the church, which was located in the town square. History, or perhaps legend, tells of an Indian attack on this colonial community. Townspeople reported that in the midst there suddenly appeared distinguished man with military bearing with a flowing white beard wielding a sword and he took command of the situation. After the victory he disappeared.
Had the townspeople of Hadley known about the three Nephites they would have been able to explain this miraculous appearance of a commanding general and his abrupt disappearance.
I do not know about how anyone would want to be caught in Newark, New Jersey but I found myself there a few days after my wedding on Jan. 31, 1947. I was looking for a nice place where I could take Ruth to lunch. There loomed in front of my eyes the imposing structure with a sign on the top Robert Treat Locale.
I had no idea at that time who Robert Treat might be, but I do now. He was, to my ancestor Deacon George Clark, a friend, a co-conspirator, a marriage broker to Deacon George's beautiful daughter Sarah, and there has been so much intermarriage between these two families that one might suspect we could all be bleeders.
Robert Treat had engaged in a special mission to Newark in matters of interest to the Empire and to the new king of England. The Dutch were building settlements up the Hudson and were cutting off the expansion of the British. Peter Stievesent was flexing his muscles in New Amsterdam. Robert Treat and Deacon George Clark conspired with the king's men to found a settlement of puritans in what was then called New Town. This was a move to head off the Dutch expansion by founding an English settlement near the mouth of the Hudson. It was a quick turn around. The rebel Deacon George Clark, who had recently concealed the regicides Whalley and Goffe who had sentenced the king's father to death, now found himself in the service of the king. We know that Deacon George was involved in this conspiracy because some of his relatives were included in the group that moved to Newark.
Of course, the Clarks and the Browns moved from Newark back to their roots. Deacon George returned to Milford but the Browns returned much later and Deacon George's descendant, Abraham Clark, was still living in New Jersey at the time he signed the Constitution of the United States.
Parenthetically, it must be said, that the information about the Browns is pure speculation and it involves a matter that has caused much controversy. I have been informed by genealogists that great efforts have been made to connect families with John Brown, the same John Brown whose "body lies a moldering." He had been born in New Jersey and his branch of the Brown family had moved to New York where many of the Milford people had moved and some were members of the Mormon Church. Could it be that the Browns were moving back to their roots? When John Brown was in the tannery business his partner was a man named Cahoon, a forebear of the Cahoons who came to Utah. So much for this spate of speculation.
Robert Treat and Deacon George Clark seemed to have displayed some of the same qualities of Ezra T. Clark: although in the service of God and country, they could, nevertheless, drive a very hard bargain.
What they demanded from the king was a very liberal royal charter for the government of Connecticut. This charter gave to Connecticut powers of independence that no other colony could enjoy. It was the obtaining, the development, and the fight to retain this charter that had much to do with Connecticut's rightful claim to be the Constitution State.
Many, many volumes have been written and will yet be written about the importance of the Royal Charter to Connecticut but let us look at some of the things of immediate bearing on the future history of the Clark family.
Immediately after the Revolution when the western land titles had been more realistically adjusted there was the vast area referred to as western Connecticut also western reserve. It was to this area that people of Connecticut, immediately after the war, migrated. There were places well known, like Kirtland and Cleveland, now in Ohio. It was to this area that both the Clarks and the Treat families sent many descendants.
In Vienna Virginia the cemetery plots adjoin each other.
Over a long period of time efforts were made to take back the Connecticut Charter and reduce the liberties granted to the people. This was a prelude to the War of Independence. Actually, the battle, which Connecticut waged, was for the right to pass laws independent of the British Parliament. The climatic event of this battle of Connecticut was to protect its liberties is recounted in the Charter Oak Story. In the textbooks for grade school students all over America and at the Hilltop Store in Farmington there are pictures of the majestic Charter Oak. Many of the kitchen stoves in use along Clark Street in Farmington were also equipped with the brand name Charter Oak. On winter evenings when Uncle Timmy Clark dropped by to frequently read the paper and tell us about the latest world news we would open the oven door to gain more heat and it is perhaps this exercise that made me acutely aware of a bright silver-like shield with the Charter Oak engraved thereon.
The Charter Oak was the center of a scene of great notoriety. The King had demanded that the Charter be delivered and laid before him at a meeting with state officials. The Charter was laid on the table as demanded and this meant that the governor was off the hook. Somebody blew out the candles and all was darkness. When the candles had been lighted, the Charter was gone. An open window was the clue as to what had happened. The Charter, however, was nowhere to be found. The premises were searched and nothing came to light. There was, however, a beautiful oak tree with a hollow section. This is where the Charter had been placed. The Charter Oak was revered and celebrated in Connecticut history and American history thereafter.
Various reasons have been advanced as to why Connecticut decided to separate itself from the British Empire. The historian, Robert J. Taylor, in his study "Colonial Connecticut" comes to this conclusion as the the final sentences in his book: "In short, it was the Charter and the rights it conferred that concerned Connecticut's people. Rather than see those rights infringed, the colony chose to leave the empire. On October 27, 1643, the independent colony of New Haven began a process of consolidation with other political units in Connecticut. On that date it became a member of the New Haven colony. When Milford applied for admittance new difficulties had to be faced." The WPA History of Milford relates "The town had given full privileges in civil affairs to six persons who were not members of the church. This liberalism shocked the stricter members of the New England colony and they refused to permit Milford to join with them unless the six non-church members disfranchised. Milford refused. A compromise was finally reached whereby the six were able to keep their civil rights in purely local affairs and to vote for deputies to the general court at New Haven but were not permitted to vote for magistrates or to hold office, 'for the combination.'"
We see here the beginnings of a struggle for religious freedom, which proved to be a controversy that made a severe split in the Clark family itself. It is worth noting that Milford, which was an independent republic based on the Bible as its constitution, would lead out in the direction of greater religious tolerance. This move towards toleration culminated in the religious freedom guarantees in the Constitution of the United States.
The next contest over consolidation came in 1662. This was the year in which King Charles II conferred the famous liberal charter upon Connecticut. This led Connecticut to claim jurisdiction over its neighboring colony, and the various towns such as Milford, Branford and New Haven were invited to join. Again religious issues dominated the decision. Milford wished to join the Connecticut colony due mainly to the influence of Governor Robert Treat and Deacon George Clark who was deputy to the general court. The struggle over whether New Haven colony should give up its independence and join Connecticut lasted for a period of two years.
One can conclude that Robert Treat and George Clark were looking at the bigger picture.
The King of England was seized and imprisoned in 1640. A revolution under Cromwell was prosecuted for 20 years. Absolutism and the divine right of kings were broken. However, it took generations for Democratic institutions to evolve.
Deacon George Clark and the congregation headed by Reverend Prudden arrived in Milford in 1649. The Constitution of the United States was signed in 1789. This is a period of 140 years. In 1649 one could proclaim the doctrines of freedom, and the settlers of Milford made a revolutionary move when they adopted the Bible as the constitution of Milford. However, the same institutions that existed in England were for the most part transferred and it would take 150 years for these institutions to form themselves into the fabric of constitutional democracy. The English colonists, now separated from England would find that the movement toward democracy was a gradual process. There were limited property rights, there was slavery, there were limited voting rights.
Government in Milford was something of a reversal. It was the religious community that held the power and in the beginning seemed to control governmental functions. In England there had been the landed aristocracy, which held its power through a monopoly through landed estates. In the American colonies it was the clergy that held great power. To observe the bureaucracy of colonial Milford is to realize how democratic institution evolved over 150 years. Dissidents who held church meetings in the home built by Deacon George Clark, now owned by grandson George Clark, were challenging British-backed law and were demanding that the government power over religion be relaxed. They lost the battle but won the war and as evidence of this the constitution adopted in 1789 provided for separation of church and state.
It is interesting to note that the religious toleration acts were an imposition from England, the mother country.
It was possible for the president of Yale to be a member of the Anglican Church.
Perhaps the best experience to be gained from the history of the Republic of Milford is that the Bible, as a constitution, was a liberal, if not revolutionary, document.
Deacon George Clark was the father-in-law of Governor Law who prosecuted the case against George Clark, Deacon Clark's grandson.
It was the relationship with the Dutch that was worrying the British Crown, and particularly the incursions of the Dutch in the territory along the Hudson River. Historians dealing with this period have indicated that the British Crown was very concerned about this expansion. On March 12, 1664, King Charles granted to his brother, the Duke of York, all the recently acquired Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam and most of the territory included in New Haven colony.
The ecclesiastical character of civil government was modified. The principle and practice of absolute union of church and state was abandoned. Property rather than church membership was the basis upon which the franchise was granted.
This consolidation of New Haven with Connecticut would have great importance upon the Clark family in its church activities as well as in its civic life. The king needed help from the colonists in its contest with the Dutch. This need of the Crown for help from the colonists was the opportunity for Robert Treat and Deacon George Clark and other leaders to extract a very favorable charter. It was no doubt in response that a pioneer group headed by Robert Treat left Milford and sailed into Passaic Harbor and founded the settlement of Newark. They purchased nearly all of Essex County and planted a settlement. Robert Treat, who had retained his property in Milford, returned along with some others. Some of the Clark relatives remained and this would explain why Abraham Clark, a signer of the Constitution of the United States, did so as a delegate from New Jersey.
Milford, New Jersey received its name from the town in England, which was the home of Abraham Pearson. Pearson was the spiritual leader of the pioneer group that went to New Jersey. This pioneer enterprise, which was also political, may in a sense resemble the enterprise of Zion's Camp, which, although not successful in its aim, nevertheless was successful in training leaders for the future.
This forms a natural transition to the next episode, namely the organization of Yale College. The centerpiece of the Yale campus is a quad with two statues and it is said there will never be more. The one is Nathan Hale, the other, facing Nathan Hale, is Abraham Pearson, the first president of Yale.
First president, ye, but it would be a mistake to think of him as the founder of Yale. Yale is an institution, which emerged out of the needs of the colonial society. It was a society of local towns dominated by the church and strongly influenced by the administer. One of the greatest needs in this culture was the facility to train ministers. At first there was a kind of apprenticeship system. The library would have a set of books, which would include Greek, Latin and Hebrew, the principle languages of the scriptures. These libraries in religious books became all important and the tendency was to consolidate them. The next phase in this training program was that preachers became teachers of ministerial candidates from various towns and the site of the training shifted. It was at one time in Milford and another time in Saybrook, and finally wound up in New Haven. The ministers knew each other. They entered in ministerial meetings. Friendships developed among the families and there was a great deal of intermarriage. In short, there grew a kind of ecclesiastical aristocracy.
There seems to be a good reason why the training of ministers wound up in New Haven. There was in New Haven, on College Street, an institution known as the Hopkins Language School.
The Hopkins Language School is a good place to begin our inquiry as to the origins of the Yale College, later Yale University. Here is where it all came together.
Clearly Yale was organized to do the work of the Lord and there can be no denying that they looked upon the power of revelation. One, however, cannot deny that there was also power from relations. The site of Yale College and of College Street New Haven was surveyed by Sir Thomas Brockett. He would have known Deacon George Clark and leaders from other towns because many of them came to America in the same year, 1637, and many arrivals at that time came from the other place, Hertfordshire, which was the center of revolutionary activity. John Brockett is one of the ancestors of Ezra T. Clark.
This disinherited son of a father who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth came to America with John Davenport on the Hector, arriving in 1637. The following year he went with others who had made the crossing on the Hector and they moved to New Haven. He lived on the street, which he had surveyed, namely College Street, and eventually he had a neighbor named John Payne. On College Street there was located the Hopkins Language School. Obviously a place where aspiring ministers of the gospel could receive language training in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. George Pardee, who had been born in Pitminister, Summerset, England in 1624 was intermittently the headmaster at Hopkins Language School. Joseph Pardee, a son of George Pardee, was born in 1664 at New Haven and lived at the residence of his father. Joseph married a daughter of Thomas and Mary Turner Yale.
So here we have the name of Yale now connected to the language training school, which became Yale College, which was organized in 1700. From this address, the birthplace of Yale College, we can make the connect directly to Ezra T. Clark. The first wife, Elizabeth Yale, died in 1702, and Joseph was remarried to Elizabeth Payne, who had been a neighbor on College Street. The 16th child of Joseph Pardee married John Keeler. This is the connection. Sarah Keeler married John Keeler who was the father of David Keeler who was the father of Mary (Polly) Keeler, the mother of Ezra T. Clark.
There is an excellent short summary of the life of George Pardee contained in Robert F. Gould's book on Ezra T. Clark's Ancestors and Descendants.
In those first years of Yale there was much uncertainty and a number of changes in direction.
Glen Clark of Georgetown, Idaho, who is a graduate of Yale Law School has uncovered a number of connections and contributions between Saybrook and Clark relatives there to the early days of Yale. In fact, classes were held in all three cities: Saybrook, New Haven and Milford.
The uncertainty and inflexibility in Yale's early days is illustrated by the case of the Reverend Samuel Andro. He was so popular among the members of the congregation that he remained there from 1685 until 1738. The close connection between Yale and the clergy is seen by the fact that, for a number of years, from 1707 to 1719, he taught theology to members of the senior class.
Thomas Jefferson, an architect of constitutional democracy in America, and indeed an inspirer of a wave of constitution building that swept Europe, was once asked to list his main achievements to be included on a monument to his honor in Charlottesville Virginia. Jefferson said that the achievement, which gave him greatest satisfaction, was the founding of the University of Virgina.
Jefferson would have given very high marks to those inter-related prominent families in Connecticut, which founded Yale College, later Yale University. He believed that enlightment was a pre-requisite for maintaining human freedom.
The typical New England village was founded under ecclesiastical leadership. The colonists lived close together and enjoyed a close social life. The colonial town meeting is remembered as an evidence of their community cohesion and activity.
Yale College was organized by strata of leading families who generally were represented in the ministry and also in government positions and there was much intermarriage between these leading families.
There was competition, but also cooperation among Milford, New Haven, and Saybrook. The training of ministers for church leadership was carried on in all three of these towns at different times. It was done whatever a pastorate was available which had a particularly competent minister and also available facilities. It can be said to the credit of the colonial society, which had special privileges, that it was they who moved toward a social power when they relinquished those privileges. They were the bearers of progress towards constitutional democracy. An early question that arose was whether training should be given for students other than those preparing for the ministry.
There was a colonial dispute as to whether there should even be a college founded in Connecticut. Certain actions authorizing the founding of Yale were made at a time when there was a New England Confederation.
A court battle was fought by the Milford Clarks and related families to protect the title to Trust Lands in western Connecticut, which had been obtained for the financial support of Yale College. The final court battle was fought against a Mr. Reed who was a candidate for a parsonage in New Milford.
In regard to this historic court case the historian, Samuel Orkit, writes as follows: Mr. Reed informs us after gaining 15 times inn court, but it on the 16th and became discouraged and gave up the claim at last 3 .
The Clarks were now established in the western frontier of the New England colonies. They were poised now to be pioneers in a new phase of American history, namely, the westward movement.
The Connecticut Charter which Deacon George Clark and his relatives and associates had labored so hard to protect would now be instrumental in establishing the Western Reserve, which was, in its early days, called New Connecticut. Residents of Milford and New Milford and other Connecticut towns poured into this area.
At a place called Kirtland Ohio the Mormon leader Joseph Smith established a training school. He named it the School of the Prophets. One day while visiting New Haven I went to Yale's Sterling Library and asked for a book that would tell me about the founding of Yale College. They handed me what I considered to be the wrong book. It was titled "The School of the Prophets." I went back to the reference desk with the book and was told that, indeed, the early name of Yale was School of the Prophets. If this were not enough to establish the force of
Separation of church and state was one of the basic goals in the achievement of constitutional democracy. Connecticut was in the middle of this turmoil. The Clark family was in the middle of this religious furor. As a matter of fact, one of the memorable battles was fought in the Clark home, the home built by Deacon George Clark and now occupied by George Clark, a grandson.
A spirit of religious revival was sweeping the colonies, known as the New Light. When the minister, Jonathan Law, married Sarah Clark, daughter of George Clark, he had quoted a strong minority in the very home where the majority accused Mr. Wittlesy of leaning toward the
Jonathan Law presided at a colonial meeting at which
The rebuff was followed by
The first church refused to admit their right to form a separate society, and peace was not realized for many years. Ministers who were invited
Reverend Benjamin Kish, in Sinnsbury, who preached to them at the home of George Clark Jr. on January 17, 1742, immediately found himself in difficulties. Governor Jonathan Law issued a writ for Mr. Kish charging him with violating a law of the colony. "An act for preventing disorders in the public worship of God." His trial, which lasted two days, created a sensation in the colony. In a showdown with Governor Law, the Reverend Benjamin Kish pleaded not guilty in the manner and form complained of, and he informed the court that in his opinion "he had not been disorderly on the Sabbath, because he had not transgressed the law of the Lord and Master Jesus Christ---inasmuch as he had not gone beyond the commission given by Christ to the faithful preachers of the gospel." The governor replied that he was not aware that the accuse or anyone else had a commission to preach the gospel before being ordained, and advised Mr. Kish that he was not on trial for violating the law of Christ, but the law of the colony.