« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Stafford, and was succeeded in that station by the Rev. Mr. Moncure. A glebe was purchased for Mr. Scott on Quantico Creek, which runs up the Potomac to Dumfries. It consisted of four hundred acres of land, and was bought of Mr. Thomas Harrison, for one hundred and thirty-five pounds sterling. So far as I have ascertained, but few of the glebes cost that much, and when rented out, as they often were, seldom brought more than twenty or thirty pounds. Mr. Scott continued the minister of that parish until his death in 1782, being minister of the parish for thirty-seven years. He lived most of the time at his own estate of Westwood, the gift, it is believed, of his brother. Before we proceed to make mention of his successors in office, there are some things worthy of notice, in relation to the parish, which had better be disposed of in this place. There were two churches in the parish, between which the services of the minister were equally divided. One of them was very near Dumfries, the other near the two streams Broad Run and Slater Run, and sometimes called by either name. At the time of the division of the parish, there was an old and indifferent one near Dumfries, which, in the year 1752, was sold for fifteen hundredweight of tobacco, and a new one costing one hundred thousandweight was ordered. The contractor for it was a Mr. Waite, ancestor to the worthy member and lay reader of our Church in Winchester, Mr. Obed Waite. The church at Broad Run was also
. contracted for in 1752. Both were of brick, and very substantial ones. It has not been many years since the roof and walls of the latter fell to the ground. Some remnant of the ruins of the former may perhaps be seen near Dumfries at this time. I have often seen them, when more abundant, in my travels through that region. Dumfries itself, once the mart of that part of Virginia, the scene of gayety and fashion, the abode of wealthy merchants from Scot. land, who named it after a city of that name in the mother-country, is now in ruins, almost as complete as those of the old church. Quantico Creek, through which the trade from Europe came, is now filled up, while the pines have covered the spot where the church once stood near its banks. Desolation reigns around. The old court-house was fitted up some thirty-five or forty years ago for worship, but that has long since been abandoned for want of worshippers. A few years since I spent a night in the neighbourhood, in a worthy Baptist family, and, while conversing on the past, the lady of the family mentioned that she had in her possession some things belonging to the old church, which she would be glad to put into my hands, as she wished to be clear of them. After hunting for
some time amid the rubbish of the top-shelf of an old cupboard standing in the room, she brought out two small, old, well-worn pieces of church-plate, supposed to be those once used in the Old Quantico Church. I still have them in my possession, to bestow on some.poor parish which will not be too proud to use them. There were galleries in the church at Broad Run, one of which was allowed to be put up by Mr. Thomas Harrison, provided it was done so as not to incommode any of the pews below it. The others were put up by the vestry and sold. The pews below were all common, though doubtless taken possession of by different families, as is usual in England. The old English custom (beginning with the Royal family in St. George's Church at Windsor) of appropriating the galleries to the rich and noble was soon followed in Virginia, and, as we shall see hereafter, the old aristocratic families could with difficulty be brought down from their high lofts in the old churches, even after they became uncomfortable and almost dangerous. I find an entry on this vestry-book concerning payment to the sextons of these churches for making fires, which is the first of the only two instances I have met with, and I am in doubt whether the payment was for fire in the churches or vestry-rooms in the yard; for I have never seen where provision was made for fires in any
of the old churches, either by open chimneys or stoves, if indeed stoves were then known in the land. It was the same case in the old churches in England, and still is in cathedrals to this day, and it is no wonder that the latter are so cold, damp, and comfortless. Very few, if any, of the country churches, even in New England, were warmed by stoves when I travelled through it in the year 1819. In this respect I think we have cortainly improved on the customs
I of our fathers. I think that in some other respects we have advanced in liberality. Nothing was done gratuitously by any member of the church. The lay readers were always paid one thousand or twelve hundred weight of tobacco. Clerks received about the same. No liberal gentleman gave his wine for the Communion, as in latter days, but always charged for it. The annual cost at each of the churches in this parish was four pounds for twelve bottles of wine. One thing has struck me, in all the indentures required of those to whom orphan or illegitimate children were bound by the vestry, as speaking well for the times. The masters were required to teach those who were bound to them “the art and mystery of some trade,” to “inistruct them in the principles of the Christian religion.” Sometimes the catechism, Lord's prayer, creed, and Commandments are specified, as also the doc
trines of the Episcopal Church. On the part of those bound, they must “obey their masters, keep his secrets, not leave his house night or day without leave, not embezzle his goods or suffer others to do it, not play at cards, dice, or any other unlawful game, or frequent taverns or tippling-houses.” Whether these proinises were faithfully complied with or not, we are unable to say. We shall see hereafter that, by the laws of the Assembly, the very same things were forbidden the clergy,—viz.: cards, dice, and other unlawful games ; also taverns and tippling-houses and such places: but they were disregarded by many. It is, however, a matter of rejoicing to see such testimonies to good morals by those in authority, and by legislative acts, even though contradicted by the conduct of those who bear them. In the most corrupt ages of the Christian Church the most wholesome laws are to be found and the best forms of religion have been used. That God who has kept the Bible pure through so many ages of darkness and corruption has also, by civil and ecclesiastical legislatures and rulers, preserved and handed down many most faithful expositions of its moral code. Some faithful ones there have been in every age who have obeyed these laws. I doubt not but there were some ministers in the darkest age of the Church in Virginia who obeyed her canons, and some masters and mistresses who fulfilled pledges to orphans and poor unfortunates.
I now return to the history of the ministers of Dettingen parish. At the death of Mr. James Scott, his son, the Rev. John Scott, was chosen minister. His ministry was of short duration. He resigned the following year on account of ill health, and died soon after. There are some painful circumstances in the history of this minister; and, as they have been misrepresented and made worse than they really were, it is due to himself and posterity to make a correct statement. Even in that there is much not only to be regretted, but utterly condemned, -the spirit of the times affording no excuse which should for a moment be entertained. From a letter in my possession, I think it probable he was set apart for the ministry in early youth. At the age of eighteen, however, he was engaged in an affair which showed that he was ill qualified for it at that time, being destitute of all godliness,—however changed he may have been afterward. He conceived that his father and himself had been insulted and injured by the misrepresentations of one who, according to report, was a most unworthy and dangerous man, and that it was his duty to seek reparation by a resort to arms. He accordingly determined to challenge, and applied to Mr. Bullett, his brother-in-law, to be with him in the contest. Mr. Bullett dissuaded him from the challenge in a letter, which I have in my possession, and which contains some of the many unanswerable arguments against duelling. Failing in his effort, he attends him to the place of combat,—the end of Old Quantico Church, where the father of young
Scott had so often read the words of Jehovah from Mount Sinai, " Thou shalt do no murder." The result was, that the second, who had warned against the act, and who, it was supposed, had gone in the hope of preventing the contest, was so treated by the challenged man on the ground as to engage in a contest with him, in which the other was slain. He was tried and unanimously acquitted by the court upon the ground of self-defence. Mr. Scott was obliged to fly the country, and, with his younger brother, Gustavus, went to Scotland. I take the following account of him while in Scotland, and after his return, from a letter written by one of his descendants:
“Immediately after the trial and acquittal of Mr. Bullett, my grandfather and his younger brother, Gustavus, left this country for Scotland. Soon after their arrival in Scotland they entered King's College, old Aberdeen, where they finished their education. My grandfather, who seems to have taken life by storm, married, while a student of King's College, Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Gordon, one of the professors. He was afterward ordainą i by the Bishop of London. It was during his residence in Scotland that iny grandfather formed an acquaintance (which ripened into a friendship) with Sir Robert Eden, an English or Scotch baronet. When Sir Robert was appointed Governor of Maryland, he in. vited my grandfather to Annapolis, promising to appoint him his chaplain, and to use his influence to obtain for him the rich parish of Eversham. My grandfather readily accepted so advantageous an offer, and soon after sailed for America, leaving his infant son, Robert Eden Scott, (who it was feared could not bear a three months' voyage,) with his maternal relatives. C'pon his return to America, he proceeded to Annapolis, was appointed chaplain to the Governor, and pastor of the parish of Eversham. lle resided in Maryland until the war between the Colonies and the mothercountry broke out. An Englishman in principle, he adhered to the royal cause, and, taking too active a part in politics, became obnoxious to the Revoluti, nary party,--into whose hands the government had passed, and was banished one hundred miles from tide-water. Compelled to leave Maryland, he sold his property there for Continental money, and returned to Virginia, intending to return to Scotland as soon as he could make the necessary arrangements. While making those arrangements he resided on his plantation, which he called Gordonsdale, after the name of his wife. His health soon after failing, he was advised to try the waters of Bath, in Berkeley county, Virginia. On his return from Bath he stopped at the residence of General Wood, who had married his cousin, Miss Moncure, died there, and was buried under the pulpit of the old Episcopal church in Winchester Whether he was pastor of any parish in Fauquier, I am unable to say; but, as he did not long survive his banishment from Maryland, I am inclined to think he never received such an appointment.* My grandfather, as the Bishop has no doubt heard, was a man of fine talent's and remarkable eloquence, as well as the handsomest man of his day. His gayety and wit caused his society to be much sought after, and, from all that I have heard, rather unfitted him for his sacred profession. After his death, my grandmother, who had been summoned to Winchester to receive his expiring adieu, returned to Gordonsdale. The distracted condition of the country (the Revolutionary War was then at its height) compelled her to relinquish all hope of a return to her native couutry. She continued to reside at Gordonsdale, devoting herself to the education of her chil. dren,-a task for which she was eminently fitted, since she had received a college e lucation. She lived to see her children grown and settled in life, and died lamented. Several years before her death she had the pleasure of welcoming to Virginia her eldest son, Robert Eden Scott, and, although twenty-one years had elapsed since she had left him an infant in Scotland, she recognised him immediately. During his visit to Virginia he received the office of a professorship in King's College, old Aberdeen, where he had received his education and his maternal ancestors had held professorships for three hundred years. He returned to Scotland, was made professor of mathematics, married a daughter of Sir William Forbes, and died young and childless."
To the above notice of Mr. Scott I add a report, which is not improbable, that, at the time he was summoned before the Council at Annapolis to give an account of his anti-American principles, Robert Goodloe Harper, then a young lawyer, was called in to examine him, and ever afterward spoke of him as the most talented man with whom he had ever engaged in controversy. After the resignation of the Rev. John Scott in 1784, the Rev. Spence Grayson was chosen minister. How long he continued such we do not know; nor can we say any thing concerning him or his ministry,—though our impression is that he was a worthy man. The vestry-records end with the year 1785. At the last meeting vestrymen were elected under the new organization of the Church, à delegate appointed to the Convention, and an order made to raise funds for the support of the minister,—as nothing now remained but the glebe, which was of little value. Although an order was passed that the records of the vestry should be handed over by the old clerk to the clerk of the new vestry, it fell into the hands of the overseers of the poor; and, some blank leaves being left in the vestry-book, the proceedings of the latter body were for a few years recorded on them. In this way it happened that the vestry-book came into the possession of the court. I have petitioned the court to have it sent for safe-keeping to our fireproof library at the
* In this the writer is mistaken, as the vestry-book shows that he was minister in Dettingen parish nearly two years.