Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge among the Indians of North America

Variant name:

new formed Society in and about Boston

Address:

Boston, Massachusetts

Description:

The Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge among the Indians of North America (called by Chase the Society for Promoting etc.) was a missionary society formed in Boston in 1762 ostensibly to counter the Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. Charles Chauncy's feud with Eleazar Wheelock may also have played a role. The Society tried to compete with Wheelock for the Peter Warren legacy distributed by the MA General Assembly, and also tried to replicate his plan for educating Indian boys in colonists' homes, and as Chauncy was very involved in organizing it, taking money from Wheelock was probably an added perk. We should not, however, conclude that all members of the Society were conspiring to ruin Moor's Indian Charity School: it is much more likely that they were conspiring to interfere with Anglican missionary efforts. The Society was comprised of clergymen and laymen, including all members of the Boston Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Religious Knowledge. The Society...among the Indians of North America petititoned the crown for incorporation, but was denied. Members of the Society believed that the Archbishop of Canterbury had ruined their petition, although the Lords of Trade pointed to inconsistencies in their financial records. It is likely that both shoddy organization and religious politics played a part in Parliament rejecting their incorporation. In 1787, the remaining members of the Society petitioned the General Assembly of MA for incorporation and received a charter.

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Sources:

Chase, Frederick. A history of Dartmouth College and the Town of Hanover, New Hampshire. 1891. McCallum, James. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock’s Indians. Dartmouth College Press 1932. Thatcher, Peter. “Historical Sketch.” In The Society for Propagating the Gospel Among the Indians and Others in North America, 1787-1887. The Society, 1887. Accessed via GoogleBooks.