Bishop of London [Beilby Porteus]: Letter to Reverend Alexander Ewing

he Bishop of London on a Bermuda rector and other Bermuda matters
Bishop of London [Beilby Porteus]: Letter to Reverend Alexander Ewing
he Bishop of London on a Bermuda rector and other Bermuda matters
Bishop of London [Beilby Porteus]: Letter to Reverend Alexander Ewing

Bishop of London [Beilby Porteus]: Letter to Reverend Alexander Ewing

10,000.00

Bishop of London [Beilby Porteus, 1731–1809]

The Bishop of London on a Bermuda rector and other Bermuda matters

1 page. Small 4to. (7 ¼ x 9 inches). London, 24 January 1797. To Reverend Alexander Ewing (?–circa 1808), rector of Pembroke and Devonshire from 1791–1817.

Reverend, I was extremely concerned to learn from your letter of September 1796 the melancholy news of the death of Mr. Marischal Keith. The favorable character you give of him is highly honorable to his memory, & the affectionate terms in which you speak of him, does credit to your feelings. We must console ourselves with the hope that he is gone to the reward of his pious labors & that his example will inspire those that follow his wisdom in their life. We can all praise excellent men like him. I pray to increase the number of them who send you his blessing. I am your faithful servant B. London

Ewing was a native of Scotland who immigrated to Bermuda, where he met and married his wife and had seven children. In 1895, Holy Trinity Church, the oldest Anglican parish church in Bermuda, added a tower and a bell – the largest in Bermuda – in memory of Ewing.

Porteus, one of the most influential theologians of the 18th century, was the Bishop of London from 1787 until his death in 1809. As such, he was responsible for Anglican parishes in the British Colonies. Interestingly, he was also a leading critic of slavery and the church’s indifference to the practice, most famously in a 1783 sermon preached before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.

Marischal Keith (?-circa1796) was rector of the parishes of Warwick and Paget, with whom the Bishop of London had been corresponding as late as December 1795 about the granting of Presbyterian (rather than Anglican) marriage licenses (see published letter of 24 December 1795 in Arthur Foley Winnington Ingram and Sadler Phillips, The early English Colonies: A Summary of the Lecture, The Young Churchman Co., 1908).

Archival collections of private letters and papers for seventeenth- and eighteenth century Bermuda are rare. For the seventeenth century, the correspondence of Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick, one of the principal shareholders of the Bermuda colony, his cousin, Nathaniel Rich, also a shareholder, and Nathaniel’s brother, young Robert Rich, manager of the family’s holdings in Bermuda, have been preserved… Other private papers relating to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in the Bermuda Archives include the Jennings “family book,” a manuscript journal containing a history of that family, 1697-1746, and some letters of Reverend Alexander Ewing in the 1780s.
—Virginia Bernhard, Slaves and Slaveholders in Bermuda, 1616-1782, University of Missouri, 1999

Heavily folded with a small tear affecting no text and a small hole affecting one word of the closing. With some very slight mounting residue. Integral address leaf attached on which the recipient docketed it ‘Recd. Sept. 13th 1797’. Black wax seal is intact and a small wax seal tear affects no text.

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