John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d
Philadelphia March 30 1777 Sunday
I have been this Afternoon, to a Place of Worship, which I never attended before. It is the Church of the Scotch Seceeders. They have a tolerable Building, but not yet finished. The Congregation is not large, and the People are not very genteel.
The Clergyman, who officiates here, is a Mr. Marshall, a Native of Scotland, whose Speech is yet thick and broad, altho he has officiated in this Place near Ten Years.1
By his Prayer and several Passages in his sermon, he appears to be a warm American from whence I conclude, that the most of his Congregation are so too, because I generally suppose that the Minister will in a short time bring his People to his Way of thinking, or they will bring him, to theirs—or else there will be a Seperation.
The Grounds and Reasons, of the Secession of this Society from the other Presbyterian Churches, I know not, but intend to enquire.
After service, the Minister read a long Paper, which he called an Act of the Presbytery of Pensilvania, appointing a Fast, which is to be kept next Thursday. It is as orthodox in Politicks, as it is pious, and zealous in point of Religion.2
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Miss N.” RC not found, but a normalized text of it was printed in AA2, Jour. and Corr. description begins Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams, . . . edited by Her Daughter [Caroline Amelia (Smith) de Windt], New York and London, 1841–1842; 2 vols. description ends , 2:7.
1. Rev. William Marshall (ca. 1740–1802), minister of the Associate or Scots’ Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 1768–1786, and afterward of a seceding portion of that congregation that organized the Associate Reformed Church (Benjamin Rush, Letters description begins Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Princeton, 1951; 2 vols. description ends , 2:806–808, and references there).
2. Text printed from missing RC adds a leavetaking and signature: “I am your affectionate father, John Adams.”