George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 5 November 1774]

5. Ditto. Mr. Piercy a Presbeterian Minister dined here.

Mr. Piercy was probably William Piercy (Percy), a Calvinistic Methodist and disciple of George Whitefield. Piercy was chaplain to Selina Hastings, countess of Huntingdon, a devoted follower of the new Methodist movement. In order to give protection to Methodist preachers, she appointed large members of them to the nominal position of chaplain in her household. She had sent Piercy from London to Georgia in 1772 to act as president of Whitefield’s Orphan House, or college, at Bethesda, near Savannah, and to preach wherever he could collect an audience in the colonies. Piercy had preached at various locations in Philadelphia during the year. He had given a farewell sermon in late October at the Arch Street Presbyterian meetinghouse, and was probably at this time on his return to his headquarters in Georgia (KNIGHT description begins Helen C. Knight, comp. Lady Huntington and Her Friends; or, The Revival of the Work of God in the Days of Wesley, Whitefield, Romaine, Venn, and Others in the Last Century. New York, 1853. description ends , 213; HILTZHEIMER description begins Jacob Cox Parsons, ed. Extracts from the Diary of Jacob Hiltzheimer, of Philadelphia. 1765–1798. Philadelphia, 1893. description ends , 30–32; SPRAGUE description begins William B. Sprague. Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations, from the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-five. 9 vols. New York, 1859-69. description ends , 5:293–96).

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