[ Lincolnshire General Baptist Assembly. ] Manuscript of 'An agreement between several brethren in ye ministry [ Gilbert Boyce, William Thompson and five others ] met together at Bror Thompson's meeting-house in Boston octr. 3 – 1765'.

[Lincolnshire General Baptist Assembly; Gilbert Boyce (1712-1800) of Coningsby; William Thompson (c.1735-1794) of Boston; Joseph Anderson (d.1781) of Gosberton ]
Publication details: 
[ Boston, Lincolnshire General Baptist Assembly. 5 October 1765. ]
SKU: 20311

Adam Taylor's 'History of the English General Baptists' (1818) deals with the Lincolnshire Assembly, Boyce, Thompson and Anderson, but makes no mention of the present meeting, although it does note that at the time 'the internal concerns' of the Lincolnshire Assembly 'were still disorganized: they had no officers, and proper discipline had long been neglected'. According to Taylor, 'this society resolved upon reviving discipline', and on 27 August 1765 'entered some reflections, and regulations for the prosecution of their object, on their records'. The current document, which is unpublished, indicates that the soul-searching continued for some months. Written in a small hand on both sides of a single folio leaf: the first page of three pages is in folio, with the reverse of the leaf folded to make the other two pages in small 4to, which are written at right-angles to one another. On laid paper with 'PRO PATRIA' watermark. Text intact, on aged and worn paper, with chipping to extremities and closed tears, some of which are repaired on the reverse with archival tape. The text contains a number of minor emendations and interpolations, suggesting that it is an original and not a copy (although the signatures are clearly transcribed by the writer). The first (folio) page is headed: 'An agreement between several brethren in ye ministry met together at Bror Thompson's meeting-house in Boston octr. 3 – 1765'. Four 'causes' of 'ye great apparent decay of Primitive Xtianity […] both in ourselves who are Preachers as well as in our People' are described, after which the document continues: 'Having now laid down wt we think to be causes in us as Preachers of ye decay of Primitive Xtianity we think as yr are also some Causes in our People we will note ym in this Place.' Nine causes 'in our People' are described over the second page, after which it concludes: 'We agree & appoint with Divine Permission to meet on ye same Question which hath brought us together this day at Coningsby on ye first thursday in January 1766'. There follows a transcription of the seven signatures: 'signed by | Gilbt. Boyce | Thos. Bull | Wm. Thompson | Joseph, anderson [sic] | J – Seaton | Benj: Thornallay [sic, for 'Thornalley'] | Thos. '. The third page is headed 'To our well beloved Brethren in ye ministry who are exerting themselves to promote Primitive Christianity'. Suggesting the 'sending out' of '2 or 3 traveling Preachers' to counteract the 'too visible decay of real religion in our respective churches'.?>