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two months and one half, which has few parallels in this or any other country.*
The Rev. Dr. Deane was associated with Mr. Smith as colleague, in October, 1764, and continued uninterruptedly in the ministry until his death in November, 1814, a period of fifty years and twenty-five days. Dr. Nichols the pastor emeritus, still continues, and thus this aucient Parish for a period of one hundred and thirty years has had an uninterrupted ministry, and never witnessed an hour when she had not a pastor, the third now being in full and active life.
In 1792 there were but fifty-five settled ministers in Maine, of whom forty-one were Congregationalists, and fourteen Baptists; not one of them survives. In 1856 there were in the State three hundred and eighty-four settled ministers, divided into thirteen denominations; the Methodists having the largest number, the Calvinistic Baptists the second and the Congregationalists the third. There is but one minister living in the State, who was settled prior to Dr. Nichols, and that is Rev. David Thurston of Searsport.
*The following table will show the longest pastorates on record : Mr. Adams of Newington, N. H. 1715 to 1783, 68 years, Dr. Gay Hingham, Mass., 1718 to 1787, 69 years, Nathan Buckman, Medway, 1724 to 1795, 70 years, Thomas Smith, Portland, Me., 1727 to 1795, 68 years, Mr. Whitney, Brookline, Con., 1756 to 1824, 68 years, Nathan Williams, Tolland, Conn., 1760 to 1829, 69 years, Samuel Nott, Franklin, Conn., - 1852, 70 years, died May 1852, aged 98, Samuel Deane, Portland, 1764 to 1814, 50 years,
Rev. Nehemiah Porter of Ashfield, died in '1820 aged 99 years, 11 months, but had left the pastorate many years before. Rev. Nathan Birdseye of Strafford, died in 1818, in the 104th
of his age, and is the only Congregational minister on record, who has attained 100 years, except the Rev. John Sawyer now living in this State, who was 100 years old Oct. 9, 1855, and who delivered an extemporaneous discourse on the occasion of celebrating his centennial anniversary.
In 1856 was living Rev. Laban Ainsworth, senior pastor of the church in Jeffrey, N. H., in his 103 year; born in 1754, the oldest graduate of Dartmouth College, and probably the oldest clergyman in the country.
In 1817 Dr. Nichols was chosen one of the Fellows of Bowdoin College. In 1821 he received from that institution the degree of Doctor in Divinity, and in 1831 the same degree from Harvard College. He was also many years since elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a distinction conferred upon quite a limited number of the citizens of Maine.
In the autumn of 1855, being engaged in the preparation of an important work on the coincidences in the New Testament, and the evidences of revealed religion, he moved to Cambridge for the purpose of consulting learned works, not within his reach in our State, and to superintend its publication. He has also in preparation for the press a volume of sermons. These favorite occupations of his leisure hours, when given to the public, will no doubt add to a reputation, deservedly high, for learning, piety and schol. arship.
Dr. Nichols has well sustained the position he acquired at College; his life has been devoted to study and the acquisition of knowledge; and his mind was receptive of all the stores which he grecdily sought from the circle of English and German literature, theology and science. No branches of knowledge were beyond his pursuit or grasp, for while theology has been the staple of his acquisition, he has never forgotten, or ceased to cherish those sciences which were the objects of his earliest attachment; nor did he fail to court the lighter and more graceful pursuits of literature and the arts. We cannot hesitate to pronounce him one of the best cultivated and universal scholars that Maine has cherished in her bosom. Nor is he like many scholars, reserved in the communication of his knowledge; ho is ever ready in conversation to impart copiously from the
full stores of his mind, on any subject opened to him. No one ever listened to his conversation without being deeply impressed with a sense of his profound learning, and the large range of his thought, or being largely instructed from the rich stores of his mind. He is an admirable talker, as well as thinker.
The style of his pulpit discourses was always elevated; he seized the salient points of his subjects, clearly presented and illustrated them, without descending to common places. From excess of thought and the fulness of his mind, they often rose above the level of the common apprehension, and often required close attention to follow the course of his reasoning and argument. But they were able expositions and exhaustive of the subjects discussed. His extemporaneous discourses were also clear, animated and effective.
Dr. Nichols was twice married, first to a daughter of Governor Gilman, of New Hampshire, to whom he was united May 15, 1810. This admirable and beloved wonian died in 1831, leaving two sons, one a physician, the other a clergyman, honorably fulfilling the duties of those professions. His second and present wife, is a daughter of the lato Stephen Higginson, long a distinguished merchant and philanthropist in Boston.
I come now to speak of my immediate predecessor, whose long, active and useful life, has advanced the interests of his adopted State, as did that of his distinguished maternal ancestors, prior to the Revolution in religion, education, the arts and manufactures.
Mr. Gardiner was born in England, to which his parents and grandparents had retired, on the breaking out of hostilities in the colonies with the mother country. His father, uncle and grandfather, had held responsible offices under the Crown; his father and uncle having successively occupied the embarrassing positions of Comptroller and Collector of Customs during the exciting period just preceding the Revolution; they were also connected by family alliances with officers in the British service, which, with the sense of their allegiance to Government, seemed to leave them no alternative but to adhere to the royal authority. There were other causes impelling them to sacrifice their large properties in the province to their allegiance to the King. As officers appointed by the home government, they were regarded with great jealousy, and were treated with the utmost contumely. The house of the uncle, Benjamin Hallowell, Jr., had been mobbed and sacked at the time Gov. Hutchinson's was destroyed, and had at other times been assaulted and injured; and his father, Robert Hallowell, as Collector of the port, was harrassed and insulted on many occasions.
It would be interesting, had we time to pursue the subject, to examine and weigh the various influences, which induced many of the most prominent men in Massachusetts, to abandon their native land, their friends and property, in maintenance of their allegiance to the mother country. It cannot be denied that they were men of the highest character for virtue, intelligence and social position; they embraced the whole body of Episcopalians, with slight exceptions, and included men of every profession. They doubted the necessity and the expediency of separation; they doubred more the ability of the colonies to resist the power of England, and dreaded the result of a protracted and bloody contest. We can now afford to give to that large and respectable class of persons, who in that crisis abandoned their estates, their connections and country, and went into voluntary exile, the
benefit of a liberal construction of their motives, and of a candid judgment of their characters. The Saltonstalls, Winslows, Sewalls, Ruggles, Tyngs, Pepperells, Royalls, Chandlers, Coffins, native born and honorable all, must have acted conscientiously, in the conclusion they unfortunately adopted.
In this class of loyalists was Dr. Sylvester Gardiner, of Boston. He was son of William Gardiner, grandson of Benoni, and great-grandson of Joseph Gardiner, the first immigrant of the name to the Narraganset country in Rhode Island, and one of the first settlers of that country. Dr. Gardiner was born at South Kingston, in R. I., in 1717, was educated for the medical profession, and having spent eight years in England and France for the purpose of completing his education, he returned to his native land and established himself in Boston, where he soon took rank in the first class of physicians and surgeons in New England. I may be permitted to dwell the longer upon this maternal grandfather of our late President, as he was, before the Revolution, one of the largest and most substantial benefactors toward our State.
Previous to 1753, the year in which the Plymouth Company was incorporated, under the name of the Proprietors of the Kennebec Purchase, Dr. Gardiner became one of the Proprietors. The territory of this company, after its boundaries were established by various litigation and compromises, embraced the large tract extending from Merrymeeting bay to Norridgewock, fifteen miles in width on each side of the Kennebec river, and including the towns of Bath and Phippsburg.
The meetings of this company were regularly held from 1749 to 1816, of which Dr. Gardiner was perpetual modera