ALLEN (MOSES), minister of Midway, Georgia, and a distinguished friend of his country, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, Sept. 14, 1748. He was educated at the college in New Jersey [Princeton College], where he was graduated in 1776, and was licensed by the presbytery of New Brunswick, Feb. 1, 1774, and recommended by them as an ingenious, prudent, pious man. In March following he preached first at Christ's church parish, about 20 miles from Charleston, in South Carolina. Here he was ordained March 16, 1775, by the Rev. Mr. Zubly, Mr. Edmonds, and William Tennent. He preached his farewell sermon in this place, June 8, 1776, and was soon afterwards established at Midway, to which place he had been earnestly solicited to remove.
The British army from Florida under Gen. Prevost dispersed his society in 1778, and burned the meeting house, almost every dwelling house, and the crops of rice then in stacks. In December, when Savannah was reduced by the British troops, he was taken prisoner. The continental officers were sent to Sunbury on parole, but Mr. Allen, who was chaplain to the Georgia brigade, was denied that privilege. His warm exhortations from the pulpit, and his animated exertions in the field exposed him to the particular resentment of the British. They sent him on board the prison ships. Wearied with a confinement of a number of weeks in a loathsome place, and seeing no prospect of relief, he determined to attempt the recovery of his liberty by throwing himself in the river, and swimming to an adjacent point; but he was drowned in the attempt on the evening of February 8, 1779, in the 31st year of his age. His body was washed on a neighboring island, and was found by some of his friends. They requested of the captain of a British vessel some boards to make a coffin, but could not procure them.
Mr. Allen, notwithstanding his clerical function, appeared among the foremost in the day of battle, and on all occasions sought the post of danger as the post of honor. The friends of independence admired him for his popular talents, his courage, and his many virtues. The enemies of independence could accuse him of nothing more, than a vigorous exertion of all his powers in defending what he conscientiously believed to be the rights of his injured country.
Though a brave man, he was also a Christian. The following letter, addressed to the trustees of Midway in 1777, will somewhat exhibit his character. "You have the enemy on your borders; you are in more imminent danger, and therefore stand in greater need of the preached word to comfort God's chosen people and to awaken sinners from their state of security. I shall not leave this people [of Christ's church parish] in so distressed a situation as you appear to me to be in. They can have frequent occasional supplies, and there is a prospect of their being soon supplied with a settled minister. Mr. Tennent's being at the northward and Mr. Zubly at so great a distance, I am rather unhappy in not having advisers in so important a matter. But the considerations now offered have engaged me to accept of your call. I shall endeavor to be with you the fourth Sunday in June. I beg your prayers for myself and family, that we may always know our duty, and industriously perform it. May God bless you and your constituents. May Christ redeem and save you. May the Holy Spirit sanctify and comfort you; and may all at last meet at the right hand of our dear Redeemer, spotless and unblamable in the righteousness of Christ." --- Ramsay's South Carolina, ii. 6, 7; Collections hist. society, ix. 157, 158; Allen's fun. serm. on Moses Allen; Hart's serm. at ordinat. of Reverend Mr. Holmes.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The above biography of Moses Allen (slightly edited) is from: William Allen, An American Biographical and Historical Dictionary, Containing an Account of the Lives, Characters, and Writings of the Most Eminent Persons in North America from Its First Discovery to the Present Time, and a Summary of the History of the Several Colonies and of the United States (Cambridge: William Hilliard, 1809), pp. 10-11.]
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