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PAGE 100:
CHAPTER III

English merchants increased: a friendly intercourse with the adjacent English provinces was maintained: intermarriages with the English inhabitants occasionally took place; and all these circumstances, in united operation, soon brought the language greatly in vogue. Such was its predominance after the lapse of some years, that many of the young people, particularly in the city of New-York, who had grown up in the constant use of it, could no longer sit with profit under Dutch preaching, and, therefore, desired that it might be adopted in the public worship of God. Unwilling to leave the Church of their fathers, the Church in which they had been baptized, and to which, for that and other reasons, they felt much attached, they ventured to urge, pretty strongly, the propriety and necessity of a substitution of the English for the Dutch language in the Church service.

This request produced contention in the Church of New-York, which was not without its mischievous effects, and was of no short duration.

" The Dutch congregation," says the forecited historian [See Smith's Hist. p. 291], "is more numerous than any other, but

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CHAPTER III

as the language becomes disused, it is much diminished; and, unless they change their worship into the English tongue, must soon suffer a total dissipation." Some respectable families had already left it on account of the language, and united with other Churches: but still, so infatuated were many, especially of the aged part of the Church, with the notion, that its very existence depended upon the continuance of the language, that the request now made was received with indignation, and resisted to the utmost.

They feared that the proposed suppression of the language, if effected, would necessarily involve, in time, the loss of the doctrines, the mode of worship, the government, the very name of the Church: and there is reason to believe, that the opposition to it was fomented by the interference of the Dutch ministers, who, as they could not officiate in the English language, were not a little uneasy at the prospect of its introduction. The opposition assumed, at length, a malignant and violent aspect, which induced more of the congregation, that had no relish for scenes of animosity and discord, to go over to other Christian societies; and at this important juncture, when it was evident that






        
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