David Tenney Kimball

David Tenney Kimball, pastor of First Church, 1805 – 1855

*The following excerpts are from Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Vol. II by Thomas Franklin Waters:

“Rev. David Tenney Kimball (1782-1860), a graduate of Harvard in the class of 1803, was introduced to the people of the First Church by Mr. Frisbie at the last service he was able to conduct, the communion, on Sept. 21, 1805. He supplied the pulpit during the Pastor’s sickness, and after his death, was called to the pastorate and ordained on October 8, 1806. He was the son of Daniel and Elizabeth Kimball, a native of Bradford, where he was born Nov. 23, 1782. Having spent a year as an assistant in Phillips Academy at Andover, he studied divinity with Rev. Jonathan French until he began preaching.

“The Parish offered him a salary of $600, but it was subject to change in very singular fashion, according to the fluctuation of the prices of the necessaries of life. The Committee to which this delicate matter was assigned reported at length that, ‘We have maturely considered the subject of salary and find that a fair and just calculation of the proper articles necessary for supporting a family will considerably exceed six hundred dollars p’ year according to the present prices. We therefore recommend to the Parish to offer the said Mr. David T. Kimball the sum of six hundred dollars p’ year to be regulated according to the price of the necessaries of life and to rise and fall according to the Price of sd necessaries and to continue as long as he shall continue to perform the duties of a Gospel Minister, and in case of his being unable by the Providence of God to perform said duties & services that sum to be reduced to four hundred dollars. And it is understood and agreed by the Parties that the said Salary is always to be paid in Cash and to be regulated as aforesaid, etc.

The Committee and Rev. Kimball agreed on the following articles and prices as the basis for his annual salary:

  • Hard wood $5 per cord
  • Indian Com.90 per bushel
  • Rye 1.10 per bushel
  • Flour 7.50 per barrel
  • Pork .07 per lb.
  • Beef 4.00 per hundred
  • English Hay 12.00 per ton
  • Salt Hay 6.00 per ton
  • Flax 121/0 per lb.
  • Cyder 1.50 per bbl.
  • Brown Sugar of first quality 11.00 per hundred
  • Coffee .20 per lb.
  • Best West India Rum .84 per gallon

Waters wrote that “It was a clumsy and unworkable scheme. It was soon found that sundry articles had been omitted in the schedule, and in 1810, the sum of $70 was voted to make good the deficiency of the past three years. Serious difficulties were in store.

The home of David Tenney Kimball and his wife Dolly on Meeting House Green

Mr. Kimball bought the lot previously occupied by the ancient town prison on Jan 1, 1808 and built a large and comfortable dwelling still standing at 8 Meeting House Green. He married Dolly Varnum Coburn of Dracut on Oct. 20, 1807. Their first child, David Tenney was born on Sept. 7, 1808. (*William Lloyd Garrison wrote to George William Benson, Nov. 25, 1833, ‘If you wish to take by the hand as courageous, as devoted, as uncompromising an abolitionist (not excepting ourselves) as lives in our despotic land, then give a hearty welcome to the bearer of this, David T. Kimball, of the Andover Theological Seminary, and president of the Anti-Abolition Society in that hot-bed of colonization. The father is a clergyman living in Ipswich, and as zealously affected to the cause as himself.’)

“The rest of the children were born here, Daniel, on May 25, 1810; Peter Augustine, on Sept 9, 1812; Elizabeth, on July 9, 1814; John Rogers on August 23, 1816; Levi Frisbie on April 25, 1818 and died May 9; and Mary Sophia on August 16, 1820. All, save the infant Levi Frisbie lived into their adulthood.

Here the Pastor dwelt all the long years of his busy and useful life. His diary notes the frequent coming of brother ministers on their journeys hither and thither, who never failed to find food and shelter for themselves and their horses. Here too, came many of distinguished names, Lyman Beecher, Calvin Stowe, Leonard Woods, famous ministers in their day. Catherine Beecher, Ann Hazeltine Judson, N. P. Willis, William Lloyd Garrison, Daniel Webster, Caleb Cushing and Rufus Choate were welcome guests. Zilpah Grant and Mary Lyon made their home here in the early days of their school, the Ipswich Female Seminary.

First Church Ipswich from 1749-1846

“The young minister was destined to find many trying experiences. A considerable number had withdrawn at about the time of his coming to form the Baptist society, and in his letter of acceptance he lamented, “so few attend her solemn feasts.” In 1829 and 1830, many families joined the new Methodist Church, and the newly organized Unitarian Church drew another group from the parent Church in the latter year. The Pastor, greatly troubled by these withdrawals, addressed a letter to his Parish on June 3, 1830.

Brethren and Friends, The present is a time of great trial both to Ministers and Religious Societies. The past season, though in many respects exceedingly interesting, has been to me by far the most trying I have ever known. My trials none can know but those who possess a pastor’s heart; you also as a Society, have had your trials; as a token of sympathy for them I virtually enclose you the sum of One Hundred Dollars in the receipt inseparably connected with this, by which I reduce my salary for the last year to $457, 41 cents. With the best wishes for your temporal and spiritual welfare. — Your affectionate Pastor, David T. Kimball

“The finances of the Parish were not in prosperous condition. Despite the Pastor’s too liberal reduction of his salary in 1830, a subscription was ordered in 1836, “to meet so much of the debt of the parish to Mr. Kimball for the year 1833, as is not otherwise provided for, the deficiency being about two hundred dollars.”

The Liberator
The Liberator was published by Rev. Kimball’s associate, William Lloyd Garrison

The Anti-Slavery movement

Waters wrote that “In the old First Church there was a group of influential citizens whose antipathy to the unfortunate black man was so extreme that they refused him the privilege of worshiping in the Lord’s house. A bill of sale of a gallery pew in April, 1825 affords conclusive proof of their determination to forbid his crossing their threshold:

Know all Men that we, Joseph Farley, Ebenezer Lord junior and Moses Goodhue, a Committee chosen and appointed by the first Parish in Ipswich in the County of Essex and Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to sell and convey the new Pews in the Galleries of the Meeting House of said Parish, and in consideration of thirty dollars and twenty- five cents in conformity to said authority, said sum being paid to us for the use of said Parish by Michael Farley of the same Ipswich, Merchant, the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledge, do grant, sell and convey unto him, the said Michael Farley, number eight of the said new Pews in said Galleries, And it is agreed between the said Parish and the said Michael Farley his heirs and assigns, that if he or they, or either of them shall ever hereafter sell or let said Pew to any Negro or colored person or persons, the same shall revert back to said Parish and successors and the title become void according to the Conditions of the sale thereof. To have and to hold the granted Premises with the appurtenances to the said Michael Farley his heirs and assigns for-ever, subject only to the above restriction.

‘In witness of which we hereto set our hands and seals this eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-five. Joseph Farley, Ebenezer Lord Jr. , Moses Goodhue. Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us Asa Andrews, Theodore Andrews.’

William Lloyd Garrison, a native of Newburyport, founded the influential American Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. Among its officers were three Ipswich natives:

  • William Oakes, botanist, who served as Manager from 1834-1837 and vice president of the Massachusetts chapter from 1835-1838
  • Rev. David Kimball, pastor of First Church; Manager, 1833-1837, and founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society
  • Col. James Appleton, abolitionist and temperance crusader who became vice-president of the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1839.
Declaration of Sentiments of the Anti-Slavery Society
Rev. David T. Kimball was a principle signer of the Declaration of sentiment for immediate emancipation, [August 1833]

The Rev. David T. Kimball was described by William Lloyd Garrison as “zealously affected in our cause.” His name is found as a signer of the Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society, adopted at the formation of the Society in Philadelphia on December 4, 1833, “in relation to the enslavement of one sixth portion of the American people.” Also a signer of the “Declaration of Sentiment For Immediate Emancipation” in the collection of the Boston Library, dated August 1833.

William Lloyd Garrison and David Tenney Kimball were in frequent contact. A church record of Jan. 6, 1840 contains a note from William Oakes and Dr. Abraham Hammatt: “To the Trustees of the First Parish of Ipswich: The subscribers respectfully request the use of the meeting house of First Parish on some evening when it is not otherwise occupied for the delivery of an Anti-Slavery address by Wm. Lloyd Garrison.”

Sarah and Angelina Grimké, two sisters who grew up in South Carolina in a prominent family of slaveholders, began speaking and writing against slaveholding, and spoke at Dr. Hammatt’s Ipswich Lyceum in 1837. One of the attendees was 17-year-old Mary Sophia Kimball, the Rev. David Kimball’s youngest daughter, who wrote in her diary, “Thursday the Miss Grimkes lectured….Not that I by any means approve of ladies coming this public & forward, for I do not, but I thought what I heard was likely to do much good.”

The leaders of the Congregational churches in Massachusetts responded to the Grimké sisters’ lecture tour by circulating a “Pastoral Letter” to all their congregations in August of 1837, urging churches not to permit “strangers to preach on subjects that ministers do not agree with” and warning against “the dangers which at present seem to threaten the female character.”

Among his congregation, Rev. Kimball had many influential supporters regarding the slavery issue:

  • Dr. Abraham Hammatt, a native of Plymouth, married Lucy (Farley) Dodge, widow of William Dodge, and granddaughter of General Michael Farley. Their residence was the John Appleton house at the foot of North Main St. where he constructed a small Lyceum building beside his house. It is said that the short era of the lyceum killed slavery, broke the stranglehold of superstitious theology, made women free, and gave birth to the Civil War.
  • Josiah Caldwell was a teacher and principal of the Ipswich Grammar Schools, served as Representative to the General Court and as an Ipswich selectman. He was a founder and president of the Ipswich Anti-Slavery Society
  • Josiah Caldwell’s wife Lucy Lord Caldwell was manager for the Ipswich Female Anti-Slavery Society. When the Total Abstinence Society was formed in Ipswich, he was elected President. The Caldwell’s house was “always open to the many lecturers who came to Ipswich.”
  • William Oakes (1799-1848) practiced law in Ipswich but is better known for his botanical studies of the flora of the White Mountains. He drowned at the age of 49 when he fell off a ferry between Boston and East Boston.
Dolly Varnum Kimball
Rev. David Kimball’s wife, Dolly Varnum Kimball, 1873. Photo credit: First Church

Rev. Kimball was increasingly at odds over the issue of slavery with many of the members of his own congregation. In a document dated April 14, 1846, the minutes of a meeting of the inhabitants of the First Parish in Ipswich reads as follows: “Voted. That the Trustees do not grant the use of the meeting-house or the chapel for any other purpose than religious meetings.” The vote coincided with an attempt to remove him as the congregation’s pastor.

Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about the intense divisiveness that was manifested regarding the slavery issue and the growth of competing congregations:

“Denominational rivalry grew more acute with the growth of the Methodist Society, and in 1838 Mr. Kimball betrayed his pique by his sermon “On the Utility of a Permanent Ministry” in which his animus against the Methodists was too thinly veiled. A sharp repartee from Rev. Daniel Wise followed and the pews were not slow to array themselves under their respective champions. Denominational tailors and barbers had their exclusive patrons and the anti-slavery bickerings added further bitterness to the sharp variances of the time.

“Notwithstanding these adverse currents, a chapel was built by subscription on the site of the old Town Pound in 1832 and conveyed to the Parish. The fine new meeting house of the South Parish was built in 1837 and only five years elapsed before the men of the First Parish began to consider the same step. The report of the Committee appointed to examine the old meeting house, that it was not worth repairing, was accepted unanimously on Feb. 22, 1842; and it was also voted unanimously, that ‘the Parish grant authority to the subscribers for a stock for a new meeting house, to build said meeting house on the same land where the old house now stands, when said old house shall have been taken down.’“The salary contract with Mr. Kimball had brought forth fruits of bitterness in these latter years. There was much feeling between Pastor and people, which was manifest in the frequent overtures looking toward the breaking of the old agreement. The salary was always in arrears. But in April, 1845, the Treasurer reported that $993.15 had been paid to Mr. Kimball, in full of all demands prior to April 1844, and that the Parish was free from debt for the first time in more than twenty years.

First Church, Ipswich MA
First Church, 1847-1965

“The new enthusiasm was evident again in the report of the Committee in July, 1845, that fifty-one pews were engaged certainly and nine others provisionally. George W. Heard, Abraham Hammatt, Nathan Brown, William T, Averill and Jacob Brown were appointed a Building Committee in August.

There was one sincere regret, in which all shared, the loss of the fine old pulpit and sounding board, and the Parish voted that if it be deemed practicable, they should be put in place in the new sanctuary. The old bell was given to the Linebrook Parish, provided the South Parish and the Town convey their interests. The services of worship were held in the Town House, although the South Parish had invited them to join in union services during the building of the new house. The farewell services in the old meeting house were held on February 22, 1846.

“The corner stone of the new building was laid on July 14. Although the Parish had suffered from the rise of new Parishes since 1749, when the old meeting house was built, the new one was 75 feet long against the 63 feet of the earlier building, but the width and height were nearly identical, 48 feet in place of 47, 25 in place of 26. The new steeple, 135 feet high, was surmounted by the old weathercock, a little enlarged and re-gilded. The old clock was replaced with its four new dials, and a new bell hung.

“Services of dedication were held on February 4, 1847, the sermon being preached by the Pastor Kimball. The general rejoicing was saddened by the common feeling that the ministry of the Pastor, which had already covered more than forty years, was coming to its close. He could not believe however, that his usefulness or acceptableness was any wise impaired, and he refused to listen to any suggestions of a colleague or of his withdrawal.

“Eventually, an agreement was made regarding the original salary contract, and the life use of the parish land (on which Kimball had built his home) and he agreed to cease from any ministerial or pastoral labor, retaining only the title of Pastor. Rev. Robert Southgate, a graduate of Bowdoin in the class of 1826, of Andover Seminary and Yale Divinity School, was installed on July 24, 1851 and remained the Pastor until his dismissal, Feb. 5, 1868.”

The stress that the Rev. Kimball was under is evident in a letter from their daughter Betty in 1845, in which she writes, “Dear parents, I often think of you & wish it were in my power to promote your happiness, & if at any time I can do anything, I will most cheerfully.” In the later years of his pastorate, the Rev. Kimball seems to have become resigned to the restrictions placed upon him regarding speaking on social issues. In the first sermon at the new Parish House in 1847, he remarked, “A house, erected and dedicated to God for the purpose of his worship, should be devoted exclusively to that one object….to use it for town or county meetings, and for the discussion of political or other subjects, not strictly moral or religious, tends to counteract the important object for which it was designed.”

Tombstone of Rev. David Tenney Kimball
The tombstone of Rev. David Tenney Kimball, his wife and son, Location G-29at the Old North Burying Ground.

Still holding the honorary role of Pastor, the Rev. Kimball delivered what may have been his final sermon, “The Pastor’s Jubilee” on the 50th anniversary of his ordination, August 8, 1856. In opening, he hinted at the social issues that divided his congregation, “Very pleasant would it be to me to entertain you on this occasion with happy changes in this my native county and in our land since my settlement in this , but the custom of the day forbids it.” In closing he referred to himself twice as “a dying man.”

David Tenney Kimball died on February 3, 1860, at the age of seventy-seven. His tombstone at the Old North Burying Ground on High Street reads as follows:

“Rev. David Tenney Kimball, born in Bradford, Mass., Nov. 1782, Graduated at Harvard College in 1803; Ordained the eleventh Pastor of the First Congregational Church in Ipswich, Oct. 8, 1806; in which relation he died, Feb. 3, 1860, age 77 years. A fine classical scholar, a vigorous writer, a man of unsullied purity and humble piety, a kind husband, a tender parent, a sincere friend, a faithful pastor. When the summons came, catching a glimpse of heaven, he said, ‘The gates of the New Jerusalem are opening. I see within the city.’”

(Thanks to Diane Young and Rebecca Pugh for help with this article)


Selected sermons by Rev. David T. Kimball

A brief timeline of the salary controversy

(transcribed from church records by Diane Young)

  • May 1, 1844: David T. Kimball hereby relinquishes all claims on said Parish as a corporate body for pecuniary compensation for labour which may be performed by him from and after May 1st 1844, except the use and improvement of the Parish lands heretofore occupied by him, and the income of the Haskell funds, said lands to be improved by him during his natural life.
  • June 24th 1850 A warrant was issued for a Parish meeting to see what measures the Parish will adopt with respect to furnishing assistance to the Rev. Mr. Kimball in his parochial duties.
  • July 3 1850 Voted. “That it is considered desirable by this meeting, that there should be some changes in the administration of the ministerial office. [
  • July 17th 1850 “The committee proposed an interview with Mr. Kimball, which was had at his house on the evening of the 15th instant. Upon communicating the object of our visit and upon reading in his hearing the votes passed by the Parish, he expressed his dissent and said that the committee had no right, under the votes passed July 3 to act upon the articles in the warrant for the Parish meeting and asked ‘what change in the administration of the ministerial office had to do with providing assistance for him?’ And expressing the sentiment that the committee, having no authority by these votes to act in the matter, any proceedings therein ‘would amount to nothing.’ Your committee cannot refrain from expressing their surprise and regret at the course which matters took at this interview.
  • July 24th 1850 Kimball abruptly changes his mind, happy to receive aid, the sooner the better.
  • Nov 11th 1850 Kimball: “I ask not for a colleague my own account. I do not desire one. Labor is my life, but if my people think it necessary or expedient to have one, I object not to their taking that course— and I will cheerfully cooperate with them.”
  • Nov 13th 1850 Voted that the Rev. Robert Southgate be be invited to settle as colleague to Mr. Kimball.
  • Dec 9th 1850 Letter from Southgate in Woodstock: “I am cheered with the assurance of the friendly cooperation fo your senior pastor.”
  • May 19th 1851: “To the members of the First Parish in Ipswich Gent. Not knowing when it is contemplated by this church and Parish to call a council, with the view to settle the colleague they have chosen, but understanding that the time is near at hand, I take leave to call your attention to the fact, that the relations between my colleague elect and myself are unadjusted [?] and that my duties in the new arrangement and my support are not arranged, and that I hold myself ready, so far I am concerned, to determine these. I would also remark, that thought I make no objection to the gentleman you have chosen as my colleague, having no feelings towards him but those of the friendly kind, I have serious objections to the settlement of any as such before the relations and duties of both and of the Parish are determined. With sincere desires of your temporal and spiritual prosperity, I am yours D. T. Kimball
  • May 20th 1851: “After some remarks by several of the brethren upon the unpleasant state of matters among us the following resolutions were offered and adopted by the meeting, 21 voting for them and 2 against them. Resolutions 1st Resolved, that whilst the church desire to cherish only the most friendly feelings towards their pastor, Rev. D. T. Kimball, and whilst they deeply deplore the causes which seem to render the step of dissolution unavoidable, they feel constrained by a conscientious regard to the welfare of the church and society to concur in the opinion of the society that the pastoral relation between themselves and Rev. D. T. Kimball ought to be dissolved. 2nd Resolved…they do hereby request Rev. D. T. Kimball to unite with them in calling a mutual council to consider and decide on the expediency of the contemplated dissolution.”
  • June 11th 1851 Kimball insists that the mutual council proposed determine these matters: “First. Has the pastor on any spiritual or fundamental point changed his views since his theological ordination? Second. Has he been guilty of criminal or immoral conduct? Third. Is he justly chargeable with intentional neglect of ministerial or pastoral duties?”
  • June 16th 1851: “[We] were surprised to find that the compliance with that request [for a mutual council] by him was accompanied with the conditions of the entire acceptance, on our part, of terms which… are calculated to place the church in the attitude of accusers in matters which have not been agitated by them. [Rev. Kimball] proposes subjects for investigation in no way connected to the action of this church and society. Resolved, that the committee appointed Nov 4th 1850.…adopt such measures as they may think proper for the installation of Rev. Mr. Southgate as sole pastor of this church and society.”
  • June 24th, 1851: Kimball accuses the committee of not acting in accordance with their charge from the church. [pages 63-64]
  • June 28 1851 The Committee asks for a simple yes or no: will Kimball agree to a mutual council? [page 66]
  • July 3 1851 Letter to the church about a council to be convened on July 22. It is expected that the examination and installation of Rev. Southgate will follow immediately after the council’s decision

Rev. David Kimball’s letter to the Committee, 1844

(Transcribed by Gordon Harris)


I appear before you in person today that I may convey to you my sentiments more clearly, than by sending you a communication to be read by another.

When the amiable, but too pliable & unfortunate Lewis King of France was informed of the resolution which consigned him to an untimely death he said to his informer, “For two hours I have been revolving in my memory , whether during my whole reign I have voluntarily given any cause of complaint to my subjects, & with perfect sincerity I declare, when about to appear before the throne of God, that I have never formed a wish but for their happiness.”- So after revolving in my mind for more than two days the history of my connexion with this people, with sincerity of heart I can appeal to him who knows all things, that from the time of my coming among you, “I have never formed a wish but for your happiness.” Your spiritual & temporal welfare has always been dear to me. And come what may, it is my hope ever to cherish an affectionate regard for you. And if by any temporal sacrifice I can promote any real benefit, I refuse not to make ( ) ye votes, as handed me by a very respectable committee, you give it, as the unanimous opinion of the meeting of the third instant, “that the Parish cannot flourish & prosper under the existing contract with me.” And you say to that if I give up the old contract, you will give all that you can get subscribed & collected for the purpose of providing my salary for the coming year.

If it be so, if the dissolution of this contract is essential to the spiritual & temporal prosperity of this Society, I say at once let it be dissolved. But considering its noble birth, that its immediate fathers were Ephraim Kendall, John Heard, Jabez Farley, Mark Haskell & men of like precious & honorable memory, & since it has existed for more than one third of a century, & since it agrees essentially with contracts which have existed between this parish & all its ministers for two centuries, & with those between ministers & their people in our connection from the first settlement of the country down to the present time, let its dissolution be attended by some token of respect, and let the officiating priest be permitted without offence to offer an affectionate tribute to its memory before it is consigned to the tomb.

On a subject which appears to have occasioned considerable excitement you will give me both a patient & a candid hearing.

  1. Contracts are serious matters. Their binding obligation is universally confirmed. They cannot generally be violated without dissolving the bonds of society. Such is the importance of maintaining their inviolability that congregations cannot constitutionally make a case to impair their obligation.
  2. Contracts between ministers & their people are as sacred & obligatory as any other between man & man. When a minister is invited to settle over a religious society, a contract is usually made with him, in which he engages to perform the duties of the ministerial office, & they engage to give him a pecuniary consideration for those services. Such contracts now exist between the ministers & religious Societies of our connexion, near & remote.
  3. The contract between this Parish & myself was made under person. So it is with the town. So it is with all corporate bodies. The contact between me & the parish is now in law as binding on us both, as it was, when first made. So I am instructed by learned counsel.

But there is something in this contract very repulsive to men of the present age. And I blame no man, especially no young man among us for desiring that it may be changed or annulled. A great change in the minds of men has taken place on subjects of this kind, since the commencement of my ministry. In the days of our fathers, the contracts with parishes made with their ministers contemplated their living & dying with them, & their salaries continued unabated to the close of life. Such was the case with my predecessors here. Such was the case the Rev. Dr. Dana of the South Church in this town, whose ministry was extended through more than 60 years, and whose salary was paid down to the close of his life. Everywhere ministers were taken off from their labors for years, they received their salaries as fully as when they closed their lives in action. The sentiment of those days was that the minister who served his people faithfully during the time of active labor for a bare competence, if he survived that period should be furnished with the means of comfortable subsistence by those to whom he had devoted the best of his days. That sentiment existed in some degree at the time of my settlement; so that it was proposed by the parish, that if I shall become unable to perform the duties of a gospel minister, I should receive a portion of my original salary; & so have something to depend on for a subsistence, should those days come upon me, of which men may have no pleasure in them, & find me in want. The sentiments of that day have faded away. And the present generation, especially the younger part of it, cannot be expected to enter into them.

On the subject of your proposition, gentlemen, taking into view both parts of it, vis, the dissolution of the contract & the offer of a remuneration for my services another year, I wish to present before you consideration, tending to show that the plan proposed is adverse your prosperity as a society.

  1. I apprehend it will injure your reputation as a Society among sister Societies & among individuals. On your adopting the course propped it will be immediately reported, that this Paris is either unable or unwilling to give a minister a stipulated salary, & such a report will tend to prevent your increase.
  2. The course contemplated is a downward course, as it respects the support of the gospel. The descent is easy, but to arise from it will be difficult, perhaps impracticable. It is a course, which experience & observation show us, is dangerous & often destructive to religious societies; & in my opinion would be resorted to only in cases of absolute necessity. On this plan societies from year to year give less & less, till they give nothing; & their candlestick is removed.
  3. The habit of not giving a stipulated salary will be permanently injurious. If you practice on this plan for the present, you will on your attempt to settle another minister find it difficult to shake off that habit. The first thing to be attended to in connection with your call will be to propose to him a salary. No man will settle with you without a salary. And no man who will satisfy you will be likely to settle for a less number than $600.00 And from the habit you are now contracting you will then find it difficult, if not impracticable, to agree on a sufficient man.
  4. The course you propose taking will generally be regarded as unjust. Persons unacquainted with all the circumstances in the case will say the First Parish in Ipswich have taken away from their Pastor, who has devoted a long life to their service the salary, they agreed to give him, without …ing any things definite in its place. Neighboring Societies, in this & in other towns, & individuals far & near, who hear of it will pronounce it unjust, & this will operate to your disadvantage. And—
  5. Suffer me to preach to you a little, what will the fact be? Where is the equity of this course? …I accuse no man of any wrong design in this thing. I do not believe there is any ill design. And yet a body as numerous & complicated as a parish may in their acts depart from the rules of justice under an impression of necessity, without any of the individuals composing it, intending to do wrong. Look at my case. Is it not a hard one? Without any intimation to me of neglect of duty on my part, without any accusation whatever brought before me, while devoting my time & every talent I possess to the duties of my profession as your minister, I am most unrespectfully called up to give up a contract, which promises me a competent support, & which contains indeed a life annuity & to receive in its stead no definite sum, even for a single year. Now, gentlemen, let me ask, what would you think & what would you do were you in my place? Would you think it right? Would either of you consent to it? Is it agreeable to gospel principle? Is it acting in accordance with the great principle of Christian morality, whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even to them? To what other man than a clergyman would such a proposition ever be made? To what man in public life? To what judge of our county? To what husband man or mechanic is it right in the sight of God? It is in the interest of both the society & myself, that relation to a case so important & so critical, we pursue a course, which God will approve. That which is just is always expedient. I add…

The course proposed will considerably diminish the means of supporting the gospel ministry. I refer to the loss of the Haskell fund.—You say to me through your committee that if I will give up the old contract, you will give me all you can get subscribed & collected for the purpose of paying my salary for the current year. The meaning is, The Parish will give me what may be subscribed & collected for the purpose of paying for that only. To this I cannot consent. And that for this plain reason. By pursuing this course the Parish will entirely sacrifice the Haskell funds. Now gentlemen, whatever else I can consent to, I cannot, & will not consent, that you shall sacrifice your funds, which I procured for you, for which at my instance Esq. now Judge Hubbard prepared the instrument for conveying & securing these to you, funds which were given with a particular view to my support. By virtue of that instrument, the income of that fund is to be appropriated toward the support of the minister of their parish. And if the income is not thus appropriated, the fund itself is forfeited & goes in to the ……of the …at law of Mrs. Haskell. The income of the Frisbie fund also is appropriated in the same way, which also was given in friendship to me, & with a view to my use, while your minister. Should I continue as the Pastor & minister of this Church & congregation another year, the interest of these funds is mine of course, & you cannot appropriate it to any other object, than my support, without sacrificing the funds themselves. And the plan you propose does contemplate a different appropriation of them, by giving me that, & that only which may be obtained by subscription.

The plan proposed will be injurious to you as it will cramp what little energy the pastor possesses, disarming him of that measure of independence in his preaching which is necessary to its proper effects, constrain him to relinquish his habits of frequent exchanges with his brethren, older & younger, nearer & more remote, & in various ways prevent him from being profitable to you as a Spiritual guide.

In view of this & various other considerations, I am convinced that it is not for the honor, the interest & the spiritual welfare of this parish, to dissolve the contract, without providing a proper substitute.

The influence of the course contemplated on other societies of ministers, & on the cause of Zion deserves much more consideration than I can at present give it. Our example in this respect will have a powerful & extensive influence on other societies. We stand on an eminence as the oldest Society in Essex North, & one of the oldest in the country. We are as a city on a hill. Our movements are observed. If our contract shall be dissolved without a substitute, our example will be followed by other Societies, & the silver cords which bind ministers to their societies will be broken in this most happy portion of our country.

We shall see most solemn contracts thrown out to the four winds, & disorder spread its desolations all around – The dissolution of our contract also, if nothing stable is substituted for it, will tend to increase that instability as to the pastoral relation, which has been & is one of the principal causes of dissolations of Zion, & against which the evangelical chores of pastors in our connexion are now saying their () voices. One Pastor with his congregation, like Dr. Emerson of Salem; twelve Pastors with their Societies, whom I might name in this country, maintaining firmly their mutual contracts, & fulfilling the obligations of the same, preserved at the present time a firm barrier against that flood fo disorder which in the hands of infidels & disorganizers, & in a spirit resembling that of the French revolution, is desolating Zion & threatening to wash way what is beautiful & fair in the instructions of Christianity.

I owe in regard to this subject a duty to my brethren in the ministry especially in Essex North, which makes me caution of favoring a course which tends to operate injuriously on them. As to myself, I stand pledged to my brethren in the ministry & to the church & religious community as an advocate of a permanent ministry – not however of one too permanent. My sermon before the public on that subject, as minster personally unknown to me in various parts of ( ….) me, is operating with some power & to considerable extent in bringing back the former order of things in this aspect. I cannot do any thing inconsistent with the views I have submitted to the ( ) on that subject, & tending to counteract an influence which I have put forth, of which I am assured has done good; & therefore I cannot be forward in favoring your design.

I was intending to speak of the injurious tendency of this you proposed on myself personally; on my comfort, my reputation & influence. But choosing to present the subject before you chiefly in relation to ye own good, I spare myself & you the pain of going over that critical ground.

Not having heard that this subject was in agitation until within a few weeks, & having my heart full of the afflictions of my people deprived as they have ben of so many dear friends, its strikes me with some surprise that the contract is so offensive, when it must operate so favorably to the parish, as it must at present. The low price of the articles of life reduce the salary considerably below the stated sum of $600, probably to about $500. The interest of the funds would give me more than $80 of that; is that the what the parish would have to raise for my salary, about $420, a burden by no means grievous to be born; a burden I fully believe, light in comparison with that borne by the members of our parishes in general according to their abilities; of a salary, very small in comparison with what ministers in my connexion generally receive. Those in our association are safely more than $700.

But the means of this parish are greatly reduced. Some say one half. No one among us regrets that circumstance more than I do. I sympathize with you in that affliction. But what are the causes of the diminution of ye means? Am I the chief cause?

Among the causes are 1st chiefly the removal of young men & others from this to other places for want of business. The money of 57 men in the city of Salem all men of character & some of great influence who were born in this society & who left the place since my settlement having been handed me by a native (…). Other causes of diminution are the law of the Commonwealth giving every man liberty to withhold his aid from the support of public worship; the exemption of nonresidents from their former liabilities; misfortune which has fallen very heavily on some; death which has cut down many others; changes in the mode of travel increase of religious societies & power of sectarian influence; these area portion of the causes, which have diminished our means, & they are sufficient to account for as great a diminution as that which has been mentioned.

What has been the real diminution I should like to know. To ascertain this, we shall begin at the very time of my settlement. Not a few years before, for there had been a great falling off & a new society formed just before my settlement. We should begin not a few years after, for there was a considerable accession to the Society, soon after my settlement, Dr. Manning & others. We must include in our means the church & parish funds, all of which have come into our hands since my settlement. There is so far as means are concerned are equal to the accession of 8 or 9 men, each paying a subscription of ten dollars.

Suppose our means are reduced one half, on whom should the loss fall? On one individual of us or on the whole body? If it fall wholly on the minister, when most of its causes are beyond his control? What proportion of it ought he to bear, while he diligently performs the duties of his office? Can he be reasonably asked to bear more than a (…) part? Because we are reduced in our means, shall we promise our minister no definite consideration for his services? What would a teacher in a common school say to the following proposition, this spring, we offer you sir al we can collect in the district as a salary for the next year? I know gentlemen start at the idea of an ability in the parish. I wish I knew our real ability. The town valuation of the members of this Society two years ago I understood to be 276,748. This with Parish & church funds amounting to $1500, under us able in comparison with many Parishes; in comparison with some even in populous villages, as Haverhill. In the Lawrence Society, which pays a salary of $900 or 900, a man of ten thousand dollars must pay a subscription of $50, in order to his proportion of the ministerial support. This is a society which separated from the old congregation for the sake of enjoying preaching of their own sentiments, leaving funds to a very great amount. Mr. ( ) of Hamilton is my authority for the statement just made. He with a property of as is supposed about 2,500 pays a subscription of $100. Probably, men in general who value the gospel, pay twice as much for its support, as they did before the law was made exempting them from their obligations to support public worship.

Gentlemen, I present before you these considerations, not with the expectation of arresting your progress in the main design, as it reflects the ancient contract; but in order that there may be on record something from me; which tho’ not that in the style of direct remonstrance, will make it manifest in future time, that I was far from originating & desiring the course pursued. You will not prefer some alteration, & much alteration as will fully recognize the right of the existing pastor to the income of those funds.

Whatever course may be taken, gentlemen, & whatever may be the result of the present movements, the god in whom I trust, I am confident will take care of one during the short time I may live & labor. And as I said before, I repeat again, come what will, those whom I have loved so …..(the last page of the document is missing).

Parish agreement with Mr. Kimball, April 19, 1844

  • “We the subscribers, viz David T. Kimball, minister of the First Parish in Ipswich on one part, and Abraham Hammatt, George W Heard, William Warner, Josiah Caldwell and Nathaniel Harris, empowered for the purpose at a legal meeting of the said parish held on the 12th day of April 1844, on the other part have agreed and do humbly agree as follows, and which when accepted by said parish at an adjournment of the aforesaid meeting shall be binding on both parties.
  • Rev. T. Kimball hereby relinquishes all claims on said Parish as a corporate body for pecuniary any compensation for labor, which may be performed by him from & after May 1, 1844, except the use and improvement of the pastors lands, heretofore improved by him, and the income of the Haskell funds—the land to be improved by him during his life.
  • Agreement that Mr. Kimball is hereafter to depend for support in this place on the use of the parish lands (*ie parsonage) and the income of the Haskell and Frisbee funds, and on the voluntary subscriptions of individuals.
  • And for the purpose of procuring these subscriptions it is understood and agreed that the parish will appoint committees annually to circulate subscription papers among the members of the parish and other hearers of Mr. Kimball to see what individuals will give for his support each year, as long as his ecclesiastical connection with this parish and church shall continue. The subscription papers to be so drawn up as to be payable on the first day of October and the first day of April, and all sums to be received by the committee or treasurer of the parish shall be paid over to Mr. Kimball after deducting the expense of collection.

Signatures: D. T Kimball, A. Hammatt, Wm. Warner, Josiah Caldwell, Nathaniel Harris (committee)

Declaration of Sentiment for Immediate Emancipation

(Dated August 1833, transcribed by Sue Nelson from Boston Library collections)

“The undersigned after mature deliberation feel themselves constrained by a sense of duty to God and man to make the following expression of opinion. We believe

  1. that slavery in our land is a great and threatening evil
  2. that it is a great and crying national sin
  3. that every man, whether he live at the North, South, East, or West, is personally responsible and has his personal duties to discharge in respect to it
  4. that every man who adopts any opinion or pursues any practices, which adopted and pursued by all others would go to perpetuate the sin, does thereby become personally guilty in respect to it.
  5. that slavery is an evil and a sin which ought to be abolished as soon as the nature of the case admits
  6. that the nature of the case admits the possibility and therefore imposes the obligation of immediate abolition
  7. that the power of immediate abolition does not rest with non-slaveholders but with slaveholders
  8. that immediate abolition is both the duty and the interest of slaveholders
  9. that non-slaveholders have no right or power to interfere with the system of slavery or its abolition in the way of state legislation or physical force, but that they have a right and that it is their solemn duty to do what they can by “light and love“ to enlighten the public mind, arouse the public conscience, and elevate the tone of public sentiment on the subject in every section of the land

And finally we believe that the grand obstacle to the abolition of this sin lies in the will of the slaveholder – that this will being changed then would of necessity be a change in the various laws and other obstacles which perhaps have grown out of it and that this will is to be changed

  1. by the force of public opinion among non-slaveholders, and
  2. By means of kind, candid, and thorough Christian discussions (?) with slave holders themselves.

In respect to the scheme of colonization, which at the North professes to be a scheme for gradual and ultimate abolition, we feel constrained to say

  1. That however great the merits of this scheme may be, still it can never be a complete and adequate remedy for the evil in question.
  2. That however much good it may have done in time past, the time has now come when the friends of God and man ought to take a higher stand and adopt and act on principles which will lay the axe directly at the root of the tree.

Signed by David T. Kimball and 9 others

Sources & further reading:

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