Roger Williams Institute

Benjamin Colman

Virtual American Biographies

COLMAN, Benjamin, clergyman, born in Boston, Massachusetts, 19
October, 1673; died there, 29 August, 1747. He was graduated at
Harvard in 1692, began preaching soon afterward, embarked for
England in July, 1695, was captured by a French privateer, and
reached England after a brief imprisonment. He there became
acquainted with eminent nonconformist divines, and preached in Bath
and other places. In 1699 he returned to take charge of the Brattle
street church, receiving ordination in London, because the society,
just organized in opposition to the Cambridge platform, differed
with the other churches in New England in regard to the forms of
service, desiring to abolish the public relation of experiences, and
to introduce reading of the Scriptures and recital of the Lord's
prayer. He remained with the society, with which the other Boston
churches long refused to hold communion, till his death, ranking
among the first of New England clergymen, and exerting a powerful
influence in civil affairs that sometimes drew censure upon him. He
procured benefactions for Harvard and Yale Colleges, and interested
himself in the mission among the Housatonic Indians and other
benevolent enterprises. In 1724 he was offered, but refused, the
presidency of Harvard. Many of his sermons, some poems, and a tract
in favor of inoculation for small-pox, were published. His collected
sermons were printed in three volumes (Boston, 1707-'22). See "Life
and Character of Col-man," by his son-in-law, the Rev. Ebenezer
Turell (Boston, 1749), and Hopkins's "History of the Houssatonnoc


Promoting the Principles of Religious Liberty