Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Beatty, Charles

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BEATTY, Charles, clergyman, b. in county Antrim, Ireland, about 1715; d. in Bridgeton, Barbadoes, 13 Aug., 1772. While very young he sailed for America, and, with other passengers, was landed on Cape Cod in a nearly famished condition, the ship having run short of provisions. Making his way to the neighborhood of Philadelphia, he began peddling in the vicinity. On one of his excursions, he stopped at the “Log College” near Neshaminy, and fell into conversation with its founder, the Rev. William Tennent, who discovering that the young peddler had a classical education, and possessed the true missionary spirit, persuaded him to study for the ministery, and he was ordained on 13 Oct., 1742. He became pastor of the Presbyterian church at the forks of Neshaminy, Pa., 26 May, 1743. The Presbyterians were at that time divided into two factions, the “Strict” or “Old Side” and the “New Side,” and Mr. Beatty joined the former. He was associated with David Brainerd in some of his missionary labors among the Indians, and accompanied Franklin as chaplain on a military expedition to establish frontier posts in the northwest, in 1755. Franklin relates, in his account of the expedition, that, noting the punctual attendance of the soldiers when the daily allowance of grog was served out, and contrasting it with their dilatory attendance at the regular religious services, he suggested to the chaplain the expediency of serving this popular ration immediately after prayers. The chaplain thought the idea good, accepted the task, and, adds Franklin, “never were prayers more generally and punctually attended, so that I think this method preferable to punishment inflicted by severe military laws for non-attendance on divine services.” In 1766 Mr. Beatty made a prolonged missionary tour through the frontier settlements of Pennsylvania. Some of his sermons were printed, and he published the “Journal of a Two Months' Tour among the Frontier Inhabitants of Pennsylvania” (London, 1768), also a letter to the Rev. John Erskine, advocating the theory that the American Indians are the descendants of the lost Hebrew tribes. He was much interested in raising money for the struggling college of New Jersey (Princeton), and died of yellow fever while on a visit to Barbados with this object in view.