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In Their Own Words

December 10, 1770

Grief on Death of George Whitefield

Savannah merchant James Habersham wrote of his grief in hearing of the death of George Whitefield:

“… I make no doubt but that your ladyship heard of the truly lamented Death of that dear and much Honoured Servant of Jesus Christ, - the Revd George Whitefield at Newburyport in New England, about the same time as we did here, which was the beginning of last Month, and as your Ladyship must know the Character and Usefullness of the Worthy deceased, in the Church, it will be needless for me to say anything on that subject. I have however lost in him The oldest and Dearest friend I had upon Earth. My first acquaintance with him was 34 years ago soon after he left Oxford and on his first visit to London, before he was known as a popular preacher, and from the first hour we saw each other, to the hour of his Death, our Affectionate and real Friendship never abated; indeed it was so deeply founded, that we knew not now to part, and when he first set of for this, then Infant Colony in December of 1737, I left my Business, Contrary to the Sentiments of all my Friends, and embarked with him… . Some of the first years of my being here, I was wholly engaged with, and for him, in erecting the Orphan House and conducting his affairs there. He has long appeared to be particularly designed by divine Providence to be singularly usefull in promoting the Interests of real Religion in this new and very extensive World, and I believe his death has been very truly and very Generally Lamented, wherever he has had an opportunity of being known throughout this Continent… .”

Source: Collections of the Georgia Historical Society, Vol. VI, The Letters of the Hon. James Habersham, 1756-1775 (Savannah: Georgia Historical Society, 1904), pp. 102-103.