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1724-1806. Baptist minister, historian, and champion of religious liberty. Born in Connecticut, he came under conviction of sin during the Great Awakening* in 1741, and finally experienced evangelical conversion. He joined a “New Light” or Separatist Congregationalist church, but remained rather passive for several years. Aroused by the preaching of G. Whitefield,* he felt a definite call to become a preacher in 1746, and promptly started out on the first of many preaching tours. He was ordained in 1748, and in 1751 adopted Baptist principles and was immersed with his wife before his Middleborough congregation, of which he was pastor until his death. He contributed much to the growth of the Baptist movement in New England and was an organizer of the Warren Association of Baptists. He became the most persistent and effective advocate for the cause of religious freedom and separation of church and state, and traveled widely and wrote extensively to improve the status of Baptists. His three-volume work, A History of New England with Particular Reference to the...Baptists (1777-96), contains valuable source material for historians.