The papers of American abolitionists and clergymen George Bourne and Theodore Bourne, including correspondence, sermons, essays,
notes, ephemera and copies of genealogical materials.
George Bourne (1780-1845), English-born American clergyman and abolitionist. Bourne was born on June 18, 1780 in Wesbury,
Wiltshire, England. He studied at the seminary at Homerton, London. In 1802, he came to the United States for a brief visit.
Upon his return to England in 1804, he married Mary Stibbs and shortly sailed for New York. The Bournes then moved on to Baltimore
where George Bourne became the editor and co-owner of the Baltimore Daily Gazette. In 1809, Bourne left Maryland for Virginia.
He first went to New Glasgow, then to Port Republic to become the minister to the town's new Presbyterian church, and then
to Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he became one of the founders and the secretary of the Religious Tract Society. In 1815,
Bourne, invoking the condemnation of "man-stealers" in I Timothy 1:10, queried the General Assembly demanding a formal ruling
on the question of whether or not it was permissible for Presbyterians to own slaves. The Assembly refused to act, and Bourne's
own presbytery voted to expel him from the ministry. In 1816, Bourne published The book and slavery irreconcilable that identified
slaveholding as a sin. The General Assembly retroactively removed Bourne's reference to I Timothy 1:10 from his protest on
procedural grounds. Bourne appealed again in 1817, but in 1818, the General Assembly upheld his presbytery's decision to defrock
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