Society for Propagation of the Gospel in New England - American Education
A charitable organization created by the English Parliament in 1649, to convert American Indians in the Massachusetts Bay Colony to Christianity. A privately run organization, it was financed largely by Puritan merchants and other men of import, including Oliver Cromwell. The society supported the work of such missionaries as the Rev. John Eliot, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, who produced an “Indian Library” consisting of Algonquian translations he made of the Bible, Psalter, a grammar, a primer, a catechism and several other books on piety and religious practices. After the Restoration, the society was reincorporated by a new Parliament as the Company for Propagacion of the Gospell in New England, and the Parts Adjacent in America, but continued its earlier work, buying clothing, building materials and tools for Indians, paying the salaries of ministers and schoolmasters to work among the Indians, and, in 1653, financing construction of the Indian College at Harvard. The latter proved a failure after it was unable to recruit an adequate number of qualified Indian students. By 1675, the society’s efforts had nevertheless resulted in the conversion of about 2,500 Indians, or about 20% of the 12,500 Indians in New England.