Charles Thomson (1729-1824)

Secretary of the Continental Congress and
Translator of the Bible from Greek

1729 Born in Waghera, County Derry, Ireland.
1740
 
Emigrated to America with family.
Father died on the way.
1741–
 
Student at the of Rev. Francis Alison, D.D.,
New London Academy, Pennsylvania
1749 Tutor at the Newark Academy, Delaware
1751-55
 
Tutor of Latin and Greek at Benjamin Franklin’s
Academy of Philadelphia
1757-60
 
Tutor at the William Penn Charter School,
(Friends’ School) Philadelphia
1759
 
Published “An Enquiry into the Causes of
Alienation of the Delaware and Shawneese Indians.”
1760
 
Compiled “A Catalogue of the Library
of the Latin School” for the Friends’ School
1761-1774 Mercantile pursuits.
1774-1789
 
Secretary of the Continental Congress and
Congress of the Confederation
1808
 
 
 
 
Published “The Holy Bible, containing the Old
and New Covenant, Commonly called the
Old and New Testament, Translated from
Greek (4 Vols.) – first American translation
of the Septuagint into English.
1815
 
Published “A Synopsis of the Four Evangelists”
(Harmony of the Four Gospels).
1824 Died in Pennsylvania

 

Who prepared Charles Thomson to become an erudite scholar of Greek and Latin?

While a student at the New London Academy, under the nurturing hand of Rev. Francis Alison, D.D., Charles Thomson frequently gave manifestations of his ardent zeal for knowledge. In “The Friend:” A Religious and Literary Journal, we read that, “On one occasion he obtained some loose leaves of the ‘Spectator,’ and admiring its style, he so longed to possess the whole work, that he walked all night to Philadelphia and returned the next day in time to be present in his classes.
He was captivated with the study of Greek, and he actually walked to Amboy for the purpose of visiting a British officer there who had the reputation of being an accomplished Greek scholar. His relatives and friends urged him to commence the study of theology after having finished his academic course. For this purpose they recommended to him the reading of certain theological works. It is related that he at once inquired from whence these writers drew their religious knowledge? His relatives answered: “From the Holy Scriptures, most assuredly,” and seemed to be surprised at his asking such a question. “Well, then,” replied Charles, “if they whom you so highly recommend as models drew their religious instruction from the Scriptures, I shall apply directly to the same source, instead of taking knowledge at second hand.”1
Although he had no intention of preparing for the ministry, he began a careful study of the Bible, and laid the foundations of that intimate knowledge of the Scriptures which he displayed in later years.

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Bibliography:

1

“The Friend:” A Religious and Literary Journal, Vol. I., p. 230.

 

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