Two Presbyterian Laymen, One Name

Elias Boudinot IV (1740-1821) was a Presbyterian laymen of French Huguenot descent. His father was a neighbor and friend of Benjamin Franklin. Boudinot IV lived a remarkable life, serving as President of the Continental Congress, Director of the United States Mint, Congressional Representative for the State of New Jersey, and founder and President of the American Bible Society. He had a particular interest in promoting the rights of black Americans and American Indians. He sponsored one young Cherokee Indian by the name of Buck Watie (his brother Stand Watie later famously fought as a General for the Confederate Army). The two men had such respect for each other that the younger Cherokee man adopted the name of his benefactor and became Elias Boudinot (1802-1839). As a leader of the Cherokee Nation, he edited their first newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, using the new written alphabet created by Sequoyah. His Address to the Whites (1826) was delivered in the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia, and aimed to raise funds funds for a Cherokee academy and a printing press, as well as to help the white population better understand the aboriginal situation. Both of these Presbyterian laymen shared an understanding that all men of whatever color were created in the image of God, and ought to be free, whether from British tyranny or from racial prejudice. Their works are worth reading today.