History Note

Samuel Hopkins (1766-1803) was a Congregational minister in the New England area. Born in Connecticut he was educated at Yale, and later studied under Johnathan Edwards (1703-1758). Hopkins preached in Sheffield (now Great Barrington) from 1743-1769, until a difference in theology between Hopkins and his congregation forced him to leave Sheffield. Hopkins then traveled to Newport Rhode Island, where he preached from 1770-1803, when he died. During the Revolutionary War, Hopkins fled Newport, and continued to preach at Newburyport in Massachusetts, as well as Canterbury and Stamford Connecticut (1776-1780). Hopkins is an important figure in Congregationalism, because of the school of theological thought that bears his name, Hopkinsianism, sometimes called New Divinity. Hopkins is also prominent as an early abolitionist, being one of the first Congregationalist ministers to denounce slavery, despite owning slaves at one time in his life.

Digital Materials

Letter to Little, 1766


The first of two letters to a Mr. Little in Newbury, Boston, from Samuel Hopkins. This letter thanks Mr. Little for letting Hopkins stay with him and his family on his travels. It also states that Hopkins wishes to live in Newbury, if not for his family. People mentioned in the letter by Hopkins include, Mr. Little, Mrs. Little, their daughter, and a Mifs E. West who was entrusted with delivery of the letter.