(c.1658–1708), Presbyterian clergyman born in Ireland, emigrated to Maryland (1683) and eventually settled in Virginia. His missionary work and preaching throughout the colonies has sometimes caused him to be considered the founder of Presbyterianism in America. He was opposed in a controversy by George Keith, to whom he replied in An Answer to George Keith's Libel (1694), and also by the Church of England, to which he replied in Truths in a True Light (1699). While in England to obtain funds and workers for the Presbyterian cause, he published A Plain and Friendly Persuasive to the Inhabitants of Virginia and Maryland for Promoting Towns and Cohabitation (1705). In 1707 he was fined for preaching without a license in New York, and his pamphlet A Narrative of a New and Unusual American Imprisonment (1707) helped to do away with such intolerance.
From The Oxford Companion to American Literature in Oxford Reference.