Biography and History

Thomas Foxcroft was born February 26, 1697, in Boston, Massachusetts. Educated at Harvard, he was called in 1717 to serve as minister of the First (Congregational) Church of Boston, where he remained until his death. Foxcroft’s ministry was marked by a desire to honor traditional Puritanism while also respecting the differing religious views of his contemporaries. This was perhaps best exemplified by his forty-year amicable partnership at First Church with Charles Chauncy (1705-1817), whose Arminian stance stood in contrast to Foxcroft’s Calvinist bias. Spurred by a passion to reach youth, Foxcroft published over thirty sermons and tracts, many written before a 1736 stroke that left him permanently debilitated. Despite his weakened strength, Foxcroft still managed to play a significant role in the First Great Awakening. He penned An Apology in Behalf of the Revd Mr. Whitefield (1745) defending revivalist preacher George Whitefield (1714-1770). He also facilitated the publication of works by various other ministers of his day and contributed prefaces to a number of such works. He died of a stroke on June 18, 1769.

Source: From the finding aid for C0160

  • Thomas Foxcroft Correspondence. 1729-1759 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C0160

    Thomas Foxcroft served as a Congregational minister at the First Church of Boston. The collection consists primarily of letters sent to Foxcroft by acquaintances and colleagues, notably Jonathan Dickinson (1688-1747) and Experience Mayhew (1673-1758). Several manuscripts, including sermons by Jonathan Dickinson (both written and printed) and lengthy responses to theological debates, are also included.