Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DUCHE, Jacob, clergyman, born in Philadelphia in 1737; died there, 3 January 1798. He was the son of a Huguenot who came to America with William Penn. He was graduated from the College of Philadelphia (now University of Pennsylvania) in 1757, afterward studied in England at the University of Cambridge, and was licensed in 1759 by the bishop of London to officiate as an assistant in the Churches of Philadelphia. In 1775 he succeeded to the rectorship of Christ Church, in that City, on the resignation of Dr. Peters. At the beginning of the Revolution he espoused the cause of the colonies, and was invited to make the opening prayer on the assembling of the 1st congress, 7 September 1774. After reading a Psalm and several petitions from the Book of Common Prayer, he concluded with an impromptu invocation so patriotic in spirit and so reverent in tone that he was given a vote of thanks.
On 9 July 1776, he was chosen chaplain, and served three months, when he resigned, he devoted his stipend of $150 to the relief of the families of Pennsylvanians who had fallen in battle. When the British took possession of Philadelphia, Dr. Duch6 seemed to despair of the success of the patriot cause, and wrote a letter to Washington, in October. 1777, urging him to abandon what he considered a forlorn hope, and to "represent to congress the indispensable necessity of rescinding the hasty and ill-advised Declaration of Independence." Washington transmitted the letter to congress, and it soon found its way into the newspapers. In consequence, Dr. Duch6 left this country and went to England, where he was appointed chaplain to the Lambeth orphan asylum, and soon made a reputation as an eloquent preacher. In the mean time his estate had been confiscated, and he himself declared a traitor. He returned to Philadelphia in 1790 in feeble health. Dr. Duch6 married a sister of Francis Hopkinson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He was the master of a polished style, and wrote, among other works, "Caspipina's Letters" (Philadelphia, 1774; Bath, England, 1777), and "Discourses on Various Subjects" (London, 1779). Of the latter it has been said: "His discourses have great warmth and spirit, and at times are in the strain of our old divines." The prayer that he wrote and used during his term as chaplain in congress is a model of that style of composition.
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