A War of Religion: Dissenters, Anglicans and the American by James B. Bell

By James B. Bell

Examines the debatable institution of the 1st Anglican Church in Boston in 1686, and the way later, political leaders John Adams, Samuel Adams, and John Wilkes exploited the disputes as political dynamite including taxation, exchange, and the quartering of troops: themes which John Adams later recalled as factors of the yank Revolution.

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Members of the Dutch Reformed Church, for some unknown reason, did not raise objections before the statute was passed, as the provision for churchwardens and vestrymen suggested an unfamiliar type of ecclesiastical organisation. Perhaps they intended from the beginning to try to profit from its vagueness. Later members of the Dutch church claimed that since the act was broadly defined they and their ministers had a share in the benefits of the law too. Governor Fletcher, however, declared that the law established only the Church of England and its clergymen.

36 But the vestry act, and with it the Established Church, was not to receive its ‘quietus’ from the dissenting interests in the Assembly. 37 During the first two decades of the eighteenth century the English church made modest progress establishing congregations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, three and two churches respectively. G. Without exception, the churches’ membership was small. In Newbury, Massachusetts, many of the founding Anglican church members were disaffected members of the local Congregational Church who objected to paying taxes to support its minister.

They came from Numa Pompilius. The Vestments, Holy water, Incense, &c. in the Roman Liturgy, were taken up from the Heathen; the Bishops of Rome thinking thereby to gain Pagans to the Christian Religion, Just as the Bishops of England thought to gain Papists to the Protestant Religion, by the use of their Ceremony’s’. ’, noting that ‘In One Service the worshippers must repeat these words, Good Lord deliver us Eight Times over. And wee beseech Thee to hear us, Twenty Times over. The Gloria Patri is to bee repeated Ten Times in the same Morning or Evening Service’.

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