Project Canterbury

History of the American Episcopal Church 1600-1915

By the Reverend S. D. McConnell, D.D., D.C.L., LL. D.

Eleventh Edition

Milwaukee: Morehouse Publishing Co., 1934
London: A. R. Mowbray & Co., 1934.

Preface to Tenth Edition

In preparing this sketch of the American Church originally, I stopped at the settlement of the Civil War. Of course this was an arbitrary stopping place. The war was not an ecclesiastical epoch, and its settlement concluded no Church movement. But its date coincided with the entrance upon the stage of the Churchmen living at the date of the writing. I shrank from the frank expression concerning contemporary men and events which I had ventured upon with those the record of whose influence had been made up.

Moreover, the most difficult history to write is contemporaneous history. One cannot tell surely what events are important and what trivial. Time, and time alone, sorts them out and assigns to each its proper significance.

I have now attempted to sketch briefly the Church's movement down to the present time. No doubt I have left unnoticed men and things which another would have dwelt upon, and have laid emphasis upon events which another would have disregarded. All that I can say is that this is the way that the history appears to me. If it appears otherwise to another he has the right to record it in his fashion.

Easter, 1916 S. D. McConnell.

Part First. The English Church in the Colonies

Chapter I. The Stage

The Indians; ownership of the soil; occasion of the immigration; the Spanish Peace; the Act of Uniformity; the effect to destroy the national quality of the Church.

Chapter II. The Virginians

Raleigh's Colony; Georges' Colony; the Virginia Company; the first Church; English interest in Colonial ventures; Indian Missions; Pocahontas; first representative Assembly; laws concerning Religion; spirit of the laws; relaxation of manners.

Chapter III. The Puritans

Religious parties in England; not unequal division; the Churchmen's theory; the "Pilgrims"; the Salem Colony; Puritan theory and practice; the Puritan temper; the Puritan laws; planting the Church; John Morton; the Brown brothers; the Rev. William Blaxton; Churchmen in Massachusetts; withdrawal of the Charter; the Church and the Government; parish organized in Boston; Governor Andros; the Old South; King's Chapel; the quarrel ended.

Chapter IV. The Roman Catholics

Lord Baltimore; the Maryland Colony; Romanists and religious liberty; persecution by them impossible; slow growth of the colony; "bad Catholics"; revocation of the Charter; unworthy Clergy; the situation in 1770.

Chapter V. The Dutch

Seeking the East Indies; ecclesiastical position of the Dutch; the Dutch as settlers; religious toleration; coming of the English; Church establishment; plan for the Episcopate; Trinity Church.

Chapter VI. The South River

The Swedes; their absorption by the English; George Fox; Quakerism; extravagance and repression; persecution; Quakers in New Jersey; William Penn; Penn's Colony; Quakers coming to the Church; George Keith; first Pennsylvania Church; increase ad spread.

Chapter VII. The Carolinas

Indians and Welsh; the "noble" Colony; religious condition; Church establishment.

Chapter VIII. A General Survey

The year 1700; Services; use of the Prayer Book; social status of the Clergy; Clerical manners; effect of Puritanism upon the Ministerial office; conflict with the Vestries; effect of government support; the Church in New England; in the Middle Colonies.

Chapter IX. The "Venerable Society"

Dr. Bray; his report upon the Church in the Colonies; the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; instructions to Missionaries; Keith and Talbot; conciliating Dissenters; building churches; work of the Missionaries.

Chapter X. The Commissaries: Maryland

Dr. Bray; the Maryland establishment; attempt to reform manners; the Clergy vs. the people; hostile legislation; growth of other churches.

Chapter XI. The Commissaries: Virginia

William and Mary College; opposition to the College; the College and the Church; decline of discipline; attempt at reform; devoted men in the Church; growing spirit of Americanism; the "Parsons' Cause"; Patrick Henry; the results.

Chapter XII. The New England Converts

President Cutler; the question of Orders; the attraction of the Church; President and Professors of Yale enter the Church; Puritan opposition; accessions; Dean Berkeley.

Chapter XIII. The "Great Awakening"

Jonathan Edwards; the "Revival" at Northampton; Edwards's theory of "conversion"; "bodily exercises"; spread of the movement; the "jerks" meets Whitefield; attitude of Churchmen; the reaction; effect upon American religion; the Church's position; how affected by the movement.

Chapter XIV. The Germans

First German immigration; the "Pennsylvania Dutch"; religious character ad condition; the Moravians; their influence on Whitefield; intractable material for the Church.

Chapter XV. The Scotch-Irish

England and Scotland at the Reformation; Calvinism and Presbyterianism; Presbytery and Episcopacy; Episcopal rigor; emigration to Ireland; emigration to the United States; hostility to the Church; a cordon around her; influence upon the Church.

Chapter XVI. The Methodists

The first American sect; its origin; Methodists the first "Ritualists"; the Wesleys in Georgia; Wesley as a parish priest; Wesley and the Moravians; Wesley's "conversion"; desperate state of Religion in England; the Methodist purpose; Whitefield the preacher and Wesley the organizer; Methodism comes to America; still within the Church; the Methodist "Bishops"; the loss by separation.

Chapter XVII. The Episcopate

Two theories of the Church; disadvantage of the Church's theory in the Colonies; Ordination and Discipline; early efforts for the Episcopate; the need of it patent; great opportunities lost; the "S. P. G.'s" plan; the Pennsylvania plan; reasons of the failure; current conception of the Episcopal office; Colonial opposition; early thought of separation; legal status of the Colonies; opposition not unreasonable; John Adams's opinion; not possible till after the Revolution; idea of an "Independent Episcopal Church"; Dr. White's plan; the popular judgment.

Chapter XVIII. A Survey.

Spread of the Church in Connecticut; in New York; in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; in the South; Indian Missions; sources of gain; lack of Clergy; state of Religion; influence of Franklin; coarseness of the age; social distinctions; Services; Architecture; Confirmation; Clerical support.

Chapter XIX. The War of Independence.

The inevitable conflict; equal division of parties; exodus of Tories; lay Churchmen's position; position of the Clergy; "patriot" Clergy; "loyalist" Clergy; sufferings of the Clergy; desolation of the Church.

Part Second. The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States.

Chapter I. Gathering up the Fragments

The confusion; treatment of the Tories; popular opinion about the Church; three motives in reorganization; the Southern attempt; the Church named; organization in Maryland and Virginia; relation of Church and State settled.

Chapter II. The New England Plan

New England Churchmanship; distrust of loose views; first Connecticut Convention; political obstacles; choosing a Bishop; the programme; the sentiment in England; English Bishops' reluctance; the Scotch and New England Churches; the Nonjurors; the first Bishop.

Chapter III. The Federal Idea

Colonial school of statesmanship; Rev. Dr. White; the Conference at New Brunswick; fundamental principles; Constitutional Convention; two proposed policies; State and Church Constitutions; laymen in Church Councils; revising the Prayer Book; the "Proposed Book"; Fourth of July Service; anti-dogmatic spirit; Unitarianism; the Episcopate Address to the English Bishops; the Bishops' reply; Bishops chosen.

Chapter IV. The Two Episcopacies

Two Episcopal Churches; obstacles to union; plans to perpetuate the separation; striving for union; Dr. Parker's scheme; Convention of 1789; Bishop White and the English succession; adjusting difficulties; Bishop Seabury's Toryism; adopting a Liturgy; modifying the Constitution; consolidation.

Chapter V. Structural Development

The experiment revolutionary; government by Convention; relation f the three orders; powers of a Bishop; right of Visitation; encroachment of Standing Committee; powers of the House of Bishops increased; discipline of the Laity; control of the Liturgy; Uniformity; Hymns; power of General Convention; State autonomy; its gradual abandonment; The Thirty-nine Articles; their origin; their obligation.

Chapter VI. From the Old to the New

Old men and new times; a dark epoch; French infidelity; position of the Church; Confirmation; slack administration; troubles in New York; election of Hobart; the question of wigs; condition in the South; low estate in Virginia; Meade ordained; situation in New England; Bishop Seabury's manner; Dr. Coke's proposition; Methodists gone beyond recall; dawning of better days; new men at work; representative men; beginning of Sunday-schools; state of the Church in 1820.

Chapter VII. Waiting for Volunteers

The national Church passive; pioneer Churchmen; religion in the backwoods; first thought of Missions; two streams of emigration; Bishop Chase; in New Orleans; pioneer missionary in Ohio; the frontier Bishop; Kenyon College; the Church in Kentucky; Bishop Otey; the Church in Tennessee; new departure in 1835.

Chapter VIII. New Spiritual Forces

Meagre spiritual life; the Evangelicals; their differentiate; conscious experiences; Simeon's Confessions; their conception of the Church; Low Churchmen; their achievements; cause of their decline; Thomas Scott; their leaders in America; High Church revival; the two parties; division of labor; advance of Churchmanship; following the emigration; two Ideals.

Chapter IX. The Catholic Renaissance

Emergence of Church Idea; trial of Bishops; agencies at work; increasing activity; change of manners; corporate religion; the "Oxford Movement"; the "Tractactarians"; the Via Media; Newman's purpose; the Via Media in America; American Churchmen; Anglo-Catholics; a time of strife; perverts and converts; good and evil of the Movement.

Chapter X. A Place Where To Ways Meet.

Falling behind the population; a Church or a Sect; the Memorial; emancipation of the Episcopate; loosening of Rubrics; revival of the Diaconate; Church Unity; divers opinions; a true bill found; a fatal choice; spirit of General Convention; progress in a narrow path; the Church in California; the Church in Oregon; muttering of coming war.

Chapter XI. In War Time

Division of Churches upon the question of Slavery; political division furthered thereby; Episcopal Church not divided; general sentiment in the Church; the Church faulted; mutual understanding; Southern Bishops oppose secession; Southern idea of the Church and the States; Secession; the Church and the Union; the Church in the Confederacy; conflict with Federal authorities; General Butler as a Canonist; fall of the Confederate Church.

Chapter XII. The Reunited Church

Moving toward union; obstacles in the way; Arkansas; Bishop Wilmer; Bishop Polk; General Convention of 1865; reunion imperiled; Mr. Horace Binney's resolution; Dr. Kerfoot's plea; reunion; disbandment of the Confederate Church; religious effects of the war; new forces and new problems; task of the present generation.

Chapter XIII. Doctrine and Ceremonial

The worth of ritual; the Church idea; civic ritual; the ritualists' contention; Bishop Hopkins's book; the Bishops' Declaration; the Ritual Commission; things forbidden; Dr. De Koven's challenge; the Church's comprehensiveness; the end of controversy.

Chapter XIV. Peace with Honor

Evangelical perplexity; Bishops' declaration on regeneration; the idea of secession; "Reformed Episcopalians."

Chapter XV. Prayer Book Revision

"The Prayer Book as it is;" separation of offices; the science of liturgics; revision begun; the Book Annexed.

Chapter XVI. The Church Seeking Fellowship

Looking to the East; Italian reform; Mexico; contradictory reports from Mexico; Mexican commission appointed; consecration of Bishop Riley; the Church unity movement; the Quadrilateral.

Chapter XVII. The Recent Past

Commission on Faith and Order; Church Work; Age of Corporate Action; The Modern Priest; Free Church System; The New Social Conscience; Marriage and Divorce; Rights of the Laity; The Church and the Negro; Change of Name; Provincial System; Proportionate Representation.

Chapter XVIII. The Net Result.

Project Canterbury