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, alternate, and the quartering of troops: subject matters which John Adams later recalled as explanations of the yank Revolution.
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Additional info for A War of Religion: Dissenters, Anglicans and the American Revolution
The new English church in Boston was a threat to the New England way of Richard, Increase, and Cotton Mather. Like the original non-separating Congregationalists, Cotton Mather had always maintained that the New England churches were a part of the Church of England. He was opposed to the movement led by Solomon Stoddard to form an alliance with the Presbyterians in England. Mather believed that there had been two groups struggling for control of the Church of England since the Reformation. One faction had never accepted the The Seeds of Discord 15 reforms of the sixteenth century and despised the Puritans who carried them further in the seventeenth.
The exchange on the surface seems to be a confrontation of religious leaders championing either a Puritan or an Anglican point of view on fundamental issues of worship. Increase Mather and several of his closest collaborators lectured, preached, and wrote pamphlets calling the people of New England to return to the purposes and ways of the founders of the colony. For Increase and his son Cotton Mather, the holy vision for the establishment of the colony more than half a century earlier had been betrayed.
During a period of several years these men had been reading and discussing many works of Anglican divinity and recent philosophy that had been given to the Yale library by various English donors. They were attracted by these broader, more urbane attitudes, and became less committed to the stricter doctrines of New England theology. They also began to have serious doubts as to the validity of ‘presbyterial’ or non-Episcopal ordination. Finally, after stating their doubts to the college trustees, they were asked by the Reverend Gurdon Saltonstall, a trustee who was then also governor of Connecticut, to discuss their problems with a group of Congregational ministers.
A War of Religion: Dissenters, Anglicans and the American Revolution by James B. Bell