The Church Without England - Samuel Seabury Reunites The Faithful
Yesterday we discussed the Loyalists of White Plains, New York and the Protest they signed.
Today we will look at the most famous man to affix his name to that document...Samuel Seabury.
Seabury was a Loyalist who took up a public debate regarding the American Revolution with Alexander Hamilton before changing how the Church of England operated within a newly independent United States.
As tensions grew between Great Britain and her colonies, tensions also grew between rebellious colonists and loyalist ones.
Samuel Seabury, an Anglican priest in what is today’s Bronx, NY, took up a heated public exchange in the papers with a little known, loud mouthed college student.
That student was Alexander Hamilton.
The series of articles written by these two men argued the merits of the burgeoning rebellion.
The song ‘The Farmer Refuted’ in the hit Broadway play Hamilton outlines the back and forth between Seabury and Hamilton.
While the Revolutionary War was being fought, Seabury took refuge in British occupied New York City.
After the war, Samuel’s previous allegiances were ignored and he was permitted to live in the United States without having his property confiscated.
Apparently, he became a respectable member of the new nation and supported the young government.
Church of England
In 1784, Seabury travel to England in an effort to be consecrated as the first Anglican Bishop in the United States.
Unfortunately, the Anglicans were connected with the Church of England. In response to the Revolution, many authorities in London had an ‘if you’re not a part of our country, you don’t get out church’ attitude.
Samuel journeyed to Scotland and was consecrated by the Episcopal Church.
Just because the American Revolutionaries had thrown off their government does not mean they no longer believed in the same God.
When Seabury returned to the United States, many in England had realized their mistake and they soon began allowing foreigners to serve as Bishops as a way to further their membership.
Due to Samuel’s unique situation when he was consecrated, he became the first Anglican Bishop in America. He also gave Anglican Churches in the United States their own flare, with just a taste of Episcopalian ceremony and a certain amount of rebelliousness.
If you enjoyed this article, you might like these others which involve the Church of England:
Samuel Seabury has several biographies.
However, I am going to take the unusual step of recommending a different book.
‘God Against the Revolution’ speaks about how preachers generally took to loyalism when the rebellion broke out.
If you’d like a copy you can get one through the Amazon affiliate link below (you’ll support this site, but don’t worry, Amazon pays me while your price stays the same).