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Anglican Church Policy, Eighteenth Century Conflict, and the American Episcopate

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Kenneth R. Elliott

Anglican Church Policy, Eighteenth Century Conflict, and the American Episcopate examines how leaders in the Church of England sought to reorganize the colonial church by installing one or two resident bishops at critical moments in the late 1740s, the early 1760s, and the mid 1770s when the British government moved to bring the colonies into closer economic and political alignment with England. Examining Anglican attempts to install bishops into the American colonies within the context of the Anglo-American world provides insight into the difficulties British political and ecclesiastical authorities had in organizing the management of the colonies more efficiently. Although the Church of England sustained wide influence over the population, the failure of the Anglicans’ proposal to install bishops into the colonies was symptomatic of the declining influence of the Church on eighteenth century politics. Differing views over political and ecclesiastical authority between the colonists and the Anglicans, and the possibility religious conflict might have on elections, concerned British authorities enough not to act on the Anglicans’ proposals for resident bishops for the colonies. The failure also highlights how eighteenth century British government increasingly focused on the political and economic administration of the expanded British Empire rather than its religious administration.

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Acknowledgments vii

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The author expresses his sincere gratitude to the many people whose selfless assistance made this book a reality. First of all, sincere thanks are due to Dr. William Anthony Hay, my dissertation advisor, who was my “Ebenezer” by guiding me through the elaborate dissertation process. Additional thanks are also due to the other members of my committee, namely Dr. Alan I. Marcus, Dr. Peter C. Messer, and Dr. Richard Damms, for the invaluable aid and direction they provided. I would also like to thank other distinguished professors namely, Dr. James E. Bradley, Dr. Nancy L. Rhoden, and Dr. Robert G. Ingram for their interest and advice. I also express my appreciation to the Board and Faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary for their support and encouragement. Their approval of my sabbatical and subsequent research in London provided the necessary foundation for the dissertation. I further wish to recognize Dr. Allen Curry, former Dean of the Faculty of Reformed Theological Seminary for his initial encouragement to begin doctoral studies. I cannot express enough gratitude to the library staff of Reformed Theological Seminary namely, Rev. John McCarty, John Crabb and David Ponter for their invaluable assistance. In addition, I wish to thank Professor Philip H. Eveson for allowing me to stay at the London Theological Seminary and Dr. David L. Wykes for the privilege of doing research at the Centre for Dissenting Studies at the University of London. I express my deepest appreciation to my wife Linda Elliott and my mother Kathryn...

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