6. Anglican Tactics and the British Government 175
CHAPTER 6 Anglican Tactics and the British Government “Independency and religion will naturally produce Republicanism in the state.”1 Samuel Auchmutty Conflict over an American episcopate escalated dramatically after 1767 as positions hardened and both sides became more militant. Territorial acquisitions after the Seven Years’ War had forced the British government to reassess how it governed North America and led to a series of reforms aimed at increasing control over the colonies. Ministers held back from the question of appointing bishops, however, for fear that it would generate unrest. Their plans for reform nonetheless encouraged Church leaders in England to renew their advocacy for an American episcopate. Rather than convincing ministers, however, their renewed efforts agitated the Dissenters into further public confrontation. Tensions between Dissenters and Churchmen escalated, along with disagreements among colonial Anglicans over church governance, and the number of pamphlets and articles the public debate generated, matched that produced by the Stamp Act controversy. 2 Convincing the government to act became the main hurdle for supporters of episcopacy in the colonies, and trying to jump that hurdle only created other problems at a time when relations between Britain and the colonies increasingly became strained. Although taxation and other questions eclipsed the controversy over colonial bishops during the early 1770s, the rhetoric on both sides highlighted a divergence in political culture that made compromise impossible. Some observers even found an uncanny parallel with the confrontation between Charles I and Parliament in 1640. Secker worked for thirty years to persuade...
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