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Book Reviews 363 If the strengths of the book are readily apparent, so, too, are its limitations. Included are several marginal papers, which add little, if anything, to our understanding of the Baptist experience in Canada. Especially problematic are those articles that use the past selectively, only to provide a launching pad for a discussion of present or future directions within the denomination, or to urge a return to a (probably mythical) 'true' Baptist position, most often located in the nineteenth century. A more critical selection process would have resulted in a slimmer but much stronger volume. Another problem is the absence of any articles on Baptists in the Atlantic region, where the denomination, and its historiography, are particularly strong. All the Baptist conferences of the past twenty years have yielded enough papers from this region to make up a separate volume. While there is a certain logic to this approach, it does mean that the resulting explorations of 'Canadian' Baptist development, such as the volume under review, end,up representing only that experience west of the Quebec/New Brunswick border. In this case, an important part of the 'Strands of Canadian Baptist History' is missing. On balance, I would argue that the best of the papers from conferences representing all parts of the country should be collected into one volume, to convey a comprehensive picture of Canadian Baptist history. BARRY MOODY Acadia University The Chignecto Covenanters: A Regional History of Reformed Presbyterianism in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, 1827-1905. ELDON HAY. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press 1996. Pp. xvi, 214, $39·95 Hay's study of the Reformed Presbyterian Churches (Covenanters) of the Chignecto region is a stimulating, well-researched, and well-written examination of a little-known denomination in the border region of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. By focusing on a restricted geographical area and a numerically small denomination, he is able to provide a useful case study, in which the forces of both the old and new worlds and the impact of specific individuals can be clearly seen. From the beginning it is clear that this study is firmly rooted in the lives of individuals. The first chapter focuses on the decision of Alexander and Catherine Clarke to go from Ireland to New Brunswick as Covenanter or Reformed Presbyterian missionaries. The Rev. Alexander Clarke dominates the early chapters of the book, as he does the early days of the denomination in the Maritimes. Other ministers are 364 The Canadian Historical Review given their place in the study as well, although to none does Hay ascribe the same central role - for good and ill - that he gives to Clarke. The part played by individuals in both the growth of the denomination and its ultimate destruction is clearly revealed. One could wish for a stronger voice for the laity in this book, but one suspects that the records are not sufficient to make this possible. A very useful chapter on the Scottish and Irish origins of this branch of Presbyterianism provides the necessary background for an understanding of the arrival of the first Covenanter missionaries, and for the subsequent problems that plagued the fledgling denomination almost from the beginning of its existence in the Maritimes. In the history of this microcosm being studied, it becomes all too apparent how difficult it was to translate intact to North America an old-world denomination based on a conviction of historic injustices dating back several centuries. Covenant principles, in the case of Clarke and others, did not survive the sea voyage in their entirety, something those who sent the missionaries out were never able to understand. The stumbling block for Clarke and many of his followers was the Covenantor 'distinctive' that forbade voting and standing for public office, since both acts recognized the legitimacy of the monarch as head ofthe state. By becoming directly involved and voting in the Nova Scotia elections of 1836 and 1847, Clarke revealed both his apostasy and the struggle between old-world grievances and new-world imperatives. That this action led to the severing of all ties between the missionary and his Irish parent body reveals both the strength of that sense...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 363-365
Launched on MUSE
2016-04-06
Open Access
No
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