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Historians have debated whether religion united or divided the eighteenth-century British Empire. "Connecting Protestants" reassesses those debates by tracing who nurtured ties among Protestants across the empire's long distances, diverse establishments, and varied traditions. Recognizing the mechanisms, personal and institutional, through which religious leaders communicated and collaborated reveals a symbiotic relationship between the empire's religion and its political structures. Religious leaders from the empire's dominant denominations sustained an extended system that united in a common cause Protestants who disagreed profoundly on matters of theology and ecclesiology. These leaders worked together—in extended networks, denominational organizations, and voluntary societies—principally because they believed the promotion of Christendom required strong Christian institutions. Yet the shape of their collaboration was determined by Britain's religious politics. The extended system supported by these efforts included all of the empire's dominant religious institutions, and it provided the pathway through which Protestants engaged the empire's distant realms in religious terms. It also contained intra-Protestant disputes so they did not disrupt political order, explaining why transatlantic and interregional religious institutions did not become a major site of organization during the imperial conflict of the 1760s and 1770s.

ON September 18, 1759, the British army took the French stronghold of Quebec, a major turning point in the Seven Years' War. New Englanders commemorated the triumph with days of thanksgiving proclaimed by governors and the Massachusetts General Assembly. Samuel Cooper preached before the Bay Colony's governor: "What but the divine Arm has supported and defended the Protestant Religion, so wonderful in it's Rise, so small and tender in it's Infancy, and so constantly opposed and persecuted by a formidable Power." Yet Cooper had seen the righteous cause triumph, and he hoped to see it continue. "May God still bless the British Arms wherever they are employed! Still may He advance the Cause of Liberty, and pure Religion, till every Nation shall be happy."1 Historians expect such practices from devout Yankees, but the celebrations were not limited to New England. King George II issued a proclamation "appointing and commanding, that a General Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for these His Mercies, be observed throughout Our Kingdom of England, Dominion of Wales, and Town of Berwick upon Tweed." Similar proclamations were issued for Scotland and Ireland, and the Lords of Trade sent a letter to the colonial governors to "signify to you His Majesty's Commands, that you do, as soon as possible after the Receipt hereof, appoint a proper day" for "publick Thanksgiving." Both Pennsylvania and New York declared days of thanksgiving that fall. In New Germantown, Pennsylvania, Lutheran Henry Melchior Mühlenberg preached "a solemn service of thanksgiving for the glorious acts of God"—by which he meant victories in both central Europe [End Page 37] and Quebec—"which the most gracious and omnipotent Lord of Sabaoth has done, in short succession, to the unspeakable consolation of His Protestant Church that was sitting in ashes."2 Across the empire, in short, ministers and public officials celebrated God's favor for the British and the empire's service to Protestantism.

The leaders who proclaimed these celebrations intended the performance of this religious ritual to unite the empire and inspire loyalty, despite the theological diversity of Protestant groups across their territories and the variety of legal religious establishments. The king implicitly invoked the ritual's capacity to unite a realm that possessed many Protestant churches by ordering that it be performed by "all Our loving Subjects," but other proclamations were more explicit. Governor James De Lancey in New York ordered that the observance be held in "all Churches and Chapels, and other Places of publick Worship," while Governor William Denny in Pennsylvania "recommend[ed]" the practice to the "Ministers and Preachers of the Gospel of all Denominations."3 Religious leaders from across the theological spectrum responded enthusiastically. Published sermons emanated from New England congregationalists, bishops of the Church of England, Scottish presbyterians, and a host of rural English ministers. London dissenter Richard Price and English baptist Benjamin Wallin preached, as did revivalist George Whitefield, who was then in London. The Grand Itinerant, a biographer noted, was "too impulsive to wait for royal proclamations" and thus preached his thanksgiving sermons four days before the king's order was issued, arousing the ire of those who opposed Whitefield's freewheeling patriotism. Anglican Charles Wesley wrote a series of hymns for the event.4 These men disagreed about any number of [End Page 38] theological and ecclesiastical issues, but they nonetheless collectively articulated Britain's Protestant purpose.

These thanksgiving day celebrations were occasions when the ordained clergy of Protestant churches exercised the moral authority given to them by the state and honored its achievements. They spoke about sin and redemption, praised God as the author of national blessings, and urged hearers to lead a Christian life. The clergy who participated in these events bridged two kinds of divisions: geographic ones between different parts of the empire and theological and ecclesiastical ones that separated groups of Protestants. Religious leaders preached in Anglican-dominated England and Wales, where only a small percentage of the population were nonconformists (Protestants outside the Church of England). Observances were also held in Scotland, where the official and majority church was presbyterian; in congregationalist New England; and in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, which eschewed religious establishments. Participating clergy and congregations included "awakened Protestants" as well as those who opposed them; theological liberals as well as strict Calvinists; dissenters as well as Anglicans.5 All these groups in all these distant places upheld a shared ritual of state-sponsored public prayer. Some of the more prominent clergy then published their sermons, extending the ritual's reach. As a result, despite belonging to different denominations with different theological perspectives and despite having diverse relationships to legal establishment, the overwhelming majority of George II's subjects had the opportunity both to consume a sermon in praise of the victory at Quebec and to participate in events at which their shared ties to the empire provided an occasion to remember the importance of Protestant worship. [End Page 39]

Interpreting an event such as the 1759 day of thanksgiving highlights the contradictory arguments scholars have advanced about whether religion functioned primarily to unite or to divide the eighteenth-century British Empire. On the one hand, Protestantism has been described as foundational to political culture in both Britain and the colonies. On the other hand, divisions among Protestants—usually the fault lines between Anglicans and dissenters, or between revivalists and their foes—have been seen as pivotal in the coming of the American Revolution. The coexistence of these conflicting schools of thought reflects divergent approaches more than it does actual debate. Historians of religion in political culture have emphasized the motivational power of Protestant tropes rooted in the Glorious Revolution and antipopery.6 Their work groups together British subjects of various denominations who disagreed mightily on theological matters, often leaving unaddressed the twin questions of how religious leaders and communities balanced their internal divisions with a shared Protestantism and whether the imperial politics of the "Protestant interest" had any consequences within church communities. For such scholars, the 1759 day of thanksgiving is unremarkable, representing a religion that functioned largely as patriotism. By contrast, those who wish to see religious allegiances as meaningful for political conflict within the empire, as well as historians of religion, have often relied on categories defined by intra-Protestant division, such as denomination, an approach that obscures much of what Protestant leaders had in common.7 Compounding these issues are difficulties of [End Page 40] chronology. Historians of Britain's public Protestantism have suggested that its waning after the Seven Years' War can be traced to the weakening of religion more generally in the period, although that was precisely the moment when historians of the American Revolution have seen both an increase in institutional religious strength and a surfacing of religious divisions in ways that materially impact our understanding of the American Revolution.8 Such complexities would be easily managed if religion were primarily a local phenomenon, but decades of Atlantic scholarship have demonstrated that religious movements and communities maintained strong transatlantic ties.9 [End Page 41] In this conflicted analytic territory, religion and Protestantism have been all things for all arguments, allowing scholars to sustain the paradoxical positions that religion both united and divided the British Empire over the span of a half century. During these critical decades, religion was apparently both growing in importance and becoming marginal in political life.

A clearer picture emerges if we ask not whether religion or Protestantism united the eighteenth-century empire but rather who nurtured connections among Protestants across the empire's long distances, diverse establishments, and varied Protestant traditions, as well as how, why, and under what terms they did so. These questions expose how Protestant leaders worked across geographic and theological divisions in ways that went beyond events such as the 1759 thanksgiving. They reveal when Britons acted as Protestants, rather than as a part of an immediate religious context that was personal or local. Recognizing the mechanisms, individual and institutional, through which religious leaders communicated and collaborated reveals a symbiotic relationship between the empire's religion and its political structures. Religious leaders from the empire's dominant denominations sustained an extended system that united in a common cause Protestants who disagreed profoundly on matters of theology and ecclesiology. These leaders worked together principally because they believed the promotion of Christendom required strong Christian institutions.10 Yet the shape of their collaboration—and the all-important question of what constituted a legitimate Protestant church or minister—was determined by Britain's religious politics.

Like moss growing on a tree, Britain's institutional religious life and its transatlantic community of religious leaders—what can be collectively termed British Protestantism—came to follow the contours of the empire. By the second quarter of the eighteenth century, as Protestant leaders focused on shared goals, the distinctions between different regions and theologies faded into just so many shades of green from the perspective of the empire as a whole. Internal variations persisted, but the similarities and connections were powerful. Clergy and elite laypeople created layers of societies and networks [End Page 42] designed to promote—in circular and self-perpetuating fashion—a broadly Protestant and institutional version of religion. These bodies provided opportunities for British Protestants across great distances and from different denominational communities to believe they worked together to spread the faith. In such contexts, they acted as Protestants. To be sure, this system never encompassed every British subject. Those who were unconcerned with matters of faith likely invested little in it. Additionally, much religious life was intimate or personal and thus did not invoke the broad and unifying concept of Protestantism. With those cautions in mind, however, this system nevertheless defined the boundaries of transatlantic and interregional religion within the empire. It included all of the empire's dominant religious institutions, and it provided the pathway through which Protestants engaged the empire's distant realms in religious terms. Moreover, its constituent denominations, societies, and social networks stood in a privileged position, one made manifest in the 1759 thanksgiving. They led the mechanisms through which most transatlantic and interregional communications about matters of religion ran. They provided bridges between the empire's diverse legal religious establishments and its distant reaches. They facilitated a religious life that unified a powerful bloc of the empire's Protestants in a shared project of promoting religion. And, finally, they contained intra-Protestant disputes so they did not disrupt political order. With this system in view, it becomes possible to see with more clarity why British Protestantism—not a vague theology or culture but a specific conglomeration of unifying relationships and institutions—did not break down into factions capable of organizing the imperial conflict of the 1760s and 1770s. That institutional system, the manifestation of Protestantism, functioned, rather, to minimize political dispute over religion.


The foundation of the British Empire's transatlantic Protestantism was a sometimes haphazard mix of law and policy that simultaneously privileged particular denominations and kept any one denomination from having exclusive control in any region. These policies did not seek to fundamentally alter the empire's religious demography; both Britain and the North American colonies had long possessed diverse Protestant populations. Yet from 1688 to 1720, as Britain's government came to be identified with Protestantism and to possess two legally established churches, the rules of competition between different denominations changed, and local governments privileged Protestant religion generally.

The Glorious Revolution saw the removal of the "popish prince" James II on the grounds that he "did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion" of his country, in the words of the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Although the complexities of that event should not be reduced to confessional prejudices, William III's allies in the Church of England, most [End Page 43] notably Gilbert Burnet, employed a flexible language that championed international Protestantism to explain and justify the new regime.11 In 1689 Parliament passed the Act of Toleration, which extended some legal protections to Protestant dissenters in order to "unite their Majesties Protestant Subjects in Interest and Affection."12 Shared Protestantism thus tied to the English state those individuals who could not in conscience conform to the Church of England. The concept of Protestantism also justified William's actions in leading England into a costly war against Louis XIV, who was depicted as a papist and a tyrannical threat to the Protestant interest both within his own country and in Europe more generally. Protestantism's utility as a unifying political concept became even more important in 1707, when the Act of Union joined England and Scotland under one government. Queen Anne, the titular head of the episcopal Church of England, swore to uphold the presbyterian Church of Scotland, so Britain subsequently had two official churches, unified primarily through their shared Protestantism. By the time of the Hanoverians' successful ascension in 1714, the idea that the British Empire was Protestant was firmly in place. Moreover, Britons could congratulate themselves on their own liberality in promoting toleration among different denominations at the same time.13

The process that guaranteed more than one kind of Protestant in the empire began at the top, but it played out at the level of the empire's many separate jurisdictions, as local Anglican, presbyterian, and congregationalist establishments were forced to accept, at a minimum, public worship by other loyal Protestants. The disparate and pragmatic nature of this process suggests that political elites had neither a coherent policy of toleration nor a specific desire to promote a generalized Protestantism in place of legally establishing particular churches. Quite the contrary, the uneven growth of [End Page 44] local accommodations demonstrates that policy makers did not wish to be troubled by religion and assumed Protestants ought to coexist as loyal subjects. Church leaders in both northern and southern Britain objected to their loss of monopoly over religious matters, but they were forced to acquiesce to the reality of Protestant diversity by the end of the second decade of the eighteenth century. In England the 1709–10 Sacheverell affair, in which a High Church minister was tried for seditious preaching, pointed to ongoing resistance to toleration from some quarters. Efforts to prohibit the practice of "occasional conformity," under which dissenters conformed to the Church of England only enough to be exempted from laws that limited their civic participation, were in force from 1714 to 1719, but in the latter year those restrictions—and some others—against dissenters were removed. Though the Test and Corporation Acts remained in force, no subsequent efforts to further exclude dissenting Protestants from English civic life took firm root. Parliament, over the objections of the Church of Scotland, passed a 1711 act protecting Scottish episcopalians "in the Exercise of their Religious Worship, and in the Use of the Liturgy of the Church of England," provided they swore the necessary oaths. Additionally, in a move that angered the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Parliament prevented civil penalties from being attached to excommunication, effectively limiting the scope of the General Assembly's jurisdiction to its own adherents and ensuring that in Scotland, as in England, no church could eliminate loyal Protestant dissenters from public life or force them to conform.14

Parliament did not legislate religious matters directly for the colonies before the American Revolution, but provincial authorities and their counterparts in London furthered policies that prevented any single church from dominating a colonial jurisdiction, despite the efforts of some who wished otherwise. South Carolina's strict 1704 laws supporting an Anglican establishment, for example, were struck down by Queen Anne's government. After some wrangling, the provincial assembly passed a less stringent establishment law, but a large dissenting population remained nonetheless.15 In New York, when presbyterian Francis Makemie was arrested for [End Page 45] preaching without a license in 1707, he appealed to the Act of Toleration and subsequently to the Act of Union and the position of the Church of Scotland in a united Britain. Makemie argued that his license to preach, granted in Barbados and recognized in Virginia and Maryland, ought to ensure his standing throughout the empire. Although New York's governor, Edward Hyde, Viscount Cornbury, a staunch supporter of the Church of England, disagreed, the court sided with Makemie. Connecticut's government retreated from policies that policed orthodoxy to the detriment of Anglicans, and it passed a law "for the ease of such as soberly dissent from the way of worship and ministrie established by the antient laws of this government." Under these terms, all who qualified for protection under the Act of Toleration, including Anglicans, could worship freely, provided they did not "disquiet and disturb" the colony or "misuse any preacher or teacher." Similarly, the fallout from a clerical synod in Massachusetts, called by the General Court but excluding Anglicans, ended up in London for adjudication. The process pushed both Massachusetts and Connecticut to exempt Anglicans from paying taxes to their congregational establishments. Unfortunately for Anglicans who hoped for a truly imperial Church of England, the solicitor general ruled in 1732 that Massachusetts's 1692 charter did not forbid a congregational provincial establishment. Efforts to create an exclusive religious establishment in the empire consistently failed because of government intervention.16

Still, local establishments did enjoy enormous privileges and tried to extend them whenever possible. South Carolina's 1704 laws supporting the Church of England and limiting the political rights of dissenters were eventually struck down, of course, but these acts were also passed in the first place, pointing to significant political opposition to a diverse Protestant population in the province. Moreover, in North American colonies with an Anglican establishment, non-Anglican churches were hard pressed to get ministers licensed or churches built. Yet the fact remains that the diffuse and conflicting nature of laws about religion in the colonies created a space [End Page 46] for tolerated Protestants that was not available for non-Protestants or even, generally, for Protestants not of a privileged denomination. Though few licenses were granted and the practices governing the licensing of ministers and churches left room for local rivalries and hostilities, dissent could not be eliminated; if nothing else, loyal British subjects with permission to travel took their faiths with them. Those tolerated in one part of the empire had a strong case in a different British territory.17

Over time, the Anglicans and dissenters were joined by so-called foreign Protestants. Huguenot refugees were an international cause célèbre in the early eighteenth century, and Britain gained a substantial French-speaking Protestant population, as did South Carolina. German immigrants formed a notable Lutheran and Reformed presence, and they received the support of the German-born Queen Caroline. Efforts to aid the persecuted Salzburgers became a part of the colonial project in Georgia. Both German and French Protestant communities found homes in Nova Scotia. In 1740 Parliament codified policies granting naturalization to any Protestant who had lived in the empire for seven years, could subscribe to oaths of allegiance and Protestant belief, and could provide evidence of communion from a Protestant church. Conversion to the Church of England was not mandated.18

These policies required local religious establishments to accommodate diversity on a wider scale than just the primary tolerated Anglophone denominations: Anglicans, presbyterians, congregationalists, and baptists. Importantly, foreign Protestants were not considered schismatics, people who divided the community's religious body. On the contrary, they were seen as dutiful members of a legitimate church, entitled to leadership of their own. This perspective extended even into the highest levels of the [End Page 47] Church of England. Thomas Secker, the archbishop of Canterbury, solicited support from Augustus Henry Fitzroy, 3d Duke of Grafton, for a German Reformed Church. "Great numbers of young & useful persons, of the Reformed communion, come yearly from Germany, to settle in this Nation," he wrote. "Gradually most of them join with our established church," but if they lacked provisions for separate worship in the meantime, "they [would] be in the utmost Danger of growing dissolute & profligate for want of Instruction & Admonition, or of being perverted by popish Emissaries of their own Nation."19 The mix of policies that tolerated a range of British Protestants and encouraged immigration from around Protestant Europe ensured a mixed Protestant population within most parts of the empire. That reality forced religious leaders of different denominations to accept each other's presence, even when they resented it.

A second, equally important set of government practices served to narrow and define the terrain of acceptable Protestantism through government support. Chief among these, of course, was the practice of using state money to fund ecclesiastical establishments. In nearly every part of the empire, taxes supported one of three churches—Anglican, presbyterian, or congregationalist—with some places, such as New England after 1727, permitting those outside the established church to pay to maintain their own ministers. A few colonies had more complex arrangements. New York's seventeenth-century heritage of allowing communities to use taxes to support whatever minister they chose, including presbyterians and Dutch Reformed, ran afoul of eighteenth-century royal governors who sought to privilege the Church of England, as Makemie found. The resulting stalemate made for decades of squabbles, but these were fights over access to establishment, not efforts to end it. Most involved agreed that the province of New York ought to support "good sufficient Protestant Minister[s]" and churches as part of the public welfare. Indeed, focusing on such moments of contention can distract from a more fundamental rule: only those groups recognized as possessing a "sufficient Protestant Minister" could hope to participate.20

In addition to providing funds, laws reinforced the idea that legitimate religion took a common form. Widespread prohibitions against blasphemy and Sabbath breaking, for example, had the effect of shoring up the authority of Protestant churches, as did nominal requirements to [End Page 48] attend established churches for those who did not dissent. Although diversity existed across the empire, in general these laws separated questions of legitimate or appropriate religion from issues of theology or ecclesiastical organization, about which there were significant differences of opinion among Protestants. Rather than policing questions of doctrine within the dominant Protestant denominations, laws against heresy, blasphemy, and Sabbath breaking were deployed against individuals (whether lay or clerical) who represented disorder. Thus the French Prophets—a group of enthusiastic Huguenots who caused a stir in early eighteenth-century London—were tried for "Impostures in Religion" and sedition. These were crimes by individuals against a state that took as part of its mission the protection of religion. Likewise, Connecticut's Rogerenes were denied the right to gather by that province's General Assembly, and even the Act of Toleration mandated that dissenting religious gatherings be public so the state could oversee potentially dangerous behavior. Many colonial jurisdictions required a license for a minister to preach, placing the recognition of legitimate religion in the hands of county or provincial authorities. Such laws defined acceptable Protestantism and, by extension, acceptable religion from the perspective of the state.21

When Britons built a Protestant empire, they created a set of ground rules for churches and for the clergy who led them, and those rules were roughly similar throughout most of the empire. Protestant religion was organized in denominations with ordained ministers and protected from threats posed by imposture or blasphemy. Protestant churches that worked [End Page 49] within the rules of establishment and toleration could not be eliminated. By the mid-eighteenth century, this nexus of laws could be re-created quite efficiently. In Nova Scotia, organized rapidly after 1749, invitations to foreign Protestants went out before the province's assembly even met, not for ecumenical motives but to attract precious settlers. Protestant diversity was an acceptable result. The first Anglican, presbyterian, and Lutheran churches were established almost simultaneously. One of the Nova Scotia assembly's first acts codified what was already a fait accompli. It privileged the Church of England and yet "provided nevertheless, and it is the true intent and meaning of this act, that Protestants, dissenting from the Church of England, whether they be Calvinists, Lutherans, Quakers, or under what denomination soever, shall have free liberty of conscience." Such Protestants could "erect and build meeting houses" and employ ministers under contractual terms that would be enforced by the provincial government.22 Nothing about these regulations, in Nova Scotia or elsewhere, required religious leaders to embrace one another's churches as vessels for salvation, but in exchange for the privileges they gained through the protection and support of government, they did have to contend with a certain measure of legal parity. On that basis, leaders from across Britain's privileged denominations built a system of collaboration that embodied transatlantic British Protestantism.


Over the course of the eighteenth century, Protestant leaders built connections to one another that knit the empire together. They founded societies and organizations that promoted a shared religion, even as their community was marked by internal competition and disagreement. Francis Makemie gave voice to an early moment of this uneasy process when he introduced dissenters to Anglican Barbadians as people who agreed "in all points of Faith, and Divine Ordinances, or parts of Worship, with the Establisht Church of England"; Makemie argued that dissenters "hold and maintain Magistracy and Civil Government, to be an Ordinance of God." Loyal Protestants, as Makemie knew, might come in several flavors, but all legitimate ones supported good order and the government's role in it.23 As Makemie's overture to Anglicans suggests, there were opportunities for collaboration in the name of promoting religion. A 1709 tract published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) declared, "Many virtuous good People of the Protestant Dissenters, as well as of the Church of England, have readily agreed to join Hearts and Purses" to reform society, and "this Union of Hearts and Affections in things so agreeable to all, [End Page 50] who deserve the Name of Protestants, of Christians, of Englishmen, or even of Men, hath been of great Use to remove the Prejudices which many have taken up against the Establish'd Church, as well as against one another."24 These endorsements of interdenominational collaboration point to the existence of a self-conscious community of Protestant leaders who placed themselves at the head of what they viewed as the empire's religion.

The evidence for this community is in its letters and in its associations and societies. Historians have long known that religious leaders corresponded over long distances, but previous investigations have followed particular subgroups, such as the Church of England's Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) or revivalist networks. Likewise, scholars have tracked the importance of religious print culture in linking the empire together. Taking a comprehensive approach—following the channels of long-distance communication among religious leaders, through denominations, and in the collaborations that were generated by missionary work and voluntary societies—demonstrates how the community's participants articulated their relationships to one another and to the geographic space they spanned.25 The efforts undertaken by these religious leaders across the empire instantiated British Protestantism. Their projects and correspondence made the vague idea of a Protestant empire concrete for clergy and laity alike.

The most important characteristics of the religious community revealed by this analysis are its close relationship to the structures of legal privilege and the fact that its members came from quite diverse—even disputatious—segments of the Protestant landscape. Tempting as it is to reduce these favored religious organizations to a generalized concept of eighteenth-century religion, treating those outside it as unique exceptions, such an approach obscures the means through which the boundaries were drawn around publicly accepted religion, and it also mutes the normative [End Page 51] influence of those groups who received the state's imprimatur. By the 1730s four denominations, each with a transatlantic footprint, collectively shared a powerful Protestant religious infrastructure: Anglicans, presbyterians, congregationalists, and baptists.26 The leaders of the foreign Protestant denominations within the empire were welcome partners. These privileged denominations and their foreign collaborators were hardly unified on matters of ecclesiology or theology, as fractures over growing movements to revive or "awaken" Protestants as well as persistent differences between Anglicans and dissenters demonstrated, but they shared a willingness to promote a general vision of religion characterized by public worship, ordained clergy, a commitment to public stability, and an embrace of the British Empire as the best vehicle for promoting that religion. That vision was specific enough to spur actions such as the financing of missions or the dispersal of devotional materials and Bibles, yet it was simultaneously capacious enough to allow for diverse theological perspectives and even different positions on matters of legal establishment.

The collaboration of Protestant leaders was never comprehensive but rather joined together the dominant denominations that embraced the empire's vision of a shared faith. Two important groups who remained on the outside of British Protestantism warrant particular mention. With few exceptions, Quakers and Moravians did not participate in the organizations and social networks that structured transatlantic religious life for the dominant groups. Instead, they maintained their own, very robust, systems of communication. On a legal level, those two groups enjoyed toleration in most places and were recognized by provincial and national governments as legitimate Protestants—Quakers thanks to the Act of Toleration and Moravians through a special act of Parliament in 1749. But these denominations downplayed intra-Protestant fellowship in favor of distinctive conceptions of group identity. Quakers saw themselves as a "nation of Zion," while the Moravians controversially placed themselves at the head of what they called the "Tropus" concept, in which all Christians could be united while maintaining their unique heritages—a movement that generated more than a little opposition.27 The reasons for Quakers' and Moravians' [End Page 52] exclusions were distinctive and complex, but the result was that they did not participate on any meaningful level in the conglomeration of societies and networks that made up transatlantic British Protestantism.

The Anglicans, presbyterians, congregationalists, baptists, and foreign Protestants who joined forces could still claim to represent the vast majority of organized religious life in the British Empire, and their collaboration, through letters and the organizations and societies they oversaw, was the practical embodiment of the pro-Protestant policies pursued by the empire. Correspondence among distant religious leaders was professional rather than personal, and writers eschewed intimate anecdotes and family information. Some, such as Ezra Stiles in Rhode Island and John Erskine in Edinburgh, built networks of correspondents explicitly for the purpose of making connections. Stiles, for example, wrote to James Fordyce, a celebrated Scottish presbyterian minister then working in London, to say that Fordyce's reputation had "induced me to ask the honor of your Correspondence, if it shall not be disagreeable to you." Others, such as Boston's Jonathan Mayhew and London's Nathaniel Lardner, drew attention because of their publications. When North American presbyterians mounted a campaign to recruit John Witherspoon, a Scot, for the presidency of the College of New Jersey, his written reputation had already been made in the colonies among fellow presbyterians and also by correspondence with the likes of Erskine and Connecticut's Joseph Bellamy. A few leaders with particular followings, such as Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, and John Wesley, maintained extensive correspondence with less well-known local clergy. Organizations and societies became nodes of activity, linking together distant clergy and providing easy ways for ministers with few personal connections to take part in a wider transatlantic project. The relationships of this community—as read through its correspondence and the records of its many organizations—and the various functions it permitted profoundly shaped the human experience of British Protestantism.28 [End Page 53]

The terms for collaboration among Protestant leaders were drawn broadly by necessity. Seventeenth-century irenic traditions and a deep theological impulse within Christianity for unity had to be balanced against very real differences over ecclesiology and theology.29 To achieve this balance, Protestant leaders envisioned themselves at the head of a shared "religion," and they attended to the "state of religion" in different places. Thus Erskine, in Edinburgh, wrote to Bellamy in 1753 to say that he was "afraid correspondence [with] me can be of little use to you," and yet he would not be "so unkind to myself, as to reject an offer [that] may afford me opportunities of learning the state of religion & controversy in Connecticut colony." Anglican minister Henry Caner similarly wrote to Thomas Secker, the archbishop of Canterbury, that he had "for above thirty years past been no unattentive Observer of the State of Religion in this Part of the World," and on that basis he assured his superior that Anglican missionaries in North America had produced "many great and good Effects which under God, have been the Consequence of their Endeavors."30 The generic language of "religion" worked for more formal correspondence as well. Boston's ministerial organization sent a letter to the colony's Anglican governor, Thomas Pownall, in 1757; Pownall's reply thanked the congregationalists and noted that "Government can never fail of all due Honor, & a conscientious obedience from a people animated by true Religion, under the Leading of a pious [End Page 54] & Godly Ministry."31 Just as Pownall recognized the religion of Boston's ministers, so a mixed group of London grandees, including Archbishop Secker and dissenter Samuel Chandler, scolded the trustees of the College of Philadelphia, reminding them that the practice of uniting Anglicans, presbyterians, and even baptists in the faculty had approval from the highest authorities. They recommended the trustees "make some fundamental Rule of Declaration" to ensure that "Contentions unfriendly to Learning and hurtful to Religion" did not take root. The command relied upon the assumptions that diverse Protestants working together was both good and necessary for the promotion of religion and that differences of theology ought to be ignored or, at minimum, contained when shared interests were at stake.32

Connections developed among friendly correspondents, but the community of religious leaders also linked together those who engaged in critique and public controversy with one another. Secker and Mayhew clashed over the proper place of the SPG in North America, yet few steps were necessary to connect the two men. Secker was friends with London dissenter Chandler. Chandler corresponded with Mayhew directly, and the two dissenters also shared a mutual friendship with Philadelphia's William Allen.33 Indeed, the phenomenon of personal ties connecting religious disputants was more common than not. In Scotland Erskine kept his correspondents in America apprised of the activities of John Wesley and Joseph Priestley. He disliked both and felt the latter's ideas had "done harm." He credited them with a degree of influence as fellow ministers, however, and they certainly participated in the same broader community. Erskine corresponded with Edward Wigglesworth in Massachusetts on behalf of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge (SSPCK). Wigglesworth also wrote to London dissenter Lardner; Lardner was acquainted with Priestley and may have influenced the latter's developing unitarian views.34 To follow another route, Erskine maintained a steady correspondence with Bellamy and Samuel Hopkins, who were also proponents of the movement for awakened [End Page 55] Protestantism.35 Stiles disliked Bellamy for both theological and personal reasons, but he had to contend with the Connecticut minister as a powerful force within southern New England's clerical ranks, his own professional world, nonetheless. Hopkins was Stiles's neighbor in Newport, forcing a degree of collegiality. Stiles corresponded with Richard Price, who was a close associate of Priestley's. That these webs generally did not extend beyond a cadre of religious leaders suggests that they were not just examples of the kinds of close connections that existed among much of the empire's educated elite. They attest, instead, to the existence of a transatlantic community built through shared efforts, contests over those efforts, and professional respect.36

Within the community of Protestant leaders, clear internal networks subdivided the whole. The Church of England was unique as the only ecclesiastical institution that linked distant Protestants through a reliable hierarchy. In addition to the Church of England, however, Protestant leaders built two transatlantic networks that connected the colonies to Britain and to one another. Although these communities imagined themselves as global in scope, extending to all of Christendom, in practice they were intrinsically tied to the British Empire with only occasional connections to Continental Protestants.37 The dissenting community, the first such network, found its heart in the collaboration between the "Three Denominations" of independents (congregationalists), presbyterians, and baptists in England. Leaders of those groups worked together for political and legal purposes in London, and the organizations they founded became the institutional center of dissent. As the eighteenth century progressed, English dissenters built connections to coreligionists in other parts of the empire, particularly in New England. That New Englanders adopted the term dissenter to describe their own perspective, despite the fact that their communities had been founded before the Act of [End Page 56] Toleration regularized dissenting status in England, is a marker of the network's strong affective reach.38 The "dissenting interest," as it was sometimes termed, blended legally established churches (in New England and Scotland) and tolerated ones (in England and some other jurisdictions) that felt a sense of commonality. Dissenters worked together to support one another across those borders. For example, Nova Scotia's dissenters sent petitions to the Protestant Dissenting Deputies in London, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and the Associated Pastors of the Churches of Boston to raise funds for ministers. This was a fair representation of the geography of dissent: headquartered in London, closely tied to New England, and loosely connected to outposts in other parts of the empire and Protestant Europe.39

Delineating the correspondence of two New Englanders, Newport's Stiles and Boston's Mayhew, sketches the parameters of the dissenting network more thoroughly and points to the strength of an England–New England link. Mayhew's success as a writer brought him notice in England, in particular through the efforts of his longtime correspondent Thomas Hollis. He also corresponded with Lardner, Micaiah Towgood, and the brothers Jasper and Israel Mauduit. Stiles, for his part, sought out connections with dissenters in England and other parts of the Reformed world. He maintained correspondence with Lardner and Lardner's nephew Joseph Jennings as well as with London dissenter Philip Furneaux. He wrote at least once to Chandler. Another Bostonian, Samuel Mather, also wrote to Hollis and Lardner, as well as to another London dissenter, Caleb Fleming. Furneaux, Chandler, and several of Stiles's other correspondents would have met at the sessions of the Body of Protestant Dissenting Ministers of the Three Denominations, where they would have crossed paths with John Gill and Samuel Stennett, men who corresponded with New England baptists Isaac Backus and James Manning. Similar groupings came together at the meetings of the Protestant Dissenting Deputies and of the New England Company (NEC), a missionary organization. Dissenters used these channels to send news between England and New England.40 [End Page 57]

The second transatlantic network bound together those who saw themselves as part of a broad movement to awaken or revive Protestants. The movement's roots stretched into central Europe and Scotland's great communion fairs, and it spread throughout the British Empire via the actions of energetic itinerants, including the polyglot Moravians and the Anglicans George Whitefield and John Wesley. As a group, awakened Protestants downplayed their quite significant theological differences and often stayed within established churches, so the movement to nurture a personal, vital piety took shape in diverse communities. Indeed, awakened Protestants drew their great strength as a network from their ability to work within many quarters of Protestantism and across vast geographies. This nimble organization was accomplished by the collaboration of key individuals, such as Anglicans Selina Hastings and Wesley, who each maintained extensive personal networks through correspondence. Whitefield, too, communicated with and visited Protestant leaders throughout the empire.41 Gotthilf August Francke, the leader of the pietist institutions in Halle, Germany, in the middle decades of the eighteenth century, was likewise a member of an established church and the head of an expansive international network that included Protestant leaders in London and a cadre of ministers in North America. From Scotland, Erskine, who held a prominent position in the established presbyterian church, consistently sought out contacts with awakened Protestants overseas, and not only within presbyterianism. The best-known awakened Americans, Jonathan Edwards, Bellamy, and Hopkins, maintained correspondence with Erskine. Those three Americans were not particularly active in transatlantic dissenting networks, but their location in New England, one of dissent's strongholds, was evidence of the power of the awakening movement within dissent.42 [End Page 58]

Two important observations must be made about the way these networks intermeshed with one another and with denominational communities. First, denominational affiliation was not an important marker in either the dissenting or the awakened networks at the transatlantic level. Both networks included members from all four of the major denominational groups. In England the dissenting network was obviously dominated by the "Three Denominations," but dissenting circles included a few liberal Anglicans, particularly those who tended toward unitarianism. Anglican archdeacon Francis Blackburne, for example, was known widely in British and colonial dissenting circles.43 On the other hand, presbyterian members of the Church of Scotland were only occasionally connected to the dissenting network, suggesting that the idea of being a presbyterian did not specifically attach someone to the transatlantic community of dissent. The networks of awakened Protestantism crossed denominational lines in much the same way. Anglicans dominated the transatlantic movement, but the prominent roles played by the Scottish presbyterian Erskine and by New Englanders Edwards and Bellamy point to an ease in moving across denominational lines.

Indeed, measured by communication, no denomination other than the Church of England (and that was really a single church) maintained regular transatlantic ties. Even presbyterians, whose stronghold in Scotland allowed them to argue for a formal position in the British Empire, did not develop a denominational structure of the sort that forced Anglicans in the colonies to—at the very least—receive ordination in England. The Synod of New York and Philadelphia, after all, did not answer to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. There were theological reasons for this. Presbyterians embraced a regional understanding of ecclesiastical authority. Just as important was the fact that different groups of presbyterians did not feel the need to communicate merely because of their shared presbyterianism. Cultural and ethnic habits meant that English presbyterians outside England looked to that country for leadership, whereas mid-Atlantic presbyterians were often Scottish or Scots-Irish and looked to the Church of Scotland; for their part, the substantial British population in Rotterdam possessed both an English presbyterian and a Scottish presbyterian church. [End Page 59] As a transatlantic community, presbyterians were organizationally weak, and congregationalists and baptists doubly so. Denominational correspondence was slow, halting, and unsystematic.44

The second observation relates to overlap among networks, particularly for awakened Protestants. That movement developed within each of the major denominations, and the vast majority of its leaders remained within those privileged denominations that made up the British Protestant system. This situation created overlap between the networks of awakened and dissenters, between awakened and Anglicans, and between local and transatlantic levels. (The smallest degree of overlap, unsurprisingly, was between dissenters and Anglicans at the transatlantic or interregional level.) Thus, while awakened Protestants maintained a distinctive social network, they also kept ties to and collaborated with those who did not share their perspective. John Witherspoon, the awakened Scot who became president of the College of New Jersey and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, is a good example. He corresponded with leading awakened Protestants, including his Scottish colleague Erskine, before and after his migration to North America. Yet he also participated in an effort to unite North American dissenters in the 1760s, and he submitted an appeal to the Protestant Dissenting Deputies in London for assistance in the struggle against a colonial bishop. Likewise, William Gordon, a London-based independent minister, corresponded with Bellamy in Connecticut but was also a delegate to the Body of Protestant Dissenting Ministers of the Three Denominations. And while Whitefield provides an extreme example of interdenominational connections, the difference between his network and those of his peers was one of degree, not of kind. Awakened Protestants, while a distinctive group within the networks of transatlantic Protestantism, were also deeply embedded within it.45 This was true of the larger whole as [End Page 60] well; close connections among fellows were balanced by ties to the larger system, whether through neighborhood relationships, institutional structures, or even engagement in controversy and debate.

In addition to corresponding, Protestant leaders built a series of voluntary societies. These organizations supported missionary work, tried to reform the ever-unreformed laity, and distributed religious texts. Each society had a distinctive focus, but nearly all were rooted in Britain and sought connections beyond its shores. Through their efforts, local clergy who might not have corresponded with distant fellows could still encounter a transatlantic and interdenominational version of religion. The core Anglican societies—the SPCK and the SPG—were founded at the turn of the eighteenth century as both lay and clerical Anglicans worked to reform and spread their church. The SPCK maintained an overwhelmingly English membership, but it promoted ties to foreign Protestants, shared missionary work with Halle pietists in India under the authority of the Danish Crown, and, in keeping with its mission as a tract society, sent out large quantities of devotional materials. The SPG was the voluntary society most closely associated with a single denomination; it functioned as the missionary arm of the Anglican Church, serving unchurched colonists as well as (at least theoretically) American Indians and enslaved Africans. The SSPCK—related to but not part of the Church of Scotland—worked to fight popery in the "Highlands and Islands" of Scotland and, thanks to a bequest from an English presbyterian, sent missionaries to North American Indians. The NEC, founded in 1649, was the oldest of the groups. It financed dissenting missionaries in North America, often working with the same missionaries as the SSPCK. The Associates of Dr. Bray, another Anglican body, focused on education for enslaved Africans and on libraries for clergy. Like the Associates and the SPCK, the Society for Promoting Religious Knowledge among the Poor used print culture to promote religion, though its leaders were often dissenters. Through correspondence and coordinating committees, these societies generated a web of connections among disparate parts of the British Empire, linking the religious interests of one part to those of another.46 [End Page 61]

The work done by these organizations joined Protestants in far-flung parts of the empire, binding together the sprawling British territories. The SPCK, from its headquarters in London, sent packages of books to French Protestants headed to West Florida in 1765; to Anglican Charles Woodmason before he went to South Carolina in 1766; and, in 1768, to the "Inhabitants of Egg Harbour in New Jersey, who at present are in great want of proper means of instruction." The SPCK also exchanged tracts regularly with fellows in Ireland and Scotland and translated the scriptures into Manx. For their parts, the NEC and the SSPCK turned dissenting and presbyterian eyes to the colonies through missionary work.47 As transatlantic as the Protestant community was, however, its power structures were grounded in the metropole; the structures of religious organizations mimicked those of the imperial government. From the colonial side, efforts to support religious projects—missions, schools, libraries—often required solicitations in Britain, and dependence on British philanthropy could easily cause friction. "Demands from America," wrote London dissenter Lardner, "& from poor Protestants in Germanie, & elsewhere, are supposed by some considerable men to be a heavie burden upon the Dissenting Interest in London." Rhetorically and financially, the empire's Protestantism was rooted in Britain. Nonetheless, it provided the mechanism through which individuals and communities dispersed over a vast territory could participate in and promote the religious interests of the whole.48

The trip of ministers Nathanael Whitaker and Samson Occom to Britain in 1766–68 to raise money for Eleazar Wheelock's Indian school [End Page 62] provides a good window onto how Britain's Protestant community functioned. Whitefield helped arrange the trip, and Wheelock printed a tract attesting that "the Friends of Religion in America" supported what the writer called a "truly catholic and charitable Design"; both men likely expected that Occom's Mohegan heritage would draw attention to the project. In England the travelers met with awakened Anglicans Martin Madan, William Romaine, and William Legge, 2d Earl of Dartmouth, who was also a major political figure; Dennys DeBerdt, a Huguenot merchant who advocated for dissenters; Quaker John Fothergill; and the German Court preacher Frederick Michael Ziegenhagen and his colleague Friedrich Wilhelm Pasche, who reported the events back to Halle. Baptists were also represented, including Andrew Gifford (who later sent books to Wheelock in Connecticut), John Ryland, and Samuel Stennett. Whitaker and Occom met, moreover, with John Newton and John Wesley, as well as with King George III and the archbishops of Canterbury and York. A journey to Scotland coordinated by the SSPCK was also productive. These two dissenting ministers from North America gained access to every corner of Protestant Britain, testifying to the ease with which religious leaders could rally support for a recognized cause.49

Just as important as the collaboration represented in this effort, however, was the conscious negotiation of difference within it. Dissenter Samuel Chandler warned the travelers "not to own Mr Whitefield a Friend [when talking] either to Desenters, or to the old Standards of the Church of England." Whitefield was controversial; the travelers' project was not. When Occom and Whitaker met with Daniel Burton, secretary of the SPG, Occom reported that Burton "wou'd have feign perswaded me to Holier Orders and I modestly told him, I had no Such vew when I came from Home." Occom informed the Anglican that he "had been Ordained Six Years in a Dissenting Way."50 Archbishop Thomas Secker, recalling his meeting with Occom, wrote that his "first Notion was, that our Society might send children to be educated [at the school], who might afterw[ar]ds be sent out by us as Missionaries." But Secker was later convinced that "all educated there would be fixed in Presbyterianism." He thus planned [End Page 63] a school for the SPG, "framed not in Opposition to, but in Imitation of Mr Wheelock's Undertaking." The archbishop then "added, in the civillest Terms I could, that we thought it would be best, that the Church of England & the Dissenters from it should each maintain their own Schools."51 Anglicans and dissenters clearly shared the goal of promoting religion among the Indians, and it was possible to imagine collaboration, imitation, and even undergoing a second ordination, but there were limits.

Taken as a whole and including internal divisions, Britain's Protestantism—measured through its networks, organizations, and societies—connected one end of the empire to the other. As religious leaders raised money, read each other's sermons, and followed one another's careers, they kept apprised of the state of religion around the empire, becoming nodes of connection between local Protestant environments and a wider world. The existence of this transatlantic community is significant in its own right. And when this collaboration is viewed alongside the systems of law and privilege that created it, a further significance comes into view. By communicating across the empire and collaborating across internal fissures, British Protestantism developed a collective perspective that prevented its institutions from being turned against the empire.


Identifying how British Protestantism bound the empire together allows that system to be historicized, rooted in the pro-Protestant policies of the early eighteenth century, and then followed through the crises that divided the empire in the 1770s. The political pressures and clerical community that united Protestants across the empire channeled religious disputes so that they did not become sites around which serious conflict coalesced. This is not to suggest that some did not draw on their faith to justify and inform their choices during the imperial crisis or once the fighting broke out; they most certainly did. Yet the war divided the transatlantic and interregional Protestant system in entirely new ways, leaving awakened Protestants, dissenters, and Anglicans, as well as members of every denomination, on both sides.52 As historian R. R. Palmer described the situation decades ago, "whether religion acted as a force in the conflict [was] disputed," but churches were not major players in the process. "Aggressive [End Page 64] anti-Christianity did not develop in America," he wrote, "not because American revolutionary leaders were warmly religious, but because no religious body seriously stood in their way."53 Palmer might have added that, at a pancolonial or transatlantic level, no religious body supported revolution either. He did not explain why this was so, but examining the religious divisions of the period in light of the ways that Protestants were bound together across the empire suggests that the institutions of transatlantic Protestantism provided a safety valve for controversy, preventing historic religious divisions from growing into casus belli.

Two specific religious splits deserve notice here, each of which has been offered as an explanatory device for the unfolding of the American Revolution. The first such fissure was that between awakened Protestants and their foes. As discussed above, awakened Protestants worked from within a variety of denominations, disrupting all of them at least to some degree. Awakened Anglicans in England strained against regulations against itinerant preaching and found shelter in the chapels of titled laypeople. In Scotland the popular and moderate wings of the Church of Scotland vied for control of the denomination's apparatus. Mid-Atlantic presbyterianism ruptured over the proper qualifications of the clergy, with the New Side–Old Side schism stretching from 1741 to 1758. In New England those ministers who opposed the awakening movement used local governments to try to limit the ability of itinerants to preach, a process that continued for decades in the southern colonies. Awakened ministers who transgressed too far over the boundaries, such as New England's James Davenport, faced criminal penalties.54 Revivals and the techniques used to spread them threatened settled ministers in all parts of the empire.

Yet the struggles between those who advocated awakening and their foes led to the strengthening, rather than the weakening, of British Protestantism in the decades before the American Revolution, as the movement's leaders brought their followers inside the empire's dominant denominations. Few awakened clergy were willing to risk the stain of radicalism and division that attached to the Moravians. Quite the contrary, many of the movement's leaders sought respectability through ordination and congregational authority. (John Wesley's break with the Church of England ultimately came because [End Page 65] of his desire to ordain American clergy after the war's conclusion.) Awakened leaders pursued these strategies for attaining legitimacy even as they also sought to create a new theological understanding of Christian experience. The movement's most prominent voices—the itinerant George Whitefield, Anglicans John and Charles Wesley and Selina Hastings, Scottish presbyterian John Erskine, and New Englanders Jonathan Edwards and Joseph Bellamy—remained within state-funded denominations through most or allof their careers.55

Moreover, as the revivals ebbed in the 1750s, New Light and Old Light communities came to resemble each other. North American presbyterians reunited in 1758 in the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, seeing their shared denominational interests as more significant than their differences. Similarly, the awakening-aligned Anglican St. Paul's Church in Philadelphia, which prominent minister William Smith described by saying that "their Principles lead them to an independent Church of England," ultimately came back into the Anglican fold through the agency of Whitefield in London.56 Proponents of awakening contended with their opponents for control of the apparatus of religious institutions in a variety of places, but they remained peers and ultimately claimed a place within Britain's Protestant community.

It would be a mistake to read the choice by awakened leaders to remain within the structures of imperial Protestantism as a collective statement about the imperial crisis, however. Awakened Protestants tended to follow those around them as the conflict between Parliament and the colonists grew. John Wesley's influential Calm Address urged American obedience to British authority, and methodist itinerants in the colonies on the eve of the revolution had to contend with their leader's reputation. Members of the "popular party" in the Church of Scotland tried to protest the management [End Page 66] of the war in 1776, but the General Assembly's moderates prevailed, keeping Scotland's public voice in line with the official British position. In North America Joseph Bellamy and his New Divinity colleagues came to support the American cause despite early reservations. John Witherspoon, in New Jersey, took the American side. Although awakened Protestants could and often did view their choices in terms informed by faith, no unified voice emerged during the crisis.57

Yet the larger awakening movement sustained a cohesive network nonetheless. It did so by developing a distinctive perspective on faith and nation. As exemplified in the 1747 Concert for Prayer, publicized by Edwards, awakened Protestants conjured a world in which Protestants would "be united in thus seeking the Lord of Hosts." These souls would be the "Inhabitants of many Cities, and of many Countries, yea, many People, and strong Nations; great Multitudes in different Parts of the World" would share in the "Business."58 Proponents of awakening often expected religious transformation to develop within, not against, the various churches in which they worked, and they viewed the dispute between Parliament and the colonies as a dangerous distraction. On the eve of war, Scotland's Erskine wrote to Connecticut's Levi Hart, lamenting the coming crisis and hoping for a shared response. He thought "a new concert, with reasons suited to the present state of religion, & the judgements threatening Britain & her colonies" would be desirable. Speaking of those in Britain, he commented, "Any motion of this kind that would be generally gone in to, is hardly to be expected from us." Nonetheless, he hoped that "if something short & spirited was published on your side [of] the Atlantic, perhaps it might unite many of Gods people in one chief mean of procuring spiritual & temporal blessings both to Mother Country & Colonies." He concluded, "It amazes me that nothing has been published in either on the present aspect of affairs in a religious view." This was not a call for colonial submission but rather a fervent wish that the whole affair might be profitably overcome. John Newton offered a different suggestion as to how to refocus on matters of faith when he wrote to an English baptist friend in August 1775, "As a minister and a Christian I think it is better to lay all the blame upon sin. Instead of telling the people Lord North blunders, I tell them the Lord of hosts is angry." Matters of state remained consistently subordinated to spiritual [End Page 67] affairs in the network's communication. As a result, the division that existed between awakened and traditional Protestants did not become a rallying point for either side in the imperial conflict.59

The fissure between Anglicans and dissenters, the second divide within Protestantism that historians have often placed at the heart of the imperial crisis, was more political than that between awakened Protestants and their opponents. Many Anglicans (including quite a number of awakened Anglicans) believed their church ought to be the empire's church, and church leaders repeatedly tried to enhance its position, particularly in North America.60 Yet arguments for Anglican primacy rooted in an imperial church foundered on British Protestantism's success at joining together segments of the Protestant world. That high-ranking members of the Church of England knew this full well became clear in 1762, when Massachusetts congregationalists founded a missionary society to spread Christianity to Indians. In London Archbishop Thomas Secker successfully blocked the effort, but he found himself forced to act carefully. As he wrote to the bishop of London, "Our Society for propagating the Gospel cannot with a very good Grace make any Opposition. It will be said we ought gladly to let others do what we confess we have not been able to do our selves in any great Degree."61 Secker stopped the Massachusetts society nonetheless by depicting it as a threat to Britain's Indian policy. When news passed back through dissenting networks, via Jasper Mauduit in London and James Bowdoin in Boston, that the Board of Trade had ruled against the effort, the word was "that the Lords would not dispute the laudableness of the design"—the goal of spreading religion was unimpeachable—"but that there were political reasons for their not confirming it." If Secker and his Anglican subordinates triumphed in that case, however, they lost on a much larger issue: the creation of an Anglican bishop for the colonies. Despite North American panic about the potential creation of this bishop, no such plan was politically viable in the second half of the eighteenth century. Secker, who actively promoted the project, admitted failure after a meeting with the archbishop of York and William Petty, Lord Shelburne, the [End Page 68] secretary of state, "to recommend to [Shelburne] the Ecclesiastical Affairs of Canada, & the Appointm[en]t of Bps in America." Secker reported that he "dwelt chiefly on the latter, but could make no Impression at all upon" Shelburne. Britain's governing authorities were unwilling to upset the balance of British Protestantism on behalf of either dissenters or Anglicans.62

Because the organizations and networks of British Protestantism bridged regional divides and smoothed over distinctions among Protestants, and also because religious leaders benefited from the privileges extended by governments, the transatlantic system was ill suited to organize conflict or opposition that threatened the empire's political stability. For this reason, trying to map the organizational structure of British Protestantism onto the American Revolution is an exercise in futility. Many leaders in the patriot movement, most notably George Washington, were at least nominally members of the Church of England. Though most Anglican clergy in the colonies sided with the crown and many fled, some became vocal patriots. George III reportedly blamed the war on presbyterians, but the presbyterian Church of Scotland remained loyal to the crown at the end of the day, and American presbyterians were no more unified than their Anglican neighbors. The assertion that Americans who embraced the movement for Protestant awakening also embraced a new popular style of politics and a democratic approach to authority must be balanced against the fact that English awakened Protestants, most notably Wesley, were vocal in their rejection of rebellion. New England dissenters overwhelmingly supported the patriot cause, but so too did the region's awakened Protestants, who had little direct connection to dissenting communities on a transatlantic level and as a rule did not employ the language of dissent. English dissenters disproportionately sympathized with the Americans, in the strongest case for a link between religious community and the revolutionary crisis, but they did not mount a coordinated effort as dissenters in support of the rebellion.63 In short, it is impossible to take any category of Protestant community to a wide geographic scope and use it with precision to predict the divisions in the British Empire. Nor is this simply a semantic failure. After decades of collaboration among the diverse groups within the empire's dominant religious institutions, the organizations [End Page 69] and communities of Britain's transatlantic Protestantism were simply too interconnected and too dependent on the pro-Protestant policies of the empire to be turned against it.


The identification of a thriving transatlantic British Protestantism—not in an abstract sense as either political culture or popular religiosity but as an identifiable set of connections and institutions shared between diverse and distant groups—allows the empire's Protestantism to be historicized in productive ways that move beyond the false dichotomy of asking if religion united or divided the empire. Britain's pro-Protestant policies of the early eighteenth century did not merely lead to new tropes of political identity. Those policies also resulted in practical efforts by religious communities around the empire by the middle decades of the century to collaborate on shared projects and in common cause. Though the international politics of the Protestant interest declined in importance on the imperial stage after midcentury, the practice of cooperation encouraged by Britain's identification with Protestantism remained significant to those who were within churches and voluntary societies, as well as to the community of religious leaders who guided them. Politics thus had a direct impact on the shape of religious institutions in a way that included establishing specific churches but also creating the circumstances for collaboration, both local and transatlantic. British Protestantism developed through societies, organizations, denominations, and correspondence networks, and it functioned as a powerful system across the empire. The privileges of participating in this shared system were enticing enough, and the fields of opportunity vast enough, to keep awakened Protestants in the fold and to push Anglicans and dissenters to accept one another's presence as legitimate.

Over the course of the eighteenth century, the projects and connections sustained by Protestant leaders grew more significant, channeling internecine disputes away from the political structures that joined them together. The empire's rupture in 1775 was not incidental to British Protestantism; it was a fracture within its heart. But the Protestantism that was dependent on the empire did not become a meaningful site of organized resistance. Whether the splintering that divided Britain from its colonies ultimately resulted from long internal rot or from a sudden strike, its origins did not lie within the Protestantism the empire had nurtured. Insofar as those on either side of the war leveraged arguments based on religion, their assertions had to contend with the empire's dominant Protestantism, both as a shared ideal promoted by religious leaders over decades and as a system of authority that encompassed most of the empire's clergy. Protestant divides did not cause the American Revolution, but the American Revolution forced a transformation in transatlantic Protestantism. [End Page 70]

Katherine Carté Engel

Katherine Carté Engel is an associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University. She would like to thank Elesha Coffman, Susan Ferber, Benjamin Irvin, Ned Landsman, Spencer McBride, Owen Stanwood, the Rocky Mountain Early American History Seminar, the HMM research group, and the anonymous readers for the William and Mary Quarterly for many helpful suggestions.


1. Samuel Cooper, A Sermon Preached before His Excellency Thomas Pownall. . . . (Boston, 1759), 21 ("What but"), 53 ("May God").

2. "By the King, A Proclamation, For a Publick Thanksgiving," London Gazette, Oct. 23–27, 1759, [1] ("appointing"); Samuel Hazard, ed., Pennsylvania Archives, 1st ser. (Philadelphia, 1853), 3: 690–91 ("signify to you," 3: 690); Entry for Oct. 30, 1759, in Theodore G. Tappert and John W. Doberstein, trans., The Journals of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg (Philadelphia, 1942), 1: 419 ("solemn service"). The course of events from the king's general fast to the orders to "all his Majesty's colonies in America" is outlined in Journal of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations. . . . (London, 1935), 11: 58. The royal proclamation, dated Oct. 23, 1759, was also partially printed in the London Evening-Post, Oct. 27–30, 1759, [1]. See also "Extract of a private Letter from France," New-York Mercury, Oct. 1, 1759, [2]; "By His Excellency Thomas Pownall, Esq . . . A Proclamation," Green & Russell's Boston Post-Boy & Advertiser, Oct. 15, 1759, [3]; William DeLoss Love Jr., The Fast and Thanksgiving Days of New England (Boston, 1895), 310–12; Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754–1766 (New York, 2000), 365–68, 373–76.

3. "By the King, A Proclamation, For a Publick Thanksgiving," London Gazette, Oct. 23–27, 1759, [1] ("loving Subjects"); "New-York, November 5. By the Honourable James De Lancey. . . . A Proclamation," New-York Gazette, Nov. 5, 1759, [3] ("all Churches"); "Philadelphia, October 18. By the Honourable William Denny . . . A Proclamation," Pennsylvania Gazette, Oct. 18, 1759, [3] ("recommend[ed]").

4. For Whitefield, see L[uke] Tyerman, The Life of the Rev. George Whitefield. . . . (London, 1877), 2: 422 (quotation); "London, Oct. 20," Boston-Gazette, And Country Journal, Jan. 28, 1760, [3]. The English Short Title Catalogue lists more than forty sermons preached for the occasion and then published. See for example Alexander Gerard, National Blessings an Argument for Reformation. A Sermon, Preached at Aberdeen, November 29, 1759. . . . (Aberdeen, 1759); James Johnson, A Sermon Preached before the Right Honourable the Lords Spiritual and Temporal in Parliament Assembled. . . . (London, 1759); Richard Price, Britain's Happiness, and the Proper Improvement of it, Represented In A Sermon. . . . (London, 1759); [John Wesley and Charles Wesley], Hymns to Be Used on the Thanksgiving-Day, Nov. 29, 1759. And After It ([London, 1759]); Benjamin Wallin, The Joyful Sacrifice of a Prosperous Nation. . . . (London, 1760).

5. Describing the group that I call "awakened Protestants" has presented persistent challenges to historians. Evangelical, until recently the term deployed most often by scholars, was not used as a descriptor for this specific grouping in the eighteenth century and has increasingly fallen from favor because of associations it has accrued in twenty-first-century contexts. For discussions of the term, see Linford D. Fisher, "Evangelicals and Unevangelicals: The Contested History of a Word, 1500–1950," Religion and American Culture 26, no. 2 (Summer 2016): 184–226; Douglas L. Winiarski, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2017), 13–16. I have chosen here to use the term awakened Protestants because it mimics the language of "awakening" used by both English and German religious leaders during the period. For example, in 1756 Edinburgh's John Erskine wrote to Connecticut's Joseph Bellamy of "One Mr. Brown a young curate [who] was awakened Octr. 1754 by occasionally conversing [with] Mr. Williams a pious Dissenting Merch[ant]." Erskine to Bellamy, Apr. 20, 1756, Joseph Bellamy Papers (BP), 188/2932/81241, Hartford Seminary Library, Hartford, Conn. See also 56 n. 35 below.

6. Many studies investigate the role of religion in imperial political discourse. See for example Tony Claydon and Ian McBride, eds., Protestantism and National Identity: Britain and Ireland, c. 1650–c. 1850 (Cambridge, 1998); David Armitage, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire (Cambridge, 2000), esp. 9, 41–42, 63–99; Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837, [2d ed.] (New Haven, Conn., 2005). Jeremy Black addresses the question of diversity within England in Black, "Confessional State or Elect Nation? Religion and Identity in Eighteenth-Century England," in Claydon and McBride, Protestantism and National Identity, 53–74. For North America, see Thomas S. Kidd, The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism (New Haven, Conn., 2004); Brendan McConville, The King's Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688–1776 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2006); Owen Stanwood, The Empire Reformed: English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution (Philadelphia, 2011); Daniel Robinson, "Giving Peace to Europe: European Geopolitics, Colonial Political Culture, and the Hanoverian Monarchy in British North America, ca. 1740–63," William and Mary Quarterly, 3d ser., 73, no. 2 (April 2016): 291–332; Samuel Fisher, "Fit Instruments in a Howling Wilderness: Colonists, Indians, and the Origins of the American Revolution," WMQ 73, no. 4 (October 2016): 647–80. For theoretical engagements between religion and empire, see Linda Gregerson and Susan Juster, eds., Empires of God: Religious Encounters in the Early Modern Atlantic (Philadelphia, 2011).

7. Works that emphasize divisions among Protestants include J. C. D. Clark, The Language of Liberty, 1660–1832 (Cambridge, 1994); Patricia U. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America (1986), updated ed. (New York, 2003). Brent S. Sirota argues for the primacy of an Anglican revival in the early decades of the eighteenth century in Sirota, The Christian Monitors: The Church of England and the Age of Benevolence, 1680–1730 (New Haven, Conn., 2014). The historiography of Protestantism in eighteenth-century America has been dominated by debates on the rise of evangelicalism that emphasize schism. See Thomas S. Kidd, The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (New Haven, Conn., 2007); Winiarski, Darkness Falls on the Land of Light. Frank Lambert provides a good historiographical overview in Lambert, Inventing the "Great Awakening" (Princeton, N.J., 1999). For Britain, see Richard B. Sher, Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment: The Moderate Literati of Edinburgh (Princeton, N.J., 1985); John Walsh, Colin Haydon, and Stephen Taylor, eds., The Church of England, c.1689–c.1833: From Toleration to Tractarianism (Cambridge, 1993), esp. Walsh and Taylor, "Introduction: The Church and Anglicanism in the 'Long' Eighteenth Century," ibid., 1–64, esp. 3–22. For dissent as a source of division in English politics, see James E. Bradley, Religion, Revolution, and English Radicalism: Nonconformity in Eighteenth-Century Politics and Society (Cambridge, 1990), esp. 18–30.

8. For the decline of religion in politics after 1763, see Black, "Confessional State or Elect Nation?," 71; Pasi Ihalainen, Protestant Nations Redefined: Changing Perceptions of National Identity in the Rhetoric of the English, Dutch and Swedish Public Churches, 1685–1772 (Leiden, 2005), 594–95; Andrew Thompson, Britain, Hanover and the Protestant Interest: 1688–1756 (Woodbridge, U.K., 2006), 216–21; Tony Claydon, Europe and the Making of England, 1660–1760 (Cambridge, 2007), 360–61. A characterization of the Church of England as lackluster in this period marks these discussions as well, making Protestantism seem like more of a background context than a live phenomenon by the mid-eighteenth century. See Paul Langford, A Polite and Commercial People: England, 1727–1783 (Oxford, 1989), 258–59; William L. Sachs, The Transformation of Anglicanism: From State Church to Global Communion (Cambridge, 1993), 30–31; Sirota, Christian Monitors, 8–9. Three influential syntheses of early American religion, all completed before the rise of Atlantic world scholarship, stress the growth of Protestant institutions in the mid-eighteenth century: Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven; Jon Butler, Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People (Cambridge, Mass., 1990); Charles L. Cohen, "The Post-Puritan Paradigm of Early American Religious History," in "Religion in Early America," special issue, WMQ 54, no. 4 (October 1997): 695–722. Whereas Butler downplays the schisms caused by the movement for awakening and posits a "secular" revolution, Bonomi places the divisions between Protestant groups at the center of revolutionary organization (Butler, Awash in a Sea of Faith, 195 [quotation]; Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven, 216). See also Carl Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre: Transatlantic Faiths, Ideas, Personalities, and Politics, 1689–1775 (New York, 1962); Alan Heimert, Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 1966); Harry S. Stout, "Religion, Communications, and the Ideological Origins of the American Revolution," WMQ 34, no. 4 (October 1977): 519–41; Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740–1790 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1982), 264–66; Clark, Language of Liberty; James B. Bell, A War of Religion: Dissenters, Anglicans, and the American Revolution (Basingstoke, U.K., 2008); Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty: Religion and the American Revolution (New York, 2010).

9. The best overall study of the religious history of the British Empire is Carla Gardina Pestana, Protestant Empire: Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic World (Philadelphia, 2009). Pestana finds that "Protestantism was not truly British in the sense of broadly shared . . . as so much depended on local circumstance" (ibid., 185). In contrast, I am positing the presence of such a shared system but not arguing for that culture's comprehensiveness when describing the diverse forms of Protestant experience within the empire. The transatlantic turn has had a dramatic influence on the historiography of religion. See ibid., 267–68. Recent treatments of religion in North America have described a period of imperial religion but have not focused on the mechanisms of connection or the broader implications of those findings for religion in the empire. See Mark Valeri, Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America (Princeton, N.J., 2010), 122–34; Mark A. Noll, In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492–1783 (New York, 2016), 150–76.

10. Noll, In the Beginning, 5–8, 151–52.

11. English Bill of Rights, 1689, Avalon Project: Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, (quotations); John Spurr, "The Church of England, Comprehension and the Toleration Act of 1689," English Historical Review 104, no. 413 (October 1989): 927–46; Tony Claydon, William III and the Godly Revolution (Cambridge, 1996), 64–89, 157–86; Colley, Britons, 18–24; Claydon, Europe and the Making of England; Pestana, Protestant Empire, 128–58, 164; Steve Pincus, 1688: The First Modern Revolution (New Haven, Conn., 2009), 400–434; Stanwood, Empire Reformed; Scott Sowerby, Making Toleration: The Repealers and the Glorious Revolution (Cambridge, Mass., 2013).

12. "William and Mary, 1688: An Act for Exempting their Majestyes Protestant Subjects dissenting from the Church of England from the Penalties of certaine Laws," British History Online,

13. David Allan, "Protestantism, Presbyterianism and National Identity in Eighteenth-Century Scottish History," in Claydon and McBride, Protestantism and National Identity, 182–205; Eliga H. Gould, The Persistence of Empire: British Political Culture in the Age of the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2000), 17–22; Ihalainen, Protestant Nations Redefined, 187–92; Thompson, Britain, Hanover and the Protestant Interest, 25–60; Claydon, Europe and the Making of England, 192–219. Ireland's path diverged from the rest of the empire in many ways that are beyond the scope of this article. Pestana, Protestant Empire, 167–68.

14. "An act to prevent the disturbing those of the Episcopal Communion in that part of Great Britain called Scotland. . . . ," in Archibald John Stephens, The Statutes Relating to the Ecclesiastical and Eleemosynary Institutions of England, Wales, Ireland, India, and the Colonies; With the Decisions Thereon (London, 1845), 1: 698 ("Exercise"); Andrew L. Drummond and James Bulloch, The Scottish Church, 1688–1843: The Age of the Moderates (Edinburgh, 1973), 17–20; Michael R. Watts, The Dissenters, vol. 1, From the Reformation to the French Revolution (Oxford, 1978), 266–67; Sachs, Transformation of Anglicanism, 18–20; Walsh and Taylor, "Introduction: The Church and Anglicanism," 33; David L. Wykes, "Religious Dissent, the Church, and the Repeal of the Occasional Conformity and Schism Acts, 1714–19," in Religion, Politics and Dissent, 1660–1832: Essays in Honour of James E. Bradley, ed. Robert D. Cornwall and William Gibson (Farnham, U.K., 2010), 165–84.

15. Gould, Persistence of Empire, 20; James Lowell Underwood, "The Dawn of Religious Freedom in South Carolina: The Journey from Limited Tolerance to Constitutional Right," in The Dawn of Religious Freedom in South Carolina, [ed.] Underwood and W. Lewis Burke (Columbia, S.C., 2006), 1–57, esp. 17–21.

16. Charles J. Hoadly, ed., The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut (Hartford, 1870), 5: 50–51 (quotations, 5: 50); [Francis Makemie], A Narrative Of a New and Unusual American Imprisonment Of Two Presbyterian Ministers. . . . ([New York], 1707), 3, 16, 32, 41; M. Louise Greene, The Development of Religious Liberty in Connecticut (Boston, 1905), 182–87; Richard L. Bushman, From Puritan to Yankee: Character and the Social Order in Connecticut, 1690–1765 (Cambridge, Mass., 1967), 166–67; Thomas J. Curry, The First Freedoms: Church and State in America to the Passage of the First Amendment (New York, 1986), 106–12; Chris Beneke, Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism (New York, 2006), 5–6; Ned Landsman, "The Episcopate, the British Union, and the Failure of Religious Settlement in Colonial British America," in The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America, ed. Beneke and Christopher S. Grenda (Philadelphia, 2011), 75–97; William E. Nelson, The Common Law in Colonial America, vol. 2, The Middle Colonies and the Carolinas, 1660–1730 (New York, 2013), 56.

17. Henry C. McCook, "Records of Accomack County, Virginia, Relating to the Rev. Francis Makemie," pt. 2, Journal of the Presbyterian Historical Society 4, no. 2 (June 1907): 72–90, esp. 74–75; John A. Ragosta, Wellspring of Liberty: How Virginia's Religious Dissenters Helped Win the American Revolution and Secured Religious Liberty (Oxford, 2010), 21–33.

18. For works on German- and French-speaking Protestants in the empire, see Winthrop Pickard Bell, The "Foreign Protestants" and the Settlement of Nova Scotia: The History of a Piece of Arrested British Colonial Policy in the Eighteenth Century (Toronto, 1961); Bernard Cottret, The Huguenots in England: Immigration and Settlement, c. 1550–1770 (Cambridge, 1991), 188–90; W. R. Ward, The Protestant Evangelical Awakening (Cambridge, 1992), 103–7; Daniel L. Brunner, Halle Pietists in England: Anthony William Boehm and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Göttingen, Ger., 1993), 58; Black, "Confessional State or Elect Nation?," 67–69; Renate Wilson, "Halle Pietism in Colonial Georgia," Lutheran Quarterly 12, no. 3 (Autumn 1998): 271–301; Sugiko Nishikawa, "The SPCK in Defence of Protestant Minorities in Early Eighteenth-Century Europe," Journal of Ecclesiastical History 56, no. 4 (October 2005): 730–48; Owen Stanwood, "Between Eden and Empire: Huguenot Refugees and the Promise of New Worlds," American Historical Review 118, no. 5 (December 2013): 1319–44; Stanwood, "From the Desert to the Refuge: The Saga of New Bordeaux," French Historical Studies 40, no. 1 (February 2017): 5–32. For naturalization, see Sally Schwartz, "A Mixed Multitude": The Struggle for Toleration in Colonial Pennsylvania (New York, 1987), 160–64.

19. Thomas Secker to the Duke of Grafton, Sept. 25, 1767, Secker 7, fols. 235–36, Lambeth Palace Library, London (quotations). See also Brian Young, "A History of Variations: The Identity of the Eighteenth-Century Church of England," in Claydon and McBride, Protestantism and National Identity, 105–28.

20. Hugh Hastings, [ed.], Ecclesiastical Records: State of New York (Albany, 1901), 2: 1077 (quotations); Curry, First Freedoms, 62–73; Richard W. Pointer, Protestant Pluralism and the New York Experience: A Study of Eighteenth-Century Religious Diversity (Bloomington, Ind., 1988), 53–55; John R. McIntosh, Church and Theology in Enlightenment Scotland: The Popular Party, 1740–1800 (East Linton, U.K., 1998), 10–13; Evan Haefeli, New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty (Philadelphia, 2012), 257–61.

21. William Hawkins, A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown: Or a System of the Principal Matters relating to that Subject, digested under their proper Heads (London, 1716), 1: 7, quoted in Lionel Laborie, Enlightening Enthusiasm: Prophecy and Religious Experience in Early Eighteenth-Century England (Manchester, U.K., 2015), 176–80 (quotation, 178). For works discussing the legal protection of religion, see Greene, Development of Religious Liberty, 187; David Nash, "Analyzing the History of Religious Crime: Models of 'Passive' and 'Active' Blasphemy since the Medieval Period," Journal of Social History 41, no. 1 (Fall 2007): 5–29; Susan Juster, "Heretics, Blasphemers, and Sabbath Breakers: The Prosecution of Religious Crime in Early America," in Beneke and Grenda, First Prejudice, 123–42; Nelson, Common Law, 2: 75–76, 91; William J. Bulman, Anglican Enlightenment: Orientalism, Religion and Politics in England and Its Empire, 1648–1715 (Cambridge, 2015), 253–55; Juster, Sacred Violence in Early America (Philadelphia, 2016). The process of licensing preachers played a key role in defining what was considered legitimate religion in the colonies. For cases in Virginia, see Ragosta, Wellspring of Liberty, 171–80. For other parts of the empire, see Bushman, From Puritan to Yankee, 166; Sirota, Christian Monitors, 175, 208–9; Laborie, Enlightening Enthusiasm, 176–80. The Westminster Confession outlined one division of labor between civil and ecclesiastical authorities: "The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and Sacraments . . . yet he hath authority . . . that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed." John H. Leith, ed., Creeds of the Churches: A Reader in Christian Doctrine from the Bible to the Present, 3d ed. (Louisville, Ky., 1982), 220. In North American colonies where Anglicanism was established, the vestry system placed authority for policing religion in the hands of lay Anglicans. See James B. Bell, The Imperial Origins of the King's Church in Early America, 1607–1783 (New York, 2004), 125–36.

22. "An Act for the Establishment of Religious Public Worship in This Province, and for Suppressing Popery," in The Statutes at Large, Passed in the Several General Assemblies Held in His Majesty's Province of Nova-Scotia (Halifax, 1805), 1: 7–8 (quotations, 1: 7).

23. Francis Mackemie, Truths In a true Light. Or, A Pastoral Letter, to the Reformed Protestants, in Barbados. . . . (Edinburgh, 1699), 5 ("all points"), 11 ("hold and maintain").

24. A Letter From a Member of the Society, For Promoting Christian Knowledge in London, to His Friend in the Country. . . . (London, 1709), 8–9 ("virtuous," 8, "Union," 8–9).

25. For works on transatlantic religious networks, see Susan O'Brien, "A Transatlantic Community of Saints: The Great Awakening and the First Evangelical Network, 1735–1755," American Historical Review 91, no. 4 (October 1986): 811–32; Lambert, Inventing the "Great Awakening"; Margaret Connell Szasz, Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans: Indigenous Education in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World (Norman, Okla., 2007); Katherine Carté Engel, "The SPCK and the American Revolution: The Limits of International Protestantism," Church History 81, no. 1 (March 2012): 77–103; Travis Glasson, Mastering Christianity: Missionary Anglicanism and Slavery in the Atlantic World (New York, 2012). For print networks, see Laura M. Stevens, The Poor Indians: British Missionaries, Native Americans, and Colonial Sensibility (Philadelphia, 2004); Jennifer Snead, "Print, Predestination, and the Public Sphere: Transatlantic Evangelical Periodicals, 1740–1745," in "Methods for the Study of Religion in Early American Literature," ed. Justine S. Murison and Jordan Alexander Stein, special issue, Early American Literature 45, no. 1 (2010): 93–118. The conclusions in the present study are based on an examination of more than 850 manuscript and published letters exchanged among Protestant leaders, both within and beyond the British Empire, in the period 1759–74.

26. Robert Hole, Pulpits, Politics and Public Order in England, 1760–1832 (Cambridge, 1989), 37–39. The baptists were officially established nowhere, but they nonetheless participated in the communities and organizations of British Protestantism. Bernard Lord Manning, The Protestant Dissenting Deputies, ed. Ormerod Greenwood (Cambridge, 1952), 2–6; Watts, Dissenters, 267–68; William G. McLoughlin, Soul Liberty: The Baptists' Struggle in New England, 1630–1833 (Hanover, N.H., 1991), 168–69.

27. Sarah Crabtree, Holy Nation: The Transatlantic Quaker Ministry in an Age of Revolution (Chicago, 2015), 35 ("nation of Zion"); Colin Podmore, The Moravian Church in England, 1728–1760 (Oxford, 1998), 164 ("Tropus"). For transatlantic Quaker community, see Crabtree, Holy Nation, esp. 2–9; David L. Crosby, "On War and Slavery: Benezet's Peace Testimony and Abolition," in The Atlantic World of Anthony Benezet (1713–1784): From French Reformation to North American Quaker Antislavery Activism, ed. Marie-Jeanne Rossignol and Bertrand Van Ruymbeke (Leiden, 2016), 70–90, esp. 77. For the Moravians, see Peter Vogt, "Zinzendorf und die Pennsylvanischen Synoden 1742," Unitas Fratrum 36 (1994): 5–62; Podmore, Moravian Church in England, 164–65; Katherine Carté Engel, Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (Philadelphia, 2009), 77–79. For controversy over Moravian efforts, see Manning, Protestant Dissenting Deputies, 20; Watts, Dissenters, 389; Milton J. Coalter Jr., "The Radical Pietism of Count Nicholas Zinzendorf as a Conservative Influence on the Awakener, Gilbert Tennent," Church History 49, no. 1 (March 1980): 35–46; Peter Silver, Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America (New York, 2008), 194–99; Aaron Spencer Fogleman, Jesus Is Female: Moravians and the Challenge of Radical Religion in Early America (Philadelphia, 2007). For relatively atypical counterexamples to the isolation of Moravians from dominant Protestant networks, see James Hutton to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth, Aug. 23, 1774, Dartmouth Papers, D(W) 1778/ii/1991, Staffordshire Record Office, Stafford, U.K.; Anthony Benezet to Thomas Secker, Dec. 4, 1762, Thomas Secker: Papers Relating to the Church in the American Colonies, MS 1123/3, fol. 285, Lambeth Palace Library.

28. Ezra Stiles to James Fordyce, Nov. 23, 1763, folder 406 ("induced me"), Stiles to Nathaniel Lardner, Nov. 23, 1763, folder 408, Stiles Papers, Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.; E. Radcliffe and Richard Price to Jonathan Mayhew, Jan. 4, 1764, Mayhew Papers of the Bortman Americana Collection, Howard Gottlieb Archive Research Center at Boston University; John Erskine to Joseph Bellamy, Jan. 1, 1753, BP, 187/2930/81199; John Wallace to Archibald Wallace, Dec. 4, 1766, MG 58, folder 2, John Witherspoon Papers, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark. For Stiles's correspondence, see Harold E. Selesky, ed., A Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers at Yale University (New Haven, Conn., 1978). Erskine's correspondence is scattered. See John Erskine Papers, University of Edinburgh Library; BP, Hartford Seminary Library; Gratz and Dreer Collections, Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP); Autograph File E, Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; Jonathan Edwards Papers, For recruiting Witherspoon, see L. H. Butterfield, John Witherspoon Comes to America: A Documentary Account Based Largely on New Materials (Princeton, N.J., 1953).

29. The irenicist movement was a precursor to the collaboration described here. See Anthony Milton, "'The Unchanged Peacemaker'? John Dury and the Politics of Irenicism in England, 1628–1643," in Samuel Hartlib and Universal Reformation: Studies in Intellectual Communication, ed. Mark Greengrass, Michael Leslie, and Timothy Raylor (Cambridge, 1994), 95–117; Howard Hotson, "Irenicism in the Confessional Age," in Conciliation and Confession: The Struggle for Unity in the Age of Reform, 1415–1648, ed. Howard P. Louthan and Randall C. Zachman (Notre Dame, Ind., 2004), 228–85; Walter W. Woodward, Prospero's America: John Winthrop, Jr., Alchemy, and the Creation of New England Culture, 1606–1676 (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2010), 47–50, 57–63; Sarah Rivett, The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2011), 133–34; Patrick M. Erben, A Harmony of the Spirits: Translation and the Language of Community in Early Pennsylvania (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2012), 23–28.

30. John Erskine to Joseph Bellamy, Jan. 26, 1753, BP, 187/2930/ 81199 ("afraid"); Henry Caner to Thomas Secker, Dec. 23, 1762, Thomas Secker: Papers, MS 1123/3, fol. 288 ("above thirty years").

31. Boston Association of Ministers Minutes, Aug. 5, 1757, Harvard Divinity School Library, Cambridge, Mass. (quotation). For further examples, see Nathaniel Lardner to Ezra Stiles, Aug. 20, 1764, Stiles Papers; Charles Inglis to Richard Terrick, Aug. 27, 1765, vol. 41, fol. 281, Fulham Papers, Lambeth Palace Library; John Gillies to Selina Hastings, June 9, 1772, A3/1/22, Cheshunt College Archives, Westminster College, Cambridge, U.K.; Philadelphia Presbytery Minutes, Nov. 4, 1773, vault MI 45 P5, vol. 3, Presbyterian Historical Society, Philadelphia.

32. Thomas Secker et al. to "Gentlemen," Apr. 9, 1764, William Smith Papers, vol. 1, item 41, Hawks Collection, Archives of the Episcopal Church, Austin, Tex.

33. Secker et al. to "Gentlemen," Apr. 9, 1764, Smith Papers, vol. 1, item 41, Hawks Collection; William Allen to Jonathan Mayhew, Oct. 15, 1764, Mayhew Papers; John S. Macauley and R. W. Greaves, eds., The Autobiography of Thomas Secker, Archbishop of Canterbury (Lawrence, Kans., 1988), 34, 48, 59, 64.

34. John Erskine to Joseph Bellamy, Mar. 16, 1770, BP, 188/2936/81355 (quotation); Nathaniel Lardner to Jonathan Mayhew, Sept. 4, 1764, Mayhew Papers; Erskine to Edward Wigglesworth, May 9, 1766, Autograph File E, Houghton Library.

35. This study defines awakened Protestantism by building outward from the networks of the movement's widely recognized leaders such as Joseph Bellamy, Jonathan Edwards, John Erskine, Selina Hastings, Samuel Hopkins, John Newton, George Whitefield, and the Wesley brothers, John and Charles. For the rise of awakened Protestantism internationally, see Ward, Protestant Evangelical Awakening; Leigh Eric Schmidt, Holy Fairs: Scotland and the Making of American Revivalism, 2d ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich., 1989); Mark A. Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys (Downers Grove, Ill., 2003); Jonathan Yeager, Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine (Oxford, 2011), 150–51.

36. Ezra Stiles to Richard Price, Nov. 20, 1772, Stiles Papers; Edmund S. Morgan, The Gentle Puritan: A Life of Ezra Stiles, 1727–1795 (New York, 1962), 172–73; Mark Valeri, Law and Providence in Joseph Bellamy's New England: The Origins of the New Divinity in Revolutionary America (New York, 1994), 18–19; David L. Wykes, "Joseph Priestley, Minister and Teacher," in Joseph Priestley, Scientist, Philosopher, and Theologian, ed. Isabel Rivers and Wykes (Oxford, 2008), 20–48, esp. 36, 38.

37. International—rather than British—Protestantism remained more notional than functional, perhaps because most clergy within Britain's dominant Protestant denominations seem to have written comfortably only in English. Engel, Church History 81: 86–87; Edward E. Andrews, "Tranquebar: Charting the Protestant International in the British Atlantic and Beyond," WMQ 74, no. 1 (January 2017): 3–34.

38. For the organization of this community, see Manning, Protestant Dissenting Deputies, 1–7. See also Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre; Bartholomew P. Schiavo, "The Dissenter Connection: English Dissenters and Massachusetts Political Culture, 1630–1774" (Ph.D. diss., Brandeis University, 1976); Alison G. Olson, "The Eighteenth Century Empire: The London Dissenters' Lobbies and the American Colonies," Journal of American Studies 26, no. 1 (April 1992): 41–58.

39. Records of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Case of the Protestant Dissenters, Ch1/2/113, 1771, fol. 377, National Archives of Scotland, Edinburgh; Boston Association of Ministers Minutes, Apr. 8, 1769, BMS 71/1, Harvard Divinity School Library; Samuel Stennett to James Manning, Aug. 10, 1770, James Manning Papers, MS-1C-1, folder 55, John Hay Library, Providence, R.I.; Minute-Book of General and Committee Meetings, Sept. 25, 1751, Protestant Dissenting Deputies (PDD), CLC/181/MS03083/001, London Metropolitan Archives.

40. For examples of the dissenting network, see letters from Richard Price, George Benson, Jasper and Israel Mauduit, and Micaiah Towgood, Mayhew Papers; Theophilus Lindsey to William Harris, late 1763, in G. M. Ditchfield, ed., The Letters of Theophilus Lindsey (1723–1808) (Woodbridge, U.K., 2007), 1: 91; Bernhard Knollenberg, ed., "Thomas Hollis and Jonathan Mayhew: Their Correspondence, 1759–1766," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 3d ser., 69 (1947–50): 102–93. Ezra Stiles's correspondence can be reconstructed from Selesky, Microfilm Edition of the Ezra Stiles Papers. For Mather, see Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 69: 133–35; Nathaniel Lardner to John Wiche, Jan. 21, 1768, 12.45, letter 33, Dr. Williams's Library (DWL), London. Institutional records of the dissenting network are in Minute-Book of General and Committee Meetings, PDD, CLC/181/MS03083/001-002, London Metropolitan Archives; Three Denominations Minutes, vol. 2, 1761–97, MIC 76, DWL. For baptist communications within the dissenting network, see Manning Papers, MS-1C-1; John Gill to Isaac Backus, Mar. 17, 1764, Isaac Backus Collection, Andover Newton Theological Library, Newton, Mass.

41. John Wesley, Selina Hastings, and George Whitefield are each the subject of significant literatures. For collections of their correspondence, see Tyerman, Life of George Whitefield; John R. Tyson with Boyd S. Schlenther, eds., In the Midst of Early Methodism: Lady Huntingdon and Her Correspondence (Lanham, Md., 2006), esp. 211–43; Ted A. Campbell, ed., The Works of John Wesley, vol. 27, Letters III, 1756–1765 (Nashville, Tenn., 2015). The Continental origins of the awakening movement are described in Ward, Protestant Evangelical Awakening.

42. For connections between Halle and Anglo-American Protestants, see Hermann Wellenreuther, Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg und die deutschen Lutheraner in Nordamerika, 1742–1787: Wissentransfer and Wandel eines atlantischen zu einem amerikanischen Netzwerk (Berlin, 2013), 287–311; Christina Jetter-Staub, "'Da sie keinen Scrupel machen, mit uns in guter gemeinshaft zur beforderung des Reiches christi zu leben . . . ': Der Londoner Hofprediger Friedrich Michael Ziegenhagen (1694–1776) als Mittler zwischen Halle und England," in London und das Hallesche Waisenhaus: Eine Kommunikationsgeschichte im 18. Jahrhundert, ed. Holger Zaunstöck, Andreas Gestrich, and Thomas Müller-Bahlke (Halle, Ger., 2014), 139–53. For networks of awakened Protestants in the British Empire, see O'Brien, American Historical Review 91: 811–32; Yeager, Enlightened Evangelicalism, esp. 141–63.

43. Francis Blackburne to John Wiche, Sept. 19, 1766, 12.45, letter 1, DWL; Thomas Wright to Ezra Stiles, Mar. 24, 1768, folder 786, Stiles Papers; Stiles to Charles Chauncy, Mar. 19, 1770, Andrews-Eliot Correspondence, 104/3, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston; Ditchfield, Letters of Theophilus Lindsey, 1: xli–ii.

44. Guy S. Klett, ed., Minutes of the Presbyterian Church in America, 1706–1788 (Philadelphia, 1976), 415, 456; Consistory Records of the English Presbyterian Church in Rotterdam, 993/2, Gemeentearchief Rotterdam; Scots Church in Rotterdam, Minutes, 962.01/7, Gemeentearchief Rotterdam. For discussion of the concept of denomination, see Russell E. Richey, Denominationalism Illustrated and Explained (Eugene, Ore., 2013).

45. Large numbers of African American and Native American Protestants, as well as poorer whites, were brought to awakened Protestantism by preachers outside or on the fringes of dominant denominations, including the Moravians and sometimes baptists. Thus the reach of the Protestant awakening, and the style of faith it promoted, outpaced the organization of a transatlantic community of awakened Protestants. During the colonial period, however, these groups had little presence in the transatlantic and interregional networks maintained by Protestant leaders, despite a few notable exceptions such as Samson Occom, Phillis Wheatley, and Philip Quaque. Charles F. Irons, The Origins of Proslavery Christianity: White and Black Evangelicals in Colonial and Antebellum Virginia (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2008), 40–44; Rachel Wheeler, To Live Upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast (Ithaca, N.Y., 2008), 201; Linford D. Fisher, The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America (New York, 2012), 108–9; Edward E. Andrews, Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World (Cambridge, Mass., 2013), 87–124, 188–89; Jessica M. Parr, Inventing George Whitefield: Race, Revivalism, and the Making of a Religious Icon (Jackson, Miss., 2015), 61–80. For John Witherspoon, see Gideon Mailer, John Witherspoon's American Revolution (Chapel Hill, N.C., 2017), 124–39. See also John Erskine to John Ryland, Oct. 18, 1790, Erskine Papers, University of Edinburgh Library; Minute-Book of General and Committee Meetings, PDD, CLC/181/MS03083/002, pp. 179–81; William Gordon letters, BP; Three Denominations Minutes, vol. 2, pt. 1, 1761–91, MIC 76, DWL.

46. An Account of the Rise, Constitution and Management, of the Society in Scotland, For Propagating Christian Knowledge, 2d ed. (Edinburgh, 1720), 9 (quotation); William Kellaway, The New England Company, 1649–1776: Missionary Society to the American Indians (New York, 1961); Stevens, Poor Indians; John C. Van Horne, ed., Religious Philanthropy and Colonial Slavery: The American Correspondence of the Associates of Dr. Bray, 1717–1777 (Chicago, 1985); Isabel Rivers, "The First Evangelical Tract Society," Historical Journal 50, no. 1 (March 2007): 1–22; Szasz, Scottish Highlanders and Native Americans; Glasson, Mastering Christianity; Sirota, Christian Monitors.

47. SPCK Minutes, Nov. 22, 1768 (quotation), Aug. 6, 1765, May 27, 1766, vol. 25, Cambridge University Library; Samuel Davies to Joseph Bellamy, Feb. 23, 1757, Gratz Collection, 7/12, HSP; SSPCK Minutes, Mar. 20, 1760, GD95/2/8, p. 57, National Archives of Scotland; Frederick V. Mills Sr., "The Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge in British North America, 1730–1775," Church History 63, no. 1 (March 1994): 15–30.

48. For fundraising, see Nathaniel Lardner to Ezra Stiles, Aug. 20, 1764, Stiles Papers (quotations). Lardner's letter to Stiles contains an illegible interlinear annotation at this point, perhaps attempting to clarify the words "Protestants" and "considerable." See also Samuel Davies to Joseph Bellamy, Sept. 29, 1753, Gratz Collection, 7/12, HSP; William Gordon to Bellamy, Oct. 27, 1761, BP, 190/2957/81596; Proposals For Raising a Constant Supply of Missionaries for the British Colonies ([London, 1769]), 1. For discussions of the connections created through the circulation of these societies' materials, see Laura M. Stevens, "Why Read Sermons? What Americanists Can Learn from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts," History Compass 3, no. 1 (January 2005): 1–19; Rowan Strong, "A Vision of an Anglican Imperialism: The Annual Sermons of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1701–1714," Journal of Religious History 30, no. 2 (June 2006): 175–98. Non-Anglican organizations could be equally imperial in focus. See Thomas Gibbons, The Excellency of the Gospel and the Happiness of an Interest in it. . . . (London, 1752), 39.

49. [Eleazar Wheelock], A Brief Narrative of the Indian Charity-School. . . . (London, 1766), 10 ("Friends"), 6 ("truly"). Samson Occom's journal of his time in England appears in Joanna Brooks, ed., The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Leadership and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Native America (New York, 2006), 264–73. See also Friedrich Wilhelm Pasche to Sebastian Andreas Fabricius, Apr. 29, 1766, afst m/1 D 10 60, Franckesche Stiftungen, Halle, Ger.; Andrew Gifford to Wheelock, Mar. 4, 1768, Gratz Collection, 12/25, HSP; W. Reginald Ward and Richard P. Heitzenrater, eds., The Works of John Wesley, vol. 22, Journals and Diaries V (1765–75) (Nashville, Tenn., 1993), 97–98; Fisher, Indian Great Awakening, 154–57.

50. Brooks, Collected Writings of Samson Occom, 268–69 ("not to own," "Ordained," 269, "wou'd have," 268–69); Leon Burr Richardson, An Indian Preacher in England (Hanover, N.H., 1933), 98–99.

51. Macauley and Greaves, Autobiography of Thomas Secker, 58.

52. For treatments that investigate the reasoning of religious leaders, see Henry P. Ippel, "British Sermons and the American Revolution," Journal of Religious History 12, no. 2 (December 1982): 191–205; Melvin B. Endy, "Just War, Holy War, and Millennialism in Revolutionary America," WMQ 42, no. 1 (January 1985): 3–25; Mark Valeri, "The New Divinity and the American Revolution," WMQ 46, no. 4 (October 1989): 741–69; James P. Byrd, Sacred Scripture, Sacred War: The Bible and the American Revolution (New York, 2013); Spencer W. McBride, Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America (Charlottesville, Va., 2016); Peter W. Walker, "The Church Militant: The American Loyalist Clergy and the Making of the British Counterrevolution, 1701–92" (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 2016).

53. R. R. Palmer, The Age of the Democratic Revolution: A Political History of Europe and America, 1760–1800, vol. 1, The Challenge (1959; repr., Princeton, N.J., 1969), 192–93 ("whether religion," 192, "Aggressive anti-Christianity," 193).

54. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven, 163; Marilyn J. Westerkamp, Triumph of the Laity: Scots-Irish Piety and the Great Awakening, 1625–1760 (New York, 1988), 165–94; Timothy D. Hall, Contested Boundaries: Itinerancy and the Reshaping of the Colonial American Religious World (Durham, N.C., 1994); McIntosh, Church and Theology, 20–27; Lambert, Inventing the "Great Awakening," 185–221; Philip N. Mulder, A Controversial Spirit: Evangelical Awakenings in the South (Oxford, 2002), 12–13; Kidd, Great Awakening, 139–46, 153–54; Ragosta, Wellspring of Liberty, 22–36; Bradley J. Longfield, Presbyterians and American Culture: A History (Louisville, Ky., 2013), 14–17, 25–27.

55. For an argument demonstrating the increasing strength of religious institutions in this period, see Butler, Awash in a Sea of Faith, 128. Patricia U. Bonomi argues for denominational politics as a site of contestation, pointing to the strength of those institutions, though she also argues that the congregation was the key political unit. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven, 186. See also Noll, Rise of Evangelicalism, 156–85; McConville, King's Three Faces, 166–67; Pestana, Protestant Empire, 216–17. Most major leaders of the awakening movement in the colonial period sought to found schools or colleges, a further step toward the legitimacy that an educated clergy provided. See Neil J. O'Connell, "George Whitefield and Bethesda Orphan-House," Georgia Historical Quarterly 54, no. 1 (Spring 1970): 41–62; McLoughlin, Soul Liberty, 7–8; Boyd Stanley Schlenther, Queen of the Methodists: The Countess of Huntingdon and the Eighteenth-Century Crisis of Faith and Society (Durham, U.K., 1997), 75–79; Longfield, Presbyterians and American Culture, 19–23.

56. William Smith to Richard Terrick, Nov. 12, 1766, Smith Papers, vol. 3, item 66, Hawks Collection (quotation); Deborah Mathias Gough, Christ Church, Philadelphia: The Nation's Church in a Changing City (Philadelphia, 1995), 78–85. See also Susan Juster, Disorderly Women: Sexual Politics and Evangelicalism in Revolutionary New England (Ithaca, N.Y., 1994), 75–107; Christopher Grasso, A Speaking Aristocracy: Transforming Public Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1999), 342.

57. John Wesley, A Calm Address to Our American Colonies ([London, 1775]); Frank Baker, "The Shaping of Wesley's 'Calm Address,'" Methodist History 14, no. 1 (October 1975): 3–12; Valeri, Law and Providence, 140–42; Schlenther, Queen of the Methodists, 92; McIntosh, Church and Theology, 155–56; Dee Andrews, The Methodists and Revolutionary America, 1760–1800 (Princeton, N.J., 2000), 49–51.

58. Jonathan Edwards, An Humble Attempt To promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union Of God's People in Extraordinary Prayer. . . . (Boston, 1747 [1748]), 9 (quotations). The italicized sections are quotations from the Scottish memorial promoting the concert, which referred to Zechariah 8:20–22. See Lambert, Inventing the "Great Awakening," 164–65.

59. John Erskine to Levi Hart, Mar. 31, 1775, Gratz Collection, HSP ("new concert"); John Newton to John Ryland Jr., Aug. 1, 1775, in Grant Gordon, ed., Wise Counsel: John Newton's Letters to John Ryland, Jr. (Edinburgh, 2009), 83 ("As a minister"); Nathan O. Hatch, The Sacred Cause of Liberty: Republican Thought and the Millennium in Revolutionary New England (New Haven, Conn., 1977), 35–36.

60. Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre, 27, 94–96; Kenneth R. Elliott, Anglican Church Policy, Eighteenth Century Conflict, and the American Episcopate (New York, 2011), 175–76; Katherine Carté Engel, "Revisiting the Bishop Controversy," in The American Revolution Reborn, ed. Patrick Spero and Michael Zuckerman (Philadelphia, 2016), 132–49; Walker, "Church Militant," 126–29.

61. Thomas Secker to Richard Obaldeston, Oct. 5, 1762, Thomas Secker: Papers, MS 1123/3, fol. 276.

62. Jasper Mauduit to James Bowdoin, Apr. 7, 1763, in Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 6th ser. (Boston, 1897), 9: 15 ("Lords would not"); Macauley and Greaves, Autobiography of Thomas Secker, 58–59 ("recommend," 58); William Smith to Thomas Secker, Nov. 22, 1763, Thomas Secker: Papers, MS 1123/3, fol. 282.

63. For the diverse responses to the war within denominations, see Sher, Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment, 262–70; Joseph S. Tiedemann, "Presbyterianism and the American Revolution in the Middle Colonies," Church History 74, no. 2 (June 2005): 306–44; Bell, War of Religion, 222–40. For dissenting responses in England, see Bridenbaugh, Mitre and Sceptre, 326–27; Colin Bonwick, English Radicals and the American Revolution (Chapel Hill, N.C., 1977), 83–87; Bradley, Religion, Revolution, and English Radicalism, 398–99; Olson, Journal of American Studies 26: 57–58.

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