Church of England

Variant name:



England and America


The Church of England is the governing body of the Anglican Church in Britain and the Episcopalian Church in America. In the eighteenth century, the Church of England was at odds with the “dissenting” sects that had broken off from it during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries, including the Congregationalists and Presbyterians. The divide continued in the colonies. The southern colonies (Virginia, Carolina, etc) and New York were predominantly Anglican, while the mid-Atlantic and New England colonies were home to an assortment of dissenting sects. Wheelock and Occom both had conflicts with Episcopalians. Wheelock feuded with the Anglican Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), a functional arm of the Church of England, over access to the Six Nations (the other important Anglican missionary organization, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, or SPCK, was more concerned with book distribution). Meanwhile, Episcopalian ministers in America ordained their own Indian minister and sent him to England prior to Occom’s 1765 fundraising tour to distract attention away from Occom. However, this Indian spoke no English and was not a success. Once in England, Occom met with a cool reception from Anglican clergy, and Occom doubted their sympathy for the Indian cause. He wrote, "they never gave us one single brass farthing. It seems to me that they are very indifferent whether the poor Indians go to Heaven or Hell. I can’t help my thoughts; and I am apt to think they don’t want the Indians to go to Heaven with them" (quoted J. Brooks 86-87). In the broader history of Moor’s Indian Charity School, notable Anglicans include George Whitefield, the famous New Light preacher, and Sir William Johnson, the Superintendent for British Indian Affairs in the North East. Anglican influence, especially via Sir William Johnson, was a large part of the reason why the Mohawks sided with the British during the Revolution.

All related documents: retrieve them

Andrews, Edward E. Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World. Cambridge: Harvard University Press 2013. Brooks, Joanna. The Collected Writings of Samson Occom, Mohegan: Leadership and Literacy in Eighteenth-Century Native America. Oxford 2006. Calloway, Colin G. The Indian History of an American Institution: Native Americans at Dartmouth. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press 2010. Cremin, Lawrence A. American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607-1783. New York: Harper & Row 1970. Gaustad, Edwin Scott. The Great Awakening in New England. Gloucester, Mass: Peter Smith 1965. McCallum, James, ed. The Letters of Eleazar Wheelock’s Indians. Hanover: Dartmouth College Press 1932. Szasz, Margaret Connell. Indian Education in the American Colonies, 1607-1783. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press 1988.