Religious dissent in St. John's, 1775-1815

Armour, J. S. S. (1988) Religious dissent in St. John's, 1775-1815. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Between the years 1775-1815, there existed in the chief harbour of Newfoundland a religious society called the Dissenting Church of Christ at St. John's. Although dissent in Newfoundland history has usually meant those of the Wesleyan or Methodist persuasion, the congregation at St. John's founded by John Jones, a sergeant of the Royal Artillery, in the summer of 1775, belonged to an older dissent, known as Independent or Congregational. What was somewhat unique about this congregation was the fact that, in an age when dissenters (to use the terminology of eighteenth century England) were divided, bitterly in many cases, between Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, and Methodist, all the dissenters of St. John's worshipped together in the same meeting house during the years under study. After an initial period of persecution, the dissenters of St. John's won the right to worship and perform the sacraments from a reluctant governor, well in advance of Governor Campbell's proclamation of religious liberty in 1785. The subject is examined against the background of dissent, in England and New England, with a comparison of events in Nova Scotia, as well as the many social changes taking place in St. John's during these years of war. The question of the number of dissenters in Newfoundland before the founding of the congregation in 1775 is also explored. Besides the principal events in the life of the congregation, its struggle for legal recognition, the building of the meeting houses in 1777 and 1789, and the six short ministries that followed the death of John Jones in 1800; the relations between the other two churches in St. John's, the Church of England mission founded 1699 and the Roman Catholic chapel founded in 1785, are considered. More particularly, the cause of Methodism, which was to outdistance and overshadow older dissent in Newfoundland as it did in every part of the English speaking world, is examined in depth. The history of dissent of St. John's cannot be understood without reference to the meeting house at Poole, Dorsetshire, and the person of Samuel Greatheed. The link which was first thought to be of the Fishery turned out to be of the Faith.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 5545
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 189-197.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 1988
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Congregational churches--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's--History; St. John's (N.L.)--Church history

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