Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Reverend Jacob Bailey, Maine Loyalist: For God, King, Country, and for Self

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Reverend Jacob Bailey, Maine Loyalist: For God, King, Country, and for Self

Article excerpt

The Reverend Jacob Bailey, Maine Loyalist: For God, King, Country, and for Self By James S. Leamon. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 2012. Pp. xx, 251. $80.00 clothbound, ISBN 978-1-55849-941-6; $28.95 paperback, ISBN 978-1-55849-942-3.)

Jacob Bailey (1735-1808) was the first Anglican minister to serve a congregation (1760-79) in the District of Maine at Pownalborough (Dresden). A native of Rowley, Massachusetts, and a talented member of a poor Congregational Church family, he was supported by the local minister who aided his admission to Harvard College with the class of 1755. In common with other eighteenth-century Anglican ministers of the region educated at Harvard or Yale, he served as a schoolmaster before his conversion and voyage to London for ordination.

The circumstance surrounding Bailey's appointment as a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel at Pownalborough rather than to a congregation in a town in Massachusetts or Connecticut is unclear. Perhaps Sylvester Gardiner-the prominent Boston physician, merchant, and lead investor of the Kennebeck Proprietors in Pownalborough and an active Anglican-had petitioned Thomas Sherlock, bishop of London, for the appointment of a minister to the young settlement. He had undertaken a similar request while a vestryman in 1748 at King's Chapel in Boston on behalf of the Reverend Charles Brockwell of Salem.

Two unyielding and personal controversies marked Bailey's nearly two-decade ministry on the eastern frontier, which were initiated by his Harvard classmates Charles Cushing (the local sheriff) and Jonathan Bowman (a judge). The first issue was the effort by the two men to establish a Congregational Church in the community. Perhaps they reasoned that because the Congregational Church was established in Massachusetts, it should be extended to Maine, which was a civil jurisdiction of the Bay Colony. But the issue also may be interpreted as a lingering and divisive popular link in the chain of criticism of the Anglican Church that was launched in New England by Increase Mather in the 1680s and continued in successive decades by such ecclesiastical leaders as his son Cotton, Jonathan Mayhew, and the radical politician Samuel Adams. …

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