“The Two Great Articles of Faith and Obedience”

Travis Glasson

in Mastering Christianity

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199773961
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919017 | DOI:
“The Two Great Articles of Faith and Obedience”

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter examines the Society’s slave conversion efforts in the colonies between 1701 and 1740. Beginning with Elias Neau’s New York school and soon spreading elsewhere, many SPG missionaries worked to catechize and baptize enslaved people. This SPG drive was pioneering and had a foundational role in the development of black Protestant Christianity. This chapter also explores how the Society became increasingly concerned about the possibility that such work might upset the colonial social order and engender crippling opposition from masters, especially after the 1712 New York slave revolt and as populations of enslaved people exploded. In this period, slave ownership by SPG missionaries also grew, promoting their identification with other masters and, at times, entangling missionary Anglicanism’s religious message with masters’ power. Local conditions were critical and while some enslaved people found the Society’s message appealing, many others did not.

Keywords: slavery; catechizing; baptism; conversion; slave owning; South Carolina; New York; masters; Elias Neau; Francis Le Jau

Chapter.  16361 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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