Masters and Pastors

Travis Glasson

in Mastering Christianity

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199773961
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919017 | DOI:
Masters and Pastors

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This chapter explores the SPG’s slave conversion program in the colonies in the period between 1740 and 1765. After 1740, the Society’s religious program was increasingly affected by the institution’s strengthening rapprochement with slavery. At the same time, the emergence of evangelical revivalism and the Great Awakening gave enslaved people new religious choices while underlining the Church of England’s commitment to maintaining proper patterns of subordination. This chapter examines what slaveholding meant in the household of one long-serving missionary, James MacSparran, how the Great Awakening affected the Society’s mission to convert slaves in South Carolina, and how the SPG’s identification with masters and concerns about disorder permeated a key missionary text, Thomas Wilson’s The Knowledge and Practice of Christianity Made Easy. These examples show how the Society’s religious program and message were gradually changed by contact with colonial slavery.

Keywords: Great Awakening; revivalism; violence; James MacSparran; Alexander Garden; Thomas Wilson; Rhode Island; South Carolina; social order; rebellion

Chapter.  12125 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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