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It retains a summary statement which refers to the exiled London Separatists in Holland during the reign of Elizabeth as follows: "For many of them had lain long in prisons, and then were banished into Newfoundland, where they were abused, and at last came into the Low Countries This earliest brush with Puritans did involve Newfoundland on the periphery, but it is no exception to what will be observed later in regard to the seventeenth-century Congregationalist presence in Newfoundland, that this association is most tenuous and transitional.

In the case of the London Elizabethan Separatists, it involved at most four individuals, however quite significant ones. London Separatists, i. After the execution of Henry Barrow and others, also many members of the London conventicles suffered imprisonment but were eventually allowed to emigrate to Holland minus their leaders. The London leadership consisted of Francis Johnson,. These men, together with another member, John Clerke or Clarke, were permitted to join an exploration party to the Magdalen Islands under the condition that they not return to England.

Lawrence was in preparation not only for a subsequent colonization by the exiled London Congregationalists in Holland but also a defence of British mercantile interest in the region and may have been sponsored by walrus fishing interests.

Anglicans Puritains And Quakers in 16th and 17th Century Newfoundland

The "Chancewell" with George Johnson and John Clarke on board was shipwrecked near Cape Breton and subsequently plundered by Basque fishermen but eventually found by accident by the sister ship the "Hopewell" upon its return from the Magdalen Islands. After some retaliatory raids against Basques on the Avalon peninsula, the "Hopewell" returned to England with the Separatists who eventually rejoined the exiles in Holland without ever returning again to the Magdalen Islands or Newfoundland.

There is some indication of religious activities, notably by the more aggressive George Johnson, on the boat and among sailors in Newfoundland, but also of religious strife with his fellow Separatists and the captain. To the chagrin of the captain, George Johnson seems to have lent to a sailor A True Confession of the Faith , one of the Barrowist major confessional documents. George Johnson later narrated the incident as follows And yet the question of a "Puritan" presence in seventeenth-century Newfoundland suggests itself also by its proximity to the New England settlements.

English, French and Basque fishing had made the island well known to Europeans, and after the initial failures of the Virginia plantation, it became for a while an even more attractive option for settlement than America. This awareness was supported later by concrete links with the early American settlers.

Newfoundland, for example, because of its proximity to America and its British fishing presence, was seen as a refuge by the Jamestown colonists when their second attempt at settlement failed in the face of troubled relations with natives. In , for example, the "Mayflower," the "Pilgrim," and another ship were sent by the Massachusetts colonists equipped with men and "lines, hooks, knives, boots, and barrels necessary for fishing; desiring our men may be employed either in harbour or upon the Bank [of Newfoundland] to make use thereof for lading our ships Rather, the letters refer vaguely to a colonial presence and have in mind the American settlements.

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The most specific one among these references speaks about the emigration of Puritans from England but gives as their destination simply "the northern part of America. This situation changed only slightly in the s and s. Newfoundland's first serious contact with dissenters took place in , when a delegation of three Massachusetts Bay colonists were sent via Newfoundland to England to plead for relief. Two of the three agents were well-known Congregational clergymen: Reverend Hugh Peters, then pastor at Salem, Massachusetts, the future chief chaplain in Cromwell's army and opponent of Archbishop Laud at his trial, a preacher executed later himself for his alleged involvement in the death of King Charles I;.

The clergymen and their fellow agent, the Boston merchant William Hibbins,. Winthrop reports that "there being no ship which was to return right for England" the party "went to Newfoundland, expecting to go from thence in some fishing ships.

Thus they "were forced to divide themselves and go from several parts of the island, as they could get shipping. John Winthrop wrote in the journal that forms the basis for his posthumously published History of New England from to The ministers preached to the seamen, etc. This occasional preaching they share with two other committed Congregationalist clergymen who visited Newfoundland on their way from Massachusetts to the West Indies and England.

Prowse refers to the Rev.

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George Downing as having been invited to preach by "the Newfoundland Independent Church" as early as Three honest young men, good scholars, and very hopeful, viz. Buckley, a Batchelor of Arts to England, and Mr. George Downing, son of Mr. Emanuel Downing of Salem, Batchelor of Arts also, about twenty years of age, went in a ship to the West Indies to instruct the seamen.

He went by Newfoundland, and so to Christophers and Barbados and Nevis, and being requested to preach in all these places, he gave such content, as he had large offers to stay with them. But he continued in the ship to England, and being a very able scholar, and of a ready wit and fluent utterance, he was soon taken notice of, and called to be a preacher in Sir Thomas Fairfax his army, to Colonel Okye his regiment.

The next Congregationalist stayed also only briefly in Newfoundland, but his preaching seems to have been more purposeful. Richard Blinman ,. The final doctrinal battle fought by this conservative dissenter in New England concerned the fundamental self-definition of American Puritans, whether to maintain the strict standards of private and public morality, or--through a so-called "half-way covenant"--accommodate the congregations with the social fact of being the established religion in several regions of colonial America and relax the membership requirements placed on individual members.

Richard Blinman, like his friends John Davenport. Here his preaching presence in Ferryland is documented in three letters, two of which are now lost, but one of them, to his close friend the Rev. The other, a letter of the same date to Governor John Winthrop, has been preserved among the Winthrop Papers. Davenport writes to Winthrop Blinman, dated Aug. He hath made choice of a ship for Barnstable to his content, the master being godly. We landed in Ferry land harbor the 20th day in the evening after or loosing from New London; and I suppose we had, 3 dayes sooner if we had not falne to the westw[ard?

It would be too long to give yo'r wo[rshi]p account of all particul'rs in o'r voyage; but the Lord was wonderfully gracious to us. Being arrived, we were welcommed, not onely by o'r friends, viz: good m[aster] Keeny,. We have pitch[e]t upon mr Denis. One Capt: [illegible] that lately came over to call Governor Treworthy. Sit fedes penes authorem.

Mary Fisher the Quaker,. I heare 2 or 3 m[aster]s of ships are perverted by them. Some have sent to me, to desire me to come over, but I see it not my way. I expect them here dayly. I heare, that some m[aster]s of ships, forbid their men to heare them.

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I cannot enlarge by reason of my intended voyage to morrow morning. Ferryland-harbo'r Aug. After a short journey into his native Wales, which did not secure him a ministerial position as he had hoped, Blinman opened a medical practice in Bristol, where he also died in His stay there was prepared or at least helped by two members of his New London, Connecticut, congregation, William Keeny and Ralph Parker, masters of ships who either fished in Newfoundland waters or traded goods in Ferryland.

Blinman's preaching success does not permit, however, any firm conclusion about the religious make-up of his listeners. All that can be said is that he seems to have had a successful preaching engagement that summer under the auspices of the boat masters and Lady Kirke. Also the immediate offer to Blinman of a passage for him and his family to England, which he took up later in the year, suggests that his stay was never intended as a service to a dissenting congregation in Newfoundland.

A most interesting sidelight is cast by Blinman upon the missionary activity of Quaker women in St. The master hath beene on board of us. There is not, they say, one person in the shipp, officer or marriner, but are all Quakers. The preaching of these two women in St.

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John's was successful enough to convert "2 or 3 masters of ships" and initiate counter measures by the rest, including the invitation to Blinman to come to St. John's, which according to his letter to Winthrop he was prepared to do.

Newfoundland remained also on the list of support-worthy Quaker missionary endeavours in England. On 25 February a collection was recommended for Quaker missionary activities at the annual meeting in Skipton, which listed Newfoundland among the countries where such activity was taking place. This situation did not change during the second half of the seventeenth century. Thus the picture painted by Anspach and especially by Prowse and Wood of a substantial and organized "Puritan" or Separatist presence in seventeenth-century Newfoundland is highly unlikely. Only with massive immigration, a resident merchant presence, and a greater institutional development did Quaker, Methodist, and Congregational dissenters have a social and cultural impact during the second half of the eighteenth century.

In the article mentioned above. See also Raymond J.


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John's: Memorial University of Newfoundland, , Gillian T. Cell edit. Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, London: W. Stansby, M. Flesher et al. Part III, William Vaughan, The Church Militant London: T. Paine for H. Blunden, , Preface unpaginated. We provide an educational supplement for better understanding of classic and contemporary literature. Please check back weekly to see what we have added. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or comments or would like any additional information.

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Breadcrumb Home. I shall confine myself strictly to the evidence regarding the Anglican and Protestant dissenters, since the role of Roman Catholicism has been explored already in detail by Lahey 11 and Codignola. Lahey, 14 Hunt 15 and Cell 16 have dispelled the notion that Stourton accompanied Guy on his second voyage, because the "Puritan divine" would have done so at the age of 9.

William Leat, an Anglican clergyman then in London, with previous experience in Newfoundland, was recommended for a position in Virginia by John Slany, 18 the treasurer of the Newfoundland Company. All that can be said about this possible Anglican clergyman in the Cupids Cove settlement, where a "godlie minister" had been requested for the "greate comforte to vs all and a credit to the plantation" by John Guy as early as , 23 is that nothing specific about the religious orientation of the minister or the colonists is known.

It was after all a novum in seventeenth-century Britain and had been made possible in part by the liberally phrased Avalon charter The praise of the poet Hayman, 45 governor of Bristol's Hope, about the "Parson of Ferryland" cannot be exploited in favour of Stourton's alleged Puritanism either.

The employment of Stourton at the time of his deposition as chaplain to Christopher Villiers, Earl of Anglesey, 50 a brother of the Duke of Buckingham, does not suggest any specific Puritan affinities either. Matters hardly changed under Governor Treworgie The London leadership consisted of Francis Johnson, 69 his younger brother George, as well as one of their ruling elders, Daniel Studley.


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  • Two of the three agents were well-known Congregational clergymen: Reverend Hugh Peters, then pastor at Salem, Massachusetts, the future chief chaplain in Cromwell's army and opponent of Archbishop Laud at his trial, a preacher executed later himself for his alleged involvement in the death of King Charles I; 79 and the dissenting minister at Roxbury, Massachusetts, Thomas Welde. The clergymen and their fellow agent, the Boston merchant William Hibbins, 81 whose wife Anne was later executed for allegedly practising witchcraft, were accompanied by none less than Governor John Winthrop Jr.