Excerpts from the forthcoming
The Countess and the General: George Washington, Selina Countess of Huntingdon, their correspondence, & the evangelizing of America
Mar ham Sha! "#le
$apton $oo s
Available July 4th 2013
The Countess, her Conne%ion, and &issent:
In the end, of course – to look ahead for a moment – she did leave the C of E. If Washington had spent the 1770s fighting against George III s and !ord "orth s generals, the Countess of #untingdon had spent them struggling against the $ing s and the %& s choice in 'ishops( and in the earl) 17*0s, as the +merican commander overcame General !ord Corn,allis at -orkto,n, !ad) #untingdon fought !ord Corn,allis s uncle, the +rch'ishop of Canter'ur) .rederick Corn,allis, to a standstill. /he +mericans ,ent to ,ar in defense of their conception of their rights as Englishmen a'road, and ended ') seceding from the 0ritish Cro,n and Empire. 1elina, Countess 2o,ager of #untingdon, had 'egun her 'attles in defense of her conception of the +nglican settlement and her rights as a peeress, and ended ') seceding from the Church of England. 333 Within t,o )ears, the Countess, ,ho ,as impercepti'le of re'uff, ,as locked ane, in mortal 4and spiritual5 com'at ,ith the 0ishop of !ondon – !o,th, ') then – over her chapel at "orthampton, that old Washington famil) caput. 1he intended, as al,a)s, that it 'e her peculiar6 her chapel, her living, her chaplain in the living, and effectivel) her congregation. 1he had pushed the privilege of peerage to its limit and a right smart past that. /he matter ended up in an ecclesiastical court. /he ecclesia ,on.
Calvinism and the Compromise !ith Slaver#:
Wesle) as ,ell as Whitefield had gone to +merica to mission the heathen and the 'acksliders6 although the t,o men tried mightil) to remain friends and keep the peace 'et,een them despite doctrinal
7uarrels, it s hard not to think that !ad) #untingdon at least sa, a certain competition at hand 'et,een her 'rand of ðodism and Wesle) s, ,ith +merica as a road8game in the last ,eeks of the pennant race. 9:ace,; as it happens, ,as the mot juste. /he ðodist missions to +merica had 'een part of a great ,e' of connections in ,hich !ad) #untingdon and other Evangelicals had 'een involved, from the 17<0s on,ards6 connections devoted to spreading the Gospel to "ative +mericans and to +frican8+mericans, slave and free alike. /he Countess and like8minded friends ,ho ,ere 9persons of rank and 7ualit); – the second Earl of 2artmouth, nota'l) – disposed their influence, positions, and ,ealth to support the pu'lication of slave narratives and testimonies from 4and to5 "ative and +frican8+mericans. !ad) #untingdon acted as an earl) patroness to %hillis Wheatle), as did 2artmouth( 'oth similarl) took up the cause of the &ohegan preacher 1amuel =ccom. Whitefield, ,hose naivete remains something of a marvel even no,, commissioned +frican8+merican la)8preachers, one of ,hom he took from the Southern colonies to the Northern, ironicall), in ,hich "orthern colonies the man ,as nearl) l)nched for his vie,s of a'olition. +nd 9race; remains also the ,atch,ord in this. Whitefield, in Georgia – the colon) >ohn Wesle) gave up on – founded a charita'le institution for orphans, ,hich he called 0ethesda. It didn t pa), no matter ,hat he tried6 not for sour apples. /hen he had an inspiration. Georgia from its founding had 'anned slaver)( if that 'an could 'e overturned.... It ,as6 in no small part due to Whitefield s lo'')ing. If he ,restled ,ith his conscience – and there s no record of it – he ,on, ,ith a 7uick pin.
/he 1hirle)s ,ere a choleric 'unch. 1elina s grandfather had done his damnedest to disinherit his children ') his first ,ife, including 1elina s father. #er father and mother, in turn, separated in her )outh, and 1elina ,as ver) much a dadd) s girl. #er cousin the fourth Earl .errers – christened 9!a,rence; in the Washington tradition – ,as the last peer to 'e hanged in Great 0ritain 4to date, though )ou never kno, ,hat ma) happen, and most 0ritons of m) ac7uaintance 9have a little list; of mem'ers of 'oth #ouses of %arliament the) d like to string up...56 he, like not a fe, other peers, including some contemporar) ones, had so em'arrassed his estates that the) ,ere in the hands of trustees, and his ste,ard anno)ed the earl ') honestl) follo,ing the trustees la,ful ,ishes rather than his lordship s demands for income. Whereupon the earl, no dou't elegantl) and ,ith aristocratic delicac), popped a cap on his ass. =r, this 'eing 0ritain, arse. /he 1hirle)s having descended, from the 'irth of the third 'aronet in 1?@A, from EliBa'eth s unrul) favorite the Earl of EsseC 4from ,hose 'aron) of .errers the 1hirle) earldom ,as derived, the 'aron) 'eing restored under Charles II and advanced to an earldom in 1711 ') +nne5, it s no surprise the) suffered from 'outs of ,hat is politel) called – in the rich and ,ell8connected – temperament. 4In the poor and hum'le, it leads instead to prosecutions or mental health commitments.5
A legac#, h#mned:
ðodism – ,hether Wesle) s +rminianism or the Countess Calvinism – agreed at least that, ,hatever a Christian s station in this life, he or she ,as a full mem'er of the 0od) of Christ, color
not,ithstanding( and ðodism – ,hether the Countess Calvinism or Wesle) s +rminianism – ,as at least as devoted to h)mnod) as ever ,ere the 0aptists. /here is more theolog) in man) of the Wesle)s h)mns than in >ohn s sermons, and the) eCtended the principle that 9the la, of pra)er is the la, of 'elief; from the spoken liturg) to the h)mns as ,ell. &ore than that, it is from +merican ðodism, ,ith its rollicking h)mns, that the churches of the #oliness &ovement, 0lack and ,hite, derive.1 /here ,ould 'e neither countr) and ,estern music nor rock and roll, neither :D0 nor pop, ,ithout the musical traditions of ðodist, #oliness, and 0aptist church choirs in +merica6 no Willie, no Wa)lon, no Carter .amil), no >ohnn) Cash( no Ella 4she gre, up +&E Eion5, no .ats Waller the preacher s son( no Charles Ives or +aron Copland( no 0arr) White, no +retha .ranklin( no 0. 0. $ing, no $oko /a)lor, no !ead'ell)( no 0o' Wills( no W)clef >ean, no >ohn &ellencamp( musicall), no Grateful 2ead, either, for that matter, no CC:, no C1"D-( no !evon #elm, or /he 0and( and certainl) no >err) !ee !e,is, no Elvis, no +llman 0rothers, no !)n)rd 1k)n)rd. +merican music in all genres derives a pondera'le portion of its heritage from this, music that is at once &ahalia s and &other &a)'elle s. 1ome,here or other, &iss 1a)ers has !ord %eter Wimse) s mother – the inimita'le 2o,ager 2uchess – o'serve, that, ,ith the &etaph)sical %oets such as 2onne 4and later iterations such as 0ro,ning, for that matter5, one is never 7uite sure ,hether the) re addressing their mistress or the Esta'lished Church. Well, .ontella 0ass 9:escue &e; could pass prett) easil) for a h)mn from the traditions of the 0lack
1 /he 'eginnings of %entecostalism are in the +Busa 1treet :evival( that revival, in turn, stemmed largel) from the Welsh :evival of 1F0G – 1F0<, deepl) rooted in Welsh Calvinistic ðodism and the influence of !ad) #untingdon s /revecca seminar), for all that the #oliness &ovement is necessaril) Wesle)an and +rminian, ,ith its stress upon Christian perfecti'ilit). +nd it ,as nota'l) interracial and integrated from the start, ,hatever ma) have come after,ards – to the outrage of contemporar) o'servers.
church in +merica.@ Indeed, most +merican music could, not least in its Gospel8st)le call8and8response antiphon), ,hich appears in pop, in rock, and nota'l) in s,ing – Count 0asie s especiall). 9+in t "o &ountain #igh Enough; could almost come from :omans *6A< – AF( 9:ide the &ight) #igh; has crossed over from Gospel music, as has 9=h, #app) 2a);( 9%eople Get :ead); has touched souls the :everend +l and Curtis &a)field never dreamed of reaching( &ahalia >ackson s singing >ohn "e,ton s h)mn 9+maBing Grace; is a thread strong as a ship s ca'le linking the Countess circle to modern +merican music even at its most secular – and if )ou cannot imagine +retha ,ithout Ella, )ou e7uall) cannot imagine +retha ,ithout &ahalia. A +merican music, of course, has in turn gone on to influence the popular music of most of the glo'eH. +nd if disc Iocke) "athaniel 9&agnificent; &ontague s catchphrase of 90urn, 'a'), 'urn; 'ecame, much against his intention, a rall)ing cr) for the Watts :iots of 1F?< – riots that resisted even 2r. $ing s attempts at soothingG – ') 1F7?, the +fro8,earing +frican8+mericans associated ,ith that phrase ,ere not feared rioters, 'ut stars6 /he /rammps ,ere clim'ing the charts ,ith 92isco Inferno; H ,ith its refrain of 90urn, 'a'), 'urn; in &agnificent &ontague s rather than the rioters sense. < Burn that mutha down, y’all…. /hat this could happen in the span of a
@ +nd reasona'l) enough. +s noted in .ontella 0ass o'ituar) in the New York Times, 2ecem'er @7, @01@, 9JWhen ,e ,ere recording K9:escue &e;L, I forgot some of the ,ords.... 0ack then, )ou didn t stop ,hile the tape ,as running, and I remem'ered from the church ,hat to do if )ou forget the ,ords. I sang, 9Mmmm, ummm, ummm,; and it ,orked out Iust fine. ; I am told on good authorit) that, musicall), even 1)lvester s ga) dance anthems ,ere directl) sprung of the h)mnod) of the 0lack church, and specificall) of Wesle)an8 influenced #oliness N %entecostalism, he having gro,n up in a Church of God in Christ congregation. In Newsweek s +ugust A0, 1F?<, issue, the phrase appears as said to 2r. $ing at a communit) meeting in ,hich he ,as attempting, unsuccessfull), to calm the urge to riot. +s a fairl) hardcore fan of Carolina 'each music, m) regard for /he /rammps is founded rather upon 9#old 0ack the "ight,; 'ut there s no den)ing that most of the charts that are the 'each music song'ook are 7uite as rooted in the h)mnod) of +frican8+merican %rotestantism, filtered through secular music.
decade is not ,ithout its roots in the musical traditions of ðodism and its daughter #oliness churches, as transmuted and mediated through the +merican, and largel) the +frican8+merican, eCperience of the cross8pollination of sacred and secular song. /hat the circle ,ill 'e un'roken ,as and is – as >ohn "e,ton, ,ho 'ecame a clerg)man onl) ,ith the aid and influence of !ad) #untingdon s chaplain and almoner /homas #a,eis and her friend !ord 2artmouth, might sa) – an amaBing grace.
The !orld the# lived in:
It seems odd to us no,, this ,orld6 a ,orld in ,hich, as +''ott and 2o'ie and Walter %rescott We'' remind us, the arrival of a ne,spaper in camp or to,n ,as a signal event that dre, ever)one to read it or hear it read, and to de'ate the ne,s and the politics of the da)( a ,orld in ,hich men dragged themselves out of illiterac) to preach – ,ith a cogenc) and learning that ,ould have passed muster in !ondon or "e, -ork – to rough, frontier illiterates. /he energ) our great8grandsires devoted to classical rhetoric in small8to,n de'ating societies( ? to the ne,est discoveries of science and the latest European literature( to sermons that rolled ,ith logic and literar) reference, simile and s)llogism, for an hour or more( to matters of state and of politics6 is incomprehensi'le to generations ,hose leisure is devoted to cele'rit) gossip, potato chips and 'anana pudding consumed supine upon a sofa, trade8paper 9romance; novels, hip8hop, fashion, realit) television, painfull) unfunn) comed), diet craBes, internet porn, foot'all, 7 and speculations on ,hich 'o)8'and mem'ers are secretl) ga) and sleeping ,ith each other. >ohn Graves, in Goodbye to a i!er,* takes, as not a
? 7 * Even the most tongue8tied ,ere roped in, as &aIor /homas >. >ackson, a professor at O&I 'efore the War, ,as( and the future 1tone,all ,as never one for pu'lic speaking. 0ase'all of course is another matter entirel). "e, -ork6 +lfred +. $nopf, :andom #ouse, 1F?0.
fe, +nglicans took then as no,, a magisterial vie, derived from Gi''on, that this evangelical revivalism ,as the onl) form of religion sufficient unto the time and place, as a means of social control against the ,ilder eCcesses of the frontier( +. C. Greene, in the chapter 9God in West /eCas,; in " #ersonal $ountry,F sees more than mere utilit) in it. /he fact remains, regardless of our feelings and our s)mpathies. George Washington ,ished the 'ack8countr) to 'e settled ') an orderl) and industrious people, thrift), hard,orking, capa'le of 'eing small merchants or small planters – one of the fe, occasions on ,hich he ,as more of a mind ,ith >efferson than ,ith #amilton. 1elina #untingdon sought to plant the 'anner of ðodism in the "e, World. +nd, oddl) enough, their desires ,ere met, if in a fashion neither might have eCpected, hoped, or full) approved. In the period 'efore /urner s fa'led 9closing of the frontier,; and for a good fe, decades after, +merica 'e)ond the +ppalachians ,as a ðodist8inflected ,orld( and if that ðodism ,as not ,hat Wesle) intended – not least ') 'ecoming a separate communion rather than a form of +nglican spiritualit) – it sufficed to its da)6 a homespun, +merican adaptation of +nglicanism, suited for rough men in a rough land, and promoting the order and communit), the individualism and grit, that Washington foresa, as 'eing necessar) to the eCpansion 'e)ond the mountains. /he Countess of #untingdon and the victor of the :evolution corresponded upon her proIected 9foundation in +merica;6 and in doing so, created a goodl) portion of the foundation of +merica, in the character as in the eCtent that it and its peoples ac7uired.
2enton6 Mniversit) of "orth /eCas %ress Krevised editionL 1F**.
Washington in stasis: (!ith little $usiness and less Command,) *+,-:
/he men of the Continental +rm), as ,ell as of the Congress and the ne, nation at large – so far as it was a nation, rather than thirteen s7ua''ling statelets – ,ere tired. /he ,ar had lasted longer than an)one had imagined. /heir impro'a'le, not to sa) miraculous, victor) ,as, certainl), 'etter than defeat, 'ut as diplomats ,rangled in %aris and ne,s of their doings ,allo,ed in +tlantic calms, the general feeling ,as – the General s feeling6 +ugust 17*A, the hangover after the victor) 'all, ,as a disagreea'le situation, of ,aiting ,ith little 'usiness and less command for the legalities to 'e disposed of and the +rm) discharged, so that those ,ho had fought might retire from pu'lic 'usiness and re8esta'lish ,hat domestic life might have survived the War. 333 Washington s mind ,as full of 9the Calamities of ,ar; and 9the severe distress that has fallen on the Inha'itants ') the cruel devastations of the Enem);( his 9earnest pra)er; ,as that +mericans might 9soon 'e ena'led to recover their former ease, and to enIo) that happiness the) have so ,ell deserved;( and it ,as evident that, in a season of little 'usiness and less command, the inha'itant ,hose distress he most ,ished to see relieved, and ,hose former ease he ,as most interested in recovering, ,as one Geo. Washington, Es7., of &ount Oernon.
Gospels, Garrisons, the $ac .Countr#, and the /ative Americans:
Washington himself ,as to put it thus, in a >anuar) @<, 17*< letter, from
&ount Oernon, to 1ir >ames >a), her almoner of sorts6 I am clearl) in sentiment ,ith her !ad)ship, that christianit) ,ill never make an) progress among the Indians, or ,ork an) considera'le reformation in their principles, until the) are 'rought to a state of greater civiliBation( and the mode ') ,hich she means to attempt this, as far as I have 'een a'le to give it consideration, is as likel) to succeed as an) other that could have 'een devised, and ma) in time effect the great and 'enevolent o'Iect of her !ad)ships ,ishes6 'ut that love of ease, impatience under an) sort of controul, and disinclination to ever) kind of pursuit 'ut those of hunting and ,ar, ,ould discourage an) person possessed of less piet), Beal and philanthroph) than are characteristick of !ad) #untington. In this missive, Washington reiterates his o,n conviction that the Indian "ations must first 'e 9civiliBed; – ') trade and fair dealing – 'efore the) can 'e 9ChristianiBed,; admits that the Countess plans are no ,orse than an) others and might, e!entually, succeed, and concludes, almost ,ith a shrug, that onl) !ad) #untingdon had 'oth the faith and the persistence – or ,as craB) and stu''orn enough, if )ou like – to go on ,ith her intentions. Certainl) the last of these propositions, at least, ,as accurate.
The social and religious !orld of *+,-:
/he planter class in Oirginia considered itself the sons of the Cavaliers. /he) ,ere +nglicans, certainl), in a colon) in ,hich the Church of England ,as the church ') la, esta'lished – and ,hich defined itself partl) in opposition to the :oundhead 2issenters of "e, England. /he) ,ere sentimental :o)alists until the middle or latter part of the Eighteenth Centur), )es. +nd – as the scandaliBed .ithian recorded – ,hen it came to ,enching, drinking, gam'ling, horse8racing, fashiona'le adulter), cock8fighting, and all the rest of it, the) d indeed have fit right in ,ith :upert s cavalr), or ,ith 1uckling s, if not
:ochester s, racket) poets. 0ut the) ,eren t !audian #igh Churchmen, in the main. /he) had communion ta'les, not altars, and the) rarel) had and even more rarel) took communion. /heir nearest 'ishop, in his sleeves of ,hite la,n, ,as on the far side of the +tlantic, and the) ,ere not fussed ') that. When there was a Communion 1unda), rather than the usual &orning %ra)er, it certainl) ,asn t called a Eucharist, let alone a &ass( and the incum'ent clerg)man of the parish ,as a minister, not a priest. If )ou ,anted a priest, )ou ,ere advised to go find )our popish 'rethren in &ar)land. /his ,as the Washingtonian milieu. It is eas) to see colonial +merica as a homespun, 'uckskinned, ,ilderness8d,elling, roistering land of rustics, dotted ,ith a fe, hopelessl) provincial to,ns pretending to 'e cities. It is eas) to think of 1elina #untingdon, daughter of one earl and ,ife to another, as a stereot)pe of the English – and she ,as ver) much English, not 0ritish – aristocratic lad). In Washington s )outh, ho,ever, Charles /heodore %achel'el – 'orn Carl /heodorus %achel'el in 1tuttgart, son of >ohann %achel'el – ,as the most cele'rated composer H in +merica. #e lived and ,orked first in 0oston, then in "e,port, :hode Island, and then, for the rest of his life 4he died ,hen Washington ,as eighteen or nineteen )ears old5 in Charleston. +nd he ,as not precisel) alone in the firmament6 his student, the composer %eter %elham the -ounger, ,as, ') Washington s mid8t,enties, the organist of 0ruton %arish Church in Oirginia( these ,ere the )ears of +ntes and 0illing and #olden and the 9.irst "e, England 1chool; of composers. +nd of course +merica could 'oast .ranklin and >efferson, &erc) =tis Warren and &rs 0leecker, %hillis
Wheatle) and the +damses. 2r. :ush ,as a'road ,ith his ph)sic( %eale, 1tuart, West, and >ohn 1ingleton Cople), ,ith their palettes. /he presumptive Earl of 1tirling, and !ord .airfaC, lived in +merica 'efore the :evolution – in ,hich 1tirling fought on the +merican side. If )ou ,anted the full eCperience of an oppressed native population, restive colonists of mostl) 0ritish eCtraction oppressing the natives and demanding li'ert) for themselves, ,ilderness and s7ualor, )ou didn t go to +merica from England, 1cotland, or Wales, to seek it. -ou ,ent to Ireland. -ou ,ent to Ireland, and, as a rule, )ou ,ent to Ireland un,illingl), fleeing creditors or charged ,ith garrison dut). .ann) 0urne), at the Court of George III, ,as famousl) put on the spot ,hen conversation turned to ho, a lad, ,ho happened to have 'een shaken up in a carriage accident, had 'een cared for on the road ') the passing 2uchess of -ork6 ') 'irth a %rincess of %russia, and at once sentimental and a martinet, in the usual tradition of that countr). /he small 'o) thus rescued had in fact 'een .ann) s sister 1usan s son, her nephe, "or'ur) %hillips, ,ho d evidentl) charmed #:# and ,ho had previousl) 'een praised ') her to $ing George and Pueen Charlotte. /his fact coming out, .armer George asked ,here .ann) s nephe, no, ,as( and 'eing told he ,as in Ireland, the $ing ,as astonished, and 7uiBBed her as to why. 1he stammered that his father had taken him there, ,hich merel) caused the $ing to ,onder ,h) the man had gone to Ireland, of all places. Cornered, .ann) could onl) sa), 90ecause – 'ecause he is an Irishman, sir.; Cue general 'oggling of minds all round. It ,as another famous mem'er of the +scendanc) – one +rthur Wesle), or Colle), later Wellesle), and eventuall) the first 2uke of Wellington,
son of one of Ireland s fe, dilettante composers of the time – ,ho ,as to sa) in after )ears, ,hen called an Irishman from his having 'een 'orn in Ireland, 9/hat a man ,as 'orn in a sta'le doesn t make him a horse.; 1elina 1hirle), the future Countess of #untingdon, ,asn t foaled in Ireland, 'ut she ,as sta'led there as a fill).
0ohn Wesle#, the Sacraments, and 1ree Will:
+t some point in his teens, 1amuel Wesle) seems to have said, /o hell ,ith %uritanism. #e left the 2issenting academ) and ,orked his ,a) through =Cford, at ECeter College ,ith the other West Countr)men, ,riting prett) 'ad poetr) in his spare time. 4/he comic verse is tolera'le( the epics H aren t.5 #o,ever 'ad his poetr), it ,as politicall) sound, and Pueen &ar) found him his living at 1t +ndre, s, Ep,orth, in !incolnshire, ,here his sons >ohn and Charles ,ere to 'e 'orn. /he matching of a #igh Church and #igh /or) rector ,ith an Ep,orth parish ,as not a happ) one( and 1amuel s poetic recidivism, and his emergence as a pamphleteering controversialist to 'oot, didn t help matters, in the parish or in the ,ider ,orld. 1on >ohn follo,ed a similar traIector). #e ,as alert to his !o, Church and %uritan antecedents( and he reIected them ,ith his e)es open. >ohn Wesle) ,as the Ignatius !o)ola of +nglicanism. 1o far as he and Charles his 'rother ,ere concerned, ðodism ,as a ,a) of practice and devotion, and a set of spiritual eCercises, ,ithin the Church of England, never to separate from it, and ,ell ,ithin the +nglican tradition. It has al,a)s 'een the position of the #igh Churchman that +nglicanism is 'oth Catholic and :eformed( and #igh Churchmen have never hesitated to dra, upon the theolog) and practice of Eastern
=rthodoC) as ,ell as of :oman Catholicism – and upon those aspects of Continental %rotestantism that seem congruent ,ith these and ,ith patristic and conciliar teachings6 ,ith the 'eliefs and pronouncements of the earl) Church .athers and the Ecumenical Councils. >ohn Wesle) ,as ver) much a #igh Churchman6 indeed, he ,as the link 'et,een the Caroline divines and the /ractarians of the =Cford &ovement. #e 'elieved in auricular confession. #e rene,ed the emphasis upon and understanding of epiclesis6 the indispensa'le role of the #ol) Ghost in effecting the change of the eucharistic elements, the 'read and the ,ine, into the 0od) and 0lood of Christ in the Eucharist. #e 'elieved strictl) in the doctrine of the :eal %resence in #ol) Communion, he insisted on cele'rating #ol) Communion ever) 1unda) in proper form according to the ru'rics and apostolic usage 4including the miCed chalice5, he fasted on .rida)s. #e 'elieved in pra)ers for the dead and in the Communion of 1aints. #is reading from =Cford on,ards ,as in !a, and $en and /a)lor, !aud and !ancelot +ndre,es and /homas Q $empis. #is intellectual matriC ,as that of the "onIurors6 the Caroline divines and their immediate #igh Church successors ,ho, having defied >ames II over his opening to :oman Catholic toleration, nonetheless refused to accept William and &ar), on the grounds that their oaths had 'een to $ing >ames and their lo)alties could not 'e transferred for them ') invasion or ') +ct of %arliament. 10 $en s d)ing
10 &ar), like her sister and successor +nne, ,as s)mpathetic to #igh Church +nglicanism. William of =range ,as not6 he had 'een raised a Calvinist in #olland and taught that he ,as predestined, regardless of his merits, to 'e a great man and a %rotestant champion. .or him as for >ames OI and I – his and his ,ife s great8grandfather 4William and &ar) ,ere first cousins5 – a Calvinist up'ringing, and a sense of election regardless of merit, 'red an antinomianism in him that sho,ed in his evident conviction that he ,as God s chosen instrument and ,as guaranteed admission to #eaven no matter ,hom he 'etra)ed or ho, man) prett) 'o)s he not onl) slept ,ith, 'ut loaded ,ith honors and handed the ke)s to the %riv) %urse and the reins of government over to. #e couldn t, 7uite, disesta'lish the Church of England – the 'est he could do ,as sack the "onIurors – 'ut he could and did disesta'lish episcopac) in 1cotland and hand that countr) 'ack over to the %res')terian $irk. /he disesta'lishment of the 1cottish 'ishops as "onIurors is ,hat allo,ed the Episcopal Church, in the Mnited 1tates after the :evolution, to find consecrators in the line of apostolic succession 'ut free of oaths to George III, ,hen it
declaration prett) much summed up Wesle) s vie,s6 9I am d)ing in the #ol), Catholic and +postolic .aith professed ') the ,hole Church 'efore the disunion of East and West( and, more particularl), in the Communion of the Church of England, as it stands distinguished from 'oth %apal and %rotestant innovation, and adheres to the 2octrine of the Cross.; +nd as >ohn Wesle) ,as to 'e linked to the /ractarians through his disciples, the Irish theologian +leCander $noC and the 0ishop of !imerick, +rdfert, and +daghoe, >ohn >e'', so %use) and $e'le and "e,man are linked 'ack through Wesle) to !a, and /a)lor, !aud and $en and +ndre,es. "ot for nothing ,ere Wesle) and his 9#ol) Clu'; associates at =Cford mocked as 91acramentalists; as ,ell as 9ðodicals; and 9ðodists.;
2eligion and ethnicit#:
It is not al,a)s eas) to resist the suspicion, if not the outright conclusion, that national and ethnic groupings, and the religious and denominational divisions that tend to follo, those lines, do in some ,a) hark 'ack to earl) Christological positions of the .ourth Centur) and after6 Islam, for one, ,as conceived and 'irthed and gre, from Iust those areas of the old Eastern :oman Empire ,here &arcionism,11 2ocetism,1@ &onoph)sitism, and similar heresies had 'een 'orn and flourished, and the &uslim vie, of >esus Christ and his crucifiCion reall) is that of those heresies and the further heresies the) spa,ned( in the :eformation, not a fe, of the sects that splintered from !utheranism in &iddle Europe and ,ere thence eCported, are a repackaged +rianism that ,ould have 'een fairl) familiar to .ritigern or to Grim,ald of !om'ard). /he charge of 9%elagianism;6 that is, as
came time for +merica to o'tain its o,n 'ishops. 11 With anti81emitism included free of charge. 1@ /he Puranic version of the CrucifiCion is ,holl) 2ocetist.
the char%e a%ainst the "n%lican $hurch mainstream, and a%ainst ðodism, depicted #ela%ianism, of 'elieving that man ,as not utterl) naturall) depraved, that his free ,ill ,as such as to allo, him to choose to 'e saved and even to live a good life ,ithout 'eing helplessl) dependent upon God s unmerited Grace, and that We re "ot 1o 0ad, +fter +ll, :eall), and + !ittle $indness Goes a !ong Wa)6 this charge ,as eas) enough to make against a dominant strain of the English 1A character. /he people ,ho came up ,ith cricket, foot'all, rug'), the ideal of sportsmanship, her'aceous 'orders, the pu', and the Common !a,, can 'e rather readil) characteriBed thus. 0) the same token, although it ,as an import from the Continent – and >ean Calvin ,as, after all, a 'rench la,)er and amateur of theolog) 'efore he had to 'ook off to 0asel to escape the .rench hierarch), and the +uld +lliance has al,a)s fostered cultural interchange 'et,een .rance and 1cotland – ') the same token, then, Calvinism s doctrines of utter depravit),1G man s helpless reliance upon Grace, God s perfect right not to save an) man Iack of us, and the utter capriciousness of God s choosing to damn one and save another, ,as not uncongenial to the people ,ho invented golf and ,hose folklore – 'est seen in the +ppalachian 9>ack tales; of the Mlster 1cots in +merica – suggested that the) had al,a)s, ultimatel), 'elieved simpl) in 'lind luck and had al,a)s ,orshiped, at 'ottom, onl) the goddess .ortuna – indeed, /)che.
The parado%es of the Anglican settlement:
It is difficult, if I ma) stress the point once more, not to conclude that !utheranism is the natural conse7uence of letting a German professor loose upon the faith( Calvinism, that of having theolog) done ') a la,)er( Wesle)anism, that of inspiring the evangelical impulse in a
1A Not 90ritish.; 1G + natural conclusion for an) la,)er to make after a fe, )ears ,orth of practice.
1enior &em'er of the #ouse – Christ Church, =Cford( and the Countess of #untingdon s ConneCion, that of a do,ager peeress eCpecting Church and 1tate to defer to her rank. Oer) fe, mem'ers of the upper classes, if confronted ,ith the doctrine of predestination in its Calvinist form, could fail to conclude that the), naturall), ,ere amongst the Elect – and had a dut) to 1et an ECample for and Give a !ead to the !esser =rders. 0ut there ,as more to !ad) #untingdon s religious choices than that. 1he came naturall) and inevita'l) to them from her 'ackground in ,hat has 'een called the East +nglian tradition of spiritualit), ,ith the .en Countr) s mercantile openness to Continental thought and modes. It might 'etter 'e called the spiritual tradition of the old 2anela,, once the 2anela, ,as ChristianiBed6 it characteriBes not onl) East +nglia, 'ut also the &idlands and the "orth of England. It is highl) personal( it is highl) devotional( and it places personal eCperience of grace and salvation ver) highl), in ,hatever denomination it is eCpressed. :ichard :olle ,as a part of it( 1t. 0rigit – 0irgitta – of 1,eden influenced it( it dre, upon the 0rethren of the Common !ife and Windesheim, in the !o, Countries and German). 1uch orthodoC :oman Catholics as &arger) $empe and 2ame >ulian ,ere part and parcel of it, and that much8maligned monarch :ichard III( )et it ,as e7uall) the shaping influence on "icholas .errar and his famil) at !ittle Gidding, on the #igh side of +nglicanism, and of =liver Crom,ell of #untingdonshire. %rivate devotion, pra)er ,ithout ceasing – ,hether the canonical hours, the 0C%, or eCtemporaneous effusions – and hum'le good ,orks ,ere 4and are5 its hallmarks. It is deepl) concerned ,ith the soul s individual and personal relationship ,ith God( ,ith an immediate and unmediated connection to Christ, and the imitation of #im so that the 'eliever ma) 'e made more like #im. It is the fruit of the de!otio moderna and of lectio di!ina, 7uite as much as
Caroline #igh +nglicanism and Wesle)an ðodism ,ere. +nd insofar as it eCists in the Church of England, it s in a cleft stick, and 'ounded in the deed records ') a rock and a hard place. 0ecause the C of E is 9the Church ') la, esta'lished,; it is a political construct – and a political compromise. Its esta'lishment ,as a political act 4,hich is not to sa) there is not an +nglican tradition dating 'ack to ,ell 'efore the :eformation, if not the 1)nod of Whit')6 'ut it has al,a)s 'ecome entangled in po,er8politics. /he first statute of #r(munire, the la, under ,hich Wesle) could have 'een prosecuted had he o)enly accepted episcopal ordination from Erasmus +vlonites, 'ishop of +rkadia, dates to the reign of :ichard II5. /he C of E emerged as a political construct from the successive upsets of the reigns of #enr) OIII, Ed,ard OI,1< &ar) I, and EliBa'eth I. /he result ,as a hedge, a fudge, a series of loopholes6 in short, legislation as applied to theolog). Certainl) the /hirt)8"ine +rticles 'o, do,n to the :immon of predestination( 'ut – there ll al,a)s 'e an England – no one ,as eCpected to take these so seriousl) as to upset the ,hole apple8cart. "o one eCcept the poet Co,per – and he ,ent craB) as a result – has ever actuall) li!ed as if he 'elieved in election, repro'ation, and dou'le predestination( or, rather, as if it meant him. :epro'ation and damnation are al,a)s for the other so8and8so. Certainl) the English cast of mind is resistant, at the end, to Calvinism, no matter ho, hard some English Calvinists have tried. /he English, as their traditional 'allads reflect, 'elieve in romantic predestination. /heir empire ,as founded on a sense of national predestination and election. /he) can tolerate predestination in Gothic novels, such as 9&onk; !e,is or poor
1< +nd ,hat a disaster he ,ould have 'een, had he lived. /here s usuall) something 'adl) ,rong ,ith a precocious %uritan( and the idea of a teenaged fundamentalist ,ith a'solute monarchical po,er scares me, at least, half to death.
0eckford s – 'ut the) love far more to parod) those, as >ane +usten did in Northan%er "bbey and /homas !ove %eacock did in Iust a'out ever)thing. +nd the) 'elieve au fond in individual free ,ill6 that is ,h) the) are the nation of the detective, or m)ster), stor)1? – and it s the 9ho,,; if the) declined to see it as the 9,h),; that 'uilt the Empire.
2eligion, politics, and counter.revolution:
/heolog) is a'ove m) pa) grade. /hen again, it ,as a'ove !ad) #untingdon s, as ,ell – and, ') the looks of it, a'ove Whitefield s. /he evangelical movement ,ithin the C of E generall), ðodism particularl), and the Calvinistic side in the de'ate especiall), comprised in each case a conser!ati!e re'ellion, a counter8revolution6 like that of the colonies in the 1770s, insisting upon the :ights of Englishmen in a ne, ,orld, or that of 1*?1, or the reIection of ne,fangled music ') 0ill &onroe and the fathers of 'luegrass in the 1FA0s and 1FG0s. It is t)pical of the 0ritish and the +mericans that the) can onl) Iustif) revolution – against >ohn( against Charles I ') 'randishing the &agna Carta >ohn ,as forced to sign( against >ames OII and II ') invoking the %etition of :ight against Charles I( against George III in %atrick #enr) s attri'uted ,ords, 9Caesar had his 0rutus( Charles the .irst his Crom,ell( and George the /hird ....ma) profit ') their eCample; – ') casting it as a counter8revolution.
The iron logic of &issent:
It is one thing for an evangelist to sa), 9Christ >esus died for )our sins;( it s a mite less effective to sa), 9Christ >esus died for my sins6 )ou ma) 'e on )our o,n, pal, created eCpressl) to 'e damned.;
1? I think it s in G$C s 9/he 2oom of the 2arna,a)s; that he has .ather 0ro,n point out that murder also is an act of free ,ill, and no one is fated to commit a crime6 a point Gil'ert had made ,ith tongue in cheek in uddi%ore.
333 It is a fundamental +nglican principle that le* orandi, le* credendi+ and Cranmer s 0C%17 and the Calvinist take on predestination simpl) cannot 'e s7uared. !ad) #untingdon s, and the other Calvinistic ðodists , attempts to s7uare this circle ,ithin the circle of the Esta'lished Church, ,ere doomed from the start, and "onconformism and 2issent ,ere its inevita'le, indeed predestined, end.
Georgia, slaver#, and the 3vangelicals:
/he curious thing a'out 0ethesda K=rphan #ouseL is that it needn t have failed – and it needn t have 'rought in slaver) to 'e via'le – and the curious thing a'out !ad) #untingdon s eCperiences ,ith the disaster of 0ethesda, ,as that she ,asn t precisel) ne, to dealings in and ,ith +merica. 333 /he great pro'lem ,ith 0ethesda all along ,as management. Whitefield ,as no manager, and managing ,hat he had founded almost in passing ,hile he carried on his missionar) ,ork ,asn t in his remit in an) event. 0ut he might have, as the Countess might have, done a much 'etter Io' in appointing managers for the place. /he fact ,as, 0ethesda, even 'efore Whitefield left it to the Countess as his d)ing 'e7uest, ,as used as a sort of apprentice training for Evangelicals destined for the clerg) or missionar) ,ork or teaching( and most of those sent out to Georgia ') Whitefield and the Countess couldn t have managed to organiBe an org) in a ,horehouse. Worse still, after the Countess took over, she did send one man to
17 It ,as no accident that /homas Cranmer s &+ ,ork and adult cast of thought ,as rooted in the humanism of Erasmus and !efRvre d Staples 4see Oenn, >.( Oenn, >. +., eds. 41F@@– 1F<*5, 9Cranmer, /homas,; "lumni $antabri%ienses 410 vols5 4online ed.5, Cam'ridge6 Cam'ridge Mniversit) %ress( G. W. 0ernard, The ,in%’s eformation- .enry /000 and the emakin% of the 1n%lish $hurch, !ondon6 -ale Mniversit) %ress @00<( and 2iarmaid &acCulloch, Thomas $ranmer- " 2ife, !ondon6 -ale Mniversit) %ress 1FF?.
0ethesda ,ho ,as competent6 in the sense of having the ,isdom of the serpent, and, 'eing a child of this ,orld, ,iser in his generation than the children of light. &r. William %ierc), presenting to the ,orld and the Countess a countenance of plausi'le innocence and un'lemished piet), understood sums and accounting and 'ookkeeping and mone), income and outla) H and cooker), at least ,hen it came to the 'ooks and accounts. #e stole her 'lind. 4%hillis Wheatle) ,as the first correspondent the General and the Countess had in common, 'ar perhaps various .airfaCes( )et the) had had an encounter at one remove even 'efore that. Washington s diar) for "ovem'er <, 177G, records that 9&r. %ierc) a %res'eterian &inister dined here; – ,hich goes to sho, )ou that to the average +nglican, all these Calvinists are much of a muchness. In fact, Washington seems to have entertained, partl) una,ares, that less than angel, William %ierc), ,ho ,as returning, from preaching in %hiladelphia, to his mismanagement of 0ethesda =rphan #ouse – and the feathering of his o,n nest.5 /he 'est thing that could have happened to the Countess ,ould have 'een if the Georgians had simpl) seiBed 0ethesda, ,hich the) previousl) had declined to accept as the neCt thing to a gift. /he 'est thing that did happen to the oil) &r. %ierc) ,as the out'reak of the +merican :evolution, ,hich allo,ed him innumera'le eCcuses for his defalcations and so entangled the accounts as to make it nigh unto impossi'le to catch him out. It s al,a)s a convenience to someone ,ith his hand in the till to 'e a'le to claim that the missing assets vanished due to acts of ,ar, force majeure, Indian raids, 1panish 'andits from the .loridas, re'el militias, and #essians. 1s)ecially #essians.
The great plan and the !heeling deal:
What Washington ,anted ,as to settle the 'ack8countr) ,ith a hard)
population ,ho ,ould not provoke another Indian ,ar, and ,ho ,ould 'e ,ell affected to,ards the ne, :epu'lic. If the) spoke English, so much the 'etter. If the) ,ere 2issenters ,ho, like the founders of &assachusetts, had reason not to like the king and his 'ishops, 'etter still. If the) ,ere artisans and farmers, he d 'e grateful. #is interest ,as in populating the countr) sufficientl) to support the necessar) garrisons to keep the 0ritish from reneging on the peace treat) and the .rench and the 1panish from tr)ing a land8gra'( and to do that, he had to keep the "ative +mericans 7uiescent. #e had no hopes that the) d 'e converted en masse to Christian meekness( he simpl) ,anted them, first, not to 'e provoked, and, thereafter, to 'e tied to the interests of the Mnited 1tates ') trade and 9peaceful intercourse.; /o effect these ends, he ,as even ,illing, in default of Congressional action, to sell the lands himself, out of his veteran s 'ounties – although not, of course, at a discount.1* What 1elina #untingdon ,anted, naturall), ,as to send sufficient num'ers of her ConneCion, ,hole villages of them if she could, to plant the 'anner of Calvinistic ðodism in the "e, World, to outpace, outnum'er, and out8'reed the Wesle)ans, and to convert the 9heathen savages; 4Indians included, although some of the good old 'o)s 'ack in the hills certainl) 7ualified at least as ,ell for that description5. 1he ,asn t particularl) interested in the economics or the politics of populating the Western !ands so +merica could hold them, or in a merel) secular 9civiliBing; of the "ative +mericans6 she 7uite seriousl) intended that the) 'e evangeliBed and converted, and their immortal
1* +nd this is ,h) ,e 'egan, in the first chapter, ,ith Washington s militar) correspondence that ,ent on side ') side ,ith his correspondence ,ith 1elina #untingdon. +ll that logistics, all those ,orries a'out 2etroit and 1teu'en and Indians coB)ing up to the 0ritish, all those concerns for the Great !akes and the =hio countr) and the fact that the Mnited 1tates could not afford even a 'arge to move a platoon6 these ,ere ,hat ,ere in Washington s mind ,hen the Countess presented him ,ith an uneCpected plan to people the 'ack8countr) at nugator) eCpense.
souls saved, from ,hich all other ,orldl) 'enefits ,ould follo,. 333 /he settlement of the 'ack8countr), the 9Indian %ro'lem,; the maintenance of the Mnion, and its defense from predator) foreign po,ers, ,ere intert,ined in a fashion that made the Gordian knot look like a grann)8knot, and Washington kne, it. It pre)ed on his mind, not unreasona'l)....
Success through failure:
-et in a sense, she had ,on ') losing. +merican ðodism ,as in the end neither hers nor Wesle) s. Whitefield s 4and the Countess 5 Calvinism ,as eCtruded in the end, 'ut it gave ðodism cover in earl) straight fights ,ith the %res')terians and Congregationalists. Wesle) s friendship ,ith the &oravians gave +merican ðodism cover as not 'eing a denomination specific to a single ethnicit). It ,as enough like +nglicanism ,ithout bein% +nglicanism to act as a 'road church in the ne, lands of the ,est,ard eCpansion. +nd a'sent Calvinism, even the 1outhern slave8holders never 7uite 'ecame 0oers. With or ,ithout the spread and success of ðodism in +merica as a denomination, ho,ever, her failed plan to plant communities of her ConneCion in the 'ack8countr) opened the +merican mind to a possi'ilit) that ,as ,ithout precedent. Even in li'eral Great 0ritain, religious toleration and religious pluralism ,as practicall) limited, to %rotestants and a fe, >e,s. +theists and follo,ers of un80ritish religions ,ere disfavored and disenfranchised, and :oman Catholics remained unemancipated. /he Countess plan, her correspondence ,ith Washington, and his la)ing her plan 'efore Congress, so,ed the seed for something ne, in +merica6 an acceptance of the idea that persons of all religions and none ,ere ,elcome, and not onl) individuall), 'ut as
entire and discrete religious communities, immigrating en masse. 4/his ,as not precisel) ,hat she had meant to spark6 her attempts to offload 0ethesda upon the 1tate of Georgia had foundered over the provision that it might, as a college, emplo) tutors of all Christian denominations6 ,hich, she immediatel) realiBed, ran the risk that some 'ackslider might actuall) consider /hose #orrid %apists to 'e :eal $hristians, leading to the fastening of the :omish -oke upon the necks of innocent %rotestants, shock, horror. 0ut as not infre7uentl), a good idea could not 'e strangled in its cradle ') the 'igotr) of its proposer.5 /he "dels!erein that settled Germans in /eCas, the 0ial)stoker 1)nagogue of the !o,er East 1ide, the &ormons ,ho ,ent to Mtah from Wales and the &idlands, and t,o centuries ,orth of refugees, all o,e something to the Countess failed proposal. 1o too does the movement for "ative +merican rights. /he :everend &r. =ccom ,as supported, although a %res')terian clerg)man, ') !ad) #untingdon s and !ord 2artmouth s patronage.1F /he :everend William +pess ,as a %e7uot activist – and a ðodist minister. /he) set the terms of the de'ate in the earl) generations of ,hite, %rotestant +merica, seeking Iustice for their people. +nd the Confederation Congress %roclamation of 17*A, ,ith all that has flo,ed from it, ,as 'orn not onl) of Washington s meditations on militar) necessit), 'ut also in some part, ho,ever small, from his correspondence ,ith the peeress ,ho lo''ied for missionar) access to the "ative +merican tri'es.
Conse4uences and persons of conse4uence:
>efferson, t)picall), ,rote – and made sure to 'e seen ,riting –
1F /his is ,h) its founder named 2artmouth College for the Earl, in hopes of patronage and cash. #is !ordship felt the honor keenl), 'ut ,as not disposed to )ay for it.
plangentl) of the pro'lem of slaver), invoking cathartic pathos and horror( 'ut he continued, all the same, to hold slaves in 'ondage, to authoriBe – so long as he ,as given plausi'le denia'ilit) – the most 'rutal methods ') his overseers, and to impose himself upon 1all) #emings. Washington manumitted his slaves in his Will, cautious not to 'reak up families – a precept made the more difficult of o'servance ') the intermarriages of his o,n slaves and those ,ho ,ere &artha s do,er propert).@0 4Washington s heir %arke Custis tried to emulate this practice, leaving a legal tangle that his eCecutor, his son8in8la, :. E. !ee, ,as still ,restling ,ith in vain ,hen ,ar 'roke out in 1*?1.5 333 When it came to hiring ne, ,orkers – free ,orkmen – for &ount Oernon, Washington directed his man of 'usiness that, 9If the) 'e good ,orkmen, the) ma) 'e from +sia, +frica, or Europe( the) ma) 'e &ohammedans, >e,s, or Christians of an) sect, or the) ma) 'e +theists.;@1 "aturall), the evolution – such as it ,as – of Washington s positions had economic, militar), and political calculation 'ehind it6 as in ever)thing a statesman and commander does. -et it is hard not to conclude that some part at least of the catal)st for his mature vie,s ,as in his correspondence ,ith 1elina, Countess 2o,ager of #untingdon, and in the issues that her communications forced him more thoroughl) to confront, as much in opposition to as in agreement ,ith her vie,s. !ad) #untingdon s last letter 'efore her death, ,hich came to her eight da)s later, ,as to /homas Charles, one of her ConneCion.@@ In it, on >une F, 17F1, she said, 9I am ,eak and lo, and enmeshed in preparing positions for the 1outh 1eas and Indian "ations in +merica. I ,ish to
@0 See, e.%., .ritB #irschfeld, Geor%e 3ashin%ton and Sla!ery, Colum'ia6 Mniversit) of &issouri %ress, 1FF7. @1 3ashin%ton’s 3ritin%s, .itBpatrick, vol. @7, p. A?7. @@ &1 c81<, >ohn Wesle) s Chapel collection, Wesle) s "e, :oom, 0ristol.
die at ,ork in m) dear and 0lessed &aster s 'usiness.; 1he did. /o the last, she ,as planning missions to the "e, World and throughout the ,orld. 0) then, George Washington ,as %resident of the Mnited 1tates, and ðodism, if not perhaps as !ad) #untingdon conceived it, ,as helping to mold that nation. +s it and its daughter churches of the #oliness movement, 0lack and ,hite, )et do. /heir correspondence ,as 'rief. /heir plans together ,ere unfulfilled. +nd )et their interaction ,as meaningful for 'oth. In the midst of revolution, ,ar, peace treaties, reprisals, and the 'irth of a ne, nation, the Countess and the General shared first a correspondent, in %hillis Wheatle), +merica s premier 0lack author and poet( then, a correspondence( and eventuall), something of a friendship and something of a vision. /he Countess had entrusted to her distant cousin the General her hopes of maintaining charities in the former colonies and evangeliBing the "ative +mericans. /he General came to endo, ,hat 'ecame Washington College – no, Washington and !ee Mniversit) – ,here one of +merica s first 0lack clerg)men ,as educated( and to move to,ards a'olitionism. /heir lives and correspondence, and their actions, touched at various points those of >ohn Wesle) and George Whitefield( %hillis Wheatle)( =laudah E7uiano the 0lack 0ritish ,riter ,hose voice po,erfull) indicted slaver)( the :everend 1amson =ccom, the &ohegan evangelist( and Granville 1harp, the pro8+merican 0ritish civil servant ,ho mid,ifed a'olitionism and helped create 1ierra !eone. In the end, the) helped to create the forces that evangeliBed the +merican frontier, put do,n slaver), gave the Mnited 1tates its standing sense of a special moral mission in the ,orld, and made the "onconformist Conscience a permanent factor in 0ritish politics.
It is not often that a 'rief epistolar) interaction, conducted ') the sluggish /ransatlantic mails of the +ge of 1ail, and ending in the disappointment of a cherished proIect, can have had such portentous conse7uences. 0ut then, 1elina, Countess 2o,ager of #untingdon, and George Washington, ,ere rather eCtraordinar) people, even in an age in ,hich there ,ere giants in the earth.
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