HISTORY OF BISHOP SAMUEL SEABURY, AND SEABURY FEAST DAY - DR. GIL HAAS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
Samuel Seabury was the first bishop of the American Episcopal Church, but his ardor as a British loyalist is less publicized. Under the pen name “A. W. Farmer”, he published three scathing rebuttals to his countrymen’s cries for independence. These “Farmer’s Letters” were so widely read that Alexander Hamilton penned three anonymous pamphlets refuting Seabury’s points of argument. In 1775, as the independence fervor escalated, Seabury was arrested and imprisoned by a band of patriots. Despite his earlier loyalist views, he was supportive to the new American government at the war’s conclusion. In 1783, Seabury was elected as America’s first Episcopal bishop. Having no Anglican bishops in America to consecrate him, he sailed to London hoping for consecration there. However, English bishops refused since he would not take an oath of allegiance to the King. Not deterred, Seabury traveled to Scotland where he was consecrated bishop in Aberdeen on November 14, 1784. This date (yesterday) was later named a feast day on the Episcopal calendar. Because of Seabury’s tenacity, the British parliament subsequently allowed ordination of foreign bishops cementing a relationship between the American and English churches.
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
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