Terhune Family

Prelude:

continued:

Governor Fletcher had also leased out some of the land, presumably donating the proceeds to the building of the Anglican Church. His huge land grants were made late in his term when Bellomont was actually enroute to replace him. Bellomont charged him with giving away this land much of which actually belonged to the Mohawk Indians and many other frauds. Fletcher denied all of this, claiming for example, that he "didn't know it was the King's land" and claiming there was nothing wrong with supporting the Anglican Church. All of these matters are recounted in the Ecclesiastical Records, Volume II, pages 1250 to 1350.

After 1700, the situation of the Dutch Church continued to deteriorate, but in different ways than before. In England, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, a group dedicated to conversion to Anglicism was formed. It obtained strong support from Queen Anne, who achieved the throne in 1702 and was perhaps the most ardent backer of Anglican causes during this whole period. The Tory party also came to power in Parliament and also supported this view. Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury, the Queen's cousin, also became Governor in 1702. The Society flooded the colony with missionaries, English language religious texts, and started schools which, of course, taught the English liturgy.

Lord Cornbury proved to be a cunning, arrogant and audacious enemy of the Dutch Reformed Church. However, his intentions and indeed the desires of the English in general, had progressed beyond minimizing the Dutch church. They had not forgotten the Dutch reaction after Leisler's rebellion. They wanted to convert the multicultural colonial society into a homogenous English society and believed that suppressing the Dutch church would be an effective tool to accomplish this end. Of course, this contradicted all of the agreements made after the English takeover of the colony, but times had changed and many treaties are ultimately not worth the paper upon which they are written. Of course, their goals included other cultural entities besides the Dutch. Cornbury meddled in Dutch church assignments, assigning an Anglican to preach at Kingston. He directed the Pietist Dominee Bernardus Freeman be allowed to serve the Long Island Church when the Amsterdam Classis had ordained Vincentius Antonides for this role. General taxes were levied to support the Anglican Church and its minister, and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was aided in their schools and missionary works.

The New York Dominees finally became incensed at these actions and started to openly contest Cornbury. But unfortunately, they were a day late and a dollar short. They were able to reverse some of his appointments, but were unable to do much about the missionary work of the Society. Fortunately, Cornbury was his own worst enemy. He was a transvestite who fancied himself resembling Queen Anne of England. He openly paraded about in women's clothes, at the Fort, in church, and even at his wife's funeral. (See page 20) And he was a "dead beat," incurring thousands of pounds of unpaid bills. In 1709, the Whigs returned to power in England, and he was arrested and placed in debtor's prison. Fortunately for him, his father died and he inherited his father's titles which rendered him immune from prosecution. He was returned to England and his successor, Robert Hunter, a Whig, did not continue the hostile practices against the Dutch churches. However, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel was still in place and many deleterious actions against the Dutch Reformed church were not rescinded.

We have been discussing what can be best described as a social and political schism between many of the original Dutch settlers of New Netherland and the English government, Orthodox Dominees and wealthy merchants of what became New York City. While a majority of the Dutch came to despise the Orthodox Dominees, they still loved and wanted the Church and the Dutch social heritage it represented. There was not as yet a religious schism, because there were not two competing religious factions to fracture the church. But this was starting to develop. It had its origins in the New Jersey "frontier" ministering of the Pietist Guiliam Bertholf and the Long Island Pietist Bernardus Freeman. It would come to full fruition with the arrival in the colonies of the Pietist Dominee Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen in 1720. He would prove to be a dynamic, aggressive leader, a doggedly determined man who spread this version of Calvinism effectively throughout the New York, New Jersey area, directly attacking and undermining the Orthodox Dominees. He would operate in New Jersey, fertile ground to plow for many of the disaffected "Leislerians" who had moved to this area. The next section will discuss the meaning of Pietism, its spread in the colonies, and the events surrounding this change.

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