Printer Friendly

Ritual time in British Plantation Colonies, 1650-1780.

Four thousand miles of ocean divided the plantation colonies of the first British Empire from the English metropole, a great physical distance that was augmented by the cultural divergence that divided those slave societies from England. Colonists in Barbados, Jamaica, and South Carolina thus made the re-creation of English ritual ways central to their ordering of the colonial experience. In particular, the preservation of the English liturgical year and its ritual enactment offered opportunities to connect colonial experience to metropolitan ideal. Confronted with seasons and crops that did not square meteorologically with English experience, colonists sought the comfort of maintaining English calendrical norms as much as possible. Within parish boundaries, colonists built churches in which the parish community could gather for the carefully scheduled, well-ordered worship of the English national church. The English Sabbath was central to the passage of time in weekly units, a day set apart for the church's liturgy, rest from labor, and social gatherings. The great and minor festivals of the Christian year and the daily office offered similar opportunities for Christian teaching and social fellowship, just as the celebration of state holidays connected these distant outposts of the empire to the Protestant national narrative that held an increasingly British people together. These ways of ordering time lent meaning to days that otherwise slipped by amid the routines of agricultural, commercial, and domestic life.1

In slave societies with majority populations of Africans and their descendents, the keeping of important English days and seasons marked a difference between those who claimed the rights of British subjects and their slaves. The free white men who processed to church on St. George's Day claimed that worship in the most public manner, so that even the ephemeral nature of the event could be overcome in the records of their newspapers. Slaves and even free people of color had little access to any public event related to the passage of time. Their ritual lives were rendered private or domestic by the white elite that sought to restrict the public gatherings of slaves that they strangely called "caballing," something usually done in private. At the same time, the ritual calendar of English Christians created moments of unintended increased personal freedom for slaves on Sunday and at feasts during the year. The master class sensed the danger of Sundays and feast days and responded with an increased vigilance meant to reduce slaves' appropriation of these days for their own purposes. Thus ritual proved, as it often does, to be an indeterminate and ambiguous field of action, one that provided resources to both Europeans and Africans struggling for power in the British plantation world.


To be sure, calendars based on the seasons and their weather structured time's passage in the plantation colonies, though almanacs used by merchants and planters transcend modern distinctions in their attention to both secular and religious calendars. (2) Colonists were immediately aware of how far the tropical and subtropical climates of the Caribbean and Carolina diverged from English meteorological experience. Early Carolinians advised English readers that "the Heats of Carolina are indeed troublesome to Strangers in June, July, and August" and compared Carolina's February and March to April and May in England and Carolina's April and May to England's June and July. (3) Yet the English in Carolina complained about extreme weather generally, including winter's chill. (4) Some concluded that the best time for a new colonist to arrive "is September; for then they have eight Months moderate Weather, before the Heat comes, in which Time the Climate will become agreeable." (5) That first summer might still lead some to agree with a low-country woman who found the summer of 1711 comparable to being "baked in an Oven." The hearty Eliza Lucas

Pinckney permitted herself to complain that "4 months in the year is extreamly disagreeable, excessive hott." (6) Relief came in winter when the colony was "invigorated with purifying cold winds from the Cherokee Mountains, which recovers us from the languid habit acquired in the warm months." (7) Thus Carolina's climate offered greater seasonality than Pinckney's native Antigua, which shared in the seemingly unvarying tropical climate that many colonists understood to be enervating. (8) Careful observers did note the relative cool and lesser humidity of a Caribbean winter, as well as the rise in temperature and precipitation that characterized much of the second half of the year, the season in which hurricanes might make their fearful appearance, both in the Caribbean and Carolina.

Those great storms hovered over a quarter of the year in the minds of many colonists. By the end of the seventeenth century, some years' experience in the hurricane zone taught the English to expect and prepare for hurricanes within a well-defined season, including the months of September, October, and November. On the island of Nevis in the 1670s, people packed up their goods in the stormy season to minimize their losses. Sugar planters too removed parts of their mills in advance of the season, hoping to reduce wind damage to their capital improvements. (10) Ships' captains hoped to clear Caribbean ports no later than August, in advance of what one early slave trader called "the Michaelmas storms," locating the storms in the season around Michaelmas (the feast of St. Michael and All Angels) on September 29. (11) Indeed, wise seafaring men realized that leaving southern ports in advance of the hurricanes also allowed them to arrive in England before the North Atlantic gales threatened shipping in winter. (12) Some ships that missed the window of safety took their chances, but many who found themselves in the sugar ports in late fall would spend a pleasant Caribbean winter there, waiting to load the new sugar crop sometime in the first quarter of the year. (13)

That sugar and the rice that made Carolinians rich were produced according to carefully considered agricultural calendars, summarized in manuals for new residents. Those headed to Carolina were advised that "our Season of Sowing is from the First of March to the tenth of June. The principal Seed-time of Rice, from the first of April to the twentieth of May; of Indian Corn, Pease and Beans, the last Week of March, all April, May, and the first ten Days of June. In March and April, we set Potatoes, Pompions, Cucumbers, Melons, Kidney-beans, etc." Rice was to be harvested in September; Indian corn and peas in October. (14) Planters were advised that indigo would not thrive in autumn and that they were "never to cut the Herb in a Wet Season." (15) In early Carolina, spring planting might be combined with the gathering in of recently born calves, "separating the Cows from the Calves, [and] keeping the Calves Inclos'd." (16)

African knowledge of the seasons of rice agriculture may have been as important to the success of the Carolina economy as was African labor. Planters intervened, however, by eliminating traditional moments of harvest rest from the calendar of labor. The international market for the grain permitted no such respite. In Carolina, rice work was year-round. Maintenance of labor-intensive water management systems and soil preparation ("mud work") occupied slaves from December to March. Rice in tidal zones then had two plantings, in early and later spring. The growing season was punctuated by four floodings and nearly constant hoeing and weeding. Late summer duties included keeping birds out of the grain. Harvest from late August into October was followed by the exhausting work of processing the rice in time for export to Europe, where peak prices would only be earned if the rice arrived in time for the increased demand of Catholic Europe's Lent. Planters thus aimed for a February delivery to southern European ports and imposed a calendar dictated by the Atlantic market on their slaves. (17)

Sugar had its seasons as well, a definite calendar even in a region of fairly constant temperatures. Samuel Martin of Antigua was sure that "there is not therefore a greater error in the whole practice of plantership than to make sugar, or to plant canes at improper seasons of the year." Those who failed to plant between June and October and to harvest between the first of January and last of June would find themselves grinding cane later in the year, missing the relative dryness of the first quarter, always better for cutting cane and boiling than for planting. (18) They thus risked both "the destruction of our wind-mills by hurricanes" and the making of "bad sugar, at infinite expense of time and labor, both of negroes and cattle." One poorly timed crop could affect an estate for years, since "by mismanagement of this kind every succeeding crop is put out of regular order." (19) Crop time meant seven days of work per week for slaves, for the mill and boiling house could not be kept waiting. Other times of year provided little respite, though tasks might be different. Just as on the rice plantations of the mainland, enslavement on a sugar plantation meant year-round work, punctuated by some seasonal variation. (20)

Disease also shaped the calendars of colonists. In the first half of the eighteenth century, low-country residents who remained in rural areas in late summer and fall took a considerable risk. Parish registers reveal that more that 40 percent of a parish's deaths could occur between August and November. (21) The fall was particularly dangerous to the young: nearly 80 percent of residents of Christ Church parish who died before the age of twenty did so in the sickly season. (22) Planters gradually learned that spending summer in Charles Town had the advantage of sea breezes and distance from the malarial swamps in which their rice thrived, nonetheless complaining "that the vile fall-fevers should keep one pent up in Charleston the most agreeable season of the year." (23) By the late eighteenth century, even readers in Germany might have learned the Carolina calendar: "Carolina is in the spring a paradise, in the summer a hell, and in the autumn a hospital." (24) Church-going Carolinians were fortunate that the more intense period of observations in the Christian year occurred between December and May, their colony's healthiest months. (25)

Seasons of intensified social activity were typical of the plantation colonies, especially in Carolina and Jamaica. Shaped by the weather, politics, and agricultural and shipping cycles, the social seasons drew some of the rural population into Charles Town and Spanish Town, filling boarding houses, rental property, and second homes. (26) The social season in Spanish Town in Jamaica was tied to the meetings of law courts and the Assembly, a display of balls, horse races, and lavish meals more opulent that anywhere else in British North America. (27) Jamaica's governors, resident in King's House on the Parade, hosted the balls that were "the social peak of an Assembly season." (28) Lordly Jamaicans like the Prices of Worthy Park estate enjoyed a Spanish Town house that occupied a city block, a second home that might serve as both a welcome escape from the "sickly stink of the boiling sugar" and as a convenient perch from which to ensure planter domination of the colonial government. (29) Carolina's main legislative session also coincided with a social season. (30) Thus wealthy Carolinians, many maintaining a home in the city, flocked to Charles Town for a winter season that culminated in a February race week by the later eighteenth century. (31) In the concerts of the St. Cecilia Society, dramatic productions, and dinner parties, Carolinians did their best to sustain the fiction that their metropolis was a little London. (32)

A colonial project and American locations thus created new social, political, and agricultural calendars, with seasons and schedules that sometimes reminded colonists of their provinciality. At the same time, colonists comforted themselves with English calendrical practices meant to overcome their marginalization. That effort is nowhere more apparent than in the calendar and daily practices of the church year. In Barbados, Jamaica, and South Carolina, the Church of England was by law established; the land was divided into parishes; and ministers were charged with imposing the Anglican liturgical calendar and cycles of prayer on the passage of time. During its fitful Reformation, the Church of England had reformed rather than eliminated the cycles of the Christian liturgical year, intending "to be more studious of unity and concord, than of innovations and new-fangleness, which ... is always to be eschewed." (33) While some Puritans would have preferred otherwise, the church retained the three great festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday. Holy days included those based on events in the life of Christ (Circumcision, Epiphany, Ascension) and two based on events in the life of the Virgin Mary (Purification of the Blessed Virgin and Annunciation). Thirteen other days were based on key personalities of the New Testament, chiefly apostles and evangelists. (34) The observances of All Saints' Day on November 1 and St. Michael and All Angels (Michaelmas) on September 29 were also retained. Every Friday in the year, the Rogation days, Ember days, and the forty days of Lent were appointed fast days. (351) To these, colonists added a variety of new fast days based on colonial events. Also added to the older holy days were various state holidays, including Gunpowder Treason Day (November 5: to commemorate the foiling of Guy Fawkes's plot in 1605), a day to observe the martyrdom of Charles I (January 30), Restoration Day (May 29), and the Accession Day of the reigning monarch. (36) The first three in particular were important to Protestant national memory and provided opportunities for Anglicans to differentiate themselves from their dissenting neighbors. (37) The feast days of St. George (April 23), St. Patrick (March 17), and St. Andrew (November 30), the patrons of England, Ireland, and Scotland respectively, gathered those nationalities together in the British colonies. While colonial practice would never rise to the level of the prayer book's ideal, some of these days provided a framework for corporate life and the passage of time, especially in cities and towns. (38)


The most basic time cycle in the plantation colonies was from Sunday to Sunday. (39) Sunday worship in many places was well attended, filling many churches to capacity, especially in the urban parishes. St. Philip's in Charles Town reported 260 regular worshippers in the 1720s and a "usual auditory" of "Six or Seven Hundred People" in the 1760s, likely a very full house. (40) Eliza Pinckney noted in 1742 that "St. Phillips Church in Charles Town is a very Eligant one, and much frequented. There are several more places of publick worship in this town and the generality of people [are] of a religious turn of mind. 41 St. Andrew s parish, up the neck from Charles Town, had 60 or 70 families most Sundays. (42) None of the country parishes in Carolina reported fewer than 50 worshippers on Sunday in the 1720s. St. Thomas's and Christ Church had as many as 70, while the Goose Creek and Santee parishes regularly accommodated 100 worshippers. (43) Such numbers likely came close to filling the small churches of the rural low country. (44)

Barbados in the 1720s also reported a respectable level of church attendance on Sunday. The rector of St. Michael's in the Barbadian metropolis of Bridgetown reported that "in dry weather every pew in it is pretty full, so that I can ... affirm that are no congregations in England more regular, very few larger, and not many so large as mine." (45) Even in the plantation districts of the island, Joseph Holt of St. Joseph's could report that when "ye Weather is favourable we have a full and (blessed be God) conformable Congregation." (46) The rectors of St. Philip's and St. Peter's assured the bishop that their services were well attended. (47) St. Thomas's had as many as 120 worshippers, while St. Andrew's had 70 or 80. (48) Late in the period the clerk of St. Michael's recorded the destruction of their church by a hurricane, lamenting the loss of a fine building that "had often held more than 3000 souls at one time." (49) John Oldmixon's English readers were assured that the same church was "as large as many of our Cathedrals," clearly meant to seat large numbers of persons. (50) The neglect of Sunday worship in the plantation colonies reported by some visitors is often not borne out in the archival record.

Even the principal Jamaican parishes, on an island notorious in the literature for its irreligion, reported tolerable congregations in the 1720s. William May of Kingston found that on Sunday morning, "the Church is generally pretty full, but very thin at other at other times," (51) thus bemoaning only a lack of attendance at weekday liturgies. Enlargements of the Kingston Parish church over the eighteenth century eventually produced a building that could seat 1300 worshippers. (52) John Scott of St. Catherine's parish in Spanish Town wrote that he could "assure you Lordship a considerable Number of the Parishioners constantly and religiously attend." (53) Though usually lacking the Sabbatarian rigor of their New England cousins, residents of Barbados, Jamaica, and South Carolina set the Lord's Day aside as a special one in the week. The "time of divine service" was meant to be a quiet time apart in the community's life, one that was sometimes observed both morning and afternoon. (54) In addition to providing opportunities for divine worship, Sunday offered time for recreation that other days did not permit and a chance to wear Sunday-best clothing. For slaves, the arrival of Sunday usually meant the week's one day of respite. The suspension of regular work meant a chance to gather the dispersed slave community for social, religious, and commercial purposes. Sunday was thus a day apart, one that offered the entire community relief from the ordinary strictures of the six days that followed. The black majorities of the plantation colonies meant that Sunday was a day that whites both welcomed and feared.

Sabbatarian laws established the basic outline of Sunday in the plantation colonies. In the seventeenth century, a Barbados act required those within two miles of a church to come to church morning and evening on Sunday. Those more than two miles away were to come at least once per month. Constables, churchwardens, and sidemen were to patrol during divine service, especially "where they do suspect leud and debauched Company to Frequent." Persons found "misdemeaning themselves" were to be put in the stocks for four hours unless they paid a five-shilling fine for the poor. (55) South Carolina law similarly authorized a five-shilling fine for those who failed to go to church and "there abide orderly and soberly, during the Time of Prayer and Preaching." It forbade "publick Sports or Pastimes, as Bear-baiting, Bull-baiting, Football playing, Horse-racing, Interludes, or common Plays," and required church wardens and constables in Charles Town "in the Time of Divine Service, [to] walk through the said Town, to observe, suppress, and apprehend all Offenders whatsoever" and put them in the stocks. The same act provided that slaves were not to be obliged to work on Sunday. (56) Grand Juries impaneled in Carolina consistently complained about persons who did not honor the Christian Sabbath, especially "the Prophanation of the Sabbath Day by Barbers and others, who keep open Shops for the Convenience of their Customers, to the great Scandal of Christianity and Offense to all Sober and well disposed Persons." (57) In early 1747, Governor James Glen of South Carolina had "Sentinels ... placed at the Town Gates every Sunday, to prevent as much as possible the Prophanation of the Lord's Day, to restrain all loose and idle Persons from going a pleasuring on that Day during the Time of Divine Service, and to stop all Drovers, Butchers, and their Servants with their Carts and Horses from coming to Market on that Day," in keeping with the 1712 law for Sabbath keeping. (58) Jamaican legislation also established fines for those who permitted any "to tipple or drink in time of divine Service." (59) While there was distance between prescription and practice, Sunday was not the same as every other day in the plantation colonies.

Worshippers invested the basic Christian duty of Sunday worship with a variety of additional social and cultural meanings. Church attendance, for instance, consistently required a special level of dress. In early-eighteenth-century Jamaica, it was one of the few places where men did not wear a ruffled or "furbelowed Cambric cap," attire judged too hot by succeeding generations. (60) Men did wear wigs, silk coats, and vests trimmed with silver to church in Jamaica, court-time being the only other occasion calling for such formality. (61) A letter from a devout unmarried older woman named "Mary Meanwell" published in the South Carolina newspaper in 1732 complained that her "constant and devout Attendance on publick Worship" was undermined by her "misfortune to sit in the next Pew to a parcel of Girls and young Fellows, who are, three Parts of the Service, Giggling and Prating." (62) Even if the letter is fiction, it captured the reality of the church as one of the few public places for young people to gather. Late in the period, "several young Men made a practice of assembling under the Piazza at the West Door" of St. Michael's in Charles Town, "walking backwards and forwards, trailing sticks on the Flaggs and talking loud during Divine Service on Sunday forenoons." (63) Thoroughly impious, the young men nonetheless recognized that Sunday morning at church was still the place to be. For many others, worship was a more serious business. The memorial tablet of Thomas Harrison in St. Michael's church in Bridgetown noted that his "Constant attendance at Divine Service" earned him "the Esteem of his Acquaintances." (64) Sunday worship was also a time to take in the civic spectacles of political elites. In seventeenth-century Barbados, the governor went to church with "his marshall going before him" bareheaded, a posture some found too grandiose. (65) In Spanish Town early in the period, "every Sunday there is 250 foot and 60 horse in army, to Guard his Grace [the governor] to, and from the Church." (66) Gathering for worship on a Sunday was both a sacred duty and a social opportunity.

This mixture of the transcendent and the mundane meant that the sacred time and space of Sunday worship was an atmosphere charged with the authority of a community gathered together, a place for important things to be done and said. Banns of marriage were published for three Sundays in all the plantation colonies, offering the wider community time to consider the upcoming nuptials of those who did not purchase marriage licenses. Those abandoning the Roman Catholic faith did as Christopher Gilmor "did in the Parish Church of St. Michael in the Island of Barbados, on the 14 of July 1734 before the Congregation there assembled," when he "openly, publickly, and Solemnly read all what is Contain'd in the Above declaration and renunciation." (67) In Barbados, parish churches were the location for publishing new legislation. (68) In 1666, the legislators of the island issued a grand compilation of all acts still in force, to be put into "one fair copy of all said acts" and "sent to the Minister of the Parish of St. Michael, to be by him published in the said Parish-Church the next Sunday, and so from thence to some other Parish, to be published the next Sunday after that; and so successively from Parish to Parish." (69) Individual acts often included a provision for their publication by the minister in church and sometimes for their annual repetition. (70) Worshippers heard the "Act for the governing of Negroes" read twice annually, with its provision that a master's murder of a slave incurred only a 15 [pounds sterling] fine. Twice a year, this also put on the lips of the minister or the clerk the assertion that Africans were "of a barbarous, wild, and savage nature." (71) Writs for elections were published in church, elections often being held in parish churches in the plantation world. (72) In Carolina, probate matters such as the appointment of administrators were announced in church. (73) Landowners in Barbados did well to be present in church when their portion of the parish tax was announced on three successive Sundays as required by legislation. (74) Jamaican horse-catchers had to give notice in the parish church the Sunday before they intended to mark any animals. (75) Surrounded by the trappings of divine authority, these Sunday announcements were imbued with a power beyond their mundane subject matter.

Some avoided that authority, preferring the opportunities for sociability and travel that Sunday afforded. Lawmakers in Barbados bemoaned that on Sundays "many lewd, loose, and idle persons, do usually resort to such Tipling-houses, who, by their drunkenness, swearing, and other miscarriages, do in a very high nature blaspheme the name of God, profane the Sabbath, and bring a great scandal upon true Christian religion." (76) Some in Jamaica made "the Sabath day ... the chief day for their drinking and pastime," others "driving like madmen in kitterines ... feasting, drinking, [and] gambling. It is possible that these recreations took place after church, like the traditional church ales and pastimes of many an English parish. (78) In Charles Town, "disorders in Punch-houses" were not uncommon on Sunday. (79) The Barbadian Sunday witnessed by Pere Labat in 1700 was a long morning's work for his ministerial host but was followed by dinner and "the pleasure of watching a revue of the cavalry and infantry of the country." (80) No matter their timing and moral status, these activities reveal all the same how the rhythm of the Christian week structured life even for the irreligious in the plantation colonies. Africans and their descendents made the most of the relative freedom of Sunday. When slave owners extracted regular work from slaves on Sunday, other whites took notice. In Carolina "in several Parts of the Country," masters erred "by laying Negroes under a Necessity of labouring on that Day, contrary to the Laws of God and Man," complained the grand jury in 1737. (81) Clergy complained about slaves working on Sunday in their own provision plots, an activity that was sometimes a necessity and sometimes part of slaves' limited arena of personal control. Francis Le Jau of Goose Creek in Carolina thought it a great sin that slaves "are suffered, some forced---to work upon Sundays, having no other means to subsist." (82) Neither would he have approved of James Laurens's paying some of his slaves 3 [pounds sterling] and four bottles of rum to build new indigo vats on "their Sunday." (83)

Similarly in Jamaica, a minister found that working six days for their masters did not obviate slaves' need to work for themselves on Sunday, the alternative being starvation. (84) Jamaican clergymen regretted that the three towns on the island "hold their great weekly market on Sunday Morning from day light till an hour before Church time," the "Negro Markets" supervised by parish authorities. (85) In 1736, the vestry of Port Royal parish in Jamaica ordered its constables to "attend with their Staff's on Sunday Morning next at the Negroe Markett, in Order to See there be no Injustice done to the Negroes," a mysterious and rare intervention in favor of Afro-Jamaicans. (86) Whites complained that Afro-Barbadians used Sunday for "drumming, dancing, and riot, practicing frenzied incantations over the graves of their deceased relatives and friends." (87) In the hands of slaves, the Christian Sabbath thus offered an interstice of economic and personal freedom amidst six days of domination. (88)

Their Sunday initiatives were not welcomed by white authorities. Persistent complaints and ineffectual regulation mark white responses to slaves' use of Sunday. Barbados legislation of 1688 required that no master "give their Negroes or other Slaves leave on Sabbath-days, Holidays, or any other time, to go out of their Plantations, except such Negro or other Slave, as usually wait upon them at home or abroad, wearing a Livery." (89) The island's slave patrol was charged with the enforcement of that law. (90) In Jamaica's Port Royal, the constables were ordered by the vestry one Sunday to go to the Negro Market "in the Afternoon in Order to destroy the Drums and other Noisy Instruments to Prevent the Disorders that arise from their Caballing and Dancing." (91) Time and again, the Carolina grand jury took note "that it is a Grievance that the Negroes are suffered publickly to cabal in the Streets of this Town on the said Day, while the Inhabitants are at divine Service, which if not timely presented may be of fatal Consequences to the Province." (92) Carolina legislation also forbade allowing slaves access to firearms when away from home at any time between Saturday sunset and Monday sunrise. (93)

A law in Carolina and prudence elsewhere required white worshippers to attend church well armed. Johann Martin Bolzius told his German audience that in Carolina "one goes to church with swords, guns, and pistols." (94) The announcement of that law in 1739 may have contributed to the timing of the Stono Rebellion, which began on a Sunday morning just weeks before the legislation took effect. (95) The Antiguan conspiracy of 1736 was furthered during Sunday dancing in a pasture outside the town of St. John's. (96) Sunday was a persistently dangerous day for planters in the plantation colonies. (97) The order that plantation Christians diligently imposed on the passage of time thus gave one day of the week a greater potential for disorder.


Within the basic weekly cycle of Sundays, the great festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Whitsunday punctuated the year in ways that affected almost all the inhabitants of the plantation regions. (98) No Anglican church could fail to be open these days, on which the Eucharist was nearly always celebrated and when the doctrines of the Incarnation, Resurrection, and gift of the Holy Spirit were proclaimed. Churchwardens were responsible for decorating the church for these high holy days and for purchasing the bread and wine that would be consumed in the ritual meal. Kingston parish paid 10 shillings to Edith Welsh for "dressing the Church At Easter," while Edith Newson earned 1 [pounds sterling] for the same service at Christmas in 1724. (99) The parish also laid out 2.2.6 [pounds sterling] for "Bread and Wine @ the Eucharist 88 Oz. Christmas" in December 1722. (100) Port Royal paid Nathaniel Swivany for "Providing Boughs for the Church" in 1736, that greenery likely being gathered by some of the five slaves he owned. (101) The same expenses can be found in all the principal parishes of the plantation regions. (102) Preparation for Easter was made in the season of Lent, which brought special opportunities for worship and instruction in the plantation colonies. In Bridgetown, ministers from all over the island preached in rotation on Lenten Wednesdays and Fridays. (103) In many places, Lent offered opportunities for catechetical instruction. William May of Kingston reported that he devoted part of his Wednesday and Friday to catechizing during that penitential season. (104) In South Carolina, William Guy of St. Andrew's and Francis Varnod of St. George's both took up this traditional practice of Lenten teaching as well. (105) Five Barbadian parishes provided catechism classes in Lent, some on the traditional Wednesdays and Fridays. (106)

The great feasts were also days when slaves demanded freedom from work. Hans Sloane reported that Jamaican slaves were free from coerced labor "Saturdays in the Afternoon, and Sundays, with Christmas Holidays, Easter, call'd little or Pigganinny, Christmas, and some other great Feasts allow'd them." (107) More specifically, slaves could count as "their own time" some "three days at Christmas, two at Easter, and two at Whitsuntide," thus adding the prayer book's Monday and Tuesday holy days to the Easter and Whitsun Sabbath days. (108) These days were times for gatherings of Africans, "those of one and the Same Country ... [to] feast, sing, and dance." (109) Christmas in particular offered respite at a trying time on both sugar and rice plantation; late December could mean both the hard work of processing rice and the impending sugar harvest. The great feasts required extra vigilance on the part of nervous whites. A rector of Vere on Jamaica's south coast noted that "ordinarily at the great feasts in the Church particularly at Easter wch falls on a Sunday there is a Patroul or a part of the troop of horse rides about the Parishes to see that no Negroes should assemble." The men on patrol managed to celebrate the holiday even in the midst of their vigilance, drinking healths as they moved through the parish. (110) Failure to exercise such vigilance could be deadly; Tacky's Revolt in St. Mary's parish in Jamaica began in the evening on Easter day in 1760, with a further outbreak in Westmoreland on Whitsunday. (111) Subsequent governors of Jamaica required the militia, both horse and foot, to be "under Arms and properly provided" during the "Christmas Holidays, as also at Easter, and Whitsuntide." (112) Slave owners who attempted to ignore customary holidays could face rebellion, as when fifteen Coromantee men in Antigua rose on December 27, 1701, and decapitated their owner, Samuel Martin. (113) White servants also had liberty on the great feasts, and the days following. One Barbadian servant enjoyed too much his leave "on Easter Monday, last past ... to visit friends of his." When he was "overtaken in Drink," he stayed away on Tuesday as well. Though a trial judge sentenced him to an extra year of service as a result, the Council, perhaps recognizing that the Tuesday after Easter was a holy day as well, threw out that sentence. (114) In Carolina, Easter Monday was the appointed day for vestry elections. (115)

Slaves and servants received gifts from their owners and employers on these holidays. Eliza Pinckney insisted to her sons' guardian in England that the boys "should make your Servants some acknowledgement for their trouble at holi-day times-what you think proper. It is what they always did to our own." That included "Whitsuntide [when] they used to make Mrs. Greene a present of a guinea for a pound of tea." (116) These holy days' related commercial importance for city merchants is revealed by the South Carolina Gazette heading for May 27, 1751: "ADVERTISEMENTS. WHITSUN-MONDAY, 1751." (117) Carolinians and others dated events in their lives around the great days of the Christian year, as when a Carolina medical student dated his departure "Good Friday April 1st 1768," while his arrival in Portsmouth was "on the following Whit-Sunday." (118) An aged father told his son that it was on "the Eve of Whitsunday 1759" that "I married your mother" in Jamaica. (119) The Christian year was thus built into the minds of many in the plantation colonies.


Sunday and the great feasts were hardly the only days for worship in the colonial world. Unnoticed by the many historians who have described the irreligion of the plantation colonies was a tradition of weekday corporate prayer. In 1717, public prayers were read in St. Michael's church in Bridgetown "every Day, twice every Holiday and Saturday." (120) In the 1720s, services there were "perform'd every morn, at which we have a numerous Congregation." (121) This duty likely fell to the curate, a junior clergyman employed by the rector. In 1732, during a dispute with his vestry, the rector of the same parish was "unwilling the Parish shd be depriv'd of daily Prayers" and paid the curate himself. (122) In Speightstown's St. Peter's church further up the leeward coast, there was "divine Service every morning between the hours of eight and nine [with] a considerable number of constant attendants." The minister provided catechetical instruction "on Tuesdays after the Second Lesson at Morning Prayer." (123) St. Philip's in Carolina held prayers every Wednesday and Friday, with up to fifty persons in attendance. (124) Forty years later that pattern held true at St. Philip's and the newer Charles Town parish of St. Michael, both of which offered services "with Great Decency and Order: both on Holidays and Week Days." (125) Port Royal in Jamaica also held services every Wednesday and Friday, but the minister admitted that the congregation was thin compared to Sunday worship. (126) The same schedule and result were to be found in Kingston parish. (127) When the Duke of Portland was governor of Jamaica, his domestic chaplain "read prayers every Morning in his Grace's family and in a Chapel in Spanish Town (built by Sir Wm. Beiston some time Gover. of this Island) every afternoon and Preach[ed] a Sermon Every Thursday in the sd Chapel." (128) The rector of St. Catherine's seems to have led daily morning prayer in the same chapel.(129) While churches in the rural plantation parishes were unlikely to be open during the week, a tradition of weekday prayer was to be found in the great port cities. These weekday corporate prayers supplemented the private devotions of families, so difficult to recover from the few surviving diaries and personal papers of the plantation colonies. (130)

Minor holy days and state holidays also punctuated the passage of time. In Barbados, only the parishes of St. Lucy, St. Peter, and St. John (three out of eleven) failed to report that they held divine service on the feasts and fasts of the church year. (131) St. Michael's in Bridgetown offered a sermon, not just prayers, on all "State Holy Days.' (132) On those days the political elite of the colony usually attended church en masse. The Assembly, Council, and Governor attended church together on November 5, 1684, which the lower house reminded the upper was the reason "that they could not finish any Business to waite upon them this morning Before Church time ... it being Gunpowder Treason day." (133) In Jamaica, the perennial liturgical laggard, only St. Catherine's parish in Spanish Town and the Kingston parish reported keeping "all holy days," while Vere, Westmoreland, St. Thomas in the Vale, and St. Thomas in the East reported divine service on at least some holy days. (134) In the 1720s, South Carolinians could worship on the holy days in St. Philip's, St. Andrew's, St. Thomas's, St. Denis's, and St. James's Santee, in five out of eleven total parishes. (135) In the decade before, Francis Le Jau of Goose Creek had lost his battle to observe holy days, since "the Negroes took that opportunity and wou'd not work, which made the Masters angry and none Came to Church." (136) Though short lived, Le Jau's holy day celebrations were quickly appropriated by slaves in the struggle against their owners. More dramatic was the possible retention of Kongo-Angolan military and liturgical practices related to the Catholic feast of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary on September 8, which may have contributed to the timing of the Stono Rebellion in Carolina in 1739. (137) Antigua's slave plot of 1736 was planned around the festivities that marked the anniversary of the accession of George II. (138) The ritual calendar lent itself to efforts at both domination and resistance.

The above Goose Creek Anglicans and other sorts of Christians in the plantation colonies felt differently about the wisdom of following a liturgical calendar, exposing a cleavage in the European community. Quakers and Reformed Christians, including Congregationalists, Presbyterians, and Baptists, disapproved of many Anglican holy days. When Charles Woodmason held services on All Saints' Day in the Carolina backcountry, he heard that "the Presbyterians disliked the Service and Sermon of the Day saying it was Popish." (139) They felt similarly about Good Friday, which also "savour'd of Popery." (140) But Woodmason's service for Gunpowder Treason day attracted even Quakers. A sermon attacking the Roman church "gave Satisfaction" to the diverse group of Protestant worshippers. (141) Indeed, many non-Anglican Protestants in the plantation regions likely joined Charles Town Lutherans in observing the English state holidays. They resolved that "every new minister should be admonished to follow George III's order of the year 1761, namely to conduct special services of thanksgiving on November 5, January 30, May 29, and October 25, as was announced in the book of Common Prayers." (142) While theological convictions kept many dissenters from joining in the celebration of saints' days, the state holidays offered opportunities to join members of the national church in a Protestant consensus that connected them to British national life.

Clergy and lay people enriched holy days with various social and cultural elaborations. In the port cities, the congregations were large enough that organists were usually required to play. Kingston parish ordered its organist John Daniel D'luski "be obliged to attend Divine Service on all Festivalls" for his 130 [pound sterling] annual salary, as did St. Michael's in Bridgetown and St. Philip's in Charles Town. (143) In the 1730s, the January 30 anniversary of the execution of Charles I was marked in Charles Town "as usual," prayers being supplemented with the flying of flags at half staff and the firing of guns.(144) As late as 1753, the people of Charles Town still gathered for "the Anniversary of our happy Deliverance from a most horrid Popish Plot, and of the glorious Revolution by the landing of King WILLIAM in England," though the newspaper only noted that the "Day was observed here as usual."(145) The feast of St. John the Evangelist on December 27 was also widely celebrated, especially by the Masons, who often processed to divine worship that day. In Carolina, that feast featured the illumination of ships in Charles Town harbor, "which made a very grand and agreeable Appearance," theologically appropriate for a day whose collect asked God "to cast thy bright beams of light upon thy church" for its enlightenment. (146) Bridgetown residents were treated to the sound of St. Michael's ring of eight bells every holy day. (147) Civic rituals extended the observances of the Christian year into the arena of everyday life.


Colonial governors added to the ritual calendar when they responded to political events and natural disasters by proclaiming days of fasting and humiliation, some of them becoming annual observations. The rector of Kingston convened the clergy at the governor's behest after the devastating hurricane of August 28, 1722, "to consider what Form of Prayer wou'd be proper to be used on the 3d of October, which day was appointed to be kept as a day of Fasting and Humiliation." The form they created was sent to the governor, who then ordered it to be printed. (148) The governor's proclamation, suffused with language about Providence, affirmed that "the Divine Majesty's afflicting Dispensations to his People is to reclaime them from Sin, and that repentance of Sin, prevents the Continuance of God's Severe Judgements." On the day of the fast, "no Person or Persons whatsoever neither by them Selves, Servants, or Slaves, [could] presume to do any Manner of Work, in their Respective Trades, or Calling, on the Said Day, nor any Shop, Tavern, or Punch House be Kept open on the Same, on Pain of our Highest Displeasure, and that the Clergy of our Said Island, do in their Respective Stations, take Such Rule and Order therein as Shall be Suitable to So Solemn an Occasion." (149) Later, June 7 and August 28 were "two days of Fasting and humiliation Set a part by publick authority" in Jamaica, "upon the Account of the great Earthquake, and the late terrible Storme." (150) There were services in St. Catherine's and St. Thomas in the East's churches on those days and must have been at Kingston and Port Royal as well. (151) An early historian of Jamaica found that the two days were "most devoutly." (152) kept," when Jamaicans at least kept "the exterior Shew of Religion. With much to repent of, annual fast days gave Jamaicans an opportunity to atone for their apparent neglect of divine worship in comparison to Barbados and South Carolina.

Days of fasting and humiliation were especially common in South Carolina and were clearly meaningful occasions to political elites. After James Moore ousted Robert Johnson from the governor's chair during the revolt against the proprietary government, he ordered a day of "fasting and humiliation on Wednesday ye Twentyth of July," while the displaced Johnson appointed the 22nd for the same purposes. The Anglican clergy followed Johnson's directive, leading Moore's supporter John Fenwick to raise "a very great Disturbance in the Church Yard both before and after Divine Service ye Lord's Day before ye Fast was to be observed." He commanded the minister "to observe ye Day appointed by Col. Moor and strictly forbad ye People to repair to Church on ye Fast Day." (153) Disease could occasion such observances, as when an outbreak of smallpox led Governor William Bull to appoint July 5 "a Day of publick Fasting and Humiliation throughout this Province, requiring all Ministers of the Gospel and their Congregations to pay a due Regard thereunto." (154) War in 1740 prompted another day of fasting "to pray for Success to his Majesty's Arms in General, and, in particular to the Troops from this Province and Georgia." (155) A "dreadful and consuming Fire" in Charles Town later the same year led the governor to require both Anglican and dissenting ministers to preach and lead prayers, and "all Persons to abstain from all servile Labour, and to repair to the respective Places of Divine Worship, and to dedicate the said Day wholly to religious exercises" on November 28. (156) Bad news from Europe and the rebellion in Scotland in 1745 led Governor James Glen to declare a fast day, reminding the province that since "afflictions rise not out of the Dust, it is the Duty of all Ranks to humble themselves before God, and to offer up their fervent Prayers to the Divine Majesty." (157) Glen called for another in 1756 on receiving news of the great earthquake in Lisbon and Indian attacks on other colonies. (158) Though the clergy of the established church were quick to lead fast day liturgies, dissenting ministers like William Hutson also embraced days of "pub[lic] Humiliation and Supplication ... That our Hrts might all be bound together before the Lord." (159) While we cannot be sure how many residents repaired to church on these days, their continuing proclamation suggests no small level of attendance and importance.

The ethnic-patronal holidays of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick were popular celebrations as well. In the month of April, the "ENGLISH SOCIETY" of Barbados invited "All Englishmen and their descendants ... to join their countrymen on Wednesday the 23rd instant by ten o'clock in the morning, at the house of Mr. Richard Hovell., vintner, to breakfast, and to walk from thence in procession to church; after which to dine at Free Mason Hall, and as friends and countrymen to celebrate the day with harmony." (160) Scots and their descendents in Charles Town formed a St. Andrew's club for similar observances on November 30. (161) Joseph Dumbleton submitted an "Ode for St. Patric's Day" to the South Carolina news sheet in 1749, "inscrib'd to the President and Members of the Irish Society," which likely also gathered for worship and conviviality. In a Postscript dated March 20, 1749, he submitted "A RHAPSODY on RUM," which he called "Confusion's angry Sire," an indication that excess might have accompanied the celebration of their patronal feast. (162) We know that St. Patrick's Day was observed in Bridgetown in the 1720s, only because a recalcitrant organist had to be ordered to play for the service. (163) Both Scots and Irish Masons gathered for procession, sermon, and "mirth and chearfulness" on their respective days in Kingston. (164) These feasts allowed the scattered residents of the discrete British nations to gather in time, even though great amounts of space divided them from their native lands. (165)


Those who walked in holy day processions, listened to the bells of Easter, and plotted rebellion on a Sabbath afternoon participated in the construction of a comprehensive ritual environment in the plantation colonies, one in which some residents could experience the seeming naturalness of the hierarchies they were creating, even as others contested them. Faced with physical separation from the metropole and disquieting social realities, English colonists translated venerable practices of ritual time, including the daily office and the liturgical year, to their new homes, hoping to elide the difference between those places and the world they left behind. European colonists' persistent fidelity to ancient ritual practices even became a resource to enslaved Africans and their descendents, who explored their own power in the cultural interstices that this hoped-for "supercession of place" provided. Yet this ritualization of time was not merely some devious strategy for dominance, created by plantation colony elites for the purposes of controlling the slave societies of the New World. It was a typically Christian response to the traumas of physical distance, cultural discordance, and enormous mortality. Indeed, the roots of these often unconscious practices run deep into the faith and practice of early modern European Christianity and beyond it, even into the early churches of the Mediterranean world. These ways of experiencing ritual time ultimately grow out of the stress Christianity lays on time in its doctrine of Incarnation and its eschatology. Seeking in ritualized time comforting experiences of both community and hierarchy thus came quite naturally to colonists of the British plantation world, a people who found more meaning in Christian ritual than we have realized. (166)

(1.) Under the heading "British Plantation Colonies," this article treats primarily Barbados, Jamaica, and South Carolina, as does my dissertation, "Christian Liturgy and the Creation of British Slave Societies, 1650-1780" (Vanderbilt University, 2006).

(2.) See, for instance, The New Jamaica Almanack, and Register, Calculated to tire Meridian of the Island for the Year of Our Lord 1791 (Saint Jago de la Vega, Jamaica: David Dickson, ca. 1791).

(3.) Thomas Nairne, A Letter from South Carolina (London, 1710), in Selling a New World: Two Colonial South Carolina Pamphlets, ed. Jack P. Greene (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1989), 42. See also Karen Kupperman, "The Fear of Hot Climates in the Anglo-American Colonial Experience," William and Marl/Quarterly 41:2 (April 1984): 213-40.

(4.) James Glen, A Description of South Carolina (London: R. and J. Dodsley, 1761), 11.

(5.) Nairne, Letter from South Carolina, 66.

(6.) Both women are quoted in Robert M. Weir, Colonial South Carolina: A History (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1997), 39.

(7.) Weir, Colonial South Carolina, 262, quoting the younger William Bull.

(8.) Carl and Roberta Bridenbaugh, No Peace beyond the Line: The English in the Caribbean, 1624-1690 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), 124.

(9.) Matthew Mulcahy, Hurricanes and Society in the British Greater Caribbean, 1624-1783 (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), 49.

(10.) Richard Pares, A West-India Fortune (New York: Longmans, Green, 1950), 114.

(11.) Mulcahy, Hurricanes and Society in the British Greater Caribbean, 89, 3.

(12.) Ian K. Steele, The English Atlantic: An Exploration of Communication and Community (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 9.

(13.) Steele, The English Atlantic, 26.

(14.) Nairne, Letter from Carolina, 39.

(15.) No author, Further Observations Intended for hnproving the Culture and Curing of Indigo (London: n.p., 1747), 24.

(16.) John Norris, Profitable Advice for Rich and Poor (London, 1712), in Selling a New World: Two Colonial South Carolina Pamphlets, ed. Jack P. Greene, 103. Norris also advised that to plant new land, a man "begins to prepare for it in the Beginning of Winter, or about Michaelmas, if his other Business permits him," 96. On Africans' labor in Carolina cattle raising, see Peter H. Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (New York: W. W. Norton, 1974), 28-34.

(17.) Judith Carney, Black Rice: The ,African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001), 118-19, 121-22; Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap, 1998), 146-47; Philip Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, 1998), 149-59. The South Carolina Commons House of Assembly accommodated planter members by adjourning for a few weeks in planting and harvest seasons: see M. Eugene Sirmans, Colonial South Carolina: A Political History, 1663-1763 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, 1966), 241-42.

(18.) Richard Pares, A West-India Fortune, 114.

(19.) Samuel Martin, An Essay on Plantership, Humbly Inscrib'd to all the Planters of the British Sugar-Colonies in America, 2nd ed. (Antigua: T. Smith, 1750), 30. On the Martins of Antigua, see R. B. Sheridan, "The Rise of a Colonial Gentry: A Case Study of Antigua, 1730-1775," Economic History Review 13:3 (1961): 342-57.

(20.) Michael Craton and James Walvin, A Jamaican Plantation: The History of Worthy Park, 1670-1970 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970), 104-5.

(21.) H. Roy Merrens and George D. Terry, "Dying in Paradise: Malaria, Mortality, and the Perceptual Environment in Colonial South Carolina," Journal of Southern History 50:4 (November 1984): 541.

(22.) Figures for 1700-50, in Joyce E. Chaplin, An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South, 1730-1815 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture, 1993), 105.

(23.) Merrens and Terry, "Dying in Paradise," 548, quoting Joseph Manigault in 1784; James Raven, London Booksellers and American Customers: Transatlantic Literary Community and the Charleston Library Society, 1748-1811 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2002), 21.

(24.) Merrens and Terry, "Dying in Paradise," quoting Alfred J. Morrison, ed., Travels in the Confederation (1783-1784)from the German of Johann David Schoeph (Philadelphia, Pa.: Campbell, 1911), 2:172.

(25.) On the concentration of feasts and fasts between Christmas and midsummer, see Ronald Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England: The Ritual Year, 1400-1700 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 5.

(26.) Weir, Colonial South Carolina, 171. Records of a season in Bridgetown are more elusive. With no great distances to travel in Barbados, it may be that social occasions were more evenly distributed throughout the year.

(27.) James Robertson, Gone Is the Ancient Glory: Spanish Town, Jamaica, 1534-2000 (Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle, 2005), 59. Indeed, there was a political crisis in 1688 when a member of the Assembly sought to leave the house to race his horse. The Assembly met between October and December. See also Kamau Brathwaite, The Development of Creole Society in Jamaica, 1770-1820 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971), 50-51. On a less splendid level, whites like Thomas Thistlewood of Westmoreland Parish in Jamaica could expect their service on quarterly court days to be relieved with food, drink, and sometimes raucous male gatherings: see Trevor Bernard, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 83.

(28.) Robertson, Gone Is the Ancient Glory, 109.

(29.) Craton and Walvin, A Jamaican Plantation, 57, 84.

(30.) Sirmans, Colonial South Carolina, 241.

(31.) George C. Rogers, Jr., Charleston in the Age of the Pinckneys (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969), 23, 114.

(32.) Edward Pearson, "'Planters Full of Money': The Self-Fashioning of the Eighteenth-Century South Carolina Elite," in Money, Trade, and Power: The Evolution of Colonial South Carolina's Plantation Society, ed. Jack P. Greene, Rosemary Brana-Shute, and Randy J. Sparks (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001), 307; Eola Willis, The Charleston Stage in the Eighteenth Century, with Social Settings of the Time (Columbia, S.C.: The State, 1924); Sirmans, Colonial South Carolina, 229-31.

(33.) "Of Ceremonies, why some be abolished, and some retained," in The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church According to the Use of the Church of England (Oxford: Printed by the University Printers, 1703).

(34.) The Conversion of St. Paul, St. Matthias, St. Mark, St. Philip and St. James, St. Barnabas, Nativity of St. John the Baptist, St. Luke, St. Simon and St. Jude, St. Andrew, St. Thomas, St. Stephen, St. John, Holy Innocents.

(35.) Rogation days were traditionally observed on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day and asked for divine favor for the coming growing season. Ember days were the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays after the first Sunday in Lent, Pentecost, Holy Cross Day, and December 13. Ancient penitential practices, they also came to be associated with preparation for ordination: see Marion J. Hatchett, Commentary on the American Prayer Book (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), 46-47.

(36.) See the calendars in the front of any Book of Common Prayer from the period. I used The Book of Common Prayer (Oxford: Printed at the Theatre, 1688), and another printed at Oxford by the university printers in 1698.

(37.) The calendar and related issues are treated in David Cressy, Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989): see particularly chapter 12, "The English Calendar in Colonial America," which treats Virginia and New England. Also important is Ronald Hutton, The Rise and Fall of Merry England.

(38.) See Cressy, Bonfire and Bells, 193-96, for an account of the perseverance and weakening of the Anglican calendar in Virginia. On the ritual year in Europe generally, see Edward Muir, Ritual in Early Modern Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 55-80.

(39.) On the English Sunday, see Kenneth Parker, The English Sabbath: A Study of Doctrine and Discipline from the Reformation to the Civil War (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988).

(40.) Alexander Garden of St. Philip's, Fulham Papers, 9:160, Lambeth Palace Library, London; St. Philip's Parish Vestry Minutes, 1732-55, 135, 9 January 1745, South Carolina Division of Archives and History (hereafter SCDAH), Columbia, South Carolina. The figures in this and the next two paragraphs are largely drawn from clergy responses to the queries of the Bishop of London, sent out in 1723 and returned in 1724. Anglicans were not the only Carolinians filling their churches. Charles Town Independents found by 1729 that their meeting house was "too small and inconvenient to receive and contain the whole number of People which repair thither for Worship," since "by means of the vast growth of our Trade, a great Number of Sea-faring and transient persons come to, and frequent this Port," and apparently wanted to worship as well: Circular Church, Registers of the Corporation, vol. 1, 1695-1796, 20, 18 December 1729, South Carolina Historical Society (hereafter SCHS), Charleston, South Carolina.

(41.) Letter to Thomas Lucas, her brother, 22 May 1742, in The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762, ed. Elise Pinckney (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1972), 40.

(42.) William Guy, responses to queries, Fulham Papers, 9:161.

(43.) For St. Thomas's, Fulham Papers, 9:162-65; Christ Church, Fulham Papers, 9:170; St. James's Goose Creek, Fulham Papers, 9:168; St. James's Santee, Fulham Papers, 9:169.

(44.) A sense of the small size of the country parishes can be gained from Suzanne Cameron Linder, Anglican Churches in Colonial South Carolina: Their History and Architecture (Charleston, S.C.: Wyrick, 2000). Also see Patricia U. Bonomi and Peter R. Eisenstadt, "Church Adherence in the Eighteenth-Century British American Colonies," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 39:2 (1982): 245-86. They analyzed the responses to the 1724 queries of the Bishop of London and concluded that a mean of 61 percent of white Anglicans were regularly attending church (Table 1, 256-57).

(45.) William Gordon, St. Michael's, Fulham Papers, 15:206.

(46.) Joseph Holt, St. Joseph's, Fulham Papers, 15:207.

(47.) Charles Irvine, St. Philip's, Fulham Papers, 15:209-10.

(48.) Alexander Deuchar, St. Thomas's, Fulham Papers, 15:205, 208.

(49.) By John Orderson, Parish Clerk, St. Michael's Parish Register, 1771-94, 253-56, 10 October 1780, Barbados Archives (hereafter BA), Black Rock, Barbados.

(50.) John Oldmixon, The British Empire in America (London, 1708; reprint New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1969), 2:99.

(51.) William May, Kingston, Fulham Papers, 17:224-25. See Fulham Papers, 17:215-16, for the report of Galpine of Port Royal.

(52.) Lesley Lewis, "English Commemorative Sculpture in Jamaica," Jamaican Historical Review 9 (1972): 31.

(53.) John Scott, St. Catherine's, Spanish Town, Fulham Papers, 17:230-31.

(54.) While the town parishes of the plantation colonies had two services every Sunday, it is likely that relatively few of the rural parishes did with any regularity. The vestry of St. Michael in Barbados complained to the governor when their rector stopped preaching during the afternoon service, a duty that many ministers found difficult in the heat: Meeting of August 26, 1677, in "Records of the Vestry of St. Michael," Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 16:1 and 16:2 (1948-49): 59. Carolina ministers noted the difficulty of preaching in the heat, in George W. Williams, St. Michael's, Charleston, 1751-1791 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1951), 23; and Fulham Papers, 9:160.

(55.) Nicholas Trott, The Laws of the British Plantations in America, Relating to the Church and the Clergy, Religion and Learning (London: B. Cowse, 1721), 354-55.

(56.) Law passed 1712, in Trott, Laws, 69-73.

(57.) South Carolina Gazette, 9 March 1737.

(58.) South Carolina Gazette, 5 January 1747. On Glen, see W. Stitt Robinson, James Glen: From Scottish Provost to Royal Governor of South Carolina (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1996).

(59.) Charles Leslie, A New History of Jamaica: From the Earliest Accounts to the Taking of Porto Bello, 2nd ed. (London: J. Hodges, 1740), 163.

(60.) Curtis Brett Letters, Summary of and extracts from, 1775-80, 47-48, Jamaica Archives (hereafter JA), Spanish Town, Jamaica.

(61.) Charles Leslie, New History of Jamaica, 34. See also Edward Long, The History of Jamaica (London: 1774; reprint New York: Arno, 1972), 2:267.

(62.) South Carolina Gazette, 19 February 1732.

(63.) Meeting of the vestry, May 28, 1770, in The Minutes of St. Michael's Church of Charleston, S.C., 1758-1797, ed. Mrs. C. G. Howe and Mrs. Charles F. Middleton ([Charleston]: Historical Activities Committee, South Carolina Society of Colonial Dames of America, 1950), 83. In late-eighteenth-century Barbados, young men also "congregated in the church porch merely for the gratification" of seeing eligible young women, though "never entering to join in the service": see J. W. Orderson, Creoleana: Or Social and Domestic Scene and Incidents in Barbados in Days of Yore (London: Saunders and Otley, 1842; reprint Oxford: Macmillan Education, 2002), 34.

(64.) Memorial of Thomas Harrison, St. Michael's Church, Bridgetown, Barbados, author's visit, October 2005. Harrison died in 1746.

(65.) Interesting Tracts, Relating to the Island of Jamaica: Consisting of Curious State-Papers, Councils of War, Letters, Petitions, Narratives, etc (St. Jago de la Vega, Jamaica: Lewis, Lunan, and Jones, 1800), 74. This is from General Venables's narrative of the Western Design. After the failure to take Santo Domingo, he was faulted for many things, including taking "too much state upon me at Barbados." See also the painting, The Governor Going to Church, ca. 1740s, unsigned, in the collection of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society. It is printed in Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 116.

(66.) John Taylor, Multum in Parvo or Taylor's Historie of His Life and Travells in America, 511, manuscript, National Library of Jamaica, Kingston. On St. Catherine's parish church in Spanish Town and the colonial capital generally, see James Robertson, Gone Is the Ancient Glory, 69-70.

(67.) Renunciation of the Roman Church by Christopher Gilmor, Fulham Papers, 16:56-57.

(68.) The Council of Barbados carefully guarded its right to control political speech in churches. It ordered that no minister "presume to publish in any church ... any writing or writings ... unless it be by order or Command from ye Governor, or Governor and Council": see Minutes of the Council, Lucas Transcripts, Reel 1, 196, 26 February 1656, Public Library of Barbados (hereafter PLB), Bridgetown, Barbados.

(69.) Legislation passed March 22, 1666, in Acts, Passed in the Island of Barbados from 1643 to 1762, ed. Richard Hall (London: Richard Hall, 1764), 1.

(70.) See "An Act for the good governing of Servants, and ordaining the Rights between Masters and Servants" from 1661. So "that no person may pretend ignorance, in this Act or Statute.... It is lastly enacted and ordained ... that the Minister of every Parish-church within this Island, twice every year, that is to say, the Sunday next before Christmas-day and the Sunday next before the five and twentieth day of June, distinctly read, and publish this Act, in their respective Parish-churches, upon pain of forfeiting five hundred pounds of Sugar": Hall, ed., Acts, Passed in the Island of Barbados, 42.

(71.) Legislation passed August 8, 1688, in Hall, ed., Acts, Passed in the Island of Barbados, 112-21. By the mid-eighteenth century, the reading of acts in church was not having its intended effect. "An Act for the better regulating of publishing all Laws and other Papers appointed to be read in Parochial Churches of this Island" allowed for more abbreviated summaries of legislation to be read instead: Legislation passed December 27, 1744, in Hall, ed., Acts, Passed in the Island of Barbados, 336-37.

(72.) See "An Act to keep inviolate, and preserve the freedom of Elections," which directed that "the said Minister shall publish the said Writ or cause the same to be published as in the like cases hath been usual, in the Church of Chapel, of the said Parish, the three next succeeding Sundays": Legislation passed July 18, 1721, in Hall, ed. Acts, Passed in the Island of Barbados, 257. For churchwardens' management of elections in parish churches in Carolina, see S. Charles Bolton, Southern Anglicanism: The Church of England in Colonial South Carolina (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1982), 148-49; and Robert Olwell, Masters, Slaves, and Subjects: The Culture of Power in the South Carolina Low Country, 1740-1790 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998), 104. See the South Carolina Gazette, 10 March 1733, for an Assembly election "on Tuesday the 20th Inst. at 10 o'clock in the Forenoon, in the Parish Church," in Charles Town.

(73.) See the successive articles of Mabel L. Webber, ed., "Abstracts of Records of the Proceedings in the Court of Ordinary, 1764-1771," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 26:2 (1925): 124-27; 27:2 (1926): 91-94; 31:1 (1930): 63-66; 31:2 (1930): 154-57. Administrations were to be announced in the churches of St. Michael's, St. Andrew's, and St. Bartholomew's in these records.

(74.) Trott, Laws, 360-61.

(75.) Leslie, A New History of Jamaica, 170.

(76.) Legislation passed in 1668, in Hall, ed. Acts, Passed in the Island of Barbados, 63-64.

(77.) Taylor, Multum in Parvo, 517; J. B. Moreton, West India Customs and Manners (London: J. Parsons, 1793), 36. Moreton's account of West Indian life is sometimes too titillating to be taken seriously.

(78.) See David Underdown, Revel, Riot, and Rebellion: Popular Politics and Culture in England, 1603-1660 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

(79.) South Carolina Gazette, 29 October 1737.

(80.) John Eaden, ed., The Memoirs of Pere Labat, 1693-1705 (London: Frank Cass, 1970), 124.

(81.) South Carolina Gazette, 29 October 1737.

(82.) Le Jau to Bishop Compton, 27 May 1712, Fulham Papers, 9:31-32.

(83.) S. Max Edelson, "Affiliation without Affinity: Skilled Slaves in Eighteenth-Century South Carolina," in Money, Trade, and Power: The Evolution of Colonial South Carolina's Plantation Society, ed. Jack P. Greene, Rosemary Brana-Shute, and Randy J. Sparks, 217-55, 238.

(84.) John Kelly, St. Elizabeth's, Fulham Papers, 17:219-20.

(85.) James White, Kingston, 5 March 1724, Fulham Papers, 17:173-74. On Sunday markets in the Leeward Islands, see Elsa Goevia, Slave Society in the British Leeward Islands at the End of the Eighteenth Century (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1965), 238-39.

(86.) Port Royal Vestry Minutes, 1735-41, 3 May 1736, JA. Kingston paid an attorney for "drawg the Articles of Agreement between John Hacker and the Vestry to make a Negro Markett place" in 1730: Kingston Churchwarden's Accounts, 1722-59, 21 July 1730, JA.

(87.) J. W. Orderson, Creoleana, 43.

(88.) On black marketing in Jamaica, see Sidney Mintz and Douglas Hall, "The Origins of the Jamaican Internal Marketing System," Yale University Publications in Anthropology 57 (1960): 3-36; and Richard Sheridan, The Development of the Plantations to 1750 [and] An Era of West Indian Prosperity, 1750-1775 ([Barbados]: Caribbean Universities Press, 1970), 43. On black women and marketing in Barbados, see Hilary McD. Beckles, Natural Rebels: A Social History of Enslaved Black Women in Barbados (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1989), 72-89.

(89.) From "An Act for the governing of Negroes," August 8, 1688, in Hall, ed. Acts, Passed in the Island of Barbados, 112-21. After a slave conspiracy scare in February 1686, the governor of Barbados had ordered planters to keep a better watch on Sundays, especially: see Michael Craton, Testing the Chains: Resistance to Slavery in the British West Indies (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press), 111.

(90.) Sally Hadden, Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001), 13.

(91.) Port Royal Vestry Minutes, 1735-41, 3 May 1736, JA.

(92.) South Carolina Gazette, 9 March 1737. This was a failure to enforce the 1696 law that "enjoined town constables to organize white men into groups which would capture, whip, and jail slaves from the countryside found in town on Sundays": see Hadden, Slave Patrols, 18.

(93.) "An Act for the Better Ordering and Governing of Negroes and Other Slaves," 1740, printed in Stono: Documenting and Interpreting a Southern Slave Revolt, ed. Mark M. Smith (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2005), 23.

(94.) Johann Martin Bolzius, "Reliable Answers to Some Submitted Questions Concerning the Land Carolina," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 14:2 (1957): 234. Yet the Grand Jury there presented "the neglect of carrying arms to church and other places of worship, and against the bad custom of delivering their arms to negroes or other slaves to keep while they are at divine worship": South Carolina Gazette, 1 May 1756. Fines for "no arms in Church," ca. 1757, can be found in Salley, ed., Minutes of the Vestry of St. Helena's Parish, 89.

(95.) See the South Carolina Gazette, 11 August 1739, for the text of the legislation, originally passed in 1736.

(96.) Craton, Testing the Chains, 123.

(97.) Wood, Black Majority, 313-14. The 1683 plot in Barbados was to have begun on Sunday: see Craton, Testing the Chains, 110.

(98.) In celebrating the major feasts and other holy days, some plantation parishes compared favorably with metropolitan practice: see Nigel Yates, Buildings, Faith, and Worship: The Liturgical Arrangement of Anglican Churches, 1600-1900, rev. ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 55-65.

(99.) Kingston Churchwarden's Accounts, 1722-59, 20 April 1725, 14 January 1724, JA. On Kingston's history, see Colin Clarke, Kingston, Jamaica: Urban Development and Social Change, 1692-1962, 2nd ed. (Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle: 2002).

(100.) Kingston Churchwarden's Accounts, 1722-59, 5 February 1723, JA.

(101.) Port Royal Vestry Minutes, 1735-41, 2 February 1736, JA.

(102.) See Port Royal Churchwarden's Accounts, 1766-93, 6 June 1786, JA, for a 3.9d charge "for Bushes and Bread for the Church," at Whitsuntide; St. Catherine's Vestry Minutes, 1759-68, with minutes of 28 January 1760, JA., for payments "To Dressing the Church at Xtmas," and "To Dressing the Church at Easter and Whitsuntide"; St. Michael's Church Records, Records of the Treasurer, Treasurer's Receipts/Vouchers, 1792, for payments "To Drayage for Christmas bushes and Negro hire," and "For Easter bushes to dress the church."

(103.) Gordon of St. Michael's, Fulham Papers, 15:206. They were entertained at the vestry's expense. Meeting of February 6, 1733, in "Records of the Vestry of St. Michael," Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 21:3 (1954): 111: "Ordered that the churchwarden pay to the Rev. Mr. Wm. Johnson 35. [pounds sterling] current money for accommodating the Lent preachers this ensuing season of Lent." Similar notes can be found throughout the minutes.

(104.) William May, Kingston, Fulham Papers, 17:224-25.

(105.) Fulham Papers, 9:161, 171. A bad poem for Good Friday appeared in the South Carolina Gazette, 1 April 1751, noting that "this is a Week set apart for serious Contemplation."

(106.) Fulham Papers, 15:203-14.

(107.) Hans Sloane, A Voyage to the Islands Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christophers and Jamaica (London: Printed by B. M. for the author, 1707), 2:lii. On slaves' celebrations at Christmas, see Robert Dirks, The Black Saturnalia: Conflict and Its Ritual Expression on British West Indian Slave Plantations (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1987), 1-8.

(108.) Long, History of Jamaica, 2:491, n. x.

(109.) Taylor, Multum in Parvo, 542.

(110.) James White to Bishop Gibson, Vere Parish, 23 April 1724, Fulham Papers, 17:185-88.

(111.) Craton, Testing the Chains, 129, 133. Bussa's Rebellion in Barbados in 1816 also began on Easter Sunday. Planning took place at Sunday dances and at a final dance on Good Friday: Craton, Testing the Chains, 261.

(112.) Order of November 24, 1766, in "Roger Hope Elletson's Letter Book," The Jamaica Historical Review 1:3 (1948): 351.

(113.) David Barry Gaspar, Bondmen and Rebels: A Study of Master-Slave Relations in Antigua, With Implications for Colonial British America (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985), 185-86. This Samuel Martin was father of the author of the Essay on Plantership cited above. The 1831 Baptist War in Jamaica was also partially precipitated by attempts to shorten the Christmas holidays: Michael Mullin, African in America: Slave Acculturation and Resistance in the American South and British Caribbean, 1736-1831 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992), 254.

(114.) Minutes of the Council, Lucas Transcripts, Reel 1, 43, 1 August 1654, PLB. On indentured servitude in Barbados, see Hilary McD. Beckles, White Servitude and Black Slavery in Barbados, 1627-1715 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1989).

(115.) Sirmans, Colonial South Carolina, 250.

(116.) Early 1759, in Pinckney ed., Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 105.

(117.) South Carolina Gazette, 27 May 1751.

(118.) A. S. Salley, "Letter from Dr. Tucker Harris to His Children," South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine 27:1 (1926): 30-35.

(119.) Curtis Brett Letters, Summary of and extracts from, 1775-80, 19, JA.

(120.) Gordon to Gov. Lowther, 26 April 1717, Fulham Papers, 15:143-48. On the daily office and calendar in early Christianity, see Paul F. Bradshaw, The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 171-91.

(121.) Joseph Napleton, Gordon's curate at St. Michael's, Fulham Papers, 15:211.

(122.) William Johnson to Bishop Gibson, 17 June 1732, Fulham Papers, 16:27-28.

(123.) Adam Justice, St. Peter's Parish, Fulham Papers, 15:210.

(124.) Alexander Garden, St. Philip's, Charles Town, Fulham Papers, 9:160.

(125.) Richard J. Hooker, ed., The Carolina Backcountry on the Eve of Revolution: The Journal and Other Writings of Charles Woodmason, Anglican Itinerant (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1953), 70-71. From Woodmason's "Account of South Carolina" in the Fulham material, 1766.

(126.) Calvin Galpine of Port Royal, Fulham Papers, 17:215-16.

(127.) William May, Kingston, Fulham Papers, 17:224-25.

(128.) Richard Marsden, St. John's, Fulham Papers, 17:222-23.

(129.) John Scott, St. Catherine's, Spanish Town, Fulham Papers, 17:230-31.

(130.) See Leslie, A New History of Jamaica, 283, for notes on the death of James Hay, Chief Justice of the island, who never "neglected his Family Devotions." The lack of weekday and holy day services in the rural parishes of the plantation world is similar to contemporary rural English practice, where distance and the nature of agricultural work also resulted in less frequent corporate worship than was to be found in towns and cities: see Jeremy Gregory, "The Church of England," in A Companion to EighteenthCentury Britain, ed. H. T. Dickinson (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 237.

(131.) See Fulham Papers, 15:203-14.

(132.) Joseph Napleton, curate of St. Michael's, Fulham Papers, 15: 211.

(133.) Meeting of November 5, 1684, Minutes of the Council, Lucas Transcripts, reel 2, section 2, 15, PLB.

(134.) See Fulham Papers, 17:211-35.

(135.) See Fulham Papers, 9:160-71. St. Michael's in Charles Town would have holy day worship after its opening in 1761.

(136.) Letter to the Secretary, 9 February 1711, in The Carolina Chronicle of Dr. Francis Le Jau, 1706-1717, ed. Frank. J. Klingberg (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1956), 86.

(137.) Mark M. Smith, "Remembering Mary, Shaping Revolt: Reconsidering the Stono Rebellion," The Journal of Southern History 67:3 (2001): 521-30. See also John K. Thornton, "African Dimensions of the Stono Rebellion," American Historical Review 96:4 (1991): 1101-13.

(138.) Craton, Testing the Chains, 121.

(139.) In 1767: Hooker, ed., Carolina Backcountry, 30.

(140.) In 1768: Ibid., 33.

(141.) In 1767: Ibid., 30.

(142.) First Consistory Book, St. John the Baptist Lutheran Church, 2, SCHS. This was joined to a recommendation that "the minister should also take care not to refute the Anglican Church in public sermons." Presumably he continued to do so in private. On Lutherans in Carolina and elsewhere, see A. G. Roeber, Palatines, Liberty, and Property: German Lutherans in British Colonial America (Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).

(143.) Kingston Vestry Minutes, 1750-52, 159, 14 January 1750, JA; Meeting of January 14, 1737, in "Records of the Vestry of St. Michael," Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 22:1 (1954): 48; St. Philip's Parish Vestry Minutes, 1756-74, 20, 26 July 1746, SCDAH. On church music, see George W. Williams, "Charleston Church Music, 1562-1833," Journal of the American Musicological Society 7:1 (1954): 35-40.

(144.) South Carolina Gazette, 27 January 1733.

(145.) Ibid., 16 November 1753.

(146.) Ibid., 25 December 1740. For a similar celebration in Dorchester with sermon and entertainment, see South Carolina Gazette, 15 May 1755. For Beaufort, see South Carolina Gazette, 10 January 1752.

(147.) Meeting of March 26, 1726, in "Records of the Vestry of St. Michael," Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 20:3 (1953): 139. They were rung on Sunday as well. On festive bell ringing in early modern England, see Cressy, Bonfires and Bells, 68-80. For bells in early America, see Richard Cullen Rath, How Early America Sounded (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2003), 43-50.

(148.) William May's answers as commissary to the bishop's queries. He also noted that his wife "was kill'd in my Arms in the Hurricane," Fulham Papers, 17:207-8.

(149.) Henry Barham, Account of Jamaica (London, 1722), 271, West Indies Collection, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Reproduction of British Library Sloane ms. 3918.

(150.) John Scott, St. Catherine's, Spanish Town, Fulham Papers, 17:230-31.

(151.) Nicholas McCalman, St. Thomas in the East, Fulham Papers, 17:221.

(152.) Leslie, A New History of Jamaica, 274. Writing in the 1770s, Edward Long wrote that the June 7 fast "still continues": see Long, History of Jamaica, 2:143. See A form of prayer for a perpetual fast in the Island of Jamaica, on the seventh of June (London: R. Smith and E. Symon, 1718). One thanksgiving sermon from Jamaica can be read in Gideon Castel-franc, A Sermon, Preached at the Parish Church of St. Andrew, on Friday the Second of September, 1763, Being the Day Appointed by His Excellency the Governor, for a General Thanksgiving, on Account of the Peace (Kingston, Jamaica: Bennett and Woolhead, 1763).

(153.) William T. Bull to Robinson, 19 December 1720, Fulham Papers, 9:98-99.

(154.) South Carolina Gazette, 29 June 1738.

(155.) Ibid., 31 May 1740.

(156.) Ibid., 20 November 1740.

(157.) Ibid., 20 January 1746.

(158.) Ibid., 1 May 1756. A fast "to implore the Divine Being to send us Rain" was declared in 1733: see the South Carolina Gazette, 1 September 1733. Another was declared in 1743 on receiving news of war with France: see the South Carolina Gazette, 14 March 1743.

(159.) William Hutson Diary, 1757-61, SCHS.

(160.) The Barbados Mercury, 19 April 1783, PLB. A St. George's Society convened for similar purposes in Charles Town in 1733: see Frederick P. Bowes, The Culture of Early Charleston (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942), 120.

(161.) The South Carolina Gazette, 29 November 1738. Alexander Skene was the president.

(162.) The South Carolina Gazette, 13 March 1749. Josiah Qunicy also "feasted with the Sons of St. Patrick" on March 17, 1773: see "Journal of Josiah Quincy, Junior, 1773," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society 49 (1916): 451.

(163.) Meeting of April 11, 1728, in "Records of the Vestry of St. Michael," Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society 20:4 (1953): 198.

(164.) Moreton, West India Customs and Manners, 34.

(165.) See Jonathan Z. Smith, To Take Place: Toward Theory in Ritual (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 94-95. Here he cites Stefan Czarnowski's work on the cult of St. Patrick in Ireland, showing that "in the processes of forming a national community, the celebrations of those heroes whose feast days are marked out in time, rather than being distributed in different places, supply the unifying occasions. It is through structures of temporality, as ritualized, that the divisiveness and particularity of space are overcome": Stefan Czarnowski, Le Culte des heros et ses conditions sociales; saint Patrick, heros national de l'Ireland (Paris: F. Alcan, 1919).

(166.) Biases in early American historiography in favor of New England and evangelical traditions can thus be corrected in a ritual approach. John K. Nelson points to an evangelical synthesis in which "worship is equated with preaching; spirituality with individual conversion; and institutional authenticity with voluntary association and congregational autonomy": see John K. Nelson, A Blessed Company: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1776 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 9. On efforts to undermine that evangelical synthesis that has marginalized the study of religion in the plantation regions of British America, see the "Preface to the Updated Edition," in Patricia U. Bonomi, Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America, updated ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), xvi-xx.

Nicholas M. Beasley is Rector, Church of the Resurrection, Greenwood, South Carolina.
COPYRIGHT 2007 American Society of Church History
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Beasley, Nicholas M.
Publication:Church History
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 1, 2007
Previous Article:Mission delayed: the Russian Orthodox Church after the conquest of Kazan' (1).
Next Article:"The flame of life was kindled in all animal and sensitive creatures": one quaker colonist's view of animal life (1).

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |