Re: Slavery,who was responsible?

Douglas C Scott (
Thu, 16 Feb 1995 02:24:16 GMT

big oak (s) wrote:

: I have been in interested in the role of the Episcopal Church
: in slavery and the Confederacy; ever since I went to an old
: Episcopalian Church with a old girlfriend a couple of years
: ago. the reasons I feel that it might have had a role are :

: 1. Most southern aristocrats were members of the Episcopalian Church

[examples eaten]

: 2. When I was recently visiting the University of the South
: (in Sewanee TN) which a Episcopal-sponsored school, I was
: looking at the paintings they had of their Bishops since the
: school's founding. And they had a painting of a Bishop from the 1870s
: wearing his Bishop outfit and a Confederacy General's
: tunic laid across the wingback chair he was standing next to.

Almost certainly General Leonidas Polk, Episcopal Bishop of
Loisianna and Confederate Corp commander. He was killed
in 1864, however, by a direct hit by a cannon ball. So if
this was a picture of someone actually alive in the 1870's
then this rules him out.

: I would like to hear if anyone has any info or opinions on this connection.

: thanks in advance.

The Episcopal church is really just the Church of England after
that rather messy divorce we had from Great Britain back in 1776.
Almost all the upper classes in both England and America, except
of course for Puritan New England, belonged to it. It was the
offical church under Engish rule and remained pretty close
to that in all the southern states even after the Revolution.
Aside from the fact that it tended to be identified with the
south, especially before the Civil War, it was not really
connected to slavery.

Here's another example for you. I recently read a biography of
WT Sherman. After his father died he was raised by a Catholic
family as a foster child (his mother still lived next door).
The family at one point was thinking of sending one of his
half brothers to West Point. However they feared that he would
loose his religion and become an Episcopalian if he went there.
At that time attendance at church was mandatory and the chaplin
had always been an Episcopalian. I think the family sent him
anyway in the end.

The Episcopal church was much weaker in the north, partly
because it was never strong in New England and parly because the
north had so many more immigrants after the Revolution that
further diluted the original population.

: --
: standard disclaimers


Doug Scott
Arlington, Tx