1774 · Boston
This pamphlet demonstrates the democratic, self-governing principles of American congregations, unlike the hierarchical organization of their British antecedents. It tells the story of the decline and fall of Reverend Jonathan Bowman, the minister of this Unitarian Universalist Church from 1729 until 1773, when he "came somewhat violently into collision with his parish" [web site of Dorchester Historical Society]. The Congregation objected to Bowman's "absolute and unlimited power in the Church of Christ, in this place, contrary to constitution of Church government."
The crisis was initiated by Reverend Bowman's chickens, who trespassed into the neighboring yard of Paul Hall, his parishioner, who punished the offending creatures by executing them. In a display of chutzpah, Hall then brought his baby to the Church for baptism. Bowman refused to perform the ceremony. The bitter dispute ended with Bowman's ouster after more than four decades of service. Bowman was pilloried for refusing the baptism; and his sermons were deemed excessively short and old-fashioned. Moreover, "There has been a neglect in our Rev. Pastor, in not insisting more fully upon the doctrines of original sin, regeneration and self-denial."
Evans 13254. ESTC W24648. (Inventory #: 37356)