Seabury, Samuel, American clergyman

Seabury, Samuel, 1729–96, American clergyman, first bishop of the Episcopal Church, b. Connecticut, grad. Yale, 1748. He studied medicine at the Univ. of Edinburgh, then turned to theology and was ordained (1753) a priest in the Church of England before returning to America as a missionary in New Brunswick, N.J. He was then rector at Jamaica (Long Island) and in Westchester co., New York, until 1775. He then avowed himself a Loyalist in the American Revolution, and for a time he had to practice medicine in New York City, which was under British occupation. He later became (1778) a chaplain to a royal regiment. After the war he was chosen bishop of Connecticut in 1783. The English bishops withheld consecration because of a legal difficulty, but in 1784 he was consecrated at Aberdeen by bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In 1789 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United States confirmed his position and he became presiding bishop.

See biographies by H. Thoms (1963), B. E. Steiner (1972), H. Mitgang (1979), and A. Rowthorn (1983).

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