The Reverend Jacob Bailey, Maine Loyalist: For God, King, Country, and for Self (Paperback)
This book tells the story of the Reverend Jacob Bailey, a missionary preacher for the Church of England in the frontier town of Pownalborough (now Dresden), Maine, who refused to renounce allegiance to King George III during the American War of Independence. Relying largely on Bailey's unpublished journals and voluminous correspondence, James S. Leamon traces Bailey's evolution from his rustic background through his Harvard education and subsequent career as a teacher, Congregational minister, and missionary preacher for the Church of England. Along the way, Bailey absorbed many of the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, but also the more traditional conviction that family, society, religion, and politics, like creation itself, should be orderly and hierarchal. Such beliefs led Bailey to oppose the Revolution as unnatural, immoral, and doomed to fail.
Reverend Bailey's persistence in praying for the king and his refusal to publicize the Declaration of Independence from his Pownalborough pulpit aroused hostilities that drove him and his family to the safety of Nova Scotia. There, in exile, Bailey devoted himself to assisting fellow refugees while defending himself from others. During this time, he wrote almost obsessively: poems, dramas, novels, histories. Though few were ever completed, and even fewer published, in one way or another most of his writings depicted the trauma he underwent as a loyalist.
Leamon's study of the Reverend Jacob Bailey depicts the complex nature and burdens of one person's loyalism while revealing much about eighteenth-century American life and culture.
About the Author
James S. Leamon is professor of history emeritus at Bates College and author of Revolution Downeast: The War for American Independence in Maine (University of Massachusetts Press).
"An informative, engaging study of an often courageous and sometimes eccentric Congregational minister who converted to the Church of England and became a stalwart defender of the British cause throughout the Revolutionary era. A worthy successor to Leamon's award-winning Revolution Downeast."—Joseph A. Conforti, author of Saints and Strangers: New England in British North America
"Leamon, professor emeritus of history at Bates College, did not set out to debunk or belittle Bailey but to learn about the man and through him the nature of English loyalists in the region. He succeeds by writing the finest Revolutionary War-era biography of a Maine individual to date."—Portland Press Herald
"As a biographer, Leamon paints a vivid picture of Bailey's life and times. He effectively demonstrates that Bailey's loyalism was not rooted solely in religion, politics, or self-interest. Instead, it was 'a complex combination of convictions, hopes, and fears' (xvi). In the ever-expanding bibliography of American loyalist history, Leamon's book is a welcome addition."—Journal of the Early Republic
"Jacob Bailey's vast personal papers make him an ideal subject for this thoughtful and well-crafted biography. . . . Leamon portrays a man who, through his writing as well as his long postwar dedication to community service in Nova Scotia, carefully tended to his colonial society and his own emotional health."—New England Quarterly
"More than two centuries after Bailey's death in Annapolis, Nova Scotia, an accomplished scholar of Maine's early history has deftly revisited Bailey's life and career. . . . It is at once an admirable first-class biography and an informative glimpse of the impact of disruptive affairs on the lives of individuals who embraced a minority view on civil issues. The book also is a strong, valuable, and engaging social history of a turbulent period in Anglo-American history."—The Catholic Historical Review