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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington. 

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The present volume is mainly the reproduction in print of a 
collection of previously unpublished documents and letters il 
lustrating the history of the period of the organization of the 
American Church. These papers, drawn largely from the cor 
respondence and collections of the venerable Bishop White, 
preserved to the Church by the care of the late Francis Lister 
Hawks, D.D., LL. D., have been supplemented by the use of 
important MSS., in the possession of the families of Bps. Sea- 
bury and Parker. It will be borne in mind that these papers 
and letters were written with no thought of preservation, much 
less of publication, after an interval of nearly a hundred years. 
They are the more valuable from the freedom of style and al 
lusion which gives to epistolary correspondence its special 
charm. As illustrating the history of the measures which 
brought about our ecclesiastical independence and secured the 
formation of our present Ecclesiastical Constitution, these let 
ters are of peculiar interest and importance. By their aid we 
can trace step by step, the development of the principles un 
derlying our present system of government. We are admitted, 
as it were, into the councils of those who gave us our Church in 
the form and perfectness it now possesses. We hear in their 
own words and in fullest detail the reasons for their legislation 
and the explanation of their course of action. The editor has 
been at pains to group together these interesting papers, adding 
only enough of his own to supply deficiencies in the narrative 
and to elucidate that which required explanation. It is with 



peculiar pleasure that he can state in this connection that the 
volume as now produced was carefully read in MSS., and whol 
ly approved, by the late Dr. Hawks, the Historiographer of the 
American Church, prior to his too early death. Not a letter 
appears on these pages without having received his examination, 
and it is with the sanction of his revered and honored name 
that these papers are given to the Church. 

The press of duties incident upon the care of a large parish, 
together with the requirements of other official relations to the 
Church, must be the excuse for many imperfections in this work 
of which no one can be more sensible than the editor himself. 
He craves the indulgence of his readers for these infelicities of 
Style, and for the occasional typographical errors which, in view 
of the impossibility of his supervision in person of these pages 
as they passed through the press, were inevitable. If the work, 
the preparation of which has been wholly a labor of love, 
and for which the writer asks no other remuneration than the 
kind approbation of his brethren of the clergy and laity, shall 
serve to acquaint those who care to learn with the principles 
of our constitutional history, the labor of years will not be in 
vain. For the Church of God he would gladly " spend and 
be spent." 

Trinity Rectory, Geneva, October 5, 1874. 



The " Broadside" proceedings of the Preliminary Meeting 
of October, 1784, 3, 4 ; Additional particulars, 5 ; Meeting at 
New Brunswick, May 11, 1784,7,8; Letters from the Rev. 
Abraham Beach, 8 12; Early Conventions, 13, 14; "An ad 
dress to the Members of the Protestant Episcopal Church of 
Maryland," 14 33 ; Election of a Bishop in Maryland, 34 ; For 
mation of a representative body of the Church in Pennsyl 
vania, 35, 36 ; Journal of Meetings leading to the institution 
of a Convention of the Church in Pennsylvania, 3740 ; An 
Act of Association of the Clergy and Congregations in Penn 
sylvania, 40 43 ; Incorporation of the Church in Virginia, 44 
51 ; Convention in South Carolina, 52, 53 ; Convention in 
New York, 53 55; Proceedings of the Convention in New- 
Jersey, 55, 56 ; State of the Church in Massachusetts, 57 59 ; 
Dr. White's letters to the Rev. Mr. Parker, 5962 ; Proceed 
ings of the Clergy of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, 62 66 ; 
Other efforts for organization, 66 68. 

THE CONVENTION OF 1785, 69212. 

Invitation of the Connecticut clergy to their brethren at the 
South, 69, 70; Letter from the Rev. Dr. Thomas Bradbury 
Chandler to the Rev Dr. White, 7975 ; The Bishop of Con 
necticut to the Rev. Dr. Smith, 76 82 ; The same to the Rev. 
Dr. White, 8284 ; The Rev. Dr. Chandler to Dr. White, 84 
87 ; Changes at the North, 87 ; The Rev. Benjamin Moore to 
the Rev. Mr. Parker, 88 ; Correspondence between Dr. White 
and the Rev. Mr. Parker, 88 91 ; Alterations adopted by the 
Convention of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hamp 
shire, 9199. 

I. Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, 99 208 ; Chan 
ges in the " State Prayers" inevitable, 100; Alterations adopt 
ed by Trinity Church, Boston, 101 103 ; Legislation in Virgin 
ia accommodating the Prayer Book to the change in affairs, 
103, 104; Letters from the Rev. Edward Bass, 104107; Let 
ters of the Rev. Charles H. Wharton, 107, 108; General dis 
position to proceed to a review of the Liturgy, 108, 109 ; Alte- 


rations agreed upon in 1785 to render the Liturgy conformable 
to the principles of the American Revolution and the Consti 
tutions of the several States, 109 113; Further alterations 
proposed ami recommended, 113 118; Articles of Religion, 
118124; The Table of Holy Days, 124, 125; Correspondence 
of the Committee charged with the publication of the ' Pro 
posed Book," 126 198; The Rev. Dr. Smith to the Rev. Mr. 
Parker, 199,200; Bp. White's "notice" of the alterations in 
the Book of Common Prayer, 200 206 ; Account of the publi 
cation of the " proposed " Liturgy, 206208; 

II. The General Ecclesiastical Constitution, 209212. 

III. Measures for securing the succession of the Episcopate in 
the English Line, 213. 

The struggle for the Episcopate, 213 ; Notices of the election 
of the Rev. Dr. Seabury to the Episcopate by the Connecticut 
Clergy, 213, 214; The result awaited with intei-est and 
anxiety, 216, 217 ; Granville Sharp's account of Dr. Seabury's 
application to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 217, 218; The 
Rev. Dr. George Berkeley to the Rt. Rev. John Skinner, 218 
223 ; The Clergy of Connecticut to the Archbishop of York, 
224228 ; Dr. Seabury to the Rev. Myles Cooper, 228, 229 ; 
Further Correspondence, 230,231; Overtures to the non- ju- 
ring Bishops, 231 233 ; Opposition from America, 233, 234 ; 
Record of Seabury's Consecration, 234 236 ; The " Concor 
dat," 236 238 ; Letter from the Bishops of Scotland to the 
Clergy of Connecticut, 238,289; Correspondence from Bish 
op Seabury's Letter Book, 240 244 ; Allusion to Dr. William 
Smith, 245; Reception of Bp. Seabury in Connecticut, 245 
245; Letter to the Scottish Bishops, 247,248; Address of the 
Connecticut Clergy to their Bishop, 248 251 ; Bp. Seabury's 
Answer, 251, 252; The Bishop's primary Charge, 252 254; 

tI -|rtr ^i*~" * ~ ^** ~^"" " * f\e A f\e e ^-t i 

Drs. Ing 

with the Rev. Alex. Murray and the Rev Jacob Duche, 260 
262; The Rev. Dr. Inglis to the Rev. Dr, White, 262266; 
Efforts to secure the succession in the English Line, 266; 
Granville Sharp to the Archbishop of Canterbury, 267, 268 ; 
Letters from the Rev. Mr. Duche, 268270 ; Letters from the 
Rev. Dr. Murray, 270, 271 ; Efforts of Granville Sharp, 272 
274 ; Sharp's letter to Benjamin Franklin, 275 277 ; Address to 
the English prelates, 278, 279; Evidence of the concurrence of 
the civil authorities, 279 282 ; Letters from the Rev. Samuel 
Provoost to Dr. White, 283, 284 ; Alarm excited abroad as to 
the nature of the alterations in the new Liturgy, 284, 285 ; 
Ix-tters from the Rev. Dr. Murray, 285 287; Letters from Mr. 
Duche and Dr. Murray, 287292; The omission of the Article 
in the Creed excepted to, 292 ; The Rev. Dr. West to the Rev 
Dr. White, 293; Bishop Seabury to Dr. White, 293, 294- 
The Rev. Mr. Parker to Dr. White, 294296 ; Obstacles to the 
acceptance of the "Proposed Book," 296, 297; The Rev. Mr. 
West to Dr. White, 297 299: Correspondence with Mr. Pro^ 
voost, 299301 ; Letter from the Rev. Dr. Inglis to Dr White 
801304 ; The Rev. Dr. Murray to Dr. White, 304, 305 Letter 
from the Rev. Dr. West, 30, 307 ; Opposition to Bishops at the 


South, 307 ; Alterations in the Liturgy distasteful at the North, 
307, 308 ; The Rev. Edward Bass to the Rev. Mr. Parker, 309 ; 
Jealousy of a Bishop from England existing at the North, 309; 
Bishop Seabury to the Rev. Dr. White, 310; The answer, and 
the Bishop's letter to Mr. Parker, 311, 312; 


Opposition toBp. Seabury, 312 314; Original Draft of the let 
ter to the English prelates, 314 316 ; The New Jersey Memo 
rial, 316 ; Letters from England, 317, 318 ; Letters from the 
Rev. Drs. Bowden, West, Griffith and Smith 319323 ; The 
Rev. Dr. White to the Rev. Mr. Parker, 323'; Letters from 
the Rev. Mr. Parker, 324326 ; Drs. Griffith, Wharton and 
Provoost to Dr. White, 326330 ; Dislike of the " Proposed 
Book" at the South, 330; Drs. West and Griffith to Dr, 
White, 331, 342; Letters from the Committee of Corres 
pondence, 332, 333 ; The Adjourned Convention, 333, 334 ; The 
refusal to sign the testimonials of the Rev. Dr. William 
Smith, 334, 335 ; Letters relating to the Wilmington Conven 
tion, 335 341; The Consecration of Bishops in the English 
line, 341, 842; The feeling at the North, 342, 343; The letters 
of congratulation written by Bp. Seabury to Bps. White and 
Provoost, 843 345; Bp. Seabury to William Stevens, of Lon 
don, 345; Bp. White to Bp. Seabury, 346, 347; Rev. Drs. Clag- 
gett and Griffith to Bp. White, 347352 ; A proposition for the 
consecration of Parker as Bishop of Massachusetts, 352, 353 ; 
The Rev. Jeremiah Learning to Bp. White, 353 355; Rev. Mr. 
Parker to Bp. White, 355, 856 ; Mr. Learning to Bp. White, 356, 
357; Bp. White to Mr. Parker, 358; Apathy in Virginia, 359; 
Dr. Griffith to Bp. White, 359, 360; Letter from Bp. Provoost, 
360, 361 ; Rev. Drs. West and Griffith to Bp. White, 361368 ; 
Notices of the Alterations adopted in Massachusetts, 363, 364 ; 
Rev. Mr. Parker to the Bp. of Connecticut, 364366 ; The 
Bishop's reply, 366, 367 ; Mr. Learning to Bp. White, 367, 368 ; 
Letters from Drs. Griffith, West and Purcell to Bp. White, 
369873; Rev. Dr. Murray to the Bp. of Pennsylvania, 373 
375; Bp. Provoost to Bp. White, 376; Correspondence of Bps. 
White and Seabury with the Rev. Mr. Parker, 376379 ; Dr. 
Griffith to Bp. White, 379381 ; Bp. Provoost to Bp. White, 
381, 382; Dr. Murray to Bp. White, 382; Overtures for Union, 
383; Mr. Learning to Bp. White, 384; Bp. Seabury to Bp. 
W r hite, 384388 ;-Bp. Seabury to Dr. William Smith, 388, 389 ; 
Correspondence of Bps. Provoost and White and Dr. Griffith, 


The Act of the Massachusetts and New Hampshire Clergy 
electing the Rev. Edward Bass to the Episcopate, 392 394 ; 
Action of the Convention, 394396; Bp. White to Bp. Sea- 
bury, 396, 897 ; Minutes of the Proceedings of the Committee 
of Correspondence, 397, 398; Address to the Archbishops, 
398402; Bp. White to the Abp. of Canterbury, 402; 403; Rev. 
Dr. Smith to Bp. Seabury, 404, 405; The Committee to Bp. Sea- 
bury, 406407; Bps. Seabury and Provoost to Bp. White, 407 
112- Letter to Dr. Parker, 412, 413; Union of the Churches, 
413; Changes in the Constitution, 413415; The return to the 


English Prayer Book, practically, in the preparation of the 
new liturgy, 416, 416 ; Report of Committee on the means of 
perpetuating the Episcopal Succession in the United States, 416. 





OF 17851835... 487 


IT was in accordance with the following recommendations 
and proposals, issued by a voluntary gathering of Clergy and 
Laymen, that the Convention of 1785 assembled. 

At a Convention of Clergymen and Lay Deputies of the 
Protestant EPISCOPAL CHURCH in the United States of Ame 
rica, held in New- York, Oct. 6th and 1th, 1784: Present 
as follows; 

Revd. SAMUEL PARKER, A.M., Massachusets and Rhode-Island. 
Revd. JOHN R. MARSHAL, A.M., Connecticut. 




JOHN ALSOP, '} Esquires. 

JOHN DE HART, Esquire. 





SAMUEL POWELL, > Esquires. 






N.B. The Revd. Mr. GRIFFITH from the State of Virginia, was present 
by permission. The Clergy of that State being restricted by Laws yet in 
force there, were not at liberty to send Delegates, or consent to any Altera 
tions in the Order Government, Doctrine, or Worship of the Church. 



IHE Body now assembled, recommend to the Clergy and 
Congregations of their Communion in the States repre 
sented as above, and propose to those of the other States 
not represented, That as soon as they shall have organized 
or associated themselves in the States to which they respec 
tively belong, agreeably to such Rules as they shall think 
proper, they unite in a general ecclesiastical Constitution, on 
the following fundamental Principles. 

I. That there shall be a general Convention of the Epis 
copal Church in the United States of America. 

II. That the Episcopal Church in each State, send Depu 
ties to the Convention, consisting of Clergy and Laity. 

III. That associated Congregations in two or more States, 
may send Deputies jointly. 

IV. That the said Church shall maintain the Doctrines of 
the Gospel as now 'held by the Church of England, and shall 
adhere to the Liturgy of the said Church, as far as shall be 
consistent with the American Revolution and the Constitu 
tions of the respective States. 

V. That in every State where there shall be a Bishop duly 
consecrated and settled, he shall be considered as a member 
of the Convention ex Officio. 

VI. That the Clergy and Laity assembled in Convention* 
shall deliberate in one Body, but shall vote seperately; and 
the concurrence of both shall be necessary to give Validity 
to every Measure. 

VII. That the first meeting of the Convention shall be at 
Philadelphia, the Tuesday before the Feast of St. Michael 
next; to which it is hoped, and earnestly desired, That the 
Episcopal Churches in the respective States, will send their 
Clerical and Lay Deputies, duly instructed and authorized to 
proceed on the necessary Business herein proposed for their 

Signed by Order, of the Convention, 

WILLIAM SMITH, D.D. President.^) 
To this, the printed account of the meeting in New York, 
we add, from a paper endorsed by Bishop White, "as in ye 

(1) Reprinted, VERBATIM ET LITERATIM, from Bp. White's copy of "the 
short printed account of the proceedings of this meeting," which the 
Bishop tells us in his Memoirs (p. 80) " was in very few hands at the 
time, and is probably at this time generally destroyed or lost." 


Hand writing of Dr. Wm. Smith, who presided," the follow 
ing additional particulars. 

Octr. 6th, A. M. 

Upon motion, the Rev. Dr. William Smith was called to 
the Chair as President of this Convention; and the Rev. 
Mr. Benjamin Moore was appointed Secretary. 

The Letters of Appointment and other Documents pro 
duced by the several Members above mentioned were read ; 
and also the following Letters from the Clergy of Massachu 
setts Bay and Connecticut. 

It being resolved that a Committee of Clerical and Lay 
Deputies be appointed to essay the fundamental principles 
of a general Constitution, the following gentlemen were ap 
pointed, viz., 

Revd. Dr. Smith, Mr. Clarkson, 

" Dr. White, Mr. De Hart, 

" Mr. Parker, Mr. Clay, 

" Mr. Provoost, Mr. Duane. 

The same Committee are desired to frame and propose to 
the Convention, a proper substitute for the State Prayers in 
the Liturgy, to be used for the sake [of] uniformity, till a fur 
ther Review shall be undertaken by general Authority and 
Consent of the Church. 

Octr. 7th. Present as above. 

The Committee appointed yesterday to essay the funda 
mental Principles of an ecclesiastical Constitution for this 
Church, reported an Essay for this purpose, which being 
read and duly considered, and amended, was adopted as fol 
lows, viz., 

THE Body now assembled, recommend [etc., as above]. 

Resolved, that it be recommended to the Clergy in the re 
spective Churches here represented, to appoint in each State 
a Committee of not less than two Clergymen to examine 
Persons who, in the present exigency, are desirous of officiat 
ing as Readers, and to direct them to such duties as they are 
to perform ; and that it be recommended to the Congregations 
not to suffer any Lay Persons to officiate in their Churches, 
other than such as shall be certified by said Committee to be 
duly qualified. 

WM. SMITH, President. 


Earlier in the same year, on the llth(l) of May, the preli 
minary step had been taken for effecting the union of the 
Churches in the various States. Several clergymen from 
the States of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, met 
by previous agreement at New Brunswick, in New Jersey, 
ostensibly to take measures for the revival of the Corporation 
for the relief of the Widows and Children of the Clergy, but 
primarily for the discussion of principles of ecclesiastical union. 
These clergymen, whose names we give below, together with 
several prominent laymen of New York and New Jersey, 
who were invited to attend the meeting of the Clergy, found 
themselves at the outset unable to agree upon the funda 
mental principles of union. Not only were the more north 
ern clergymen apprehensive of a disposition on the part of 
their southern brethren to deviate materially from the eccle 
siastical system of England in the matter of Episcopal po 
lity, but the previous application of some of the New York 
Clergy, in connection with those of Connecticut, to the En 
glish bishops, for the consecration of Dr. Samuel Seabury, 
was considered as a bar to any further measures, while this 
petition was pending. A single result was, however, attain 
ed. Before the separation of the Clergy, the appointment 
of a meeting in October was determined upon, and the re 
cognition of the Laity as a co-ordinate branch of the 
deliberative and executive assemblies of the Church, was 

The Minutes of this Meeting, so far as preserved, are here 
with presented. Though they add little information to that 
which we have already presented, as condensed from 
Bishop White's Memoirs, they serve to correct several tri 
fling errors in the Bishop's account, and are of interest as 
the original records of our first prelimihary Convention of 
the Churches in the different States. 

(1) BUhop White's Memoirs, page 21, says "the 13th and 14th of 


Meeting at New Brunswick, May 11, 1784. 

(1) At a voluntary meeting of sundry members of the 
Corporation for the "Relief of Widows, &c.," held at New 
Brunswick, on Tuesday, llth May, 1784, the following gen 
tlemen being present, 

The Rev. Dr. White, Rev. Dr. Magaw, Rev. Mr. Beach, 
Rev. Mr. Bloomer, Rev. Mr. Blackwell, and James Parker, 

They were unanimously of opinion, that the next meeting 
of the said Corporation, agreeable to the directions of the 
Charter, is to be held in the City of New York, on the Tu 
esday after the Feast of St. Michael next ensuing. 

They accordingly request the Revd. Dr. Smith, the Revd. 
Dr.' White, Revd. Mr. Beech, and Revd. Mr. Bloomer, to 
notify the meeting of the said Corporation ; there being, at 
present, no Secretary regularly to perform the same. 

The same gentlemen are also requested to remind the Rev. 
Mr. Thompson that it will be his turn to preach on the above- 
mentioned occasion ; and that Mr. Cutting and Dr. Magaw, 
who are the next in rotation, be prepared to preach in case 
of any failure on the part of Mr. Thompson. 

At New Brunswick, Tuesday, llth May, 1784, several 
members of the Episcopal Church, both of the Clergy and 
Laity, from the States of New York, New Jersey, and Penn 
sylvania, were assembled together. 

Present: The Revd. Dr. White, Revd. Dr. Magaw, Revd. 
Mr. Beech, Revd. Mr. Bloomer, Revd. Mr.'Frazer, Revd. 
Mr. Ogden, Revd. Mr. Blackwell, Revd. Mr. Boden, Revd. 
Mr. Benjamin Moore, Revd. Mr. Thomas Moore, James 
Parker, John Stevens, Richard Stevens, John Dennis, Es 
quires, Col. Hoyt, and Col. Furman. 

It was agreed, that the Revd. Messrs. Beach, Bloomer, 
and B. Moore, be requested to wait upon the Clergy of Con 
necticut, who are to be convened on the Wednesday in Tri 
nity week next ensuing, for the Purpose of soliciting their 
Concurrence with us in such Measures as may be deemed 
conducive to the Union and Prosperity of the Episcopal 
Churches in the States of America. 

(1) Endorsed by Bishop White as follows: "The original of ye Mi 
nutes of ye Meeting in *N. Brunswick, in May, 1784, in ye Hand-writing 
of ye revd. Benjamin (since Bp.) Moore of N. York." 


Also agreed by the gentlemen present, that the undermen 
tioned Persons be requested to correspond with each other, 
and with any other Persons, for the Purpose of forming a 
Continental Representation of the Episcopal Church, and 
for the better management of the concerns of the said 

Revd. Messrs. Bloomer, Provoost, and B. Moor*, for New 
York; Revd. Messrs. Beach, Ogden, and Ayres, for New 
Jersey; Revd. Dr. White, Dr. Magaw, and Mr. Blackwell, 
for Pennsylvania. 

Any one of which Persons of each State respectively, to 
correspond with the others, without consulting his colleagues 
of the same State, whenever it may be deemed expedient. 

It is time that the Church should know to whom the idea 
of this preliminary meeting was due. The following letters 
from the Rev. Abraham Beach, of New Brunswick, printed 
from the original among the Bishop White MSS., contain 
the first suggestion of this gathering for conference. They 
are also valuable as furnishing information as to the state of 
feeling in the Church at that time, with reference to these 
measures for organization and union. 

NEW BRUNSWICK, 26th January, 1784. 
Reverend Sir: 

I always expected that as soon as the Return of Peace should put it 
in their Power, that the Members of the Episcopal Church in this Country 
would interest themselves in its Behalf would endeavour to introduce 
Order and Uniformity into it, and provide for a Succession in the Minis 
try. The Silence on this Subject which hath universally prevailed, and 
still prevails, is a Matter of real Concern to me, as it seems to portend an 
utter extinction of that Church which I so highly venerate. 

As I flatter myself your Sentiments correspond with my own, I cannot 
deny myself the Satisfaction of writing you on the Subject. 

Every Person I have conversed with is fully sensible that something 
should be done, and the sooner the better. , For my own Part, I think the 
fisrt step that should be taken, in the present unsettled State of the 
Church, is to get a Meeting of as many of the Clergy as can be conveni 
ently collected. Such a Meeting appears to be peculiarly necessary in 
order to look into the condition of the Widows Fund, which may at pre 
sent be an object worth attending to, but will unavoidably dwindle to 
nothing, if much longer neglected. Would it not therefore be proper to 


advertise a Meeting of the Corporation in the Spring at Brunswick, or 
any other place that may be thought more convenient; and endeavour to 
get together as many as possible of the Clergy who are not members, at 
the same time and place. 

A sincere Regard to the Interests of the Church, induces me to make 
these Proposals, wishing to be favoured with your sentiments upon this 
subject. If any Thing should occur to you as necessary to be done, in 
order to put us upon an equal Footing with other Denominations of 
Christians, and cement us together in the Bonds of Love, I should be 
happy in an opportunity of assisting in ft. 
I am, Reverend Sir, 

Your affectionate Brother, 

And very humble Servant, 

The Reverend Dr. WHITE, 
Rector of Christ Church and St. Peters, Philadelphia. 

These proposals secured at once the approbation of Dr. 
White ; and the communication of his approval of Mr. 
Beach's plan, was shortly after followed by the following 


22d March, 1784. 
Reverend Sir: 

As soon as I was made acquainted by your Favr. of the 7th Feby. of 
your concurrence in the Proposed Meeting of the Clergy, I wrote to Mr. 
Provost and Mr. Moore of New York, on the subject. They both approve 
of the Measure, and, not only APPROVE of it, but think it absolutely NE 

In a Letter I received from Mr. Blackwell, sometime ago, he proposed 
Tuesday, llth May, as a proper TIME for the Meeting, and acquiesced 
with my proposal of Brunswick for the PLACE. I remarked this in my 
Letter to Mr. Provost ; in answer to which he acquainted me that on con 
sulting Mr. Duane, and other Members of the Corporation in New York, 
they discovered a desire that the Meeting should be held in New York on 
Wednesday, the 12th May. 

For my own Part, I have no manner of Objection to the Alteration, 
any further than its depriving me of the Company of some of my Bre 
thren at my House. Even this Pleasure, however, I am ready to forego ; 
if our Meeting in N. York may have any tendency to promote PEACE and 
HARMONY in the Church there. This expectation and belief is the prin- 


cipal Reason for their wishing for the Alteration with regard to TIME and 

Should this proposal of meeting in New York on Wednesday the 12th 
May, meet with your approbation, will you be so good as to acquaint the 
members of the Corporation in Pennsylvania, and desire their attend 
ance? Would not advertising in the public papers be proper? 

Some of the Lay Members, may perhaps, scarcely think it worth their 
while to take so much Trouble without a prospect of immediate Profit to 
themselves. I cannot but flatter myself, however, that there are SOME 
still, who would wish to promotethe Interests of Religion in general to 
save the Church of which we are Members from utter Decay and conse 
quently to promote the real HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY OF THE COUN 
TRY. Persons of this character will not, surely, withhold their assistance 
at this very CRITICAL JUNCTURE. t 

You desire to know the State of the Fund in N. York and in N. Jer 
sey. With regard to the former, Mr. Provost writes me, that it has very 
much suffered by the Fire which consumed Mr. Laroy's House, the Trea 
surer. This Circumstance, by the way, is an additional inducement for 
the proposed Meeting; for undoubtedly the property consumed was in 
Bonds and Mortgages. Mr. Laroy may possibly recollect from whom 
they were taken ; and the Corporation may put Matters in such a train 
as to receive some Part of it at least. As to the Jersey Part, I have 
found a Bond of 150 or 200, which is safe and in good hands. I 
spoke to Mr. Cox, the late Treasurer, on the subject, just before he sailed 
for Europe. He informed me that had some Accts. and other Papers 
belongg. to the Corporn., which he promised to leave with Mrs. Cox, to 
be delivered to the Order of that Body not thinking himself safe in de 
livering them to any particular Member. 

I should be exceedingly happy to hear from you, as soon as your Con- 
veniency will permit ; and am, 

Revd. Sir, 
Your affectionate Brothr., 

And very Hunil. Servt., 


Eevd. Dr. WHITE. 

A few weeks later we have the following letter, making 
further arrangements for the Clerical Meeting, and contain 
ing an allusion to Dr. White's celebrated pamphlet, " The 
Case of the Episcopal Churches in the United States Con 



13th April, 1784. 
Reverend Sir 

I have just received a letter from Mr. Provost, signifying his concur 
rence with the FIRST APPOINTMENT. It is at length agreed UPON ALL 
HANDS, that our Meeting be held at Brunswick, on Tuesday, the llth 
May; and as the day is near at hand, I think no Time ought to be lost in 
giving the proper Notice. 

I wish you would be so good as to advertise it in one of your News 
Papei's, with an invitation to all Clergymen of the Episcopal Church, and 
perhaps you may think it proper to invite respectable characters of the 
LAITY, as matters of general concern to the Church may probably be dis 
cussed. As soon as I find the Advertisement in a Philadelphia paper, I 
will cause it to be inserted in one in N. York, and will WRITE" likewise 
to all concerned in Jersey. 

You will undoubtedly agree with me in the propriety of having a Ser 
mon on the occasion. Will you be so good as to preach it? 

I am much obliged to you for the Pamphlet(l) you was so kind to send 
me. I had the Pleasure of reading it on its first Publication, and am 
happy to agree with you in every particular, excepting the NECESSITY of 
receding from ancient usages. If this necessity existed in time of WAR, 
I cannot think that it does at PRESENT ; and as you convey the same idea 
in yr. letter, I flatter myself our sentiments on Church Government en 
tirely agree. 

You will please make my best Respects to Dr. Magaw and Mr. Black- 
well, and believe me to be, 

Reverend Sir, 

Your affectionate Brother 

And very Humble Servt., 

Reverend Dr. WHITE, 
Rector of Christ Church and St. Peter's, Philadelphia. 

Notwithstanding the results of this primary Convention 
appeared at the time to be but trifling, the plan and purpose 
of union, so ardently desired by Mr. Beach, was not lost 

(1) "The Case of the Episcopal Churches in the United States Consi 
dered. ' To make new articles of faith and doctrine, no man thinketh it 
lawful: new laws of government, what Commonwealth or Church is there 
which maketh not at one time or another.' HOOKER. Philadelphia: 
Printed by David C. Claypole, 1783." Reprinted by William Stavely 
Philadelphia, 1827. Reprinted in the Prot. Epis. Quarterly Review, Vol. 
vi. 1859, and subsequently issued in a separate form, the same year, in 
New York. 


sight of in the interim. Although no allusion to the fact is 
made by Bishop White, in his account of this gathering, (1) 
it appears, both from the original Minutes, as well as from 
the following letter, that Committees of Correspondence were 
chosen to interest the Clergymen and members of the scat 
tered Churches in the proposed meeting at New York. The 
report of the Committee appointed to visit the Convocation 
of the Connecticut Clergy, we give below. It is important 
from the light it throws upon the subject of Lay Representa 
tion, as viewed at that time by the Churchmen of New En 


19th June, 1784. 
Dear Sir 

I am just returned from New England in company with Mr. Bloomer 
and Mr. Moore ; and at their desire am now to acquaint you that th.4 
Clergy there appear well disposed to join the Episcopal Church in the 
other States, in forming Regulations for the government of it, and for 
preserving uniformity of worship. 

They, indeed, made some Objection with respect to LAY DELEGATES. 
We informed them, in answer to their Objections, that it was thought ne 
cessary in some of the States, particularly in Pennsylvania, to associate 
some respectable Characters amongst the Laity, in order to give weight 
and importance to the Church ; but we meant not to prescribe to OTHER 
STATES provided the END was obtained, we would not differ with them as 
to the MEANS, if they were only fair and honest They replied, that they 
thought themselves fully adequate to the Business of representing the 
Episcopal Church in their State, and that the Laity did not EXPECT, or 
WISH to be called in as delegates on such an occasion ; but would, with full 
confidence, trust matters PURELY ECCLESIASTICAL to their Clergy. They 
accordingly determined unanimously, to send a Comtee. of their body to 
represent the Episcopal Church of Connecticut at our intended Meeting in 
N. York, on the Tuesday after Michaelmas ; and to get a representation of 
the States further eastward. 

Thus you find the Comtee. appointed to attend the Convention in 
Connecticut have executed the Purposes of their appointment; and expect 
the Comtte. of Correspondence in Philadelphia will endeavour to procure a 
representation from the more Southern States. 

(1) " Memoirs of the Episcopal Church," 2d Edition, pp. 78, 79. 


Previous to these informal gatherings, there had been in 
the past frequent, and recently quite important Conventions 
of the Clergy in the various Provinces and States. Dating 
far .back to the days of the worthy Commissary of Mary 
land, Dr. Thomas Bray, and his equally venerable brother, 
Dr. James Blair of Virginia, annual or occasional Convoca 
tions of the Clergy had been held in these two ancient Pro 
vinces. In South Carolina, in Pennsylvania, and at the 
North, there were also annual Conventions of the Clergy; 
and a published Sermon, of no ordinary merit, from the pen 
of Rev. James Honeyman, of Narragansett, Rhode Island, 
delivered before a Convention of the Massachusetts and 
Rhode Island Clergy, in the year 1726, and another, by the 
Rev. William Becket, Missionary at Lewes, at Commissary 
Cumings' first Visitation, held in September, 1731, are still 
extant. (1) In Connecticut, similar traces of occasional Cle 
rical gatherings are to be found, in the shape of dingy pam 
phlets, bearing the recommendation of the assembled Clergy, 


(1) Vide " The Acts of Dr. Bray's Visitation held at Annopolis in Ma 
ryland, May 23, 24, 25. Anno 1700. London. Printed by W. Downing 
ia Bartholomew-Close, near West Smithfield. 1700." A folio pamphlet, 
reprinted in the Appendix to Dr. Hawks's Ecclesiastical Contributions, Vol. 
II., Maryland. Or such pamphlets as the following, among others: "A Ser 
mon preached at the King's Chapel in Boston, N. E., at a Convention of 
Episcopal Ministers in the year 1726. Printed at Boston MDCCXXXIII." 
(By the Rev. James Honeyman, of Narragansett, Rhode Island. Vide 
Historical Magazine, II., 338, 306.) In Harvard College Library, Cam 
bridge, Mass. 

" An Exhortation to the Clergy of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia, Sep 
tember the 24th, 1729. By the Rev. Archibald Cummings, Commissary, 
and Rector of Christ's Church in Philadelphia. Annapolis: Printed and 
Sold by W. Parks, M,DCC,XXIX." 

" The Duty both of Clergy and Laity to each other. A Sermon preach 
ed before the Reverend Commissary, and the rest of the Clergy of Penn 
sylvania. In Christ Church, Philadelphia. On Wednesday, September 
24, 1729. Being the first Visitation held there. By William Beckett, 
Missionary at Lewes. Annapolis: Printed and Sold by W. Parks, 
M,DCC,XXIX." From Dr. Hawks's Collection. 

The Original Minutes of the Conventions of the Clergy of New York 
aud New Jersey, for the years 1766 and 1767, during the agitation of the 
question of an American Episcopate, are in the hands of the Rev. Profess 
or Seabury, of New York. These records are in the handwriting of the 
first Bishop of Connecticut. 


or Sermons preaclied before them when in council together; 
while in New York these meetings formed a sort of Commis- 
sarial junto, exercising the power of deciding upon recom 
mendations for Orders, and giving to the ecclesiastica^ au 
thorities at home, authentic information with reference to 
Church matters in the Colonies. 

W have already referred to the action of the assembled 
Clergy of Connecticut, with several from New York, in re 
commending Dr. Seabury to the Archbishop of York for 
consecration. But a little later there was convened in Mary 
land a Convention, the importance of which, from its bearing 
upon the subsequent action of the Church at large, requires 
a full and minute recital. We therefore incorporate, with 
additional notes, derived from various manuscript and printed 
sources, the following pamphlet, entitled, 





DProtestant Episcopal Clmrcli, 



An ACCOUNT of the Proceedings of some late CONVEN 
TIONS both of CLERGY and LAITY, for the purpose of or 
ganizing the said Church, and providing a Succession in 
her Ministry agreeable to the Principles of the American 

Published by a COMMITTEE of Clerical and Lay-Members, 
appointed for that Purpose, by a Convention held at An 
napolis, June 22d, 1784. 



(1) To this Address is added "A Sermon preached at the Opening of the 
said Convention, by William Smith, ]>.D., President of the same," which it 
is unnecessary to reprint. 


At a Meeting or Convention of Clergy and Lay Delegates 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Maryland, at Annap 
olis, June 22d 24th, 1784. Agreed 

I HAT a Committee of three Clerical and three Lay Mern- 
"bers be appointed to digest and publish the Proceed- 
" ings of this and such Parts of the Proceedings of the for- 
" mer Convention, as they may judge necessary to lay before 
"the Public; and to confer and treat with any Committees 
" that may be appointed in the Sister States, for considering 
" and drawing up a Plan of such Alterations in the Liturgy 
" of the Church, as may be necessary under the American 
" Revolution for Uniformity of Worship, and Church Cro- 

The Committee of this Convention appointed for the above 
Purposes, are 

f WILLIAM SMITH, D.D., President. 
Rev. -< WILLIAM WEST, Secretary; and 

They are empowered to nominate any Members of their 
own Body, not less than three, to transact Business, if more 
cannot possibly attend. 

A true Copy. 

WM. WEST, Secretary. 

[Page 3.1 AN 


State of MARYLAND, $>c. 

1HE Proceedings of the Clergy and Laity of this Church, 
at Sundry Conferences, Meetings, or Conventions (both jointly 
and severally) during the three last years, having no other 
Object than is in general set forth in the Title-Page, and 
Minute of Convention, prefixed to this Address ; and our Bu 
siness, as a Committee, being to digest and publish those Pro 
ceedings, for the information of all whom it may concern; 
We shall begin with the first Petition to the General Assem 
bly of this State, for a Law towards the Support of the 


CHRISTIAN RELIGION, agreeably to the Provision made in 
the Bill of Rights. It was the separate Act of a very con 
siderable number of Vestries, wholly in their Lay Character, 
and was in the following Words; viz., 

of the State of MARYLAND. 


the Parish of , County, 


THAT it is manifest from Reason, as well as the clearer 
Light of Revelation, that the Worship of the ALMIGHTY 
CREATOR and GOVERNOR of the Universe, is the indispensible 
Duty of his dependent Creatures, and the surest Means of 
preserving their temporal as well as eternal Happiness ; That, 
where RELIGION is left unsupported, neither LAWS or GOVERN 
MENT can be duly administered; And, as the Experience of 
Ages has shewn the Necessity of a Provision for supporting 
the Officers [Page 4.] and Ministers of Government, in all 
Civil Societies ; so the like Experience shews the Necessity 
of providing a Sppport for the Ordinances and Ministers of 
Religion because if either of them [viz., Religion or Govern 
ment] were left wholly dependent on the Benevolence of In 
dividuals, such is the Frailty of human Nature, and the 
Averseness of many to their best Interests, that the Sordid, 
and Selfish, the Licentious, and Prophane, would avail them 
selves of such Liberty to shrink from their Share of Labor 
and Expence, and thereby render that, which would be easy 
when borne by All, an intolerable Burden to the Few, whose 
Conscience and Principles of Justice would not permit them 
in this, or in any other Case, to swerve from their Duties, 
Civil or Religious. 

That our pious Ancestors, the worthy and respectable 
Founders of this State, convinced of the foregoing Truths, 
and declaring that, " In every well-grounded Commonwealth, 
" Matters concerning Religion ought, in the first place, to be 
" taken into consideration, countenanced, and encouraged ; 
" as being not only most acceptable to God, but the best 
" Way and Means of obtaining his Mercy and a Blessing 
"upon a People and Country," (having the Promises of this 
Life and of the Life to come,) did frame and enact sundry 
Laws for erecting Churches and Places of public Worship, 


the Maintenance of an orthodox Clergy, the Support and 
Advancement of Religion, and the orderly Administration 
of its divine and saving Ordinances. 

That the Delegates of this State, at the great dEra of our 
Independence, in free and full Convention assembled, for the 
Purpose of establishing a new Constitution and Form of Go 
vernment, upon the Authority of the People, appearing in 
their Wisdom to have considered some Parts of the said Laws 
as inconsistent with that Religious Liberty and Equality of 
Assessment, which they intended as the basis of their future 
Government; Did, by the 33d Section of the DECLARATION 
OF RIGHTS, abrogate all such Laws theretofore passed, as en 
abled any County Courts, on the Application of Vestrymen 
and Church-Wardens, to make Assessments or Levies for 
Support of the Religious Establishment ; but not with a View 
of being less attentive than their pious Ancestors had been, 
to the Interests of RELIGION, LEARNING, and GOOD MORALS. 
On the contrary, by the very same Section, an express Re 
commendation and Authority are given to future Legisla 
tures, " At their Discretion, to lay a general and equal Tax, 
"for the support of the Christian Religion," agreeably to the 
said Declaration. 

That your Petitioners are sensible of the many urgent civil 
Concerns, in which the honorable and worthy Legislatures 
of this State have been engaged, since the Commencement 
of the [Page 5.] present great and trying Period; and how 
much Wisdom and Deliberation are at all times necessary in 
framing equal Laws for the Support of Religion and Learn 
ing, and more especially amidst the horrors and confusions of 
an expensive, cruel, and unrelenting War. But they are 
sensible, at the same Time (and persuaded the honorable 
Assembly are equally sensible), that w[h]ere RELIGION is 
left to mourn and droop her head, while her sacred Ordinan 
ces are unsupported, and Vice and Immorality gain Ground, 
even W T AR itself will be but feebly carried on, Patriotism will 
lose its most animating Principle, Corruption will win its 
W r ay from the lowest to the highest Places, Distress will soon 
pervade every public Measure; our Churches, our Grave- 
Yards the Monuments of the Piety of our Ancestors, run 
ning into Ruin, will become the Reproach of their Posterity; 
nay more, the great and glorious Fabric of public Happiness 
which we are striving to build up, and cement with an Im 
mensity of Blood and Treasure, might be in Danger of turn- 


bling into the Dust, as wanting the stronger Cement of Vir 
tue and Religion,or perhaps would fall an easy Prey to some 
haughty Invader! 

Deeply impressed with these momentous Considerations, 
and conceiving ourselves fully warranted by our Constituents, 
in this Application to your honorable Body, having duly ad 
vertised our Design, without any Objections yet notified to us 
Your Petitioners, therefore, most earnestly and humbly 
That an Act may be passed, agreeably to the aforesaid Sec 
tion of the Declaration of Rights, for the support of pub 
lic Religion, by an equal Assessment and Tax, and also 
to enable the Vestry and Church- Wardens of this Pa 
rish, by Rates on the Pews, from Time to Time, or 
otherwise, as in your Wisdom you shall think fit, to repair 
and uphold the Church and Chapel, and the Church Yards 
and Burying Grounds of the same; all which, your Peti 
tioners conceive, may be done, not only for this Parish, but 
at the same Time, if thought best, for every other Parish 
within this State (which, it is believed, earnestly desires 
the same) by a single law, in a Manner perfectly agreeably 
to the Liberty and Wishes of every Denomination of Men 
who would be deemed good Christians and faithful Citizens 
of this State. And your Petitioners, as bound, shall ever 
pray, &c. 

In the foregoing Petition, exclusive Privilege is PRAYED 
for; only, " That a Law may be passed agreeably to the Bill 
" of Rights, and to the Liberty and Wishes of every Denomi- 
" nation of Men, who would be deemed good Christians and 
"faithful Citizens of this State." And some of the Vestries 
that presented the Petitions, finding the public Difficulties 
encreasing, soon afterwards [Page 6.] signified their Desire to 
the Creneral Assembly that all further Consideration of the 
matter, might be postponed to a Time of less Distress and 

But on the happy Establishment of Peace, his Excellency 
Governor PACA, in Council, with a truly paternal and pious 
Care for the Concerns of Religion, as inseparably connected 
with the Interest of the State, was pleased to revive this im 
portant Business, in an Address to the General Assembly 
(M;.y 6th, 1783) as follows, viz. 

" It is far from our Intentions to embarrass your Deliber- 
" ations with a Variety of Objects, but we cannot pass over 


"Matters of so high Concernment as RELIGION and LEARN 
ING. The Sufferings of the Ministers of the Gospel of all 
" Denominations, during the War, have been very consider- 
" able; and the Perseverance and Firmness of those, who dis- 
" charged their sacred Functions under many discouraging 
" Circumstances, claim our Acknowledgments and Thanks. 
" The Bill of Rights and Form of Government recognize the 
" principle of public Support for the Ministers of the Gospel, 
" and ascertain the Mode. Anxiously solicitous for the Bless- 
" ings of Government, and the Welfare and Happiness of 
" our Citizens, and thoroughly convinced of the powerful 
" Influence of Religion, when diffused by its respectable 
" Teachers, we beg Leave most seriously and warmly to re- 
" commend, among the first Objects of your Attention, on 
" the Return of Peace, the making such Provision, as the 
" Constitution, in this case, authorizes and approves." 

A Copy of this Address, about a Week after it was deliv 
ered to the Assembly, came into the Hands of sundry of the 
Episcopal Clergy;(l) who, finding the Concerns of Religion 
so strongly recommended by the Executive to the Legislative 
Part of Government, thought it immediately necessary that 
there should be a Council or Consultation of Clergy held for 
the Purpose of considering " What Alterations might be ne 
cessary in our Liturgy and Service; and how our Church 
might be organized, and a Succession in the Ministry kept 
up, so as to be an Object of public Notice and Support, in 
common with other Christian Churches under the Revolu 

It was considered that some Legislative Interposition or 
Sanction might probably be necessary in the Course of this 
Business; for as our Church derived her Liturgy from the 
Church of England, and was formerly dependent on the 
same Church [Page 7.] for a Succession in her Ministry, and 
had certain Property reserved to her by the Constitution of 
this State, under the Name of the Church of England; it 
became a Question whether, if any Alterations should be 
made in the Liturgy, or in the Mode of Succession in the 
Ministry, she could any longer be considered as the Cfiurch 
described in the Constitution of this State, or entitled to the 
perpetual Use of the Property aforesaid. An incorporating 

(1) They were occasionally assembled at the FIRST COMMENCEMENT in 


Act or Cfiarter was also deemed necessary to enable the Cler 
gy or some Representative Body of the Church, to raise and 
manage a Fund for certain charitable and pious Purposes; 
such Charters having been granted to Christian /Societies of 
every Denomination in other of the neighbouring States, 
whenever they have been prayed for. 

Such was the Foundation of the following Petition, which 
has nothing for itsObject but equal Privileges; and prays for 
nothing but what the Members of our Church consider as 
their undoubted Right, and which cannot be called in question 
by any who claim and enjoy the like Rights, under the Con 
stitution and Laws of this State. 

To the Honorable the General Assembly of the 
State of MARYLAND. 

The MEMORIAL and PETITION of the Subscribers, in be 
half of themselves and others the Clergy of the Episco 
pal Churches, 


IHAT the happy Termination of War, the Establishment 
of Peace, and the final Recognition and Acknowledgment of 
the Sovereignty and Independence of these United States 
among the Powers of the World, yield a favorable Occasion 
(which this State in particular hath long desired) of making 
some permanent Provision, agreeably to the Constitution, for 
" the Ministers of Religion," and the Advancement of use 
ful Knowledge and Literature, through this rising American 

That, in Respect to the Episcopal Churches in this State 
(to the communion of which so large a Proportion of the good 
People of Maryland belongs) the following Things are abso 
lutely necessary, viz. 

[Page 8.] 1st. That some Alterations should be made in 
the Liturgy and Service, in order to adapt the same to the 
Revolution, and for other Purposes of Uniformity, Concord, 
and Subordination to the State. 

2d. That a Method and Plan for educating, ordaining, and 
keeping up a Succession of able and fit Ministers or Pastors, 
for the Service of the said Churches, agreeably to ancient 
Practice and their proposed Principles, as well as that uni 
versal Toleration established by the Constitution, be speedily 
determined upon, and fixed, under the public Authority of 


the State, and with the Advice and Consent of the Clergy 
of the said, after due Consultation had thereupon. 

Your Petitioners, therefore, Humbly pray 
That the said Clergy may have leave to consult, prepare and 
offer to the General Assembly, the Draft of a Bill, for the 
good Purposes aforesaid and your Petitioners, as in Duty 
bound, shall pray, &c. 

Signed, * 


The PRAYER of the foregoing Petition was readily grant 
ed, and at a Meeting or Convention of the Clergy which, in 
pursuance thereof, was held at Annapolis, 13th August, 
1783, one Part of the Proceedings, which according to our 
Appointment, we come now to lay before the Public, was to 
nominate a Committee (1) " To prepare the Draft of an Act or 
" Charter of Incorporation, to enable the Episcopal Church 
" of this State, as a Body Corporate, to hold Goods, Lands 
"and Chattels, by Deed, Gift, Devise, &c., to the Amount 
" of . . . per Annum, as a Fund for providing small 
" Annuities to the Widows of Clergymen, and for the Edu- 
" cation of their Children, or any poor Children in general, 
" who may be found of promising Genius and Disposition 
" for a Supply of Ministers in the said Church, and for other 
" pious and charitable uses." 

These were the Purposes for which the Committee were in- 
structed to prepare the Draft of a Bill, and they were fur 
ther instructed to bring it forward to the Spring-Sessions of 
Assembly [Page 9.] then following. But as no Spring-Ses 
sions have been held this Year, the proposed Bill could not 
yet be brought forward. And whenever it shall be offered to 
the Legislative Body, they will be the best Judges of its Pro 
priety ; or may, if they think proper, direct it to be published 
for consideration before it is enacted into a Law; and then 
it will be fully seen, whether it hath any Thing for its Ob 
ject but what is of equal and common Might, as hath been 
already set forth. 

The remaining Business of this Convention was to deliber- 

(1) The Committee consists of three Clergymen of each Shore, viz., 
the same who are here-in-after named as Examiners of Candidates foi 
holy Orders. 


ate concerning the Mode of obtaining a Succession in the 
Ministry, the Choice of fit Persons for the different Orders 
of the same, and some fundamental Articles for future Uni 
formity, Concord, and good Government, for which Purpose 
the following were unanimously agreed upon and subscribed, 

^DECLARATION of certain fundamental Rights and Li 
berties of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Mary- 
hind, &C.(1) 

ment of this State " All Persons professing the Christian 
" Religion, are equally entitled to Protection in their Religi- 
" ous Liberty, and no Person, by any Law [or otherwise] 
" ought to be molested in his Person or Estate on Account of 
" his religious Persuasion or Profession, or for his religious 
" Practice ; unless, under Colour of Religion, any Man shall 
" disturb the good Order, Peace, or Safety of the State, 
" or shall infringe the Laws of Morality, or injure others in 
"their natural, civil, or religious Rights:" And Whereas 
the ecclesiastical and spiritual Independence of the differ 
ent religious Denominations, Societies, Congregations, and 
Churches of Christians in this State, necessarily follows 
from, or is included in, their civil Independence.^) 

(1) The original manuscript of this important document, with the sig 
natures of the Clergy attached, is to be found in the Collection of Dr. 
Smith's papers and correspondence, in the hands of the Rev. Dr. Hawks. 

(2) In connection with these "Fundamental Principles," which appear 
not only in this printed address, but again and again in subsequent Jour 
nals and fragments of Journals of the Maryland Conventions, it may be 
well to subjoin the following important letter, from the Rev. Dr. William 
Smith, the leading spirit in the Maryland organization, which bears 
strongly upon the question of diocesan independence, as held by the 
framers of our ecclesiastical Constitution. It forms, moreover, a fitting 
preface to the " Proceedings" it so clearly indicates in advance. 

Dear Sir: 

The Clergy of Maryland are to meet (in pursuance of the sanction ob 
tained from the G. Assembly) on the 13th of this Month; but as Mr. 
Gates and myself were to call this Meeting, we found on consulting some 
of our nearest Brethren, that they did not think it proper, nor that we 
were authorized, to call any Clergy to our assistance from the neighbor 
ing States that the Episcopal Clergy of Maryland were in some respecta 


WHEREFORE WE the Clergy of the Protestant Epis 
copal Church of Maryland (heretofore denominated the 
Church of England, as by Law established) with all Duty 
to the civil Authority of the State, and with all Love and 
Good-will to our Fellow-Christians of every other religious 
Denomination, do hereby declare, make known, and claim, 
the following, as certain of the fundamental Rights and Li 
berties inherent in and belonging to the said Episcopal 
Church, not only of common Right, but agreeably to the ex 
press Words, Spirit, and Design of the Constitution and 
Form of Government aforesaid, viz. 

[Page 10.] 

I. WE consider it as the undoubted Right of the said Pro 
testant Episcopal Church, in common with other Christian 
Churches under the American Revolution, to compleat and 
preserve herself as an entire Church, agreeably to her an 
cient Usages and Profession, and to have the free Enjoy 
ment and free Exercise of those purely spiritual Powers, 
which are essential to the Being of every Church or Con 
gregation of the faithful, and which, being derived only 
from CHRIST and his APOSTLES, are to be maintained in- 

peculiarly circumstanced, and ought, in the first instance, to have a pre 
paratory Convention or Conference, to consider and frame a DECLARA 
TION of their own Rights as one of the Churches of a separate and inde 
pendent State, to agree upon some articles of Government and Unity 
among themselves, to fix some future Time of meeting by adjournment, 
to appoint a Committee to bring in a Plan of SOME FEW alterations that 
may be found necessary in the Liturgy and Service of the Church, and 
by the authority of this first Meeting to open a correspondence on the 
subject with the Clergy of the neighboring States, and to have some speedy 
future and more general meeting with the Clergy of those States, or Commit 
tees from them, to unite if possible in the alterations to be made, which many 
among us think cannot have a full Church Ratification, till we have on 
some plan or another the three Orders of Bishops, Priests and Deacons 
to concur in the same. What STATE or civic ratification may be neces 
sary, or whether any. is a question yet to be determined. In Maryland, I 
presume, a few words of a Declaratory Act, that a Clergy, ordained in 
such a form, and using a Liturgy with such alterations as may be agreed 
upon, are to be considered as entitled to the Glebes, Churches and other 
property declared by the Constitution to belong to the CHURCH OF EN 
GLAND for ever I say such a short Act as this, or the Opinion of the 
Judges that such Act is not necessary is I conceive all that will be 

Chester: August 4th, 1783. 

To Rev. Dr. WHITE. 
From the Bishop White MSS., in the possession of the Rev. F. L. 

Hawks, D.D. 


dependent of every foreign or other Jurisdiction, so far as 
may be consistent with the civil Rights of Society. 

II. That ever since the Reformation, it hath been the re 
ceived Doctrine of the Church whereof we are Members 
(and which by the Constitution of this State is entitled to 
the perpetual Enjoyment of certain Property and Rights 
under the Denomination of the Church of England] " That 
"there be these three Orders of Ministers in CHRIST'S 
" Church, BISHOPS, PRIESTS, and DEACONS," and that an 
Episcopal Ordination and Commission are necessary to the 
valid Administration of the Sacraments, and the due Ex 
ercise of the Ministerial Functions in the said Church. 

III. That, without calling in Question the Rights, Modes, 
and Forms of any other Christian Churches or Societies, 
or wishing the least Contest with them on that Subject, 
we consider and declare it to be an essential Right of the 
said Protestant Episcopal Church to have and enjoy the 
Continuance of the said three Orders of Ministers forever, 
so far as concerns Matters purely spiritual; and that no 
Persons, in the Character of Ministers, except such as are 
in the Communion of the said Church, and duly called to 
the Ministry by regular Episcopal Ordination, can or 
ought to be admitted into, or enjoy any of the " Churches, 
Chapels, Glebes, or other Property," formerly belonging 
to the Church of England in this State, and which by the 
Constitution and Form of Government is secured to the 
said Church forever, by whatsoever Name, she the said 
Church, or her superior Order of Ministers, may in future 
be denominated. 

IV. That as it is the Right, so it will be the Duty, of the 
said Church, when duly organized, constituted, and repre 
sented in a Synod or Convention of the different Orders of 
her Ministry and People, to revise her Liturgy, Forms of 
Prayer, and public 1 Worship, in order to adapt the same to 
the late Revolution and other local Circumstances of 
America; which it is humbly conceived, may and will be 
done, without any other [Page 11.] or farther Departure 
from the venerable Order and beautiful Forms of Worship 
of the Church from whence we sprung, than may be found 
expedient in the Change of our Situation from a DAUGHTER 

SIGNED, August 13th, 1783. 

William Smith, President, St. Pauls $ Chester Parishes, 
Kent County. 


John Gordon, St. Michael's^ Talbot. 

John MPherson, William and Mary Parish, Charles 


Samuel Keene, Dorchester Parish, Dorchester County. 
William West, St. Pauls Parish, Baltimore County. 
William Thompson, St. Stephen s, Coecil County. 
Walter Magowan, St. James s Parish, Ann-Arundel 

f John Stephen, All Faith Parish, St. Mary's County. 

Tho. Jno. Claggett, St. Pauls Parish, Prince G-eorge's 


G-eorge G-oldie, King and Queen, St. Mary's County. 
Joseph Messinger, St. Andrew's Parish, St. Mary's 


John Bowie, St. Peter's Parish, Talbot County. 
Walter Harrison, Durham Parish, Charles County. 
William Hanna, St. Margaret's Westminster Parish, 

Ann-Arundel County. 
Thomas Crates, St. Ann's, Annapolis. 

John Andrews, St. Thomas's Parish, Baltimore ~\ ~. 

County. Sl S ned 

Hamilton Bell, Stephney Parish, Somerset Co', i- wi 1 ^ 6 
Francis Walker, now of Shrewsbury Parish, -frfo^' 

Kent County. J 1784 ' 

The foregoing Declaration of Rights being made and sub 
scribed, a Copy of the same was presented to his Excellency 
the Governor, with the following Address, viz. 


Grovernor and Commander in Chief, $c. &c. of the 
State of Maryland. 

WE the Protestant Episcopal Clergy of the said State, at a 
Meeting or Convention held at Annapolis this 13th August, 
1783, (in pursuance of a Vote of the House of Delegates 
passed at their last Session) in order to consider, make known 
and declare those fundamental Christian Rights, to which we 
conceive [Page 12.] ourselves entitled, in common with other 
Christian Churches ; Do hereby, in the first Place, return 
your Excellency our most sincere and hearty Thanks for your 
great Concern and Attention manifested for the Christian 


Church in general and her suffering Clergy of all Denomina 
tions. We trust and pray that your Excellency will conti 
nue your powerful Intercession till some Law is passed for 
their future Support and Encouragement, agreeably to the 

We herewith lay before your Excellency an authentic Copy 
of a Declaration of certain Rights, to which, according to our 
best Knowledge of the Laws and Constitution of our Coun 
try, we think ourselves entitled, in common with other 
Churches. Should your Excellency, from your superior 
Knowledge of both, think that the Declaration we have made 
stands in need of any further Sanction, Legislative or other 
wise, we are well persuaded that a Continuance of the same 
Zeal and Regard which you have formerly shown, will at 
Length produce the happy Effect which you so anxiously 

Praying for a continued Encrease of your Excellency's 
public Usefulness, and that you meet the reward thereof 
in the World to come, 

We are, &c. 

[Signed by all the Members, as the above Declaration of 
Rights was signed.] 

To which his Excellency was pleased to return the follow 
ing Answer, viz. 


1 HAVE attentively considered the Paper entitled " A De 
claration of certain fundamental Rights and Liberties of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church of Maryland." And as every 
Denomination of Clergy are to be deemed adequate Judges 
of their own spiritual Rights, and of the ministerial Commis 
sion and Authority necessary to the due Administration of 
the Ordinances of Religion among themselves, it would be a 
very partial and unjust Distinction to deny that Right to the 
respectable and learned Body of the Episcopal Clergy in this 
State ; and it will give me the highest Happiness and Satis 
faction, if, either in my individual Capacity, or in the public 
Character which I now have the Honor to sustain, I can be 
instrumental [Page 13.] in advancing the interests of Reli 
gion in general, alleviating the Sufferings of any of her Mi- 


nisters, and placing every Branch of the Christian Church in 
this State, upon the most equal and respectable Footing. 

I am, 

Your most obedient humble Servant, 

Annapolis, 2Qth August, 1783. 

The preceding Address and Communication to the Gover 
nor seeks not to obtain any exclusive^} Privileges or Advan 
tages. It only thanks his Excellency for his "Great Care and At- 
" tendon manifested for the Christian Church in general, and her 
" suffering Clergy of all Denominations; and prays the Con- 
" tinuance of his powerful IntercessioiKill some Law is passed 
" for their future Support and Encouragement, agreeably to 
the Constitution." And, in the same liberal and catholic 
Spirit, his Excellency is pleased to answer, " That it will 
" give him the highest Happiness and Satisfaction, if either in 
" his individual Capacity or public Character, he could be in- 
"strumental in advancing the Interests of Religion in gene- 
" ral, alleviating the sufferings of any of her Ministers, and 
" placing every Branch of the Christian Church in this State, 
"upon the most equal and respectable Footing." 

Similar to the foregoing Declaration of religious Rights, 
and partly founded thereon, are the following "fundamental 
Rules or Principles agreed upon at- a Meeting of Clergymen 
and Lay-Delegates from sundry Congregations of the EPIS 
COPAL CHURCH in the State of PENNSYLVANIA, May 25th, 

(1) The apologetic tone of this pamphlet is doubtless due, in a great 
measure, to the opposition excited by the opponents of the Church 
throughout the State, in consequence of these attempts at organization. 
The violence of this opposition is. apparent, not only from the numerous 
newspaper articles on the subject, filling the columns of the Maryland 
press of the time, but especially in an anonymous pamphlet, abounding 
in personalities of the most offensive character, and calculated to inflame 
the popular mind with the gravest apprehension as to the designs of the 
Clergy of the Episcopal Church. This pamphlet, published in small oc 
tavo, and attributed to a prominent member of the Presbyterian body, 
Dr. Patrick Allison, is entitled " Candid Animadversions respecting a 
Petition to the late General Assembly of Maryland, in behalf of the Epis 
copal Ministers in the same. By Vindex. ' If any Person considers 
these Things, and yet thinks our Liberties in no Danger, I wonder at 
that Person's security.' Baltimore: Printed by Hayes and Killen, in 
Market-street. M.DCC.LXXXIII." Pp. iv- 19. From Dr. Hawks's 
Collection of Pamphlets. 


1784," and which were communicated to this Convention, 

I. That the Episcopal Church in these States is and ought to 
be independent of all foreign Authority, ecclesiastical or 

II. That it hath and ought to have, in common with all other 
religious Societies, full and exclusive Powers to regulate 
the Concerns of its own Communion. 

III. That the Doctrines of the Gospel be maintained as now 
professed by the Church of England; and Uniformity of 
Worship be continued, as near as may be, to the Liturgy 
of the said Church. 

[Page 14.] 

IV. That the Succession of the Ministry be agreeably to the 
Usage which requireth the three Orders of BISHOPS, 
PRIESTS, and DEACONS ; that the Rights and Powers of 
the same respectively be ascertained, and that they be ex 
ercised according to reasonable Laws, to be duly made. 

V. That to make Canons or Laws, there be no other Autho 
rity than that of a Representative Body of the Clergy and 
Laity conjointly. 

VI. That no Powers be delegated to a general ecclesiastical 
Government, except such as cannot conveniently be exer 
cised by the Clergy and Vestries in their respective Con 


WM. WHITE, Chairman. 

We have only here to observe that the general Judgment 
of all our Churches at this Time, so far as it hath been yet 
collected, is for the invariable Maintenance of the three dis 
tinct Orders of our Ministry. It is a Matter that cannot con 
cern any other religious Society, and in which, without en 
tering into any Contest, we have certainly a Right to our own 

Of the Business transacted at the Clerical Meeting or 
Convention of August, 1783, there remains only to add the 
following Minute, viz. 

" The Declaration of certain fundamental Rights, &c., 
having been unanimously agreed to and subscribed as above, 


the Convention proceeded to take into Consideration the pre 
sent State of the Church, and the great Distress of many 
Parishes and Congregations, from the Want of Clergy, or 
proper Instruction in the Principles of Religion; and it was 
agreed, that until a regular Ordination of Clergy could be 
obtained, there should be three Clergymen appointed on each 
Shore, in order to examine such young Gentlemen as may 
offer themselves Candidates for Holy Orders in our Church : 
Such Examination to respect their moral Character, their 
Knowledge in the learned Languages, and Divinity, and their 
Attachment to the Doctrines of the Christian Religion as 
professed and taught in our Church ; and to recommend such 
Candidates as (upon such Examination may be thought 
worthy) to serve as Readers in any Parishes that may think 
proper to employ them ; leaving such Parishes, as to the Ad 
ministration of the Sacraments, and other proper Func- 
[Page 15.] tions of the clerical Character ', to the more immedi 
ate Direction of such neighbouring Clergymen, as may agree 
to visit them occasionally for that Purpose." 

The Committee appointed Examiners 

r Dr. William Smith, ~\ 

Revd. } Mr. John Gordon, I For the Eastern Shore. 
(Mr. Samuel Keene, ) 
C Mr. William West, ~) 

Revd. 1 Mr. Tho. Jno. Claggett, > For the Western Shore. 

(Mr. Thomas Gates, J 

The Convention then adjourned to the second Week of the 
Spring- Session of the General Assembly, or until especially 
called by their President, or the above Committee. As there 
was no Spring-Session, it was afterward agreed, that the 
President should call a Meeting in June, and that the differ 
ent Parishes or Vestries should be invited to send Delegates 
to the same; which produced the 

Convention of June 22d, 1784. 

This Convention being duly formed, their first Business 
was to take into Consideration the Proceedings of the Cleri 
cal Members at their Meeting in August, 1783; and the De 
claration of certain fundamental Rights, &c. as above insert 
ed, being laid before them, the Lay-Delegates desired Leave 
to retire and consult upon the same; and on their Return 


reported by Mr. Joseph Couden, that they had read and dis 
cussed the same, Paragraph by Paragraph, and unanimously 
approved thereof. 

A Committee of Clergymen and Lay Delegates was then 
appointed to essay a Plan of ecclesiastical Government for 
the Episcopal Church in this State, and to define therein the 
Duties of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons in Matters spiritual ; 
and the Rights and Duties both of Clergy and Laity in gen 
eral Synods or Conventions for the Government of this 
Church, preserving Uniformity of Worship, and the reclaim 
ing or excluding from Church-Communion scandalous Mem 
bers, whether of the Clerical or Lay Order. 

The aforesaid Committee not having Time to essay a full 
Plan for the Purposes above mentioned, reported the following 
as some of the fundamental Principles thereof, which were 
agreed to, viz. 

[Page 16.] 

I. That none of the Orders of the Clergy, whether BisJiops, 
Priests or Deacons, who may be under the Necessity of ob 
taining Ordination in any foreign State with a View to of 
ficiate or settle in this State, shall, at the Time of their 
Ordination, or at any Time afterwards, take or subscribe 
any Obligation of Obedience, civil or canonical to any fo 
reign Power or Authority whatsoever; nor be admissible 
into the Ministry of this Church, if such Obligations have 
been taken for a settlement in any foreign Country, with 
out renouncing the same by taking the Oaths required by 
Law as a Test of Allegiance to this State. * 

II. According to what we conceive to be of true Apostolic 
Institution, the Duty and Office of a Bishop, differs in nothing 
from that of other Priests, except in the power of Ordina 
tion and Confirmation ; and in the Right of Precedency in 
ecclesiastical Meetings or Synods, and shall accordingly be 
so exercised in this Church ; the Duty and Office of Priests 
and Deacons to remain as heretofore. And if any further 
Distinctions and Regulations in the different Orders of the 
Ministry should afterwards be found necessary for the good 
Government of the Church, the same shall be made and 
established by the joint Voice and Authority of a Repre 
sentative Body of the Clergy and Laity, at future ecclesi 
astical Synods or Conventions. 

III. This third Section is intended to define or discriminate 


some of the separate Rights and Powers of the Clergy, 
and was proposed and agreed to as follows, viz. That the 
Clergy should be deemed adequate Judges of the Ministe 
rial Commission and Authority which rs necessary to the 
due Administration of the Ordinances of Religion in their 
own Church ; and of the literary, moral and religious Quali 
ties and Abilities of Persons fit to be nominated and ap 
pointed to the different Orders of the Ministry; but the 
approving and receiving such Persons to any particular 
Cure, Duty or Parish, when so nominated, appointed, set 
apart, consecrated and ordained, is in the People who are 
to support them, and to receive the Benefit of their Mi 

IV. The fourth Section provides that Ecclesiastical Conven- 
ventions or Synods of this Church shall consist of the 
Clergy and one Lay-Delegate or Representative from each 
Vestry or Parish, in a Majority of the same; and shall be 
held annually on the 4th Tuesday in October, unless some 
Canon or Rule should be made at some future Convention, 
for altering the Time of Meeting, or for Meeting oftener 
than once a Year, or not so often, or with a larger or 
smaller Representation of the Church, as may be judged 
necessary. But fundamental Rules, once duly made, 
shall not be altered unless two Thirds of such Majority as 
aforesaid, duly assembled, shall agree therein. 

[Page 17.J 

The remaining Proceedings of the Clerical Meeting of Au 
gust 1783, having been read and approved of, and it being 
thought reasonable that for the future every third Meeting 
should be held on the Eastern Shore, the Convention ad 
journed to meet at the Town of Chester, the fourth Tuesday 
of October next; when, from the Importance of the Business 
to be yet settled, it is hoped that there will be a full Meeting 
as well of the Clergy as of Representatives from the different 
Vestries and Parishes. 




N.B. JOSEPH COUDEN, one of the Lay-Committee, had 
not Notice in Time to attend the other Members at Baltimore 
for digesting these Proceedings. 

P. S. The following Heads of additional Articles which 


could not be taken up at the last Convention, have been pro 
posed as some of the Matters necessary to be more fully pro 
vided for in the Plan of Ecclesiastical Government, by the 
next Convention, and are here added for Consideration, viz. 

I. That the Power and Authority necessary for reclaiming or 
excluding scandalous Members, whether Lay or Clerical, 
and all Jurisdiction with regard to Offenders, be exercised 
only by a Representative Body of Clergy and Laity 

II. That the Power of suspending or dismissing Clergymen 
from the Exercise of their Ministry, in any particular 
Church, Parish or District, be by the like Authority. 

III. That all Canons or Laws for Church Government, and 
all Alterations, Changes or Reforms in the Church Ser 
vice and Liturgy, or in Points of Doctrine to be professed 
and taught in the Church, shall also be by the like joint 
Authority. [N.B. The fourth Article of the foregoing 
Declaration of Rights seems to provide for this But it 
may be further explained, if necessary.] 

Inserted in some Copies as a part of the foregoing Pamph 
let, and added in others as a supplemental half-sheet, with 
slight variations in wording and typography, are the fol 
lowing "Additional Constitutions or Rules," important 
from their containing references to "General Conventions" 
and " Standing Committees," together with definitions of 
the rights and powers conferred upon the same. 

RYLAND, held at Chester, on the Fourth Tuesday of Octo 
ber 1784, in Pursuance of the Fourth Constitution made at 
a former Convention, at Annapolis, June 22, 1784.(1) 

J.HE following additional Constitutions respecting the fu 
ture Discipline and Government of this Church, in ANNUAL 
or GENERAL CONVENTIONS, were agreed upon, viz. 

I. GENERAL CONVENTIONS of this Church, consisting of 
the different Orders of Clergy and Laity duly represented 
(agreeably to the Fourth Constitution aforesaid) shall have 

(1) From the copy in Harvard College Library, Cambridge, Mass. 


the general Cognizance of all Affairs, necessary to the Disci 
pline and good Government of this Church, including parti 
cularly the following Matters, viz. The Power and Autho 
rity necessary for receiving, or excluding from Church-Pri 
vileges, scandalous Members, whether Lay or Clerical, and 
all Jurisdiction with Regard to Offenders ; the Power of sus 
pending or dismissing Clergymen from the Exercise of their 
Ministry in this Church ; the framing, approving of, or con 
firming all Canons, or Laws, for Church-Government: and 
such Alterations, or Reforms, in the Church-Service, Litur 
gy, or Points of Doctrine, as may be afterwards found ne 
cessary or expedient, by our Church in this State, or of the 
United States in GENERAL CONVENTION. And in all Matters 
that shall come before the Convention, the Clergy and Laity 
shall deliberate in one Body ; But if any Vote shall be found 
necessary, or be called for by any two Members, they shall 
vote separately ; that is to say, the Clergy in their different 
Orders, according to their own Rules, shall have one Vote; 
and the Laity, according to their Rules, shall have another 
Vote ; and the Concurrence of both shall be necessary to give 
Validity to any Measure. 

II. Future Conventions shall frame and establish Rules, 
or Canons, for receiving Complaints ; and shall annually ap 
point a Committee, consisting of an equal Number of Cler 
gy and Laity, (including the BISHOP, when there shall be one 
duly consecrated, among the Number of the Clergy) which 
Committee shall have standing Authority, Government, and 
Jurisdiction, agreeably to such Rules as may be given them 
for that Purpose, in all Matters respecting the Discipline and 
Government of the Church, that may arise or be necessary 
to be proceeded upon, during the Recess or Adjournment of 
GENERAL CONVENTIONS: All which Rules shall be framed, 
and Jurisdiction exercised in Conformity to the Constitution 
and Laws of this State for the Time being. (1) 

(1) In the copy of these Additional Constitutions in the Collection of 
Early Journals in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Hawks, which, though 
evidently inserted after the rest of the pamphlet was printed, is continu 
ously paged with the preceding sheets, the words " or general" in the 
heading, and " the following Matters, viz.," in Paragraph I. are omitted ; 
the parenthetical clause " (of all Orders)" is added to the assertion of 
" the power of suspending or dismissing Clergymen" ; and the words " or 
Rule" appended at the close of the paragraph. There are several varia 
tions in typography, which, as they do not at all affect the sense, it is 
hardly important to notice. 


At the Convention of August, 1783, other business had 
transpired, beyond that which appears in the printed record 
we have above transcribed. In a letter from the Rev. Tho 
mas John Claggett to his friend William Duke, subsequently 
a Clergyman of the Church, but at that time a preacher 
among the Methodists, under date of " Upper Marlboro', 
September 20, 1783,"(1) the following paragraph occurs. 

" I suppose you have long ago heard that the Clergy of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church met last month at Annapo 
lis, and that we formed a bill of rights : chose Dr. Smith to 
go to Europe to be ordained an antistes, President of the 
Clergy, or Bishop (if that name does not hurt your feelings.) 
He will probably be back some time next Spring. In the mean 
time, we have appointed three of the Clergy on each Shore 
to license candidates for Holy Orders in our Church, to act 
as readers in the different parishes." 

The first Bishop-Elect of Maryland was never consecrated. 
Opposition, at first from abroad, and subsequently from 
nearer home, delayed from time to time, and finally prevent 
ed the accession to the American Episcopate of the able and 
accomplished President of Washington College. The dis 
sension arising from this matter served to depress the Mary 
land Church for a number of years; and the early Conven 
tional history of the period immediately succeeding that em 
braced in the "Address" we have reprinted, is contained 
alone in letters, and fragments of letters, preserved among 
the Bishop White MSS., or in similar unpublished col 

In close connection, as will be found by a comparison of 
dates, with the efforts of the Rev. Mr. Beach for a general 
ecclesiastical organization, the following preparatory steps 

(1) Quoted in the valuable " Notices and Journals and Remains of 
Journals," Ac., of the Church in Maryland, from 1783 to 1788 inclusive, 
first published from the papers of the Rev. Dr. Wm. West, as an Appendix 
to the Maryland Convention Journal of 1855, by the Rev. Ethan Allen, 


were taken by the Vestries of the united churches of Christ 
Church and St. Peter's, Philadelphia. 

Philadelphia, March 29, 1784. 

At ye House of ye revd. Dr. White, Hector of Christ's 
Church & St. Peter's. 

In consequence of Appointments made by ye vestry of 
Christ's Church and St. Peter's as followeth : 

" The Rector mentioned to ye Vestry, that he lately had 
a Conversation with ye revd. Dr. Magaw, on ye Subject of 
appointing a Committee from ye Vestries of their respective 
Churches, to confer with ye Clergy of ye said Churches, on ye 
Subject of forming a Representative Body of ye Episcopal 
Churches in this State, and wished to have ye Sense of this 
Vestry thereon. After some consideration, ye Vestry agreed 
to appoint Matthew Clarkson and Wm. Pollard for Christ's 
Church, and Dr. Clarkson and Mr. John Chaloner for St. 

And by ye Vestry of St. Paul's Church as followeth : 

" A Copy of ye Minute of ye Vestry of ye united Churches 
Christ's Church and St. Peter's, of the 13th of Novr. last, 
was, by ye Revd. Dr. Magaw, laid before this Vestry, and is 
asfollows. (Here followeth ye above Minute.) The above Minute 
being taken into consideration, and this Vestry concurring in 
Opinon thereon, unanimously appointed Lambert Wilmer and 
Plunk et Fleeson, Esqres., on ye part of this Church, to car 
ry into Execution ye good Intentions of the aforesaid re 
cited Minute." 

The Clergy, together with ye Gentlemen named in ye 
said appointments, (except Matthew Clarkson, Esqre., and 
Dr. Clarkson, who were detained by sickness,) assembled at 
ye time and place above mentioned. 

The Body thus assembled, having taken into consideration 
ye Necessity of speedily adopting Measures for ye forming 
of a Plan of ecclesiastical Government for ye Episcopal 
Church, are of Opinion, that a Subject of such Importance 
ought to be taken up, if possible, with ye concurrence of ye 
Episcopalians generally in ye States. They, therefore, re 
solved to ask a Conference with such Members of ye Episco 
pal Congregations in ye Counties of this State as are now in 
Town ; and they authorize ye clergymen now present to con 
verse with such Persons as they gan find of ye above Descrip 
tion, and to request their Meeting this Body at Christ's 
Church, on Wednesday evening, at seven o'clock. 


Adjourned to ye same Time and Place. 

Christ Church, March 31. 

The Clergy and ye two Committees assembled according 
to adjournment (all ye Members being present except M. 
Clarkson, Esq., detained by sickness) and ye Body thus as 
sembled elected Dr. White their Chairman. 

The Clergy reported that agreeably to ye appointment of 
ye last Meeting, they had spoken to several Gentlemen, who 
readily consented to ye proposed Conference. 

The Meeting continued some time; when it was signified 
to them, that several Gentlemen, who had designed to at 
tend, were detained by ye unexpected Sitting of ye honl. 
House of Assembly, they being Members of that House. 
The Honl. James Read Esqre. attended, according to Desire. 

After some Conversation on ye Business of this Meeting, 
it was resolved that a circular letter be addressed to ye Ch. 
wardens and Vestry men of ye respective Episcopal Congre 
gations in ye State; and that ye same be as followeth, viz. 

Gentlemen : 

The Episcopal Clergy in this City, together with a 
Committee appointed by ye Vestry of Christ's Church and 
St. Peter's, and another Committee appointed by ye Vestry 
of St. Paul's Church, in ye same, for ye purpose of propos 
ing a Plan of ecclesiastical Government, being now assembled, 
are of Opinion, that a Subject of such Importance ought to 
be taken up, if possible, with ye concurrence of ye Episco 
palians generally in ye States. They have therefore resolved, 
as preparatory to a general Consultation, to request ye 
Church-wardens and Vestry men of each Episcopal Congre 
gation in ye State, to delegate one or more of their Body to 
assist at a Meeting to be held in this City on Monday, ye 
24th day of May next; and such Clergymen as have paro 
chial Cure in ye said Congregations to attend ye Meeting ; 
which they hope will contain a full Representation of the 
Episcopal Church in this State. 

The above Resolve, Gentlemen, the first Step in their Pro 
ceedings, they now respectfully and affectionately communi 
cate to you. 

Signed, in behalf of the Body now assembled, 

WM. WHITE, Chairman.(l) 

(1) From the original Manuscript in the handwriting of Bishop White, 
and preserved among his papers. 


In furtherance of the proposal contained in this Circular, 
there was a meeting of Clergy and Laity in Christ Church, 
Philadelphia, on the 24th of May, 1784. 

At this meeting, and at an adjourned gathering the follow 
ing day, there were present, as appears from the printed 
" Journal of the Meetings, which led to the institution of a 
Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State 
of Pennsylvania : together with the Journals of the first six 
Conventions of the said Church,"! 1 ) 

From Christ Church and St. Peter 8, Rev. William 
White, D.D., Rev. Robert Blackwell, Mr. Matthew 
Clarkson, Mr. William Pollard, Dr. Clarkson, and 
Mr. John Chaloner. 

From St. Pauls Church, Rev. Samuel Magaw, D.D., 
Mr. Lambert Wilmer, and Plunket Fleeson, Esquire. 
St. James's, Bristol, Mr. Christopher Merrick. 
Trinity Church, Oxford, Mr. Benjamin Cottrnan. 
All Saints, Pemapecka, Mr. Benjamin Johnson. 
St. Pauls, Chester, Dr. William Currie and Mr. James 


From St. David's, Radnor, Richard Willing, Esquire. 
From St. Peter s, in the Valley, Mr. John Francis. 
From St. Martin s, Marcus Hook, Mr. Joseph Marshall. 
From St. James's, Lancaster, Rev. Jos. Hutchins and 

W. Parr, Esquire. 
From St. James s, Perkioming, Dr. Robert Shannon and 

Mr. John Bean. 

From St. Johns, New London, Mr. John Wade. 
From Huntington Church, York County, Mr. Joseph 


The Rev. Dr. White was chosen chairman, and Mr. Wil 
liam Pollard, clerk. 

The gentlemen assembled, after some conversation con 
cerning a concurrence with their brethren in other states, on 
means for the preservation of their communion, agreed to 
appoint a committee to consider the matter more maturely, 
and to report at 3 o'clock, P.M. (2) 

(1) Philadelphia: Printed by Hall and Sellers. M.DCC.XC. Svo.pp. 26. 

(2) Tuesday, May 25, 1784. 


The committee appointed consisted of the clergy, Dr. 
Clarkson, Mr. Parr, Mr. Willing, Mr. Fleeson, and Dr. 

Resolved, That each church shall have one vote, whether 
represented by one or more persons ; or whether two or more 
united congregations be represented by one man, or set of 


Three o'clock, P.M. 

The committee met. 

The Hon. James Read, Esquire, from St. Mary's church, 
Reading, and Mr. George Douglas, from St. Gabriel's, Mor- 
latton, in Berks county, joined the meeting. 

The committee appointed in the morning reported, as 
follows : 

" That they think it expedient to appoint a standing com 
mittee of the Episcopal church in this state, consisting of 
clergy and laity ; that the said committee be empowered to 
correspond and confer with representatives from the Episco 
pal church in the other states, or any of them ; and assist in 
framing an ecclesiastical government ; that a constitution of 
ecclesiastical government, when framed, be reported to the 
several congregations, through their respective ministers, 
church-wardens, and vestrymen, to be binding on all the con 
gregations consenting to it, as soon as a majority of the con 
gregations shall have consented ; that a majority of the 
committee, or any less number by them appointed, be a 
quorum ; that they be desired to keep minutes of their pro 
ceedings ; and that they be bound by the following instruc 
tions or fundamental principles. 

First. That the Episcopal church in these states is and 
ought to be independent of all foreign Authority, ecclesias 
tical or civil, 

Second. That it hath, and ought to have, in common with 
all other religious Societies, full and exclusive Powers to re 
gulate the Concerns of its own communion. 

Third. That the Doctrines of the Gospel be maintained, 
as now professed by the church of England ; and Unifor 
mity of Worship be continued, as near as may be to the li 
turgy of the said church. 

Fourth. That the succession of the ministry be agreeable 
to the usage which requireth the three orders of bishops, 
priests, and deacons ; that the rights and powers of the same 


respectively be ascertained ; and that they be exercised ac 
cording to reasonable Laws, to be duly made. 

Fifth. That to make canons or laws, there be no other au 
thority than that of a representative body of the clergy and 
laity conjointly. 

Sixth. That no powers be delegated to a general ecclesias 
tical government, except such as cannot conveniently be ex 
ercised by the clergy and vestries in their respective congre 

This was the first ecclesiastical assembly, in any of the 
States, consisting partly of lay members.U) The standing 
Committee appointed by its authority, and consisting of the 
Rev. Drs. White and Magaw, and the Rev. Messrs. Hutchins 
and Blackwell, together with Messrs. Clarkson, Fleeson, Wil 
ling, the Hon. Mr. Read, Drs. Clarkson and Shannon, and 
Messrs. Chaloner and Johnson, delegated their powers by a 
special vote to such of their number, together with Samuel 
Powel and Richard Peters, Esquires, as attended the meet 
ing in New York ; and at a subsequent meeting at the house 
of the Rev. Dr. White, on the 7th of February, 1785, (2) 

Resolved, That there be sent to every clergyman and con 
gregation in the state, an account of the proceedings of the 
committee, in concurrence with sundry clergymen and others, 

(1) White's Memoirs of the Church, p. 36. 

(2) In connection with these extracts from the printed proceedings of 
the Vestries at this meeting, it may be well to add, from the Bishop White 
MSS., a letter of instructions, addressed by the Rev. William Smith, D.D., 
to the deputies of the parish he had previously served, under the appoint 
ment of the venerable Society. 

Messrs. Benjm. Cotman and Benjm. Johnson. 

I know not what can be done at your meeting of vestries. This 
at least I wish, that a Clergyman or two, and about two Vestrymen, may 
be appointed a Committee to meet Committees from the neighbouring 
States, at some convenient place, about next October, to fix on a general 
plan for all our Churches, both in respect to Discipline and our Church 
Service. Something fundamental ought also to be agreed upon respect 
ing Ordination, &c., similar to what was done in Maryland, a copy 
of which I gave to Dr. Magaw, declaring that Episcopal Ordination is an 
indispensible qualification for every person who may be desirous to hold 
any living in our Church. Certainly none else can hold any of the 


at a meeting in the city of New- York, on the 6th and 7th 
days of October last; that it be recommended, that the 
clergy, and deputies from the several congregations, assemble 
in Christ-Church in this city, on Monday, the 23d day of 
May next, at eleven o'clock in the forenoon, in order to organ 
ize the Episcopal church in this state agreeably to the inten 
tions of the body assembled in New- York, as aforesaid; and 
that it be recommended to the vestries to declare, at some 
congregational meeting, the object of the intended meeting 
in May, and to propose to the congregations, to enable them 
to send deputies, duly authorized, to the said meeting. 

The results of this resolution are sufficiently indicated in 
the following important document, which we print from the 
original folio sheet, preserved in the collection of early Con 
ventional papers made by Bishop White. 







WlIEREAS, by the late Revolution, the Protestant Episco 
pal Church in the United States of America is become inde 
pendent of the Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction in England; in 
consequence whereof it is necessary for the Clergy and Con 
gregations of the said Church to associate themselves, for 
maintaining Uniformity in divine Worship, for procuring the 
Powers of Ordination, and for establishing and maintaining 
a System of Ecclesiastical Government: 

churches heretofore established or built under the Society for propagating 
the Gospel, nor the glebes where any are. There will be Committees from 
several of the Southern States, especially Maryland and Virginia, but 
they can hardly begot together till towards the end of September. I hope 
they may be induced to meet as far North as conveniently may be, perhaps 
at Philada. or Brunswick, or Wilmington in Delaware State. 

Dated from Chester, Maryland, May 23. 

This letter, as appears from its endorsement, was read by Dr. White, 
before the Committee, at their meeting in Christ Church, May 26, 1784. 


And whereas, at a Meeting of sundry Clergymen and of 
Lay Deputies from sundry Congregations of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in this State, held in the City of Philadel 
phia, on the 24th Day of May, 1784, there was appointed 
a Committee to confer and correspond with Representatives 
from the Church in the other States, for the Purpose of con 
stituting an Ecclesiastical Government, agreeably to certain 
Instructions or fundamental Principles: 

And whereas the said Committee, being assembled in the 
City of New- York, on the 6th and 7th days of October, in 
the same Year, did concur with Clergymen and Lay Deputies 
from sundry States, in proposing a Convention from all the 
States, to be held in the City of Philadelphia, on the Tues 
day before the Feast of St. Michael next ensuing, in order 
to unite in an Ecclesiastical Constitution agreeably to certain 
fundamental Principles, expressed in the said Proposal: 

And whereas the Body which assembled as aforesaid in 
New-York did recommend to the Church in the several 
States, that previously to the said intended Meeting, they 
should organize or associate themselves, agreeably to such 
rules as they shall think proper : 

It is therefore hereby determined and declared by the 
Clergy who do now, or who hereafter shall sign this Act, and 
by the Congregations who do now or who hereafter shall con 
sent to this Act, either by its being ratified by their respec 
tive Vestries, or by its being signed by their Deputies duly 
authorized, that the said Clergy and Congregations shall be 
called and known by the Name of The Protestant Episcopal 
Church in the State of Pennsylvania. 

And it is hereby further determined and declared by the 
said Clergy and Congregations, That there shall be a Conven 
tion of the said Church; which Convention shall consist of 
all the Clergy of the same, and of Lay Deputies; and that 
all the Acts and Proceedings of said Convention shall be 
considered as the Acts and Proceedings of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in this State; provided always, That the 
same shall be consistent Avith the fundamental Principles 
agreed on at the two aforesaid Meetings in Philadelphia and 
New- York. 

And it is hereby further determined and declared by the 
said Clergy and Congregations, That each Congregation may 
send to the Convention a Deputy or Deputies; and where 
two or more Congregations are united they may send a De- 


puty or Deputies for each Congregation ; and no Congregation 
may send a Clergyman as their Deputy ; and each Congrega 
tion represented in Convention shall have one Vote. 

And it is hereby further determined and declared by the 
said Clergy and Congregations, That the Clergy and Lay 
Deputies in Convention shall deliberate in one Body, but 
shall vote as two distinct Orders, and that the Concurrence 
of both Orders shall be necessary to give Validity to every 
Measure; and such Clergymen and Lay Deputies as shall 
at any time be duly assembled in Convention shall be a 
Quorum; and on every question the Votes of a Majority of 
those present of the two Orders respectively shall decide. 

And it is hereby further determined and declared by the 
said Clergy and Congregations, That all such Clergymen aa 
shall hereafter be settled as the Ministers of the Congrega 
tions ratifying this Act, shall have the same Privileges, and 
be subject to the same Regulations as the Clergy now sub 
scribing the same. 

And it is hereby further determined and declared by the 
said Clergy and Congregations, That the Convention shall 
meet on Monday, the 22d Day of May, which will be in the 
year of our Lord 1786, and forever after on such annual 
Day, and at such other Times and at such Place, as shall be 
fixed by future Rules of the Convention. 

And it is hereby further determined and declared by the 
said Clergy and Congregations, That if the Clergy and Con 
gregations of any adjoining State or States, shall desire to 
unite with the Church in this State, agreeably to the funda 
mental Principles established at the aforesaid Meeting in 
New York, then the Convention shall have power to admit 
the said Clergy and Deputies from the Congregations of such 
adjoining State or States, to have the same Privileges, and 
to be subject to the same Regulations, as the Clergy and Con 
gregations in this State. 

Done in Christ Church, in the City of Philadelphia, this 

24th Day of May, in the year of our Lord, 1785. 
Witness our hands in Ratification of the Premises. (1) 
WILLIAM WHITE, D.D., Rector of Christ Church 

and tit. Peters, in Philadelphia, 
SAMUEL MAGAW, D.D., Rector of St. Paul's Church, 

(1) The signing of those Deputies who were sent to the Convention 
lout written Powers, was deferred until such Powers can be procured. 


ROBERT BLACKWELL, Assistant Minister of Christ 

Church and St. Peter's, Philadephia, 
JOSEPH HUTCHINS, Rector of St. James's, Lancaster. 
JOHN CAMPBELL, Rector of the Episcopal Churches 

of York and Huntingdon, 
JOSEPH SWIFT, Deputy for Christ Church, 
SAMUEL POWEL, | Deputies for St. Peter's 



JOHN WOOD, > Deputies for St. Paul's Clmrch, 

ANDREW Doz, j 
EDWARD HAND, Deputy for the Congregation of St. 

James's, Lancaster, 
NICHOLAS JONES, Deputy for St. G-abriel's, Morlat- 

ton, Berks, 
JOHN CAMPBELL, Deputy for the Congregations of 

York and Huntingdon, 

JOHN CROSBY, jun.l Deputies for St. Paul's Church, 
JOHN SHAW, j Chester, 

At this meeting Deputies were chosen in accordance with 
the recommendation of the preliminary Convention at New 
York, for the meeting in Philadelphia, in September, 1785. 
The names of these gentlemen, thus delegated to represent 
the Church in Pennsylvania, at the first General Convention, 
are found in the Proceedings of the early Pennsylvania Con 
ventions, and also in a foot note to the " Act of Associa 
tion," above reprinted. They were as follows viz., Clerical 
Deputies: the Rev.' Drs. White and Magaw, and the Rev. 
Messrs. Blackwell, Hutchins, and Campbell; together with 
Messrs. Richard Peters, Gerardus Clarkson, Samuel Powel, 
William Atlee, Jasper Yeates, Stephen Chambers, Edward 
Hand, Thomas Hartley, John Clarke, Archibald McGrew, 
Plunket Fleeson, Edward Shippen, Joseph Swift, Andrew 
Doz, John Wood, Nicholas Jones, and Edward Duffield, as 
Lay Deputies. (1) 

(1) A Committee, consisting of the Rev. Drs. White and Magaw, the 
Rev. Mr. Blackwell, with Messrs. Powel, Swift, and Doz, was also ap 
pointed, " they, or any three of them," " to carry on all necessary corres- 


Measures for the incorporation of the Church in Virginia 
had been taken at an even earlier date ; and an Act of Assem 
bly had been obtained in 1784 for this purpose in response 
to a petition of the Clergy, assembled at Richmond. 

pondence, to superintend the printing of the Act of Association, and to 
transmit the same to the several congregations in this State ; and in gene 
ral, to transact all business relative to the concerns of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in the State of Pennsylvania." This Committee ap 
pears to have entered at once upon their duties ; and we insert in this con 
nection the following letter, received in reply to one of their communica 
tions, as attesting, perhaps more strongly than any similar document we 
have noticed, the idea of Diocesan independence, as held by the Mary 
land Clergy, in common with their brethren throughout the land. 

BALTIMORE, July 5, 1784. 
Reverend and dear Sir, 

I am glad that I have an Opportunity of returning you my hearty 
Thanks for your letter, and the Proceedings of your Committee respecting 
Church Matters. I think with you that a Communication of Sentiments 
among its Clergy is necessary in the present circumstances of our Com 
mon Church; and that their most vigorous Exertions, and harmonizing 
Affections are equally so 

I think that the Protestant Episcopal Church, in each particular State, 
is fully entitled to all the Rights and Authority that are essentially neces 
sary to form and compleat an Entire Church ; and that, as the several 
States in Confederation have essential Rights and Powers independent on 
each other, so the Church in each State has essential Rights and Powers 
independent on those in other States. But still, as each State harmonizes 
with its Sister-States, for the Common Good of the Confederation ; so, in 
like manner, each Particular Chh. should harmonize with its Sister 
Churches in the different States, for the Common Good of its Communion 
or Society at large. 

If I am right in this, then it seems to me that the Particular Chh. in each 
State has an inherent and fundamental Right to exercise the Authority 
you allude to; tho' it might happen that the ACTUAL Exercise of each in 
dependent Authority might not be consistent with some mere " General 

Yet notwithstanding I do not think it impracticable to answer every 
GOOD Purpose of any general Plan, and reserve at the same time, to each 
particular State-Church, all the Rights and Authority I have mentioned. 
For this end it appears to me that no more is necessary than such a Con 
vocation as you mention (or something adequate to it) for the Purpose of 
iblishing throughout the Confederated States, an Uniformity of Wor 
ship and of Church Government. 

When this foundation is once happily laid, the unimportant local vari 
ations of the several State Chhs. from each other, according to their par 
ticular Circumstances, cannot in my apprehension, either break its Com 
munion or injure the Prosperity of the Church in general. 

And in order to form such a Convocation, or adopt such Measures as 
would effectually answer the end, I conceive it not only prudent tut even 


The only record of this primary Convention we are able 
to furnish, is the brief reference to its proceedings contained 

in the following letter: (1) 


necessary that Lay- Members be delegated by the People for the Purpose, 
and that they concur with the Clergy. 

As to the usage of the Primitive Chh. with respect to the Election of 
Bishops, I need not mention to you that it is difficult to speak positively. 
The Approbation of the Laity, tho' desirable, was not I believe necessary. 
And even tho' the Clergy might nominate, and be unhappy in an injudi 
cious Nomination ; yet still the Approbation or Disapprobation of the Laity 
would have its due Effects, as the Encouragement and Support of a 
Bishop would rest almost entirely with them. 

'But happily for us, these Matters need occasion no Controversy. An 
injudicious Election may be laid aside, and a more judicious one made. 
Or if no Characters can be found, as yet, in these States, fit for the Pur 
pose, an Invitation may be given to some Pious, Exemplary, and Able 
Bishop or Bishops, to come and help us in the present Exigencies of our 
dismembered Church. Under the Presidency and Influence of such a 
Character, I doubt not every true member of the Chh., whether Lay or 
Clerical, would be heartily desirous of adhering as closely to the Liturgy 
and Rules of the Church of England, as is consistent with the Principles 
of the late Revolution ; and that the Laity would be as ready to approve 
of the Liturgy and Canons thus adapted to the Civil Governmt. of these 
States, as the Clergy would be unwilling to depart from the fundamental 
Principles of Episcopacy, and further than necessary from the beautiful 
Form, and approved Standard before them. 

As to the Division of these States into some few Districts, and placing 
a Bishop in each of thorn, I confess I cannot see the least necessity for it. 
The limits of each State appears to me the most proper, as well as the 
most natural District for each Bishop. In this case each Chh. will be 
entire and independent, as the State in which it is ; and will naturally 
form the proper Diocese of its Bishop. And supposing the States multi 
plied even into 23, I cannot think 23 Bishops too many for America. If 
they prove worthy of the high and sacred character, the more of them 
the better. And if some few should unhappily disgrace the Dignity of the 
Office, a respectable Number of the Order, being pious and venerable, 
will give weight and Sanction to Spiritual (which will probably be their 
ONLY) Reproofs; and preserve it from Contempt. 

These, Sir, are my present Sentiments on the Subject, and I shall be 
heartily thankful if you will endeavour to put me right where you think I 
am wrong. 

The Proceedings of the late Convention at Annapolis are ordered to be 
published. At which Time I will endeavour to transmit you a Copy of 
them. In the interim, I cannot but inform you that a Committee is ap 
pointed for like Purposes with your Committee. But that the Letter you 
mention as addressed, or to be addressed to them, has not yet been re 

I am, 
Reverend and dear Sir, your affectionate Servant, 


Revd. Doctor WHITE. 

(1) Bishop White MSS. 


FAIRFAX GLEBE, 26th July, 1784. 
Dear Sir, 

Your different letters, to the Convention at Richmond and to myself, 
on the subject of a general meeting of the Episcopal Clergy at New York, 
were all received, but not time enough to be laid before Convention, which 
sat only three days. The Episcopal Church in Virginia is so fettered by 
Laws, that the Clergy could do no more than petition for a repeal of 
those laws for liberty to introduce Ordination and Government and to 
revise and alter the Liturgy. The session is passed over without our be 
ing able to accomplish this. The few Clergymen at Richmond to whom 
your Letter was shewn, approved of the Plan and proceedings of the Penn 
sylvania Convention, and also of the general meeting at New' York, but 
no delegates have been appointed to attend. In the Present State of Ec 
clesiastical affairs in this State, the Clergy could not, with propriety, and 
indeed without great danger to the Church, empower any Persons to agree 
to the least alteration whatever. I shall be able to explain to you the 
necessity of their acting with this caution when I shall have the pleasure 
of seeing you. Having some business in New York with the Executors 
of ray Mother in Law, I shall endeavour to be there about the time of the 
general Convention; perhaps a few days before it: I shall, therefore, say 
no more ou the subject of the Circular Letter, only that no notice of the 
intended meeting has been sent to North Carolina ; none of the Clergy 
present, at the time of receiving your letter, having any acquaintance with 
the Brethren in that State. 

Altho' this letter is addressed to you, yet I beg it may be considered as 
an answer to those signed by yourself together with our Brothers McGaw 
and Blackwell. To whom (tho' I have not the pleasure of being Person 
ally known to the former) I beg to be affectionately remembered. 
I am, Dr. Sir, 

Your affct. hmble. servt., 

Rev. Dr. WHITE. 

The Act of the General Assemoly authorized a Conven 
tion, " to consist of a deputation of two persons from each 
parish, whereof the Minister shall always be one, if there be 
a Minister in the parish, and the other person or persons 
shall be appointed by the Vestries," " to regulate all the 
religious concerns of the Protestant Episcopal Church, its 
doctrines, discipline, and worship ; and to institute such rules 
and regulations as they may judge necessary for the good 
government thereof, and the same to revoke and alter at 


their pleasure." This Act of Incorporation required the ap 
pointment of forty persons to constitute the Convention, and 
made its first meeting " at the call of any three Ministers of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church." Agreeably to the terms 
of this Act, a Convention, consisting of thirty-six clergy 
men and upwards of seventy laymen, assembled at the Capi 
tol in the City of Richmond, on Wednesday, the 18th of 
May, 1785. 

At this Convention, the following resolutions, reported by 
the Committee of the whole on the State of the Church, 
were adopted.(l) 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that de 
puties be appointed to represent the Protestant Episcopal 
Church of Virginia in the General Convention to be holden 
in the City of Philadelphia on. the Tuesday before the feast 
of St. Michael next. 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that the 
deputation to the General Convention consist of two clergy 
men and two laymen ; any two of whom shall be considered 
as a representation. 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that in 
structions be prepared for the conduct of the said deputies. 

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that the 
said instructions be so framed as to leave the Convention of 
this state at liberty to approve or disapprove of the proceed 
ings of the General Convention. 

On the following Monday, May 23, 1785, the following ad 
ditional resolutions were reported and agreed to. 

Resolved, That this Convention are willing to unite in a 
general ecclesiastical constitution with the members of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in the other states of America. 

Resolved, That this Convention do accede to the following 
recommendation of the late Convention at New York, as 
fundamental principles in the said ecclesiastical constitu 
tions . 

(1) Vide, " Journal of a Convention of the Clergy and Laity of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church, of Virginia, begun and holden in the City 
of Richmond, Wednesday, May 18, 1785. Richmond: Printed by Dixoa 
and Holt. M DCC LXXXV." 8vo. pp. 23. 


1. That there shall be a General Convention of the Pro 
testant Episcopal Church in America. 

2. That the Episcopal Church in each State send deputies 
to the said Convention, consisting of clergy and laity. 

3. That associated congregations in two or more states 
may send deputies jointly. 

4. That in every state where there shall be a Bishop 
consecrated and settled, he shall be considered a mem 
ber of the said Convention ex officio. 

Resolved, That this Convention cannot bind themselves on 
the subject of the fourth article, until the same shall be re 
vised, at the next General Convention at Philadelphia, and 
reported to the next Convention. 

Resolved, That this Convention cannot accede to the sixth 
article, recommended as a fundamental principle of the said 
ecclesiastical constitution. 

Resolved, That this Convention will however accede to the 
mode of voting, recommended in the sixth article, with re 
spect to the Convention to be holden at Philadelphia, re 
serving a right to approve or disapprove their proceedings. 

In addition to these resolutions, which are of no little im 
portance when viewed in connection with subsequent mea 
sures of the Virginia Church, the Convention gave the fol 
lowing instructions to their deputies, appointed to attend the 
General Convention at Philadelphia. 

During your representation of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the 
General Convention, we recommend to your observance the following 
sentiments concerning doctrine and worship. We refer you at the same 
time, for these and other objects of your mission, to our resolutions on 
the proceedings of the late Convention at New York. 

Uniformity in doctrine and worship will unquestionably contribute to 
the prosperity of the Protestant Episcopal Church. But we earnestly 
wish that this may be pursued with liberality and moderation. The ob 
stacles which stand in the way of union amongst Christian societies are 
too often founded on matters of mere form. They are surmountable 
therefore by those, who breathing the spirit of Christianity, earnestly la 
bour in this pious work. 

From the holy scriptures themselves, rather than the comments of men, 
must we learn the terms of salvation. Creeds therefore ought to be 
simple : And we are not anxious to retain any other than that which is 
commonly called the Apostles creed. 


Should a change in the liturgy be proposed, let it be made with cau 
tion ; Aiid in that case let the alterations be lew, and the stile of prayer 
continue as agreeable as may be to the essential characteristics of our 

We will not now decide what ceremonies ought to be retained. We 
wish, however, that those, which exist, may be estimated according to 
their utility ; and that such as may appear fit to be laid aside, may no 
longer be appendages of our church. 

We need only add that we shall expect a report of your proceedings to 
those whom we shall vest with authority to call a Convention. 

Done in Convention on this 22d day of May in the year of our Lord 

The Convention having agreed upon the foregoing instruc 
tions, proceeded to ballot for the deputies to the Philadel 
phia General Convention. Their names are arranged in the 
record of proceedings, in the order of the number of ballots 
they respectively received, and are as follows: The Rev. 
David Griffith; John Page, Esq.; William Lee, Esq.; and 
the Rev. Samuel Smith M'Croskey. After preparing an 
" Address to the Members of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church in Virginia," and further instructing their depu 
ties to communicate to the General Convention certain pa 
pers concerning the proposal of the King of Denmark to 
permit the ordination of American clergymen by the Danish 
Bishops, they passed a resolution, " that until the farther 
order of the Convention, the liturgy of the Church of En 
gland be used in the several churches throughout this Com 
monwealth with such alterations as the American Revolution 
has rendered necessary ;" and proceeded to the enactment 
of " Rules for the Order, Government, and Discipline, of 
the Protestant Episcopal Church in Virginia." Some of 
these regulations, designed to take the place of the English 
Canons, which, in the opinion of the Convention, as had 
just been resolved, had no obligation on the Virginia Church, 
we have reprinted, from their bearing on the opinions then 
entertained with reference to our ecclesiastical order and dis 


" 9. The clergy who shall minister in this church shall be the three 
orders of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. 

10. Every person hereafter to officiate in this church as a Bishop, shall 
be nominated by the Convention, and having received Episcopal conse 
cration, before he enters upon his office shall take the oath of allegi 
ance to this commonwealth, and subscribe to conform to the doctrine, dis- 
ciplinfe, and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia : 
And no person shall be received into the church as a Bishop, until he 
shall have completed the 30th year of his age. 

11. As we conceive the office of a Bishop, according to the true Apos 
tolic institution, differs in nothing from that of other ministers of God's 
word, except in the power of ordination and confirmation and the rights 
of superintending the conduct of the clergy, and of precedency in ecclesias 
tical assemblies, that office shall accordingly be so exercised in this church : 
And every Bishop, after his promotion to the Episcopal order, shall con 
tinue to hold a parish and to do the duty of a parish minister, except when 
he is necessarily employed in the discharge of his Episcopal office. 

12. No Bishop shall, inflict any censure upon or exercise any power 
over the clergy, under his inspection, other than he is allowed to do by the 
laws and institutions of this church made in Convention. 

13. No priest or minister shall, hereafter, be received into any parish 
within this Commonwealth unless he first produce to the vestry sufficient 
testimonials of his having been regularly ordained as a priest by some 
Protestant Bishop take the oath of allegiance to this commonwealth, 
and subscribe to bo conformable to the doctrine, discipline, and worship 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Provided, that any person who 
hath been ordained by a Bishop of the Church of Rome may also be re 
ceived as a minister, who shall produce satisfactory testimonials respect 
ing his ordination, morals and conduct renouncing the errors of that 
church take the oath, and subscribe as aforesaid. 

26. Bishops shall be amenable to the Convention, who shall be a court 
to try them, from which there shall be no appeal. On all such occasions 
a President shall be chosen by the Convention to sit as judge, and they 
shall also appoint a clerk to the court. 

27. All accusations against a Bishop, as such, shall come from the ves 
tries; but no accusation against a Bishop shall be received unless three 
vestries join in the complaint All complaints against a Bishop shall be 
lodged with such persons as may be appointed to call a Convention, and 
ft copy of the charge or charges to be brought against him shall be com 
municated to him in writing at least two months before the trial. Counsel 
may be employed on both sides; and none but legal evidence shall be ad 

28. Disorderly, scandalous, and immoral conduct, neglect of duty, a 


disregard to the rules and canons of the church, or taking a bribe to grant 
either ordination or a recommendation for a vacant parish, shall be con 
sidered as offences in a Bishop, for which he may be brought to trial, and 
on his being convicted of any of these he shall be reproved, suspended, 
or dismissed at the discretion of the court. 

A Standing Committee was further chosen, whose business, 
as expressed in the resolution authorizing their appointment, 
was, " to correspond with any society or societies of the Pro 
testant Episcopal Church in the United States, on any mat 
ters relating thereto; to call a meeting of the Convention 
whensoever it shall seem necessary; to receive complaints 
against the Clergy, and to direct courts of examination, 
pursuant to the rules for the government of the church ; to 
make such representations on behalf of the church as may 
from time to time be expedient ; to give advice on difficulties 
propounded to them concerning the church during the recess 
of the Convention ; and to report their proceedings to every 
succeeding Convention to be confirmed or rescinded." This 
Committee, consisting of the Rev. Robert Andrews, the Se 
cretary of the Convention, the Rev. John Bracken, the Hon. 
John Blair, and John Page, Esquire, were further " instruct 
ed to consider of the proper means of obtaining consecra 
tion for a Bishop to officiate in this Church ; of sending the 
person who may be hereafter appointed to be consecrated ; 
and of supporting him during his continuance in office; and 
to make their report to the next Convention." 

After a session extending from May 18th to May 25th, 
inclusive, the records of which, as printed in the origi 
nal Journal now before us, comprise twenty- three pages 
in small type, this Convention adjourned. It is hardly too 
much to say of it, that in the influence it had upon subse 
quent legislation of the Church at large in the principles it 
enunciates, and in the evidence it affords us of the temper 
and opinions of the Virginia Churchmen of that day, it is 
second in importance only to that of Maryland. 

Still further at the South there had been an ineffectual 


gathering of the Clergy and Laity of the Church in South 
Carolina the same month. The reception of the Rev. Dr. Win. 
Smith's letter, enclosing the recommendations of the Con 
vention of New York, the preceding year, had been followed 
by the issue of Circular letters, addressed to the Vestries of 
the Protestant Episcopal Churches by the two Vestries of St. 
Philip's and St. Michael's, requesting the appointment of 
deputies to meet at the State House in Charleston, May 12th, 
1785, to take into consideration -the matters recommended 
by the meeting at New York. Agreeably to this Circular 
letter, several clergymen and laymen met at the time ap 
pointed; and inconsequence of the smallness of the repre 
sentation of the churches, postponed the consideration of 
the New York recommendations to another meeting, the 12th 
of the ensuing July. This meeting was attended by only 
three clergymen the Reverend Messrs. Robert Smith, 
Henry Purcell and Edward Ellington, who had been also pre 
sent at the primary meeting in May, together with lay de 
puties from the parishes of St. Philip's and St. Michael's, 
Charleston; St. James's, Goose-Creek; St. James's, Santee; 
St. Bartholomew's, St. George's, Dorchester, Prince George, 
Winyaw, and St. John's, Colleton. A striking feature of this 
Convention was the appointment of a layman, Hugh Rut- 
ledge, Esq., a deputy from St. Philip's, Charleston, to the 
Chair. Little appears from the printed Journal to have been 
done by this Convention, either in the way of the organiza 
tion of the Church in South Carolina, or in originating or 
suggesting action for the deputies of the Church at large 
Avhon assembled in council. Deputies were chosen five by 
the Convention, " one" of whom, " at least," was required 
"to be a clergyman," and three of whom were authorized to 
proceed on the business proposed for deliberation in the 
"Recommendations;" and the nomination of the sixth de 
puty was left with the Chairman, should his appointment be 
deemed necessary. The Rev. Robert Smith, the Hon. Jacob 
Read, the Hon. Charles Pinckney, the Hon. John Bull, and 


the Hon. John Kean, were elected deputies ; the Rev. Henry 
Purcell being subsequently substituted by the Convention, in 
consequence of the Rev. Robert Smith having declined his 
appointment "from the peculiar situation of his family." 
An allowance of 80 was made to defray the expenses of the 
clerical delegates ; and the deputies were " left to act accord 
ing to their judgment," with the single request on the part 
of the Convention, that future meetings of the general -body 
should be " held in the beginning of August." But while 
the Journal! 1) affords us no hint of any further action on the 
part of these primary gatherings of the Clergy and Laity of 
South Carolina, Bishop White, in his Memoirs,(2) gives us 
from his personal knowledge this important additional in 

" In consequence of the recommendation and proposal of 
the meeting of 1784, in New York, there was a Convention 
of the Clergy of South Carolina, at Charleston, in the spring 
of 1785. This was the state in which there was the most to 
be apprehended, an opposition to the very principle of Epis 
copacy, from its being connected, in the minds of some peo 
ple, with the idea of an attachment to the British govern 
ment. The citizens of South Carolina were the last visited 
by the British armies, and had suffered more than any others 
by their ravages. The truth is, there was real danger of an 
opposition in the Convention, to a compliance with the invi 
tation given. But the danger was warded off, by a proposal 
made by the Rev. Robert Smith, to accompany their compli 
ance with the measure, by its being understood, that there 
a was to be no bishop settled in that state. Such a proposal, 
from the gentleman who, it was presumed, would be the 
bishop, were there to be any chosen, had the effect intended. 
Some gentlemen, it is said, declared in conversation, that 
they had contemplated an opposition, but were prevented by 
this caution." 

In New York, on the 22d of June, 1785, a Convention as 
sembled, consisting of the following members. 

(1) Reprint of the S. C. Journals, 1785-1818, inclusive, appended to 
Dalcho's Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South 
Carolina. 8vo. Charleston, 1820. 

(2) Pp. 95, 96. Vide, also Hawks's Constitution and Canons, pp. 6, 7. 


From Trinity Church, New- York, the Reverend Samuel 
Provoost, the Reverend Mr. Beach, Reverend Mr. Moore, 
Honorable James Duane, Marinus Willet, and John Alsop, 

From the united parishes of Jamaica, Newtown, and ^ lusn- 
ing, on Long-Island, the Reverend Mr. Bloomer, Mr. Charles 
Crommeline, Mr. Daniel Kissam, Mr. Joseph Burrows, Mr. 
John Johnson. 

From Staten Island, the Reverend Mr. Rowland, and Paul 
Micheau, Esquire. 

From New-Rochelle, Mr. Andrew Fowler. 

From Ulster and Orange Counties, Mr. Joseph Jarvis. 

From Dutchess County, Mr. John Davis. (1) 

The proceedings of this primary Convention of New York, 
other than the preceding record of names, and the announce 
ment of the election of the Rev. Mr. Provoost as President, 
and the Rev. Benjamin Moore, as Secretary, is contained in 
the following preamble and resolutions, which we extract 
from the original Journal, as quoted before. 

" This state convention having associated agreeably to the 
recommendation of the general convention held in this city 
on the 6th and 7th of October, 1784, proceeded to take into 
consideration the matters recommended by the said general 
convention; thereupon 

Resolved, That three clerical and three lay deputies, be 
appointed to represent the Protestant Episcopal Church in 
the State of New York, in the general convention which is to 
be held at Philadelphia on the Tuesday before the feast of 
St. Michael next; and that any one or more of each order 
form a quorum. 

Resolved, That the Reverend Mr. Provoost, Reverend Mr. 
Beach, and Reverend Mr. Moore, of the clergy ; and the Honor 
able James Duane, Daniel Kissam, and John Davis, Esquires, 
of the laity, be appointed for the above mentioned purpose ; 
and they are hereby authorized to proceed on the necessary 

(1) Proceedings of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
in the State of New-York ; Held in the City of New-York, on Wednesday, 
June 22d, 1785. New-York: Printed by Hugh Gaine, in Hanover- 


business which may be proposed for their deliberation at the 
said convention, so far as they conform to the general princi 
ples which are established to regulate their conduct in this 

Resolved, That the president be requested to call another 
convention, at such time and place as he shall deem most 
conducive to the interest of the church." 

A much more numerous Convention assembled in Christ 
Church, New Brunswick, in New Jersey, on the 6th day of 
July, 1785. There were present, as we learn from the origi 
nal Journal, (1) 

From Christ's Church, New-Brunswick, the Reverend 
Abraham Beach, Messrs. Levinus Clarkson and James 

From Trinity Church, Newark, the Reverend Uzal Ogden 
and Mr. John Schuyler. 

From St. John's Church, Elizabeth-Town, Mr. Patrick 

From St. Peter's Church, Perth-Amboy, the Reverend 
John-Hamilton Rowland, James Parker, and Matthias Hal- 
sted, Esquires. 

From Christ's Church, Shrewsbury, Messrs. Thomas Mor 
ton and Thomas Lloyd. 

From St. James's Church, Piscataway, Messrs. John Ar 
nold and Henry Sutton. 

From St. Mary's Church, Burlington, Abraham Hewlings, 
Esq., and Mr. Samuel Roe. 

From St. Andrew's Church, Mount -Holly, Messrs. John 
Clark and Samuel Spraggs. 

The proceedings of this Convention, at its first sitting, 
were as follows. 

" The convention being assembled, 

Prayers were read, and the Reverend Mr. Rowland de 
livered a sermon. 

Adjourned to three o'clock, P.M. 

(1) Proceedings of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, 
in the State of New Jersey : Including the three first Meetings. With an 
Appendix. Trenton: Printed by Isaac Collins. M.DCC.LXXXVII. 
8vo. pp. 42. 


The convention met. 

The Reverend Mr. Beach was chosen president, and the 
Reverend Mr. Ogden, secretary, 

Ordered, That the deputies from the several congregations 
produce the testimonials of their appointment ; Avhich being 
done, the same were read and approved. 

Resolved, That the thanks of this convention be given to 
the Reverend Mr. Rowland for his sermon, and that he be 
requested to publish the same. 

A general convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church 
in the United States of America being appointed to be held, 
in the city of Philadelphia, on the Tuesday before the Feast 
of St. Michael next; 

Resolved, That this convention will send a representation 
to the said general convention; whereupon, the Reverend 
Doctor Thomas B. Chandler, the Reverend Messrs. Beach, 
Ogden and Rowland, the Honourable John Stevens, Esquire, 
Abraham Hewlings, Esquire, Messrs. John Halsted, Patrick 
Dennis, Joseph Throckmorton and James Douglass, were 
elected for that purpose, with power to accede, on the part 
of this convention, to the fundamental principles published 
by the convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, held 
in New-York, the 6th and 7th days of October 1784 ; and to 
adopt such measures, as the said general convention may 
deem necessary for the utility of the said church, not repug 
nant to the aforesaid fundamental principles. 

Resolved, That the next convention of the Protestant Epis 
copal church in this state be held at Burlington on the last 
Wednesday in May next, unless a previous meeting becomes 
necessary, in which case the president may convene it, on some 
Tuesday previous thereto, at Perth-Amboy ; and that the 
members of this convention recommend it to the vestries of 
their respective congregations, to appoint deputies for that 
purpose, in order to promote the general interest of this 

Resolved, That the Reverend Mr. Ogden be requested to 
preach a sermon before the next convention. 
End of the first sitting." 

The letter of the Chairman of the Committee of Corres 
pondence, appointed by the primary convention of Pennsyl- 


vania, as referred to above, was received in Massachusetts 
with interest, and evidently influenced the subsequent action 
of the Churches in that State and New Hampshire. The 
Rev. Samuel Parker, Rector of Trinity Church, in the city 
of Boston, addressed to Dr. White, in reply to his commu 
nication, the following interesting and important letter,(l) 
which furnishes a fitting preface to the record of the con 
ventional proceedings in which the writer had so great a 

Reverend Sir : 

I had the Honour of receiving your favour of 30 ulto. enclosing 
several Copies of the minutes of a Meeting of. the Episcopal Churches at 
Philadelphia, by the Honble. Mr. Lowell last week. 

You judged very right that the Opportunity then presented would con 
vey the annexed Information sooner than the Plan agreed on between 
you and the Gentlemen of New York and New Jersey, as no Intelligence 
from any of them has yet reached me. I have communicated a copy of 
the minutes to each of the Episcopal clergy in this Commonwealth. 

We are indeed but five in Number, for when the British Troops evacu 
ated this Town in March 1776, all the Episcopal Clergy in this Town 
myself excepted and many from the other Towns accompanied them and 
have never since returned. Indeed, but two others remained in the whole 
Government, these were the Revd. Mr. Bass of Newburyport who was a 
Missionary from the Society, but now for reasons unknown dismissed their 
Service, and Revd. Mr. Wheeler, who was an Assistant to the Rector of 
Trinity Church in Newport, Rhode Island ; the latter being a native of 
this Province, upon the breaking out of the War retired to a small patri 
mony in the Vicinity of this Town and did not officiate at all till within 
a Twelvemonth past he was invited to the churches in Scituate and 
Marshfield in the County of Plymouth. Since the War two Clergymen 
have settled in this State, Revd. Mr. Lewis, who was Chaplain in Bur- 
goyne's Regiment of light Dragoons, left that Service and came to this 
Town in 1778 and settled at Christ's Church; 

The other, the Revd. Mr. Fisher, who came from Annapolis in Nova 
Scotia in 1780 and settled in Salem. The oldest Church in this Town, 
formerly known by the Name of King's Chapel is now supplied by a Lay 
Reader who is a Candidate for holy Orders.(2) There are five or six 

(1) From the Bishop White MSS. 

(2) James Freeman, refused Ordination on account of Arianism. Vide 
Greenwood's History of King's Chapel. 


other Churches in some of which lay readers now officiate. In the State 
of New Hampshire, there are but two Episcopal Churches, one at Ports 
mouth the metropolis of the Government, where there has been no cler 
gyman since the War, the other in a new Settlement in the western part 
of the State(l) where a Missionary from the Society in England is now 
resident. In the State of Rhode Island are three Churches only, exclu 
sive of one at Bristol which was burnt by the British. In neither of these 
is there a Clergyman in holy Orders, but in two of them there are Lay 
Readers who are candidates. Mr. Graves Missionary from the Society 
still resides at Providence but has not officiated since the commencement 
of the War. The State of Connecticut contains the greatest Number of 
Episcopal Churches of any of the New England States. There are now 
fourteen missionaries from the Society besides seven other Clergymen not 
in their service. This, Sir, is a brief State of the Episcopal Church in 
the four Northern Governments which are contained in what is called 
New England. I flatter myself this account will not be disagreeable nor 
perhaps useless to you in your future Consultations respecting the Episco 
pal Church in America. 

Permit me now, Sir, to make several Enquiries respecting the Plan 
proposed at your Meeting. Was it the intention of the Churches that met 
at Philadelphia to devise a Plan for the future Government of the Epis 
copal Churches in all the States or for Pennsylvania only? How far did 
your Convention mean to carry their first Instruction or fundamental 
Principle respecting the independence of the Episcopal Church in these 
States of all foreign ecclesiastical authority? Is it meant to carry the Inde 
pendence so far as to exclude the obtaining a Bishop from England? If so 
I plainly foresee great Objections will arise in the Northern States and 
especially in those Churches which have been and still are under the Pa 
tronage of the Society at home. What Plan is proposed for the procuring 
an Episcopate and from what Source can a sufficient support be derived. 

I shall esteem it a peculiar favour, Sir, if it is not imposg. too great a 
task, to have your Sentiments upon these Points, and that you will also oblige 
me with an Account of the Alterations in and Additions to the Liturgy 
already in use in your State. As no Alteration except that of omitting 
the Prayers for the King and Royal Family has taken place in the 
Churches in general in these States, I am desirous of knowing how the 
Churches at the Southward manage in this affair, that if possible a Uni 
formity as far as the civil government of each State will permit may be 

I esteem myself very happy in having this occasion of opening a Cor 
respondence, to the continuance of which nothing shall be wanting in my 

(1) Claremont. 


Be kind enough to present my Kind Regards to your Brethren in the 
Ministry, and be assured I shall take Pleasure in exerting my little Influ 
ence and Endeavours to promote a Uniformity of Government and Wor 
ship, and preserving the Communion of the Episcopal Churches in the 
United States. 

I have the Honour to be, Revd. Sir, with great esteem, 

Your Brother, and very humble Servant, 

Boston, June 21, 1784. 


Evidently prior to the reception of this interesting reply 
to his first official communication, Dr. White forwarded the 
following letter, (1) of which, unfortunately, but a fragment 

Revd. Sir: 

I am informed by your Townsman ye revd. Mr. Clarke, that you wish 
to be informed of ye Measures in contemplation with ye epl. Clergy in 
these parts for ye continuance of our Church & that you did me ye 
honor to name me as one of whom you wished him to make ye Inquiry. 
I embrace ye Opportunity of opening my Mind to you in some sentiments 
additional to those general Principles which ye Clergy in this City for 
warded to you by ye honl. Mr. Lowell. From these last you will learn ye 
outlines of our System : & it only remains to mention in what way we 
wish to see a representative Body of ye Church constituted in each State 
and a general Representative Body for ye Continent. 

I therefore, Sir, propose for your consideration, whether it will not be 
expedient to have in each State a certain Body composed of all ye Clergy 
and Lay-Delegates from ye Congregations (perhaps) according to yr re 
spective Numbers Whether it will not be proper to provide that where 
ye Church is numerous in any State or may hereafter become so in others, 
such States should be divided into Districts & ye State representative 
Body formed by Delegation therefrom Whether ye Church of a State 
thought not numerous enough to have a Bishop may not be perfectly or 
ganized, except a Dependence required on some other for ye single pur 
pose of Ordination, a President in such case to be chosen annually; & 
Whether, if a State be divided into Districts there may not be a Bishop in 
each District, whereby each Bp. having a very moderate superintendance, 

(1) From Bishop Parker's MSS. in the possession of his daughter, 
the wife of the Rev. Theodore Edson, D.D., of Lowell, Mass. 


might be also a Parish Minister & would not require a separate Revenue 
for his Support, je getting such a Revenue being perhaps impracticable? 

In respect to a continental Representative, or a Convocation of ye 
ep. Ch. in ye U S, I submit to you, whether (were they even to meet but 
once in 3, 4, or 5 years) such a Body be not essential to our keeping to 
gether one Church as ye R. Catholics, Presbyterians & Quakers do re 
spectively & whether such a Body might not be formed, without any 
great Burthen, by a Delegation from each State? 

I know, revd. Sir, that ye introducing the Laity into our Scheme is 
thought exceptionable by some of our Brethren. In answer, I will not 
pretend any apprehensions of ye Clergy acquiring extravagant Powers; 
altho' could I foresee such an event, it would confirm me in my principle. 
But under present Circumstances, I rather expect, that without ye Laity, 
there will be no Govt. at all;(l) and that there will be no persons capable 
of exercising that Authority which ye 20th & 34th Articles of ye Church 
of England consider essentially inherent to every Church ; In short, what 
ever ye Clergy alone shall do will be treated as what a Congn. may either 
receive or reject & as not even binding on ye dissenting Members of their 
own Body; & ye Consequence will at last be, that ye several Congrega 
tions being independent of one another, will gradually widen in Doctrine, 
and Worship, agreeing perhaps in ye single circumstance of their requir 
ing episcopal Ordination. 

On ye Subject of procuring ye succession I shall only observe, that if 
any private Measures said to have been undertaken for this End shd prove 
successful, I think ye whole Church shd gladly avail itself of ye Acquisi 
tion. If not, an Application to our Mother Church from Representatives 
of ye epl. Church generally will be surely too respectable to be slighted ; 
& such an Application might be easily framed by correspondence among 

Should you, revd. Sir, think any Part of our Plan exceptionable or have 
any thing in Addition to offer, I shall be as friendly in attending to your 
Sentiments as I am free in offering my own. 

I have ye pleasure to inform you, that last Tuesday there must have 
been a Meeting of ye Clergy of Maryld. & Delegates from ye Vestries ; 
but their Proceedings are not yet known here. 

By a Letter from ye revd. Mr. Beach of Brunswick, I am informed that 
ut a late Meeting of ye Clergy of Connecticut, they appointed a Committee 
of their Body to meet us in N. York, on ye 1st Tuesday after Michaelmas 
& have .... 

(1) Bishop White repeatedly told the writer of this note, that such was 
the feeling on the subject of introducing the laity, that had they been ex 
cluded, no union or constitution would ever have been formed. 



Following this, we extract from the same source Dr. 
White's reply to Mr. Parker's first letter. Taken in connec 
tion with the important queries to which it is intended as an 
answer, it furnishes us with an authoritative, and at the same 
time unstudied and free explanation of the action of the 
Pennsylvania Churches. 

Revd. Sir, 

My delay in answering your kind Letter of ye 21 of June has been 
owing to my Desire of sending to you some Acct. of the Proceedings of 
ye Clergy & Lay-Delegates in Maryld. But being disappointed in my 
Expectation of receiving it, owing as I suppose to the Delay in printing 
it, as it contains both a Sermon & a projected Constitution, I can no longer 
postpone acknowledging your favour & giving an Answer to your En 

The fundamental Principles which you have seen were merely meant 
as Instructions to a Committee in their Consultations with our Brethren 
in ye other States for ye forming a general Constitution for ye Continent, 
which we think shd be attempted before we venture to form a Constitu 
tion for this State in particular. The Independence asserted is intended 
in ye most unlimited Sense ; but we do not think this precludes us from 
procuring a Bishop from England, he becoming on his Arrival a Citizen 
of ye U. S. Proper Measures for procuring an Episcopate we wish to 
see taken at ye ensuing Meeting in N. York : but, as to his support, I 
know no source for it but a parochial Living. The only Addition we 
have made to ye Prayers is to alter that for ye Parliamt. so as to suit for 
ye Delegates of these States in Congress & all others vested with civil 
Authority ; we are sensible of the Imperfection of our Plan & that ye 
Litany and other Prayers ought to be accommodated to ye political Change ; 
but, lest Uniformity should be precluded, we chose to leave this to a gen 
eral Communication of Sentiment. 

I thank you, Sir, for ye Information contained in your Letter. Our 
Numbers are as follows. Those of us who were settled in this State be 
fore ye War are Mr. Currie of Chester County whose Age & Infirmities 
prevent his officiating, Mr. Elling of Caernavon, & myself. During ye 
War, ye revd. Dr. Magaw (formerly Missionary in Delaware) settled as 
Rector of St. Paul's in this City, & Mr. Blackwell (formerly Missionary 
in Jersey) settled as Asst. to me in ye United Churches. Since ye Peace 
we have ye accession of Mr. Hutchins at Lancaster & Mr. Campbell at 
Yorktown ; ye former a Native & late Resident of Barbadoes but edu 
cated in this City & ye latter a Native of this State who went for Orders 
in 1772, where he has resided untill his late Return. 


Once more, revd. Sir, I take ye Liberty of expressing my Hopes of see 
ing you at N. York on ye 5th of Octr. & am 

Your Brother & humble Servt., 
Philada. Aug. 10, 1784. W. WHITE. 

Revd. Mr. PARKER. 
P.S. Our Brethren in ye Ministry here desire their kind remembrances. 

Through the exertions of Mr. Parker, the few Clergy of 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island gathered together in Bos 
ton the month preceding that appointed for the Convention 
in New York. The following correspondence, now first 
printed from the original Manuscript, preserved among the 
Bishop White papers, fully explains their action, and marks 
the zealous Rector of Trinity Church, Boston, as the leading 
spirit of them all. 

Revd. Sir: 

I have the honour to enclose you an Extract of the Proceedings of a 
Convention of the Episcopal Clergy of the States of Massachusetts & 
Rhode Island held at Boston the 8th Instant & also a Letter from said 
Convention to the Comtte. of the Churches in your State, both which I 
hope you will safely receive. The Perusal of these will fully inform you 
of the Sentiments of the Clergy in these States, & will preclude the Ne 
cessity of my enlarging on these points. You will perceive they have 
adopted your plan with a small addition to your first Article, without which, 
as I mentioned to you in my Letter by Mr. Morris I supposed the Article 
would be objected to. In my private Opinion I do not see that the Limi 
tation was at all necessary, because I do not apprehend the Independency 
there intended would in the least be affected by an application to a foreign 
Power for the Succession of Episcopal Authority. The churches here 
being most of them without a Minister, a representative body chosen by 
the several Churches would consist almost entirely of Laymen & if they 
are vested with the Power of making Laws, it will be in their power to 
subject the Clergy to what Laws they please, & for that reason the Con 
vention thought best to add a clause to your fifth Article to put the Clergy 
& Laity more upon a par, & they have accordingly proposed & adopted 
this mode of Representation, that each Church chuse one lay Delegate in 
conjunction with their Minister & that those Churches that are destitute 
of a Clergyman shd chuse one of the neighbouring Ministers to represent 
them with one of their own Laymen, & in this mode they think there is 
no great danger of their having too much Power. 


I have yet heard nothing more of the Meeting of the Churches by their 
Committees at New York than what you mention in yours by the Revd. 
Mr. Clark, & therefore shall not proceed thither agreeable to the Request 
of our Convention unless I can learn that such a meeting will certainly be 

I have flattered myself that you would before this have favoured me 
with further Information upon that as well as some other matters. The 
Plan of Correspondence agreed on between your Brethren in New York 
& New Jersey mentioned in yours of May 30 has not taken Effect as we 
have in these parts had not the least Intelligence from that Quarter. 
Should any general Meeting of the Churches be proposed, we shall be 
obliged to you for Notice thereof as we are perfectly disposed to adopt any 
measures calculated to promote the Welfare of our Church. 

I am requested by the Comtee. of our Convention to ask the favour of you 
to transmit an Account of our proceedings to the more southern Churches 
& also would acquaint you & them that we shall be happy to receive any 
Communications you or they shall be pleased to favour us with. We wish 
also for your Opinion whether it is probable Congress will interfere in any 
matter of an Ecclesiastical Nature & whether they would countenance a 
Request made to England for a Bishop. 

Wishing you all possible happiness I remain Revd. Sir, with the utmost 
Respect & Esteem 

Your Brother & very humble Servt. 


Boston, Sept. 10, 1784. 
Revd. Dr. WHITE. 

At a Meeting of the Episcopal Clergy of the States of 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island, held at Boston, Sept. 8, 


Voted. That the Episcopal Church in the united States 
of America is & ought to be independent of all foreign Au 
thority ecclesiastical & civil. But it is the Opinion of the 
Convention that this ludependence be not construed or 
taken in so rigorous a Sense as to exclude the Churches of 
America separately or collectively from applying for & obtain 
ing from some regular Episcopal foreign Power an American 

Secondly. That the Episcopal Church in these States 
hath & ought to have in common with all other religious 
Societies full & exclusive Powers to regulate the concerns of 
its own Communion. 


Thirdly. That the "Doctrines of the Gospel be maintained 
as now professed by the Church of England Uniformity 
of Worship be continued as near as may be to the Liturgy of 
said Church. 

Fourthly. That the Succession of the Ministry be agree 
able to the Usage which requireth the three Orders of Bish 
ops, Priests, Deacons, that the rights & Powers of the 
same be respectively ascertained that they be exercised 
according to reasonable Laws to be duly made. 

Fifthly. That the Power of making Canons Laws be 
vested solely in a representative Body of the Clergy Laity 
conjointly; in which Body the Laity ought not to exceed or 
their Votes to be more in Number than those of the Clergy. 

Sixthly. That no Powers be delegated to a general eccle 
siastical Government except such as cannot conveniently be 
exercised by the Clergy Vestries in their respective Con 

Voted. That the Revd. Mr. Parker, Revd. Mr. Bass 
Revd. Mr. Fisher be a Comtee. on behalf of the Churches 
in these States to correspond consult with the Clergy of 
the other Episcopal Churches in America in Convention, 
Committees or otherways. 

Voted. That a circular Letter be written in the Name of 
this Convention to the Episcopal Clergy in the States of Con 
necticut, New York Pensylvania urging the Necessity of 
their uniting with us in adopting some speedy Measures to 
procure an American Episcopate. As it is the unanimous 
Opinion of this Convention that this is the primary Object 
they ought to have in view, because the very Existence of 
the Church requires some speedy Mode of obtaining regular 

Voted. That in Case a general Meeting of the Episcopal 
Churches in the united States by their Representatives is 
now or shall at any future time before the next Meeting of 
this Convention be proposed by any number of Churches to 
be held for the purpose of promoting the Welfare of said 
Church, the Revd. Mr. Parker be desired to meet act with 
said representative body on behalf of this Convention. 

Voted. That the Convention or Committee of Churches in 
the States of Connecticut, New York Pensylvania be 
informed of the Proceedings of this Convention that they 


or some of them be requested to transmit the same to our 
more southern Brethren. 

A true Extract from the Minutes. 


Reverend & Honoured Brethren. 

Having been favoured with the Minutes of the Meeting of 
the Clergy & Lay Delegates from sundry Congregations of 
the Episcopal Church in the State of Pensylvania held at 
Philadelphia the 25th of May last, communicated to us by 
your Chairman, We the Clergy of the Episcopal Churches in 
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts & State of Rhode Is 
land met in Convention at Boston Septemr. 8th, 1784, have 
duly considered the same and have unanimously adopted the 
fundamental Principles or Instructions to which you are 
bound, and think the same not only unexceptionable but 
such as the Episcopal Churches in the united States ought to 
adopt. We have indeed thought proper to add a Restriction 
or an explanatory clause to the first and fifth Article, more 
for the Sake of avoiding any Mistakes hereafter than because 
we suppose we differ from you in Sentiment. 

But it is our unanimous Opinion that it is beginning at 
the wrong end to attempt to organize our Church before we 
have obtained a head. Our Churches at present resemble 
the scattered Limbs of the body without any common Centre 
of Union, or Principle to animate the whole. We cannot con 
ceive it probable or even possible to carry the Plan you have 
pointed out into Execution before an Episcopate is obtained 
to direct our Motions, & by a delegated Authority to claim 
our Assent. It is needless to represent to you the absolute 
Necessity of adopting & uniting in some speedy measures 
to procure some reputable Person who is regularly invested 
with the powers of Ordination, &c. to reside among us, with 
out which scarce the Shadow of an Episcopal Church will 
soon remain in these States. Many are the Congregations 
here destitute of a Clergyman, & we must be left to the dis 
agreeable Alternative of having no Church in many of our 
Settlements where there would probably be a respectable one, 
or of having clerical Powers conveyed in an irregular manner. 

As to the mode of obtaining what we stand in such need of, 
we wish above all things to procure it in the most regular 
manner & particularly from our mother church in England. 
Whether any of the Bishops in England or Ireland would 


consecrate a Person chosen among ourselves & sent there for 
th:tt Purpose without a mandate from the King of England or 
the authority of his Parliament, we are at a loss to determine; 
but we have no doubt that a regular Application made by a 
representative Body of the Episcopal Churches in America 
would easily obtain a consecrated head, & in order to this we 
earnestly wish a mode of applying in some such way may be 
immediately adopted by the American Churches. 

We are of Opinion that we ought to leave no means un 
tried to procure a regular Succession of the Episcopacy be 
fore we think of obtaining it in an irregular Manner. To 
accomplish this we have chosen a Committee of our Body to 
correspond with you upon this Subject & adopt such Measures 
for the same as may be expedient or necessary. And in case 
a Meeting of a representative Body shall be agreed upon, we 
have delegated a Power to one of our Number to represent 
us & our Churches in such a Meeting. We are extremely 
anxious for the Preservation of our Communion & the Con 
tinuance of an Uniformity of Doctrine & Worship, but we 
see not how this can be maintained without a common head, 
& are therefore desirous of uniting with you in such Mea 
sures as shall be found expedient & proper for the common 

We are Gentlemen your affectionate Bretliren 

& Friends, 
Signed in behalf of said Convention, 


Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusets, 

Septemr. 8th, 1784. 

The Committee of the Episcopal Churches in the 
State of Pensylvania.(l) 

In Connecticut, the Clergy, though assembling from time 
to time in Convocation, adhered to the principle of their pri 
mary action, which was, that the Episcopal Succession should 
be first secured, and that measures for re-organizing and per 
fecting the system of Ecclesiastical government should then 
be taken With this feeling, the Clergy of Massachusetts 

(1) From Bishop White's MSS. Collections, compared with the original 
draft among the Bishop Parker Correspondence in the possession of the 


and elsewhere throughout the New England States sympa 
thised: and the contrary opinion, held, and prosecuted with 
so much determination by the Southern Conventions, served 
for a time to delay the union of the Churches. As we have 
already seen, the admission of the laity to the councils of the 
Church was another subject of disagreement; and the con 
troversy with respect to this point ceased only at the ratifi 
cation of the Ecclesiastical Constitution in October, 1789, by 
the Bishop of Connecticut and the deputies from that State, 
and Massachusetts and Rhode Island. To these matters the 
following pages will again revert. In the mean time, with a 
brief glance at an abortive attempt at organization, still 
further to the North, we will pass to the consideration of the 
first Convention of the associated Churches. 

In addition to these Conventions, there had been assembled 
in that portion of the present States of New Hampshire and 
Vermont, then known as " the Hampshire Grants," a meet 
ing of Episcopalians from a number of neighboring towns, 
at which a delegate to the Convention in Philadelphia, in 
1785, was duly appointed ;(1) and the same gentleman, Gen 
eral Roger Enos, deputed to attend the State Convention of 
Massachusetts, with which body the more northern Churches 
seemed to feel most closely allied. General Enos failed to 
present himself either at Philadelphia or Boston, and we 
hear little more of the Episcopalians of the Hampshire 
Grants. Those of Vermont subsequently met in Convention, 
and under the guidance of a zealous but erratic Clergyman, 
the Rev. John Cousens Ogden, chose the Rev. Samuel Peters, 
LL.D., formerly Missionary in Hebron, Conn., as their 
Bishop, and applied in vain, as we shall subsequently see, 
both to the English and American Bishops, for his consecra 
tion. Those living in the valley of the Connecticut River, 
who were, upon the settlement of the disputed boundary line 
between New Hampshire and Vermont, declared to belong 

(1) Vide unpublished records in the keeping of the Registrar of the 
Diocese of New Hampshire. 


to the former State, united with a portion of their brethren in 
Vermont, and obtained for a time the consent of the General 
Convention to a conventional organization independent of 
the Clergy in the Eastern part of the State. These mat 
ters, however, will receive attention at a subsequent stage of 
our progress. 

To this extended view of the Preliminary Conventions in 
various sections of the Church, we need add merely the re 
mark, in recapitulation, that these proceedings, to quote the 
language of Bishop White, showed " an accommodation to 
the civil system" of our government, and asserted, perhaps 
for the first time since apostolic days, the right of the Laity 
to a vote and a voice in the general and particular councils 
of the Church. 


THE meeting of the first General Convention of the 
Church was awaited with great interest. Since the 
gathering in New York the preceding Octoher, the 
Rt. Kev. Dr. Samuel Seabury had returned to Connec 
ticut, having succeeded in his application for consecra 
tion at the hands of the Bishops of the Church in Scot 
land. Thus provided with a head, the clergy of Connec 
ticut addressed an invitation, to their Southern brethren 
to meet them in Convention at MiddletownjQ with a 

1 Bp. White, in his Memoirs, says, at New Haven, (p. 100 ;) but the 
following letter, which we transcribe from his MSS., seems to sustain 
the statement we have made in the text : 

STRATFORD, July 14, 1785. 

I am desired to acquaint you, that the Clergy of this State are to 
meet at Middletown in this State, on the third of August next, at which 
time and place, they would be much pleased to see you, and the rest 
of the Oiergy of your State. 

We must all wish for a Christian Union of all the Churches in the 
thirteen States, for which good purpose we must allow private Conve 
nience to give way to public Utility. 

We have no Views of usurping any Authority over our Brothers and 
Neighbours, but wish them to unite with us, in the same friendly 
manner, that we are ready and willing to do, with them. I must 
earnestly entreat you to come upon this occasion, for the sake of the 
peace of the Church, for your own satisfaction, in what friendly 
manner the Clergy here would treat you, not to mention what 
happiness the sight of you would give to your sincere friend and 

In further confirmation of the above, we transcribe from the 
original, a letter issued by two of the members of a Clerical Committee 
of the first Convention of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, who 
were invested, as it appears from the Eecords of that meeting, 


view to adopting measures for union and permanent 
organization. The reply of the Philadelphia clergy, as 
we are informed by Bp. "White, was an invitation to 
those of Connecticut to come to the approaching General 
Convention in September the appointment of which 
meeting was made the excuse for their non-acceptance 
of the Connecticut proposal. 

This interchange of congratulatory and apologetic 
letters gave occasion for the following interesting cor 
respondence, addressed by the newly consecrated Bishop 
and the venerable Dr. Thomas Bradbury Chandler, of 
New Jersey, to Drs. White and Smith. These letters, 
which we transcribe from the originals, and two of which 
are now for the first time made public, are of the greatest 
value, as illustrating the obstacles to union resulting 
from the radical movements of the Southern clergy, 
and, on the other hand, the sound conservatism of their 
brethren at the North : 


A day or two ago I received from Bp. Seabury, and 
was by him desired to forward, the enclosed letters, 
addressed to you and Dr. Smith. That to Dr. Smith was 

"with power to summon this Convention to meet at such time and 
place as they shall judge most convenient, when the exigences of 
the Church make it necessary," apparently appointing the other 
member of their body to attend the Connecticut Convention as a 
Representative of the Churches of the two States. 

SALE*, July 28th, 1785. 

We request you to attend the approaching Convention of the 
Episcopal Clergy, to be holden at the Town of Middletown, in Con 
necticut! ; then and there to learn what measures they mean to 
adopt ; in order to the maintaining uniformity of divine worship in 
the Episcopal Church, &c. &c. fec. 
We are 

Rev'd Sir, Your very H'ble Ser't. 

Minuter of St. Paul's Church, Newbury Pert. 

RBV'D MR. PARKER. Minuter of St. Peter's Church, Salem. 


sent open for my inspection ; and, instead of sealing it, I 
have taken the liberty to send it open to you, wishing 
that you also may have a sight of it. You will, there 
fore, after reading it, be so good as to seal and send 
it forward. 

As the time of your continental Convention now ap 
preaches, I doubt not but 3<ou and the other friends of 
the Church in general, throughout the country, are be 
ginning to grow very anxious about the event. For the 
fate of the Episcopal Church in America will, in a great 
measure, depend upon the deliberations and decisions of 
that general meeting. On this account I could wish to 
be present at a consultation of such capital importance; 
and, indeed, upon my late arrival from England, I found 
that I had been chosen as one of the Representatives of 
the Church in this State on the grand occasion ; but such 
is my situation, with regard to a scorbutic, corrosive dis 
order, with which I have been long troubled, that I fear 
it will be impossible for me to accept the Commission by 
a personal attendance. "Will you then permit me, in this 
way, to give you a sketch of my hopes #nd apprehensions, 
as well as my opinion on some matters relative to the 
case? From what I know of your character, I cannot 
doubt but you will ; and not the less readily, on account 
of the freedom which I think it my duty to use, when 
ever I pretend to offer my opinion on the subject. 

My hopes arise from the anxiety and concern, which 
have been so generally shown by the Episcopalians in the 
several States, for setting the Church upon a proper 
bottom from the attachment they have discovered to 
the Episcopal mode of government and from the venera 
tion they have expressed for the Liturgy of the Church 
of England, as the proper Basis of a Liturgy to be pre 
pared for the general use of the churches in America. 
Now as such a disposition seems fortunately to prevail, 
I cannot but hope that, under the direction and blessing 
of Divine Providence, it will produce the happiest effects. 

My apprehensions are owing to some measures that 
have been adopted by most of the particular Conventions, 
and some expedients that have been proposed, which are 
contrary to the established maxims of ecclesiastical polity, 
and the practice of the Church in all ages, a few modern 
instances excepted. In this I have reference to the ad 


mission of the Laity to vote in ecclesiastical Councils; the 
divesting Bishops of their proper and essential authority, 
and making them subject to their own Presbyters, &c. 
&c. The Church is a Society founded by Christ; all ec 
clesiastical authority and jurisdiction must be derived 
from him, and not from any natural rights, &c. ; this 
authority he was pleased to lodge in the hands of certain 
officers of his appointment, to be communicated to their 
successors ; those, therefore, who are not officers in the 
Church, i. e. the Laity, can have no share of ecclesiastical 
authority. And as to the other point : If the Bishops are 
not allowed to govern the Church, the Church is not 
under Episcopal government, and cannot be Episcopal ; 
but is under the government of those who govern the 

The concessions of this kind which have been made by 
any of the Clergy, I suppose have been made through a 
desire to gratify and encrease the number of the Church's 
friends ; but we are not at liberty, even for so good an end, 
to alter the original constitution of the Church, and to 
sacrifice the essential rights of Episcopacy. Besides: 
although in this way we might, perhaps, gain some new 
friends, yet I am sure that we should lose many more old 
ones ; and many thousands of the best-informed Episco 
palians on this continent would renounce all communion 
with us as would also the Church of England, to say 
nothing o f the other Episcopal Churches in Europe. 
The consequence of this would be, that we should lose 
pur respectability in the eyes of the world, be involved 
in eternal disputes with other Episcopalians, and wretch 
edly defeat our own purpose. 

As to the Laity I am clearly of opinion that they 
ought to be consulted on this occasion, and that it is 
proper that a representation of them should meet at the 
same time and place (I mean Town or City) with a re 
presentation of the Clergy. It depends upon them, 
whether how far and in what manner, our Church 
shall be supported. But had I been in this country at 
the time of the first meetings, I should certainly have 
proposed, and if necessary have urged, that the two Con 
ventions of the Clergy and Laity should be kept separate; 
that a friendly communication between them should 
be kept up, in the way of conference ; that the Clergy, 


after mature deliberation, defining the nature and prin 
ciples of that Church, to which they thought it their 
duty, under all circumstances, to adhere, should re 
commend it to the other Convention, and beg their 
support of it; that they should, from day to day, inform 
them of their proceedings, and be ready to hear their 
objections, and to consider their proposed alterations and 
amendments; but that they should by no means admit 
the Laity to vote with them on any ecclesiastical questions. 
ISTor would the gentlemen of the Laity think such an ex 
clusion, when candidly explained to them, any mark of 
our want of affection or respect for them ; for they can 
have no wish, but to see the just rights and dignity of 
their own Church duly ascertained and supported. They 
would as soon complain that they are not allowed to ad 
minister Baptism or the H. Eucharist. 

Had I time, and would it not be tedious to you, I 
would make some remarks upon the several late Conven 
tions, so far as they have come to my knowledge. But, 
for *iie present, I shall confine myself to a few hasty ob 
servations on the printed account of the transactions of 
the Convention in Virginia held in May last. 

In the first place in addition to the general objection 
against the voting of Laymen in an ecclesiastical Coun 
cil, it may be observed that, 1st, on some days the Lay- 
members of that Convention, who were twice as numerous 
as the Clerical ones, seem to have taken the lead ; for we 
find Mr. JBraxton in the chair. This is so contrary to every 
idea of propriety and decorum, that I cannot but wonder 
that any one of the Laity should ever have proposed, or 
the Clergy have consented to, so unprecedented a mode 
of conduct. 

Secondly. The Convention seem to have mistaken their 
proper business, which was, and could be, no 'other, than 
to agree upon the best expedients for supporting the inte 
rests and honour and rights of the Church in its present 
imperfect State, and to concert measures for compleating 
its constitution, by the introduction of an Episcopate as 
soon as possible. Here, in my humble opinion, they 
ought to have stopt ; and not, to have proceeded to organ 
ize the government of the Church, and to establish Canons, or 
rules for its future order, government and discipline. I believe 
it was never heard of before, that the Presbyters only, or 


the Presbyters and Laity, of an Episcopal Church, under 
took to make ecclesiastical Canons ; which is the peculiar 
office of the Bishop or Bishops, with the advice of their 
Clergy. [See on this subject, Hooker, Potter, Bingham, 
and the Original Draft, in answer to Sir P. King, &c. c.j 

Thirdly. The Bishop, when introduced into Virginia, 
must not only be governed by Canons, in the forming of 
which no Bishop was ever eonsulted, but he must consent 
to give up a principal part of his office, which has always 
been considered as inalienable, and consent to be little 
more than a Parish Minister. Although a Bishop imij 
take particular charge of a Parish, yet this, I believe, is 
the first time that a Bishop was ever obliged to do so, and, 
however well he may otherwise be provided for, to do the 
duty of a Parish Minister. In consequence of this degra 
dation, the Clergy are to meet together in Presbyteries, 
without the call of the Bishop, and are to enforce the 
Canons of the Church, without his authority ; which regu 
lations are contrary to all the maxims of ecclesiastical 
polity, and to the very essence of an Episcopal Church. 
Instead of dividing the Clergy into Presbyteries, acting in 
dependently of the Bishop, why may not the several ends 
proposed by it be as well, or better, answered, by dividing 
them into Archdeaconries or Rural Deanries, acting under 
the authority of the Bishop, according to the practice of 
all other Episcopal Churches ? In short, the whole system 
of discipline is so destructive to the authority of Bishops, 
that it must necessarily be reprobated by every real Epis 
copalian in Christendom, who duly considers it. 

In saying this, I mean not to reflect upon those worthy 
persons, who constituted the above-mentioned Convention 
in Virginia. On the contrary, I applaud and honour the 
well-meant zeal which they discovered for supporting the 
interests of the Church^ and I believe they acted, though 
wrongly, from worthy motives; but their accomodating 
disposition evidently carried them much too far. And I 
cannot but hope that, upon a careful reconsideration of 
the proceedings they have published, they will be willing 
to rescind some of their decisions. I trust that the above 
points will be thoroughly discussed at the ensuing general 
Convention, in the spirit of peace, unity and concord. 
May the great founder and head of the Church, who has 
promised to be always with it to the end of the world, 


prosper your consultations, and bring them to a happy 

It will be of the utmost consequence to the Episcopal 
Church in America that it should preserve an uniformity, 
at least a similarity, quails decet esse Sororum, through the 
different States. In Connecticut the constitution of the 
Church is now compleated, as far as I can judge, upon 
right principles. I wish that in the other States the 
example may be followed; for I do not believe that the 
Christian world affords one more conformable to the 
primitive pattern, all things considered, than the Church 
in Connecticut. 

As I am hourly expecting the bearer to call upon me, 
I must now conclude. Possibly I may hereafter find my 
self disposed to resume this subject. In this Letter I 
have not had time to speak to the several points I in 
tended, nor to study propriety of expression. However, 
if you think any thing here said or suggested may be 
useful, it is submitted to your disposal* 

With my best compliments to your good Lady, I have 
the honour to subscribe myself, with much esteem, 

Your affectionate Brother, 

and humble Servant, 

Sept. 2d, 1785. 

To this important document, emanating from perhaps 
the foremost man in ability and reputation among the 
American clergy, we add the letter from Bp. Seabury to 
Dr. Smith, referred to as enclosed for Dr. White's perusal. 
It is printed in the appendix to Bp. White's Memoirs of 
the Church; but, for the correction of several trifling 
errors which appear in the Bishop's copy, we have tran 
scribed it anew from the original, which is still preserved 
among the manuscripts of the General Convention. 

1 From the original letter among the Bp. White MSS. 


(') NEW LONDON, Augt. 15th, 1785. 


It has not been in my power till this day, to pay 
that attention to your letter of July 19th, which the im 
portance of its several subjects demanded. 

The grand difficulty that defeated my application for 
Consecration in England appeared to me to be the want 
of an application from the State of Connecticut. Other 
objections were made, viz : that there was no precise 
diocese marked out by the civil authority, nor a stated 
revenue appointed for the Bp's support: But those were 
removed. The other remained for the civil authority in 
Connecticut is Presbyterian, and therefore could not be 
supposed would petition for a Bp. And had this beer\ 
removed, I am not sure another would not have started 
up: For this happened to me several times. I waited, 
and procured a copy of an Act of the Legislature of Con 
necticut, which puts all denominations of Christians on a 
footing of equality, (except the Roman Catholics, and to 
them it gives a free toleration) certified by the Secretary 
of State : For to Connecticut all my negociations were 
confined. The Abp. of Cant, wished it had been fuller, 
but thought it afforded ground on which to proceed. Yet 
he afterwards said it would not do; and that the minister, 
without a formal requisition from the State would not 
suffer the Bill, enabling the Bp. of London to ordain 
foreign Candidates without their taking the Oaths, to pass 
the Commons, if it contained a clause for Consecrating 
American Bps. And as his Grace did not choose to pro 
ceed without parliamentary authority though if I under 
stood him right, a majority of the Judges and Crown 
Lawyers were of opinion he might safely do it I turned 
my attention to the remains of the old Scots Episcopal 
Church, whose Consecrations I knew were derived from 
England, and their authority in an ecclesiastical sense, 
fully equal to the English Bps. No objection was ever 
made to me on account of the legacies left for American 
Bps. Some people had surmises of this kind, but I know 
not whence they arose. 

1 From the original manuscript preserved among Bp. White's 
papers. The printed copy in the Appendix to the Bishop's Memoirs 
(pages 286-292 inclusiVe) is incorrect in several particulars. 


I can see no good ground of apprehension concerning 
the titles of estates or emoluments belonging to the Ch'ch 
in your State. Your Ch'ch is still the Ch'ch of England 
subsisting under a different civil government. We have 
in America, the Ch'ch of Holland, of Scotland, of Sweden, 
of Moravia, and why not of England. Our being of the 
Ch'ch of England, no more implies dependence on, or 
subjection to England, than being of the Ch'ch of Holland 
implies subjection to Holland. 

The plea of the Methodists is something like impu 
dence. Mr. Wesley is only a Presbyter, and all his Ordi 
nations Presbyterian, and in direct opposition to the Ch'ch 
of England: And they can have no pretence for calling 
themselves Ch'chmen till they return to the unity of the 
Ch'ch, which they have unreasonably, unnecessarily and 
wickedly broken, by their separation and schism. 

Your two cautions respecting recommendations and 
titles are certainly just. Till you are so happy as to have 
a Bp of your own, it will be a pleasure to me to do every 
thing I can, fof the supply of your Ch'ches: And I am 
confident the Clergy of Maryland, and the other States, 
will be very particular with regard to. the qualifications 
and titles of persons to be admitted into their own Order. 
Should they think proper to send any Candidates hither, 
I could wish that it might be at the stated times of Ordina 
tion; because the Clergy here living so scattered, it is not 
easy on every emergency to get three of them together; 
and never without some expence w T hich they cannot well 
afford. I cannot omit to mention again, the particular 
satisfaction Mr. Ferguson gave, not only to me, but to all 
our Clergy. I Lope he will prove a worthy and useful 
Clergyman. I flatter myself he got home without any 
disagreeable accident. 

I thank you for your communications respecting Wash 
ington College, and the various Conventions you have had 
in your State, and neighbourhood. The Clergy and Laity 
have particular merit in making so great exertions to get our 
Ch'ch into a settled and respectful state. But on objects of 
such magnitude and variety it is to be expected that senti 
ments will differ. All men do not always see the same 
object in the same light : And persons at a distance are not 
always masters of the precise reasons and circumstances 
which have occasioned particular modes of acting. Of 


aome things therefore in } T our proceedings I cannot be a 
competent judge, without minute information ; and I am 
very sorry that my present circumstances, and duty here, 
will not permit me to make so long a journey at this 
time ; because by personal interview and conversation 
only can such information be had. 

But, my dear Sir, there are some things which, if I do 
not much misapprehend, are really wrong. In giving my 
opinion of them, I must claim the same privilege of judg 
ing for myself which others claim; and also that right of 
fair and candid interpretation of my sentiments which is 
due to all men. 

1. I think you have done wrong in establishing so 
many, and so precise, fundamental rules. You seem 
thereby to have precluded yourselves from the benefit of 
after consideration. And by having the power of altering 
fundamental rules diffused through so large a body, it 
appears to me next to impossible to have them altered^ 
even in some reasonable cases ; because cases really 
reasonable may not always appear so to'two-thirds of a 
large assembly. It should also be remembered that while 
human nature is, as it is, something of party, passion, or 
partiality, will ever be apt, in some degree, to influence 
the views and debates of a numerous and mixed assembly. 

2. I think you have too much circumscribed the power 
of your Bp. That the Duty and Office of a Bishop, differs 
in nothing from that of other Priests, except in the power of 
Ordination and Confirmation, (Pamph. p. 16) and the right 
of Precedency, &c. is a position that carries Jeroms opinion 
to the highest pitch. Quidfacit Episcopus, quod Presbyter 
nonfaciat, excepta ordinatione? But it does not appear that 
Jerom had the support of the Ch'ch, in this opinion, but 
rather the contrary. Government as essentially pertains 
to Bps as ordination ; nay ordination is but the particular 
exercise of government. Whatever share of government 
Presbyters have in the Ch'ch, they have from the Bp, and 
must exercise it in conjunction with, or in subordination 
to him. And though a Congregation may have a right 
and I am willing to allow it to choose their minister, 
as they are to support him and live under his ministry, 
yet the Bps concurrence or license is necessary, because 
they are part of his charge ; he has the care of their souls, 
and is accountable for them ; and therefore the ministers 


authority to take charge of that congregation must come 
through the Bp. 

The choice of the Bp. is in the Presbyters, but the 
neighbouring Bps who are to consecrate him must have 
the right of judging whether he be a proper person or 
not. The Presbyters are the Bps council, without whom 
he ought to do nothing but matters of course. The 
Presbyters have always a check upon their Bp. because 
they can, neither Bp nor Presbyters, do any thing 
beyond the common course of duty without each other. 
I mean with regard to a particular diocese; for it does not 
appear that Presbyters had any seat in general councils, 
but by particular indulgence. 

The people being the patrons of the Ch'ches in this 
country, and having the means of the Bps and ministers 
support in their hands, have a sufficient restraint upon 
them. In cases that require it, they can apply to their 
Bp, who, with the assistance of his Presbyters, will pro 
ceed, as the case may require, to censure, suspension or 
deposition of the offending Clergyman. If a Bp behaves 
amiss the neighbouring Bps are his judges. Men that 
are not to be trusted with these powers are not fit to be 
Bps or Presbyters at all. 

This, I take it, is the constitution of the Christian 
Ch'ch, in its pure and simple State. And it is a constitu 
tion which, if adhered to, will carry itself into full effect. 
This constitution we have adopted in Connecticut; and 
we do hope and trust that we shall, by God's grace, 
exhibit to the world, in our government, discipline and 
order, a pure and perfect model of primitive simplicity. 

Presbyters cannot be too careful in choosing their Bp ; 
nor the People in choosing their Minister. Improper 
men may, however, sometimes succeed: And so they 
will, make as exact rules, and circumscribe their power, 
as you can. And an improper man in the Ch'ch, is an 
improper man, however he came there, and however his 
power be limited. The more you circumscribe him, the 
greater temptation he is under to form a party to support 
him ; and when his party is formed, all the power of 
your convention will not be able to displace him. In 
short if you get a bad man, your laws and regulations 
will not be effectual if a good man the general laws of 
the Ch'ch are sufficient. 


When civil States have made provision for ministers, 
it seems reasonable that they should define the qualifica 
tions, and regulate the conduct of those who are to enjoy 
the emolument. But voluntary associations for the exer 
cise of such powers as your Convention is to have, are 
always apt such is the infirmity of human nature to 
fall into parties ; and when party enters, animosity and 
discord soon follow. From what has been said you will 
suppose I shall object 

3. To the admission of Lay members into Synods &c. : 
I must confess I do, especially in the degree your funda 
mental rules allow. I have as great a regard for the laity 
as any man can have. It is for their sake that Ministers 
are appointed in the Ch'ch. I have no idea of aggran 
dizing the Clergy at the expense of the laity: nor indeed 
of aggrandizing them at all. Decent means of living is 
all they have a right to expect. But I cannot conceive 
that the Laity can with any propriety be admitted to sit 
in judgment on B^s and Presbyters, especially when 
deposition may be the event; because they cannot take 
away a character which they cannot confer. It is incon 
gruous to every idea of Episcopal government. That 
authority which confers power, can, for proper reasons, 
take it away : But where there is no authority to confer 
power, there can be none to disanul it. Wherever, 
therefore, the power of Ordination is lodged, the power 
of deprivation is lodged also. 

Should it be thought necessary that the laity should 
have a share in the choice of their Bp if it can be put 
on a proper footing, so as to avoid party and confusion, 
I see not but that it might be admitted. But I do not 
apprehend that this was the practice of the primitive 
Ch'ch. In short, the rights of the Christian Ch'ch arise 
not from nature or compact, but from the institution of 
Christ ; and we ought not to alter them, but to receive 
and maintain them, as the holy Apostles left them. The 
government, sacraments, faith and doctrines of the Ch'ch 
are fixed and settled. We have a right to examine what 
they are, but we must take them as they are. If we new 
model the government, why not the sacraments, creeds 
and doctrines of the Ch'ch ; But then it would not be 
Christs Ch'ch, but our Ch'ch ; and would remain so call 
it by what name we please. 


I do therefore beseech the Clergy and Laity, who shall 
meet at Philadelphia, to reconsider the matter before a 
final step be taken : and to endeavour to bring their 
Ch'ch government as near to the primitive pattern as 
may be. They will find it the simplest, and most easy to 
carry into effect; and if it be adhered to will be in no 
danger of sinking or failing. 

I^do not think it necessary that the Ch'ch in every 
State should be just as the Ch'ch in Connecticut is ; 
though I think that the best model. Particular circum 
stances, I know, will call for particular considerations. 
But in so essential a matter as Ch'ch government is, no 
alterations should be made that affect its foundation. If 
a man be called aBp who has not the Episcopal powers of 
government, he is called by a wrong name, even though 
he should have the power of Ordination and Confirmation. 

Let me therefore again entreat that such material alter 
ations, and forgive me if I say, unjustifiable ones, may 
not be made in the government of the Ch'ch. I have 
written freely as becomes an honest man ; and in a case 
which I think calls for freedom of sentiment and ex 
pression. I wish not to give offence, and I hope none 
will be taken. Whatever I can do consistently to assist 
in procuring Bps in America, I shall do cheerfully, but 
beyond that I cannot go; and I am sure neither you, nor 
any of the friends of the Ch'ch, would wish I should. 

If any expression in the letter should seem too warm, 
I will be ready to correct the mode, but the sentiments I 
must retain till I find them wrong, and then I will freely 
give them up. In this matter I am not interested. My 
ground is taken, and I wish not to extend mj authority 
beyond its present limits. But I do most earnestly wish 
to have our Ch'ch in all the States so settled that it may 
be one Ch'ch, united in government, doctrine, and dis 
cipline that there may be no divisions among us no 
opposition of interests no clashing of opinions. And 
permit me to hope that you will at your approaching 
Convention so far receed on the points I have mentioned, 
as to make this practicable. Your Convention will be 
large and very much to be respected. Its determinations 
will influence many of the American States, and posterity 
will bematerially affected by them. These considerations 
are so many arguments for calm and cool deliberation. 


Tinman passions and prejudices, and, if possible, infirm 
ities, should be laid aside. A wrong step will be attended 
with dreadful consequences. Patience and prudence 
must be exercised: And should there be some circum 
stances that press hard for a remedy, hasty decisions will 
not mend them. In doubtful cases they will probably 
have a bad effect. 

May the Spirit of God be with you at Philadelphia; 
and as I persuade myself, the sole good of his Ch'ch is 
the sole aim of you all, I hope for the best effects from 
your meeting. 

I send you the alterations which it has been here 
thought proper to make in the Liturgy, to accomodate 
it to the civil constitution of this State. You will 
observe that there is no collect for the Congress. We 
have no backwardness in that respect, but thought it our 
duty to know whether the civil authority in this State has 
any directions to give in this matter; and thai; cannot be 
known till their next meeting in October. 

Some other alterations were proposed, of which Mr. 
Ferguson took a copy ; and I would send you a copy had 
I time to transcribe it. The matter will be resumed at 
Kew Haven the 14th of September. Should we come to 
any determination, the Brethren to the southward shall 
be informed of it. 

With my best regards to the Convention and to you, 
I remain your affect, hum'l Serv't. 


I have taken the liberty to enclose a copy cf my letters 
of Consecration, which you will please to communicate 
to the Convention. You will also perceive it to be my 
wish that this letter should be communicated to them; to 
which, I presume, there can be no objection. 

Resuming the same subject a few days later, Bp. Sea- 
bury addressed the following letter directly to Dr. White : 

(^NEW LONDON, Augt. 19, 1785. 

I thank you for your several letters since my arrival 
in America, and particularly for the Pamphlets you sent 

1 From the Bp. White MSS. 


me. I had heard of them, and -wanted much to see them. 
I have not yet had time to do more than look at them, 
but should be glad to cultivate an acquaintance with a 
gentleman of so much learning and merit as the author 
of the (^Letter and Reply evidently is. 

It is a grief to me that I cannot be with you at your 
ensuing Convention. Neither my circumstances, nor 
duty will permit it. I am utterly unprovided for so long 
a journey, not being, at present, master even of a horse. 
I have written particularly to Dr. Smith, from whom I 
had a long letter, and have explained to him my senti 
ments on one or two points in your fundamental rules, 
which I fear are not right. I suppose, and expect, that 
Dr. Smith will read my letter to him to the Convention ; 
it is my wish he should. You, and the Brethren, and 
Gentlemen who shall assemble, will, my good Sir, excuse 
my apprehensions, and the freedom I have taken, to 
express myself, as an honest man should do, in plain 
language. And I hope you will be induced to reconsider 
the matters pointed out in my letter. The two points 
which I am most concerned about, are, your circumscrib 
ing the Episcopal power within such narrow bounds, 
depriving the Bp. of all government in the Ch'ch except 
as a Presbyter; and your subjecting him and yourselves 
to be tried before a Convention of Presbyters and lay 

There are some other things which I think exception 
able ; But if these two points are adhered to, it matters 

1 "A Letter to the Roman Catholics of the City of Worcester, from 
the late Chaplain of that Society, stating the Motives which induced 
him to relinquish their Communion, and become a Member of the 
Protestant Church." * * * * Philadelphia: Printed by Robert Aitken, 
&c. M.DCC.LXXXIV. Sm. 8vo, pp. 40. In the Editor's collection of 

This letter, which was republished at New York by David Long- 
worth in 1817, and still again in the second volume of " The Remains'' 
of Dr. Wharton, edited by Bp. Doane, in Philadelphia, in 1834, was 
replied to by Archbishop Carroll, of the Roman Catholic Church, in 
an "Address to the Roman Catholics of America." This Address 
elicited the " Reply" by Dr. Wharton, to which allusion is made in 
the letter from Bp. Seabury, printed above. Two other small pub 
lications on the subject followed from Dr. Wharton's pen, all of 
which were republished in New York in 1817, and are reprinted in 
the volume of " Remains" already referred to as issued by Bp. 


little how exceptionable your constitution may be in other 
respects ; because I conceive it impossible it should long 
subsist in its present form It will either fall into parties, 
and dissolve, or sink into real Presbyterianism. 

The enclosed are such alterations as have here been 
thought necessary, to accomodate our Liturgy to the 
civil constitution of this State. Should more be done, it 
must be a work of time and great deliberation. 

I am much obliged to you for your attention to the 
letters directed to your care from England. Please to 
make my regards to Dr. Magaw, Dr. Andrews, and Mr. 
Blackwell. I wish you a happy meeting may the Holy 
Spirit be with you at your meeting, and direct your con 
sultations to the good of his Church. I shall always be 
glad to hear from you. Messrs. Spragg, and Row, are 
now with me. Their business cannot be completed till 
the Ordination in September. 

Believe me to be, Rev'd Sir, with esteem and regard, 
your affect'te Bro'r and Serv't, 


The replies to these earnest appeals have not been pre 
served. The views of Dr. White in this matter may, 
however, be readily surmised from the following letter, 
addressed to him by Dr. Chandler a week before the time 
appointed for the meeting of the Convention: 



I am greatly obliged to you for your polite invita 
tion to put up at your house, and were I to come to 
Philadelphia, I would accept of it with pleasure; but my 
situation is such with regard to my disorder and the pro 
cess I am pursuing in hope of removing it, that I find it 
will be impracticable. Whether my presence at the ensu 
ing Convention would be of any use is a matter of uncer 
tainty ; yet were I able to attend I should think it my 
duty and besides, I should have an opportunity of seeing 
some pereons, with whom I wish to be better acquainted! 

Were you and I to talk over, at leisure, the business 
of this Convention, I natter myself that, afterwards, we 
should not differ widely in our opinions, upon most of 


the points in question. There is however, one point, on 
which at present we seem to think very differently ; I 
mean the right of the Laity to some share of ecclesiastical 
authority. In my former Letter I briefly suggested some 
reasons why I thought they should be excluded, and took 
the liberty to refer to some authors proper to be consulted 
on the subject. In yours of the 8th you oifer several 
reasons why you think they ought to be admitted. 

Your first reason is taken from what appears to you to 
have been the practice of the Prim. Church; but I think 
I have seen it unanswerably proved, over and over, by 
different authors, that there is nothing in ecclesiastical 
antiquity, or very little indeed, to countenance this claim 
of the Laity. You seem to wonder that I referred to 
Hooker on the subject, as you think his Sentiments are 
directly opposite to mine. It was indeed a long time 
since I had looked into Hooker, but I recollected the 
general drift of his Book VII, and more particularly 
some passages which, formerly, I had occasion to pro 
duce: such as, for instance: "a Bishop is a Minister of 
God, unto whom with permanent continuance, is com 
mitted a power of chiefty in government over Presby 
ters as well as Laymen, a power to be by way of Jurisdic 
tion, a Pastor even to Pastors themselves." Again : 
" We require you to find out but one Church upon the 
face of the whole earth, that hath been ordered by your 
discipline (i. e. a discipline much like that which was 
settled last May in Virginia) or hath not been ordered 
by ours, that is to say, by Episcopal regiment, since the time 
that the B. Apostles were here conversant. Many things 
out of antiquity ye bring, as if the purest times of the 
Church had observed the self-same orders which you 
require ; and . as though your desire were, that the 
Churches of old should be patterns for us to follow, and 
even glasses wherein we might see the practice of that, 
which by you is gathered out of Scripture. But the 
truth is, ye mean nothing less." From these and similar 
passages, I concluded that Hooker excluded the Laity 
from every part of purely ecclesiastical authority, and 
consequently from the highest act of it, viz : that of 
making Canons. I have since tumbled over some leaves 
of his Book, and I think it would be an easy task to 
prove that I was not mistaken with regard to his opinion. 


Had I time, I could point out much in Bingham, that 
clearly supports my side of the question. You allow 
that Potter is with me ; and I will only observe, that what 
he wrote on the subject was never answered, or disputed 
with him. With regard to Slater's Original Draft, as you 
have never seen it, as he has handled the point before us 
in a masterly manner, as he wrote against a very erro 
neous and popular Book, and as I happen to have two 
copies of his work, I now send you one of them, and 
beg your acceptance of it. I wish you had time also to 
read Maurice on Diocesan Episcopacy, in answer to Bax 
ter Sage's Principles of the Cyprianic Age, and his 
Defence of it and Bp. Hoadly on Episcopal Ordination, 
who candidly and effectually confutes all these claims of 
the Laity. In short, this is a radical point, and I entreat 
you not to give your consent to robbing Episcopacy of its 
essential rights. I am the more urgent with you on this 
head, as I hope the time is not far distant when I am to 
see you vested with the Episcopal character. I have 
often talked the matter over with Bp. Seabury in Lon 
don ; and we both agreed that you were the properest 
person for the State of Pensylvania, and, unless we should 
liiid ourselves mistaken with regard to your character, 
which I believe we were not, that we would do all that 
we consistently could to befriend you in this way. 

Your second reason is ; that in the Church of England, 
nothing can be done without the Laity, &c. In -answer to 
which I will only observe, that in that Church none are 
allowed the right of making Canons, but the two Houses 
of Convocation, who indeed must be called together by 
the King's Writ. Those Canons I confess cannot be 
legally binding upon the Laity without an Act of the 
State ; but were it not for the alliance it has with the 
State, they would still be binding upon the consciences of 
the faithful. Where a government means to establish any 
particular Church, it has a right to make laws relative to 
that establishment, and to expect concessions from the 
Church, so far as they can be made consistently with ita 
own principles, on that account. The Royal supremacy 
in England, founded on the Act of Submission, is a matter 
with which, at present, we have nothing to do, and is I 
conceive, peculiar to an establishment. That the Laity 
should have their check upon the Clergy, I allow to be 


reasonable ; but where they are patrons of all the Church 
Livings, have the means of supporting the Clergy in 
their own hands, and have an unquestionable right to 
prefer complaints or well founded accusations against 
them, I think they have check enough in all conscience. 

Tliis last observation meets your third reason. Under 
this head you go on to say, that all reasonable measures (I 
suppose you mean of restraining the Clergy) will, on the 
plan in question, be easier carried into effect, and sooner vindi 
cated against misrepresentation. This to me, is at present 
inconceivable ; but my reasons must be omitted. Since 
I began this letter I have had an unlucky fall, which has 
almost blinded me, and so wounded my right hand, that 
I hold my pen with difficulty. However, before I con 
clude, I must not omit to inform you, that the explana 
tion of some points given in your last Letter, has afforded 
me much satisfaction as it shews that we are not so 
different in our opinions, as I at first imagined. I wish 
that the Convention may be, in reality, as favourable 
to Episcopacy as your explanation is but I have my 

I thank you for the pamphlets you sent, which have 
afforded me considerable amusement. Mr. Wharton 
appears to advantage in his publication, and his anta 
gonist is a man of ingenuity and dexterity. They treat 
each other with personal respect, which I am pleased to 
see in all controversies. * * 

Very sincerly and affectionately yours, 


ELIZ : TOWN, Sept. 20th, 1785. 

At the North, the arrival of Bp. Seabury had produced 
marked changes in the disposition of the more prominent 
clergy, with regard to liturgical revision and measures 
for union. Early in the year 1785, the news of the suc 
cess of Dr. Seabury's application to the Scottish Bishops, 
had been reQeived in New York, and intelligence of the 
fact was immediately communicated by the Rev. Benja 
min Moore, to the clergy of Massachusetts, in the follow 
ing letter to Mr. Parker. 


NEW YORK, Feb'y 14, 1785. 



I received a Letter, by the last Packet, from Dr. 
Inglis, in which he informs me, that after every Applica 
tion in England had proved ineffectual, Dr. Seabury 
went to Scotland, and was consecrated by some of the 
Nonjuring Bishops near Aberdeen, on the 14th Nov'r. 
last. He was on his Way to England, when Dr. Inglis 
wrote, and intends to embark for America, by the first 
convenient Opportunity. There can be no Doubt of the 
Validity of .this Ordination. I am sure you will rejoice 
at it, and if he is so fortunate as to arrive safe in America, 
will join Heart and Hand with your Staunch, Orthodox 
Brethren, in supporting our venerable Church upon true 
Episcopal Principles. I hope Dr. I. has been very accu 
rate in ascertaining the Succession among the Conjurors, 
since the Time of the Revolution. As he is the first 
American Bishop, it may, in future years, be a Matter 
of some Consequence to be able to trace the Current up 
to the Fountain Head. 

Your Friend and Brother, 



Soon after the meeting in Philadelphia, Dr. "White had 
enclosed the Act of Association of the Pennsylvania 
Churches in a letter to Mr. Parker, which, as it illus 
trates the apprehensions entertained at the North with 
reference to the proceedings of the coming Convention, 
we subjoin, together with its reply. To this letter of Dr. 
White's there is no date appended; but the original, still 
preserved among the Bp. Parker correspondence,^) is 
endorsed as having been received in June, 1785. 


I should have answered your last Favor sooner, 
but for my Desire of furnishing you at ye same Time 
with an Acc't of our Proceedings in Consequence of ye 

1 In the possession of the Editor. 


Measures taken in N". York. I am sorry to find that 
those Measures have been so construed by some of our 
Friends in England, as if we had refused to ye Ep'l 
Order ye Right of Precedency in our Conventions. Pro 
bably you will recollect, that in ye original Draft it was 
provided that ye senior Bp : present sh'd preside ; and 
that this was erased, not from ye Idea that any other than 
a Bp ought to be Presid't, but from an Observation of 
Dr. S. that to restrain it to ye senior Bp. might be some 
times inconvenient ; I wish that ye Clause had stood. 

We have no information of Bishop Seabury's Arrival 
at N. London or in any Part of ye U. States ; I hope we 
may expect him at ye Meeting in Sep'r. The Papers 
mention ye Consecration of a Dr. M. Moffat for Rhode- 
Island, but they are ye only Channel by which we have 
even heard ye Name of that Gentleman. 

I suppose you have had nothing further from ye Block 
head who wrote under ye Signature of "A Presby 
terian." In ye present State of Affairs, ye Appearance 
of such an intolerant Spirit will rather have a Tendency 
to assist us. 

The intended Academy of which I informed you has 
been opened about two months. The Schools contain 
125 Boys and are continually increasing. We have 
elected for Principal Mr. Andrews of Maryl'd, a worthy 
Clergyman of our Church, whom we daily expect to take 
ye Charge of it. * * * * 

Perhaps you will think we have appointed too many 
Lay Gent'n to ye Convention. This was owing to an 
Opinion advanced by ye Clergy from ye Country, that it 
would expedite ye removing of any Prejudices that may 
be remaining. As it is preparatory to ye framing a 
Const'n, it will not be a Precedent under it. 
I am, dear Sir, 

Your Friend and Brother, 


The following, from the Bp. White MSS., was Mr. 
Parker's reply : 

BOSTON, Septem'r 14, 1785. 
1 have to acknowledge the Receipt of a Letter re- 


ceived from you about 6 weeks since inclosing the Act 
of Association of the Churches in the State of Pensyl- 
vania, but the letter being without Date I cannot say how 
long it was on its Journey. I am with you equally sen 
sible that the fifth of the fundamental Principles in the 
paper printed at N. York has operated much to the Dis 
advantage of that Convention. Had it stood as I pro 
posed that a Bishop (if one in any State) sh'd be Presi 
dent of the Convention, I make no doubt there would 
have been one present. You will be at no loss to con 
clude that I mean Doct'r Seabury, who you must 'ere this 
have heard is arrived and entered upon the exercise of 
his Offices in Connecticutt. Being present in Convocation 
at Middletown the 4th of Aug'st last, I much urged his 
attending the Convention at Philadelphia this month, but 
that very Article discouraged him so much that no argu 
ments I could use were sufficient to prevail with him. 
Had that Article stood as proposed, the Gentleman who 
moved the Amendment would not have suffered by it, nor 
[would] the Convention [have been] stigmatized as Anti- 
Episcopalian. It was at my Request that the Bishop with 
his clergy agreed to make some Alterations in the Liturgy 
and Offices of the Church, and a Com'tee from the body 
of the Clergy was chosen to attend him for that purpose, 
a report of which I was desired to lay before a Conven 
tion of Clergymen and Deputies from the churches in this 
State together with Rhode Island and New Hampshire, 
which was to meet the first Wednesday in this month. 
This Convention accordingly met, and have agreed to 
adopt the Alterations proposed at Middletown, (excepting 
two) and have agreed to a few others, which are to be 
proposed to the Churches in the other States. I am 
therefore directed by said Convention to forward to you, 
or to the President of the gen'l Convention to be held 
at Philadelphia the 27 of this month a copy of the 
Alterations proposed by our Convention, and to request 
a copy of the proceedings of that Body in order to com 
pare notes and to see how near our Ideas agree. I 
accordingly enclose you now a copy of said proposed 
Alterations and if you are not President of said Conven 
tion yourself [beg you] to deliver them to him with a 
request of our Convention that they may be communi 
cated to your Convention, and that we may be furnished 


with a copy of the proceedings of that Body before the 
time to which our Convention stands adjourned which is 
Octo'r 26th next. 

As the Expence of sending one or more Delegates to 
the gen'! Convention would be very considerable and 
must fall upon one or two churches, our Convention con 
cluded not to send, as you will find by the vote following 
the proposed alterations. 

"Whether you will find time to revise the Canons, 
.Articles, &c., of the Church, and the Liturgy also, or 
which you will enter upon first, is uncertain. I rather 
think that Canons and Articles, or an Ecclesiastical Con 
stitution should be left to your Bishop (when you have 
one) with his Clergy ; the Laity seem to be more con 
cerned with the Liturgy, and the revision of that will 
take more time than they will be willing to spend at con 
tention. I find that the fourth Article in the proposals 
printed at New York is disgusting to many of our Com 
munion who neither like the Doctrines held by the Church 
of England nor the Liturgy as it now stands, and if 
those are fundamental Principles how will you get rid of 
them ? Some of the Doctrines held up in the 39 Articles 
I think are not founded in Scripture, and I could wish 
if they are taken into Consideration by the Convention, 
they may be amended. 

The Doct'r McMoffat whom you say the Papers mention 
as having been consecrated was formerly a Custom h'ouse 
Officer at Newport, very unpopular and hated by the 
People. The article in the paper was intended only as 
Hum or a Reflection upon the Church. 

I shall esteem it a favour if you will be so kind as to 
inform me what measures are adopted at your Convention 
and whether you make any alterations in the Liturgy as 
we are perfectly disposed here to preserve a Uniformity 
in divine Worship and to adopt any measures that will 
tend to that end. 

I am Dear Sir with respect and Esteem, 

Your most aflect'te Friend and Brother 


These alterations referred to in the above letter as 
enclosed, and which we reprint in full from the Journal 


of the Convention in Boston, will also serve to put us in 
possession of the measures for revision entertained by 
the Connecticut Convocation at this time, measures 
which their subsequent legislation failed to confirm, 
mainly from the reaction of feeling consequent upon the 
more radical changes introduced into the Liturgy at the 

At a Convention of Clergymen and Lay Deputies of 
the Episcopal Church of the States of Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, held at Boston, 
Sept. 7 and 8, 1785. 


Rev. Edward J3ass, Rector of St. Paul's Church, New- 

Rev. Wm. "Willard Wheeler, Rector of the united 
Churches at Scituate, Marshfield, Braintree, and Bridge- 

Rev. Nathaniel Fisher, Rector of St. Peter's Church, 

Rev. Samuel Parker, Rector of Trinity Church, Boston. 

Hon. Tristram Dalton, Esq., Deputy of St. Paul's 
Church, Newburyport. 

Stephen Greenleaf, Esq., and Mr. Benjamin Greene, 
Deputies of Trinity Church, Boston. 

Thomas Ivers, Esq., and Mr. James Sherman, Deputies 
of Christ Church, Boston. 

Dr. Charles Stockbridge, Deputy of Scituate, Marshfield, 
and Bridge water. 

i:-v. Wm. Willard Wheeler, Deputy of Braintree. 

Mr. Woodward Abraham, Deputy of Marblehead. 

Mr. Joshua Kingsbury, Deputy of Dedham. 

Mr. Joseph Aspimvall, Deputy of Stoughton. 

Mr. John Bours, Deputy of Trinity Church, Newport, 
Rhode Island. 

Mr. John Usher, Deputy of Bristol, R. I. 

Dr. Francis Borland, Deputy of Queen's Chapel, Ports 
mouth, N. II. 

Voted, Rev. Edward Bass, President of this Convention. 

Voted, Rev. Nathaniel Fisher, Secretary. 

Voted, That the Clergy and Laity now assembled shall 


deliberate in one body, but shall vote separately, and the 
concurrence of both orders shall be necessary to give 
validity to every measure. 

Voted, That the Convention take into consideration the 
revisal of the Liturgy and offices of the Church, as con 
tained in the Book of Common Prayer, and make such 
alterations as may be necessary ; and that the omissions 
and alterations, agreed upon by a Committee of Convoca 
tion, held at Middletown, in Connecticut, August 3, 1785, 
as contained in paper Ko. 1, serve as a basis for our pre 
sent proceedings. 

The Convention then proceeded to a revisal of the State 
Prayers, in the Book of Common Prayer, and came to the 
following resolutions, as a substitute for the State Prayers. 

That in the Suffrage after the Creed, in morning and 
evening prayer, instead of, "O Lord save the King," it 
be read, O Lord save the Church, to which the congrega 
tion are to make the accustomed response, " and merci 
fully hear us," &c. 

That the prayer for the King, in morning and evening 
service, be left out; and the prayer for the Royal Family 
be thus altered, Almighty God, the fountain of all 
goodness, we humbly beseech thee to bless the Governor 
and Council of this Commonwealth, endue them with thy 
Holy Spirit, and so on, as it now stands. 

That in the Litany, the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 18th peti 
tions be omitted, and the petition for Bishops, Priests, 
and Deacons, immediately follow that for the universal 
Church ; the 20th and 21st petition be thus read, that 
it ma please thee to endue the Governor and Council 
of this Commonwealth with grace, wisdom, and under 
standing; that it may please thee to bless and keep the 
Judges and subordinate Magistrates, giving them grace 
to execute justice, and to maintain truth ; to both which, 
the usual response, "we beseech thee to hear us, good 
Lord," is to be made by the congregation. 

That in the prayer for the whole state of Christ's 
Church Militant, the part relating to Rulers and Minis 
ters, be thus altered : We beseech thee also to save 
and defend, all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors, 
and grant that they, and all that are in authority, may 
truly and impartially minister justice to the punishment 
of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy 


true religion and virtue ; give grace, Heavenly Father, 
to all Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, that they may, 
and so on, as it now stands. 

That the prayers for the King, that stand before the 
Nicene Creed, in the Communion Service, be omitted. 

That in the Answer in the Catechism, to the question, 
" What is thy duty towards thy neighbor," for, " to honor 
and obey the King", be substituted, to honor and obey 
my civil rulers, to submit myself, &c. 

That during every session of the General Court, the 
following Collect be used in its proper place : Most 
Gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for this Com 
monwealth in general, so especially for the General Court 
at this time assembled, that thou wouldest be pleased to 
direct and prosper all their consultations, to the advance 
ment of thy glory, the good of thy Church, the safety, 
honor, and welfare of thy people; that all things may be 
so ordered and settled, by their endeavors, upon the best 
and surest foundation, that peace and happiness, truth 
and justice, religion and piety, may be established among 
us, for all generations ; these, and all other necessaries, 
for them, for us, and thy whole Church, we humbly beg, 
in the name and mediation of Jesus Christ, our most 
blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen. 

That the observation of 5th November, 30th January, 
29th May, and 25th October, be discontinued. 

In the other parts of the Liturgy and offices of the 
Church, they came to the following resolutions : 

That in the Te Deum, the sentence following this, 
"when thou tookedst upon thee to deliver man," Sfe thus 
altered, thou didst humble thyself to be born of a pure 

That the Article in the Apostles' Creed, " He descended 
into Hell," be omitted. 

That the Creed commonly called the Creed of St. Atha- 
nasius, be wholly disused. 

That it be left discretionary with the Minister, War 
dens, and Vestry, of each particular Church, or congrega 
tion, to omit or use the ISicene Creed, as they shall seve 
rally choose. 

That the response after the suffrage, " give peace in 
our time, O Lord," be thus altered, and make all nations 
to rejoice in thy loving kindness, God. 


That the Lord's Prayer, after the Apostles' Creed, and 
also what is usually called the shorter Litany, or the peti 
tions, "Lord have mercy upon us, Christ have mercy," 
&c. be omitted, or left out. That the petitions in the 
Litany, from, " O Christ hear us," inclusive, to the 
prayer beginning, "0 God, merciful Father," and from 
the end of that prayer, including the response, "O Lord 
arise, help us, and deliver us, for thy name's sake," as 
far as the suffrage, "From our enemies defend us, 
Christ," exclusive, be also omitted. 

That the Lord's Prayer,' at the beginning of the Com 
munion Service, be omitted; and that the Gloria Patri be 
repeated only at the last of the Psalms, read at morning 
and evening service, when more than one, or that it be 
repeated but once in reading the Psalms. 

The Prayer for the Clergy and people, in morning and 
evening service, to be thus read, Almighty and everlast 
ing God, from whom alone every good and perfect gift 
doth come, send down upon all Bishops and Pastors, 
and the congregations committed to their charge, the 
healthful Spirit of thy grace, &c. 

That in the first warning, for the Celebration of the 
Holy Communion, the word " damnation," following 
these words, "increase your," be read, condemnation; 
and the two paragraphs after these words, " or else come 
not to that holy table," be omitted, and the following 
one be read, And if there be any of you, who by these 
means cannot quiet their own conscience, &c. The words 
"learned and discreet," epithets given to ministers, &c. 
be also omitted. 

That in the Exhortation at the Communion, the para 
graph concerning the danger of receiving the same un 
worthily, be thus altered : So is the danger great, if we 
receive the same unworthily, not considering the Lord's 
Body, for then we are guilty of the Body and Blood of 
Christ our Saviour, we eat and drink judgment to our 
selves, kindling God's wrath against us, and provoking 
him to afflict us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds 
of death. 

That it be left discretionary with the Minister, whether 
the words, "The body of our Lord Jesus Christ," &c., be 
repeated to each communicant separately, when the bread 
is given, or whether it shall be repeated but once, for all 


then present at the Altar and the same also at giving 
the cup ; and if the latter is adopted, that the plural be 
then used, instead of the singular. 

That at the Baptism of Infants, parents may be ad 
mitted Sponsors, with one or other person, if a suitable 
one can be procured, if not, the parents alone, in their 
own persons, or by their proxies. 

In the first address to the people in the Baptismal 
Office, the words, "All men are conceived and born in 
sin," be omitted, and the words, "our Saviour Christ," 
follow " for as much as." 

That the words, "release him of his sins," in the 
address to the Sponsors, be omitted ; that when the child 
or person is baptized in church, instead of repeating the 
Creed, the priest may say, Dost thou believe all the 
articles of the Christian faith, as contained in the 
Apostles' Creed? to which the answer shall be, I do, 
and, by God's help, I will instruct this child in that 
faith ; the following question to be thus altered, Wilt 
thou have this child to be baptized in that faith ? The 
usual response to follow ; the last demand and response 
to be omitted. 

That the Sign of the Cross may be omitted, if particu 
larly desired by the Sponsors. 

In the last prayer, the following alterations to be made : 
" That it hath pleased thee, by thy holy baptism, to re 
generate this infant or person," the words "Vulgar 
tongue," in the Exhortation and Charge to the Sponsors, 
be omitted; and the words, " if opportunity presents," 
be added at the end of the Charge. 

At the Burial of the Dead, the Commitment of the Body 
to the ground, to be thus altered: For as much as it hath 
pleased Almighty God, to take out of this mortal life, the 
soul of our brother (or sister), here departed, we therefore 
commit his (or her) body to the ground, earth to earth, 
ashes to ashes, dust to dust, looking for the resurrection 
of the body, and the life of the world to come, through 
our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, 
that it may be like unto his glorious Body, according to 
the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all 
things unto himself. 

The prayer following the Lord's Prayer, to be omitted; 
and after the words, " beginning of the world," in the 


last prayer, be added this paragraph : So that we, with 
all those that are departed in the true faith of thy holy 
name, may then have our perfect consummation and 
bliss, both in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlast 
ing glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord, grant this, &c. 

That the office of Churching of Women, be omitted, 
excepting the introduction, the latter part of which shall 
be read : You shall therefore join in giving hearty thanks 
to God ; and the Collect, which shall be thus altered : O 
Almighty God, we give thee humble thanks, for thy 
great mercy vouchsafed to this woman, thy servant, who 
now desires to offer up her praises and thanksgivings to 
thee ; and grant, &c. 

The second paragraph in the Introduction to the Com- 
mination Service, to be thus read : instead whereof, it is 
thought good at this time, in the presence of you all, 
should be read the general sentences of God's cursing 
against impenitent sinners, gathered out of the seven 
and twentieth chapter of Deuteronomy and other places 
of Scripture: the remainder of this paragraph, with the 
Kubrick, that "the people shall answer and say, Amen," 
to the Curses, to be omitted. 

That the Absolution, in the office of the Visitation of 
the Sick, be expunged, and the Absolution used in the 
Communion Service, be substituted in its stead, if neces 

That the Introduction to the Marriage Service, contain 
ing the reasons why matrimony was ordained, be omitted, 
from the words, "holy matrimony," to "therefore, if any 
man can shew any just cause," &c. 

That the words, " plight and give thee my troth," be 
altered to pledge thee my truth ; that the words, " with 
my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I 
thee endow," in giving the ring, be' omitted. 

That it be left discretionary with the Minister, whether 
the Collect for the day be read more than once in the 
morning service, and also whether the Communion Ser 
vice shall be read in the Heading Desk or in the Altar. 

Voted, That it be recommended to the several Churches 
in these States, immediately to make the omissions, and 
adopt the alterations contained in the printed paper No. 
1, and agreed upon by this Convention, as a substitute for 
the State Prayers, in the Book of Common Prayer, and 


that the using the other alterations be postponed till after 
the time to which this Convention shall be adjourned, in 
order that it may be seen, how far the other States will 
conform to said alterations. 

Voted, That it is the opinion of this Convention, that 
it is not necessary nor convenient to send a Delegate or 
Delegates to the General Convention, to be holden at 
Philadelphia on the Tuesday preceding the Feast of St. 
Michael, but that a copy of the proceedings of this Con 
vention be communicated, by a Committee to be here 
after chosen, to the President or some member of said 
Convention, to be communicated to said Body, and also 
to the Bishop or Clergy of Connecticut, previous to the 
Convention to be held at New Haven, to be communi 
cated to them, requesting a speedy communication of 
each of their proceedings to said Committee. 

Voted, That said Committee furnish all the Churches 
in the three States not represented here, and those whose 
members are absent, with a copy of the alterations in the 
Liturgy, agreed upon by this Convention, and request of 
them a return of their actings thereon, to this Conven 
tion, at their adjournment. 

Voted, -^Rev. Mr. Parker, Thomas Ivers, Esq., and Mr. 
Benjamin Greene, be said Committee, with a power to 
employ a Clerk to assist them. 

Voted, That the Rev. Mr. Bass and Mr. Fisher be a 
Committee to form a Collect, to be inserted among the 
occasional prayers for the case of persons who have lost 
their friends, for persons sick, and for persons bound to 
sea, and report at the adjournment. 

Voted, That this Convention be adjourned to October 
26th, and in case the Committee shall not then have 
received the returns from the Conventions at New Haven 
and Philadelphia, that they be authorized to adjourn said 
Convention, to such future day as they shall judge best, 
and notify the members of the same. 

In consequence of the preceding votes of Convention, 
attested copies of the proposed alterations in the Liturgy 
and Offices of the Church, were transmitted to the 
Churches and Clergymen. 

One to the Right Rev. Bishop Seabury, New London, Con. 
Rev. Bela Hubbard, New Haven, Con. 


One to the Rev. Benjamin Moore, New York. 

" Rev. William White, D. D., Philadelphia. 

" St. Paul's Church, Newburyport, Mass. 

" Trinity Church, Boston, Mass. 

" Christ Church, " 

" St. Peter's Church, Salem, Mass. 

" United Churches at Scituate and Marshfield. 

" Christ Church, Braintree, Mass. 

" Church, Marblehead, Mass. 

*' Church, Falmouth, Mass. > 

" Trinity Church, Newport, R. I. 

" St. Michaef's Church, Bristol, R. I. 

" Church, Providence, R. I. 

" Church, Narraganset, R. I. 

" Queen's Chapel, Portsmouth, N. H. 

" Church, Claremont, N. H. 

" Church, Holderness, N. H. 

With these apprehensions on the part of the New Eng 
land Clergy, and the hindrances to union they of necessity 
occasioned, the Convention of the Church in the States 
of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, 
Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina assembled in 
Christ Church, Philadelphia, on Tuesday, the 27th of 
September, A.D. 1785. Their session lasted until the 
evening of Friday, the 7th of October; and from the 
variety of measures recorded as having received con 
sideration or approbation during that time, we have 
selected the following subjects, arranged in the order in 
which they respectively appear in the Journal, as chiefly 
needing illustration, from, the manuscript and printed 
sources in the hands of the Editor. These subjects are as 
follow, viz.: 

I. Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer. 
II. The General Ecclesiastical Constitution. 
III. Measures taken for obtaining the Episcopacy in the 
English line of Succession. 



At the outset of the contest of the Revolution, changes 
in what were technically known as the " State Prayers" 
were inevitable. The Clergy who refused to acknowledge 
the asserted independence of the revolted Colonies were 
mobbed, fined, imprisoned, and silenced. Many were 
either driven within the lines of the enemy, or compelled 
to seek safety for their lives by removal to the Northern 
Provinces, which still owned allegiance to the British 
Crown. Partisan ignorance and intolerance sometimes 
found an implied reproof in the lessons of Scripture as 
read in the appointed services of the Church ; and the 
Missionary of the venerable Society for the Propagation 
of the Gospel, on the frontiers of Maine, was subjected 
to arrest and annoyance in consequence of the personal 
application made by the patriots of his neighborhood, of 
the story of Korah and his punishment, assigned as one 
of the lessons for the Sunday after Easter. (1) 

(1) The following letter, which we print from the original, preserved 
among the Bp. Parker correspondence, will not be out of place as vividly 
illustrating the trials of the loyal Clergy of our communion during the 
war of Independence : 


Our court is now sitting, and I am this moment Informed that I am 
presented before the Grand Jury for charging my congregation not 
to have any concern with the rebels, but to separate from them, least 
they should be involved in their punishment. The witnesses have 
sworn that the crime was committed on the last Sunday in April. 
My Sermons had nothing in them which could furnish any pretence 
for this accusation, but in the lesson of the day, Numbers 16-26., I find 
these words " And he spake unto the congregation " saying, depart I 
pray you from the tents of these wicked men, and " touch no thing 
of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins these I find are almost 
the words of their depositions what they will make of this presentment 
I can not tell. 

I found this piece of paper, and thought this extraordinary intelligence 
might serve to divert you a little and to elucidate the characters of my 

Oct'r 1, 1778. 


In Boston, immediately after the arrival of the news 
of the Declaration of Independence, the services of the 
Church were so much interrupted that the assistant Minis 
ter of Trinity Church, the Kev. Samuel Parker, who 
was the only Clergyman remaining in the city after the 
evacuation by the British troops, convened the proprietors 
of his Church and submitted to them the question of his 
future course. The minutes of this meeting come pro 
perly before us as among the first alterations of the 
Liturgy designed to make it "consistent with the Ameri 
can Revolution." We transcribe them from the original 
manuscript in Mr. Parker's handwriting, still preserved 
in the hands of his family. 

At a Meeting of the Minister, "Wardens and Vestry of 
Trinity Church on Thursday the 18 Day of July 1776 

The Rev'd Mr. Parker informed the Wardens and Ves 
try that he could not with Safety perform the Service of 
the Church for the future as the Continental Congress 
had declared the American Provinces free and independ 
ent States, had absolved them from all Allegiance to the 
British Crown and had dissolved all Political Connection 
between them and the Realm of England. That he was 
publicly interrupted the Lord's Day preceding when read 
ing the Prayers in the Liturgy of the church for the King 
and had received many Threats and Menaces that he 
would be interrupted and insulted in future if the 
Prayers for the King should be read again in the 
church : and that he was apprehensive some Damage 
would accrue to the Proprietors of the Church if the 
Service was in future carried on as had been usual. And 

Vide also pp. 105-126 of " The Frontier Missionary : A Memoir 
of the Rev. Jacob Bailey, A.M.," by the Eev. Wm. S. Bartlet, A.M., 
published as the 2d volume of the "Collection of the Protestant 
Episcopal Historical Society," New York, 1853. 

The sufferings of the other Northern missionaries, who seem to 
have been more uniformly loyal than their brethren at the South, 
are narrated at length in the abstracts and correspondence of the 
Ven. Propagation Society, and particularly in Hawkins' "Historical 
Notices of the Missions of the Church of England in the Colonies." 
(8vo, London, 1845,) pp. 301-322, and 328-344. 


therefore he desired their Counsel and Advice "Where 
fore the said Wardens and Vestry taking the Matter into 
Consideration, after maturely debating thereon, it ap 
peared evident that the Temper and Spirit of the People 
in this Town was such that they would not suffer any 
Prayers for the King to be publickly used in divine 
Service, and that there was no other Alternative but 
either to shut up the church and have no public Worship, 
or to omit that Part of the Liturgy wherein the King is 
prayed for; And as there are many Persons of the 
Episcopal Persuasion who cannot conscientiously attend 
the Worship of Dissenters and to whom it would be a 
great Detriment and Grief of Mind to have no Place 
where they can attend the Worship of God according to 
their Consciences; the Wardens and Vestry conclude that 
it would be more for the Interest and Cause of Episco- 

Eacy and the least Evil of the two to Omit Part of the 
iturgy than to shut up the church And hoping that in 
this sad Alternative it will not be imputed to them as a 
Fault or construed as a Want of Affection for the Liturgy 
of the Church, if under these circumstances they omit 
that Part of it in which the King is mentioned. There 
fore Voted That Mr. Parker the present Minister be de 
sired to continue officiating in said church and that he 
be requested to omit that Part of the Liturgy of the 
Church which relates to the King and that the Omissions 
be as follows. 

In the Petitions and Responses after the Lord's Prayer 
in the Morning and Evening Service, the following to be 
omitted, Lord save the King, And mercifully hear us when 
we call upon Thee. The two Prayers for the King's Ma 
jesty and the Royal Family in the Morning and Evening 
Service to be omitted and that the Prayer for the whole 
Estate of Christ's Church militant be used at Evening 
Prayer instead of the three Prayers for the King, Royal 
Family and Clergy, omitting these Words of it, And 
especially thy Servant George our King that under fdm we 
may be godly and quietly governed, unto his whole Council and 
to all that are put in Authority under him. That the 15th, 
16th, 17th, 18th, and 20th Petitions of the Liturgy and 
the Collects in the Communion Service for the I&ug be 
omitted, and that no other Alterations be made nor any 
Additions be substituted. Voted That the Proprietors of 


Trinity Church be warned to meet the next Sunday morn 
ing before the usual Time of Service and these Votes 
be laid before them for their Concurrence and Assent. 

At a Meeting of the Proprietors of Trinity Church 
the 21st Day of July 1766 

The foregoing Votes of the "Wardens and Vestry of 
said Church containing the Method proposed for carrying 
on the Service of the Church in future and the Reasons 
therein alledged for omitting Part of the Liturgy were 
read and considered, and it appearing absolutely neces 
sary that some Alterations be made in order that the Pro 
prietors may worship in Safety and without Interruption 
Voted unanimously That we concur with the Wardens 
and Vestry in the proposed Omissions and Alterations, 
and that Mr. Parker the present Minister be requested to 
make the necessary Omissions and perform the Service 
as is therein proposed 

A True Copy from the Minutes 

Where this course was not taken, the churches were 
shut up and the services interrupted, save in those por 
tions of the country occupied by the British forces. 
Among those of the Clergy who sympathized with the 
popular side, a compliance with these variations in the 
services was general ; and as in Pennsylvania and at the 
southward the number of patriot Clergymen was large, and 
their concurrence in the popular measures were known, 
the Church was left in their sections of the country less 
reduced in number and less an object of suspicion than 
was the case in New England and New York. In some 
of the States these matters were a subject of legislative 
enactment. In Virginia, the day following the Declara 
tion of Independence, the Convention of the State 
" altered the Book of Common Prayer, to accommodate 
it to the change in affairs.'^ 1 ) This document,( 2 ) still to 

1 Hawks's Ecclesiastical Contributions, Vol. I. Virginia, page 238. 

2 Vide the Introduction to "A Treatise on the Law of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in the United States." By Murray Hoffman, Esq. 
8vo. New York, 1850, page 31. 


be found in the Library of the State of New York, in 
Albany, contains the alterations proposed, which relate 
almost exclusively to the prayers for rulers. They close 
with the following injunction : 

" Let every other sentence of the Litany be retained, 
without any other alteration, except the above sentences 

But these changes, slight though they were, and justi 
fied, as Bp. White aptly asserts^ 1 ) from the conduct of the 
most eminent English divines during the usurpation of 
Cromwell, were unpalatable to many of the Clergy ; and, 
in consequence, "the doors of the far greater number of 
the Episcopal churches were closed for several years."( 2 ) 

At the return of peace, and on the consequent acknow 
ledgment of the independence of the United States by 
Great Britain, there were wide differences in the manner 
of performing the services of the Church obtaining in 
different sections of the land. Some Churches had 
merely adopted the necessary changes in the State 
prayers, while others had gone much further; and the 
necessity of consultation among the Clergy of the 
scattered Churches for the purpose of securing a return 
to uniformity of worship was apparent. 

Prior to the Convention of 1785, Bp. White assures us, 
with respect to those concerned in this gathering, that 
"very few, or rather, it is believed, none of them enter 
tained thoughts of altering the liturgy, any further 
than to accommodate it to the revolution."( 3 ) We think the 
action of the New England Clergy which we have already 
printed, together with the extracts from unpublished 
correspondence which we subjoin, will tend to confute 
this view, and indicate, in advance, the marked changes 
introduced by the first Convention. 

The following letters( 4 ) addressed to the Rev. Mr. 

> Memoirs, p. 77. Ibid. p. 20. Ibid. p. 102. 

From the originals in tjie possession of the Editor. 


Parker, of Bostpn, by the Rev. Edward Bass, of Newbury- 
port, subsequently chosen first Bishop of Massachusetts, 
preceded the definite action of the Massachusetts Con 
vention, which we have previously recorded. Independ 
ently of their connection with this department of our 
subject, they are full of interest and information as to 
the state of the Church at the East : 

NEWBURY PORT, June 21st, 1784. 

I have received yrs. of 15th Inst. enclosing the Minutes 
of the Philadelphia Convention and their design appears 
to me to be very good, not to say very important, viz, 
the continuance and preservation of uniformity among 
the Episcopal Churches, at least from their State to the 
Northern extremity of the United States. I fully agree 
with them that the Authority to make Canons or laws 
should be placed in a representative Body of Clergy and 
Laity conjointly, and hope that in due time a suitable 

Slace for their Meeting will be appointed. That the 
ervice and Discipline of our Church are capable of im 
provement will, I apprehend, be deuy'd by few of her 
intelligent Members ; and such improvement or amend 
ment may without doubt be more easily effected now 
than heretofore when we were .connected with Great 
Britain. But still reformation of almost any kind is a 
nice and delicate affair and not to be touch'd or at 
tempted by rough hands. I also look upon it to be 
highly expedient that proper Collects be made for the 
Government we live under. You propose a Meeting of 
the Episcopal Clergy of this State, Jubes renovare dolo- 
rem ! Alas ! to what are we reduced ! I know of but 
four, two in Boston, one in Salem, and jr. humb. serv't. 
If then we should meet, Salem I should think, would be 
the proper place and w r hy should not a respectable Lay 
man of each Church meet with us ? After all I cannot 
help thinking it would be proper to wait for the arrival 
of our Bishop before we proceed to any ecclesiastical 
consultations of importance, that \ve may have his con 
curring voice in such matters. According to the account 
I have had from you we might have expected the arrival 
of such a person before this time. Pray, what is become 


of him ? (Mr. Seabury, I think you told me was the 
man who went to England last year for Consecration.) 
What hath been his success? Is any thing like to be 
done towards the regular continuance of our Succession, 
for I hope Messrs. White and Brethren have it not in 
contemplation to constitute their three orders de novo. 
Have you seen and conversed with Mr. Badger ? If so, 
what is his plan ? Where does he mean to fix, &c. I 
hear he was some time ago at Haverhill, but he did not 
call upon me. I- should be glad of your Answer as 
soon as may be convenient to you, as also of any thing 
else you may have to communicate to 

Yr. affectionate Brothr. and humble Serv't, 


Nearly a year after this characteristic letter, Mr. Bass 
resumes the subject under consideration in the following 
communication : 

NEWBURY PT. July 7th, 1785. 


I was hindered by certain untoward accidents from 
paying you a short visit in my way to and from Provi 
dence, which I intended to do, as for other reasons, so 
particularly to talk with you upon the approaching Con 
vention. Is it like to be universal ? Are we this way 
like to have any hand in it? If so in what manner? 
Is a Delegate, or more, to be sent from hence to represent 
our scatter'd Congregations ? Are all the vacant Churches 
among us to be sent to V Do you learn by any means 
what is like to be done with the Liturgy either in the 
way of addition or diminution ? I should like your 
answer to these questions, or any others which you may 
think I ought to have asked. As to the Liturgy, I have 
thought we might part with the Athanas'n Creed, one or 
two Lord's prayers, and leave the use of Sponsors to the 
option of those who have children to christen ; which, 
in my opinion, would be much better than to let it 
remain a Law of the Ch'h and at the same time un 
observed by the greater part of her Members, as I am 
told, is, and has been the case in the Southern Colonies 


and in Connecticut!. Proper prayers must be substituted 
for the American Governm't in the room of those for the 
King and Royal Family. "We ought to have a code of 
Ch'h-laws or Canons, plain and simple. Some power 
should be given to the Bishop or Bishops, but our Der 
nier resort must be in a general Council which should be 
supream and have the Power of censuring or depriving 
Bishops as there may be occasion. Such are some of the 
thoughts that have occurr'd to me upon this Subject. 
But tho' we have a happy opportunity of making our 
Liturgy appear in some points to greater advantage, yet 
for my part I had much rather remain as we are than 
break into Parties, or run into a thousand little schisms 
to the destruction of all harmony and uniformity, as I 
cannot help fearing, is too likely to be the case if once 
we begin to alter, or to make innovations. The Com 
munication of your Sentim'ts upon the Subject would be 
very agreeable to 

Yr affectionate Bror. and very hum'le Serv't, 


The dread of innovations so sensibly felt by the 
worthy missionary at Newburyport was not experienced 
by his brethren at the South. A little later under date 
of August 16th, 1785 the Rev. Charles Henry Wharton, 
of New Castle, Delaware, to whom reference has already 
been made, addressed a letterQ upon the same subject to 
Mr. Parker, from which we make the following extract : 


I think the simplyfying of the Liturgy should be 
among the first objects of the Convention. Whatever 
was left with a view of reconciling parties at the period 
of the Reformation, or retained as suitable to Cathedral 
Service may safely be omitted by the American Church. 
Perhaps such an opportunity never occurred since the 
days of the Apostles of settling a rational, unexception 
able mode of worship. God grant we may improve it 
with unanimity and wisdom." 

1 From the collection of the Editor. 


A few days prior to the date of this communication, 
this gentleman had written to the Rev. Dr. White to the 
same effect, and very much in the same words : 

" I have been thinking of drawing up a few remarks 
upon the Liturgy but as this will probably be done by 
much abler hands, believe I shall drop it. It is clear 
that every one ought to reflect thoroughly on the object 
of the Convention, which I am convinced will have the 
best opportunity of perfecting a Christian scheme of 
worship that has ever presented itself since the days of 
the Apostles." 

Resuming the same subject in a subsequent communi 
cation early the following month, he adds : 

" If no alterations in the Liturgy are to be made, but 
such as the revolution requires, there is little need to 
think much upon the Subject, unless perhaps omissions 
be not deemed alterations. My decided opinion is that 
our prayers are too numerous, as well as the repetitions. 
I shall draw up a motion on this head, which I mean to 
make at the Convention, if you should approve of it." 

Taking these extracts, which might be almost indefi 
nitely increased, in connection with the action of the 
Virginia Convention, which had openly advocated a 
review of the Liturgy, subject, however, to the subsequent 
confirmation of their own body, and the measures of the 
Maryland Convention, determining by special enactment 
the proper authority for "framing, approving of, or con 
firming such Alterations or Reforms in the Church 
Service, Liturgy, or Points of Doctrine, as may be after 
wards found necessary or expedient by the Church, or 
of the United States in General Conventions,'^ 1 ) we 
are led to conclude that there was a general disposition 
prior to the time of the meeting of the Convention in 

1 Vide the "Additional Constitutions" appended to the "Address" 
printed above. 


Philadelphia, in 1785, to proceed to a thorough review 
of the Liturgy and Offices of the Church. 

But little appears on the pages of the Journal from 
which we may learn either the reasons for the changes 
proposed by the Committee, or the reception they met 
with from the members of the Convention. A more 
guarded and less communicative record could hardly 
be found. Even the Alterations agreed upon after debate 
and revision were reserved until they should appear in 
the Prayer Book itself, as proposed ; and, owing to delays 
which are noticed in the correspondence we subjoin, they 
were not made public until the following Spring. For 
the purpose of throwing additional light upon this critical 
epoch of our ecclesiastical history, we give below the Al 
terations which were agreed upon by the Convention, as 
they appear in the Appendix to Bp. "White's Memoirs, 
and subjoin from the original manuscripts in the posses 
sion of the General Convention the whole correspondence 
of the Committee of Revision so far as it has been pre 
served. Nothing we could ofier in the way of elucidation 
or illustration could exceed these familiar and often care 
lessly written communications, prepared with no idea of 
preservation even, and much less with a view to publica 
tion. It was only as the result of an after thought on 
the part of Dr. Smith that they were preserved in their 
original state ; and having passed subsequently into the 
hands of Bp. White, they are here printed for the first 
time, as affording historical and liturgical information, 
the most interesting and important. An examination of 
the original letters would fully warrant all the playful re 
criminations with reference to haste and illegibility which 
we find in the postscripts of these communications ; and it 
is but just to add that in a number of cases portions have 
been wholly defaced by time or accident. As they are 
with no attempt at correction or improvement they are 
oflered, with the confident assurance that their perusal will 


amply repay the student for the time and trouble their 
contractions and involutions may cost him : 

Alterations agreed on and confirmed in Convention, for 
rendering the Liturgy conformable to the principles of 
the American Revolution, and the constitutions of the 
several states. 

1st. That in the suffrages after the Creed, instead of 
Lord, save the king, be said Lord, bless and preserve these 
United States. 

2nd. That the prayer for the Royal family, in the morn 
ing and evening service, be omitted. 

3rd. That in the Litany the 15th, 16th, 17th, and 
18th. petitions be omitted, and that instead of the 20th 
and 21st petitions, be substituted the following That it 
may please Thee to endue the Congress of these United States, 
and all others in authority, legislative, executive, and judicial, 
with grace, wisdom and understanding, to execute justice and to 
maintain truth. 

4th. That when the Litany is not said, the prayer for 
the high court of Parliament be thus altered "Most 
gracious God, we humbly beseech thee, as for these United 
States in general, so especially for their delegates in Congress, 
that thou wouldest be pleased to direct and prosper all their 
consultations to the advancement of thy glory, the good of thy 
Church, the safety, honour and welfare of thy people, that all 
things may be so ordered and settled by their endeavors upon 
the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth 
and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for 
all generations," &c. to the end: and the prayer for the 
king's majesty, altered as follows: viz. Lord, Our 
heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, 
who dost from thy Throne, behold all the Dwellers upon Earth; 
we most heartily beseech thee, with thy Favour to behold all in 
Authority, legislative, executive and judicial in these United 
States ; and so replenish them with the Grace of thy holy Spirit, 
that they may alway incline to thy will and walk in thy way. 
Endue them plenteously with heavenly Gifts, grant them in 
Health and Wealth long to live and, that after this Life, they 
may attain everlasting Joy and Felicity, through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. Amen. 

5th. That the 1st. Collect for the King in the Com- 


munion Service be omitted ; and that the second be altered 
as follows instead of " the hearts of Kings are in thy rule 
and governance," be said "That the hearts of all Rulers are 
in thy governance, &c; and instead of the words "heart 
of George thy servant, insert, so to direct the Rulers of these 
states, that in all their thoughts, <fc." changing the singular 
pronouns to the plural. (1) 

7th. That in the answer in the Catechism to the ques 
tion "What is thy duty towards thy neighbour?" for "to 
honour and obey the king," be substituted " to honour and 
obey my civil rulers, to submit myself, $c." 

8th. That instead of the observation of the 5th of No 
vember, the 30th of January, the 29th of May, and the 
25th of October, the following service be used on the 4th 
of July, being the Anniversary of Independence. 

9th. That in the Forms of Prayer to be used at Sea, in 
the Prayer " eternal God, c" instead of these Words 
" unto our most gracious Sovereign Lord King George and his 
Kingdoms," be inserted the Words " to the United States 
of America" and that instead of the Word "Island" be 
inserted the Word " Country ;" and in the collect " 
Almighty Crod, the Sovereign Commander," be omitted the 
Words " the Honour of our Sovereign" and the Worda 
"the honour of our Country" inserted. 

Service for the 4th of July. 
With the sentences before Morning and Evening Prayer. 

The Lord hath been mindful of us, and he shall bless 
us, he shall bless them that fear him, both small and 
great. that men would therefore praise the Lord, for 
his goodness, and declare the wonders that he doeth for 
the children of men. 

Hymn, instead of the Venite. 

My song shall be alway of the loving kindness of the 
Lord : with my mouth will I ever be showing forth his 
truth from one generation to another. Psal. 89. 1. 

The merciful and gracious Lord hath so done his 
marvellous works: that they ought to be had in remem 
brance. Psal. 111. 4. 

(1) No sixth paragraph appears In the MS. nor In Bp. White's printed copy of these' 
Alterations appended to his "Memoirs," pp. 362-377. 


Who can express the noble acts of the Lord : or show 
ibrth all his praise. Psal. 106. 2. 

The works of the Lord are great : sought out of all 
them that have pleasure therein. Psal. 111. 2. 

For he will not alway be chiding : neither keepeth he 
his anger for ever. Psal. 103. 9. 

He hath not dealt with us after our sins : nor rewarded 
us according to our wickedness. Verse 10. 

For look how high the heaven is in comparison of the 
earth : so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 
Verse 11. 

Yea, like as a father pitieth his own children : even 
BO is the Lord merciful unto them that fear him. Verse 11. 

Thou, O God, hast proved us : thou also hast tried us, 
like as silver is tried. Psal. 66. 9. 

Thou didst remember us in our low estate, and redeem 
us from our enemies: for thy mercy eudureth for ever. 
Psal. 136. 23, 24. 

Proper Psalms, 118, except, v. 10, 11, 12, 13, 22, 23, to 
conclude with v. 24. 

1. Lesson Deut. 8. 2. Lesson Thess. 5. v. 12, 23 both 

Collect for the day. 

Almighty God, who hast in all ages showed forth thy 
power and mercy in the wonderful preservation of thy 
church, and in the protection of every nation and people 
professing thy holy and eternal truth, and putting their 
sure trust inthee; we yield thee our unfeigned thanks 
and praise for all thy public mercies, and more especially 
for that signal and wonderful manifestation of thy provi 
dence which we commemorate this day ; wherefore not 
unto us, Lord, not unto us, but unto thy Name be 
ascribed all honour and glory, in all churches of the Saints, 
from generation to generation, through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. Amen. 

A Thanksgiving for the day, to be said after the General 

God, whose Name is excellent in all the earth, and 
thy glory above the heavens ; who as on this day didst 
inspire and direct the hearts of our delegates in Congress, 
to lay the perpetual foundations of peace, liberty, and 


safety ; we bless and adore thy glorious Majesty, for this 
thy loving kindness and providence. And we humbly 
pray that the devout sense of this signal mercy may renew 
and increase in us a spirit of love and thankfulness to thee 
its only Author, a spirit of peaceable submission to the 
laws and government of our country, and a spirit of fer 
vent zeal for our holy religion, which thou hast preserved 
and -secured to us and our posterity. May we improve 
these inestimable blessings for the advancement of reli 
gion, liberty, and science throughout this land, till the 
wilderness and solitary place be made glad through us, 
and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose. This 
we beg through the merits of Jesus Christ our Saviour. 
Amen.( l ) 

Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer and Ad 
ministration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and 
Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the 
Church of England, proposed and recommended to the 
Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of 

The Order for Morning and Evening service, Daily 
throughout the Year. 

1st. The following Sentences of Scripture, are ordered 
to be prefixed to the usual Sentences, viz. 

The Lord is in his Holy Temple ; let all the Earth keep 
Silence before Him. Hab. ii. 20. 

From the Rising of the Sun even unto the going down 
of the Same, my Name shall be great among the Gentiles ; 
and in every Place Incense shall be offered unto my Name, 
and a pure Offering : for my Name shall be great among 
the Heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts. Mai. i. 11. 

[Let the words of my Mouth, and the meditation of my 
Heart, be alway acceptable in thy sight, Lord, my 
Strength and my Redeemer. Psal. xix. 14.] 

2d. That the Rubric preceding the Absolution, be altered 
thus "A declaration to be made by the Minister alone, stand 
ing, concerning the forgiveness of sins." 

3d. That in the Lord's prayer, the word " who" be sub- 

1 The Epistle (Philip, iv. 4-8.) and the Gospel (S. John viii., 51-36), were added by the 
committee, agreeably to an authority which they conceived to be vested in them. They 
also added three introductory sentences (Dent, xxxiii. 27, 28, 29,) and amplified the title of 
this service to the following : A Vorm of Prayer and Thanksgiving to Almighty God, for 
the inestimable Blessing of Religious and Civil Liberty ; to be used yearly ou the Fourth 
Day of July, unless it happens to be on Sunday, and then on the day following. 

(2) This sentence, though included in the "Alterations " appended to Bp. White's Me 
moirs, does not appear in the Ms., nor is it found in the " Proposed Book." 


stituted in lieu of "which;" and that "those who trespass" 
stand instead of "them that trespass." 

4. That the "Gloria Patri" be omitted after the "Ocome 
let us sing, c." and in eveVy other place, where, by the 
present Rubric it is ordered to be inserted, to "the end of 
the" reading psalms; when, shall be said or sung "Gloria 
Patri, c." or, "Glory be to God on high, and in earth peace 
and good will towards men, c" at the discretion of the 

5th. That in the " Te Deum" instead of "honourable" it 
be "adorable, true, and only son;" and instead of "didst not 
abhor the Virgin's womb," "didst humble thyself to be born of 
a pure Virgin." 

6th. That until a proper selection of Psalms be made, 
each Minister be allowed to use such as he may chuse. 

7th. That the same liberty be allowed, respecting the 

8th. That the article in " the Apostles creed" "He de 
scended into hell" be omitted. 

9th. That the Athanasian and the Nicene creeds be 
entirely omitted. 

10th. That after the response " and with thy spirit," all 
be omitted to the words "0 Lord show thy mercy upon us;" 
which the Minister shall pronounce, still kneeling. 

llth. That in the suffrage "make thy chosen people joy 
ful," the word "chosen" be omitted; and also the following 
suffrages, to "0 God, make clean our hearts within us." 

12th. That the Rubric after these words "and take not 
thy Holy Spirit from us," be omitted. Then the two collects 
to be said : in the collect for grace, the words " be ordered," 
to be omitted ; and the word " be" inserted, instead of "to 
do alway that is." 

13th. In the collect "for the Clergy and People," read 
"Almighty and everlasting God, send down upon all Bishops 
and other Pastors, and the Congregations committed, $c." to 
the end. 

15. That the Lord's prayer after the Litany, and the 
subsequent Rubric be omitted. 

16th. That the short Litany be read as follows "Son of 

1 Here is an erasure from the manuscript: the article being found 
a repetition of part of the 4th. Vide White's Memoirs, p. 367, where 
" 13th" is a misprint for " 4th." 


God, ice beseech thee to hear us. Son of God, we beseech thee 
to hear us. Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the 
world, Grant us thy peace. Christ, hear us. Lord, have 
mercy upon us and deal not with us according to our sins, 
neither reward us according to our iniquities." After which, 
omit the words "Let us pray." 

17th. That the Gloria Patri, after Lord arise, $c. be 
omitted; as also "Let us pray," after "we put our trust in 

18th. That in the following prayer, instead of " right 
eously have deserved," it be "justly have deserved." 

19th. That in the 1st. warning for the Communion, the 
word "damnation," following these words "increase your, 
c." be read "condemnation;" and the two paragraphs 
after these words " or else come not to that holy table, be 
omitted ; and the following one be read, and if there be any 
of you, who by these means, cannot quiet their conscience, $c. 
The words "learned and discreet," epithets given to the 
ministers, to be also omitted. 

20th. In the exhortation to the communion, let it run 
thus "For as the benefit is great, c. to drink his blood, so is 
the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily. Judge 
therefore yourselves, $c." 

21st. That in the rubric preceding the absolution, 
instead of "pronounce this absolution," it be "Then shall 
the minister stand up, and turning to the people, say, gc" 

22d. That in the baptism of infants, parents may be 
admitted as sponsors. 

23d. That the minister, in speaking to the Sponsors, 
after these words "vouchsafe to release him," say "release 
him from sin." In the second prayer, instead of " remission 
of his sins," read " remission of sin." 

24th. That in the questions addressed to the sponsors, 
and the answers, instead of the present Form, it be as 
follows " the sinful desires of the flesh." 

25th. "Dost thou believe the articles of the Christian faith, 
as contained in the Apostles' creed, and wilt thou endeavour to 
have this child instructed accordingly ?" Answer: I do believe 
them, and, by God's help, will endeavour so to do." 

Wilt thou endeavour to have him brought up in the fear of 
God, and to obey God's holy will and commandments ? Answer 
"I will, by God's assistance." 

26th. That the sign of the cross may be omitted, if 


particularly desired by the Sponsors or Parents, and the 
prayer to be thus altered (by the direction of a short 
rubric) " We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's 
flock; and pray that hereafter he may never be ashamed, c." 
to the end. 

27th. That the address "seeing now dearly beloved, c." 
be omitted. 

28th. That the prayer after the Lord's prayer, be thus 
changed "We yield thee hearty thanks, $c." to "receive 
this Infant as thine own child by baptism, and to incorporate 
him, c." 

29th. That in the following exhortation, the words 
" to renounce the devil and all his works," and in the charge 
to the Sponsors, the words ''vulgar tongue" be omitted. 

30th. That the forms of private baptism and of confirm 
ation, be made conformable to these alterations. 

31st. That in the exhortation before matrimony, all 
between these words "holy matrimony," and "therefore if 
any man, c." be omitted. 

32d. That the words "I plight thee my troth" be omitted 
in both places; and also the words "with my body I thee 
worship ;" and also "pledged their troth either to other" 

33d. That all after the blessing be omitted. 

34th. In the burial service, instead of the two Psalms, 
take the following verses of both viz. Ps. 39, Verses 6 
7, 8, 9, 12, 13, and Psalm 90, to v. 13. In the rubric, the 
words "unbaptized or" to be omitted. 

For the Declaration and form of interment, beginning 
"Forasmuch as, &c." insert the following viz. "For 
asmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God, in his wise Provi 
dence, to take out of this world the soul of our deceased brother 
(sister] lying now before us ; We therefore commit his (her) 
body to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; 
(thus at sea to the deep to be turned into corruption) looking 
for the general resurrection in the last day, and the life of the 
world to com.e, thro' our Lord Jesus Christ; at ivhose second 
coming in glorious Majesty, to judge the world, the earth and 
the sea shall give up their dead ; and the corruptible bodies of 
those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto 
his own glorious body, according to the mighty working, where 
by he is able to subdue all things unto Hiinself. 

In the sentence "I heard a voice, &c." insert "who" for 
" which." 


The prayer following the Lord's prayer to be omitted. 
In the next collect, leave out the words " as our hope is, 
this our brother doth" For " them that," insert " those who" 

35th. In the visitation of the sick, instead of the abso 
lution as it now stands, insert the declaration of forgive 
ness which is appointed for the communion service; or, 
either of the collects, which are taken from the Commina- 
tion office, and appropriated to Ash "Wednesday, may be 

In the Psalm, omit the 3d, 6th, 8th, 9th, and llth verses.. 
In the Commendatory prayer, for " miserable and naughty" 
say "vain and miserable." Strike out the word "purged." 

In the prayer "for persons troubled in mind" omit all 
that stands between the words "afflicted servant" and "his 
soul is full," &c. and instead thereof say "afflicted servant, 
whose soul is full of trouble," and strike out the particle 
"but," and proceed, "0 merciful God," &c. 

36th. A form of Prayer and visitation of Prisoners for 
notorious crimes, and especially persons under sentence 
of death, being much wanted, the form entitled "Prayers 
for persons under sentence of death, agreed upon in a 
Synod of the archbishops and bishops, and the rest of the 
clergy of Ireland, at Dublin, in the year 1711," as it now 
stands in the book of Common Prayer of the church of 
Ireland, is agreed upon, and ordered to be adopted, with 
the following alterations, viz : 

For the absolution, take the same declaration of for 
giveness, or either of the collects above directed for the 
visitation of the sick. The short collect '*# Saviour of the 
world," &c. to be left out; and for the word "frailness," 
say "frailty." 

37th. In the Catechism, besides the alteration respecting 
the civil Powers, alter as follows: viz. "What is your name? 
N. M. When did you receive this name ? I received it 
in Baptism, whereby I became a member of the Christian 
church. What was promised for you in Baptism ? That I 
should be instructed to believe the Christian faith, as con 
tained in the Apostle's Creed, and to obey God's holy will, 
and keep his commandments. 

Dost thou think thou art bound to believe all the articles of 
the Christian faith, as contained in this creed, and to obey 
God's holy will and keep his commandments?" "Yes 
verily," &c. 


Instead of the words " verily, and indeed taken," say 
" spiritually taken." 

Answer to Question "How many sacraments?" "7\oo, 
Baptism and the Lord's Supper." 

38th. Instead of a particular Service for the churching of 
women, and psalms, the following special prayer is to be 
introduced, after the General Thanksgiving ; viz. This to 
be said, when any woman desires to return thanks, &c. 
" Almighty God, we give thee most humble and hearty 
thanks, for that thou hast been graciously pleased to pre 
serve this woman, thy servant, through the great pains 
and perils of childbirth. Incline her, we beseech thee, to 
show forth her thankfulness, for this thy great mercy, not 
only with her lips, but by a holy and virtuous life. Be 
pleased, God, so to establish her health, that she may 
lead the remainder of her days to thy honour and glory, 
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen." 

39. The Commination office for Ash Wednesday to be 
discontinued, and therefore the three collects, the first 
beginning "0 Lord, we beseech thee," 2d, "Omost mighty 
God," 3d, "Turn us, Good Lord," shall be continued 
among the occasional prayers ; and used*after the collect 
on Ash Wednesday, and on such other occasions as the 
minister shall think fit. 

Articles of Religion. 
1. Of Faith in the Holy Trinity. 

There is but one living, true, and eternal God, the 
Father Almighty ; without body, parts or passions ; of 
infinite power, wisdom and goodness; the maker and 
preserver of all things both visible and invisible : and 
one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, begotten of the Father 
before all worlds, very and true God ; who came down 
from heaven, took man's nature in the womb of the 
Blessed Virgin of her substance, and was God and man 
in one person, whereof is one Christ ; who truly suffered, 
was crucified, dead and buried, to reconcile his Father to 
us, and, to be a sacrifice for the sins of all men; lie rose 
again from death, ascended into heaven, and there sitteth 
until he shall return to judge the world at the last day: 
and one Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, of the same 
divine nature with the Father and the Sou. 


2. Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation. 

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salva 
tion : so that whatsoever is not read therein : nor may be 
proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it 
should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought 
requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the 
Holy Scriptures we do understand the canonical books 
of the Old and New Testament. 

Of the names and numbers of the canonical Books. 

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The 1st Book of Samuel, The 2d 
Book of Samuel, The 1st Book of Kings, The 2d book of 
Kings, The 1st Book of Chronicles, The 2d Book of Chron 
icles, The 1st Book of Esdras, The 2d Book of Esdras, The 
Book of Hester, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The 
Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or Preacher, Cantica or Songs of 
Solomon, Four Prophets the greater, Twelve Prophets the 

And the other books the Church doth read for example 
of life, and instruction of manners ; but yet doth it not 
apply them to establish any doctrine ; such are these fol 

The 3d Book of Esdras, The 4th Book of Esdras, The 
Book of Tobias, The Book of Judith, The rest of the 
Book of Hester, The Book of Wisdom, Jesus tho Son of 
Sirach, Baruch the Prophet, The Song of the three Chil 
dren, The Story of Susanna, Of Bell and the Dragon, The 
Prayer of Manasses, The 1st Book of Maccabees, The 2d 
Book of Maccabees. 

All the books of the New Testament, as they are com 
monly received, we do receive and account them canonical. 

3. Of the Old and New Testament. 

There is a perfect harmony and agreement between 
the Old Testament and the New ; for in both, everlasting 
life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only 
mediator between God and man ; being both God and 
man : and altho' the law given by Moses, as to ceremonies 
and the civil precepts of it, doth not bind Christians : yet 
all such are obliged to observe the moral commandments 
which he delivered. 


4. Of Greeds. 

The creed, commonly called the Apostles' creed, ought 
to be received and believed: because it maybe proved 
by the Holy Scripture. 

5. Of Original Sin. 

By the fall of Adam, the nature of man is become so 
corrupt, as to be greatly depraved, having departed from, 
its primitive innocence, and that original righteousness 
in which it was at first created by God. For we are now 
so naturally inclined to do evil that the flesh is continually 
striving to act contrary to the Spirit of God, which cor 
rupt inclination still remains even in the regenerate. 
But tho' there is no man living who sinneth not ; yet we 
must use our sincere endeavors to keep the whole law of 
God, so far as we possibly can. 

6. Of Free- Will. 

The Condition of man after the fall of Adam, is such 
that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own 
natural strength and good works to faith and calling 
upon God : Wherefore we have no power to do good 
works, pleasing and acceptable to God, without the 
grace of God by Christ giving us a good will, and 
working with us, when we have that good will. 

7. Of the Justification of Man. 

We are accounted righteous before God only for the 
merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and 
not for our own works, or deservings. Wherefore that 
we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doc 
trine, and very full of comfort. 

8. Of Good Works. 

Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of Faith 
and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, 
and endure the severity of God's judgment; yet are they 
pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring 
out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that 


by them a lively faith may be as evidently known, as a 
Tree discerned by the Fruit. 

9. Of Christ alone without Sin. 

Christ, by taking human nature on him, was made like 
unto us in all things, sin only excepted. He was a lamb 
without spot, and by the sacrifice of himself once offered, 
made atonement and propitiation for the sins of the world ; 
and sin was not in him. But all mankind besides, tho' 
baptized and born again in Christ, do often d in many 
things. For if we say we have no sin, we deceive our 
selves, and the truth is not in us. 

10. . Of Sin after Baptism. 

They who fall into sin after baptism may be renewed 
by repentance : for tho' after we have received God's 
grace, we may depart from it by falling into sin ; yet, 
thro' the assistance of his holy spirit, we may by re 
pentance and the amendment of our lives, be restored 
again to his favour. God will not deny repentance of 
sins to those who truly repent, and do that which is law 
ful and right ; but all such thro' his mercy in Christ Jesus, 
shall save their souls alive. 

11. Of Predestination. 

Predestination to Life, with respect to every man's 
salvation, is the everlasting purpose of God, secret to us: 
and the right knowledge of what is revealed concerning 
it, is full of comfort to such truly religious Christians, as 
feel in themselves the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the 
works of their flesh and /their earthly affections, and 
raising their minds to heavenly things. But we must 
receive God's promises as they be generally declared in 
Holy Scripture, and do his will, as therein is expressly 
directed; for without Holiness of Life no man shall be 

12. Of Obtaining Eternal Salvation only by the Name of 


They are to be accounted presumptuous, who say, that 
every man shall be saved by the Law or Sect which he 


professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life accord 
ing to that law, and the light of nature. For Holy Scrip 
ture doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus Christ, 
whereby men must be saved. 

13. Of the Church and its Authority. 

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faith 
ful men, wherein the pure word of God is preached, and 
the sacraments are duly administered, according to Christ's 
ordinance in all things necessary and requisite : And every 
Church hath power to ordain, change and abolish rites 
and ceremonies, for the more decent order and good 
government thereof, so that all things be done to edify 
ing. But it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any 
thing contrary to God's word; nor so to expound the 
Scripture, as to make one part seem repugnant to another ; 
nor to decree or enforce any thing to be believed as neces 
sary to salvation, that is contrary to God's holy word. 
General Councils and Churches, are liable to err, and 
have erred, even in matters of Faith and Doctrine, as 
well as in their ceremonies. 

14. Of Ministering in the Congregation. 

It is not lawful for any man to take upon him the office 
of public preaching, or ministering the Sacraments in the 
Congregation, before he be lawfully called, and sent to 
execute the same. And those we ought to judge lawfully 
called and sent, who are chosen and called to this work 
by men who have public authority given unto them in 
the congregation, to call and send Ministers into the 
Lord's vineyard. 

15. Of the Sacraments. 

Sacraments ordained of Christ, be not only badges or 
tokens of Christian men's profession : but rather they be 
certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of Grace, and 
God's good will towards us, by the which he doth work 
invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also 
strengthen and confirm our Faith in him. 

There are Two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord 
in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of 
the Lord. 


16. Of Baptism. 

Baptism is not only a Sign of profession and mark of 
difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from 
others that be not Christened ; but it is also a sign of re 
generation or new Birth, whereby as by an Instrument, 
they that receive Baptism rightly, are grafted into the 
Church ; the promises of the forgiveness of sin, and of 
our Adoption to be the Sons of God, by the Holy Ghost, 
are visibly sign'd and sealed; Faith is confirm'd, and 
Grace increas'd by virtue of prayer unto God. The Bap 
tism of young Children is in any wise to be retained in 
the Church, as most agreeable with the Institution of 

17. Of the Lord's Supper. 

The Supper of the Lord is not only a Sign of the Love 
that Christians ought to have among themselves one to 
another; but rather is a Sacrament of our redemption by 
Christ's death : Insomuch that to such as rightly, worthily 
and with faith receive the same, the Bread which we break, 
is a partaking of the Body of Christ : and likewise the 
Cup of Blessing, is a partaking of the Blood of Christ. 

Transubstantiation (or the change of the substance of 
Bread and Wine) in the Supper of the Lord cannot be 
proved by Holy Writ; but is repugnant to the plain 
words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a Sacra 
ment, and hath given occasion to many superstitions. 

The Body of Christ is given, taken and eaten in the 
Supper of the Lord only after an heavenly and spiritual 
manner. And the mean whereby the Body of Christ is 
received and eaten in the Supper is Faith. 

18. Of the one Oblation of Christ upon the Cross. 

The offering of Christ once made, is that perfect re 
demption, propitiation and satisfaction for all the sins of 
the whole world, both original and actual ; and there is 
none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. 

19. Of Bishops and Ministers. 

The Book of Consecration of Bishops and Ordering of 
Priests and Deacons ; excepting such part as requires any 


oaths or subscriptions inconsistent with the American 
Revolution, is to be adopted as containing all things ne 
cessary to such consecration and ordering. 

20. Of a Christian Man's Oath. 

The Christian Religion doth not prohibit any man from 
taking an oath, when required by the Magistrate in testi 
mony of Truth ; But all vain and rash swearing is for 
bidden by the Holy Scriptures^ 1 ) 

The original manuscripts of the preceding "Altera 
tions, &c." are still preserved among the manuscripts in 
the possession of the General Convention. Immediately 
following these, and apparently omitted from Bp. AVhite's 
printed copy by inadvertence, is another sheet, con 

The Table of Holy Days. 

The following Days are to be kept Holy by this Ch'h. 

All the Sundays in the year in the Order enumerated 
in the Table of Proper Lessons with their respective 




Easter Day, Monday and Tuesday 

1 We have corrected the "Alterations," as given in the Appendix 
to Bp. White's Memoirs, from the original MSS. among the Conven 
tional documents. In the Articles, however, we have purposely laid 
aside tne printed copy as found in the " Memoirs," and also as pub- 
li-lu-d in the "Proposed Book," by which the "Articles" in the 
" Memoirs" seem to have been corrected, to furnish from the manu 
script itself the original changes of the Committee of the Conven 
tion, ere they were pruned and polished by the Committee of Revision 
who were appointed to prepare them for the press. , The comparison 
of the Articles as they are printed above, with those that appear in 
the " Proposed Book" and in Bp. White's Memoirs, will of itself alone 
prove the great liberties taken by Drs. Smith and White by virtue 
of their appointment " to make verbal and grammatical corrections." 
It is hardly a question whether, in view, of the restriction of the Con 
vention, "that nothing in form or substance be altered," (vide Jour. 
1785,) they did not greatly exceed their powers. 


Ascension Day 

"Whitsunday, Monday and Tuesday 

The following Days are to be observed as Days of 
Fasting Viz 

Good Friday and Ashwednesday 

The following Days are to be observed as Days of 
Thanksgiving Viz, The 4th of July in Commemoration 
of American independence, and the first Thursday in 
November as a Day of Gen'l Thanksgiving. 

With this presentation of the Alterations (1) which were 
comprised in the " Proposed Book," as it has always been 
called, the various allusions to the same in the following 
correspondence, to which we have already referred, can read 
ily be understood. Few persons have ever seen this remark 
able liturgical production, either in its American form or as 
reprinted in England ; and, without any discussion of the 
principles involved in its publication, the bibliographical 
fact may be stated, that a rarer book connected with Amer 
ican Church history can hardly be named. 


The first Proof Sheet will accompany this and I expect 
to send you another by Saturday's Post to Baltimore. 
I think we have fallen into an error, which Mr. Hall says 
we can easily correct, and our Brethren here join with 
me in wishing it corrected. It is ye making ye Litany a 
necessary Part of ye Morning Service. The Way I 
would propose to correct it is thus. In ye Rubric let it be 
" The Litany, c., to be used on Sundays and other Holidays, 
appointed to be observed by this Church." After the Prayer 
" We humbly beseech thee O Father &c", let there be 
this Rubric, " But when ye Litany is not used, the three fol 
lowing Prayers shall be said instead thereof," then insert ye 
Prayers for ye Congress, for other civil Rulers, and for all 
Conditions: then let there follow ye Gen: Thanksgiving, 

(1) A critical comparison of these "Alterations" with the original MSS., in the Ar 
chives of the (ieneral Convention will be found in the Author's Introductory Chapter to 
"Proctor's History of the Book of Common Prayer," Aew York, 1808, pp. x-xxxlx. 


St Chrys'm's P. and ye Benediction. To prevent Repe 
tition in ye Evening Service, insert after ye Prayer against 
ye Dangers of ye Night, ye following Rubric, "Then shall 
be said the Prayer for the Congress and ye other Prayers which 
follow it in the Morning Service to ye End thereof" 

There will be occasion for a Rubrick at ye Head of ye 
Collects, Gospels and Epistles, directing ye Use of ye 
Collects for each Sunday and Holiday until ye next Sun 
day or Holiday ; after ye Suffrages, at Morning P. when 
ye Communion Service is not said ; and always at Even- 
ing P. 

Quere. "Will it not be best to place ye two Invitations 
to ye Communion, at ye End of that Service? At 
present they make an awkward Break. 

Please to mention these matters to Dr. Wharton, to 
whom I desire my affectionate Remembrances. 


I am, your aff 'te humble Serv't 

Philad'a, Oct'r 19, 85. 


October, 1785. 

I am favored with yours of the 19th. enclosing the 
first Sheet of the Prayer Book and shall expect a second 
sheet at Baltimore on Tuesday with one printed Copy of 
Dr. Wharton's Sermon and mine by post ; and that 200 
Copies more of both will be forwarded pr Stage to the 
Care of Mr. Goddard, as I directed in my memorandum, 
left for you in the Hands of Dr. Andrews. 

On Wednesday last Dr. Wharton came to my House in 
Chester. Thursday being a storm, we sat down in the 
morning, and devoted the whole Day to those Parts of the 
Prayer Book, yet left to be prepared for the Press. 

1st. As to the Office of Thanksgiving for the Fruits of 
the Earth, we wish to change one of the Lessons, and 
also to make some additions to the Thanksgiving Prayer, 
which will give it a little more Animation ; by taking 
something from Prayers on the same Subject, which Dr 
Wharton thinks are to be found as well in the Roman 
Missal, as in the Works of Bp. Wilson of Sodor and 


Man both which he will consult on his Return to New 
castle, in sufficient Time for the Press. 

But our great Business on Thursday was to read over 
the Psalms, taking, as we went along, your very judicious 
Selection or rather Rejection of particular Psalms and 
Parts of Psalms. We propose rejecting some Parts more, 
which may have escaped your Notice, and retaining some 
few Passages which you have proposed to reject ; for by 
taking the Bible- Translation some of these Passages are 
truly beautiful; and therefore in going over the Work, 
we constantly compared the Bible-Translation with that 
of the Prayer Book, and find that out of both, sometimes 
using the one and sometimes the other, sometimes in 
whole Psalms, and sometimes in particular Verses, we 
shall greatly improve the Reading Psalms in general; 
but by our Plan there will not so many be retained upon 
the whole, as you have left standing. On my Return 
from Baltimore, I shall send you, or more probably bring 
to Philadelphia this Part of the Work; and then by 
counting up the whole Number of Yerses retained and 
dividing them by 30, we can average the Number of Verses 
(a few over or under as the Sense may require) which we 
shall have for daily Service. Out of the Reading Psalms 
to be retained in our Book, it will be easy to make a Selec 
tion of the best Metre Translations, of the best Psalms, 
to which there may be an addition of some of Watts' s best 
Psalms, and Hymns for the Festivals and other Occa 
sions, which may be got from sundry Authors I hope 
some may be offered by Members of our own Church in 
America, who are distinguished for their Poetical Tal 
ents, and not ashamed to exert them on the Lofty 
Themes of Religion. But I am wandering and have no 
Time to write what I wish on this particular Topic. 

Dr. Wharton left me on Friday, crossed over to An 
napolis, and by the good offices of Gov'r Paca and Mr. 
Chase, settled all his private Concerns with the In- 
tendant, and returned Time enough to preach for me in 
Chester this afternoon. He leaves me to morrow, but I 
expect a Day from Him on his Return from Talbot, when 
we shall take up the Calendar, in which I believe you 
have not left us much to do. 

I now proceed to answer your Letter, respecting the 
first Proof Sheet. 


I do not think it an Error, that the Litany is made a 
Part of the Morning Service. I think that Service would 
be very incompleat in the essential Parts of Prayer, and 
would lose much of its Beauty if left without the Litany. 
Altho' it is directed to be used every Morning, yet the 
Use of it is not made so necessary, but that, where a 
Clergyman is weak in Body, the weather severe, or for any 
other good Reason, it may not be omitted. 

But I submit to your Consideration, whether as you 
propose to alter the Rubric, viz, " The Litany to be used 
on Sundays and other Holidays" Wednesdays and Fri 
days, will be considered as Holidays. And surely in 
large Towns and Cities (of which America will have 
many in a Hundred Years more) the good old Custom 
of Week-Day Prayers will not be laid aside. But, with 
out the Litany, Wednesday and Friday Prayers, (there 
being no Sermon) would not draw many to Church. Let 
not our Abridgments be too great, at least till we see 
how what hath been done will be received. I think, 
then, there will be no Harm in leaving the Rubric before 
the Litany, as it now is; only striking out the word 
"every" and after the Prayer "We humbly beseech 
thee &c." you may add the Rubric which you propose, 
viz. "But when the Litany is not used, the three follow 
ing Prayers shall be said instead thereof" which (as the 
latter Rubric may be supposed to explain the former,) 
will at least imply a discretionary Power in the Minister to 
omit the Litany even in Morning Service, when in his 
Discretion he thinks it necessary. 

If the Place of the two Exhortations to the Com 
munion is to be altered, Dr. Wharton and myself are of 
opinion that they should not be placed at the End of the 
Communion Service (for it would appear very awkward 
to have an Exhortation to an Act of Worship, standing 
after the Act itself) but at the Beginning, viz. before the 
Prayer "Almighty God unto whom all Hearts be open" 
&c., with a Rubric separating them from the Communion 
Service, and directing that they be read when the 
Notice is give.n, viz., on the Sunday or some Holiday 
before the Communion. 

The Proof Sheet is returned. You will see the Cor 
rections proposed by Dr. W. and myself on the Margin ; 
and the Reasons will be obvious. Thus in the Litany 


" In all Time of our Tribulation :" a Semi-colon yet it is 
connected with " Good Lord deliver us" but at the End 
of the Sentence, after the Words "Day of Judgment" 
there is only a Comma, and so in all the preceding Sen 
tences, each of which should have a Semi-colon at the 
End of the Sentence, as well as in the previous Division 
of the different Members of the Sentence. 

After a Proof Sheet or two more, I would not wish to 
give you the Trouble of sending the Remainder to me, 
unless you have any Alteration to propose ; in which we 
must be very delicate, in Consideration of the great 
Trust committed to us. Dr. Wharton's best compl'ts. 
He sits by me while I subscribe myself, 
Yours, &c., 


P.S. As your Letter is a good deal Scrawled and hard 
to make out in some Places, you will excuse the Trouble 
this may cost in Perusing. 



I expect to send you by this Opportunity ye 2 first 
Proof Sheets. 

Lest you may have left Chester before ye Return of 
Wednesday Post, I must repeat ye Substance of my 
former Letter. 

We are all here of Opinion that ye Litany ought not 
to be a necessary Part of ye Morning Prayer. The Al 
teration, if you approve of it, may be made as follows. 
Let ye Rubric before ye Litany say "to be used on Sun 
days and other Holidays appointed by this Church" 
After ye Litan} 7 with its attendant Prayers, insert this 
Rubrick "And when ye Litany is not said ye three fol 
lowing Prayers shall be used instead thereof," setting 
down ye Prayers for ye Cong'ss; for ye other Rulers; and 
for all Conditions. Then set down ye gen'l Thanksgiving 
&c. In ye Evening Service, after ye Prayer for Protec 
tion during ye Mght, let there be a Reference to ye 
Morning P. for ye Residue. 

There is wanting a Rubrick at ye Head of ye Collects, 
Ep : and Gs., enjoining ye Use of ye proper Collect in ye 


Morn'g Prayer when used separate from ye Comm'n Ser 
vice, and always in ye Evening Prayer. 

Quere. Will not ye two Exhortations in ye Commu 
nion Service stand better either in ye Beginning or the 
End ? At present they make an awkward Break. 

Quere, ye Propriety of introducing a Rubric before ye 
Prayer for our Rulers in ye Communion Service, specify 
ing* that ye same is to be said, when that Service is not 
used with ye Morning Prayer. The Clergy here wish for 
it ; and many of our Hearers wish that we had been as 
tender of Repetition here, as in ye Case of ye Lord's 

I hope to hear from you by Return of ye Post and am 
Yours &c. 


PHILAD'A, Oct'r 21, 85. 

P.S. I have just now rec'd a Letter from Dr. Murray; 
in which he still hinges on ye Want of ye Concurrence 
of ye Laity as ye Cause of Dr. Seabury's Failure. 

I observe that ye 2d Proof Sheet has a Rubrick ex 
pressing that ye Prayer for Congress &c., shall be said in 
ye Evening and at other Times when ye Litany is not 
said ; this removes my Objection in Part, but ye 2 Ru 
brics are contradictory. I think you will prefer ye Ar 
rangement I have proposed. 

I hope you have attended to ye Psalms and Lessons. 
I recollect in ye case of ye Venite, we agreed to strike 
out ye Latin ; accordingly I have done it in ye Proof 
Sheet to ye other latin Introductions. For ye same Rea 
son (i.e. it's being agreed on in ye case of ye Venite) I 
have erased ye unnecessary Provisions against Repe 

Mr Hall keeps ye 2d Proof Sheet so long on it's 2d 
coming from ye Press, that I have no Time to review it; 
and indeed I have reviewed ye other but imperfectly. I 
hope your Accuracy will render another Reading un 


Similar Proof Sheets to ye enclosed were to have been 
sent by Saturday's Post; but owing to ye Press, they 


were a few Minutes too late, and are now in ye Office 
with my Letter. I determined to take ye Chance of ye 
Stage, but knowing ye Uncertainty as to ye Delivery of 
Letters, shall let mine remain with ye Sheets in ye Post 

Yours &c. 

PHILAD'A, Oct'r 23, '85. 

P.S. I have altered the Arrangement in this Proof Sheet 
according to ye Plan proposed in my Letter merely for 
your Inspection. 



Owing to ye Press, I was a few Minutes too late for ye 
last Post. I sent Proof Sheets by ye Waggon, which I 
consider as an uncertain Mode of Conveyance. 

In ye Letter which encloses ye Proof Sheets by this 
Opp'y, instead of 3 Prayers read 4; I wrote from Memory 
and forgot that for ye Clergy. 

I enclose you Extracts from ye Constitution ; to prevent 
Errors of ye Transcriber you will compare it with ye 
Originals ; I would do it now, but am in great Haste. 

Please to express at ye Head of ye Letter to ye Bps. 
that ye Original goes by ye Harmony, Cap'n Willet, from 


* * * * * 

I wish my aff 'te Respects to such of our Brethren at ye 
Convention as I have ye Pleasure of being acquainted 

I am 

Yours &c. 

PHILADA, Oct'r 25, '85. W. WHITE. 



October 28, 1785. 

I gave you my Thoughts so fully in my Letter from 
Chester last Post concerning the alteration of Rubric 
before the Litany, that I need not add any Thing further 


on that Head. As the Number of Country Congregations 
in America exceed those in Towns I may say fifty to one, 
and cannot have the Litany but as part of the Morning Ser 
vice, (and which with the Abridgments now proposed, would 
appear very short and incompleat without the Litany) 
and as for these Reasons, the Convention agreed that the 
Litany should be printed in, and as a Part of, the Morning 
Service, it would not be proper for us to make so material 
an Alteration as to put/<wr Prayers just after the Litany, 
as a Substitute for the same, and which will be considered 
as an Invitation to indolent or Lukewarm Readers of Pray 
ers to cut the People generally out of their general Sup 
plication. Of these Sentiments are the Convention here, 
whom I consulted on this Point, but without intimating 
to them that any such Change was proposed by us of the 
Committee, but that it had been mentioned by some as a 
Matter worthy of Consideration at some future General 

The four Prayers stand very properly where they now 
stand as an essential Part of the Evening Service at all 
Times, and would not stand so properly in the Morning 
Service, where they are only proposed as a Conditional Part; 
tliat is when the Litany is not used, and when that Con 
dition takes Place it is very easy to turn forward one Leaf 
to read them. Besides this the Evening Service would 
appear quite Naked without them. But I need not have 
written half so much to you on this Subject, only from a 
Desire that we should by a candid Exchange of Senti 
ments go through the great work committed to us, with 
the same perfect agreement with which it hath hitherto 
been conducted; and I know you will make no Change 
from what was done in Convention ; unless in the Exercise 
of the Discretionary Power given us, we can all, as a 
Committee, agree upon the Expediency of such Change. 

As I said in my former Letter, then, Let the Word 
"Every" be struck out of the Rubrick before the Litany, 
and let the Rest of the Rubric stand as it is printed in the 
enclosed Proof; and let the four Prayers and indeed the 
whole Evening Service stand also just as they are in the 
same enclosed Proof; with their several Rubrics as they 
are, and there will be sufficient Latitude for any Minister 
when necessary to omit the Litany, and supply its Place 
from the Ecening Service; which last Service will look 


much better in this form. You will be pleased to attend 
to such Corrections as I have made and particularly in 
the Prayer for " all Sorts and Conditions of Men. The 
words " Good Estate of the Catholic Church" have been 
objected to by our Convention here 1st. because "good 
Estate" may be considered in a worldly Sense, and if 
taken in any other is but an awkward or antiquated Ex 
pression and 2dly the Word "Catholic" although in 
telligible enough to many, yet it is not approved of by 
many others, on account of the vulgar Application of it 
to one particular Church. Now as this Prayer for "all 
Sorts and Conditions" is a general Prayer, never to be 
used when the Litany is used, why may not the Church 
be prayed for in the same words here as in the Litany 
viz. "thy holy Church universal" ? And then the Prayer 
will be "more especially we pray for thy holy Church 
Universal, that it may be guided" &c. Or if you think 
it will run better " more especially we pray that thy 
holy Church Universal may be so guided" &c. 

One or the other of these Corrections is desired by our 
Convention, and I have given you their Reasons, and if 
you will agree to the Alteration, I heartily concur with 
you and think it will be approved by all our Body. 

I expect to hear from you by next weeks Post. Direct 
to me at Chester by the Eastern Shore Post. I have 
a great many People talking round me, and write hi 
haste. , 


BALTIMORE, 28th Oct'r, 1785. WM. SMITH. 


P.S. Your two Packets by Post have just come to my 
Hand. What you propose as a Rubric for the Use of the 
Collects is proper. The other Parts of your Letters are 
either answered in this and my former Letter, or shall be 
on my Return to Chester, for which Place I am just 
setting off vi& Annapolis. I say no more about the 
Litany. Dr. West, &c., and some more Clergy, Mr. Cutting 
in particular, who have come here since our Convention 
adjourned, and who are now with me, all concur in this 
Letter, and that no Alterations be made respecting the 
Use of the Litany, which they all say must continue a 


necessary Part of the Morning Service, unless dispensed 
with by any "Minister in his Discretion, for want of 
Health, Shortness of Time, such as riding 10 or 12 Miles 
to read Prayers and preach twice in the same Day. A 
future Convention may consider further upon the whole, 
in the mean time we do our Duty in letting it remain as 
agreed upon by the Body from which we derive our 
Power as a Comm'ee. 

N.B. Dr. "West and a few more are about raising the 
Money from this State for the Book, but wish to have at 
least 1000 Copies for Maryland alone, so that Mr. Hall, 
if not too late should be told that 4000 Copies will be 
too few. He may venture on 5 or 6000, if he has paper 
enough ready. 


I expected to have sent you ye 3d Half Sheet by this 
Post, but it will be not quite ready. Mr. Hall intends to 
proceed quicker hereafter. 

We expect ye Paper this Evening; on receiving ye 
Proof Sheets from you, (w'ch I suppose will be on Mon 
day) we shall have one Sheet ready for ye last Impression. 

I say ye less as I consider it uncertain whether this 
will reach you in Baltimore. 

Yours &c. 

PHILA'DA, Oct 29, 85. W. WHITE. 



CHESTER 30th Oct'r 1785. 

I have just got back to Chester from Baltimore by the 
way of Annapolis, which last Place I left yesterday after 
noon. By the Date you will perceive that 1 write on 
Sunday, a rainy Morning, Service put off till the afternoon. 
As soon as service is over, I must go to Dorset, to attend 
the Baptism of my Grandson, and bring Mrs. Smith 
Home, who has been waiting for me more than a Week 
past. My present Letter will therefore be short ; nor is 
there Occasion for a long one. Mr. Bryson writes me 
that he deliver'd to you my Letter from Chester by last 


"Week's Post. To both your Letters which I received at 
Baltimore, I left an Answer to go by yesterday's Post, 
which I hope you will receive to morrow, containing the 
general Sentiments of the Clergy of our late Convention, 
agreeing with what I wrote you from Chester and have 
repeated from Baltimore, concerning the Litany, &c. 

By your last Letter you seem to have attended to the 
Rubric before the Prayer for Congress, which in my first 
Letter (not received by you at the Time of writing) I 
wished you to notice, as it would remove your Objec 
tions, &c. You say it has removed them in Part, but leaves 
a Contradiction between the 2 Rubrics. This too you 
will find removed by striking out the word "every" 
before the word " Morning" in the Rubric prefixed to the 
Litany, so that comparing the two Rubrics together, 
sufficient Latitude will be left, without either disbanding 
the Litany, or putting a Rubric and Substitution of 
Prayers after it, which would stand as an Invitation to 
the Lukewarm or Lazy, always to pass over the Litany, 
which in the Idea of all the Clergy I have seen was con 
sidered by the Convention as a Part of the Morning Ser 
vice, indispensible except for some good Reasons, and i1^ 
hurts their Feelings to think the Use of the Litany 
should be thought a Burden, or that our Service could 
be compleat without this Excellent Part. Of all this I 
have wrote fully candidly and more than enough, and 
only repeat lest my Baltimore Packet miscarry. All 
Things will stand well, at least in this 1st Edition of our 
Book, and till next Convention, in the Order in which 
we fixed them at Philadelphia, and as they are in the 
Proof Sheets you have sent me, only striking out the 
single word "every" in the Rubrick before the Litany. 

1 have no Time to read critically the Proofs, farther 
than I did in a few minutes at Baltimore. They will be 
very safe in your Hands, with one or two Readings. 
Let them be work'd off as fast as possible, and a thousand 
Copies or two more than we thought of at 1st (w'ch I 
think was 4000) if Paper can be got. The Book will be 
in great^) Baltimore alone a Sub 
scription is on foot, and Dr. West will speedily remit a 
large Part of the 100 Dollars, if not more than the whole, 

1 MS. imperfect. 


to which I shall add considerably from this Shore, as 
soon as I return from Dorset, which I hope, will be in 3 
or 4 Days at farthest. 

If my Letter from Baltimore is not come to your 
Hand, you will attend to the following Corrections which 
I made in the Proofs of the 2d Sheet enclosed therein. 

At the End of Morning arid Evening Prayer, viz. 
"Here endeth the Order of Morning [Evening] Prayer" 
Dele Words " Order of" lest it should be implied that 
something might yet be prayed which is disorderly 
Prayer for Clergy, instead of "ALL Bishops and other 
Ministers, and all Congregations" insert " the Congrega 
tions," to avoid a Repetition of the Word all so near the 
first all But I think the whole Sentence might be better 
altered thus " send down upon the Bishops and Ministers 
of thy Church and all Congregations," &c. 

In the End of the Rubric entitled " Prayers and Thanks 
givings upon several Occasions" to avoid the words 
"Prayers" and "Prayer," occurring in the Space of one 
Line, let the word " Service" be put for the word 
"Prayer" and read "two final Prayers of Morning and 
Evening Service." 

In the Prayer for "All Sorts and Conditions" please 
to make the Correction proposed by the Baltimore Con 
vention, as in my said Letter from thence, and read thus 
" More especially we pray for thy holy Church Universal, 
that it may be so guided," c. Or, "We pray that thy 
holy Church universal may be so guided." This will agree 
with the Prayer for the Church as in the Litany, instead 
of which this is to be used, and rids us of the exception 
able word to many, viz. "Catholic" and also the awkward 
Words "Good Estate of the Church," by which some will 
Bay we mean good Glebes and Salaries or Estate merely 
temporal. These little Alterations are in our Power, and 
not improper when desired by any respectable Number 
of our Brethren. 

Our Convention read over with general approbation 
the proposed Improvements and Alterations ; but stormy 
Weather and that Bay which often renders Business 
precarious, made our Meeting Thin, and we adjourned 
to meet at Annapolis in April, or sooner if called by me 
as Presid't. 


Next Week my Copy of the Address to the Arch 
bishops, &c., will go by a Ship from Baltimore or Anna 
polis. I wish the Sentence " That these States should 
become free, sovereign," &c., had been express'd "separate 
Empires, States or Governments." It seems to insult, or 
at least to renew old Complaints that we were not free 
before. Can an Alteration be made in the other Copies? 
I could yet have it made in mine by a Letter to London 
p'r Packet N. York. I beg another Copy of said Ad 
dress, for I was obliged to send mine, on an Hour's 
Notice, without taking a Copy. Governor Paca and our 
other Friends in Annapolis, except as above, approve the 
Address, and it will be easy to get a Certificate from the 
Executive of the State that Granting the Prayer of it can 
give no Offence, but is perfectly consonant to the Con 
stitution. I shall be at Philad'a Time enough for the 
Psalms, Lessons, Kalendar, Preface, &c., to save this volu 
minous writing, for 1 find I can not make my Letters 
Short. In 2 or 3 Weeks, perhaps sooner if the Bank will 
assist us, I shall see you. 





I have rec'd yours of ye 28th which I have sent to ye 
Press in ye Manner you approve of, having first reviewed 
and compared ye pointing of it with an Oxford Edition 
of ye Prayer Book printed in 1775, and adjusted it ac 
cordingly. This I think you cannot but approve of, as 
ye said Edition appears to have been made on great 
Deliberation in that Seat of Letters. I observed that 
wherever you had altered ye pointing in ye Proof 
Sheet, you had done it conformably to ye same Book. 
I intend to bestow ye same Pains on all I shall send to 
ye Press. 

I expect to send by this Opportunity a Proof Sheet, 
containing ye greater Part of ye Communion Service, 
which will come to me ye 2d Time from ye Press ; another 
is also in hand. I mentioned to you in a Letter which I 
sent with ye Sermons by Thursday's Stage, (and which do 
not appear to have come to hand when you were setting 


out for Annapolis) that some of our Brethren, supported 
by Remarks of ye People, thought ye Prayer for ye civil 
Rulers an unnecessary Repetition in ye Communion 
Service ; and that ye Evil might be avoided by a Rubric 
dispensing with it, provided ye Morning Service had 
been used immediately before. I told them I doubted 
of our Right to alter it, and therefore merely mention it 
to you as Information. 

Mr. Provost has enclosed to me a Copy of a Letter 
from ye Pres't of Congress to ye Minister at ye Court of 
Gr : Britain. After stating our late Proceedings and ye 
political Hindrances on a former Occasion, he says, that 
if our Application to ye Bps sh'd come before ye King 
and Ministry, it is ye Wish of "ye Church of England 
Members of Congress," that Mr. Adams may assure them 
of our Right to take ye said Step and that ye granting 
our Petition would not be an intermeddling in ye Affairs 
of these States. 

You give me leave to go on with ye Press alone, after 
ye first Sheet or two. But it is a Liberty I shall never 
use, unless ye Press sh'd be like to stop without it; 
which is not a probable Case. At any rate, I shall not 
venture on any Alterations without Consent. 

I am, 

Yours &c. 

PHILAD'A, Nov'r 1, 85. W. WHITE. 


I shall direct 3000 Copies. 


I have rec'd yours from Chester, and indeed all which 
you mention to have written hitherto. 

I shall attend to ye Alterations you propose ; all which 
I approve, except ye word Ministers for Pastors in ye 
Prayer for ye Clergy, which you only seem to throw out 
for Consideration. 

The latter Word is used in all ye other Places and was 
that approved of by ye Convention. 

I am sorry I made it necessary for you to write BO 
much about ye Litany; it is fixed to your Mind and I am 


I shall do all you desire in respect to advertising, &c., 
except that it cannot be in this Day's Paper, which came 
to my House before your Letter. 

What you propose respecting ye Letter to ye Bps is too 
late ; or I sh'd not object to ye Alteration. The Original 
is gone by Willet, and I suppose ye other Copy goes to 
day from IN" York by ye Packet and will probably (as ye 
Packets sail fast) b delivered before any subsequent 
Letter can reach England. I will send you another 

Copy, but cannot transcribe it for this Day's Post. 

I am, in Haste, 

Yours &c. 
PHILAD'A, Novr. 2, 85. W. WHITE. 

Communion Service. 

Quere, ye insertion in ye Rubric before ye Exhortation, 
ye Words " or so much thereof as he may think con 
venient." I have taken the Liberty but can easily 

Quere, ye leaving out these Words in ye Rubric before 
ye Collect "so that ye Ordinary &c." Probably it will 
be thought ye Ordinary need have nothing to do, with 
out complaint from ye Person forbidden. 

In ye Sentences, Quere ye Propriety of inserting those 
which relate to ye Support of ye Ministers of ye Gospel, 
It is expressly said ye Money shall be given to ye poor. 


Nov'r 7, 85. 

After near 3 weeks Excursion to Annapolis and Talbot 
County, I returned home on Saturday evening. I saw 
at New Town some proof sheets of the prayer book and 
think it will be very well executed. Dr. Smith and my 
self laboured hard at the Psalms during a whole day, 
and I trust the Selection we made will be satisfactory. 
I hope no trifling difficulties will retard the publication 
which is earnestly looked for. Should the work be a 
twelvemonth in hand, some refinements would be for 

ever occurring. 

* * * * * * 


What have you done with the Lessons ? My wish is 
to see them short, but edifying. If not too late I will 
send you some hints upon this head, this day week. 

Yr sincere Friend and Br. 




After you left me, I thought it best to continue ye 
Consideration of ye Subject which had been before us. 
Accordingly I corrected in ye "Way of private Memoran 
dum, to ye end of ye Psalms. Afterwards, finding that 
ye Psalms contained 2498 Verses and that they would 
be reduced about by our Review, I made my Division ; 
in which I have taken Care to make ye Portions as equal 
as ye Analogy of ye Subjects and sometimes ye extraor 
dinary Length of single Psalms permitted. In some 
Places I have omitted a few Verses of what we had re 
tained, as not suiting ye preceding and following. I 
send you ye Fruit of my Labor, hoping you will review 
it and send me such Alterations as may occur to you; 
which you may easily do (as I have with me a Copy) by 
merely alluding to my Subdivisions. I will then fairly 
fix ye Book, pasting from an old Bible such Verses as 
we prefer of that Translation. 

The Press began on Monday and Mr. Hall assures me 
it shall work constantly; and that when ye Assembly 
shall rise, he will set 2 Presses agoing. 

I am, yours &c. 

. W. WHITE. 

PHILADA. Nov'r 16, 85. 

I suppose it will be best in ye Ash "Wednesday S. to 
omit ye Commination Psalm, which may be read on 
that Occasion in ye proper Place ; and to introduce ye 
Prayer immediately after ye Collect, with a Rubric, 
directing ye reading of them after ye Litany and imme 
diately before ye Gen. Thanksgiving. 



No Letter came to Hand from you to-day, which I sup 
pose is owing to your Visit to Annapolis ; and that on 
your Return you will carefully Revise ye Psalms and 
examine ye Division I have proposed. 

On looking over the Offices as they stand prepared in 
ye Prayer Book, I determined to propose ye following 
Matters to your Consideration. 

1. In ye Baptismal Service will it not be best to omit 
ye Command to kneel at ye latter Part of it, this being 
often inconvenient, especially in private Houses. As we 
have shortened ye printing of ye private B. by referring to 
ye public for all that follows ye Declaration, " We receive 
this Child &c." may it not be further shortened by Re 
ference as follows ? viz ; after ye Address, " I certify you," 
&c. insert this Rubric Then shall follow the Gospel from S 
Mark 10, 13 with ye Exhortation and Prayer following ye 
same, as in ye Form of P. B. 

2. In ye Beginning of ye Marriage Service, we have 
changed ye word Congregation into ye Word Company. 
Quere, is not either word improper, as there used, if it 
be in a private Room, and will it not be better to speak 
only of our being in ye sight of God ? 

3dly. In ye Burial Service this Verse was struck out 
"Lord, let me know my end, &c." But as it stands in ye 
B. S, is it not unexceptionable and will it not be ye best 
Introduction of ye Psalm ? 

4thly. In ye Forms at Sea, there are two Thanksgiving 
Psalms. I think one (viz, ye last) will be sufficient. 

I was in Hopes of having for you ye fifth Form from 
ye Press, but arn disappointed. The two enclosed Forms 
will be finally struck off this Week. 

I am, yours &c. 


PHILADA, Nov'r 23, 85. 



I suppose you have not returned from ye Western 
Shore, from my not hearing by this Day's Post. 


You will receive by this Opp'y 100 of ye Journal and 
will order by next Post what further Number you may 
want. We have struck 1000 and it is kept in Press for 
as muny more as may be wanted. I thought at first it 
was too small an Article for sale ; but found so many Ex 
pectants here that ye Distributing of a small Number 
would have been a very invidious Employm't ; on ye other 
Hand, had many been given and ye same Attention paid 
(as in Reason ought to be) to ye other Parts of ye Con 
tinent, an unreasonable Number must be struck off. I 
asked ye Advice of such Members of ye Convention as 
could be consulted and they unanimously advised to have 
them sold for ye Benefit of ye Fund ; and Mr. Hull 
thought they would bear being put at a Shilling, which 
is accordingly done. I have ordered to be packed up 
100 for each of your Shores, 200 for Virginia, 100 for S. 
Carolina, 100 for New Jersey, 100 for Delaware and 100 
for N. York. They are ordered to different Members of 
ye Convention, who will of course consider themselves as 
accountable to ye Funds for those sent and such as they 
may hereafter order. I have sent one to each Member 
of ye Convention among us, and a Parcel to England by 
Mr. Peters, who set ofl' an Hour ago. I suppose it will be 
proper to send a few to some principal Gent'n in ye 
States where ye Churches have not joined us ; which may 
be an Invitation. Gen : Wayne has undertaken to manage 
the Matter for Georgia. 

I yesterday rec'd a Letter from Mr. Cutting with ye 
enclosed which he says he had no other Way of sending 
to you than by this Kesort. He complains dismally of 
his solitary Situation and calls aloud for News as an Act 
of Charity. 

The fifth Form was sent me on Saturday and is now 
working. The sixth is not ready. I regret however your 
not seeing them in Proof; ye less however as it is plain 
sailing and there can be no errors, unless typographical 
which I shall endeavour to prevent. 

Our Council have given a Certif te under their Seal. 
I saw it in ye Draft and observing ye same Proviso in it 
as in Gov'rPaea's, I gave Gen: W(') a Memorandum to 
this effect. " That if ye Council chose to make such a 

1 Wayne ? The MS. is illegible. 


Proviso, it w'd not interfere with our Plan ; but that it 
was worth their Consideration, whether it might not be 
disagreeable to other religious Societies who profess a 
foreign spiritual Jurisdiction, and might think we took 
this Opp'y to draw down a Censure on them." How 
ever they passed it as in ye Draft. 

I am, yours &c. 
PHILAD'A, Nov'r 30, 85. WM. WHITE. 



NEW CASTLE Nov'r 29, 1785. 
at night. 



1 have looked over the lessons which you have re 
tained or adopted. Can see no objection to any of them 
unless you should deem it more proper to adopt some 
of the exhortations to repentance from the Prophets 
instead of the lessons from Genesis for the Lent Sundays. 
Perhaps the prophecy of Daniel would be no improper 
lesson or lessons as preparatory to the completion of the 
Christian Sacrifice. Your idea of suiting the lessons to 
the several seasons of the Ecclesiastical year agrees per 
fectly with mine. The selection w'h you have made I 
think meets this idea. I observe but 1 lesson from Daniel, 
19 S. after Trin. cap. 3. Now I conceive the 7. 8. 9 
chap'rs containing the prophetic history of the 4 great 
Empires and of the coming of Xt to be very interesting. 
As I observed before, they would suit well the season of 
Lent, at least the 9th chapter. As to the general Kalen- 
dar, 1 apprehend the Committee has power to alter it, as 
the convention judged proper to omit the saints-days. 1 
would be for retaining however the Names of a few such 
as Lady-day, Michaelmas, All Saints, with the Apostles' days 
St. Stephen and Innocents. These 3 last being Scripture 
festivals, should not be omitted. I mean a commemoration 
of Scriptural Persons and Martyrs. All Saints days of 
more modern date should be expunged. No mention, 

I suppose will be made of fast or abstinence days. 


Yrs entirely, 

C. H. 



My 3 last Letters lately written to you and which you 
had not seen when we parted, contain so much Matter 
for your Consid'n that I ought not perhaps to burden 
you w'th more until those Points are settled. But think 
ing you may possibly wish to have ye Table of Lessons 
before you at ye same Time, I herewith send it, together 
with a proposed Ru brick for ye Psalms. I wish you to 
attend particularly to ye Note written lengthwise of ye 
Paper on ye Table of Lessons and containing a new 
Arrange't which I have proposed in Consequence of an 
Observation of Dr. Wharton's after examining ye said 
Table here inclosed ; which he says he approves of after 
an attentive Consid'n. 

I am, yours &c. 

PHILAD'A, Dec'r 6, 85. WM. WHITE. 


P.S. Since writing ye above, it came into my Head to 
draw up a few Hints towards a Preface. If you think 
they will be not useful towards that Purpose, throw them 
into ye Fire. 

Hints towards a Preface. 

This Church, following ye Example of the Church of 
Engl'd in Times past, as is set forth in ye Preface to ye 
Book of Common Prayer, hath upon weighty Considera 
tions made such Alterations in ye Form of divine Wor 
ship, as seem at this Time either necessary or expedient. 

The Alterations to which her Attention was in ye first 
place drawn, were such as had become necessary in ye 
Prayers for our civil Rulers. These have been accom 
modated to ye Revolution, which, in ye Course of divine 
Providence, has taken Place in the U. States; and ye 
principal Care herein has been to make them conformable 
to ye proper end of all such Addresses, " That we may 
lead quiet and peaceable Lives in all Godliness and 
Honesty." And whereas it has been ye Practice of ye 
Ch'ch of England, to set apart certain Days for ye render 
ing of Thanks to ye Supreme Ruler of ye Universe for 
signal Mercies vouchsafed to that Church and Kingdom; 
it has in like Manner been now thought to tend to God- 


liness, that there sh'd be two annual solemn Days of 
Prayer and Thanksgiving to Almighty God for ye dis 
tinguished Blessings of ye Land in which we live ; in 
order that we may be thus moved t<^> Gratitude for these 
Mercies of his good Providence, which might otherwise 
be ye Occasions of Licentiousness. 

The Alterations of ye M. and E. Prayer are chiefly, 
either for ye avoiding of Repetition, or for ye Disuse of 
such Words as have varied from their former Meaning, 
or for ye arranging of ye Prayers in a Method more easy 
for ye Worshipper. In ye Apostles Creed, one Clause 
of uncertain Meaning which was introduced into ye 
Church by ye Council of Aquileia about 400 Years after 
Christ, is omitted. As ye Psalms are a considerable Part 
of ye M. and E. Prayer, it may be proper to mention in 
this Place ye Reason of their being so considerably 
shortened. "All Scripture is given for Doctrine and 
Instruction in Righteousness ;" Yet it is supposed that all 
Parts thereof were not indited for Christian Worship ; 
and that ye Church hath a Latitude to select such Parts 
as she shall judge best suited thereto. Therefore such 
Portions only of ye Psalms are retained, as were thought 
ye most beautiful and affecting. In order to add to ye 
Propriety and Sublimity of ye Psalter, ye Translation in 
ye Bible has been preferred, where it was thought to 
have a stronger Tendency than ye other to raise Devo 
tion. A new Division became necessary in Consequence 
of ye preceding Changes ; And it was supposed that ye 
Excellence of this Part of ye Service would be still more 
encreased, by ye Permission to combine it with that 
ancient Doxology somewhat shortened ye Gloria in 
Excelsis. In Regard to ye reading of ye holy Scripture 
at M. and E. Prayer, ye same Reasons which occasioned 
a select Table of first Lessons for Sundays and other 
Holy-days seemed to extend in favor of ye making a 
Table of '2d Lessons also; which is accordingly done. 
Those for ye Morn'g are intended to suit ye several Sea 
sons ; and yet without a Repetition of ye Portions of ye 
Gospel included in ye Communion Service ; and those for 
ye Evening are selected in ye Order of ye sacred Books 
Besides this, ye Table of first Lessons has been re 
viewed; a few new Chapters are introduced from ye Sup 
position of their being more edirying than ye old ; and 


Transpositions have been made where they seemed to 
suit ye Lessons more to ye Season of ye jYear. It has 
been thought that a Kalendar is unnecessary ; and that 
ye managing ye Lessons for ye ordinary Days agreeably 
to ye Civil Year is not so expedient as ye making them 
correspond, like ye others, with ye Ecclesiastical Year. 
Accordingly ye Minister is left to his Discretion in ye 
Choice of Lessons for ye intermediate Days, with ye Ex 
pectation that such will be taken as ye most nearly suit 
those selected for ye Sundays and other Holy-days. 

The Offices for Baptism have undergone some Change. 
The requiring other Godfathers and Godmothers than 
ye Parents is dispensed with, if ye same be desired ; and 
thus Regard is still maintained for an ancient and useful 
Institution ; and yet ye Complaint avoided, that in some 
Cases, especially among ye poor, it is difficult to provide 
Sponsors, unless such as will most probably neglect ye 
Duties of that Relation, to ye great Hazard of their own 
Souls. The Sponsors, instead of answering in ye ^Tame 
and Person of ye Infant, now answer for their own Dis 
charge of ye Obligation they have come under. The 
Sign of ye Cross is retained, from a Conviction of its 
having been used in ye earliest Ages of ye Church as 
expressive of ye being devoted to ye Service of Christ, 
who for our Sake, "endured ye Cross, despising ye 
Shame" ; Nevertheless in Tenderness to those who may 
entertain conscientious Scruples concerning the Use of 
this venerable Rite, ye Minister is to dispense with it, 
when desired by ye Sponsors. 

The Alterations made in ye Catechism and ye Service 
for Confirmation are such as became necessary to make 
those Offices correspond with ye Forms for Baptism ; 
except ye Change of a few Words of ye Service w'ch was 
thought to be not sufficiently clear, in that Part of ye 
Catechism which relates to ye holy Communion. 

It was thought, that ye Office for Matrimony could 
bear considerable shortening; which is accordingly done. 

The Visitation of ye Sick is nearly as in ye Old Ser 
vice. But a few Verses in ye Psalm have been omitted, 
as not appearing altogether applicable to ye Occasion ; 
and ye Absolution has given Way to what was conceived 
to be ye more scriptural Form used in ye Comm'n 


In ye Burial Service it was thought proper to omit 
some inapplicable Verses in ye Psalms; such Expressions 
as seem to pronounce too positively concerning ye State 
of ye Deceased ; and ye thanking of God for an Event in 
which Resignation only is required. 

None of ye Form for "the Churching of Women" is 
retained except ye Thanksgiving Prayer, which is placed 
among ye other occasional Thanksgivings : it being sup 
posed, that many Parts of ye daily Service are equally 
applicable to that Occasion with what is omitted. 

Such Parts of ye Commination Service as were thought 
calculated to produce Christian Penitence are inserted 
after ye Collect for Ash-wednesday : except ye Psalm, 
which is appointed to be read for ye Day. 

The Forms to be used at Sea have undergone very 
little Change, other than what arose from adapting it to 
ye Revolution. 

The Case of such unhappy Persons as have forfeited 
their Lives to ye Laws of their Country claimed ye Con- 
sid'n of this Church : which has therefore adopted into 
her Liturgy ye Form for Visitation of Prisoners under 
sentence of Death passed by ye Convocation and Parl't 
of Ireland. 

The Articles of Religion have been reduced in Num 
ber. Yet it is humbly conceived, that ye Doctrines of ye 
Ch: of Eng'd are preserved in their full Extent; as being 
thought agreeable to ye Gospel. It is therefore foreign to 
ye Intention of this Church, to alter any thing which ap 
peared to be essential to ye true Sense and Meaning of 
ye 39 Articles Nevertheless, some Variation has been 
made in ye Expression ; and such parts omitted as were 
evidently adapted either to ye Time when ye Articles 
were composed or to ye political Constitution of Eng 

From ye Psalms translated in Metre by N. Brady and 
N. Tate, there have been selected only such a Number as 
were thought to make a sufficient Variety for divine 
Worship, and ye Parts selected are arranged under Heads 
agreeing with ye Subjects of them respectively : which it 
was thought would tend to ye judicious Use of them both 
in public and in private. 

This Church therefore having gone through ye im 
portant Work of accommodating her Service to her new 


Situation ; it is hoped that ye divine Blessing will attend 
ye same to ye promoting of Piety in her Children, and to 
ye influencing them to live in Peace and Love with all 

/ O 


The above "Hints" are endorsed in the handwriting of 
the Rev. Dr. Smith, as follows : 

" Proposed by Dr. White. 

N. B. The Preface has been composed upon another 
Plan by W. S. who has made Use of some of the within 

See Dr. W.'s approbation of the new Preface and the 
Correspondence on this Head in the Letters dated latter 
End of Feb'y and beginning of March 1786." 


I send you ye Sheets as far as finished and have cor 
rected ye Proofs as far as to ye Beginning of ye Burial 

I have just now delivered to Mr. Hall ye Offices of 4 
of July and for Nov: as they will be gone on Tomorrow. 
I kept them to ye last with ye Hope of hearing from you, 
but there was no Post this Week. 

In preparing said Offices for ye Press, it occurred to 
me. that their wanting Gospels and Ep : made them not 
harmonize with ye rest of our Service. Our Brethren here 
were unanimous in advising me to add them : and I was 
ye more encouraged by Dr Magaw's saying that it was 
not thought of in ye Committee. The Passages chosen 
are Philipp : 4. 4 to 8, with S. John 8, 31 to 37 and St. 
James 1. 16 with St. Matth : 5. 43. 

The Lessons taken by ye same Advice for ye 1 Th. in 
Nov ? r are Deut'y 28 to V. 15, and S Matth. 7. 7. 

I am sorry that I have been obliged to do these Things 
without waiting for your Approbation; but I hope they 
will still merit it. 

The Post is just going so that I can only write myself 
Yours &e. 

PIIILAD'A, Jan'y 4, 86. W. WHITE. 




I have lost no Time in making Provision for inserting 
a few Tunes in ye P. Book. We have selected some w'ch 
I send you ye names of on an enclosed Paper. Mr. 
Hopkinson is beginning to copy them for ye Engraver 
and I expect they will be done with sufficient speed. 

It was natural for me, when on this Subject with a 
Gen'n of Mr. Hopkinson's Taste, to communicate to him 
our Arrangement respecting ye Psalms. He objected, as 
indeed has almost every one to whom I have mentioned 
it, to ye running the Psalms into one another. The 
Issue of ye Conference with Mr II. was his suggesting a 
Plan of which I give you a Sketch on an enclosed Paper 
and which I think on ye whole will be ye simplest and 
most elegant. Unless you disapprove, I will execute it 
on this Plan, altho' I shall have lost some labour of 
transcribing: in doing of which however. I became 
more and more dissatisfied with ye running of Psalms 
into one another ; and indeed in this Way, I find that 
many fine Passages must be lost, or else such a Repe 
tition made as in ye same Psalm would be improper and 

I expect your Draft of a Preface by next Post and am 
Yours &c 


PHILAD'A, Jan'y 17, 86. 

P.S. On Mr. H's Plan, ye Insertion of ye Term Chap 
ter will be unnecessary 


I received your last letter of 17th Jan'y and observe 
what you say concerning the Objections which have oc- 
curr'd as to running our Collection or Selection of Sing 
ing Psalms into one another. You know this arrang- 
ment was proposed for the Convenience of Clerks and 
of the People for finding any proposed Sum. We could 
not then think of any better mode. I have no attach 
ment to any particular Arrangmeiit that appears best. 


But I could see no Impropriety, nor can yet see any in 
making one Chapter or Psalm of all those different Parts 
of different Psalms which are selected on the same Sub 
ject and in the Psalm metre ; for except in metre 1st. and 
in Psalms of Praise &c none of them would be very long 
in this way; and I know not how you can make your 
Breaks in the same Metre, so as to close the Service with 
out running many of them into one another. For of 
some Psalms only a Verse or two are taken, and surely 
BO small a Portion cannot stand by itself. All the Read 
ing Psalms for a Morning or Evening Service, altho not 
arranged under different Heads as the Singing Psalms, 
are nevertheless run into one another, without Incon 
venience. On the Contrary it appears a Beauty. The 
same has been done in chusing Psalms for particular Ser 
vices even by our Mother Church. 

But I have no Objection to the Method now proposed. 
As far as I can understand it from your short Scrip, it 
was what we first proposed altho some Difficulties then 
occurr'd. Mr Hopkinson's Judgment will always have 
great Weight with me especially on a Subject of Ele 
gance and Taste. I am happy that he has agreed to 
devote a few Hours to the Psalmody. Under his Hand, 
it will become a most acceptable Addition to the Prayer 
Book, and with the Hymns to be annexed will recom 
mend the Purchase of it to many, and I hope greatly 
encrease their Love both of Public and Private Devotion. 

With the assistance of our Organist Mr Lirnburner, 
our Clerk and some other Gentlemen of this Town I 
have examined the Tunes which are to be engraved and 
we generally approve of them ; except Canterbury which 
is too flat and inanimate. St. Anne's tho good is too dif 
ficult for Singers in General. These two might be ex 
changed for some more popular Tunes which you have 
omitted, such as Brunswick and Stroud Tune. We also 
wish to have in the Collection, the Tune .... 
and St. Peters is adapted to that noble Hymn . . . 

. . publish'd among the Collection of Hymns 

When all thy mercies, my God, &c. 

In addition, to the Tunes which are proposed in your 
list, we would offer the Six which are enclosed, or such 
of them as you think may vary most from those of the 


same metre which you retain. I should wish to see the 
first Proof Sheet of the Singing Psalms before it is 
work'd off. I hope Mr Hall is now upon it, and I wish 
not to delay him. 

I enclose you a Collection of Hymns to follow the 
Psalms, and which I have every Reason to believe will 
be a great Recommendation of our Prayer Book to mul 
titudes of our most serious and religious members. The 
Methodists captivate many by their attention to Church 
Music, and by their Hymns and Doxologies, which when 
rationally and devoutly introduced are sublime Parts of 
public and private worship. I have arranged the Hymns 
under proper Heads, have chosen the best I could pos 
sibly find, and have spent several whole Nights this last 
week in copying them for the Press, abridging them, 
where it could be done and correcting some of them in a 
few Places. I shall be happy if they meet with your Appro 
bation and save you some Trouble in this Part, as you have 
had far more than your Share in other Parts, which it was 
not in my Power to ease you from, on account of my 
many late Calls from Home. 

The Number of Hymns is more than I expected when I 
sat down to collect them; but I see none that I could 
wish to leave out. On the great Festivals of the Church, 
there should be some Variety, at least three or four, and 
of different metres, to compleat the Psalmody of the 

There are about eight Hymns yet wanting, which 1 
hope to send you next Post ; viz Hymns or Psalms for a 
public Fast, Meditational Hymns on Death, Funeral 
Hymns, a Hymn on the last Judgment, and a Hymn on 
Immortality exhibiting a Glimpse of the ^ingdom of 
Glory. But on these two last awful and exalted Subjects 
I know not where to chuse. They far transcend the Power 
of our common Class of Poets, and those of the Greatest 
Genius have left them unsung, at least in that kind of 
Verse which is proper for Psalmody. ..... 

singing Psalms, that those Portions of them 

of Hymns, are adapted to particular Occa 
sions of Service, Thanksgiving &c as July 4th. 1st Th. 
of Nov'r, &c. are not to be printed in their Place with the 
other Psalms, which are selected for common Use. Should 
any of them be chosen on any other Occasion than those 


to which they are adapted among the Hymns, the Clerk 
and Congregation can turn to them where they stand. 
The Hymns and Psalmody both together will not be near 
so long as the former Psalmody by this Plan, unless your 
new arrangment should lengthen them somewhat. The 
Hymns will not require two Half Sheets, but were it 
more they will pay for themselves in the sale of the Book 
and in the Satisfaction which Christians in General will 
derive. Few will grudge a Dollar if, with the addition of 
Hymns and Tunes &c, we think that should be the Price. 
You will not forget to take Addisons 23d Ps. from Spec 
tator No 441 his 19th from No. 465, to be inserted among 
the Psalms under their proper Metres. You will also 
take his Hymn, on Gratitude, from No. 453 to be in 
serted among the Hymns where I have left a Blank in 
Copying," for want of Time. 

As I do not know in what order you have arranged 
the Metres in publishing the singing Psalms, I must beg 
you to fill up the Blanks I have left for the Metres of the 
Gloria Patri, so as to answer to our Select Psalms, for it 
will not do to say as formerly such a Metre as Ps. 25, 
Ps 123, Ps. 148 &c, as our Psalms and Metres will not now 
answer to those Numbers, but to Metre 1st, 2d, 3d, &c. as 
you may place. I believe I said before (but have not 
Time to look back) that I beg to see the first Proof Sheet 
of the Singing Psalms before it goes to the Press, I hope 
by next Post I will try by that Time to send you the 
Preface or Address nearly upon the Plan you have 
sketched. You speak in some former Letter of collect 
ing for the Feasts and Fasts some Passages of Psalms to 
supply the Place of the Venite on different Festivals. 
Will not this take too much from the Reading Psalms of 

those Days? Might of Scripture in the 

Old and New Testament Easter Day 

the Substitute for the Veuite is wholly so ... such 
a Choice as this may interfere with the Lessons, and the 
Epistles and Gospels of the Day. There are Difficulties 
both ways, I leave to your own Judgment. And where 
any Thing we had before (as the old Venite a little 
altered) will do, I would not introduce for the present at 
least any very great alterations. All the Hymns, &c. 
except a few from Watts and Addison, have long been in 
Use in the Church in the Supplement to Tate and Brady's 


Psalms and other Collections printed with different Prayer 
Books, by religious Societies, &c. The Hymns therefore 
are only a more copious Collection, arrang'd more pro 
perly, of such as have been long -in Use, for even some 
of Watts's are not new in our Church, and you know 
Dr. Johnson gives them a high name in his Lives of the 
Poets. I wish I could have found more than about six or 
eight of Watts's to introduce, or that I could glean from 
Him what is yet wanted on the last Judgment, and the 
Kingdom of Glory. I know not where else to look. If 
you know of any on those Subjects I wish you to point 
them out. I have got 2 or 3 funeral Hymns to be copied 
out in my next, and also Hymns proper for the Service 
of the Church at Sea and after Storms, &c., &c. 

It is now 4 o'Clock in the morning. I am drowsy and 
half blind cannot stay to read what I have written 
believe I have forgot nothing material. I shall be 
ruined if the Packet does not come safe to your Hand. I 
have no Cop}', nor even a List or Table of the Hymns 
which I intend should be added at the End, after we 
know the Pages to which we must refer. This may be 
done by the Printer. You will therefore not fail to ac 
knowledge the Receipt of them by the Return of Post. 
If I have no Letter, I shall conclude you have not re 
ceived them and be very unhappy till I hear that you have. 
Yours with great Regard 


Sunday night or Monday morning 
23d Jan'y 1786. 

The Hymns must be printed in a smaller Letter, as 
many of the Metres are long. Attend well to the Note 
at Bottom of p. 38. 

This Letter must stand for a great many for which I 
stood indebted before. 


I have rec'd your Letter with ye enclosed Hymns ; of 
which ye Time admits my saying no more at present, but 
that I make no doubt of their being unexceptionable. 
If I have any Remarks to make you shall have them in 
my next. 


As you have no Objection to ye Method last proposed 
respecting ye Psalms, I shall do whatever on a Re-ex 
amination appears to our Friends here ye best. 

I am afraid your Proposals concerning ye Tunes is too 
late to be accomplished without either spoiling what haa 
been done or making an Addition in this Article ; which 
by ye bye, will be much* more expensive than you ima 
gined. However I shall accommodate it to your Ideas, 
as much as I should think you would yourself, were you 
on ye spot. 

I expect we shall finish ye reading Psalms this "Week 
and that we shall have ye 1st Sheet of ye singing Ps : 
ready for next Post. The waiting for it can be no Injury 
in regard to ye composing part, but for the Press work 
(which Mr. Hall considers as ye principal) it may put us 
back a little. 

In regard to ye Selections, instead of ye Venite, I 
believe they had better stand as they are. You know ye 
Design is to introduce such Portions respecting ye Mes 
siah, as could not be agreeably retained in their old 
places ; now ye including some Scriptural Sentences must 
either supersede some of said Portions or make this part 
of ye Service too long ; at least this would be ye case on 
Good Friday and Xtrnas Day. With regard to ye reading 
Psalms of those Days, I mentioned to you, and requested 
you to look at them, that I had in a Rubric at ye End 
referred to one portion of ye Psalter to be read on all 
these Festivals at Morn'g P. another at Ev'g P another 
for ye Morn'g of ye Fast Days and another for ye Even 
ing of ye same. 

I have been considering ye daily Calendar; and do 
not find that we have any power given us on this head. 
Nevertheless ye reading ye Apocrypha has been so old 
an Objection to our Church, that I believe it would be 
taken well if we were to substitute others. My Plan for 
this is to divide so many of ye longer Chapters as will 
make up for the Number to be expunged ; which I find 
on Examination may easily be done. Perhaps too it 
might be well to divide as many Chap's of ye Gospels 
and Acts as may be suited to ye reading them over twice 
instead of thrice in ye year. Those from ye Epistles 
may very well stand as they are. I must request your 
Opinion on this Head. 


On another Review of my Plan of proper lessons, I am 
fully satisfied with it. 

I know of no suitable Hymns on the Subjects you have 

I do not think it will be necessary to print the Hymns 
in a smaller type than ye rest, and if not necessary, you 
will agree with me that it will not look so well. 
I am, 

yours respectfully and affectionately 

PHILAD'A: Jan: 25, '86. 


P. S. I hope to send you pr next Post ye Psalter com 


I enclose the remaining Hymns. The Psalms of David, 
unless where tortur'd by Versifiers, have but few evan 
gelical Subjects and stood much in need of a Supplement, 
which our Church has allowed from Time to Time and 
we have full Power to offer, as neither the Psalms which 
we have selected, nor this Supplement of Hymns are 
more than an Exercise of our best Discretion in the Work 
committed to us, and not an essential Part of our re 
formed Liturgy. 

You will find the Hymns all upon Evangelical Subjects 
and practical Christianity, viz On the Nativity, on the 
Passion, Resurrection, Ascension, Gift of the Holy Ghost, 
The Holy Communion, Time, Life, Death, Hymns at Sea 
and various Occasions of Life, in Sickness, in Time of 
public Calamity, Thanksgivings for Mercies received, On 
State Days as July 4th, Nov'r 1st. Th. &c., concluding 
< with Christ's Commission to preach the Gospel, two 
Hymns which when we have Ordination of Ministers at 
Home maybe properly sung in Time of public Worship. 
The Subjects you see are numerous, and not more than 
2 or 3 Hymns at most on any Subject. The Hymns are 
generally short too. Should you think that any of them 
might be left out, I could wish to know which of them. 
There is the greatest Number for the Nativity and for 
Funerals, but here we ought not to be too sparing. In 
the enclosed Collection Hymns 36, 39, 40-43 are particu- 


larly and beautifully applicable to their Subjects. In 
short I have taken great Pains to collect and adapt them, 
giving nothing of my own, and I think the Number as 
they are generally short (altho amounting to 50) is not 
too great, as the Psalms of David are greatly abridged, 
and many of them taken out of the Places where they 
stood promiscuously with other Psalms, and placed as 
Hymns under the Heads to which they belong so that 
you will take Care not to print these particular Passages 
of the Psalms with the Singing Psalms. Let me hear par 
ticularly from you next Post, on this whole Subject. I 
am more and more pleased with the arrangement of the 
Singing Psalms under the different Heads to which they 
will apply which are but four or jive, and finding Hymns 

founded on other Scriptures, as we Worship. 

Clergy and Laity here are greatly to purchase 


You will please to put the proper Numbers to the 
Pages of the enclosed Hymns, as I have forgot at what 
my last weeks Copy closed and therefore have mark'd or 
pag'd them A. B. C. &c. which you will expunge when 
you put the Numbers. Please to put Hymn XXV. on 
Recovery from Sickness, in the former Copy next after 
Hymn XL of this enclosed Copy being on the same 
Subject; and alter the Numbers of the Hymns accord 
ingly from No. 25 to No. 40 inclusive. 

Next Post shall answer all the unanswer'd Parts of 
your former Letters, send you the Preface and conclude 
this Business, with great Thankfulness to God who hath 
enabled us to carry it forward, with so great Harmony 
and Satisfaction to ourselves, and I trust it will be to the 
full Satisfaction of our Constituents and the Public. 
Write me fully this Week, as I am to cross the Bay next 
Sundaj 7 Evening. 



30th Jan'y, 1786. 


I have rec'd yours by this Day's Post ; and agreeably 
to your desire, sit down to write to you particularly on 
ye Subjects of it. 


I send you (with ye Psalter) ye first proof Sheet of ye 
Psalms. Yon will see that I have divided them. You 
objected to this in your former Letter, that it will become 
necessary to leave out Parts of Psalms for want of enough 
to make one Division. I answer, that it will not happen 
if we allow that to be enough, which may suffice for one 
Time of ye Clerk's singing. You also took notice, that ye 
other plan was adopted in respect to ye reading Psalms: 
I answer, that ye same Reason does not hold in 3^6 sing'g 
Ps: viz, their being used together. Our Brethren here 
are clear for dividing them and authorize me to say so, 
and Mr Hopkinson thinks ye other Plan very exception- 
'able. I beg you to weigh ye matter once more ; and if 
after all you sh'd continue in your present Mind, I will 
execute it accordingly, provided you will take your Pen 
and set down precisely what Psalms shall follow one 
another, so as to be a guide to ye Printer. In doing 
this you will probably (like myself) be tired of ye Idea 
of running them into one another: if not, I will perform 
my Promise. You will observe that I have put ye Rubric 
mark: I thought this proper to make it harmonize with ye 
other Parts of ye Liturgy and to show w T ith what View ye 
Ps's are introduced. In ye old Book, they were no Part of 
ye common Prayer, but were only used by ye Royal Per 
mission ; with us, as I conceive they are to be part of ye 

In Regard to ye Form of ye Hymns I have to Remark 
that I think they sh'd be introduced like ye Ps's, with ye 
R. mark before them, with a similar direction in Regard 
to ye discretion of ye Minister, leaving out ye word Sup 
plement, because they will be nearly, if not quite, as 
large as the Collection of Psalms. I would change the 
latin Gloria Patri to English and call it Hymn 1. 

In ye Collection sent up last Week (I do not think ye 
other admits ye same Criticism) there are some Lines 
which I wish for your Consent to alter, under the Con 
dition of Mr Hopkinson's joint Approbation. 

" Well may ye Sun as Hell be black," 
I wish for a Substitute for this. 

" See streaming from th' accursed Tree," 
may be thus altered, 

" Behold fast streaming from ye Tree," &c. &c. 


Mr. Ilopkinson thinks with me, that it is altogether im 
proper to transfer Psalms to ye Head of Hymns, merely 
to change their Names; and we think that they may very 
well stand in their proper Places to be applied discre- 
tionately; except where some considerable Changes in 
ye Composition to accommodate it to ye Occasion may 
apologize for ye Transposition. Or else a Collection be 
made from difft. Psalms. 

The Psalms applied to ye Ascension must be taken in 
so strained a sense as not to consist with ye Liberty al 
lowable in composing an Hymn. The two Hymns which 
conclude your 2d Collection and which refer to Christ's 
Command to preach the Gospel, would suit admirably 
well for this Festival. 

I enclose you a little Essay of Mr H for ye 4th of 
July and ye 1 Th'y in Nov'r. He desires me to mention 
that he is conscious of having left out in ye latter some 
fine portions of ye 2 Ps's : from w'ch it is taken ; but it 
was to make it a reasonable Portion for singing at one 
time. He thinks 1 for each Occasion sufficient, and that 
for ye other Time of singing, a Portion might be taken at 
Discretion from ye Psalms. But if you chuse two for 
each Occasion, you have got one for Nov'r against which 
there can be no Objection, unless that ye Sentiments are 
ye same with those of Ps. 65. As to ye very fine parts of 
Ps. 68., I foresee many Objections to ye making it a 
stated part of our Service for ye Day. Besides ye Deli 
cacy of our Situation, as well as on acc't of ye Prejudice 
of our Brethren at our present Appn : to Eng'd, it may well 
be questioned whether ye Use of such Expressions be not 
inconsistent with ye Sent'ts which sh'd take place with 
Peace, however proper " flagrant! Bello." Even the Line 
" their proud Oppressors righteous Doom" in (perhaps) ye 
best Verse of ye Psalm is rather too strong. I would pre 
fer something from Ps. 89 and 18, of which I shall send 
you a Sketch on a piece of paper. 

I forgot to mention when writing of ye Psalms, ye 
Order in which I had arranged the'm. You know ye 4 
General Heads we fixed on were Ps. of Praise, &c Ps, 
of Prayer &c Ps. of Thanksgiving &c and Ps. of In 
struction, &c. I found all w'd range under these Heads 
except a few, w'ch I have thought best to put at ye End 
under these 2 Heads Prophetical Psalms, applied in ye 


N. T. to ye Character of ye Messiah and Ps : composed 
during ye Want of an Opp'y of ye public "Worship of 
God. If you propose any Alteration of this Order, you will 
be pleased to set down minutely, ye Ps : that suit any 
new Heads you may propose. Notwithstanding ye Im 
patience of ye Public (and I may add my own Desire of 
having this Business out of hand) I very willingly stop 
ye Press this Week, to comply with your Desire of seeing 
the 1st S. of ye Psalms, before it be worked off. Mr 
Hall says it will be to no purpose to go on composing, 
as ye preparing a Sheet will not take him half ye Time 
of working it off. The Week however will not be wholly 
lost ; as to prevent it, I have given him ye Tables for 
finding ye Holy days; which take up just a Form. The 
Table for Easter I have adjusted to 2 Cycles of ye Moon, 
adding ye Epacts, Golden Nos. and Dom: Letters; ye 
present Year begins a Cycle and ye 2d Ends at 1823. 
This Space makes a convenient Page with our Letter. I 
have omitted in this Table all ye Holy days besides 
Easter ; because that being known, ye next Table shews 
ye others. In all other Respects I shall print ye said 
Tables, agreeably to Dr Franklin's BookQ which has 

1 DR. FRANKLIN'S PRAVER-BOOK. A copy of this very rare volume, 
allusion to which is made above, is in the Collection of Liturgies 
gathered by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Stevens, D.D., of Philadelphia. The 
following extracts from the Memoir of Granville Sharp, Esq., by Prince 
Hoare, will furnish Franklin's own account of its preparation. From 
the circumstance in his letter alluded to, this volume is one of the 
rarest of modern liturgies. 

The title of the book is as follows. " Abridgement of 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 together with the Psalter or Psalms of David. 
Pointed as they are to be sung or said in Churches. London, Printed 
in the Year MDCCLXXIII." 

In connection with the efforts of the celebrated Granville Sharp, 
Esq., of London, to effect the introduction of the English succession 
into America, a correspondence took place with Franklin, extracts 
from which, as furnished in the Memoirs of Sharp, pp. 216-218, we 
give below : 


17th June, 1785. 


"I have been informed, that, several years ago, you revised the 
Liturgy of the Church of England, with a view, by some few altera- 


them in ye neatest "Way of any I have seen. This Form 
will be our "Weeks work. 

I have ye Table of proper Lessons ready; and have 

tions, to promote the more general use of it. But I have never yet 
been able to see a copy of the form you proposed. Our present public 
service is certainly, upon the whole, much too long, as it is commonly 
used ; so that a prudent revision of it, by the common consent of the 
members of the Episcopal Church in America, might be very advan 
tageous ; though, for my own part, I conceive that the addition of 
one single rubric from the Gospel, would be amply sufficient to direct 
the revisers to the only corrections that seem to be necessary at 
present I mean, a general rule, illustrated by proper examples, 
references, and marks, to warn the officiating ministers how they 
may avoid all useless repetitions and tautology in reading the service. 
As, for instance, after the Lord's Prayer has been read in one of the 
offices, the minister should be directed to omit it in all the others; 
though, perhaps, the solemn repetition of it by the communicants, 
after returning from the Lord's table, may be deemed a proper ex 
ception to the general rule ; that the Collect of the day should not 
be read in the first office, but rather in the second service, or vice 
versa, at the minister's discretion, but by no means in both, as it occa 
sions too plainly a vain repetition. In like manner, every other prayer, 
that contains nearly the same petition in substance as any of those 
that have already been read in the first office, ought to be omitted in 
the subsequent offices. And it will require a very careful and atten 
tive revision of the whole Liturgy, to discover all the repetitions, and to 
point them out with marginal notes of reference, that the officiating 
clergyman may be more easily enabled to avoid tautology. Such a 
prudent abridgment of the service, if it were done by common con 
sent, to preserve order and uniformity, would afford great relief to 
the clergy, as well as to their congregations ;, and both would be 
better enabled to fix their attention to their duty during the service; 
because the human mind is not easily restrained for any long time 
together from wandering, or absence of thought : so that nothing can 
be more pernicious to devotion than long prayers and needless repetitions. 
This opinion is sufficiently justified by an injunction of our Lord him 
self respecting prayer ; which, therefore, I propose as the one additional 
rubric necessary to direct us in the use of our Liturgy viz. ' when ye 
pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathens do; for they think that they shall 
be heard for their much speaking: be not ye therefore, like unto them.' 

" The repetitions, and consequent unnecessary length, of our Church 
Service, are faults, however, which ' have crept in unawares,' and without 
design, by an inconsiderate use of several offices in immediate suc 
cession which seem to have been originally intended for separate 
times of assembling. But in every other respect, the Liturgy of the 
Church of England is an excellent form, both for expression of the 
most exalted piety, and for general edification in point of doctrine ; 
for, after the most careful examination, I am thoroughly convinced 
that it is strictly conformable to ' the faith once delivered to the saints,' 
which we ought to ' hold fast.' 

" I remain, with great esteem and respect, dear Sir," &c. &c. 

"G. S." 


taken more pains with this than with any Part of ve 

As to ye Calendar with ye Table of common Lessons, 
I believe all we can do with it is so to divide }^e long 


PASSY, July 5, 1785. 

* * * * * * # 

"The Liturgy you mention, was an abridgment of the Prayers, made 
by a Noble Lord of my acquaintance, who requested me to assist him 
by taking the rest of the book viz. the Catechism, and the reading 
and singing Psalms. Those I abridged, by retaining of the Cate 
chism only the two questions, What is your duty to God? What is your 
duty to your neighbour? with their answers. The Psalms were much 
contracted, by leaving out the repetitions (of which I found more 
than I could have imagined), and the imprecations, which appeared 
not to suit well the Christian doctrine of forgiveness of injuries, and 
doing good to enemies. The book was printed for Wilkie, in Paul's 
Churchyard, but never much noticed. Some were given away, very 
few sold, and I suppose the bulk became waste paper. In the prayers 
so much was retrenched, that approbation could hardly be expected ; 
but I think with you, a moderate abridgment might not only be useful, 
but generally acceptable. 

" I am, dear Sir," &c. &c. 


To these extracts we append the following additional statements 
derived from a letter from Bishop Stevens : 

" ' This abridgement, together with the preface was drawn up by 
Sir Francis Dashwood, Bart., Baron le Dispenser, and given by him 
to Lord Mountstuart, 1775. The book was printed in a private press 
of his own at West-Wycombe Bucks/ 

Note written probably by Lord Mountstuart on the title-page of 
my copy. 

In the copy which belonged to Bishop White there is this auto 
graph note by the Bishop : 

' This book was presented to me in the year 1785 while ye Liturgy 
was under review by Mrs. Sarah Bache, by direction of her father 
Dr. Benj. Franklin, who with Lord Le Dispenser, she said, were the 
framers of it. W W 

I know of but two other copies : 

The one formerly Bp. White's (just referred to), now in the pos 
session of Mrs. Henry Reed (widow of Prof. Henry Reed, of the Uni 
versity of Pennsylvania), the grand-daughter of Bp. White, and the 
other in the library of Dr. T. Hewson Bache, the great-grandson of 
Dr. Franklin. 

This Liturgy seems to have been used in a Society in England. 

Very truly yours, 



Lessons as to afford ye expunging of ye Apocrypha. I 
luive minuted ye Lessons which may be so divided; 
omitting in my way a very few Lessons, ye public Read 
ing of which appears indecent : and more than a few we 
cannot dispense with, without spoiling ye Design of 
Laving ye Bible read through in ye Course of ye year. 

I rejoice with you on our having so nearly finished ye 
Business with so much Harmony and am 

Yours aff'y 


PHILAD'A, Feb 1, '86. 

Pray do not cross ye Bay without writing to me par 
ticularly. I have written you a very disorderly and I 
suppose incorrect Letter ; but I write in Haste and yet 
wish to be full. 

Respecting ye Tunes, 

I have contrived to substitute Brunsw'ck for St. Ann's. 

The Hymn Tune and those you sent up w'd take up 
very considerable Room and therefore I mention what 

Mr II. had so fitted his Tunes as to occupy an Half 
Sheet on both sides; besides w'ch, he is desirous of 
inserting a page of Chants ; and if I comply with this, 
it will be to gratify him, as he has taken so much trouble 
iii ye matter. !N"ow ye Half Sheet only will be a very 
expensive Matter. The Ruling Press alone (if Mr Lea- 
coks Proposals are reasonable and he says he has made 
them lower than he w'd for any but a charitable Purpose 
however I shall consult Judges) will be a Demand on us 
for 62. 10 When ye Book comes out it will be some 
Time before Remittances of Cash are made from ye 
other States, and in ye mean Time I shall have to settle 
with ye Printer, Bank, &c. Matters being thus circum 
stanced, I wish to add no more to ye Musick. You 
know Tunes may be sung besides those printed. For my 
Part, I am convinced, that no one Circumstance impedes 
singing in our Churches so much as great Diversity of 

N.B. Mr. H. thinks ye tunes sent up very bad and 
destitute of melody. 



I hope, as you have ordered matters, there will be no 
great Delay "at the Press. I received by your sending me 
these Proofs, the Psalmody. It was only that I might 
have a specimen with me across the Bay as far as the Book 
is printed. If you have attended fully to what I wrote in 
my former Letter, I think I left you at Liberty to follow 
the arrangment you have made of the Psalms, provided 
enough could be had from every one Psalm, for a short 
Portion to sing, which from memory I did not apprehend 
would be the Case, as from some of the Reading Psalms 
but one or two Yerses were retained ; and these I thought 
must either be rejected in the singing Psalms or joined 
with some other Ps. After all I see no Difference in this 
mode, for all that comes under the first metre, on Praise 
and Adoration, stands exactly in the same Order it would 
have done in the other mode, and would have made but 
35 Yerses as one Chapter or Psalm. But I am very well 
satisfied as it is: only as in the Rubrick prefix'd, all of 
them are said to be "selected from the Psalms of David" 
the name of David need stand at the Head of each par 
ticular new Psalm or Selection. Might it not be "Psalm 
1 [from 8th,] and yet it seems as well as you have it so 
I have no more to say on this Head. 

I think the Substitutes for " come let us sing," &c. on 
Christmas, Ashwednesday, &c, Good Friday, &c, as well 
as the old one for Easter, in all future Editions, had better 
be inserted with their proper Titles in the Place where 
they are to be read, that is just after the daily " Yenite" 
or " Come" &c. to save the Trouble of turning the Book 
and to be consistent with the Rest of our Arrangments. 
There is a Precedent for this in the Communion Service, 
where all the Prefaces for these particular Days are col 
lected into the Place where they are to be said or sung. 
If you approve this, it is easy to alter the Rubrick pre 
fixed to these new Venite's accordingly. That for Ascen 
sion Day might have concluded with the 8th Verse. The 
following Yerses, especially from Ps. 2 might have better 
been for Whitsunday with some other Yerse* which are 
now set apart for it. But I do not now wish to alter the 
Press, except in the Rubrick aforesaid, if you approve the 


Transposition of all the Substitutes into one place with 
the daily Venite in future Edit. # 

The Line " See streaming from th' accursed tree" is 
by taking it from the original Author, Watts. 'Tis 
altered thus in the Magdalen Collection from which you 
recommended in your Xote 

See, streaming from the fatal Tree 
And the other Line 

Thou Sun as deepest night be black. 

I can see no more Impropriety in transferring the sing 
ing Psalms into Hymns under the Heads to which they 
apply, than in the method we have taken to transfer them 
under the three proper Heads of Praise, &c. as now to be 
published. The few Passages that relate to the Cruci 
fixion, to the Ascension, &c. can stand no where so well as 
among the Hymns under those Heads. They would 

Psalms, or under any of the few Heads 

which the taken by Tate and Brady in 

versifying the Psalms and the Composition of some other 
Parts of Scripture. I pay great Regard to the Judgment 
of Mr Hopkinson and my other respected Friends, the 
Clergy of your City; but we have Clergy of some Judg 
ment here whom I consult also, and in this arrangement 
and Collection of Hymns, something of which kind has 
been long wish'd, I have some Dependence on my own 
Judgment also, and should be happy if you and the other 
Gentlemen could agree to have the Specimen of Hymns 
offered to the public with as few Deviations as possible 
from the Plan which upon great Deliberation I have sub 
mitted to you, and Dr Wharton, if he can be consulted. 

I cannot conceive for what Reason you say the Psalms 
applied as Hymns for the Ascension must be taken in 
strained Sense to apply to that Occasion. Are they not 
the 24th and 47th, the very same which you have applied 
instead of the Venite for that Day ? The two Hymns in 
the Conclusion do not apply better to the Ascension than 
to Whitsunday, or some other Days. Christ's Commission 
was delivered to his Apostles while on Earth, and the 
Gifts which ,he sent from on high to enable them to go 
forth in his Name were not on the Day of Ascension. 
They seem to stand very well where they are either to 



be used on the Occasion as suggested, or any other to 
which they will apply. I think less than two Hymns 
for any one Festival or Occasion, would not do. You 
have forgot to enclose Mr. Hopkinson's Psalm or Hymn 
for July 4th. What you propose may, if you will, be 
added to July 4th, but the few verses I have taken of Ps. 
68, I think might stand. The words proud oppressor you 
may alter, and the five Lines which I hinted at in my 
note and which are in the following Part of the Psalm, 
you know I never intended to be made part of our stated 
Service for the present at least. 

Please to finish the Calendar as you propose. You 
have taken so much Pains with it that unless I could find 
Time to take equal Pains in the Examination it would be 
wrong to interfere. I think your Plan good, only do not 
make any of the Lessons unreasonably long, and contrive 
the Introductions and Breaks suitably. 

Enclosed you have my Essay of a Preface ; the Post is 
just setting off. The Preface or Address which was a 
matter particularly entrusted to the committee I have 
ever considered as a matter of great Importance as the 
first Impressions on the Introduction of the Book may be 
of serious Concern. Of this the Church was sensible in 
Cha's 2d's Time, on the last Review, when they wrote 
their several Prefaces, giving a full account of the Reasons 
of all the alterations, the abolition of Ceremonies, &c. I 
have therefore interwoven much of that Preface, and 
rather than to set forth what we have done ourselves, 
which indeed is but little, have given an account of what 
the wisest and best members of the Church of Eng'd 
have long wish'd to have done, in order to shew that we 
are not pretending to be Leaders in Reformation, but 
follow them and remain connected with them. This will 
state our Work quite in a Light, wherein few consider it, 
and give a Historical Information with which the People 
in general of our Communion will be pleased, and be made 
able to give an answer to Gainsayers. 

I have also interwoven the chief Part of your Preface; 
but found it unnecessary to give the Reason of every par 
ticular Alteration, but rather following the Example of the 
old Preface, to pay the necessary mark of Complaisance 
to the Reader by observing that a Comparison of the 
old Book with the New would sufficiently [show] both 


the alterations and the Reason of them. The Preface 
should be set in a small and handsome Letter. It will 
not altogether be so long as the old Preface to our Common 
Prayer, the Treatise and Ceremonies and other Notifica 
tions which were found necessary to preface to that Book ; 
and our Reasons for being particular are at least as strong 
as ye Ch. of Eng'd in 1662. Many will strive to make 
the People believe we are wholly departing from the 
Church of England nay treating her as a corrupt and 
erroneous Church, by setting up a Reformation of our 
own. But I hope this Preface will obviate and confute 
these and all such like misrepresentations, especially, 
when it has undergone your judicious and sober Revisal. 
You must not, i.e. I hope you will not, regard a few Pages 
or Sentences more or less in the Length of this important 
Part, nor the little additional Expence of the Psalms. 
The Book will sell as readily at 7s. 6. as at 5s. 


You apprehended some Haste and Incoherence in your 
last to me. You have all that in this letter, the last Part 
of which has been written in the Office while the mail 
was closing, having been very late this morning before I 
got the Preface concluded. I hope now we have nearly 
done and so without more Prefaces f or Conclusions. 

I remain, &c. 

Yours affect'y 

CHESTER, Feb'y 6th, 1786. 



I rec'd yours of ye 6th with ye Preface. As you seem 
not fully satisfied as to the propriety of leaving out ye 
Words " of David" I have let them stand. Your criti 
cism respecting part of ye 2d Ps: was so evidently just, 
that I have given Mr Hall ye trouble of transposing ye 
verses from ye End of Ascension Day to ye beginning 
of Whits'y. The transposing of ye Substitutes for ye 
Venite to the Morning Prayer seems to me not quite so 
proper, as ye placing them as we have done in ye Case of 
ye 4th of July &c. and ye Collects for Ashwednesday, to 
Services appropriate to ye respective Days ; besides which, 


it w'd make" a Break in ye Morn'g Prayer, which at present 
stands j ust as it is to be read. The Prefaces in ye Comm'n 
being continuations and part of ye sentence of what pre 
cedes them, could not have been otherwise placed without 
confusing ye officiating Minister. You do not lay stress 
on this, and it stands as before. 

I give up my Sentiment respecting ye hymnifying 
ye Psalms ; and shall only observe, that in mentioning 
ye Opinion of our Brethren of this City, my Intention 
was not to undervalue yours, or that of our Brethren 
whom you have an Opp'y of consulting ; but only to be 
a Counterpoise to that Deference I entertain for your 
Judg't which might otherwise have made me sacrifice my 
Sense of ye matter rather more easily than my Duty in 
ye present Business would warrant. 

I enclose you Mr Hopkinson's Hymns of which I 
request jour Opinion. I intend executing this Matter 
agreeably to your Desires. You seem to have left a little 
Liberty with regard to verbal Alterations : If I am wrong 
you will correct me. I wish you could get rid of "ye 
Spoil of Armies once their Dread", as applied to Ascen 
sion Day. 

I shall be attentive to ye Kalendar. It is not within 
our Appointment; and yet I believe we shall be thanked 
for so dividing ye Lessons as to serve ye triple Purpose of 
shortening ye Service, expunging ye Apocryphal Chapters, 
and getting rid of some ye public Eeading of which may 
seem immodest. I fear we must let ye New Test't Lessons 
stand as at present : and yet ye Gospels and Acts might 
be very well worded so as to be read twice instead of 
thrice in ye year. As to ye Table of proper Lessons, I 
have taken great Pains with it and hope it will meet 
your Approbation. 

I like your Preface both in Plan and in Execution. 
The particularities in mine are rendered unnecessary by 
ye Articles you have inserted as proposed at ye Revolu 
tion. A few Observations that occurred to me in the 
Reading I have noted in a separate Paper and will en 

You seem to have applied what I said on ye Art'e of 
Expeuce to ye Printer's Business instead of ye Psalmody. 
I approved highly of your Proposal in this Respect ; but 
eh'd begrudge ye Money, if much were to be inserted. 


You seem to have been as little versed as myself in ye 
Costs of this Business. 

You speak of a Dollar for ye Book. I thought of ye 
same ; but find some are of Opinion, that it will be con 
sidered as forcing Money for our Funds. It is an Objec 
tion that sh'd have no Weight, but for our Reading 
Psalms, which will make ye purchasing of new Books 
indispensably necessary to ye joining in our Service : and 
we might have some Regard to those of middling Condi 
tion who w'd wish a Prayer Book to be in ye hands of 
every Member of their Families. 

On ye other Hand, it is natural for us to wish to see 
our Labors in this Business productive of some Fruit to 
ye Widows and ye Orphans. 

I only throw out ye above for your Consid'n and am 
Your aff 'te h'le Serv't 

i W. WHITE. 

PHILAD'A, Feb. 10, 86. 

P.S. I request you to consider whether it will not be 
best to bring in Addison's Translations " The Lord my 
Pasture shall prepare," and "The spacious Firmament, 
&c." among ye Hymns. They are not strict Translations. 
The latter at least can come in no other way as it is in ye 
same Metre with Tate and Brady's Translations of ye 19 
Ps. It will not be too late to decipher this by Return of 

P.S. The Dec'r Packet informs of Willet's Arrival : by 
whom went ye Original letter to ye Bps. 

Some Queries on the Preface to the Common Prayer. (Dr. 


Page 2d. Quere ye Propriety of saying any Thing about 
ye Church of Rome. 

Page 10. Prot. Ep. Churches. Would it not be better 
in ye singular Number at least it sh'd be so when we 
speak of ye Acts of ye late Convention, in order to har 
monize with ye Phraseology of ye Constitution. 

Page 12. The Apology for not reviewing ye Collects, 
&c, appears to me exceptionable. 1st because ye pleading 
ye want of Time seems an improper Excuse in Business 


of this Magnitude and holds out ye Expediency of 
another Review ; 2dly because we do not know that ye 
Conv'tn w'd not have given ye necessary Powers to ye 
Comm'ee as is insinuated, and 3dly because there are 
other Alterations alluded to which we have not adopted. 
I wish ye Expression to be more general ; thus "it will 
appear that almost every Amendment &c." Ibid. It is 
said, that ye Service is so arranged as that we need not 
turn backwards and forwards. This being not exactly 
true, I wish ye Exp'n modified. 

Page 13. "For ye greater Ease of ye Clerks, &c." This 
Kubrick says they are to be sung at ye Discretion of ye 
Minister. It may be corrected by putting ye Words "of 
chusing" instead of "of ye Clerks." 

Page 14, in ye Note. I have here two Remarks to 
make. 1. It seems hardly worth while to quote Bp: 
Burnet for what is to-be found in so many Writers. 
2dly The Explanation will militate against ye whimsical 
Ideas of some Persons grounded as they conceive on holy 
Writ. We sh'd avoid touching of principle as much as 
possible ; and ye footing on which (I think) we sh'd rest 
ye Omission of ye Clause with ye Persons alluded to, is 
that even supposing their opinion true, yet, being 
grounded on a few controverted Passages, it ought not 
to be made part of so very concise and general a Confes 
sion of our Faith. 

Page 15. Son of ye Church say Member lest we may 
seem to deny ye Right of female Judgement. 

Quere. Ought not some Reason to be given for omit 
ting ye Creeds ? The Reason might be that we did not 
judge ye Athanasian to tend to Edification, and that ye 
Nicene was a Repetition. 

And ought not a Reason to be briefly given for "ye 
Visitation of Prisoners" if it were only to make an 
honest Acknowlegement of our Debt to ye Ch : of Ireland. 


I had written you a long Letter, to send by ye Western 
Shore Post: but missed ye Opp'y from not knowing that 
ye Office had changed their Days. Another Post goes to- 


morrow Morning, but as you may have left Annapolis, I 
have thought it best to reserve it for ye Eastern Shore on 
Wednesday. If however, I sh'd have a Line from you 
at Ann's informing of your Stay there this Week, I will 
repeat ye Substance of what I have written, altho' there 
is nothing requiring an immediate Answer. 

So I shall say no more at present, except to acknow- 
lege ye Rec't of ye Preface, and to express my Appro 
bation of it and that 

I am, Yours aff'y, 

PHILAD'A, Feb 12, 86. W. WHITE. 



BALTIMORE, Feb'y 25th, 1786. 

As Mr. Green, by his News Paper, knew the different 
Places where I was to be every Day during my late Tour 
for holding the Election of Vis'rs and Gov'rs of St. Johns 
College, he forwarded your short Letter of Feb'y 12th to 
Upper Marlboro' where it met me the 22d Ins't on my 
way to this Town ; and gave me the great Satisfaction of 
hearing that you had received the Preface, and that it 
hath met with your Approbation. By our Appointment, 
among other Things, we were directed to " accompany 
the Prayer Book with a proper Preface or Address, setting 
forth the Reason and Expediency of the Alterations, &c." 
This therefore was a very important Part of the great 
Trust committed to us, and I was exceedingly anxious 
that it should be discharged in the fullest and yet least 
ostentatious manner possible, holding forth this leading 
Idea thro' the whole, that we were not attempting any 
Novel Reformations or the least Departure from what has 
been the general Sense of the greatest and best men in 
our Church for a Century past. If our Address has the 
effect intended, it will procure a ready Acceptance of 
the Book, and that not upon the mere authority of the 
Convention, but upon Principles carrying Conviction to 
every rational mind, and enabling them as I hinted in 
my last to give a Reason, &c. to all who may call in Ques 
tion any Part of the Alterations or Improvements, which 
are offered. In this View, the Preface is a necessary and 


essential Part of our Work, and I hope will not be 
thought too long as I cannot see in what Part it could 
well be abridged without Injury. I speak this from my 
own Wish to have had it shorter : for you do not seem to 
make any Objection to its Length, or to any Thing else 
in it, which as I said before gives me great Satisfaction. 
I think I mentioned in my last Letter that if printed in a 
smaller Letter it will not take more Room thart the differ 
ent Prefaces before the old Prayer Book, which are three 
or four, (exclusive of the Act of Uniformity) viz 1st. The 
General Preface ; 2d. Concerning the Service of the 
Church ; 3d. of Ceremonies, &c, 4th. How the Psalter and 
Scripture are to be read. I beg your attention to the 
Punctuation, both of the Hymns and Preface as I never 
read them over, with a View to Punctuation, and ^ou 
have only such Stops or Points as fell from my Pen in a 
hasty Transcription. 

Please to direct the Book binder to prepare half a Dozen 
Copies of the best and first Binding in his Power for my 
Use, as I have engaged them to some Persons of Dis 
tinction, Friends and Patrons of our great Undertaking. 

Our Convention meets the 4th of April. I hope we 
shall not be disappointed in our 500 Books : some of 
which ought to be distributed in the different Parishes 
before that Time. You will give all Dispatch possible. 
Dr. West gives you his best Compl'ts. He is just elected 
by Baltimore Town, a Visitor and Gov'r of St. John's 
College. We meet for the 1st Time, as a Body Corporate 
at Annapolis on Tuesday next; and on Wednesday March 
1st. I hope to cross the Bay to Chester and to receive 
your several Letters which may wait for me there * 

* * Have you yet heard any Thing from England ? 
Yours, &c. 



Mar. 86. 

Yours of the 15th does not require a long answer. I 
have hastily, since my last, run over the Metre Psalms ; 
but except some Corrections in the Punctuation, which I 
think might be made to advantage in sundry Passages, I 


see little that needs alteration; and even these are too 
insignificant, to require a Table of Errata. A candid 
Reader will easily see they are but little Oversights, and 
I have seen no Impression of the Psalms or indeed of the 
Prayer Book in general, more free from Typographical 
Errors, for which we are indebted to your indefatigable 
attention to the Sheets, joined I am persuaded to some 
considerable Care and Attention in Mess'rs Hall and 

In the Hymns enclosed to me in your last are a few 
lines I could have wish'd to amend, but hope they are 
now printed oft', and so they must stand as they are at 
present. You objected in your Letter of Feb'y 1st upon 
receiving the Copies of the Hymns, to a Line in the 4th 
Hymn (viz for Good Friday) " Well may the Sun as Hell be 
black," also in your Letter of Feb'y 16th you objected to 
the expression " Spoil of Armies once their Dread" in the 
2d Hymn for the Ascension, being Hymn X. I thought 
both your Objections well grounded, and readily proposed 
Substitutes ; the last of which on Ascension Day (as I 
wrote ^you) I considered as a great Improvement; but as 
I had % not kept Copies of the original Hymns w'ch I 
transmitted to you, I made the Alterations or Substitu 
tions, from what my Memory retained of them and in 
both Cases changed the Person, viz. putting the 2d Per 
son for the 3d ; Instead of 

" Thou Son as darkest night be black" 

It should be "The Sun" &c and perhaps "deepest night" 
for darkest night. 

Again in Hymn X, the 2d for the Ascension, in Stan 
zas 5 and 6, the 2d Person should be everywhere chang'd 
into the Third Person, not only on account of the Rhyme 
in the 5th Stanza, as " Thou" does not rhyme to " Cap 
tivity," but also on account of the Sense and Beauty of 
Connexion, which as I said before, I could not so well 
perceive in offering the Amendment from Memory. The 
Hymn is in double Rhymes, and the two Stanzas, viz 5th 
and 6th should run thus 

5 Ascending high, in Triumph, HE 

hath Gifts receiv'd for sinful Men ; 
And captive led Captivity, 
that God may dwell on earth again. 


6 Ev'n Rebels shall partake HIS Grace 

and humble Proselytes repair, 
To worship at HIS dwelling Place, 
and all the world pay Homage there. 

And in Hymn IX (the 1st for the Ascension) which I 
consider as one of the most beautiful and animated in the 
whole Collection, nay, even sublime, the 1st. and 2d. 
Verses taken from Ps. 24, and connected with Verses 
that follow, which follow in double Rhymes, should for 
Uniformity, had it been attended to in due Season, have 
been changed into double Rhymes also, which might easily 
have been done as follows, viz. for the words " eternal 
Gates," in the 1st Line putting " eternal Domes," and 
for the words "his foes" in the 3d Line of Verse 2d put 
ting " HIS FOE" which would have been much stronger in 
the Singular Number than the Plural, in making it ap 
plicable to the one great Foe, whom CHRIST came to sub 
due. As the Hymns are of different metres, they might 
have been marked as such ; but being all I think of the 
first and second metre, the Clerks cannot well mistake 
them. I would observe too that in Singing or Metre 
Psalms, instead of putting the Numbers of the Psalms, 
as the running Title at the Top of each Page, the Top of 
the Page, or running Title, had perhaps better have been 
the Subjects or Heads under which they are classed, as 
"Psalms of Praise and Adoration," "Psalms of Prayer, 
&c. Thus at every Opening of the Book, the Clerks or 
Ministers would know the Subject, without turning back 
to the Title or Heads at the Beginning of each Class or 
net of Psalms; and these Titles would have stood in as 
little Room at the Top of each Page as " Psalms II. III. 
Psalms V. VI. which are of little Use on the Top; as a 
Glance of the Eye shews the Number, in the Body, of the 
Pages. But all these little amendments (the last of 
which is an afterthought) are too late for the Present, 
even if they should be deemed amendments. 

In that Part of the Preface which speaks of the Fail 
ure of the great Work of the Review at the Revolution 
in 1689, I would have wished to have said a little more 
concerning the Reasons of that unhappy Failure; and 
that in the words of Dr. Warner, from the Preface to his 
Commentary on the Common Prayer, a very excellent 
and judicious Work to which I had not attended when I 


drew up the Preface to our Book. It might jet be added 
in a Xote upon the Word "miscarried" in the following 
Paragraph of the Preface, w'ch you can easily find. In 
my rough Copy it runs thus, which is all that is said, 
viz ["But this great and good Work miscarried* at 
""that Time; and the Civil Authority of Great Britain 
~" hath not since thought proper to revive it by any new 
~" Commission'."] The Note .on the foregoing is as fol- 
ows, or it might have been interwoven with the Text, or 
stood altogether instead of the Paragraph just quoted, 

After giving an Account of the alterations intended at 
the Revolution, much as I have stated them from the 
same authors, as he had to follow, he concludes thus 

"But while this important affair was carrying on, the 
" Party which was now at Work for the abdicated King, 
"took hold on this Occasion to inflame Men's minds. It 
" was pretended that the Church was to be demolished, 
"and Presbytery set up. The Trumpet of Sedition was 
"sounded as usual from the Pulpits. The Universities 
"took fire, and began to declare against the Commission 
" and against all who promoted it, as men who intended 
"to undermine the Church. So that it was very visible 
" that the Temper of Men was not cool or calm enough 
"to encourage the further Prosecution of this great and 
"good Design, which would have been so much to the 
" Improvement of our publick Worship, to the Interest 
" of the Protestant Religion, and to the Honour of the 
" Church of England : and thus it was defeated by the 
"Turbulency and restless Spirit of ignorant and factious 
"and evil minded men. Why it has not been resumed 
" in the Days of more Knowledge, more Candour and 
" Christian Charity, is a Question which many good men 
" have often asked with Seriousness and Zeal, but which 
"no great Men, upon which it lies to do it, I believe, 
"have ever answered." 

I say that if I had adverted to this Paragraph in Time, 
I should probably have inserted it at large instead of the 
few general Lines which I have quoted in the two last 
Lines of the foregoing Page, and the first line of this ; 
or have thrown it in a Note at the Bottom as now pro 
posed. Had it stood in the Body of the Preface, it would 
come in very well; for after Dr Warner's words "which 


"no great men, upon whom it lies to do it, I believe, 
"have ever answered" the next Paragraph of our 
Preface beginning, "But when in course of his divine 
Providence," &c. would just as well have follow'd, as it 
does the few words I have said on the Subject. But I 
submit wholly to you, whether it may be proper now to 
insert it by way of Note, or in the Body, or to leave the 
Preface just as it is without entering more particularly 
into the Reasons of the Miscarriage at the Revolution in 
England. I would not wish to draw any Opposition to 
what has been done in our Church; and yet I fear the 
quotation above from Dr. Warner will yet be necessary 
(tho' it may be left out for the Present,) to show, if any 
opposition arises among us, it will be from the same 
Principles as that in England, a Dislike to our American 
Revolution. I would not ascribe the Opposition or rather 
Disapprobation which I find in some of my Friends to 
this Principle, because I believe they are well satisfied 
with what Providence has permitted to take Place re 
specting American Independency; but they object 
strongly to setting the State so much above the Church, 
for which you bear much of the Blame on account of 
your old Pamphlet^ 1 ) and strenuous Efforts at our last 
General Convention to bring that Clause forward re 
specting the Controul of the Laity over the appointment 
of Bishops, and which may be made a Handle of to 
prejudice many against other Parts of our Proceedings. 

My learned but zealous high Church little Friend and 
Relation (as he says) Mr Smith of Somerset, writes me 
as follows which perhaps he did not yet wish me to 
communicate to you, altho I believe he cares not who 
sees what he writes, yet you will keep it to yourself till 
I can see him, which will be in two weeks, but I lose 
the Thread of my Discourse I say Mr Smith, who says 
he has just received a long Letter from Bishop Seabury 
on the same Subject, with an account of their Connec 
ticut Constitution writes thus 

" I have been looking all this while for a Sight of the 
" Prayer-Book altered, and by a Letter from Dr White I 
" understand it is hurrying on. A passage in that Letter 

1 " The Case of the Episcopal Churches in the United States con 
sidered" &c. 


" 1 did not and do not now perceive the Propriety of it 
"is this 'I suppose you have heard of our Application 
"to the English Bishops, the Convention was far from 
"wishing to shew any Dis-respect to the Scots Epis- 
" copacy,' " &c. and so he gives me a long extract of your 
Letter, and then writes as follows 

u These modes of Proceeding may be consentaneous 
"with the wisdom of this World, but ill accords with 
" that Wisdom, who hath said My Kingdom is not of this 
"World Ye are not of the World, &c. To the account 
" the Dr (White) gives of Bp. Seabury's Failure (as he is 
" pleased to call it) I shall only say thus much. That the 
" Case of the Church in all the States, or in any indi- 
" vidual one at present is perfectly as a single Diocese 
"without a Centre of Unity, the Presbyters of which 
" have an unquestionable Right to nominate a Bp., with- 
" out the Interference of any Diocese having a Bishop or 
" not having one. Bp. Seabury's Failure then, on eccle- 
" siastical Principles, is not owing to his being sent by 
"Presbyters acting in their private Capacity Certificates 
" from the Ruling Powers is without a Precedent iu any 
" Christian Ch. in ye Universe. This is fixing the Church 
" under the Power of the State for ever and ever with a 
"Witness It is making Jesus Christ make Obeisance to 
" Caesar ! ! ! Reigning Powers granting Certificates ! Tell 
" it not in Gath ! publish it not to the World lest we pub- 
" lish our own Infamy The Church in America to de- 
" rive her Power, nay her Existence from Temporal Au- 
" thority perish the Idea ! Her Charter from the Hands 
"of the Eternal runs thus 'As my Father hath sent me' 
"&c. 'All Power is given to me in Heaven.' Let us 
" render unto Caesar, &c. The Church and the State are 
" by God constituted separate, and let no man join what 
"he hath separated The Sword of the Cherubim and 
" Caesar's are of different Metals, the one pointing to the 
"Victim which should prevent the effusion of human 
"Blood by his own, the other occasioning multitudes of 
" Garments rolled in Blood and the infinite Xumber of 
"the Slain. "May the Church rest al\vaj 7 s on its own 
" true Foundation Jesus Christ, and the Throne of Eni- 
"pire on its proper Basis Mercy. Adieu. May God 
"direct you and those who sit in Moses's Seat" &c. 

' You will meditate on all this and do with the proposed 


addition in the Preface as you think best, only do not 
delay it for sending me Proofs. 

In the Paragraph of the Preface beginning " When in 
the Course of divine Providence, it pleased Almighty 
God that these American States &c", a few Lines after 
wards you have the words "these States" a 2d time, dele 
the Repetition of "these States." You will supply all 
the Omissions of Words, &c. in this Letter for as usual I 
put off sitting down to write you till within an Hour of 
the Post going off. * 

Yours, &c. 



CHESTER, March 1786. 
* * * * 

With respect to our Friend Mr Hopkinson's Hymns, 
that for 1st Thursday in Nov'r is only another arrange 
ment of some of the Verses of the same Psalms which 
stand in my Collection for the same Day, and whether for 
the better or worse you only can tell, as I have no Copy 
of those I sent you before, and to which you have given 
your general approbation.- If this Hymn of Mr H's Col 
lection is all he intends for 1st Th. of Nov'r it is very de 
fective, or at least, as there will be Psalmody twice if not 
oftener on that Day, we should have more than one 
Hymn ; and I leave the matter wholly with you, if the 
Business is not already finished, being persuaded that 
you will not break in upon the arrangment I had (with 
great Application) made without some good Purpose in 

As to the 4th. of July. The Hymn offered by Mr. H. 
is in many Parts far too flat for the great Occasion, and 
no way equal to what I have taken from Ps. 81 and 68. 
Thus War darkening all the Land God brings Nations 
to Decay Willing Mercy flew How good the Lord has 
been and also in the Hymn for Nov'r " Grass for our 
Cattle to devour' altho taken from Tate and Brady, does 
not read clever, it represents the Poor animals as raven 
ous and dying of Hunger, so as to devour all before 
them, instead of feeding hapmly and contentedly, upon 


The Lines from Ps. 81 (for July 4th) which are in the 
Collection I sent you, ending thus 

Your Ancestors with wrongs- oppr ess' d, 

To me for aid did call, 
With Pity I their Sufferings saw 

And set them FREE FROM ALL 

have far more in them than all that is proposed in their 
Room (if it is to be in their Room) or if to be added, 
would be superfluity. There can be no objection to the 
words "with wrongs oppress'd" for it is stronger still in 
Mr Hopkinson's, viz. " To rescue from oppressive Rage" 
and in the former, the beautiful Reference to "Ances 
tors" will Ages hence continue to be used with a noble 
Propriety. However, if these Hymns can come in with 
out tearing the whole Texture of the others, and if it be 
Mr Hopkinson's wish to have them, I am satisfied, for 
unless I had the whole before me, as proposed to be 
altered, I cannot take upon me to judge properly, and 
must leave that to 3 T ou. Only I wish you to save an exact 
Copy, or the whole Originals of the Hymns as I sent 
them to you. 

As we have kept the Collects, Epistles and Gospels, 
for about 22 Holy Days beginning with St. Andrew, and 
ending with All Saints, it will be necessary to mark in 
tho Kalendar, as heretofore, the Days of the Month, on 
which these holy Days fall, and to retain the Table of 
Lessons for those Days, as the Churches which think it 
proper will still be as ready to observe those Days, or 
some of them, as Occasion may require. 

I know you have taken great Pains with the Table of 
Lessons, and I am persuaded I shall have much Reason 
to approve of what you have done; which will be best 
considered when the whole is taken together; and it 
would be wrong to judge by Piece meal, of any Thing 
which the necessity of the Case has made the Work of 
one alone, and on which his particular attention hath 
been bestowed, taking the whole in one large and con 
sistent view. 

The same is the Case with Respect to the Preface, on 
which, as a most material Part of our Trust and Com 
mission, I had determined from the Beginning to bestow 
every convenient and possible attention, and it gives me 


the highest Satisfaction that you " like it both in the 
Plan and Execution." I have no exact Copy of it, only 
Notes and Sketches of the principal Parts, so that I can 
make no Use of your Reference to Pages in your Re 
marks ; but still can answer them in Substance, so as to 
enable you to correct it, if not too late for the Press. In 
my last from Baltimore I vvish'd you to attend to punc 
tuation, &c. both in the Hymns and Preface, as I had not 
read either of them over with a View either to the Nice 
ties of Language, Grammar or Stops. I proceed to your 

1. I think the little Quotation from the Council of 
Trent, exceeding proper to shew that all Churches agree 
with the Church or England in the Doctrine of her Pre 
faces, respecting the Necessity of Alterations, according 
to Times and Exigencies. In Maryland we have many 
Rom. Catholics, who are even already questioning some 
of our weak members, and charging us with Novelties, 
and still further Departures from the Catholic Faith. 
The answer is ready in the Quotation from a Council of 
their own Church, especially that of Trent. 

2d. Protestant Episcopal Churches should be in the sin 
gular Number; and yet if all our New England Brethren 
should not join us, they may say we take too much on us 
to call 7 or 8 States the whole Protestant Episcopal Church 
of America. I do not remember the Connection of the 
Paragraph; but if it be Churches, in the Plural, some 
such Idea must have been in my Head ; or it is a mistake 
of the Pen. Make this and other like Things consistent 
according to your best Judgment; for I know you will 
not Aitken( l )-ise any Thing, being too judicious to put a 
Patch that would not consort with the Garment at large. 

3. P. 12. The apology for not revising the Collects may 
be omitted in this Preface. Yet not for Fear of hinting 
the Probability of further Reviews, but because there were 
other Things besides the Collects w'ch the Ch. of England 
at and before the Revolution had in Contemplation to 
review, and which we have not yet touch'd upon ; and 
therefore every Reader may be left to his own Con 
clusion, as to the Necessity of future Reviews, by a Com- 

1 A reference, doubtless, to Kobert Aitken, a Philadelphia printer 
of some note at that time. 


parison of our Book on the "Whole, with the intended 
Alterations at the Revolution, and I think the Credit of 
our Work will rise on the Comparison. 

Ibid You may say " The Service is arranged so as to 
stand as nearly as possible in the Order wherein it is ap 
pointed to be read, without the Necessity of turning 
backwards and forwards, &c." 

P. 13. Say "for the greater Facility of chusing Psalms 
adapted to particular Subjects and Occasions of divine 
\Vorship;" or some such amendment. 

1*. 14. in the Note Bp. Burnet, being a great Name, 
and the Expositor of the Articles, seems to me very 
proper to be mentioned, and I should think, it being only 
;t -Vote, there is no need of leaving it out. There is no 
Alteration made in the whole Book, which is like to 
create so much Difficulty as the Omission of the Descent 
into Hell; and yet wherever I have had Occasion to ex 
plain the Matter as in the Note alluded to, it seems to 
have given Content. I would not give any Reasons for 
omitting the two other Creeds. The Athanasian seems 
freely to be parted with on all Hands and as to the Nicene 
I would say nothing concerning it in this Edition of the 
Prayer Book ; because I believe some whole States will 
agree with the three New England States, in having it 
inserted at their next Convention, and left optional either 
to be used, or to use the Apostle's Creed, altho not both in 
the same Morning or Evening Service; while others (I 
fear much from Virginia) will be for no Creeds at all, and 
also for striking out the Trinitarian Introduction to the 
Litany. Yet, I hope, Calmness and sound Argument, thro' 
the Blessing of God, may reconcile all, and preserve the 
Unity of the Faith in the Bond of Peace. 

P. 15. " Sou" of the Church may be made " Member," 
and 1 had no more Idea of excluding the "Daughters" 
of the Church, than I have every Sunday, when I say 
" Dearly beloved Brethren." Something may be added, in 
u few words, in acknowledgment to the Church of Ire 
land, for the Office adopted from her. You will know 
where to insert it. 

I hope, now, my good Sir, we have wholly done; and 
it will ever give me Pleasure to testify the great Satis 
faction I have had in the Progress of this laborious Work, 
and how much it hath been made easy to me, (amidst the 


Avocations I have had, and my Distance from the Press) 
by the Candor and Judgment which you have shewn, the 
Punctuality of your Correspondence, and the great Pains 
you have taken in digesting, transcribing, examining, cor 
recting the Press, &c. &c. 

I wish to know whether Mr Hall's Calculation of the 
Price of his work and Paper was not on 20 Sheets, and 
whether there will be any addition to the Price on his 
account? Or on the Bookbinders? If none the only 
additional Price will be the engraving and Printing the 
Tunes. You know it is part of our Appointment to fix 
the Price of the Book, direct the Distribution thereof, 
take Care that it be sold only for Money and the Profits 
applied to the Widows and Fatherless. I can not think a 
Dollar will be too much. Had we suffered any Printer 
here to do it on his own account, he would have asked a 
much greater Price. You know what they charged for 
small imported Prayer Books, and the very smallest 
School Books Yet for the Reasons you suggest, I wish 
it to be as cheap as possible, so as to have some savings ; 
for you may be assured that there will be money lost, or 
with great Difficulty collected out of the Hands of some 
to whom the Books may be sent for Distribution or Sale. 

I had almost forgotten your Objection to the 
" The Spoil of Armies once their Dread" 

as applied to the Ascension. You know it is Tate and 
Brady's, and hath long stood among our Psalms, but is 
easily altered thus, which I think will bring it nearer to 
the Evangelical Sense as well as Sublimity of the Ori 
ginal, which is Ps. 68, v. 18, 

In Triumph, Thou, ascending high, 

Hast Gifts received for sinful men, 
And captive led Captivity, 

That God may dwell on Earth again ! 

This I think will be very proper for the Ascension. 


I have preserved and endorsed all your Letters, and 
wish you to do the same with mine. They may refresh 
our Memories at some future Day, or shew our Children 


after us what honest and conscientious Labour we be- 
stow'd on the Work committed to us. 






I send you ye Sheets finished ; besides which there is 
another Form prepared for Press containing ye Residue 
of ye Psalms and ye 1st Nativity Hymn : besides which 
other Hymns are prepared in a detached Way, but can 
not be put in Form for want of Quadrats remaining in 
ye preceding Forms; as these latter cannot be broken 
until ye Rec't of some Paper hourly expected from Mill. 
We have not yet suffered for want of it. I lament our 
Delays but cannot help them. I will review ye Hymns 
to which your Remarks or Mr. H.'s relate and endeavour 
to settle them to your Satisfaction. The only liberty (so 
far as I recollect) that I have taken with ye others is ye 
leaving out some verses in one of ye Hymns at sea re 
specting ye blaspheming after a storm which appeared to 
me too much like ye language I am not as this Pub 
lican. If you dislike this omission, I can atill retain ye 
Verses. I have also put ye Glory be to ye Father, &c. 
irnmediatel}' after ye Ps's. before ye Notification that ye 
Hymns begin : as it is meant to be a Part of a Psalm to 
convert it into a X'tn Hymn, but not itself commonly 
known under ye Term Hymn. 

The Paper I have prepared for the Press relative to ye 
Holy days has ye Extra Holid'ys just as you desire. You 
have omitted answering me on a very important Ques 
tion respecting ye Calendar Lessons. On ye one hand I 
find that by our taking it in hand, these 3 important 
Points may be gained : ye shortening of ye daily Service, 
ye getting Rid of ye Apocrypha, and ye omitting two or 
three Lessons very offensive (in public Reading) to modest 
ears. On ye other hand it is not within ye Letter of our 
Appoint't so that I sh'd not like to accomplish what I 
think best on this Subject without your Concurrence. 

I shall continue ye Preface to your Satisfaction. As 
to ye Punctuation of this and ye Hymns, I had presumed 
from a general Glance over ye Points that you had 


attended to them ; but if any appear improper in ye 
Proof Sheets I will correct them. 

It gives me great Pleasure that you are satisfied with 
ye Execution of my part of ye Trust on this occasion ; 
especially as I can with great Sincerity make a similar 
Acknowlegement; and as I shall alway allow you more 
Credit on ye Score of Judgment than you ought to allow 
me, so also there is nothing you can say on that of Candor 
and Temper which I shall not as freely and fully say of 

You are right as to Mr Hall's Estimate of Sheets, and 
as to ye price of binding nothing more has past. Mr. 
"Woodhouse has half ye Number prepared for ye Covers 
and is impatient to begin. 

If you are clear as to ye proposed Price I have no 

It now becomes a Matter of serious Consideration, 
whether we shall avail ourselves of ye Copyright, for 
which (as I am told by a Gent, interested on these Sub 
jects) there are laws lately passed in other States making 
ten States in all. I think ye mode of doing it sh'd be 
for Mess. Hall and Sellers to enter it in their names, first 
executing to us an Acknowleg't of Trust, and so leaving 
ye Matter to ye next Convention, which may order a con 
veyance of ye Right to ye several Corporations for 
"Widows, &c. 

I will send you by ye next Post my Opinion of ye 
Manner in which we sh'd proceed in regard to ye sale 
of ye Books ; and shall only at present say on that head, 
that as ye Mary'd Convention is ye first, all ye Copies 
that can be got ready for their Use shall be devoted to 
them in preference to any demands on ye Spot. I am, 

Yours, &c. 


M'h 8, 86. 


P. S. I shall carefully and with pleasure observe your 
Desire respecting preserving your Letters; but had I fore 
seen you w'd have bestowed ye same Attention on mine, 
I sh'd not have sent you such hasty Scrawls. 




I am happy to find that yours of the 8th Ins't leaves 
me Nothing to write by this Post, except to repeat my 
Sollicitatious that the Printers may be press'd to use all 
the Dispatch possible with the Remainder of the Book ; 
otherwise it will come too late for our Maryland Conven 
tion ; and it is of considerable Consequence that it 
should have a ready Reception, with the Sanction of the 
Church at large in this State upon its first appearance. 
Send me by this Post as many of the remaining Sheets 
and Proofs, as you can get from the Press. 

I imagined that in my last I had given what you would 
consider as a sufficient Answer to your " important Ques 
tions" concerning the Kalendar, on which Subject you 
had also written in some former Letters. The arranging 
the Kalendar in the manner you mention, and which I 
had approved of when I saw you last in Philad'a, is a 
Work of great Labour, requiring the Reading over almost 
the whole Bible, and many Collations and Comparisons 
of different Portions thereof. You had taken that La 
bour upon you and I am assured have bestowed much 
attention and Judgment upon it, while I have been either 
engaged in some other Parts of the Work, or called from 
Home, as I have been for the greatest part of the past 
Winter. Unless therefore I could have time to read all 
the proposed Portions of Scripture, with the same atten 
tion w'ch you have bestowed (for which Time is not left, 
even if I had an exact Copy of the Kalendar as proposed) 
it would be wrong for the Reasons given in my last Letter 
to interpose, lest by judging of that by Parts, which, 
you had under Review in the Whole, I should injure the 
Texture, &c, These Sentiments I wish'd you to consider 
as an Answer to your Question concerning the Kalendar; 
being sensible also that you must have been possessed of 
the same Way of Judging and giving ^our Approbation 
to some Parts which fell to my share in carrying on our 
Work. By just hinting to you not to forget the Place of 
the Apostles' &c. or Extra-Holy Days, I imagined that you 

would conclude that I could 

depend fully on } 7 our Execution of . . Part, viz. the 

of Lessons, as you have bestow'd so 


much Attention upon them Yet, still I apprehend that I 
have not with sufficient Clearness, express'd what I 
wish'd about inserting in the Kalendar the Days to w'ch 
I referr'd in my last. I did not mean that they should 
stand in a separate Table or Paper, but in the Monthly 
Kalendar as they now stand. Thus in January The 
Circumcision is 1st Day, Epiphany 6th, Conversion of St. 
Paul the 25th. These are all which should stand for that 
month. The Rest, as Lucian P., Hilary B'p, Prisca V., and 
other Legendaries, Fabian, Agnes, Vincent, and even K. 
Charles Martyr all expunged, and 30 of the Rest, of the 
other Months, in Order that when the Minister casts his 
Eye on the Monthly Calendars, he may be reminded 
when any of those Days happen on Sunday, or on Prayer 
Days, that he may take the Collects and Lessons, with 
the Epistles and Gospels accordingly ; if he, thinks it pro 
per or desired by his Hearers, especially the Female Part, 
on Wednesdays and Fridays. I think we must not make 
our Service too naked, nor will these Days, viz. St. Paul, 
the Johns, Andrew, &c. be parted with all at once nor does 
it seem necessary. A proper Use of those Days tends to 
Edification, and gives some further Knowledge of the 
History of the Bible. 

On casting my Eye on the singing Psalms, I perceive 
some Typographical Errors. Ps. 28, v 2. 

When Thou to seek thy glorious Face 
Thou kindly, &c. 

The first [ Thou~] is [us] in the original, and would be 
better [me] As it now stands, the first Thou makes non 
sense Again Ps. 38 v. 1st, line 3d wants a foot, viz. the 
Word "the" before Cherubs How many little Errors 
Typoc/raph. of this Kind may be, I have not examined ; 
but will spend a few Hours in looking over the whole 
Book, that if the Errors be of any Consideration, we x may 
put a little Table of Corrections at the End. Ps. 21 does 
not seem to stand under any Metre at all. I see some 
Parts of the Psalms appropriated for particular Days as 
Hyrnns, as 104 also some Verses applicable only to the 
Crucifixion, are in the general Collection w'ch will 
make some Repetitions ; but as they are but a few Verses 
I would not have any Thing omitted in the Hyrnn on this 
Account. I will this Week if possible, look further at 


the Kalendar, but do not delay anything on that account, 
I know I shall approve what you have done, as will the 

not exactly within the Letter of our 

authority. N. B. The 1st Lesson for the 1st Sunday in 
Lent on Reading it, appeared to hurt me in some Parts 
the Sunday before last. It is an Instructive Lesson on 
the Whole, if we could leave out Part of a Chapter, or 
pass over Verses, viz. where Lot offers his Virgin Daugh 
ters to the Men to do with them as they pleased. If the 
Kalendar is in Proof, pray send it, but still I beg no stop 
on my Acc't. 

I must conclude hastily and am as Ever 


P. S. My Letters have been as much scrawled in Haste 
as yours; but both of us may review and correct any 
hasty Escapes of the Pen, &c. 


To the best of my Recollection ye inclosed are ye pro 
per Continuation of ye Sheets : if not, and there be a 
Chasm, you will inform me and I will supply it by next 

Besides these, I have corrected two Proof Sheets for ye 
Press so that I expect we shall have ye Hymns fully com 
posed some Time tomorrow. 

Then going backwards from ye Morn'g Prayer, we have 
a Form composed containing ye Tables for finding ye 
Holy days. Two more Forms will be taken up with ye 
Tables of Feasts and Fasts of proper Lessons, and of 
ye Lessons according to ye Calendar. The Preface will 
occupy another Form, besides part of it being thrown for 
ward to be on y& same Form or part of Form with ye 
Title Page. In short, by this Day Week, I hope to have 
ye whole composed : which being done, they may finish 
at their Leisure ye Press Work of these few remaining 
Forms, only striking off some for ye Bookbinder to 

There is nothing you mention as you wish (in yours 
of this day) concerning ye Calendar, but what agreeably 
to it is prepared. I sh'd not have troubled you further on 


this Subject, but that I understood what you had before 
written, as applying to ye proper Lessons only. But ye 
Ch : you mention, I have thought best to omit wholly. 

I am .sorry for ye typographical Errors and hope you 
will perform your promise of going over ye whole Book : 
Such slips will easier attract your Eye than mine, which 
has already run over these sheets, both in ye preparation 
and in ye execution. 

I am 

Yours, &c. 

PHILAD'A, M'ch 15, 86. 

PS. I have not yet heard a word from Eng'd but hope 
that ye Jan'y Packet will bring some Information. 



Mr Woodhouse will send you by this Opportunity 6 
Setts of ye P. B. including (as I expect) all except ye 
reviewed Forms. The Preface will not be in its proper 
Form ; but as I intend sending by ye next Post ye Sheets 
necessary to complete ye Book, you will please to leave 
Directions at Annapolis concerning them, if you sh'd 
leave it before their Arrival. 

I beg my aff 'te Comp'ts to such of our Brethren at ye 
Convention as I have ye Pleasure of knowing and am 
Yours afTy 


PHILAD'A, Ap. 1, 1786. 


On the other Sheet you have some Corrections, w'ch I 
wish in the Preface and which I think will appear to you 
for the better, if you can make out to read them. Send 
me Title Page, Kalendar, Preface, &c. by this Post. The 
Printers need only work a few of the Titles and Prefaces, 


till you hear from me next week. A s few will keep the 
Book Binder at work. 

I am yours, &c. 

April 3d, 1786. 

Corrections. . . . Preface. 

Paragraph 1st. for the words "whatever cannot be 
clearly determined", say what cannot, &c. 

Par. 2d. for "laid down as a Rule" say laid it down, &c. 

Par. 4. After the words " too much Stiffness in lie- 
fusing," insert, "and" so as to Read too much Stiffness 
in refusing and too much Easiness in admitting, &c. 

In the Paragraph beginning " 3d. For a more perfect 
rendering" after the word Liturgy and before the word 
made in the Parenthesis insert [and] so as to read " are 
inserted into the Liturgy (and made a Part of the Daily 

In the 6 Quere. Beginning "Whether in Particular a 
Psalm or Anthem should not be adapted and sung, &c," 
insert the word to after adapted, and read adapted to, and 
sung at the, Celebration, &c. 

In the 8th Quere relating to the Epistles and Gospels, 
after the word "especially" strike out the word [as] and 
insert [unless] and it will read "especially unless the first 
Design of inserting this, viz. as introductory to the Com 
munion, &c." putting a Comma after the word Com 

In the llth Quere the word "Baptism" should not be 
distinguished by Italics from the other Offices, w'ch are 
printed in Roman. 

There are several other Things of this Kind, w'ch neither 
the Printer nor we perhaps have now Time to notice. 

In the Paragraph, beginning " But while these Altera 
tions, &c." alter the whole so as to read thus " But while 
these Alterations were in Heiiew before the late Conven 
tion, they could not but with Gratitude to God, embrace 
the happy Occasion which was offered to them (unin 
fluenced and unrestrained by any worldly Authority 
whatsoever) to take a further Review of the Public Ser 
vice, and to propose to the Church at large such other 


Alterations and Amendments therein as might be deemed 
expedient, whether consisting, &c." (as it now stands.) 

In the next Paragraph in the last line strike out the 
words " at that Time" and read " thought reasonable and 
expedient". In the following Paragraph " speaking of 
the ' Glory to God on high' " after the \_$c] insert "which 
may be said, unless" before the words "when it can be 
properly sung," the whole to read thus "Glory to God on 
high, &c. w'ch may be said, unless when it can be pro 
perly sung." In the Paragraph w'ch speaks of July 4th, 
for "Blessing" insert "Blessings of civil and religious 

In the last Paragraph, strike out so as to make it read 
"be received and examined," &c. as it now stands, to the 


Several of ye Corrections which you propose in ye Pre 
face, I had previously made ! Ye rest shall also be made. 

I hope you will not think of altering ye Title Page, 
after some are binding. It will be attended with ye fol 
lowing Inconveniences. 1st. Mr Smith must give 2 Cer- 
tif 'tes different from each other, for ye Act requires ye 
Title to appear in ye Certif'te. 2. Several will have 
gone (before ye Change) into Quarters, where you will not 
wish such Inconsistency to appear to Boston for In 
stance where ye Convention of Mass : and R. I. meet on 
ye 27 List and wish to have ye whole before them. 3dly. 
The Persons who shall purchase ye first Copies will think 
themselves defrauded. And after all, there is nothing 
that can be so easily amended in future Editions, ye very 
nature of ye present making a peculiarity necessary in ye 

I expect to have this Evening ye 2d Page, with Mr 
Smith's Certif'te and ye Table of Contents, and to mor 
row morn'g ye reviewed Forms. The Intervention of 
ye News Paper has delayed them. 
I am 

Yours, &e. 

PHILAD'A, Ap. 5, 86. WM : WHITE. 




CHESTER. 9th April, 1786. 



We had a considerable Majority of all our Clergy (not 
many of the Laity) at our Convention and have agreed 
to receive and recommend to public Use the new Book, 
as far as the Power of our State Church may be supposed 
to extend in our present unorganized State. A few altera 
tions are proposed to be offered to the next Convention. 
The Niceue Creed to follow the Apostles, with an " or 
this." A little Alteration, Or rather discretionary Power 
in the Administration of Baptism, where the Minister 
may have great Numbers to Baptize together, and an 
addition to the Consecration Prayer at the holy Sacrament, 
for a Blessing on the Elements, w'ch being only a few 
Words, and those extremely proper, and agreeable to the 
Practice of all other Protestant Churches, as well as what 
was in the 1st Liturgy of Edw'd VI. hath perfectly recon 
ciled Mr Smith ( x ) to our Service and will prevent any 
further Division between us and the numbers of Clergy 
coming among us from Bp. S. and the Scots Church. 

In the Scots and Edw'd Ist's Liturgy the Prayer was 
exceptionable and leaning much to Transubstantiation in 
these words "Vouchsafe to bless and sanctify these thy 
" Creatures of Bread and Wine, that they may BE unto us 
"the Body and Blood" &c. The Scots still stronger, viz. 
"that they may BECOME unto us the Body and Blood" 
The Alteration as we propose it is thus, beginning at the 
words in the Consecration Prayer, "Hear us merciful 
" Father, we most humbly beseech Thee, and vouchsafe 
"so to bless and sanctify these thy Creatures of Bread and 
"Wine that we receiving them according to thy Son our 
" Saviour J.C. holy Institution, in Remembrance," &c. as it 
now stands. This reads as well as before, pleases all sides, 
and is certainty an Improvement, as there was before no 
Invocation of a Blessing on the sacred Elements. When 
you send the Book to Mr Parker of Boston, before their 
ensuing Convention, send him as from me, with the 
Compl'ts of the Maryland Convention, the foregoing pro- 

1 The Rev. William Smith, of Somerset, previously alluded to. 
Vide ante, p. 175, 176. 


posed addition in the Consecration Prayer, and also notify 
our agreement with our New England Brethren in the 
Restitution of the Nicene Creed. 

I beg by Post at least one complete Book. I have 
none at Present. The Title I have not seen, and do not 
wish to alter, but it should correspond also with the Title 
in the llth Page of the Journal of Convention. When 
shall we have Books ? Our Clergy and Laity com 
plained much that they should have been obliged to 
judge of the Book on a hasty Reading, during the Sitting 
of a Convention. 

Yours, WM. SMITH. 


I think ye proposed Alterations of your Convention 
will render our Service more compleat. 

Yesterday I rec'd from Mr. Provost a Copy of a Letter 
from Mr. Adams to Mr. Jay, w'h I here transcribe. 

GROSVENOR SQUARE, Jan. 4, 1786. 

A day or two after ye Rec't of your Letter of Nov. 1, 
and that of Pres't Lee w'ch came with it, I wrote to ye 
Abp. of Canterbury, by Col : Smith, for an Hour when I 
might have ye Honour to pay my Respects to his Grace, 
and was answered very politely that he would be glad 
to have ye Honour of seeing me next Day, between 11 
and 12. Accordingly I went yesterday, and was very 
agreeably rec'd, by a venerable and candid Prelate, with 
whom I had before only exchanged Visits of Ceremony. 

I told his Grace, that at ye Desire of two very respect 
able Characters in America, ye late Pres't of C. and ye 
present Sec'y of State for ye Dep: of foreign Affairs, I 
had ye Honor to be ye Bearer to his Grace, of a Letter 
from a Conv'n of Delegates from ye Ep : Churches in 
most of ye Southern States, which had been transmitted 
to me open, that I might be acquainted with its contents. 
That in this Business, however, I acted in no official 
Character, having no Instructions from Congress, or 
indeed from ye Convention, but that I thought it most 
respectful to them, as well as to his Grace, to present ye. 


Letter in person. The Abp. answered, that all that he 
could say at present was that he was himself very well 
disposed to give ye Satisfaction desired, for he was by no 
means one of those, who wished that Contentions sh'd 
be kept up between ye two Countries, but on ye con 
trary was desirous of doing Everything in his power to 
promote Harmony and good Humour. 

I then said that if his Grace would take ye Trouble of 
reading two Letters, from Mr. Lee and Mr. Jay, he would 
perceive ye Motives of those Gent'n in sending ye Letter 
to my Care. I gave him ye Letters, which he read 
attentively and returned, and added that it was a great 
Satisfaction to him to see, that Gent'n of Character and 
Reputation interested themselves in it, for that ye Epis 
copalians in ye U. S. could not have ye full and compleat 
Enj't of their Religious Liberties without it, and he sub 
joined that it was also a great Satisfaction to him to have 
rec'd this Visit from me upon this Occasion and he w'd 
take ye Liberty to ask me, if it were not an improper 
Question, whether ye Interposition of ye E. Bps. would 
not give Uneasiness and Dissatisfaction in A. I replied 
that my Answer could be only that of a private Citizen, and 
in that Capacity, I had no scruple to say that ye People 
of ye U. S. in general were for a liberal and generous Tole 
ration, I might indeed employ a stronger word and call 
it a Right and ye first Right of Mankind to worship God 
according to their Consciences; and therefore, I could 
not see any reasonable Ground for Dissatisfaction, and 
that I hoped and believed there w'd be none of any con 

His Grace was then pleased to say, that Religion in all 
Countries, especially a young one, ought to be attended 
to, as it was ye Found'n of Gov't. He hoped ye Charac 
ters which sh'd be recommended w'd be good ones. 

I replied, that there were in ye Ch's in A. able Men, of 
Characters altogether irreproachable, and that such and 
such only, I presumed, w'd be recommended. I then 
rose to take my Leave, and his Grace then asked me, if 
lie might be at Liberty to mention, that I had made him 
this Visit on this Occasion. I answered, Certainly, if his 
Grace sh'd judge it proper. Thus, Sir, I have fulfilled 
my Comm'n and remain as usual, &c. 


"With this I shall send you ye Sheets that were wanting 
when you went down. Mr. W. will furnish a Parcel this 
"Week. As there is a Vessel soon to sail for Charlestown, 
you will approve sending to ye most distant States first. 
Be assured, you shall have a Parcel, before a single Book 
is sold here. 

I am yours, &c. 


PHILAD'A, Ap. 12, 86. 


CHESTER, April 17th, 1786. 

In the Preface at the Bottom of p. 4 there is an Error, 
viz. Construction for Misconstruction. It is the last word 
of the Page, and is a Capital Mistake indeed! I think it 
could not have been in the Copy. In the last Page of 
the Preface, 2d Paragraph "Visitation of Prisons, should 
be Prisoners I believe there is little else to be observ'd 
in the Preface, altho' I cannot say I have read it critically, 
yet it seems to read sufficiently correct for the Present. I 
shall before June next take the whole Book, and make 
every Correction which I think may be necessary in future 
Editions, and lay them before the Convention^ 1 ) I hope 
you and perhaps others of our Brethren, will do the same. 

I wish you had taken my advice respecting David's 
114th Ps. which stood before as our 21st, and only have 
made a ISTote at the End of the Book that the Psalm was 
misplaced, and ought in future Editions to come in, under 
its proper metre, as Ps. 16. and that the Metres of 148 
and 149 should be exchanged if such Correction be neces- 

(1) Dr. Smith's own copy of the Proposed Book, with the manuscript 
corrections referred to in this letter, forms a peculiarly valuable and inter 
esting portion of the extensive Liturgical collection of Rt. Rev. Bishop 
Stevens, D.D., of Philadelphia. This volume, of the authenticity of 
which there can be no question, has been kindly placed in the hands of 
the Editor of this volume ; and the careful collation of its proposed 
changes with the text of the work as "set forth " by the Committee of 
Revision, attests the haste and incompleteness of their work, to which this 
correspondence bears such abundant proof. 


si\rv ; for it is merely arbitrary which we call 5th and 
winch the 6th Metres, if the Gloria Patri's be arranged 

As you have taken our 24th Ps. or David's 149th from 
the Sheet Gg and placed it Ff., the mere reprinting that 
one Sheet Ff, (which you have sent me) will not complete 
the Book. Yon will have the first Leaf of the Sheet Gg 
to reprint, or else the whole Sheet, if the Bookbinder 
does not chuse the Trouble to cut out a Leaf in every Sheet 
and paste it in the Book which is immense Trouble, 
and will occasion much Delay. For you will observe, 
that after the Sheet Ff (vv'ch is reprinted) the 4th. 5th. 
6th. 7th. &c. Verses of David's 148th Psalm must come in 
the Sheet Gg, where his 149th now stands, and the 
beginning of his 96th or our 25th. This, as I said will be 
great Trouble and Delay, vv'ch I am sorry for, as the 
People are become exceedingly impatient for Copies of 
the Book, and the more so as they have more Experience 
of its Use. My Congregations w r ere exceedingly pleased 
with the two Good Friday Hymns, which as they had not 
books, were first read and then sung, and also the two 
Easter Hymns No. VII, and No. VIII. but what above 
all seem'd to make the greatest Impression was the Two 
Communion Hymns, viz. No. XVII, beginning "My God 
and is thy Table spread", sung after Sermon as an Invi 
tation to the Sacrament, and No. XVIII, beginning, 
" And are we now brought near to God," &c, sung after 
the Communion. It adds a Solemnity which they con- 
fess'd they had not experienc'd before. The Hymns are 
indeed beautiful and every Line of them applicable to the 
blessed Occasion. Have you yet introduced them in this 
way ? When you do you will find it of use to read them 
for the first Time yourself, from the Place where you are, 
the Desk or Communion Table. Every Communicant 
will before another Day have them by Heart as I believe 
was the Case here, between Good Friday and Easter 
Sunday, as the Book was sent for and sundry Copies 
taken in writing, I mean of Hymns 17 and 18. I beg I 
may have at least one compleat Book this Post. I gave 
all away at Annapolis, except the loose Sheets w'ch 1 had 
from Time to Time as Proofs. You will take Care to 
have Receipts from the Stage Masters, Skippers, &c. to 
whom you deliver Books for distant Places making them 


accountable for the dumber, and make the Clergy to 
whom you address them accountable for the Price, one 
Dollar. W. S. 


I am favored w'h y'r short Note by last Post, in w'ch 
you just mention the Rec't of mine by last Post; but as 
it appears had not Time to notice its Contents. The two 
Corrections in the Preface, and a proper adjustment 
respecting the Sheets in the Singing Ps. w'h you have 
thought necessary to reprint, have not, I trust, escaped 
your ]STotice, as it will be a Conclusion of the great atten 
tion and Labor w'ch the Press has cost } T OU. The Post 
Rider, I imagine, call'd on you to have some Prayer 
Books for his own Disposal, on Commission from sundry 
of his Subscribers. But unless he gets them from Book 
sellers in Philad'a who may be some Time hence in 
trusted with the sale of Copies, it will occur to you that 
neither He nor any other Person from the Neighboring 
States can have any Copies at Present. The Proportion for 
each State must be sent, agreeably to our Plan, to some 
one or more of the Clergy in each State, who are to be 
responsible for the Money arising from the Copies, as well 
as an equal Distribution of the Books in the Proportions 
agreed upon in their several Conventions. In Maryland 
we have fixed on three Copies out of every five for the 
Western Shore; and two Copies for the Eastern, the 
former to Dr. West's Care, the latter to mine. And you 
will yet have the Trouble to take Receipts for the Books 
of the Post or Stage Carriers, or Skippers, &c., obliging 
themselves to deliver Parcels or Boxes as directed. The 
Expence of Package, and Carriage, &c., to be paid out 
of the Profits of the Sale, to make the Price equal in all 
Places, for Philad'a should have no superior ad vantage in 
the Price, by lying near the Press. The Book should be a 
Dollar to a Purchaser in Philad'a as well as in Charlestowu, 
Carolina ; and the Stages, where they go by Stage, will not 
take them without the Pay advanced, tho' if they could 
be got to take them and be paid on the Delivery at New 
York, Baltimore, Alexandria, &c., giving their Rec't to 
you, it would perhaps ensure their Care of the Parcels 
the better, not to have the money till the Service was 


done. Your local Situation will still throw all this Care 
and Trouble, upon you, but I know you will not decline 
it, any more than you have heretofore in the Prosecution 
of this Work. The Book-binder should get all the help 
he can. I hope Mr. Marsha^ 1 ) of Boston has a few 
complete Copies including the Preface, Calendar, &c. If 
he had them not in a bound Book they should be sent in 
Sheets, that they may have the whole before them, and 
especially the Preface giving them what I hope will be a 
satisfactory account of the Reasons, and Expediency, &c. 
of all the proposed alterations. 

Of the 1st five Hundred Copies for Maryland, let Mr. 
West have three Hundred, which may go at Twice, viz. 
150 in a Box not to risk all at once, and to make it 
more convenient for the Binder. I should be glad of 
about 20 Copies this week by our Post and if I cannot 
ngree w'h Him for a reasonable Price for the Remainder, 
I will order them by water to Duck Creek, and send for 

them from thence. 

* * * * * * 

I am affectionately yours, 

April 24, 1786. 


I have rec'd twenty two Copies (two in Morocco) of the 
Prayer Book. I had to pay at the rate five sh. pr Doz. 
Carriage to the Post, w'ch will not do in future. There 
is a Stage now set up from Philad'a to this Town, an 
Acquaintance of mine of Newcastle, a Colonel Derby, at 
the Head of it. I expect him here by next Wednesday's 
Stage, which will be the 2d Trip, and shall agree with 
Him to bring the Books and to do other Business for me, as 
he has also a Stage Boat to Newcastle from Philad'a and 
he will have a sufficient authority from me to produce to 
you when he calls for the Remainder of our Eastern 

Doubtless a clerical error for "Parker," the Rector of Trinity 
Church, Boston. The Rev. John R. Marshall, A.M., of Connecticut, 
attended the primary meeting in New York in 1784, but his name is 
not found in connection with any subsequent proceedings. 


Shore Complement of Books, which I hope may be 
ready next week, as the few we have has only increased 
the Demand of many, while some Old Persons do not 
show much desire to exchange the old for the new Book. 
But all I hope in good Time, and without much Uneasi 
ness, especially if there be no appearance of Authority 
or Compulsion in the Case. 

I wish there could be a little Note of the principal 
Errata pasted on the Blank leaf at the End. They are 
not many; but "Construction" for ".Misconstruction" 
is one of some Consequence and yet a candid Reader 
need hardly be told of it. 

I am obliged to you for the Copy of Mr. Adams' 
Letter, and the Intelligence of the safe arrival of the 
Duplicates committed to the Care of Mr. Peters and of 
Mr. Duche. I am sorry the latter Gentleman should be 
uneasy that he was not made a principal Agent with- the 
Archbps. and Bps. If he knew himself, he must know 
that his very dubious and indecisive Character made him 
perfectly unfit, more especially as he had made himself 
an advocate for the- Scots Succession and Dr. Seabury's 
high Church Principles. Mr. Adams has acted honor 
ably, and a wiser or more Efficacious Measure could not 
have been taken by us of the Committee who were entrusted 
with this Negotiation. The Papers which were sent 
from Maryland including or enclosing Gov'r Paca's Cer 
tificate on the Part of this State, and which went under 
Cover to my Brother for Dr. Murray and Mr. Mont 
gomery, my Brother writes, came safe to Hand in Feb'y 
and were delivered. I have no Answers, but daily ex 
pect them from Murray and Montgomery, and if they 
fall in your Way, or any other Answers you may receive 
on this Head, I beg they may be speedily forwarded. 
About Wednesday, 15th May, I shall be in Philadelphia, 
so that any Thing of that Week may be kept till I see 



I am yours 

CHESTER, 29th April, 1786. 





I also rec'd your Note directing ye Books by ye New 
castle Stage: in consequence of which I now send you 
50, 2 of which are Morocco ; and these are ye most that 
can be spared at present, consistently with our Duty to 
ye other States, none of which (I am sure) you would 
chuse to have neglected. The Eastern Shore Proportion 
of ye whole is (as I understand) 8 in ye Hund'd ; and you 
may rely on that Proportion being always ready. 

Perhaps on Consid'n you will not think it proper to 
print a Table of Errata at present, for these 2 Reasons : 
1, because so many of ye Books are already out ; and 
2dly, because it is probable more Errata may appear, 
which will seem intended, because not included in ye 
Table. The Errors you allude to are so evidently typo 
graphical, that they cannot be otherwise taken. 

You mistook me in Relation to Mr. Duche ; he does 
not complain of not being made an Agent in our Busi 
ness, but of me as a Correspondent, in not giving him 
Intelligence when writing to him on such a Subject. 

I am yours, &c. 

PHILAD'A, May 6, 86. 

Tracing as we have thus pleasantly the various changes 
as they were proposed, discussed, and adopted by the 
Committee of Revision, we cannot better conclude this 
section of our Notes than by a transcription of the fol 
lowing letter, addressed to the Rev. Mr. Parker, of Bos 
ton, giving in brief the reasons for the changes which 
have previously occupied our attention; and then by 
giving from Bp. White's Memoirs the few pages which 
he has devoted to this subject: 



17th April, 1786. 

Dr. White, having a more ready Communication with 
you, than I could have, he has at the Desire of our Com 
mittee for the Press, sent you the Sheets of our revised 
Prayer Book, and I hope you will have the whole com- 
pleat by the Meeting of your Convention, w'ch Dr. White 
writes me is to be about the End of this Month. I trust 
that after a serious and candid Consideration of what we 
have done, it will have the approbation of the worthy 
Body, Clergy as well as Laity, who are to meet you in 
Convention ; or that if there be some Things, w'ch you 
may judge could have been done otherwise, or better, we 
can in future Editions come to an easy Agreement on 
this Head, as would certainly have been the Case had 
we been so happy as to have had your Advice and Assist 
ance as we expected at the last Convention. I think 
there are few Alterations which you did not wish. As 
Chairman of the grand Committee for revising, &c., I 
had the Alterations which you had proposed in your last 
Meeting, put into my Hands the first Day of our Sitting, 
and you will see that I paid a full Attention to them, and 
that we have agreed with you almost in every Matter, 
except only respecting the Nicene Creed and our Con 
vention in Maryland which met last Week have recom- 
mend[ed] the restoring that Creed also, so that either it 
or the Apostle's may be read at Discretion provided 
[both] be not used in one Service. The Maryland Conven 
tion have proposed also an Addition in the Consecration 
Prayer in the holy Comrnimion, something analogous to 
that of the Liturgy of Edward 6th and the Scots Lkurgy, 
invoking a blessing on the Elements of Bread and Wine, 
which was left out at the first Review of the English 
Liturgy, it is said, at the Instance of Eucer, and other 
wise because the Invocation favored the Doctrine of Tran- 
substant[iat]ion and it does now in the Scots Liturgy pray 
ing to bless and sanctify the Elements that they may 
become the Body and Mood, &c. We have proposed to re 
tain the Prayer and yet avoid the exceptionable part, and 
it will run thus 

" Hear us Merciful Father, we most humbly beseech 
Thee, and with thy Word and holy Spirit vouchsafe so 


to bless and sanctify these Thy Creatures of Bread and 
"Wine, that we receiving the same, according to Thy Son 
our Saviour J. C. holy Institution, &c." 

This I think will be a proper Amendment, and it per 
fectly satisfies such of our Clergy and People as were 
attach'd to the Scots and other ancient Liturgies, all of 
which have an Invocation of a Blessing on the Elements, 
as is indeed most reasonable and proper. 

I am anxious to 'write you by this Post to have a 
Chance of your receiving this before the Meeting of 
your Convention. I have therefore no Time to be mbre 
particular. Where we have gone further than was hinted 
in the Alterations you formerly sent us, viz. in the 
Arrangement of the Reading and Singing Psalms, the 
Calendars and Rubrics, the Collection of Hymns on 
Evangelical Subjects as a Suppl't to the Deficiencies of 
David's Psalms and other Matters, w'ch we( J ) have set 
forth in the Preface, I say in all this I know you will 
exercise a candid and liberal Judgment, and let me hear 
from you. We can only in the different States receive 
the Book for temporary Use, till our Churches are or 
ganized, and the Book comes again under Review of 
Conventions having their Bishops, &c. as the primitive 
Rules of Episcopacy require. 

Excuse this hasty Scrawl from 

Your affectionate Brother, &c 


P. S. I shall write to Bp. Seabury next Post.( 2 ) 

Of the Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer. 

When the members of the convention first came to 
gether; very few, or rather, it is believed, none of them 
entertained thoughts of altering the liturgy, any further 
than to accommodate it to the revolution. There being 
no express authority to the purpose, the contrary was im 
plied in the sending of deputies, on the ground of the 
recommendation and proposal from New York, whuh 
presumed that the book, with the above exception, should 
remain entire. The only church to which this remark 

1 " I" partially obliterated and " we" substituted in its place. 

2 From the Bp. Parker Correspondence. 


does not apply, is that of Virginia; which authorized its 
deputies to join in a review, liable however to a rejection 
by their own convention. Every one, so far as is here 
known, wished for alterations in the different offices. 
But it was thought, at New York in the preceding year, 
that such an enterprize could not be undertaken, until 
the church should be consolidated and organized. Per 
haps it would have been better, if the same opinion had 
been continued and acted on. 

But it happened otherwise. Some of the members 
hesitated at making the book so permanent, as it would 
have been by the fourth article of the recommendatory 
instrument. Arguments were held in favour of a review, 
from change of language, and from the notorious fact, 
that there were some matters universally held excep 
tionable, independently on doctrine. A moderate review, 
fell in with the sentiments and the wishes of every mem 
ber. Added to all this, there gained ground a confident 
persuasion, that the general mind of the communion 
would be so gratified by it, as that acquiescence might be 
confidently expected. On these considerations, the matter 
was undertaken. 

The alterations were prepared by another subdivision 
of the general committee, than that to which the author 
belonged. When brought into the committee, they were 
not reconsidered ; because the ground would have been 
to go over again in the convention. Accordingly, he 
cannot give an account of any arguments, arising in the 
preparatory stage of the business. Even in the conven 
tion, there were but few points canvassed, with any ma 
terial difference of principle ; and those only shall be 

The first controversy of this description was intro 
duced, on a motion made by the Hon. Mr. Page of Vir 
ginia, since governor of that state, to leave out the first 
four petitions of the litany, and, instead of them, to intro-. 
duce a short petition which he had drawn up, more agree 
able to his ideas of the divine Persons, recognized in 
those petitions. The mover declared, that he had no 
objection to the invoking of our blessed Saviour, whose 
divinity the prayer acknowledged; and whom he con 
sidered as invoked through the whole of the liturgy; 
which, he thought, might be defended by scripture. The, 


objection lay to the word "Trinity," which he remarked 
to be unauthorised by scripture, and a foundation of 
much unnecessary disputation. But he said, that the 
leaving out of the fourth petition only, in which only the 
word occurred, would leave the other petitions liable to 
the charge of acknowledging three Gods ; and therefore, 
he moved to strike out the whole. The Rev. Dr. West 
of Baltimore answered Mr. Page,-in a speech in which 
the Doctor appeared to be in great agitation ; partly 
because, as he said, he was unused to unprepared speak 
ing ; but evidently the more so, from his apprehensions 
arising from what he supposed to be the signal for aiming 
at very hazardous and essential alterations. Perhaps 
much more would have been said: but during Dr. West's 
speech, it was whispered about, that there was really no 
use in going into such a controversy; that Mr. Page had 
made the motion, merely to preserve consistency of con 
duct, that he had attempted the same thing in the sub 
committee, and well knew from what had passed, that 
there was no prospect of success ; but that he could not 
dispense with the bringing of the question before the 
body. Accordingly, as soon as Dr. West had finished, it 
was put and lost without a division. ( ! ) 

The next material question, to the best of the recol 
lection retained, was on a motion for framing a service 
for the 4th of July. This was the most injudicious step 
taken by the convention. Might they not have foreseen, 
that every clergyman, whose political principles inter 
fered with the appointment, would be under a strong 
temptation to cry down the intended book, if it were 
only to get rid of the offensive holiday ? Besides this 
point of prudence, was it not the dictate of moderation, 
to avoid the introducing of extraneous matter of differ 
ence of opinion, in a church that was to be built up? 
Especially, when there was in contemplation the mode 
rating of religious tests, was it consistent to introduce a 

1 In a controversy since moved in Boston, Bishop Provost has 
been named, as having endeavoured to accomplish the omission of 
the acknowledgment of the Trinity. It is not true: and the error 
may be supposed to have arisen from what has been related of the 
effort of Mr. Page. There have been various misrepresentations of 
the matter; which have made it the more necessary to state the 


political one? It was said, that the revolution being now 
accomplished, all the clergy ought, as good citizens, to 
conform to it; and to uphold, as far as 'their influence 
extended, the civil system which had been established. 
Had the question been concerning the praying for the 
prosperity of the commonwealths, and for the persons of 
those who rule in them, the argument would have been 
conclusive: and indeed, this had been done by all the 
remaining clergy; however disaffected they might have 
been, throughout the war. But, the argument did not 
apply to a retrospective approbation of the origin of the 
civil constitutions; or rather, to a profession of such 
approbation, contrary to known fact. 

This was one of the few occasions, on which the author 
used the privilege reserved by him on his acceptance of 
the presidency, to deliver his opinion. To his great sur 
prize, there was but one gentleman and he a professed 
friend to American independence who spoke on the 
same side of the question ; and there were very few, if 
any, who voted with the two speakers against the measure. 
Bodies of men are more apt than individuals, to calculate 
on an implicit submission to their determinations. The 
present was a striking instance of the remark. The mem 
bers of the convention, seem to have thought themselves 
so established in their station of ecclesiastical legislators, 
that they might expect of the many clergy who had been 
averse to the American revolution, the adoption of this 
service; although, by the use of it, they must make an 
implied acknowledgment of their error, in an address to 
Almighty God. What must further seem not a little 
extraordinary, the service was principally arranged and 
the prayer alluded to was composed, by a reverend gen 
tleman, (Dr. Smith) who had written and acted against 
the declaration of independence; and was unfavourably 
looked on by the supporters of it, during the whole revo 
lutionary war. His conduct, in the present particular, 
was different from what might have been expected from 
his usual discernment: but he doubtless calculated on 
what the good of the church seemed to him to require, in 
consequence of a change of circumstances; and he was 
not aware of the effect which would be produced by the 
retrospective property of the appointment. The greater 
stress is laid on this matter, because of the notorious fact, 


that the majority of the clergy could not have used the 
service, without subjecting themselves to ridicule and 
censure. For the author's part, having no hindrance of 
this sort, he contented himself with having opposed the 
measure; and kept the day, from respect to the requi 
sition of the convention; but could never hear of its 
being kept, in above two or three places besides Phila 
delphia. He is thus particular, in recording the incidents 
attached to the matter stated, with the hope of rendering 
it a caution to ecclesiastical bodies, to avoid that danger 
into which human nature is so apt to fall, of governing 
too much. 

On the subject of the articles, a dispute arose in regard 
to the article on justification: not as it was at last agreed 
on, but as it was proposed by the sub-committee. The 
objection was urged principally by the secretary of the 
convention the Rev. Dr. Griffith and by the author. 
The proposed article was at last withdrawn; and the 
words of the thirty-nine articles, on that subject, were 
restored. In this, there is certainly no superaddition to 
what is held generally by divines of the church of Eng 
land. As to the substitute proposed, the objec^on made 
to it, was its being liable to a construction contrary to 
the great evangelical truth, that salvation is of grace. It 
would have been a forced construction, but not to be dis 
regarded. Some wished to get rid of the new article 
introduced concerning predestination, without stating any 
thing in its place. This, it is probable, would have'been 
better than the proposed article ; which professes to say 
something on the subject, yet in reality says nothing. 
But many gentlemen were of opinion, that the subject 
was not to be passed over in silence altogether ; and there 
fore consented to the article on predestination, as it stands 
on the proposed book. The opinion of the author was, 
that the article should be accommodated, not to indi 
vidual condition, and to everlasting reward and punish 
ment ; but to national designation, and to a state of cove 
nant with God in the present life. Although this is a 
view of the subject still entertained by him ; yet he has 
been since convinced, that the introducing of it as an 
article would have endangered needless controversy, on 
the meanings of the terms predestination and election, 
as used in the New Testament. If we cannot do away 


the ground of controversy heretofore laid ; it at least 
becomes us, to avoid the furnishing of new matter foi 
the excitement of it. As to the article in the proposed 
book; although no one professed scruples against what 
is there affirmed, yet there seemed a difficulty in dis 
covering for what purpose it was introduced. The author 
never met with any who were satisfied with it. 

On the subject of original sin, an incident occurred, 
strongly marking the propensity already noticed, un 
warily to make private opinion the standard of public 
faith. The sub-committee had introduced into this arti 
cle the much controverted passage, in the 7th chapter of 
the Epistle to the Romans, beginning at the 9th verse; 
and they had applied it as descriptive of the Christian 
state. The construction is exacted by a theory, than 
which nothing was further from that of the gentleman 
(Dr. Smith) who would have" bound this sense of the 
passage on the church. The interpretation generally 
given by divines of the church of England, makes the 
words descriptive of man's unregenerate state; in which 
there is a struggle between nature and grace, to the 
extent of the terms made use of in Scripture. This 
seems necessary to a conformity with the Christian cha 
racter, as drawn in innumerable places. It was on a 
proposal of the author, that the article was altered in this 
particular; although the gentleman who had drafted it 
not only earnestly contended for his construction of the 
text, but could not be made sensible of the danger which 
would have resulted from the establishing of that con 
struction, as a test to every candidate for orders. 

Less prominent debates on the subject of the articles, 
are not here noticed. Whatever is novel in them, was 
taken from a book in the possession of the Rev. Dr. Smith. 
The book was anonymous ; and was one of the publica 
tions which have abounded in England, projecting changes 
in the established articles. 

On this business of the review of the Book of Com 
mon Prayer and of the Articles, the convention seem to 
have fallen into two capital errors, independently on the 
merits of the alterations themselves. The first error, 
was the ordering of the printing of a large edition of the 
book; which did riot well consist with the principle of 
mere proposal. Perhaps much of the opposition to it 


arose from this very thing ; which seemed a stretch of 
power, designed to effect the introduction of the book 
to actual use, in order to prevent a discussion of its 
merits. The other error, was the ordering of the use of 
it in Christ church, Philadelphia ; on the occasion of Dr. 
Smith's sermon, at the conclusion of the session of the 
convention. This helped to confirm the opinion, of its 
being to be introduced with an high hand, and subjected 
the clergy of Philadelphia to extraordinary difficulty: 
for they continued the use of the liturgy, agreeably to 
the alterations, on assurances given by many gentlemen, 
that they would begin it in their respective churches, 
immediately on their return. This the greater number 
of them never did : and there are known instances, in 
each of which the stipulation was shrunk back from, 
because some influential member of a congregation was 
dissatisfied with some one of the alterations. _ This is a 
fact which shows very strongly, how much weight of cha 
racter is necessary to such Changes as may be thought 

To these remarks of the Bishop, with reference to the 
book itself, it seems proper to add his own account of 
the publication of the "proposed" Liturgy. Giving in 
brief the results of long and after consideration of the 
whole subject, it forms an indispensable appendix to the 
correspondence we have already given : 

Under the foregoing head, there has been noticed what 
is here thought a great error in the convention the 
printing of the book, without waiting for the reception 
of the alterations, and their being in use. A subordinate 
error, accompanying the other, was the endeavouring to 
raise a profit from the book, although for a charitable 
purpose. It had two bad consequences; that of exciting 
the supposition, that the books were made the dearer 
although, in reality, this was not the fact ; and that of 
inducing the committee to send them to the clergy, in 
the different parts of the continent ; confiding in their 
exertions, for the benevolent purpose declared. Several 

1 From Bishop White's Memoirs, pp. 102-107. 


of the clergy again entrusted them to persons, from 
whom they got no returns. Hence it happened, that 
when the expenses of the edition were paid, there was 
not so much left for the charity, as to be an adequate 
consideration for such an undertaking. The committee 
were at last obliged"to relinquish the design, of saving 
for the charity the usual profit of the booksellers ; who, 
on that change of plan, made rapid sales of them. 

Another bad effect of the publication was, that the 
English prelates were not furnished with an account of 
the alterations, so soon as they should have been, consider 
ing the application that had come before them. For the 
committee, having had good reason to believe that the 
impression would go on rapidly, had not furnished a 
copy of the instrument containing the alterations. Their 
waiting first for paper from the mills, and then, for one 
interfering object and another occurring to the printer, 
brought on spring before the edition was out. It is true, 
that the sheets were sent by parcels during the progress. 
None however arrived, before the answer to the address 
was sent: and this inattention or what seemed such 
the bishops could not account for; as the archbishop 
afterwards distantly intimated to those who received 
consecration in England. Hence arose the caution, 
with which the convention were answered by the right 
reverend bench ; a caution evidently to be discerned, 
in their letter of the 24th of February 1786. For some 
of the clergy in the eastern States, from what is here 
supposed to have been mistaken zeal, had been very 
early in conveying to their clerical acquaintance in 
England, an unfavourable representation of the spirit 
of the proceedings : a fact, which is glanced at in the 
same letter. Although the impression, thus produced, 
was so far done away on the arrival of the book, as that 
there remained no radical impediment to the gratifica 
tion of the church, in granting her request made ; which 
must be evident to every one who reads their subsequent 
letter ; yet it follows from this narrative, that their mis 
apprehension would have been obviated, if the printing 
had been confined to the list of the proposed alterations. 

From the letter of their lordships it appears, that the 
omission of the Article of Christ's descent into Hell, in 
the Apostles' Creed, was the thing principally faulted. 


It was the objection made by Dr. Moss, bishop of Bath 
and Wells, that swayed in this matter. A gentleman 
who had been a member of the convention Richard 
Peters, Esq. happening to visit England a few months 
after, and having waited on the archbishop at the request 
of the committee, the said bishop expressed a wish to see 
him ; and, in the consequent interview, declared very 
strongly his disapprobation of that alteration. It was 
learned afterwards in England, from Dr. Watson, bishop 
of Landaff, that the objection came principally from the 
quarter here noticed. Indeed he expressed himself in 
such a manner, as led to the conclusion, that the bishop 
of Bath and Wells only was the objector. No doubt, 
the bishops, generally, must have approved of the objec 
tion ; considering their concurring in the strong protest 
that came from them, on the subject of the omitted 
article. However, from the different particulars attend 
ing the transaction, the author is disposed to believe, 
that, had it not been for the above-mentioned circum 
stance, they would hardly have started their objection to 
the omission in such a manner, as carries the appearance 
of their making of a restoration of the clause, a condition 
of their compliance with the request. As to the bishop 
of Landaff, he plainly said, speaking on the merits of the 
subject, that he knew not of any scriptural authority for 
the article, unless it were the passage in St. Peter (mean 
ing 1. iii. 19, 20.) And this he said must be acknow 
ledged a passage considerably involved in obscurity. 
To the two bishops who went for consecration it was 
very evident, that the bishop of Landaff was far from 
being attached to the objection, in which he had con 
curred. It is probable, that the same may have been 
true of many others of the bench. But when the matter 
was pressed by a very venerable 'bishop, eminent as well 
for his theological learning as for an exemplary life and 
conversation, and rested by him on the ground of the 
contradiction of an ancient heresy, it must have been 
difficult in the body to wave the objection, considering 
the novel line in which they were acting ; and their in 
ability, in a corporate capacity, to act at all.^) 

1 Memoirs, pp. 108-111, inclusive. 



Founded upon the fundamental resolutions set forth 
by the primary gathering in New York, in the year 1784, 
and modified and rendered more consistent with principles 
evolved in the discussion of these measures by the clergy 
and the various State Conventions, the General Ecclesi 
astical Constitution was first promulged at the meeting in 
Philadelphia. It was a time of compacts and constitutions, 
and the scattered churches felt sorely their need of some 
such bond of union in their efforts for organization. 


It is not our place to discuss its plan or principles ; but 
we transfer from Bp. White's Memoirs his own interest 
ing and exhaustive section which treats of this subject. 
Little or nothing more in elucidation will be necessary, 
as we have earlier given, in one form or another, the 
various preliminaries both of action and opinions that 
attended the production of this foundation-stone of our 
ecclesiastical compact : 

Of the general Ecclesiastical Constitution. 

It has been seen, that in the preceding year, at New 
York, a few general principles, tending to the organizing 
of the church, had been recommended to the churches 
represented, and proposed to those not represented. As 
all the articles, except the fourth, which recognized the 
English liturgy, with the exception of the political parts 
of it, were adopted by the present convention, they 
became a bond of union ; and indeed, the only one 
acted under until the year 1789. For as to the general 
constitution, framed at the period now before us, it 
stood on recommendation only; and was of no use, 
except in helping to convince those who were attached 
to that mode of transacting business, that it was very 
idle to bring gentlemen together from different states, 
for tfce purpose of such inconclusive proceedings. 


The fifth and the eighth articles of this proposed con- 
stitution, deserve particular notice; because they have 
been subjects of considerable conversation and censure. 

The former of these articles provided, that every bishop 
should be a member of the convention "ex qfficio." Ac 
cordingly, the article was loudly objected to by the clergy 
to the eastward ; because of its not providing for episcopal 

The constitution was drafted by the author, in a sub 
committee ; a part of a general committee, consisting of 
a clergyman and a layman from each state ; and originally 
provided, that a bishop, if any were present, should pre 
side. In the sub-committee, a gentleman, without much 
consideration of the subject, and contrary to what his 
good sense, with such an advantage, would have dictated, 
objected to the clause ; and insisted, that he had read, 
although he could not recollect in what book, that this 
had not been a prerogative of bishops in ancient ecclesi 
astical assemblies. The objection was over-ruled, by all 
the other members of the sub-committee. But when the 
instrument, after passing in the general committee, was 
brought into the convention ; the same gentleman, not 
expecting to succeed, and merely, as he afterwards said, 
to be consistent, made a motion to strike out the clause. 
Contrary to expectation, he was supported by another 
lay-gentleman, who took an active part in all the measures ; 
and who, in the sub-committee, had been of another mind. 
Thus a debate was brought on, which produced more heat 
than any thing else, that happened during the session. 
As the voting was by orders, the clergy, who, with the 
exception of one gentleman, were for the clause, might 
have quashed the whole article. But this appeared to 
them to be wrong ; because it contained nothing contrary 
to the principle of episcopal presidency; and the general 
object was such, as ought to have been provided for. 
Accordingly, the article passed, as it stands on the 
journal; that is, with silence as to the point in question. 
it was considered, that practice might settle what had 
better be provided for by law ; and that even such pro 
vision might be the result of a more mature considera 
tion of the subject. The latter expectation was justified 
by the event. 

The other article provided, that every clergyman should 


be amenable to the convention of the state to which he 
should belong. This was 'objected to by the English 
bishops, as appears in the letter of the archbishops of 
Canterbury and York; who there complain, that it fs 
"a degradation of the clerical, and much more of the 
episcopal character." The foundation of this complaint, 
like that of the other, was rather in omission, than in 
any thing positively declared. For the bishop's being 
amenable to the convention in the state to which he 
belonged, does not necessarily involve any thing more, 
than that he should be triable by Jaws of their enacting, 
himself being A part of the body: and it did not follow, 
that he might be deposed or censured, either by laymen 
or by presbyters. This, however, ought to have been 
guarded against: but to have attempted it, while the 
convention were in the temper excited by the alterca 
tions concerning the fifth article, would have been to nc 

In this whole business, there was encountered a pre 
judice entertained by many of the clergy in other states ; 
who thought, that nothing should have been done towards 
the organizing of the church, until the obtaining of the 
episcopacy. This had been much insisted on, in the pre 
ceding year, in New York. Let us it was said first 
have an head ; and then let us proceed to regulate the 
body. It was answered, on that occasion let us gather 
the scattered limbs; and then, let the head be superadded. 
Certainly, the different episcopalian congregations knew 
of no union before the revolution; except what was the 
result of the connexion which they in common had with 
the bishop of London. The authority of that bishop 
being withdrawn, what right had the episcopalians in any 
state, or in any one part of it, to choose a bishop for 
those in any other? And until an union were effected, 
what is there in Christianity generally, or in the principles 
of this church in particular, to hinder them from taking 
different courses in different places, as to all things not 
necessary to salvation ? Which might have produced 
different liturgies, different articles, episcopacy from 
different sources, and in short, very many churches, 
instead of one extending over the United States; and 
that, without any ground for the charge of schism, or 
of the invasion of one anothers' rights. The course 


taken, has embraced all the different congregations. It 
is far from being certain, that the same event would have 
been produced, by any other plan that might have been 
devised. For instance, let it be supposed, that in any 
district of Connecticut, the clergy and the people, not 
satisfied with the choice made of Bishop Seabury, or 
with the contemplated plan of settlement, had acted for 
themselves, instead of joining with their brethren. It 
would be impossible to prove the unlawfulness of such 
a scheme ; or, until an organization were made, that the 
minor part were bound to submit to the will of the 
majority. There was no likelihood of such an indiscreet 
proceeding, in Connecticut. But in some other depart 
ments which might be named, it would not have been 
surprizing. Let it be remarked, that in the preceding 
hypothesis, there is supposed to have been, in the differ 
ent neighbourhoods, a bond of union not dissolved by 
the revolution. This sentiment is congenial with Chris 
tianity itself, and with Christian discipline in the begin 
ning : the connexion not existing congregationally ; but, 
in every instance, without dependence on the houses, in 
which the worship of the different portions of the aggre 
gate body may be carried on.^) 

1 Bp. White's Memoirs, pp. 99-103. 



THE recital of the various and long-continued efforts of 
the early American Missionaries for the introduction of a Co 
lonial Episcopate, does not fall within the limits we have 
marked out for ourselves, in connection with the present pub 
lication. It is sufficient to say, that the struggle for the Suc 
cession forms one of the most interesting chapters of the his 
tory of the American Church. But with the story of its 
successful accomplishment we have to do. The opening pages 
of the Journal of the Convention of 1785, in alluding to a 
proposed " plan for obtaining the consecration of Bishops, 
together with an address to the Most Reverend the Arch 
bishops and the Right Reverend the Bishops of the Church 
of England for that purpose, "(1) direct our attention to this 
subject, and require at our hands a more minute and careful 
illustration than, perhaps, any other portion of our annals. 
The Plan thus proposed, and the Address referred to, appear 
in full upon the pages of the Journal. It therefore becomes 
principally our duty to group together, with a few prelimina 
ries, the interesting correspondence this measure called forth, 
and then trace, mainly from unpublished sources, its progress, 
with the attendant alternations of hope and fear, to a suc 
cessful accomplishment in the consecration of Bishops White 
and Provoost at Lambeth the following year. 

Insufficient and unsatisfactory as appear to have been the 
ideas of the nature and prerogative of the Episcopate, enter- 
taine'd by a portion of the Clergy, and even by some of the 

(1) Reprinted Journals, I. 19. 


Conventions, as has already appeared, the desire for the in 
troduction of the Order itself was universal. Appearing 
among the fundamental resolutions of the primary gather 
ings, both for local and general organization, the recognition 
of the three Orders of the Ministry was avowed by every 
section of the Church. And the desire was almost equally 
general for the introduction of the succession by the English 
line. It was with this end in view, that the Clergy of Con 
necticut assembled at an early date, as has been already 
mentioned, and made choice of Dr. Seabury as their Bishop- 
elect. To these proceedings we must first direct our atten 
tion, for the purpose of presenting in chronological order the 
measures taken for the introduction of the Episcopate. 

The following contemporary letters! 1) addressed by a Cler 
gyman of Connecticut to the Rev. Samuel Parker, of Bos 
ton, supply information of the earliest effort, subsequent to 
the peace, made for an American Episcopate. They graphi 
cally depict the alarm still felt by the laity at the introduc 
tion of Bishops from abroad, and the wise caution of these 
first movers towards organization on the established princi 
ples of the Church. 

There were ten clergymen met. The Connecti 
cut Clergy have done already every thing in their power in the matter you 
were anxious about Would write you the particulars, if I knew of any 
safe opportunity of sending you this Letter, but as I do not, must defer it 
till I do. Your sincere friend and Brother, 

Pomfret, July 2d. '83. D. FOGG. 

Revd. Mr. Parker 

Dear Sir. Pomfret, 14th July, '83 

I wrote you a few lines 2d inst. by an uncertain conveyance, in which 

I mentioned that the Connecticut clergy had done all in their 

power respecting the matter you were anxious about; but they keep it a 
profound secret even from their most intimate Friends of the Laity. 

The matter is this. After consulting the clergy in New York how to 
keep up the succession, they unanimously agreed to send a person to 
Englatd to be consecrated Bishop for America, and pitched upon Dr. 
Seabury as the most proper Person for this purpose, who sailed for En 
gland the beginning of last month, highly recommended by all the clergy 
in New York and Connecticut, &c. If he succeeds he is to come out as 

(1) From the Bishop Parker Correspondence. 



missionary for New London, or some other vacant Mission, and if they 
will not receive him in Connecticut or any other of the STATES of AMERICA, 
he is to go to Nova Scotia. Sir Guy(l) highly approves of the plan, and 
has used all his influence in favor of it. The clergy have even gone so 
far as to instruct Dr. Seabury, if none of the regular Bishops of the 
Church of England will ordain him, to go down to Scotland and receive or 
dination from a nonjuring Bishop. 

Please to let me know by Mr. Grosvenor how you approve of the plan, 
and whether you have received any late accounts from England. 

From your affect. Brother. 


Dear Sir. 

I am very glad that the conduct of the Connecticut Clergy meets with 
your Approbation in the main. Dr. Seabury's being a refugee was an ob 
jection which I made, but was answered, they could not fix upon any 
other Person who they thought -was so likely to succeed as he was, and 
should he succeed, and not be permitted to reside in any of the United 
States, it would be an easy matter for any other Gentleman, who was not 
obnoxious to the POWERS THAT BE, to be consecrated by him at, Halifax. 
And as to the objection of not consulting the Clergy in the other States, 
the time would not allow of it, and there was Nobody to consult in the 
State of New York, for there is not one Clergyman there except Refu 
gees, and they were consulted. And in the State of Connecticut there are 
fourteen clergymen. And in your State and New Hampshire you know how 
many there are, and you know there is no compulsion in the matter, and 
you will be left to act as you please, either to be subject to him or not. 
As to the matter of his support, that must be an after consideration. 

Your affect. Friend and Brother, 


Pomfret, 1st August, '83. 

In the mean time, as we have already seen, the Clergy of 
the Middle and Southern States, had begun to move in the 
matter of union and organization. But these preliminary 
gatherings were rendered less general and successful, from 
the fact of the action of the Eastern Clergy, and their know 
ledge that, even in the event of a failure to obtain consecra 
tion in England, there could be little doubt of success across 
the Northern border. A little prior to the meeting called at 
New York in 1784, the Rev. Mr. Fogg thus writes to his cor 
respondent in Boston. 
% i 

. I was at Norwich about ten days ago, and Mr. Tyler(2) 
informed me that the Connecticut Clergy who met at New Haven at Com- 

(1) Sir Guy Carleton. 

(2) The Rev. John Tyler, A.M., one of the Connecticut Clergy. 


mencement, did not propose to meet the Southern Clergy at New York, as 
they expect Dr. Seabury will succeed in the Business he went to London 
for, and at his return it will be time enough to revise the Liturgy ; they, 
however, wrote by Mr. Marshall,(l) one of our Brethren, giving reasons 
for their conduct.(2) 

Pomfret, Sept. 28, '84. D- FOGG. 

Revd. Mr. Parker. 

Agreeably to this appointment, the Rev. Mr. Marshall at 
tended the meeting in New York, and, as we learn from 
Bishop \Vhite,(3) " read to the Assembly a paper, which ex 
pressed his only being empowered to announce that the Cler 
gy of Connecticut had taken measures for the obtaining an 
Episcopate ; that until their design in that particular shall be 
accomplished, they could do nothing ; but that as soon as they 
should have succeeded, they would come forward, with their 
Bishop, for the doing of what the general interests of the 
Church might require." 

With this feeling of deference and respect, the Clergy of 
New England awaited their Bishop. The letters of that time, 
still preserved among the interesting correspondence of Dr. 
Parker, are full of inquiries and apprehensions as to the suc 
cess of their chosen head. Under date of Dec. 21st, 1784, 
the Rev. Benjamin Moore, of New York, thus addressed his 
correspondent in Massachusetts ; and the letter is all the 
more interesting from the fact, that weeks before it was pen 
ned, the object of its aspirations was accomplished, and the 
first American Bishop had been duly consecrated by the 
Bishops in Scotland. 

Dear Sir. 

Our Church affairs remain as they were. The 

Prospect of an American Episcopate seems to be as uncertain as ever. A 
letter from Dr. Seabury to a Gentleman in this City has this Expression. 
" I have been amused, I think deceived." I am informed, however, that 
the Clergy of Maryland, in a late Convention, have fixed upon Dr. Smith 
as a Candidate for Episcopal Orders, and that he is to embark for Eu- 

(1) The Rev. John R. Marshall, whose name appears in the list of 
members present at the Convention of 1784. 

(2) From the Bishop Parker Correspondence. 

(3) Memoirs, p. 81. 


gland next April. But if the Gentleman who is there at present cannot 
succeed, I should suppose, it will preclude every other attempt. 

Shall we have the pleasure of seeing you at Philadelphia, at the Gen 
eral Assembly of all the Churches ? I hope so that Phrase GENERAL AS 
SEMBLY I am not very fond of it escaped me by chance. We will try to 
give it a better Character. 

with great esteem, 

your friend & Brother, 

Revd. Mr. Parker. 

But news of this all-important step was not long withheld 
from those who were so intimately concerned in it ; and turn 
ing aside from the mass of letters of congratulation and ex 
pectancy on the part of the Northern and Eastern Clergy, 
we propose to revert briefly, and mainly by a reproduction of 
correspondence from the original letter book(l) of Bishop 
Seabury himself, to the events of his consecration. 

" Amused" or u deceived" the persevering Seabury could 
not long be ; and despairing of satisfying the scruples of the 
Archbishops in England, he had at length recourse to the 
Bishops of Scotland. The English Archbishop subsequently 
communicated to Granville Sharp, Esq., a grandson of a 
former Archbishop of York, and a prominent philanthropist 
of that day, whose agency in the subsequent introduction of 
the English succession into America will shortly claim our 
consideration, an account of his last interview with the 
American missionary. Remembering, as we cannot fail to 
do, that the incident is preserved to us by a violent opponent 
of the Scots Episcopacy, and doubtless receives a coloring 
of exaggeration from this very fact, it is certainly worthy 
of preservation, and cannot be dismissed as wholly without 
foundation in fact. 

" Dr. Seabury, on coming to England, called on the Arch 
bishop, of Canterbury for consecration, to the great surprise 
of the Archbishop, who was apprehensive that it might give 
great offence to the Americans, with whom we had just then 

(1) Now in the keeping of the Rev. Professor "Win. J. Seabury, of the 
General Theological Seminary, N. Y. 


made peace; and therefore his Grace (the very worthy and 
learned Dr. Moore) wished to be allowed some time to consi 
der of the request ; upon which Dr. Seabury very abruptly left 
the room, saying, ' If your Grace will not grant me conse 
cration, I know where to obtain it;' and immediately set off 
for Aberdeen. 

" The Archbishop communicated to G. S. the account of 
Dr. Seabury's behaviour; and G. S., in return, informed his 
Grace, that a general convention was actually appointed in 
America for the election of Bishops. On hearing this, the 
Archbishop gave G. S. authority to assure the Americans, 
that if they elected unexceptionable persons, and transmitted 
proper certificates of their morals and conduct, and of their 
suitable abilities for so important a charge, he would do every 
thing in his power to promote their good intentions. "(1) 

Towards the close of the year 1782, while the contest of 
the American Revolution was drawing near its close, the Rev. 
Dr. George Berkeley, the eldest son of the celebrated Bishop 
of Cloyne, who seems to have inherited his father's interest 
in the American Church, threw out the suggestion in a letter 
to a Scottish clergyman, the Kev. John Skinner, " that a 
most important good might ere long be derived to the suffer 
ing and nearly neglected sons of Protestant Episcopacy on 
the other side of the Atlantic, from the suffering Church of 
Scotland." "I would humbly submit it," he adds, "to the 
Bishops of the Church in Scotland (as we style her in Ox 
ford), whether this be not a time peculiarly favourable to the 
introduction of the Protestant episcopate on the footing of 
universal toleration, and before any anti-episcopal establish 
ment shall have taken place. God direct the hearts of your 
prelates in this matter."(2) 

Resuming this subject after his correspondent had himself 
been raised to the Scottish Episcopate, Dr. Berkeley thus 

1| Memoirs of Granville Sharp, London, 1820. pp. 213-214. 
(2) The preceding extracts, and those immediately following, are from 
MS. Seabury Papers," quoted by the Bishop of Oxford in his " History 

of the American Church," (London, 1846, pp. 199-212), from which 

source we also condense this portion of our narrative. 


answered objections, and removed from the path the many 
seeming hindrances. 

" As to American Protestant episcopacy (for popish pre 
lacy hath found its way into the transatlantic world), one 
sees not any thing complicated or difficult in the mere plant 
ing of it. A bishop consecrated by the English or Irish 
Church would find considerably stronger prejudices against 
him, than would one who had been called to the highest order 
by a bishop or bishops of the Scotch Church ; our bishops, 
and those of Ireland, having been nominated by a sovereign 
against whom the Colonists have rebelled, and whom you 
have never recognised. The Americans would, even many 
of the Episcopalians among them, entertain political jea 
lousies concerning a bishop by any means connected with us; 
they would be apt to think of "him as of a foe to their wild 
prospects of independency, &c. 

"I am as far removed from Erastianism and from demo 
cracy as any man ever was; I do heartily abominate both of 
those anti-scriptural systems. Had my honoured father's 
scheme for planting an Episcopal College, whereof he was 
to have been President, in the Summer Islands, not been sa- 
rjrificed, by the worst minister that Britain ever saw, probably 
under a mild monarch (who loves the Church of England as 
much as I believe his grandfather hated it), Episcopacy 
would have been established in America by succession from 
the English Church, unattended by any invidious temporal 
rank or power. But the dissenting miscellaneous interest in 
England has watched, with too successful a jealousy, over the 
honest intentions of our best bishops. 

" From the Churches of England and Ireland, America 
will not now receive the Episcopate ; if she might, I am per 
suaded that many of her sons would joyfully receive bishops 
from Scotland. The question, then, shortly is, Can any 
proper persons be found who, with the spirit of confessors, 
would convey the great blessing of the Protestant episcopate 
from the persecuted Church of Scotland to the struggling 
persecuted Protestant Episcopalian worshippers in America? 
If so, not the duty of all and every bishop of the Church 
in Scotland to contribute towards sending into the new world 
Protestant bishops, before general assemblies can be held and 
covenants taken, for their perpetual exclusion? Liberavi 
animam meam. 


"Deeply convinced as I am of the necessity of Episcopacy 
towards the constitution of a Christian Church, I hope that 
no consideration would (I know that no consideration ought 
to) restrain me in this matter, if I was a bishop. A Scotch 
bishop, consecrating one or more good men of sound ecclesi 
astical principles, might now sow a seed which, in smallness 
resembling that of a mustard, might also resemble it in sub 
sequent magnificence and amplitude of production. I hum 
bly conceive that a bishop at Philadelphia, who had never 
sworn to King George, would be very well placed. The 
Quakers are a tolerating people. I have written to you cur- 
rente calamo" 

Suggestions of this moment, and from such a source, could 
not pass unheeded. The newly-consecrated Bishop was well 
aware of the distinguished position held by his correspond 
ent in the English Church, who had refused an Irish bishop 
ric but a few years before, and was then among the most 
prominent of the Clergy of the land; but still, in his con 
sciousness of the imputations under which the Church of 
Scotland was then struggling, he could but respond discour- 
agingly. "Nothing," he replies, "can be done in the affair 
with safety on our side, till the independence of America be 
fully and irrevocably recognized by the government of Bri 
tain; and even then the enemies of our Church might make 
a handle of our correspondence with the colonies, as a proof 
that we always wished to fish in troubled waters and we 
have little need to give any ground for an imputation of that 

To this and other difficulties urged by the Bishops, Dr. 
Berkeley replies, under date of March 24th, 1783, as fol 

" I beg leave to observe, with all becoming deference, that 
I cannot consider the immediate and unrestricted introduc 
tion of Episcopacy into America in the same light wherein it 
is viewed by yourself and your venerable brethren, the bishops 
of the Scotch Church. 

" From the papists one learns that no time is to be lost, 

(1) Scabury MSS., quoted by the Bishop of Oxford. 


and that substances are to be preferred to shadows things 
essential to the paraphernalia of a Church. If I ever wrote 
a sentence under the influence of a humble spirit, I write so 
at this moment when 1 do yet adventure to differ from my 
fathers in Christ. A consecration in Scotland might be very 
secret; it could not be so elsewhere. A consecration from a 
persecuted, depressed Church, which is barely tolerated, 
would not alarm the prejudices of opponents. I need not 
say to Bishop Skinner or his brethren, that an Episcopal 
Church may exist without any legal encouragement or estab 
lishment, and without the definition of country into regular 
and bounded dioceses. Provincial Assemblies will never in 
vite a prelate ; provincial assemblies, if they establish any 
thing, will establish some human device; but provincial as 
semblies will not, now or soon, think of excluding a Protes 
tant bishop, who sues only for toleration. Popish prelates 
are now in North America exercising their functions over a 
willing people, without any aid or encouragement from pro 
vincial assemblies. In a short time, we must expect all Pro 
testant Episcopalian principles to be totally lost in America. 
They are not so now ; and yet Episcopacy must be sent be 
fore it be asked: these are lukewarm days. Christianity 
waited not at the first, the Church of Rome waits not now, 
for any invitation or encouragement. Bishop Geddes told 
me that the pope allows him 251. per annum, and that he has 
no other settled support; the other popish bishops have 51. 
each per annum from the Bishop of Home. Out of Scotland 
there is but little known concerning the Episcopal Church 
there ; and, generally, it is conceived to be a society purely 
political. I believe a secret subscription could be raised ade 
quate to the purposes of supporting one pious, sensible, dis 
creet bishop, at least for a season after his arrival in Vir 
ginia ; and I think I know one person competent and willing 
for the great work."(l) 

Thus was the way prepared by GOD for the accomplishment 
of His wisely ordered plans. Delays and hindrances seem 
ingly insurmountable, hedged up the way in England, and 
Dr. Seabury found himself compelled, either to seek conse 
cration from the remnant of the non-juring Episcopate in 

(1) Seabury MS. quoted in Bishop Wilberforce's History of the Ameri 
can Church. 


that country, or from their political brethren at the North. 
In November, 1783, the question was directly propounded 
to the Primus of the Scottish bishops: "Can consecration 
be obtained in Scotland for an already dignified and well- 
vouched American clergyman, now at London, for the pur 
pose of perpetuating the Episcopal Reformed Church in 
America, particularly in Connecticut?" In connection with 
this query, Dr. Berkeley thus addresses Bishop Skinner : 

" I have this day heard, I need not add with the sincerest 
pleasure, that a respectable presbyter, well recommended 
from America, has arrived in London seking what, it seems, 
in the present state of affairs, he cannot expect to receive in 
our Church. 

" Surely, dear Sir, the Scotch prelates, who are not shackl 
ed by any Erastian connexion, will not send this suppliant 
empty away. 

" I scruple not to give it as my decided opinion, that the 
King, some of his cabinet counsellors, all our bishops (except, 
perad venture, the Bishop of St. Asaph), and all the learned and 
respectable clergy in our Church, will at least secretly rejoice, 
if a Protestant bishop be sent from Scotland to America; 
but more especially if Connecticut be the scene of his min 
istry. It would be waste of words to say anything by way 
of stirring up Bishop Skinner's zeal."(l) 

Enquiries with reference to the personal fitness of the can 
didate, and the causes which led to the rejection of his suit 
in England, followed, to which the persevering Dr. Berkeley 
made speedy and satisfactory reply. Coupled with a strong 
assertion that they need fear nothing from the English au 
thorities in granting " a consecration, which can contradict 
no law, for a foreign and independent state,"(2) he proceeds 
to state clearly and forcibly the obstacles in the way of the 
Bishops of the Church of England. " My reading does not 
enable me to comprehend how, without an Episcopacy, the 
gospel, together with all its divine institutions, can possibly 

(1) Seabury MS., quoted by the Bishop of Oxford. (2) Ibid. 


be propagated. In the present state of matters, I do not 
see now the English primate can, without royal license at 
least, if not parliamentary likewise, proceed to consecrate 
any bishop, except for those districts which erst were allowed 
to give titles to assistant bishops. In this state of things, I 
think the glory of communicating a Protestant Episcopacy 
to the united and independent states of America, seems re 
served for the Scotch bishops. Whatever is done herein, 
ought assuredly to be done very quickly, else the never- 
ceasing endeavours of the English dissenters, whose intoler- 
( ance has kept back the blessing of prelacy from the Protes 
tant prelatists of America, will stir up too probably a violent 
spirit in Connecticut against the bishop in fieri. If the 
Church of England was to send a bishop into any one of the 
United States of America, the Congress might, and probably 
would, exclaim that England had violated the peace, and still 
claimed a degree of supremacy over the subjects of that in 
dependent state. The Episcopal Church of Scotland cannot be 
suspected of aiming at supremacy of any kind, or over any 
people. I do therefore earnestly hope, that, very shortly, 
she may send a prelate to the aid of transatlantic aspirants 
for the primitive ordinance of confirmation."(l) 

An application so strongly urged claimed immediate as 
sent. The Primus of the Scotch bishops, Bishop Kilgour, in 
expressing his "hearty concurrence in the proposal for in 
troducing Protestant episcopacy into America," continues: 
"All things bid fair for the candidate. I hope, indeed, that 
the motion is from, and the plan laid under, the- direction of 
the Holy Spirit."(2) His acquiescence was seconded by his 
brethren in the Episcopate. " The very prospect," writes 
another, "rejoices me greatly; and considering the great de- 
positum committed to us, I do not see how we can account to 
our great Lord and Master, if we neglect such an opportu- 

(1) Seabury MS., quoted by the Bishop of Oxford. 

(2) Ibid. 


nity of promoting his truth, aud enlarging the borders of 
his Church."(l) 

With this introduction, detailing the gradual removal of 
the difficulties in the way, and the republictaion of the letters 
and testimonials borne by Dr. Seabury to England, and sub 
sequently laid before the Scottish bishops, as appears from 
the records in their "Minute Book," to which we shall shortly 
refer, we propose to continue our narrative of the success of 
the application in Scotland, by presenting from Bishop Sea- 
bury's own Letter-book, already alluded to, the original cor 
respondence which is there preserved, as illustrating the his 
tory of this important transaction. 

Communication of the Clergy of Connecticut, to the Archbishop 
of Tork.(2) 

New York, April 21, 1783. 

The clergy of Connecticut, deeply impressed with anxious appre 
hension of what may be the fate of the Church in America, under 
the present changes of empire and policy, beg leave to embrace the 
earliest moment in their power to address your grace on that im 
portant subject. 

This part of America is at length dismembered from the British 
empire ; but, notwithstanding the dissolution of our civil connexion 
with the parent state, we still hope to retain the religious polity ; 
the primitive and evangelical doctrine and discipline, which, at the 
reformation, were restored and established in the Church of Eng 
land. To render that polity complete, and to provide for its per 
petuity in this country, by the establishment of an American Epis 
copate, has long been an object of anxious concern to us, and to 
many of our brethren in other parts of this continent. The attain 
ment of this object appears to have been hitherto obstructed 
by considerations of a political nature, which we conceive were 
founded in groundless jealousies and misapprehensions that can no 
longer be supposed to exist : and therefore, whatever may be the 
effect of independency on this country, in other respects, we pre 
sume it will be allowed to open a door for renewing an application 
to the spiritual governors of the Church on this head ; an applica- 

(1) Seabury MS., quoted by the Bishop of Oxford. 

(2) These papers were addressed to the Archbishop of York, as, at the 
time of their preparation, the See of Canterbury was vacant. Vide White's 
Memoirs, page 79. 


tion which we consider as not only seasonable, but more than ever 
necessary at this time ; because, if it be now any longer neglected, 
there is reason to apprehend that a plan of a very extraordinary 
nature, lately formed and publ shed in Philadelphia, may be carried 
into execution. This plan is, in br.ef, to constitute a nominal Epis 
copate by the united suffrages of presbyters and laymen. The 
peculiar situation of the Episcopal churches in America, and the 
necessity of adopting some speedy remedy for the want of a regular 
Episcopate, are offered, in the publication here alluded to, as rea 
sons fully sufficient to justify the scheme. Whatever influence 
this project may have on the minds of the ignorant or unprincipled 
part of the laity, or however it may, possibly, be countenanced by 
some of the clergy in other parts of the country, we think it our 
duty to reject such a spurious substitute for Episcopacy, and, as far 
as may be in our power, to prevent its taking effect. 

To lay the foundation, therefore, for a valid and regular Episco 
pate in America, we earnestly entreat your grace, that, in your 
archiepiscopal character, you will espouse the cause of our sinking 
Church, and, at this important crisis, afford her that relief on which 
her very existence depends, by consecrating a bishop for Connecti 
cut. The person whom we have prevailed upon to offer himself to 
your grace, for that purpose, is the reverend Doctor Samuel Seabury, 
who has been the society's worthy missionary for many years. He 
was born and educated in Connecticut he is personally known to 
us and we believe him to be every way qualified for the Episcopal 
office, and for the discharge of those duties peculiar to it, in the 
present trying and dangerous times. 

All the weighty considerations which concur to enforce our re 
quest, are well known to your grace; we therefore forbear to enlarge, 
lest we should seem to distrust your grace's zeal in a cause of such 
acknowledged importance to the interests of religion. Suffer us 
then to rest in humble confidence that your grace will hear and 
grant our petition, and give us the consolation of receiving, through 
a clear and uninterrupted channel, an overseer in this part of the 
household of God. 

That God may continue your life and health, make you in his 
providence an eminent instrument of great and extensive usefulness 
to mankind in general, a lasting blessing to the Church over which 
you preside in particular; and that the present and future sons of 
the Church in America, may have cause to record and perpetuate 
your name as their friend and spiritual father, and, when your 
sacred work is ended, that you may find it gloriously rewarded, is 
and shall be the devout prayer of the clergy of Connecticut, by 
whose order (in convention assembled,) and in whose behalf, this 
letter is addressed to your grace, by your grace's most obedient, 
humble servant, (Signed,) ABRAHAM JARVIS, 

Minister of the Episcopal Church in Middletown, 
and Secretary to the Convention. 



Whereas our well beloved in Christ, Samuel Seabury, doctor of 
divinity, and missionary of Staten-Island, in this province, is about 
to embark for England, at the earnest request of the Episcopal 
clergy of Connecticut, and for the purpose of presenting himself a 
candidate for the sacred office of a bishop ; and that when conse- 
1 and admitted to the said office, he may return to Connecticut, 
;IM 1 there exercise the spiritual powers, and discharge the duties 
which are peculiar to the Episcopal character, among the members 
of the Church of England, by superintending the clergy, ordaining 
candidates for holy orders, and confirming such of the laity as may 
choose .to be confirmed We, the subscribers, desirous to testify our 
heartv concurrence in this measure, and promote its success; as well 
as to declare the high opinion we justly entertain of Doctor Sea- 
bury's learning, abilities, prudence, and zeal for religion, do hereby 
certify, that we have been personally and intimately acquainted 
with the said Doctor Seabury for many years past that we believe 
him to be every way qualified for the sacred office of a bishop; the 
several duties of which office, we are firmly persuaded, he will dis 
charge with honour, dignity, and fidelity, and consequently with 
advantage to the Church of God. 

And we cannot forbear to express our most earnest wish, that 
Doctor Seabury may succeed in this application, as it will be the 
means of preserving the Church of England in America from ruin, 
and of preventing many irregularities which we seem approach 
ing, and which, if once introduced, no after care may be able to 
Given under our hands, at New York, this twenty -first day of 

April, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 


Rector of Trinity Church, New York. 


Assistant Minister of Trinity Church, 

New York, and others. 

Letter to the Archbishop of York. 

New York, May 24, 1783. 

The reverend Doctor Samuel Seabury will have the honour of 
presenting this letter to your grace. He goes to England at the 
request of the Episcopal clergy of Connecticut, on business highly 
interesting and important. They have written on the subject to 
your grace, and also to the archbishop of Canterbury, and the bishop 
of London. But, as they were pleased to consult us on the occa- 


sion, and to submit what they had written to our inspection, re 
questing our concurrence in their application, their letters are dated 
at New York, and signed only by the Rev. Mr. J arvis, the secretary 
to their convention, whom they commissioned and sent here for 
that purpose. 

The measure proposed, on this occasion, by our brethren of Con 
necticut, could not fail to have our hearty concurrence. For we 
are decidedly of opinion, that no other means can be devised to 
preserve the existence of the Episcopal Church in this country. 
We have therefore joined with Mr. Jarvis in giving Doctor Seabury 
a testimonial, in which wa have briefly, but sincerely, expressed our 
sense of his merit, and our earnest wishes for the success of his 

Should he succeed and be consecrated, he means (with the appro 
bation of the society,) to return in the character, and perform the 
duties of a missionary, at New-London, in Connecticut; and on his 
arrival in that country, to make application to the governor, in hope 
of being cheerfully permitted to exercise the spiritual powers of his 
Episcopal office there ; in which, we are persuaded, he will meet 
with little, if any opposition. For many persons of character in 
Connecticut, and elsewhere, who are members of the Episcopal 
Church, have lately declared they have no longer any objection to an 
American Episcopate, now that the independence of this country, 
acknowledged by Great-Britain, has removed their apprehensions 
of the bishops being invested with a share of temporal power by the 
British government. 

We flatter ourselves that any impediments to the consecration of 
a bishop for America, arising from the peculiar constitution of the 
Church of England, may be removed by the king's royal permission ; 
and we cannot entertain a doubt of his majesty's readiness to grant it. 

In humble confidence that your grace will consider the object of 
this application as a measure worthy of your zealous patronage, we 
beg leave to remind your grace, that several legacies have been, at 
different times, bequeathed for the support of bishops in America, and 
to express our hopes that some part of those legacies, or of the in 
terest arising from them, may be appropriated to the maintenance of 
Doctor Seabury, in case he is consecrated, and settles in America. 
We conceive that the separation of this country from the parent 
state, can be no reasonable bar to such appropriation, nor invalidate 
the title of American bishops, who derive their consecration from 
the Church of England, to the benefit of those legacies. And per 
haps, this charitable assistance is now more necessary, than it would 
have been, had not the empire been dismembered. 

We take this opportunity to inform your grace, that we have con 
sulted his excellency Sir Guy Carleton, on the subject of procuring 
the appointment of a bishop for the province of Nova-Scotia, on 
which he has expressed to us his entire approbation, and has written 


to administration, warmly recommending the measure. We took 
the liberty, at the same time, of mentioning our worthy brother, 
the Rev. Dr. Thomas B. Chandler, to his excellency, as a per 
son every way qualified to discharge the duties of the Epis^ 
copal office in that province, with dignity and honour. And we 
hope for your grace's approbation of what we have done in that 
matter, and for the concurrence of your influence with Sir Guy 
Carleton's recommendation in promoting the design. 

We should have given this information sooner to your grace, but 
that we waited for Doctor Seabury's departure for England, which 
we considered as affording the best and most proper conveyance. 

If Doctor Chandler and Dr. Seabury should both succeed, as we 
pray God they may, we trust that, with the blessing of heaven, the 
Episcopal Church will yet flourish in this western hemisphere. 

With the warmest sentiments of respect and esteem, we have the 
honour to be, 

My Lord, 

Your grace's most dutiful sons, 

And obedient, humble servants, 

Rector of Trinity Church, New York. 

Assistant Minister of Trinity Church, 

New York, and others. 
His Grace the Archbishop of York. 


London, 31st August, 1784. 
My dear Sir, 

I hope this letter will find you safe at Edinboro' in good health and 
spirits. Here, every thing, in which I have any concern, continues in the 
same State as when I saw you at your Castle. I have been for some time 
I>a-t. and yet am, in daily Expectation of hearing from Connecticut; but 
there have been no late arrivals, nor shall I wait for any, provided I have 
any favourable Account from you, but shall hold myself in readiness to 
set off for the North at twenty-four hours notice. With regard to myself 
it is not my fault that I have not done it before, but I thought it my duty 
to pursue the plan mark'd out for me by the Clergy of Connecticut, as 
long as there was any probable Chance of succeeding. That probably is 
now at an end, and I think myself at liberty to pursue such other Scheme 
as shall ensure to them a valid Episcopacy ; and such I take the Scotch 
Episcopacy to be in every sense of the word ; and such I know the Clergy 
of Connecticut consider it, and have always done so? but the Connection 
that has always subsisted between them and the Church of England, and 
the generous support they have hitherto receiv'd from that Church, natu 
rally led them, though no longer a part of the British Dominions, to apply 
to that Church in the first Instance, for Relief in their Spiritual necessity. 


Unhappily the connection of this Church with the State is so intimate 
that the Bishops can do little without the consent of the Ministry, and 
the Ministry have refused to permit a Bishop to be consecrated for Con 
necticut, or for any other of the 13 States, without the formal request, or 
at least consent of Congress, which there is no chance of obtaining, and 
which the Clergy of Connecticut would not apply for, were the chance 
ever so good. They are content with having the Episcopal Church in 
Connecticut put upon the same footing with any other religious Denomi 
nation. A Copy of a Law of the State of Connecticut, which enables the 
Episcopal congregations to transact their Ecclesiastical affairs upon their 
own Principles, to tax their members for the Maintenance of their Clergy ; 
for the Support of their worship; for the building and repairing of 
Churches ; and which exempts them from all penalties and from all other 
taxes, on a Religious Account, I have in my possession. The Legisla 
ture of Connecticut know that a Bishop is applied ibr, they know the 
person in whose favour the application is made, and they give no Oppo 
sition to either. Indeed were they disposed to object, they have more pru 
dence than to attempt to object to it. They know that there are in that 
State more than 70 Episcopal Congregations: Many of them large: Some 
of them making a majority of the Inhabitants of Large Towns, and with 
those that are scattered through the State, composing a Body of near or 
quite 40,000: a body too large to be needlessly affronted in an Elective 

On this Ground it is that I apply to the good Bishops in Scotland, and 
I hope I shall not apply in vain. If they consent to impart the Episcopal 
Succession to the Church of Connecticut, they will, I think, do a good 
work and the blessing of thousands will attend them. And perhaps for 
this cause, among others, God's Providence has supported them, and con 
tinued their Succession under various and great Difficulties that a free, 
valid and purely Ecclesiastical Episcopacy, may, from them, pass into the 
Western world. 

As to anything which I receive here, it has no Influence on me, and 
never has had any. I indeed think it my duty to conduct the matter iu 
such a manner, as shall risk the Salaries which the Missionaries in 
Connecticut receive from the Society here, as little as possible, and I per 
suade mysejf it may be done so as to make that risk next to nothing. 
With respect to my own Salary if the Society choose to withdraw it I 
am ready to part with it. 

It is a matter of some consequence to me that this affair be determined 
as soon as possible. I am anxious to return to America this Autumn, 
and the Winter is fast approaching, when the Voyage will be attended 
with double inconvenience and danger, and the expence of continuing 
here another winter is greater than will suit my purse. I know you will 
give me the earliest Intelligence in your power, and I shall patiently wait 
till I hear from you. My most-respectful regards attend the Right Rev 
erend Gentlemen under whose Consideration this Business will come 
and as there are none but the most open and candid intentions on my 
part, so I doubt not of the most candid and free Construction of my con 
duct on their part. Accept my dear Sir of the best wishes of 

Your ever affectionate, &c. 

(1) From the Letter-book of Bishop Seabury, in the possession of the 
Eev. Dr. Seabury of New York. 



Dr. Cooper presents his most respectfull Compliments to Bishop Kil- 
gour, and begs leave to acquaint him, that, to Dr. Cooper's knowledge, 
Dr. Seabury is recommended by several worthy Clergymen in Connecti 
cut as a person worthy of Promotion and to whom they are willing to 
Submit as a Bishop. 

Edinboro, 13th September, 1784. 

Postscript by another hand.(l) 

Dr. Berkely in consequence of some fears suggested by Bp. Skinner, 
wrote the present Archbishop of Canterbury that application had been 
made by Dr. Seabury to the Scottish Bishops for consecration, and beg 
ged, that if his grace thought the Bishops here run any hazard in com- 
plyiii" with Dr. Seabury's request, he would be so good as give Dr. Berkely 
notice immediately, but if his Grace was satisfied that there was no Dan 
ger, there was no occasion to give any Answer. No answer came. 

From the RT. REVD. BP. ROBERT KILGOUR of Aberdeen, to 
the REVD. MR. JOHN ALLAN of Edinburgh. 

Revd. and Dear Sir, 

I acknowledge by the first opportunity the receipt of yours of the 14th 
ult., inclosing Dr. Seabury's letter to Dr. Cooper, which I doubt not you 
have received in course. 

Dr. Seabury's long silence after it had been signified to him, that the 
Bishops of this Church would comply with his Proposals, made them all 
think that the Affair was dropped and that he did not chuse to be con 
nected with them, but his Letter and the manner in which he accounts for 
his conduct give such satisfaction that I have the pleasure to inform you, 
that we are still willing to comply with his proposal ; to cloath him with 
the Episcopal Character, and thereby convey to the western World the 
Blessing ot a free, valid, and purely Ecclesiastical Episcopacy: Not 
doubting that he will so agree with us in Doctrine and Discipline, as that 
he and the Church under his Charge in Connecticut will hold Communion 
with us and the Church here on Catholic and Primitive Prikciples ; and 
BO that the members of both may with freedom communicate together in 
all the Offices of Religion. 

We are concerned that he should have been so long in determining 
himself to make this Application, and wish that in an affair of so much 
importance he had corresponded with one of our number. However as 
he appears open and candid on his part, he may believe the Bishops will 
be no less so on their part ; and will be glad how soon he can set out for 
the Nonh. 

As I cannot undertake a Journey to Edinburgh, and it would also be 
too hard on Bp. Petrie in his very infirm State, the only proper place that 
remains for us to meet in is Aberdeen. 

How soon Dr. Seabury fixes on the time for his setting out, or at least 

(1) The preceding correspondence is transcribed, verbatim et literatim, 
from Bishop Seabury's Letter-Book, already referred to. A note to the 
Bishop of Oxford's account of the same matter, in his History of the 
American Church, informs that the " Postscript" above was added by 
Bishop Skinner. 


HOW SOON(I) he comes into Scotland, I hope he will address me; as the 
Bishops will settle their time of meeting for his Consecration as soon 
thereafter as their Circumstances and Distance will permit. With a re 
turn of the Bps' most respectful Regards to Dr. Seabury, please advise 
him of all this. May God grant us a happy meeting and direct all to the 
Honour and Glory of his Name and to the good of his Church. To his 
Benediction I ever heartily commend you, and am 

Revd. and Dear Sir, 

Your Affect. Brother and 

humble servt. 

Pelerhead, (Signed) ROBERT KILGOUR. 

2nd Octr. 1784. 


London, October 14th, 1784. 
Right Revd. Sir 

Three days ago I was made happy by the Receipt of a Letter from my 
friend in Edinburgh, inclosing one from you to the Revd. Mr. John Allan 
signifying the consent of the Bishops in Scotland to convey, through me, 
the Blessing of a free, valid and purely Ecclesiastical Episcopacy to the 
Western World. My most hearty thanks are due to you, and to the other 
Bishops for the kind and Christian attention which they shew to the des 
titute and suffering Church in North America in general, and that of Con 
necticut in particular; and for that ready and willing mind which they 
have manifested in this important affair. May God accept and reward 
them freely ; and grant that the whole business may terminate in the glory 
of his Name and the prosperity of his Church. 

As far as I am concerned, or my influence shall extend, nothing shall 
be omitted to establish the most liberal intercourse and union between 
the Episcopal Church in Scotland and in Connecticut, so that the Mem 
bers of both may freely communicate together in all the offices of Re 
ligion, on Catholic and Primitive principles. 

Whatever appearances there may have been of inattention on my part 
they will I trust, when I shall have the happiness of a personal conference 
be fully, and to a mind so candid and liberal as yours, satisfactorily ex 

I propose through the favour of God's good providence, to be at Aber 
deen by the 10th of November, and shall there wait the convening of the 
Bishops who have so humanely taken this matter under their manage 
ment. My best and most respectful regards attend them. 

Commending myself to your prayers and good offices, I remain, Right 
Revd. Sir, with the greatest respect and esteem. 

Your most obdt. and humble Servt., 


It appears from the following letter, that overtures had 
been made in the interim to the nonjuring Bishops of the 
Separation which commenced in 1733 or 1734,(2) and con- 

(1) i.e., AS SOON AS. 

(2) Lathbury's History of the Nonjurors, 8vo. London, 1845. p. 411. 


tinued to the close of the 18th century. In the year 1780 Price 
and Cartwright, two clergymen of this faction, had been con 
secrated Bishops by Thomas Deacon alone, and to them pro 
posals seem to have been made, as a last resort, to convey 
the Episcopal character to the persevering Missionary from 
Connecticut. Bishop Cartwright, as we learn from Lath- 
bury,(l) was at this time residing at Shrewsbury, " practising 
as a surgeon;" and, as appears from Dr. Seabury's reply, 
very willingly proffered his services in the way of consecra 
tion. Happily this resort was not necessary ; and at the 
time of receiving this proposal measures were in a state of 
forwardness for the action of the Scotch bishops. 

Shrewsbury, (who had been consulted by the Rev. Mr. 
Boucher concerning an American Episcopacy), In answer 
to a letter from the Bp. to Dr. Chandler, dated London, 
October (supposed) the 15th, 1784. (2) 

Right Revd. Sir, 

Some time ago a letter from you to the Revd. Dr. Chandler respecting 
some queries proposed by the Revd. Mr. Boucher was put into my hands. 
This was the first information I had received concerning yourself or Bp. 
Price. And as I am in Spiritual matters totally independent OF AXY CIVIL 
POWEK and have no manner of objection; but a sincere inclination to 
conform myself, as near as possible to the Primitive Catholic Church, in 
doctrine and discipline, that Letter would have been immediately attend 
ed to by me, had I not primarily entered into a negociation with the Bps. 
in the North, to obtain through them a free, valid, and purely Ecclesias 
tical Episcopacy for the Church in Connecticut. Till within a few days 
I have had no decided answer from the North, and therefore did not 
sooner write to you, because I could make no certain reply to your letter. 
But as the issue of the negociation I was engaged in is such as that I 
cannot in honor retreat, I can only at present return you my hearty and 
unfeigned thanks for the candid communication and liberal sentiments 
which your letter contained ; and to assure you that I shall ever retain the 
highest esteem and veneration both for yourself and Bishop Price, on ac 
count of the ready disposition which you both show to impart the great 
blessing of a primitive Episcopacy to the destitute Church in America. 
Should any circumstances render it convenient to open a further corres 
pondence on this or any other subject in which the interest of Chri t's 
Church may be concerned, I flatter myself with a continuance of that 
Spirit of liberality and Christian condescension which your letter mani 
fested, and shall make it my study to return it in the most open and un 
reserved manner. 

(1) Lathbury s History of the Nonjurors, page 412. 

(2) The original endorsement in Bishop Seabury's Letter-Book. 


Be pleased, to present my best respects to Bishop Price, and to accept 
ye tender of unfeigned regard and esteem from 

Right Revd. Sir, 
Your most obt. and very humble Servt. 

s. s. 

" One more hindrance," says the Bishop of Oxford, in his 
interesting History of the American Church,(l) "was inter 
posed to the fulfilment of these wishes. When the Scotch 
bishops had resolved to consecrate, an earnest appeal was 
sent to them from an American clergyman, whose own views, 
as it afterwards appeared, would be in some measure thwart 
ed by the consecration of Dr. Seabury; but who now assur 
ed them that he desired to divert a heavy stroke from Epis 
copacy, which was likely to suffer through the consecration;" 
which, he asserted, was " against the earnest and sound ad 
vice of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, to whom 
Dr. Seabury's design was communicated, they not thinking 
him a fit person, especially as he was actively and deeply en 
gaged against Congress ; that he would by this forward step 
render Episcopacy suspected there, the people not having 
had time, after a total derangement of their civil affairs, to 
consider as yet of ecclesiastical; and if it were unexpectedly 
and rashly introduced among them at the instigation of a few 
clergy only that remain, without their being consulted, would 
occasion it to be entirely slighted, unless with the approba 
tion of the state they belong to ; which is what they are la 
bouring after just now, having called several provincial meet 
ings together this autumn to settle some preliminary articles 
of a Protestant Episcopal Church as near as may be to that, 
of England or Scotland. . . 'See,' he concludes, 
' if you value your own peace and advantage as a Christian 
society, that your bishops meddle not in this consecration,' 

It is not difficult to recognize as the author of this com 
munication, a pruuiiiieiit clergyman, to whose efforts tur the 

(1) Page 210, 211. 


Episcopate subsequent references will be made. It is suffi 
cient here to mention, that this disingenuous course failed 
utterly of its object ; and that the bishops of Scotland hav- 
ino- decided to communicate the Episcopacy to America, 
were little disposed to favour individual ambition, or heed 
the insinuations of personal prejudice. 

We pass to the original record of the Consecration as con 
tained in the " Minute-Book of the College of Bishops in 
Scotland."! 1 ) These documents, narrating the history and 
terms of the intercommunion of the Churches of Scotland 
and Connecticut, are of the highest importance, and they re 
flect no little credit upon those venerable men by whom they 
were drawn up. 

SYNOD 1784. 

In the name of the holy and undivided Trinity. Amen. 

The American States having been by the Legislature of .Great Britain 
declared independent, the Christians of the Episcopal persuasion in the 
State of Connecticut, who had long been anxiously desirous to have a 
valid and purely ecclesiastical Episcopacy established amongst them, 
thought they had now a favourable opportunity of getting this their desire, 

With this view, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury, one of the Episcopal 
clergy in that State, was sent over to England with ample certificates of 
his piety, abilities, and learning, and fitness for the Episcopal office, and 
recommendations by his brethren, both in Connecticut and Xew York, 
to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, requesting that he might 
be consecrated for the State of Connecticut. After a long stay 
in England, and fruitless application for consecration, Dr. Seabury 
wrote and made application to the Bishops of Scotland, who, after 
having seriously considered the matter, readily concurred to encourag- 
and promote the proposal. In consequence of this, Dr. Seahnry came to 
Scotland; and having notified his arrival, a day was fixed for his conse 
cration, and the place appointed was Aberdeen. On Saturday, the 13th 
of November, in the year of our Lord 1784, the following Bishops, viz.: 
The Right Rev. Mr. Robert Kilgour, Bishop of Aberdeen and Primus; 
the Right Rev. Mr. John Skinner, his coadjutor; and the Right Rev. Mr. 
Arthur Petrie, Bishop of Ross and Moray, (the Right Rev. Mr. Charles 
Rose, Bishop of Dunblane, having previously signified his assent, and be- 
cused his absence by reason of his state of health and great distance,) 
convened at Aberdeen, where Dr. Seabury met them, and laid before 
them the following letters and papers, viz.: (1.) An attested copy of a 
letter from the clergy of Connecticut to the Archbishop of York, recom 
mending Dr. Seabury in very strong terms, and requesting he might be 

(1) An original copy of the "Concordat" which forms a part of thene valuable papers, 
1 in the hands of the Rev. Prof. W. J. Seabury, of New York. It is the one brought by 
Bp. Seabury to this country, and differs only in unimportant particulars from the Scottish 
Original which is here followed. 


consecrated for Connecticut. (2.) Another copy of a letter from the 
clergy of New York to both the Archbishops, signifying their concurrence 
and highly approving of the measure. (3.) A full and ample testimo 
nial from the clergy of Connecticut and New York, jointly certifying Dr. 
Seabury's learning, abilities, prudence, and zeal for religion, and that they 
believed him to be every way qualified for the sacred office of a Bishop. 
(4.) A letter from the Committee of the Clergy in Connecticut to Dr. Sea- 
bury, acquainting him that they had made application to the Assembly 
of the State of Connecticut as to what protection might be expected for 
a Bishop in that State, if they should be able to procure one. That their 
application met with a degree of candour and attention beyond their ex 
pectation; and that the opinion of the leading members of the Assembly 
appeared to coincide fully with theirs in respect of the need, propriety, and 
prudence of such a measure. That these members told them they had 
passed a law concerning the Episcopal Church, and invested her with all 
the legal powers and rights that is intended by their constitution to give 
to any denomination. That the protection asked for was necessarily in 
cluded in the act; that let a Bishop come, when he is there he will stand 
upon the same ground that the rest of the clergy do, or the Church at 
large. That the legislature of the State would be so far from taking any 
umbrage, that in this transaction the Bishops would meet their generous 
wishes, and do a thing for which they would have their applause. (5.) 
A letter from the Committee of Convention in Connecticut to Dr. Sea- 
bury, amongst other things, signifying their reliance on his zeal and for 
titude to prosecute the affair in such way as he can, and begging he will 
remember that, however glad they shall be to see him, and wish speed to 
the opportunity that may enable them to bid him a happy welcome, yet 
that his coming a Bishop will only prevent its being an unhappy meeting. 
(6.) A letter from Mr. Jarvis, Secretary of the Committee, to Dr. Seabury, 
accompanying the above letter, wherein Mr. Jarvis says, you may depend 
upon it you will be kindly treated in this State, let you ordination come 
from what quarter it will. (7.) An attested copy of the above-mentioned 
Act of the State of Connecticut for securing the rights of conscience in 
matters of religion to Christians of every denomination, passed in the 
January session 1783. 

The said Bishops thus convened, after reading and considering these 
papers, and conversing at full length with Dr. Seabury, were fully satisfied 
of his fitness to be promoted to the Episcopate, and of the reasonableness 
and propriety of the request of these papers ; and therefore, the day fol 
lowing being Sunday, the 14th of the said month of November, after 
morning prayers, and a sermon suitable to the occasion, preached by 
Bishop Skinner, they proceeded to the consecration of the said Dr. Sam 
uel Seabury, in the said Bishop Skinner's Chapel in Aberdeen, and he was 
then and there duly consecrated with all becoming solemnity by the said 
Right Rev. Mr. Robert Kilgour, Mr. Arthur Petrie, and Mr. John Skinner, 
in the presence of a considerable number of respectable clergymen and a 
great number of laity, on which occasion all testified great satisfaction. 
On Monday the loth, a Concordate betwixt the Episcopal Church in Scot 
land and that in Connecticut was formed and agreed upon by the Bishops 
of Scotland and Bishop Seabury, to satisfaction; and two 
duplicates thereof, wrote upon vellum, were duly signed and sealed by all 
the four. One duplicate, together with the -above-mentioned letters and 
papers respecting Dr. Seabury, was kept by the Bishops of Scotland, to 
be preserved among their records; and the other double, together with a 


letter from the Bishops of Scotland to the clergy of Connecticut, wrote 
also upon vellum, and duly signed and sealed, was delivered to Bishop 
Seabury : and so the Synod broke up. Copies of the Concordate and let 
ter are herein inserted, and are as follows : 


In the name of the HOLY and UNDIVIDED TRINITY, FATHER, SON, and 
HOLY GHOST, one GOD, Blessed for ever. Amen. The wise and gracious 
providence of this merciful God having put it into the hearts of the Chris 
tians of the Episcopal persuasion in Connecticut in North America, to 
desire that the blessings of a free, valid, and purely ecclesiastical Episco 
pacy might be communicated to them, and a Church regularly formed in 
that part of the western world, on the most ancient and primitive model ; 
and application having been made for this purpose by the Rev. Doctor 
Samuel Seabury, Presbyter in Connecticut, to the Right Rev. the Bishops 
of the Church in Scotland, the said Bishops having taken this proposal 
into their serious consideration, most heartily concurred to promote and 
encourage the same as far as lay in their power, and, accordingly, began 
the pious and good work recommended to them, by complying with the 
request of the clergy in Connecticut, and advancing the same Dr. Samuel 
Seabury to the high order of the Episcopate, at the same time earnestly 
praying that this work of the Lord, thus happily begun, might prosper in 
his hand, till it should please the great and glorious head of the Church to 
increase the number of Bishops in America, and send forth more such 
labourers into that part of His harvest. Animated with this pious hope, 
and earnestly desirous to establish a bond of peace and holy communion 
between the two Churches, the Bishops of the Church in Scotland, whose 
names are underwritten, having had full and free conference with Bishop 
Seabury, after his consecration and advancemeut as aforesaid, agreed with 
him on the following articles, which are to serve as a Concordate, or bond of 
union, between the Catholic remainder of the ancient Church of Scotland, 
aud the now rising Church in Connecticut. 

AUT. I. They agree in thankfully receiving, and humbly and heartily 
embracing the whole doctrine of the Gospel as revealed and set forth in 
the Holy Scriptures, and it is their earnest and united desire to maintain 
the analogy of the common faith once delivered to the saints, and happily 
preserved in the Church of Christ, through His Divine power and protec 
tion, Who promised that the gates of hell should never prevail against it. 

ART. II. They agree in believing this Church to be the mystical body of 
Christ, and of which He alone is the head and supreme governor, and that 
under Him the chief ministers or managers of the affairs of this spiritual 
society are those called Bishops, whose exercise of their sacred office be 
ing independent of all lay powers, it follows, of consequence, that their spir 
itual authority and jurisdiction cannot be aftected by any lay deprivation. 

ART. III. They agree in declaring that the Episcopal Church in Con 
necticut is to be in. full communion with the Episcopal Church in Scotland, 
it being their sincere resolution to put matters on such a footing as that 
the members of both churches may with freedom and safety communicate 
with either, when their occasions call them from the one country to the 
other. Only taking care, when in Scotland, not to hold communion in 
sacred offices w'ith those pers&ns who, under the pretence of ordination by 
an English or Irish bishop, do, or shall take upon them to officiate as cler 
gymen in any part of the National Church of Scotland, and whom the 
Scottish Bishops cannot help looking upon as schismatical intruders, de 
signed only to answer worldly purposes, and uncommissioned disturbers 


of the poor remains of that once flourishing Church, which both their pre 
decessors and they have, under many difficulties, laboured to preserve pure 
and uncorrupted to future ages. 

ART. IV. With a view to this salutary purpose mentioned in the preced 
ing article, they agree in desiring that there may be as near a conformity 
in worship and discipline established between the two Churches as is con 
sistent with the different circumstances and customs of nations ; and in 
order to avoid any bad effects that might otherwise arise from political 
differences, they hereby express their earnest wish and firm intention to 
observe such prudent generality in their public prayers with respect to these 
points as shall appear most agreeable to Apostolic rules, and the practice 
of the Primitive Church. 

ART. V. As the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, or the administration 
of the Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ is the principal bond of 
union among Christians, as well as the most solemn act of worship in the 
Christian Church, the Bishops aforesaid agree in desiring that there may 
be as little variance here as possible ; and though the Scottish Bishops are 
very far from prescribing to their brethren in this matter, they cannot help 
ardently wishing that Bishop Seabury would endeavour all he can, consist 
ently with peace and prudence, to make the celebration of this venerable 
mystery conformable to the most primitive doctrine and practice in that 
respect, which is the pattern the Church of Scotland has copied after in 
her Communion office, and which it has been the wish of some of the 
most eminent divines of the Church of England, that she also had more 
closely followed than she seems to have done since she gave up her first re 
formed Liturgy, used in the reign of King Edward VI., between which, 
and the form used in the Church of Scotland, there is no difference in any 
point, which the primitive Church reckoned essential to the right minis 
tration of the Holy Eucharist. In this capital article, therefore, the Eu- 
charistick service, in which the Scottish Bishops so earnestly wish for as 
much unity as possible, Bishop Seabury also agrees to take a serious view 
of the Communion office recommended by them, and if found agreeable 
to the genuine standards of antiquity, to give his sanction to it, and by 
gentle methods of argument and persuasion, to endeavour, as they have 
done, to introduce it by degrees into practice, without the compulsion of 
authority on the one side, or the prejudice of former custom on the other. 

ART. VI. It is also hereby agreed and resolved upon, for the better an 
swering the purpose of this Concordate, that a brotherly fellowship be 
henceforth maintained between the Episcopal Churches in Scotland and 
Connecticut, and such a mutual intercourse of ecclesiastical correspond 
ence carried on, when opportunity offers, or necessity requires, as may tend 
to the support and edification of both Churches. 

ART. VII. The Bishops aforesaid do hereby jointly declare, in the most 
solemn manner, that in the whole of this transaction they have nothing 
else in view but the glory of God, and the good of His Church ; and being 
thus pure and upright in their intentions, they cannot but hope that all 
whom it may concern will put the most fair and candid construction on their 
conduct, and take no offence at their feeble but sincere endeavours to pro 
mote what they believe to be the cause of truth and the common salvation. 

In testimony of their love to which, and in mutual good faith and confi 
dence, they have, for themselves and their successors in office, cheerfully 
put their names and seals to these presents, at Aberdeen, this 15th day of 
November, in the year of our Lord 1784. 

(Sic SUB.) ROBERT KILGOUR, Bishop and Primus, L.S. 


Jonx SKIVNER, Bishop, L.S. 

LETTER from the Bishops of Scotland to the Episcopal Clergy of the State 
of Connecticut, in North America, dated at Aberdeen the 15th of No 
vember 1784. 

represented to us, the Bishops of the Episcopal Church of Scotland, by 
the Rev. Dr. Samuel Seabury, your fellow Presbyter in the State of Con 
necticut, that you are desirous to have the blessings of a free, valid, and 
purely ecclesiastical Episcopacy communicated to you, and that you do 
consider the Scottish Episcopacy to be such in every sense of the word ; 
and the said Dr. Seabury having been sufficiently recommended to us as a 
person very fit for the Episcopate, and whom you are willing to acknow 
ledge and submit to as your Bishop, when properly authorised to take the 
charge of you in that character Know, therefore, dearly beloved, that we, 
the Bishops, and, under Christ, the governors by regular succession, of 
the Episcopal Church of Scotland, considering the reasonableness of your 
request, and being entirely satisfied with the recommendations in favour 
of the said Dr. Samuel Seabury, have accordingly promoted him to the 
high order of the Episcopate, by the laying on of our hands, and have 
thereby invested him with proper powers for governing and performing all 
episcopal offices in the Church subsisting in the State of Connecticut in 
North America. And having thus far complied with your desire, and done 
what was incumbent on us to keep up the Episcopal succession in a part 
of the Christian Church which is now, by mutual agreement, loosed from 
and given up by those who once took the charge of it, permit us, there 
fore, Reverend Brethren, to request your hearty and sincere endeavours to 
further and carry on the good work we have happily begun. To this end, 
we hope you will receive and acknowledge the Right Reverend Bishop Sea- 
bury as your Bishop, and spiritual governor, that you will pay him all due 
and canonical obedience in that sacred character, and reverently apply to 
him for all episcopal offices which you, or the people committed to your 
pastoral care, may stand in need of at his hands, till, through the goodness 
of God, the number of Bishops be increased among you, and the State of 
Connecticut be divided into separate districts or dioceses, as is the case in 
other parts of the Christian world. This recommendation we flatter our 
selves you will take in good part from the governors of .a Church which 
cannot be suspected of aiming at supremacy of any kind, or over any peo 
ple. Unacquainted with the politics of nations, and under no temptation 
to interfere in matters foreign to us, we have no other object in view but 
the interest of the Mediator's kingdom, no higher ambition than to do our 
duty as messengers of the Prince of Peace. In the discharge of this duty 
the example which we wish to copy after is that of the Primitive Church 
while in a similar situation, unconnected with, and unsupported by, the 
temporal powers. On this footing, it is our earnest desire that the Epis 
copal Church in North America be in full communion with the Episcopal 
Church in Scotland, as we, the underwritten Bishops, for ourselves and 
'our successors in office, agree to hold communion with Bishop Seabury, 
and his successors, as practised in the various provinces of the Primitive 
Church, in all the fundamental articles of faith, and by mutual intercourse 
of ecclesiastical correspondence and brotherly fellowship, when opportu- 


nity offers or necessity requires. Upon this plan, which we hope will meet 
your joint approbation, and according to this standard of primitive practice, 
a Concordate has been drawn up and signed by us, the Bishops of theChnrch 
in Scotland, on the one part, and by Bishop Seabury on the other, the ar 
ticles of which are to serve as a bond of union between the Catholic re 
mainder of the ancient Church of Scotland, and the now rising Church 
in the United States of America. Of this Concordate a copy is herewith 
sent for your satisfaction ; and after having duly weighed the several ar 
ticles of it, we hope you will find them all both expedient and equitable, 
dictated by a spirit of Christian meekness, and proceeding from a pure 
regard to regularity and good order. As such we most earnestly recom 
mend them to your serious attention, and, with all brotherly love, entreat 
your hearty and sincere compliance with them. 

A Concordate thus established in mutual good faith and confidence, 
will, by the blessing of God, make our ecclesiastical union firm and lasting: 
And we have no other desire but to render it conducive to that peace, and 
agreeable to that truth, which it ever has been, and shall be, our study to 
seek after and cultivate. And may the God of Peace grant you to be 
like-minded. May He who is the Great High Priest of our profession, 
the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, prosper these our endeavours for 
the propagation of his truth and righteousness : May He graciously ac 
cept our imperfect services, grant success to our good designs, and make 
His Church to be yet glorious upon earth, and the joy of all lands! To 
His Divine benediction we heartily commend you, your flocks, and your 
labours, and are, Reverend Sirs, 

Your affectionate' Brethren and Fellow-Servants in Christ. 

The above letter was duly signed and sealed upon vellum by Bishops 
Kilgour, Petrie, and Skinner, and delivered to Bishop Seabury. 

After which the meeting was dissolved. 

(Signed) ARTHUR PETRIE, Clerk. 

A single paragraph from the interesting letter of the Rev. 
Dr. Hallam, of New London, addressed to the compiler of 
the " Annals of the American Episcopal Pulpit," will fur 
nish the only added information we may require concerning 
this eventful consecration, as it brings vividly before us the 
scene and place where the first Bishop for America received 
the laying on of hands; 

" The Church to which Bishop Seabury was then indebted 
for the success of his mission was but a feeble and oppressed 
remnant, having lain for nearly a hundred years under the 
ban of the government, the object of political hatred and sus 
picion, on account of its stedfast and romantic adhesion to 
the exiled Stuarts. The Quixotic invasion of Charles Ed 
ward, about forty years before, had served to increase its 
unpopularity, and strengthen its bondage. Its worship was 
forbidden, and the assembling of more than four of its mem- 


bers for the celebration of its services, subjected them to se 
vere penalties. Its worship was conducted by stealth, in the 
upper rooms of private houses belonging to its wealthier 
members, in which all external signs of the purpose to which 
they were devoted were carefully avoided. In such an upper 
room, the Consecration of Bishop Seabury took place, and 
the old house in Aberdeen which was thus the cradle of the 
American Episcopal Church, was, for many years, pointed 
out as an object of interest to American Episcopalians."! 1 ) 

Returning to the Seabury Correspondence, of which we 
have already made such abundant use, we transcribe the fol 
lowing interesting communication, addressed by the newly- 
consecrated Bishop to his old friend and correspondent, the 
Rev. Jonathan Boucher, formerly a leading clergyman of the 
province of Maryland. It gives us the narrative of the Con 
secration in the Bishop's own words; and furnishes us, be 
sides, abundant proof of the earnest devotion and zeal with 
which he had already entered upon his labors. 


Edinburgh, Decemr. 3rd, 1784. 
My very dear Sir. 

I promised to write to you as soon as a certain event took place, and I 
have not till now made good my promise. In truth, I have not had op 
portunity to collect my thoughts on the subject, on which I chiefly wished 
to write to you ; and even now, I expect every minute to be called upon 
and probably this letter will go unfinished to you. 

Dr. Chandler I suppose has informed you that my consecration took 
place on the 14th of November at Aberdeen. I found great candour, 
piety and good sense among the Scotch bishops and also among the Cler 
gy with whom I have conversed. The Bps. expect the Clergy of Connec 
ticut will form their own Liturgy and offices yet they hope the English 
Liturgy, which is the one they use, will be retained, except the Commu 
nion Office and that they wish should give place to the one in Edward the 
Sixth's Prayer Book. This matter I have engaged to lay before the Cler 
gy of Connecticut and they will be left to their own judgment which to 
prefer. Some of the Congregations in Scotland use the one and some the 
other office; but yet communicate with each other on every occasion that 
offers. On Political Subjects not a word was said. Indeed their attach 
ment to a particular family is wearing off and I am persuaded a little good 
policy in England would have great effect here. 

Upon the whole I know of nothing, and am conscious that I have done 
nothing, that ought to interrupt my connection with the Church of En 
gland. The Church in Connecticut has only done her duty in endevour- 

(1) Sprague's Annals of the American Episcopal Pulpit. 


ing to obtain an Episcopacy for herself, and I have only done my duty ia 
carrying her endeavours into execution. Political reasons prevented her 
application from being com plied with in England. It was natural in the 
next instance to apply to Scotland, whose Episcopacy, though now under 
a cloud, is the very same, in every ecclesiastical sense with the English. 

His Grace of Cant, apprehended, that my obtaining consecration in 
Scotland, would create jealousies, and Schisms in the Church that the 
Moravian Bishops in America would be hereby induced to ordain Clergy 
men and that the Philadelphian Clergy would be encouraged to carry into 
effect, their plan of constituting a nominal Episcopacy by the joint Suf 
frages of Clergymen and Laymen. 

But when it is considered that the Moravian Bps. cannot ordain Clergy 
men for our Church, unless requested so to do, and that when there shall 
be a Bp. in America there will be no ground on which to make such a re 
quest; and that the Philadelphian plan was only proposed on the Supposi 
tion of real and absolute necessity; which necessity cannot exist when 
there is a Bishop resident in America, every apprehension of this kind 
must I think vanish and be no more. My own Inclination is to cultivate 
as close a connection and union with the Church of England, as that 
Church and the political State of the two countries shall permit. I have 
grown up and lived hitherto under the influence of the highest veneration 
tor and attachment to the Church of England, and in the service of the 
Society, and my hope is to promote the interest of that Church with greater 
effect than ever, and to establish it in the full enjoyment of its whole go 
vernment and discipline. 

And I think it highly probable that I may be of real service to this 
country by promoting a connection with that country in Religious matters 
without any breach of duty to ^he State in which I shall live. I cannot 
help considering it as an instance of bad policy that my application for 
consecration was rejected in England ; and I intend no offence when I 
say, that I think the policy would still be worse should the Society on this 
occasioo discharge me from their Service ; which his Grace of York, in 
my last interview with him, said would certainly be the case. That indeed 
would make a Schism between the two Churches, and put it out of my 
pov/er to preserve that friendly intercourse and communion which I ear 
nestly wish. It might also bring on explanations which would be disa 
greeable to me, and I imagine, to the Society also. However, should the 
Society itself be obliged to take such a step, though I shall be sorry for it, 
and hurt by it, I shall not be dejected. If my father and mother forsake 
me, if the Governors of the Church and the Society discard me, I shall 
still be that humble pensioner of divine providence which I have been 
through my whole life. God I trust will take me up, continue his good 
ness to me, and bless my endeavours to serve the cause of his infant 
Church in Connecticut. I trust, Sir, it is not the loss of 50. per Annum 
that I dread, though that is an object of some importance to a man who 
has nothing, but the consequences that must ensue the total alienation 
of regard and affections. 

You can make such use of this letter as you think proper. If I can 
command so much time I will write to Dr. Morrice on the subject. If not 
I will see him as soon as I return to London, which will be in 10 days. 

Please to present my Regards to Mr. Stevens and all friends and believe 
me to be. with the greatest esteem your affectionate humble Sen-ant, 

S. S.(l) 

(1) Bishop Seabury's Letter-Book. 


Following this interesting communication to an old friend 
and sympathizer, the Bishop of Connecticut addressed the 
manly letter we subjoin, to the Secretary of the venerable 
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. 


London, Feby. 27, 1785. 
Reverend Sir, 

When the Articles of the late peace were published in America, it is 
natuial to suppose that the members of the Church of England must have 
been under many anxious apprehensions concerning the fate of the Church. 
The great distance between England and America had always subjected 
them to many difficulties in the essential Article of ordination ; and the 
independency of that country gave rise to new ones that appeared insur 
mountable : Candidates for holy Orders could no longer take the oaths re 
quired in the English ordination Office, and without doing so, they could 
not be ordained. The Episcopal Church in America must, under such 
circumstances, cease, whenever it should please God to take their present 
ministers from them, unless some adequate means could be adopted to 
procure a regular succession of Clergymen. Under these impressions the 
Clergy of Connecticut met tegether as soon as they possibly could, and on 
the most deliberate consideration, they saw no remedy but the actual set 
tlement of a Bishop among them. They therefore determined to make an 
effort to procure that blessing from the English Church ; to which they 
hoped, under every change of civil polity, to remain united ; And commis 
sioned the Rev. Mr. Abraham Jarvis of Middletown in Connecticut, to go 
to New York and consult such of the Clergy there as they thought prudent 
on the subject, and procure their concurrence. He was also directed to 
try to prevail on the Revd. Mr. Learning or me to undertake a voyage to 
England and Endeavour to obtain Episcopal Consecration for Connecti 
cut. Mr. Learning declined on account of his age and infirmities ; and 
the Clergy who were consulted by Mr. Jarvis gave it as their decided 
opinion that I ought, in duty to the Church, to comply with the request of 
the Connecticut Clergy. Though I foresaw many and great difficulties iu 
the way, yet as I hoped they might all be overcome ; and as Mr. Jarvia 
had no instruction to make the proposal to any one besides, and was, with 
the other Clergy, of opinion the design would drop if I declined it, I gave 
my consent; and arrived in England the beginning of July, 1783, endea 
vouring according to the best of my ability and discretion to accomplish 
the business on which I came. It would be disagreeable to me to recapit 
ulate the difficulties which arose and defeated the measure, and to enter 
on a detail of my own conduct in the matter is needless as his Grace of 
Cant'y and his Grace of York with other members of the Society, are 
well acquainted with all the circumstances. 

Finding at the end of the la't Session of Parliament that no permission 
was given for consecrating a Bishop for Connecticut or any of the Ameri 
can States, in the Act enabling the Lord Bishop of London to ordain for 
eign candidates for Deacon's and Priest's orders ; and understanding that 
a requisition or at least a formal acquiescence of Congress, or of the Su 
preme Authority in some particular State, would be expected before such 
permission would be granted ; and that a diocese must be formed, and * 


stated revenue appointed, for the Bishop, previously to his consecration, I 
absolutely despaired of ever seeing such a measure succeed in England. 
I therefore thought it not only justifiable but a matter of duty to endea 
vour to obtain wherever it could be had a valid Episcopacy for the Church 
in Connecticut, which consists of more than 30,000 members. I kuew 
that the Bishops in Scotland derived their succession from England, and 
that their Liturgy, Doctrines, and discipline scarcely differ from those of 
the English Church. And as only the Spiritual or purely Ecclesiastical 
power of Episcopacy were wanted in Connecticut, I saw no impropriety 
in applying to the Scotch bishops for Consecration. If I succeeded I was 
to exercise the Episcopal authority in Connecticut out of the British do 
minions, and therefore could cause no disturbance in the ecclesiastical or 
civil State of this country. 

The reasons why this step should be taken immediately appeared also to 
me to be very strong. Before I left America a disposition to run into ir 
regular practices had showed itself. For some had proposed to apply to 
the Moravian, some to the Swedish Bishops, for Ordination : And a pamph 
let had been published at Philadelphia urging the appointment of a num 
ber of Presbyters and laymen to ordain Ministers for the Episcopal Church. 
Necessity was pleaded as the foundation of all these schemes. And this 
plea could be effectually silenced only by having a resident Bishop iu 

I have entered into no political engagements in Scotland nor were any 
ever mentioned to me : And I shall return to America, bound indeed to 
hold Communion with the Episcopal Church of Scotland, because I be 
lieve that, as I do the Church of England, to be the Church of Christ. 

It is the first wish of my heart, and will be the endeavour of my life, 
to maintain this unity with the Church of England, agreeably to those 
general laws of Christ's Church which depend not on any human power, 
and which lay the strongest obligations on all its members to live in peace 
and unity with each other : And I trust no obstacles will arise, or hinder 
an event so desirable and so consonant to the principles of the Christian 
Religion, as the union of the Church of England and the Episcopal Church 
of America would be. Such a union must be of great advantage to the 
Church in America, and may also be so at some future period to the Church 
of England. The sameness of religion will have an influence on the Po 
litical conduct of both countries, and in that view may be an object of 
some consideration to Great Britain. 

How far the venerable Society may think themselves justifiable in con 
tinuing me their Missionary, they only can determine. Should they do 
so, I shall esteem it as a favour. Should they do otherwise, I 
can have no right to complain. I beg them to believe that I shall 
ever retain a grateful sense of their favours to me, during thirty-one 
years that I have been their Missionary: and that I shall remember, 
with the utmost respect, the kind attention which they have so long paid 
to the Church in that Country for which I am now to embark. Very happy 
would it make me could I be assured they would continue that attention, 
if not in the same yet in some degree, if not longer, yet during the lives 
of their present Missionaries, whose conduct, in the late commotions, has 
been irreproachable and has procured esteem to themselves and respect 
to that Church to which they belong. 

The fate of individuals is however of inferior moment when compared 
with that of the whole Church. When ever the Society shall wholly cease 
to interest itself in the concerns of Religion in America, it will be a heavy 


calamity to the Church in that Country. Yet this is to be expected : and the 
Calamity will be heavier, if proper steps be not previously taken to secure 
to that Church various property of lauds, &c., in the different States, (now 
indeed of small value but gradually increasing) to which the Society alone 
has a legal claim. It is humbly submitted to them how far it may be con 
sistent with their views to give men, authority to assert, and secure to the 
Church there, the lands in Vermont and elsewhere. This it is hoped, 
might now be easily done, but a few years may render their recovery im- 
j raeticable. The Society has also a library of books in New York, which 
was sent thither for the use of the Missionaries in the neighborhood. As 
there is now only one Missionary in that State, and several in Connecti 
cut, I beg leave to ask their permission to have it removed into Connecti 
cut where it will answer the most valuable purposes ; there being no li 
brary of consequence in that State to which the Clergy can resort on any 

Whatever the Society may determine with regard to me I hope it will not 
be thought an impropriety that I should correspond with them. I think many 
advantages would arise from such a correspondence both to the Church 
and to the Society. Their interests are indeed the same ; and I trust the 
Society will do me the justice to believe, that with such ability as I have, 
and such influence as my Station may give me, I shall steadily endeavour 
to promote the interest of both. I am, 

With the greatest respct and esteem, Revd. Sir, 
Your and the Society's most obdt. and very humble Servt. 

S. S.(l) 

To this dignified communication the following letter was 
returned. It is mainly noticeable from the studied unwil 
lingness' to recognize the Scottish Episcopacy, it displays in 
its address and close. 

' To the Rev. Dr. Seabury, New London, Connecticut." [So directed.] 

Hatton Garden, April 25th, 1785. 
Revd. Sir. 

Your letter of February 27th was read to the Society, &c., at their first 
Meeting subsequent to my receiving it. 

I am directed by the Society to express their approbation of your Ser 
vice as their Missionary ; and to acquaint you that finding They cannot 
consistently with their Charter employ any Missionaries except in the 
Plantations, Colonies, and Factories belonging to the Kingdom of Great 
Britain, your case is of course comprehended under that general rule. 

No decided opinion is yet formed respecting the lands you mention. 
For the rest, the Society without doubt will always readily receive such in 
formation as may contribute to promote their invariable object, the pro 
pagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. 
I am, Revd. Sir, 

Your affectionate Brother and 
Most humble Servant, 



(1) Bishop Seabury's Letter-Book. (2) Ibid. 


The following extract from a letter from the Rev. Dr. 
T. B. Chandler to Bishop Skinner, dated April 23, 1785, gives 
us the date of the Bishop's departure, and furnishes us with 
a fragment of clerical scandal, for which unhappily there 
was only too much foundation. 

" Dr. Seabury, of whom you cannot have so high an opin 
ion as I have, because you are not so well acquainted with 
him, left the Downs on the 15th of last month, and on the 
19th he was 65 leagues west of the Lizard, with a fair pros 
pect of a good passage, at which time he wrote to me. It 
appears from the late letters from America, that there was 
great impatience for his arrival, and no apprehension of his 
meeting with ill-treatment from any quarter. In my opinion, 
he has more trouble to expect from a certain crooked-grained 
false brother, (of whose character you must have some know 
ledge,) than from any other person I mean Dr. S th, 

late of Philadelphia College, now of Maryland. He is a man 
of abilities and application, but intriguing and pragmatical. 
His principles, with regard both to church and state, if he 
has any, are most commodiously flexible, yielding not only 
to every blast, but , to the gentlest breeze that whispers ! 
With professions of great personal esteem for Dr. Seabury, 
made occasionally, he has always counteracted and opposed 
him as far as he dared, and I doubt not but he will continue 
to oppose him in his Episcopal character. He will be able to 
do this more effectually if he succeeds in his project of ob 
taining consecration himself, with a view to which he is said 
to be about embarking for Britain. His character is so well 
known by the Bishops here, that I trust they would have the 
grace to reject him, even were he to carry his point with the 
ministry; and I am sure there is no danger of his imposing 
upon your venerable synod." (1) 

Early in the spring of 1785, Bishop Seabury sailed from 
England for America, visiting Halifax, where several mem- 

(1) Vide pp. 46-48, "Annals of Scottish Episcopacy, from the year 
1788 to the year 1818, inclusive; by the Rev. John Skinner, A.M." 8vo. 
Edinburgh, 1818. 


bers of his family were then residing, in his way.(l) By the 
"latter end of June," he was again in Connecticut. His 
"reception from the inhabitants," he writes to Bishop Skin- 
ner,(2) was "friendly," and he "met with no disrespect." 
Perhaps one of the most noticeable proofs of the annoyance 
felt by the predominant religious denomination in Connecti 
cut, was the change by President Stiles, of Yale College, 
who had two years earlier published, in an " Election Ser 
mon" of inordinate length, an elaborate attempt to prove 
the validity of Presbyterian ordination, of the " usual dedi 
cation xof the theses at Commencement from pastors to bish 
ops. "(3) But this exhibition of denominational spleen, on 
the part of one who had so lately boasted, in the presence 
of the State authorities, of the "great proportion in the 
American republic" (4) held by the Presbyterians, was of lit 
tle moment, though the vain effort to lose sight of the distinc 
tion of the office by an arrogant assumption of the name, 
was continued for some time on the part of the Presbyterian 
ministers. (5) In a country where free toleration had been 
proclaimed as one of the fundamental principles of govern 
ment, and where the Church and State were almost, and soon 
to be wholly, distinct, a spiritual office and an ecclesiastical 
title could cause no popular fears nor give occasion to deno 
minational intolerance. 

(1) Vide an interesting letter from the Rev. Dr. T. B. Chandler to 
Dr. (afterwards the Rev. Dr.) Isaac Wilkins, of West Chester, published in 
Bolton's "History of the Prot. Epis. Church in the County of West 
Chester. (8vo. New York, 1855.) pp. 102, 103. 

12) Seabury MSS., quoted by Wilberforce, p. 213. 

(3) Vide " Letters occasioned by the publication of a private Epistolary 
Correspondence, begun by Mr. Samuel Maclintock, Preacher to a Puritan 
Congregation in Greeland, New Hampshire. By John Cosens Ogden, a 
Presbyter of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of 
America." 8vo. Boston. MDCCXCI. p. 33. 

(4) Vide pp. 67, 68 of " The United States Elevated in Glory and 
Honor. A Sermon, Preached before His Excellency Jonathan Trumbull, 
Esq., LL.D., Governor and Commander-in-Chief, And the Honorable The 
General Assembly of The State of Connecticut, Convened at Hartford, 
At the Anniversary Election, May 8th, 1783. By Ezra Stiles, D.D., Presi 
dent of Yale College." 8vo. New Haven, M,DCC,LXXXIII. pp. 99. 

(5) Bishop Wilberforce's History of the American Church, p. 213. 


On August 3d, 1785, Bishop Seabury met his Clergy in 
Convention at Middletown. "Joyful indeed was the meet 
ing."! 1 ) The " Concordate," which we have already print 
ed, with its accompanying letter from the Bishops of the 
Church in Scotland, were laid before the assembly, consist 
ing, as might be expected, of Clergy only, and these eviden 
ces of intercommunion and sympathy were " cordially re 
ceived." In reply, the Convocation of Connecticut address 
ed the following letter, which is still preserved in the " Mi 
nute Book" of the Bishops of Scotland, to which reference 
has been previously made. 

Letter from the Episcopal Clergy of the State of Connecti 
cut in North America, to the Bishops of the Scottish 

New Haven, in Connecticut, 
Sept. 16, 1785. 

RIGHT REVEREND FATHERS The pastoral letter which your Christian 
attention excited you to address to us from Aberdeen, Nov. 15, 1784, was 
duly delivered to us by the Right Reverend Bishop Seabury, and excited 
in us the warmest sentiments of gratitude and esteem. We should much 
earlier have made our acknowledgments, had not our dispersed situation 
made the difficulty of our meeting together so very great, and the multi 
plicity of business absolutely necessary to be immediately dispatched so 
entirely engrossed our time at our first meeting at Middletown, as to render 
it then impracticable. We never had the least doubt of the validity or 
regularity of the succession of the Scottish Bishops, and as we never de 
sired any other BisTiops in this country, than upon the principles of the 
primitive Apostolical Church, we should, from the very first, have been 
as well pleased with a Bishop from Scotland as from England. But our 
connection with the English Church, and the kind support that most of 
our clergy received from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 
naturally lead us to renew our application to that Church, when we found 
ourselves separated from the British Government by the late peace. We 
are utterly at a loss to account for the backwardness of the British Church 
and Government to send Bishops to this country, which has long and ear 
nestly been requested. And we do think that their refusal to consecrate 
Dr. Seabury, under the circumstances that we applied for it, was utterly 
inconsistent with sound policy and Christian principles. 

Greatly, then, are we indebted to you, venerable fathers, for your kind^ 
and Christian interposition ; and we do heartily thank God that He did of 
His mercy put it into your hearts to consider and relieve our necessity. 

We also gratefully revere and acknowledge the readiness with which 
you gratified our ardent wishes to have a Bishop to complete our religious 
establishment. We receive it as the gift of God Himself through your 

(1) Wilberforce's American Church, page 213. 


hands. And though much is to be done to collect and regulate a scat 
tered, and, till now, inorganised Church, yet we hope, through patience, 
diligence, and propriety of conduct, by God's blessing, in due time to ac 
complish it, and to make the Church of Connecticut a fair aud fruitful 
branch of the Church Universal. 

Our utmost exertions shall be joined with those of our Bishop to pre 
serve the unity of faith, doctrine, discipline, and uniformity of worship, 
with the Church from which we derived our Episcopacy, and with which it 
will be our praise and happiness to keep up the most intimate intercourse 
and communion. 

Commending ourselves and our Church to your prayers and benedic 
tion, we are, Bight Reverend and Venerable Fathers, your most dutiful 
sons and servants. 

Signed in behalf of the whole by 

ABRAHAM JARVIS, Secretary to the Convocation of the 

Episcopal Clergy in Connecticut. 
To the Right Reverend ROBERT KILGOUR, 

Bishop and Primus. 
ARTHUR PETRIE, and JOHN SKINNER, Bishops, Aberdeen. 

A true copy, attested by 
(Signed) ARTHUR PETRIE, Clerk. 

Leaving for a brief season the introduction of the Scotch 
Communion Office, till the minds of the people had been pre 
pared for the change, and adopting for consideration merely 
the report of a Committee consisting of the Bishop, the Rev. 
Abraham Jarvis, the Rev. Benjamin Moore, and the Rev. 
Samuel Parker, recommending certain alterations in the Li 
turgy, mainly of a nature rendering it consistent with the 
civil constitution, the Convention adjourned; Bishop Seabury 
being " willing," as he expresses himself in aletter(l) to the 
Rev. Mr. Parker, that "the Convention at Philadelphia 
should be over before we proceeded any further, as I have 
been informed they have some jealousy, to the southward of 
the New England States, in Church, as well as in civil, 

In a rare old pamphlet, preserved in Harvard College Li 
brary, is contained the address of the Clergy of Connecti 
cut to their Bishop, and his reply, at this the public recogni 
tion of his Episcopate. We transcribe these interesting docu 
ments, as exhibiting both the piety and catholicity of the 
northern Clergy. 

(1) Under date of August 8th, 1785. From the original among the 
Bishop Parker Correspondence. 


To the Right Reverend Father in GOD, SAMUEL, by 

divine Providence BISHOP of the Episcopal CHURCH 

The ADDRESS of sundry of the Episcopal Clergy in 

the /State of Connecticut. 


\VE, who have hereunder subscribed our names, in behalf of 
of ourselves and other presbyters of the Episcopal Church, 
embrace with pleasure this early opportunity of congratulat 
ing you on your safe return to your native country; and on 
the accomplishment of that arduous enterprise in which, at 
our desire, you engaged. Devoutly do we adore and reverently 
thank the Great Head of the Church, that he has been pleas 
ed to preserve you thro' a long and dangerous voyage; that 
he has crowned your endeavours with success, and now at 
last permits us to enjoy, under you, the long and ardently 

desired blessing of a pure, valid, and free episcopacy A 

blessing which we receive as the precious gift of GOD him 
self; and humbly hope that, the work he has so auspiciously 
begun, he will confirm and prosper, and make it a real benefit 
to our Church, not only in this state, but in the American 
States in general, by uniting them in doctrine, discipline and 
worship; by supporting the cause of Christianity against 
all its opposers ; and by promoting piety, peace, concord, and 
mutual affection, among all denominations of Christians. 

Whatever can be done by us for the advancement of so 
good a work, shall be done with united attention, and the ex 
ertion of our best abilities. And as you are now, by our vo 
luntary and united suffrages (signified to you, first at New- 
York, in April, 1783, by the Rev. Mr. JARVIS, and now ra 
tified and confirmed by this present convention) elected Bishop 
of that branch of the catholic and apostolic church to which 
we belong, We, in the presence of Almighty GOD, declare to 
the world, that we do unanimously and voluntarily accept, 
receive, and recognize you to be OUR BISHOP, supreme in 
the government of the Church, and in the administration of 
all ecclesiastical offices. And we do solemnly engage to ren 
der you all that respect, duty, and submission, which we be 
lieve do belong, and are due to your high office, and which 
we understand were given by the presbyters to their bishops 
in the primitive church, while, in her native purity, she was 
unconnected with, and uncontrouled by, any secular power. 

The experience of many years had long ago convinced the 


whole body of the clergy, and many of the lay-members of 
our communion, of the necessity there was of having resi 
dent bishops among us. Fully and publicly was our cause 
pleaded, and supported by such arguments as must have car 
ried conviction to the minds of all candid and liberal men. 
They were, however, for reasons which we are unable to as 
sign, neglected by our superiors in England. Some of those 
arguments were drawn from our being members of the na 
tional church, and subjects of the British government. These 
lost their force upon the separation of this government from 
Great-Britain, by the late peace. Our case became thereby 
more desperate, and our spiritual necessities were much in 
creased. Filial affection still induced us to place confidence 
in our parent church and country, whose liberality and be 
nevolence we had long experienced, and do most gratefully 
acknowledge. To this church was our immediate application 
directed, earnestly requesting a bishop to collect, govern, 
and continue, our scattered, wandering, and sinking church: 
and great was and still continues to be our surprise, that a 
request so reasonable in itself, so congruous to the nature 
and government of that church, and begging for an officer so 
absolutely necessary in the church of CHRIST, as they and 
we believe a bishop to be, should be refused. We hope that 
the successors of the Apostles in the Church of England 
have sufficient reasons to justify themselves to the world and 
to GOD. We, however, know of none such, nor can our 
imagination frame any. 

But, blessed be GOD ! another door was opened for you. 
In the mysterious oeconomy of his providence he had preserv 
ed the remains of the Old Episcopal Church of Scotland, un 
der all the malice and persecution of its enemies. In the 
school of adversity, its pious and venerable bishops had learn 
ed to renounce the pomps and grandeur of the world; and 
were ready to do the work of their heavenly Father. As out 
casts, they pitied us; as faithful holders of the apostolical 
commission, what they had freely received they freely gave. 
From them we have received a free, valid, and purely eccle 
siastical Episcopacy, are thereby made complete in all our 
parts, and have a right to be considered as a living, and, we 
hope through God's grace shall be, a vigorous branch of the 
catholic church. 

To these venerable fathers our sincerest thanks are due, 
and they have them most fervidly. May the Almighty be 


their rewarder, regard them in mercy, support them under 
the persecutions of their enemies, and turn the hearts of 
their persecutors ; and make their simplicity and godly sin 
cerity known unto all men ! And wherever the American 
Episcopal church shall be mentioned in the world, may this 
good deed which they have done for us, be spoken of for a 
memorial of them ! 


Middletown, JOHN R. MARSHALL, 

August 3d, 1785. and OTHERS. 

To this address, the Bishop returned the following reply. 

Reverend Brethren, beloved in our Lord, Jesus 


T HEARTILY thank you for your kind congratulations on 
my safe return to my native country; and cordially join 
with you in your joy, and thanks to Almighty GOD, for the 
success of that important business, which your application 
excited me to undertake May GOD enable us all to do every 
thing with a view to his glory, and the good of his Church ! 

Accept of my acknowledgments for the assurances you 
give me of exerting your best abilities, to promote the wel 
fare, not only of our own church, but, of common Christ 
ianity, and the peace and mutual affection of all denomina 
tions of Christians. In so good a work, I trust, you will 
never find me either backward or negligent. 

I should, most certainly, be very apprehensive of sinking 
under the weight of that high office to which I have been 
under GOD'S providence, raised by your voluntary and free 
election, did I not assure myself of your ready advice and 
assistance in the discharge of its important duties grateful, 
therefore, to me, must be the assurances you give of support 
ing the authority of your bishop upon the true principles of 
the primitive church, before it was controuled and corrupted 
by secular connexions and worldly policy. Let me entreat 
your prayers to our supreme Head, for the continual presence 
of his Holy Spirit, that I may in all things do his blessed 


The surprise you express at the rejection of your applica 
tion in England is natural. But where the ecclesiastical and 
civil constitutions are so closely woven together as they are 
in that country, the first characters in the church for station 
and merit, may find their good dispositions rendered ineffec 
tual, by the intervention of the civil authority : and whether 
it is better to submit quietly to this state of things in En 
gland, or to risk that confusion which would probably ensue 
should an amendment be attempted, demands serious consid 

The sentiments you entertain of the venerable bishops in 
Scotland are highly pleasing to me. Their conduct through 
the whole business was candid, friendly, and Christian ; ap 
pearing to me to arise from a just sense of duty, and to be 
founded on, and conducted by, the true principles of the pri 
mitive, apostolical church. And I hope you will join with 
me in manifestations of gratitude to them, by always keeping 
up tl.e most intimate communion with them and their suffer 
ing church. (1) 

SAMUEL, Bp. Epl. Ch. Connect. 
Middletown, August 3<i, 1785. 

To these interesting papers we append, from the same 
source, some of the opening paragraphs of the Bishop's pri 
mary Charge to his Clergy, delivered the following day. 

Beloved in our LORD JESUS CHRIST. 

TT is with very great and sincere pleasure that I meet you 
here at this time, and on this occasion ; and I heartily 
thank GOD, our heavenly Father, for the joyful and happy 
opportunity with which his good providence has favoured us ; 
and do beseech him to direct and prosper all our consulta 
tions and endeavours, to his glory and the benefit of his 

(1 } The preceding " Address" and " Answer" are printed from " The Ad 
dress of the Episcopal Clergy of Connecticut, to the Right Reverend 
Bishop Seabury, with the Bishop's Answer. And, A Sermon Before the 
Contention at Middletown, August 3d, 1785. By the Reverend Jeremiah 
Learning, A.M., Rector of Christ's Church, Stratford. Also, Bishop Sea- 
hury's first Charge, to the Clergy of his Diocese, Delivered at Middletown, 
August 4th, 1785. With a List of the Succession of Scots' Bishops, from 
the Revolution in 1688, to the present Time. New-Haven: Printed by 
Thomas and Samuel Green." 8vo. pp. 46. 


At yonr desire, and by your appointment, I consented to 
undertake a voyage to England, to endeavour to obtain those 
Episcopal powers, whose want has ever been severely felt and 
deeply lamented, by the thinking part of our communion. 
The voyage has been long and tedious, and the difficulties 
that arose perplexing, and not easily surmountable. Yet, by 
the favour of GOD, the important business has been happily 
accomplished; and the blessing of a free, valid, and purely 
ecclesiastical Episcopacy procured to our infant Church ; 
which is now completely organized in all its parts, and being 
nourished by sincerity and truth, will, we trust, under the 
guidance of the Holy Ghost, grow up in him in all things, 
which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body 
fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint 
supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of 
every part, will make increase of the body, unto the edifying of 
itself in love. (1) 

As, under GOD, the Bishops of the remainder of the old 
Episcopal Church of Scotland, which, at the revolution, fell 
a sacrifice to the jealous apprehensions of William the Third, 
were the sole instruments of accomplishing this happy work ; 
to them our utmost gratitude is due; and I hope the sense 
of the benefit we have, through their hands, received, will 
ever remain fresh in the minds of the members of our commu 
nion, to the latest posterity. 

Under the greatest persecutions, GOD has preserved them 
to this day, and I trust will preserve them ; that there may 
yet be some to whom destitute Churches may apply in their 
spiritual wants some faithful shepherds of Christ's flock, 
who are willing to give freely, what they have freely received 
from thir Lord and Master. 

With us then, my venerable brethren, it remains, to make 
this precious gift which we have received conducive to the 
glory of GOD, and the good of his Church. Long have we 
earnestly desired to enjoy the full advantage of our religious 
constitution; let us then carefully improve it, to all those 
holy purposes, for which it was originally designed by our 
divine Head, the august Redeemer of sinful men. 

Sensible as I am of my own deficiencies, and of the infir 
mities of human nature, I shall, by GOD'S grace, be always 
ready to do my duty according to my best ability and discre- 

(1) Eph. iv. 15, 16. 


tion; and I trust, I shall, by him, be enabled to avoid every 
thing that may bring a reproach on our holy Religion, or be 
a hindrance to the increase and prosperity of that Church, 
over which, I am, by GOD'S providence, called to preside. On 
your advice and assistance, reverend brethren, next to GOD'S 
grace, I must rely for support in the great work that is be 
fore me, and to which I can, with truth, say, I have devoted 
myself without reserve. Your support, I know, I shall have ; 
and I hope for the support of all good men. Let us then 
trust that GOD will prosper our honest endeavours to serve the 
interests of his Church, and to make his Gospel effectual to the 
conversion of sinners to him, that their souls may be saved 
by the redemption and mediation of his Son. Worldly views 
can here have no influence, either on you or me. Loss, and 
not gain, may, and probably will be, the consequence of the 
step we have taken, to procure for our Church the blessing we 
now enjoy. But however our worldly patrons may be dis 
posed towards us, our heavenly Father knoweth whereof we 
are made, and of what things we have need : And HE is able 
to open his hand and Jill all things living with plenteousness.(l) 
Let us then seek first his kingdom and the righteousness 
thereof^) and depend upon the gracious promise of our Re 
deemer, that all things necessary to our bodily sustenance 
shall, in the course of his providence, be given unto us. (3) 

We would wish to linger over the papers and documents 
connected with this consecration, and therefore add the fol 
lowing fragmentary correspondence occasioned by it, as il 
lustrating English and Scotch apprehensions of the move 
ments of the Clergy at the Southward. 



Aberdeen, Jany. 29, 1785. 
Rt. Revd. and very dear Sir, 

I see the difficulties you will have to struggle with from the loose inco 
herent notions of Church government which seem to prevail too much, 
even among those of the Episcopal persuasion in some of the Southern 
States ; hut the better principles and dutiful support of your own Clergy 
will enable you to face the Opposition with becoming fortitude and pru- 

m Psalm cxiv. 16. (2) Mat. vi.33. 

(3) Bishop Seabury's first Charge, pp. 3, 4, 5. 


dence. And may the great and only Head of his Church strengthen you 
for the great work to which he has appointed you, and make you the in 
strument of frustrating the mischievous Devices of the late Convention. 

I see their Resolutions, printed in some of the London papers, exactly 
as you transcribed them ; and what ever Views they may have had of the 
future Establishment of Episcopacy in America, I think they could not 
have contrived more effectually, for suppressing the influence and smoth 
ering all the benefits of it, than by entering into such Articles of Union, 
as are directly repugnant to its spirit and subversive of its original De 
sign. It is somewhat observable that these Articles should be the same 
in number with those of OUR CONCORDATE. Which of the two propose a 
Union most agreeable to the primitive plan of Church Government and 
Unity, let the real friends of the Church be Judges. While her interests 
are in such hands as Dr. Smith's, there is no great ground to hope for much 
good to her. But I hope he has already overshot his mark in America, 
as his warm friend Dr. Murray did lately in London, by his foolish opposi 
tion to you. These bustling spirits often hurt their own Cause, by an 
over forward keenness in promoting it. 

I have had a letter lately from Dr. Berkeley in return for that of which 
you was the bearer. Tho' seemingly well pleased with what has been done 
in Scotland for the support of American Episcopacy, he appears to have 
imbibed some of the fears which you said his Archbishop mentioned about 
the introduction of Schisms, &c. But I had .better give you his own 
words, which are these. " With all due deference to the prelates who have 
signed the concordate and pastoral letter I beg leave to observe that (from 
my knowledge both of the principles and prejudices of the American pro- 
testant Episcopalians) some parts of that Concordate and Letter, appa 
rently calculated for the conduct of a Bishop, to be employed in the first 
publication of the Gospel, rather than as Bishop Seabury is to be occu 
pied, may tend to occasion SCHISMS, where UNITY is most desirable. I 
redde with pleasure and cordial approbation a great part of both those 
papers, which I had the "honor to receive in Bishop Seabury's packet." 

As the Doctor has not been pleased to mention, what he thinks the ex 
ceptionable part of these papers, we are left in the Dark about them. I 
can only suspect that he means the Articles respecting the Eucharistic 
Service. And yet I think the cautious way in which it is worded, may 
convince him or any unprejudiced person that, though we have a great 
regard for Primitive Doctrine and Practice, yet our desire of peace and 
unity is no less fervent, and nothing was and is further from our intentions 
than to throw the least obstruction in the way of that so VERY DESIRABLE 
Object. If you think it will answer any good end to comuunicate this to 
the worthy Doctor, you may take a convenient Opportunity of doing it, 
as I do not choose, for obvious reasons, to enter into any altercations 
with him on the subject, unless he had desired a further explanation of 
the passages to which he alluded. From what you heard when here I 
have the satisfaction to think you are no stranger to our sentiments in 
this matter, and I am sure you will not willingly see them misrepre 
sented^ 1) 

(1) Bishop Seabury's Letter-Book. 



Aberdeen, 24th June, 1785. 

" Our amiable friend, the Bishop of Connecticut, will have many difficul 
ties to struggle with in the blessed work he has undertaken ; and particular 
ly from certain occurrences in some of the Southern States, which will, I fear, 
create no small opposition to the conscientious discharge of his duty. The 
busy bustling President of Washington College, Maryland, seems to be 
laying a foundation for much confusion throughout the Churches of North 
America, and it will require all Bishop Seabury's prudence and good ma 
nagement to counteract his preposterous measures. I saw a letter from 
this man lately to a Clergyman in this country, wherein he proposes to be 
in London as last month, and wishes to know what the Bishops in Scot 
land would do, on an application to them from any foreign country, such 
as America is now declared to be, for a succession in their ministry, by 
the consecratijn of one or more Bishops for them! By this time, I 
suppose, he knows both what we would do and what we have done : and 
perhaps is not ignorant, that, as our terms would not please him, so his 
measures would be equally displeasing to us."(l) 


" No doubt you have long ago heard of good Bishop Seabury's arrival, 
and most affectionate reception among the poor scattered sheep of yonder 
wilderness. He carries himself with such a steady prudence, as to have 
commanded the respect of eve the most spiteful ill-willers of his order; 
and, with all the countless difficulties he has to encounter, yet, by the 
blessing of God on his firm mind, there is, I trust, little doubt that the 
church will grow under his pastoral care. I have as yet heard only of his 
having ordained five presbyters, one or more of whom are from the South 
ern States, which I mention, as considering it an acknowledgment of his 
powers, even beyond the limits of his preferred district. 

" A general convention of the Episcopal Clergy of all North America, 
made up of an equal proportion of lay members, was to meet in Philadel 
phia about Michaelmas, to form some general plan for the whole Episco 
pal Church. Dr. Seabury, I have understood, though not from himself, 
was invited and pressed to attend this meeting, but he very prudently de 
clined it, as, from its motley composition, he could not be sure of things 
being conducted as they ought. He will be there, however, or has been 
there, (and Dr. Chandler also,) with his advice and influence ; and this is 
the only reason I have to form any hopes of any good coming from the 

" I hear of some very alarming symptoms attending the poor church in 
the Southern States. The few Episcopal Clergymen Jeft there are not, as 
you may imagine, men the most distinguished for abilities or work 1 The 
enemies of the Church see this, and avail themselves of it. I have sun 
dry late letters from thence, which all speak far too confidently, of some 
wild purpose of forming a coalition (too like some other coalitions) be 
tween the Episcopalians and Presbyterians. I have, by every means in 
my power, put those, over whom I have any influence, in my old neigh 
bourhood of Virginia and Maryland, on their guard against a measure 

(1) Skinners Annals of Scottish Episcopacy, page 50. 


which I cannot but deem insidious, and therefore likely to be fatal. And 
I have also called in the aid of those stout champions, Drs. Chandler and 
Seabury. God grant that our united efforts may all avail! It adds not a 
little to my apprehensions, that all these things are carrying on within the 

vortex of Dr. S th's immediate influence, who is bent on being a 

Bishop, ' per fas aut nefas,' and who, if he cannot otherwise compass 

his end, will assuredly unite with the P ns ; and so Herod and Pontius 

Pilate shall again be made friends ! 

" You may not perhaps have heard, as I have, that he affected to be 
much pleased with Dr. Seabury's having returned to America, invested 
with the Episcopal character, all which will be abundantly explained to 
you when I further inform you of his having found out that one Bishop alone 
may, in certain cases, consecrate another. The English of this is plain, 
and may account for your not having seen him in Scotland ! The case is 
a ticklish one, and will require poor Seabury's utmost skill to manage. 

He knows S th well, and, of course, thinks of him as we all do. Yet 

if S th is thus properly consecrated, such is his influence, it may be 

the means of preventing the sad state of things in Virginia and Maryland 
which I hinted at above. Yet it is dreadful to think of having such a man 
in such a station. Daily expect further and fuller accounts, and, on your 
signifying that it will not be disagreeable to you, I shall have much plea 
sure in communicating them."(l) 


Aberdeen, Jan. 4, 1786. 

" The accounts of good Bishop Seabury's favourable reception in 
A.merica, you may believe were highly agreeable to me, and my brethren 
of the Episcopal Church in this country ; and though as yet we have not 
had these accounts confirmed under his own hand, we have no doubt but 
that a little time will bring us these refreshing tidings, and open up a 
happy correspondence between the pastors of the truly ' little flock' here, 
and those of the ' many scattered sheep of yonder wilderness.' I observ 
ed in the newspapers the other day a paragraph, as quoted from the Ma 
ryland Journal, which gives no more, I hope, than a true account of our 
worthy friend's proceedings, and the honourable reception he has met 
with. The description you gave of the alarming symptoms appearing in 
the Southern States, is indeed very affecting, and shews such a miserable 
deficiency in point of knowledge, as well as zeal, among the Episcopal 
Clergy in those parts, as could hardly have been suspected among any who 
had received regular Episcopal Ordination. It gives me some comfort to 
hear that such able advocates for primitive truth and order as Dr. Chandler 
and yourself, are stepping forth in opposition to the wild undigested 
schemes of modern sectaries. God, of his mercy, grant success to your 
endeavours in so good a cause, and raise up many such to strengthen the 
bands of his faithful servant, the Bishop of Connecticut, while he stands 
single in the great work he has undertaken. But is there no prospect of 
his getting some fellow-workers of his own order, to assist him in stemming 
that torrent of irregularity which seems to be pouring down upon him from 
the Southern States? What you mention of my countryman, Dr. S th. 

(1) Skinner's Annals of Scottish Episcopacy, pp. 52-54. 


is too much of a piece with his former conduct, and plainly shews what 
some people will do to compass the end they have in view. 

" As to what the doctor has found out in favour of a SINGULAR conse 
cration, I know nothing that can justify such a measure but absolute ne 
cessity, which in his case cannot be pleaded, because, in whatever way the 
Scottish Bishops might treat an application on his behalf, there is no reason 
to doubt of their readily concurring in every proper plan for increasing the 
number of Bishops in America. And as Dr. Seabury must be sufficiently 
sensible of their good inclinations that way, I hope he will be the better 
able to resist the introduction of any disorderly measure which might be 
made a precedent for future irregularities, and be attended with the worst 
of consequences to the cause of Episcopacy. If S th must be pro 
moted to the Episcopate at all hazards, let him at least wait until there 
l>e a canouical number of Bishops in America for that purpose. That thus, 
whatever opposition may be made to the man, there may be none to the 
manner of his promotion."(l) 

Passing from this recital of the measures resulting from the 
failure of the first application to England for the Episcopate, 
we must go back a little to detail in chronological order the 
successful efforts of the Churches at the South for the same 

Letters from the Rev. Dr. Charles Inglis, subsequently the 
first Bishop of Nova Scotia, to the Rev. Mr. White, written in 
May and June of the year 1783, seem to have been designed at 
the time to secure the co-operation of the Clergy at the South 
ward in the application for consecration made in behalf of 
Dr. Seabury. But the publication of the celebrated pamph 
let already so often referred to, " The Case of the Episcopal 
Churches in the United States Considered," had rendered the 
more conservative Clergy of the North suspicious of its 
Author, and unwilling to communicate to him in full the de 
tails of their plan for the preservation of the Church. This 
jealous reserve appears plainly in the following letter, in 
which Dr. Inglis, who was debarred by political causes from 
visiting Philadelphia, invited Mr. White to an interview in 

New York. 

New York, May 21, 1783. 

For some Time past I have very much wished to see you, and have 
some Conversation on the common Interests of our Church, with which 
Politicks have nothing to do. In the late Troubles, I firmly believe 

(1) Skinner's Annals, pp. 55-57. 


that you, like myself, took that part which Conscience and Judgment 
pointed out ; and although we differed in Sentiments, yet this did not in 
the least diminish my Regard for you, nor the good Opinion I had always 
of your Temper, Disposition and Religious Principles. I ever shall es 
teem a man who acts from Principle, and in the Integrity of his Heart, 
though his Judgment of Things may not exactly coincide with mine. 

In one Point I am certain We agree, that is, in the Desire of preserving 
our Church and promoting the Interests of Religion. This Point, 1 am 
persuaded, might be served, could we confer together. The State of Things 
is such that I cannot go to Philadelphia, or else I would go with pleasure ; 
but you can come here there is no impediment in the Way but a Pass to 
come within the Lines, which I shall immediately procure when you arrive 
at Elizabeth-Town. Think on this Matter, and let me hear from you." 

The death of a child prevented the acceptance on the part 
of the Rev. Mr. White, of this invitation; and immediately 
upon the receipt of his letter, containing this information, 
Dr. Inglis, after exchanging words of sympathy, addressed 

the following communication in reply. 


" I thank you for the Pamphlet which accompanied the Letter. I had 
seen it before, and on being told that you were the Author, concluded that 
you wrote it under the Impression that the Case of our Church was hope 
less, and no other method left of preserving it from utterly perishing. 
From some Hints in your Letter, I perceive that my conclusion was right. 
It must be confessed that your apprehensions at that Time were not wholly 
without Foundation ; nor is any thing more natural than when we are 
anxious about any Object of Moment, to cast about for some expedient 
to accomplish it, and to catch at whatever appears practicable, when the 
most eligible method is thought to be out of our Power. In making this 
Observation, I only give a Transcript of what has passed in my own 
Mind on this very subject: and therefore I cannot but applaud your Zeal 
in a Matter of such general and great Moment, at the same Time I tell 
you candidly my Opinion, with which I believe you will agree, that the 
supposed Necessity, on which your Scheme is founded, does not now re 
ally exist ; and that the Scheme itself could not answer the End of a regu 
lar Episcopate. In short, my good Brother, you proposed not what you 
thought absolutely best and most eligible, but what the supposed Necessity 
of the Times compelled you to adopt, and when no better Expedient ap 
peared to be within your Reach. In this Light the Pamphlet struck me the 
moment I heard it was yours ; and your Letter confirms me in the Judg 
ment I had formed. 

" That the Necessity, there supposed, does not now exist, is demonstra 
tively clear ; because the way to England is open, from whence an Epis 
copate can be obtained ; to say nothing of other Episcopal Churches, 
from which the Relief might probably be procured for our Church. That 
the Scheme itself would not answer the end of an Episcopate, is no less 
clear; for if adopted and adhered to, our Church would cease to be an 
Episcopal Church 1 It is impossible that there can be an Episcopal Church 
without Episcopal Ordination ; and the Ordination here proposed is not 
Episcopal, that is, by a Bishop, but by Presbyters. But it is needless to 


enlarge on the point, as you very ingenuously own that ' you are not 
wedded to the particular plan proposed ;' and your good sense has pru 
dently directed you ' to delay rather than forward measures to accom 
plish the Object in Contemplation, with Hopes of its being undertaken 
with better Information.' 

" You desire to know my Sentiments as to 'the Measures to be pursued 
for the continuance of our Church.' One principal Reason why I wished 
for an Interview, was, thai we might confer together on the Subject. We 
might receive mutual Information by an Interview, which cannot so well 
be obtained by Letter. Indeed there are many particulars of great Mo 
ment in such a Business that cannot conveniently be committed to writ 
ing ; for although whatever you say to me would be perfectly safe and 
kept secret, as I believe what I say to you would also be, on your Part, 
yet there are a thousand little incidental Circumstances that are necessary 
to be known, in order to form a right Judgment, which do not occur, per 
haps when we write, or would require much time to set down. 

" My clear, decided Opinion in general, is, that some Clergyman of Char 
acter and Abilities should go from hence to England to be Consecrated 
and admitted to the sacred office of a Bishop, by the English Bishops, and 
then to return and reside in America. The next consideration to a good 
moral Character, sound principles, abilities and learning in this Clergy 
man is, that he should be held in esteem by the leading Men in Power in 
this Country, as it would reconcile them the better to the Measure. If 
such a Clergyman will undertake to go on this Design, he shall have all 
the Assistance and Support that I can possibly give him. But whether 
Matters are yet ripe for such a Step, or how far you and others may think 
them so, is what I am unable to determine. Were it necessary, I could 
adduce unanswerable arguments to evince this to be the most eligible 
Scheme ; though I verily believe there needs no Arguments to convince 
you of it. What I wish you to do, is to keep your Eye upon it, and prepare 
Matters, as your Judgment and Prudence shall direct, for its Execution, 
when you think the Time for it is come."(l) 

These letters very properly introduce the correspondence 
of the Rev. Dr. Alexander Murray and the Rev. Jacob 
Duche*, two of the loyalist Clergymen then resident in Lon 
don, and whose kind offices in the accomplishment of the end 
desired are deserving of honourable mention and grateful re 


London, 26th July, 1783. 
Dear Sir. 

In the course of arranging your affairs of 

State, I trust you will not neglect those of the Church : there can be no 
thing in Episcopacy inimical to civil liberty in the United States, any 
more than in Switzerland, where Presbytery and Popery are established. 
. The grievance of having had no Resident Bishops in America 
can now be easily and regularly remedied; it depends not now so much on 
the will .of this as of that country. You will no doubt have an Ambassa- 

(1) From the Bishop White MSS. 


dor or Resident at this Court, to negociate your public concerns, and if he 
applies, at the request of any one State or Body of people, for the conse 
cration of an American Bishop, you may Irave any of your own Nomina 
tion set apart for that Office according to the rules of the Church of En 
gland, without requiring oaths of allegiance to this kingdom ; an Act of 
Parliament would be no sooner moved for than passed, enabling the bishops 
to dispense with whatever was incompatible on the occasion. 
What the Scottish Bishops might do in the pre'sent case, I won't pretend 
to say, only they must consider you still as subjects of G. Britain till the 
Prince they acknowledge absolves you from your Allegiance to him ; 
therefore they must have that objection to you which those in England can 
have now no longer. If then you plead NECESSITY for Presbyterial Ordi 
nations, it is a NECESSITY of your own making, which can never justify 
such an extraordinary step, which will necessarily give rise to new divi 
sions and sects in your young States, and these, formidable ones. You 
may expect thousands of Emigrants who will choose the Sacraments from 
the hands of Ministers Episcopally ordained, and will continue as for 
merly to call such from England or Nova Scotia (in which a Bishop, 
Inglis or Dr. B. Chandler, and College is to be settled) to supply theii 
spiritual necessities; better then have an unexceptionable complete 
Church Government at once within yourselves, than be constantly de 
pending on another people for supplies of any kind. If you are the au 
thor of the pamphlet on this subject, it must have been written when you 
despaired of such an amicable accommodation as has lately- taken place. 
You might have expected peace or truce, without a Recognizance of Inde 
pendence, as in the case of the Spanish and Dutch, but now that this is rati 
tied in the most solemn manner, you have every thing that is friendly and 
reasonable to expect from the British ; they are as generous as brave, and 
you may one day combine your forces as the Spanish and Dutch have 
done lately. There is nothing new under the Sun. Your mode of Go 
vernment would depress the present Episcopalians far below the level of 
the Presbyterians, who observe some consistency, and admit Episcopal 
Ordination, while we constantly reject theirs, and will also yours. 



My Dear Sir. Asylum, Aug. llth, 1783. 

I have read your Pamphlet with great attention. Reasoning as you do, 
on THE GROUND OF NECESSITY, you are certainly right; and the Argu 
ments as well as the Cases you adduce, are exactly to the Purpose. But 
I cannot conceive that any such necessity at present exists. Ihe venera 
ble old Doctrine of Apostolical Succession need not yet be given up. The 
Episcopal Clergy have only to wait with Patience ; and they may have, if 
they are unanimous a Church in each State, with a Bishop at its head, 
chosen by themselves, and regularly consecrated, without taking any oaths 
of supremacy, &c., and unconnected with any Civil or Ecclesiastical Go 
vernment but their own. The Plan I would propose, would be simply 
this. Let the Clergy of each State, (say Pennsylvania for instance,) to 
gether with Lay Deputies from each Congregation in the State, assemble, 
and with due Solemnity elect one of their Presbyters to ye Office of Bishop. 
Let him preside in their Conventions and agree with them upon such at- 

(1) From the original, preserved among the Bishop White MSS. 


terations in the Discipline and Liturgy of the Church of England as Cir 
cumstances have rendered necessary. Let him wait for an opportunity of 
being regularly consecrated; and till such opportunity ofters, let the Con 
vention meet and fix upon his Powers, the Mode of supporting him, and 
all other things, that may contribute to ye good Order and Government 
of the Church. He may do all the Offices of a Bishop, but ORDAIN and 
confirm : and he will not be long without receiving Power to exercise these. 
All this will be perfectly consistent with your new Constitution. Nay, you 
cannot be interrupted in the completion of such a plan, unless Mobs and 
Associations should still be suffered to exercise an illegal Power. Each 
Episcopal Church of each State to be independent of the others. Or if 
for ye sake of Uniformity of Discipline and Worship, throughput the 
States, an annual Synod or Convocation be deemed necessary, let the 
Bishop of each State, with a certain Number of his Presbyters, be sent 
to the Place appointed. But let there be no Archbishop, or Patriarch. 
The first consecrated Bishop always to preside. The rest to take Prece 
dency according to seniority of Consecration. Though I may never see 
you, I shall always be happy to hear of the welfare and increase of the 
Episcopal Church. I have much to say on this subject, and think a Church 
might now be formed more upon ye Primitive and Apostolical Plan in 
America, than any at present in Xtendom. 

Ever yours sincerely, 


On the eve of his departure for England, Dr. Inglis re- 
burned his correspondence with Mr. White, which had been 
interrupted by the death of his wife. 

New York, October 22d, 1783. 
Reverend Sir. 

. . Your last Letter contained many Points of 

Moment, which require the most serious Consideration. Some of them 
could be better discussed at a personal Interview, which was the Reason 
of my wishing for one; but since that is now impracticable, I shall give 
you my sentiments upon them briefly; for my present hurry in preparing 
to embark for England, will not permit me to enlarge on them so fully 
as I would otherwise chuse. 

As to " the Obligation of the Episcopal Succession," which you say, 
"you never could find sufficient arguments to satisfy you of," I need 
only declare that I am perfectly clear and decided in my judgment of 
it. Before I entered into Holy Orders, I was fully persuaded of 
the truth of what is asserted in the preface to our Ordinal, viz. " It is 
" evident unto all men diligently reading holy Scripture, and ancient au- 
'thors, that from the Apostles' Times, there have been three Orders of 
" Ministers in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons." All my 
Reading and Inquiries since (and they have been diligent and impartial,), 
have served to confirm me in the Persuasion. The Episcopal Order ori<r- 
inated from our Saviour himself in the Persons of his Apostles ; the Suc 
cession of that Order was continued by the inspired Apostles, who, equally 
under the Influence of the divine Spirit, dictated those Scriptures which 
are to be the Rule of Faith and Practice to the Christian Church to the 
End of Time ; and also appointed those Ministers, and that Form of Go 
vernment which were ever after to continue in the Christian Church; and 


I conceive that we are as much bound to observe their appointment and 
directions in the one case as the other. 

It is evident from Scripture and Ecclesiastical Antiquity that Bishops 
were superior to the other two Orders ; and that Ordination and Govern 
ment were chiefly referred to them. The true State of the Question in 
this Point is Did the Apostles establish a perfect equality between Gos 
pel Ministers? Or, Did they establish a Subordination among these Mi 
nisters ? The latter appears as clear to me as the noon-day Sun ; nor are 
we more at Liberty, as I hinted before, to depart from what they have in 
stituted and appointed in this Respect, than we are to lay aside or depart 
from the Scriptures which they left for the Rule of. our Faith and Prac 
tice. If they were unerringly guided by the Divine Spirit, in the one Case, 
they were so in the other also; and it is certain' Fact, that for 1500 years 
after our Saviour's Time, there was no regular Ordination or Ecclesiasti 
cal Government but what was of the Episcopal Kind. 

But enough of this Head in an amicable, short Letter to a Brother; and 
I shall only observe further that few Things have more confirmed iny 
Sentiments on this Subject than the poor, flimsy Evasions that have been 
used by Men, otherwise respectable, to elude the Force of those Arguments 
which have been drawn from Paul's Epistles, and the primitive Writers, 
in Behalf of Episcopacy. These men would laugh at such Evasions in 
any other Case where their Judgment was not biased or predetermined. 

You say that " some settled mode must be adopted for the selecting the 
" principal Pastor of the Church ;" and then ask, " By whom is this to be 
"done?" I answer, if by PRINCIPAL PASTORS you mean the Incumbents 
of Parishes, I apprehend the Right of Presentation should in general re 
main in the same Hands as formerly. Thus the Election of a Rector in 
Philadelphia and New York, or in other Words, the Right of Presenta 
tion, is vested in the Church Wardens and Vestry, and should continue 
in the same Hands. Where the Legislature by a publick Law, makes 
Provision for the Support of Clergymen, it has a Right to prescribe the 
mode of electing or appointing those Clergymen to particular Parishes, as 
was the Case, if I remember right, in Maryland formerly. But in my 
Opinion, it would be best on many accounts, that on the Demise or Re 
moval of an Incumbent, the Church Wardens and Vestry of each Parish 
should have the Right of chusing a Succession ; and even where the State 
has made legal Provision for the Clergy, I think this mode preferable to 
any other; granting no more to the Governor than the authority to Induct 
the Person chosen. If by PRINCIPAL PASTORS you mean Bishops, I think 
the Clergy of each State should have the Right of Electing, with the Go 
vernor's Approbation. But it is time enough to talk of this Point, when 
it shall please God to grant this essential Benefit to the Episcopal Churches 
in America. 

You say, " that some Alterations in our Liturgy are become necessary 
"in Consequence of a Change of Circumstances," which is undoubtedly 
true ; and ask, " By whom are those to be made ?" I answer by the 
Clergy, without Doubt, yet still with the Concert and Approbation of the 
Civil Authority. I suppose that all the State Holy-Days, such as Novem 
ber the 5th, January 30th, &c., &c., will be laid aside in the Thirteen 
States. The Collects for the King and Royal Family must be altered and 
adapted to the present State of Things ; for in Publick Worship, Prayers 
for the Civil Rulers of the State should never be omitted. And here I 
cannot but express my Wish that Harmony and Uniformity might take 
place among all the Episcopal Churches ; which can only be effected by 


the Clergy of the several States consulting each other, and agreeing to 
adopt the same Collects for this Purpose. Were a Bishop settled in 
America, this Point would be easily accomplished ; without one, I appre 
hend Difficulties will arise. 

You say " The Trial and Deposition of irregular Clergymen is to be 
" provided for, and it is to be hoped that this will not be done at pleasure ; 
" but under reasonable Laws ;" and ask, " By whom are such Laws to be 
" made ?" To this I reply that Clergymen are amenable equally with 
Laymen, to the Laws of the State, and are punishable by those Laws, if 
they transgress them. But as to any proper Ecclesiastical Discipline, by 
which, Irregularities in Clergymen, not cognizable by the Civil Laws, shall 
be censured or punished, it is not to be expected until you have Bishops, 
and some regular System of Church' Government is settled. I mean not 
that Bishops should be vested with Arbitrary Power; or that they should 
censure and depose at Pleasure. They are to be guided by Canons, which 
point out the Duty of Clergymen, and according to which, the latter 
should be judged. Our Church has already provided several such Canons; 
and if any more such should be required in this Country, the Clergy, in 
Conjunction with a Bishop or Bishops, are the Persons by whom they 
should be enacted. 

Some years since, I drew up a Plan for an American Episcopate, which 
met with the Approbation of several of the most respectable Characters 
in England, as well as America. Give me leave to transcribe a few Ex 
tracts from it, which will partly convey my Sentiments on the Subject. It 
was proposed in that Plan 

" That two or more Protestant Bishops of the Church of England be 
appointed to reside in America. 

" That they are not to have any temporal authority whatever, nor inter 
fere with the Rights or Emoluments of Governors. 

That their proper Business shall be to Ordain and Superintend the 
rgy, and Confirm such as chuse to be Confirmed. 
That they may hold Visitations, assemble the Clergy of their respec 
tive Dioceses in Convocations, where the Clergy shall be their Assessors 
or Assistants ; and that in those Convocations such matters only shall be 
transacted as relate to the Conduct of the Clergy, or to the Order and 
Government of the Churches. 

" That they be vested with Authority to censure delinquent Clergymen 
according to the Nature of their Offence; and to proceed even to Depri 
vation, in cases which may require it, after a regular Trial ; the Courts in 
which such Trials are held, to consist of the Clergy of the Provinces re 
spectively where the Delinquent Persons reside ; and the Bishop to pro 
nounce the sentence of Deprivation, according to Canon 122." 

Here it is supposed that there are Canons or Laws by which the Delin 
quent Person is to be tried, according to which the Court is to proceed in 
the Trial ; that each Clergyman, as an Assistant to the Bishop, has a Vote 
in acquitting or condemning : and that the Bishop, according to his Func 
tion, and Superiority of his Order, pronounces or delivers whatever Sen 
tence the Court may award. On such a Plan, arbitrary Sway and Op 
pression are wholly excluded. It may be proper to observe, that the Ca 
nons, like the Liturgy, will require a Revision. The Canons, as they now 
stand, are applicable to the State of Things in England, where they we're 
made; but many of them are not so in America; and therefore some 
should be altered, others wholly omitted, and others again perhaps added, 
when a Bishop is settled in this Country ; for untill you have a Bishop, 


" Tk, 


you can have no Centre of Union, nor can you act with Regularity and 
Order in Matters of this Sort. I could say much more on this Subject, 
but really have not Time. 

I must be candid in telling you that I can neither see the Propriety or 
Advantage of the Scheme you propose to join Laymen with Clergymen 
for enacting Ecclesiastical Laws, trying delinquent Clergymen, &c., as 
" a collective Body, to whom the extraordinary Occasions of our Churches 
*' may be referred." This certainly, if I understand you right, is not the 
plan of the Church of England. Many Inconveniences will unquestion 
ably attend it the Advantages are doubtful. Instead of attracting Lay- 
Members to the Church, I apprehend it would be productive of endless 
Broils between the Laity and Clergy probably, of oppression to the lat 
ter. The Clergy are already amenable to the Civil Power for Civil Offen 
ces ; is not that sufficient? Are not Clergymen the best Judges of Eccle 
siastical Offences ? And of the properest Methods to reclaim their er 
ring Brethren? which is preferable to punishment, if it can be effected? 

There is little Doubt but that a Clergyman of good Character, who went 
to England properly recommended, with the Consent of the State from 
whence he went, and where he was afterwards to reside, would be conse 
crated a Bishop. An Act of Parliament indeed would be necessary to 
empower the Bishops in England to Consecrate without administering 
the State-Oaths ; but I am confident this Act might be obtained. I am al 
most a Convert to your Opinion, that it would be best to request the Bish 
ops in England to chuse a proper Person there, a Man of Abilities, Piety, 
liberal Sentiments, and unblemished Morals, for the first American Bishop. 
All Circumstances considered, it would be better than to send a Person 
from hence. There would be fewer Objections to a Stranger, who had 
never been in America, and was clear of having taken any Part, in our 
late unhappy Divisions, both in England and America, than against an 
American Clergyman, however respectable his Character might be. But 
a Bishop is absolutely necessary, and either way he ought by all means to 
be obtained. The great Point is to procure the Consent and Approbation 
of the Legislature of some State to the Measure if this is done, the Rest 
will be easy. And here, I must tell you that my only Hope is from Mary 
land or Virginia. Nothing of the kind is to be expected from the North 
ern States. Consider this Matter, and try what you can do with your 
Friends in Maryland. The Church of God calls for your Assistance, and 
that of all its other worthy Members, and it is their indispensible Duty to 
afford that Assistance as far as it is in their Power. 

The News-Papers, some time since announced that the Clergy of Mary 
land had chosen Mr. Keene to be sent for Consecration to England ; but I 
find the account was premature. Mr. Keene was a very worthy man when 
I knew him, and doubt not but he is so still. I shall embark next week 
for England, where I shall be happy to give every aid within the Compass 
of my Power to any measure of this kind. I shall therefore be glad to 
hear from you, and know how matters are circumstanced ; and parti 
cularly what Progress is made in Maryland towards procuring an Episco 
pate. Direct to me at No. 10, John Street, Oxford Road, London. Per 
mit me to give you one hint which may be of Service. In case it should 
finally be agreed to send a Clergyman from hence to England to be con 
secrated, let the Choice fall on one who has been moderate, and took no 
active Part in the late Troubles. This is but a negative Qualification, 
which, however, will be of Consequence on the other side of the Atlantic : 
other Qualifications, much more essential, will be required both there and 


here ; and I trust there are several here in whom those Qualifications may 
be found. Remember, I am perfectly disinterested in this Business; for 
there is not the most distant Prospect, nor the least Probability, that I 
shall ever return to any of the 13 States. I have been too much injured 
in my Character and Property to expect Forgiveness ; and yet when I 
leave America, I shall go without a Spark of Resentment or Ill-will to any 
Individual that stays behind, and it is my sincere Wish that America may 
be happy, flourishing, and not feel the Miseries of which I am apprehen 
sive ; to guard against which was the Reason of my taking the Side I did. 
Aa to the groundless Calumnies that have been propagated concerning me, 
they originated from Party Malice ; and although it was fully in my power 
to refute them, I did not think them worthy of my Notice. Take one In 
stance as a Sample of all the Rest. By the express Order of Sir Henry 
Clinton, I went to examine a Man confined in our Provost on Suspicion 
that he was concerned in a Plot to burn this City. I examined this Man, 
and was convinced of his Innocence and accordingly made my Report 
in writing, by which the man was soon after liberated and enlarged from 
Confinement: Yet it was confidently reported that I grossly abused this 
Man, and carried a Rope with me to hang him 1 

Sincerely wishing you Health, Happiness, and every temporal Felicity, 
nd success in your Ministry, 

I am, with much esteem, 

Reverend Sir, 

Your affectionate Friend, 

and humble Servant, 

Reverend Dr. White. 

These weighty words of one of the most prominent of the 
Northern Clergy seem to have had their desired effect. The 
idea of re-constructing the Church de novo was lost sight of. 
The plea of Necessity, as authorizing this marked departure 
from the Episcopal polity, suggested in " The Case of the 
Episcopal Churches Considered," was never again raised; 
and efforts both in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and even 
further to the Southward, followed in quick succession, all 
looking towards the introduction of the Succession in the 
English line. 

In the spring of the year 1784, the action of the Connec 
ticut Clergy, in recommending Dr. Seabury for Consecration, 
was first made known to the Clergy of Philadelphia. (2) In 
the following August, 'the Rev. Mr. Duchd, in a postscript, 

( 1} From the Bishop White Correspondence. 
(2) White's Memoirs, p. 18. 


tlms communicates to Dr. "White intelligence as to the pros 
pect of his success. 

" You will soon have a Bishop either in Nova Scotia or in 
the State of Connecticut. The matter is in great Forward 
ness, and your Succession will then be as compleat as it is 
here.'H 1 ) 

In addition to the confident assurances given by the loyal 
ist Clergymen in London, who were supposed to be in the 
confidence of -the highest dignitaries in the Church, that a 
proper application for the Episcopate would be favourably 
regarded, the passage of an Act of Parliament authorizing 
the dispensing with the usual oaths, in the case of American 
candidates for holy Orders, gave further assurance of the 
kind feeling still entertained by the Mother Church towards 
her children in the West. The Rev. Dr. Murray, in a letter 
under date of September 16th, 1784, enclosing a printed 
copy of this Act, while not obscurely hinting his own willing 
ness to be invited to an American Episcopate, adds the infor 
mation that an enabling Act for the consecration of a Bishop 
could have been as easily obtained as that authorizing the 
ordination of Priests and Deacons. 

A little later the same year, Granville Sharp, Esq., whose 
interest in the introduction of Episcopacy into America dated 
back almost to the time of the Declaration of Independence, 
addressed the Archbishop of Canterbury as follows. 

"Old Jewry, Nov. 19, 1784. 
" My Lord. 

; . " I am sorry to see the powers of the late 

Act, intended for promoting the Episcopal Church in America, so unhap 
pily limited ; and the authority of ordaining priests and deacons for inde 
pendent states confined to the Bishop of London alone, though all the 
Bishops, as Bishops of Christ's catholic church, are equally entitled to 
exercise the same authority : and I am still much more sorry to find, 
that neither the Bishop of London, nor any of the other Bishops, have yet 
obtained authority to consecrate a Bishop for foreign parts, either sepa 
rately or jointly. 

" 1 should not have presumed to have troubled your Grace with so long 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


a letter on this subject, had I not lately been informed that an American 
clergyman, who calls himself a LOYALIST, is actually gone down to Scot 
land, with a view of obtaining consecration from some of the remaining 
XOXJURIXG Bishops in that Kingdom, who still affect among themselves a 
nominal jurisdiction from the Pretender's appointment; and he proposes, 
afterwards, to go to America, in hopes of obtaining jurisdiction over 
several EPISCOPAL COXGREGATIOXS in Connecticut. 

" If it is not thought prudent to entrust this authority to any single 
Bishop, yet surely there can be no objection to the obtaining an Act to 
enable ANY THREE BISHOPS jointly to consecrate unexceptionable persons 
who shall bring due testimonials of their appointment or election by the 
majority of the Episcopal Christians in any foreign province, city, or dis 
trict ; especially if the previous consent of the Archbishop of the Province 
be required. 

" Your Grace will find some examples of a similar mode of proceed 
ing, in a Note at p. 337 of my work(l) viz. of Bishops elected by the 
clergy and people of Ireland, and sent over here to be consecrated by your 
Grace's predecessors, the Archbishops of Canterbury (or by two or three 
Bishops of the province of Canterbury, at the Archbishop's request), to 
be Bishops in several dioceses of Ireland, at a time when that kingdom 
was entirely unconnected and independent of the British Crown 5 so that 
I apprehend these are cases in point. 

" I remain, with the greatest respect and esteem, 
My Lord," &c., &c.(2) 

While matters were in this train in England, and Dr. 
Smith, the Bishop-elect of Maryland, was already casting 
about how to procure consecration in Scotland, in the event 
of Dr. Seabury's success in that quarter, the Rev. Mr. 
Duche" addressed the following letter to Dr. White. 

Asylum, Deer. 1, 1784. 
My Dear Sir. 

Having this Moment heard, that the Mail is to be made up this eve 
ning to go by ye Packet, I have just time to tell you the following Par 
ticulars that I have received your kind Letter with ye Postscript from 
X. York by Mr. Hamilton, and am glad to find that you were at a Clerical 
Meeting there, and long to hear ye Resultof your Deliberations That you 
are right in supposing Dr. Seabury to be ye person hinted at for a Bishop 
That Dr. Seabury was actually consecrated a Bishop about a fortnight 
since by 3 Nonjuring Bishops at Aberdeen ; not having had it in his 
Power to obtain a Consecration here That the Succession of those Bish 
ops is indisputable, of which he brings ample Testimonies ; and that on 
invitation of ye Convention of ye Episcopal Clergy of Connecticut, he 
will embark for that State as soon as possible. 

(1) "A Tract on Congregational Courts and the ancient English Con 
stitution of Frank-pledge ; the Right of Choosing Magistrates and Officers 
of the Militia. With an additional Tract on the Election of Bishops, and 
others on forming New Settlements." Published in 1784. A second 
edition was issued in 1786. 

(2) Memoirs of Granville Sharp, by Prince Hoare, pp. 212, 213. 


These Particulars you may depend on, and also that it is the sincere 
Wish of those who wish well to the Interest of ye American Episcopal 
Church formed on the Model of our Church of England, that all ye Epis 
copal Clergy would receive him with open Arms, and thus at once effectu 
ally prevent the growth of Sectaries, from a Division that must necessa 
rily ensue if this Providential Offer is not immediately accepted. Dr. Inglis 
writes to you by this Opportunity, and heartily joins me in recommend 
ing it warmly to you to give a proper, affectionate, and (I must say) filial 
reception to good Bishop Seabury, who goes over to you in a character 
truly primitive, unincumbered with any temporal Title, or Honours or In 
terests, and perfectly disposed to yield Allegiance to ye Civil Powers in 
your States. Much more I have to say to you on this Subject. Your 
American Bishop, for so I must now call him, is a SCHOLAR, a GEXTLEMAX, 
and I am happy to be able to say (what I only believe to be true), A REAL 
CHRISTIAN. I hope you will take ye earliest Opportunity of calling to 
gether a Convention, or Synod, or Convocation, or some General Eccle 
siastical Meeting from the several States, to receive him, and at ye same 
Time, to fix upon an Ecclesiastical Constitution for your future Union 
and Comfort. I have not time to add more. I shall write again by Capt. 
Mercer, as I expect Bishop Seabury in London the 17th of this Month. 

I am yours, most affectionately, , 

J. DUCHE.(l) 

This letter, which was confidential, and mainly designed to 
give Dr. White the earliest intelligence possible concerning 
the consecration in Scotland, was followed, agreeably to pro 
mise, by another, written on the receipt of the proceedings 
of the Convention at New York. 

Asylum, Lambeth, Feb. 10th, 1785. 
My Dear Sir. 

Your Conclusions at N. York, I must tell you plainly are quite incon 
sistent with the Discipline of the Church of England, which you profess 
to make your Model, so far as she may be supposed unconnected with any 
Civil Power. They are also inconsistent with that Form of Ecclesiastical 
Discipline, which prevailed in the purest period of the Xtian Church. 
They seem to be wholly formed upon ye Presbyterian Model and calcu 
lated to introduce the same Kind of Government in the Church, that is 
established in your State. Whereas the State, according to their own ac 
knowledgment will have nothing to do in Church Matters. You have it 
therefore in your [power] to form a Church perfectly primitive, and abso 
lutely uncontrouled by any Civil Power, so far as its Laws do not interfere 
with those of the State. 

Judge then with what Astonishment every true Episcopalian must view 
your Treatment of the Episcopal Order, by declaring, as you have done, 
that they shall have no Distinction at your Conventions, but only be con 
sidered as Members, ex ofticio. I consider this as fundamentally wrong. 
An Episcopal Clergyman cannot confound the Orders of Bishop and 
Priest, and withhold Assent from due Subordination. 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


These and other Matters, I hope, will be properly cleared up and settled 
on the Arrival of Bishop Seabury, who sails for N. York some time during 
the present Month. He is a truly primitive Bishop, consecrated by three 
Bishops in Scotland, where the Apostolical Succession has been inviolably 
preserved, as appears from the Register he takes with him. He has taken 
no Oath of any kind to any Power on Earth, and therefore comes to you 
in " unquestionable Form ;" just such a Bishop as you would have wished, 
and such as you could by no other means have obtained. Receive him, 
therefore, I beseech you, with Cordial affection, and with that Xtian Re 
spect, which is due to his high and sacred Office. Suffer no Schism in ye 
Church. Providence has sent him to accomplish and preserve a compleat 
Union in your new American Episcopal Church. His Consecration, you 
know, cannot be approved of here, for Reasons obvious to those, who 
know the Connection of the Church with the State. I, therefore, could 
not ask him to officiate for me, neither would he for prudential and proper 
Reasons. He considers himself, and must be considered here, as a foreign 
Bishop. God grant that you may all be kept in ye Unity of the Spirit 
and ye Bond of Peace. 

Your affectionate Friend and Servt. 

J. DUCHE.(l) 

N.B. This Letter is for your private use, and not to be shewn. 

The successful application of Dr. Seabury to the Bishops 
in Scotland served to stimulate the zeal of the large number 
of Clergy and others in England who were still desirous of 
furnishing the Succession in the English line. The Rev. Dr. 
Murray, in referring to the validity of Bishop Seabury's 
consecration, adds the following statement, with regard to 
the plans of the Bishop-elect of Maryland. (2) 

" There are two Colleges of Scotch Bishops, since about the year 1725, 
who anathematize each other ; and the Old declares void and null all Or 
dinations and Consecrations that have taken place in the New since. Dr. 
Smith will inform you at large of this unhappy Schism that happened in 
the Scotch Church. If be has an inclination of being consecrated by 
that Chruch, I have authority to tell you that he may at anytime, and re 
gularly, and canonically too, if he will take the proper steps, a matter of 
the last consequence to your infant Church, to render her powers and min 
istrations valid without controversy. But I hope neither he nor you will 
think of Scotland, whilst there remains the least hope of obtaining a Con 
secration in England which will admit of no exception. Upon the re 
commendation of a few Missionaries in their obscure private capacity, it 
was not to have been expected that Dr. Seabury would have been conse 
crated here where no less than an Act of Parliament was necessary for the 
purpose. Why did not your last Convention at New York of Clergy and 
Laity (for whose benefit Episcopacy is chiefly intended) address the Arch 
bishop of Canterbury to lay your case before Parliament. The applica- 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 

(2) In a Letter to Dr. White, dated " London, 16th July, 1785." 


tion of such a public, respectable Body of men would have had due weight, 
after it had been made apparent that your Assemblies could not, consist 
ently with the Constitution of the States, interpose in the matter, so man 
aging it in a public manner as to satisfy Parliament that it would give 
them no offence, which is carefully avoided here in every instance, that 
both Powers may live for the future on good terms, without officiously in 
terfering in the administration of the affairs of one another either in 
Church or State, considering the Jealousies still entertained on your side 
of the water. It is injurious and unjust then to accuse the English Bps., 
when not a single public step has been taken on your part to enable them 
to bring your Episcopate forward in any but a most irregular and hurtful 
course too, as to its main end of rendering it useful and acceptable to ye 
Laity who are most interested in it, or it is nothing but a name, without 
sense or substance. Let not Dr. Seabury's failure here discourage you 
from applying to the English -Church in a proper channel, and after you 
have done the utmost a prudent zeal directs, and you are forced to have 
recourse to Scotland, all the world will excuse you, and the whole Old 
College of Scotch bishops will take up your case, and not leave it to a few 
whose Ordinations and Consecrations are declared null and void. If you 
proceed not regularly you will at outsetting Create a Schism in your new 
Episcopal Church, much to the satisfaction of other Sects. God bless you 
all, and I wish you success. . . Yours affectionately, 
Dr. White ALEXB. MURBAY.(l) 

Tins' communication was followed by another, much to the 
same purport, which as it is, from its brevity at least, a more 
creditable specimen of the writer's epistolary powers, and 
as besides, from the authoritative manner in which it is pen 
ned, we may infer to have been written at the prompting of 

others, we append from the same source. 

London, 6 Augt. 1785. 
My Dear Sir. 

In answer to your last I wrote you a letter of 16th ult. but have some 
suspicions it may be miscarried. The purport of it was not to discourage 
you or any other Clergyman, that is well recommended, from applying to 
our Church for consecration, because Dr. Seabury was rejected ; since 
none of the respectable part of the Laity in America and but a few ob 
scure Missionaries recommended him to an Episcopate. Besides you 
must have more Bishops than one in Ama., to continue a succession, un 
less you have constantly a recourse to foreign Churches to supply vacan 
cies. If you should not succeed in England you can in Scotland, which 
I would not have you apply to first, if you can be recommended by the 
principal Members pf your respective States, Laymen and Clergy 

I expect to see you soon in company with another to make a Triumvi 
rate to enable you to consecrate Fathers in God at home in all time to 
come. . . . Yours affectionately. 


(1) From the MSS. of the General Convention. 

(2) From the Bishop White MSS. 

VOL. I. 41 


In the mean time Mr. Sharp had not been idle. Besides 
corresponding with the celebrated Franklin on the subject, he 
had written to a Baptist Minister in Rhode Island, the Presi 
dent of the College in Providence, furnishing him with in 
formation, derived from family papers, throwing doubt upon 
the validity of the Scottish consecrations. These documents 
had been shown to many persons at the North; and as it appears 
from a subsequent letter from Mr. Sharp,(l) copies were placed 
in the hands of the Rev. Samuel Provoost, rector of Trinity 
Church, in New York, for the purpose of laying them before 
the approaching Convention at Philadelphia. The strange 
ness, to say the least, of the channel of this communication 
with the American Church, though arousing the indignation 
of some, (2) did not prevent the Rector of Trinity Church, 
from heartily seconding Mr. Sharp's efforts to impair con 
fidence in Bishop Seabury's orders; and this act was the 
first of a series of petty incivilities and more open hostilities, 
the record of which stains the character and Episcopate of 
the first Bishop of New York. 

Learning from Mr. Manning of the partial success of his 
efforts, Mr. Sharp addressed himself to the task of removing 
the few remaining obstacles to American consecrations in En 
gland. We cannot better detail the story of his success than 
by transferring to our pages the following extracts from his 
Diary and Correspondence, as published in his " Memoirs." 

" Sept 10, 1785. Waited on the Archbishop, at Lambeth, 

!1) Sharp's Memoirs, foot note to p. 218. 
2) We copy from the Bishop Parker Correspondence, an extract from 
a letter written April 27, 1785, by Mr. T. Fitch Oliver, a candidate for 
holy Orders, soon after ordained by Bishop Seabury. 

"I have lately seen a letter from Granville Sharp, Esq., (London), on 
the subject of Dr. Seabury's being nominated by the Scottish Nonjuring 
Bishops, which I shall endeavour to show you when I see you in Boston, 
if I can obtain permission. 'Tis addressed to president Manning. Has 
Mr. Sharp no correspondence with any Clergyman of the Episcopal 
Church in this Country, that he writes on a subject of that Nature to a 
Baptist Minister? He seems to be dubious as to the Validity of Conse 
cration obtained thro' that Channel, but if the Succession has been pre- 
lerved, I cannot perceive why it should not be sufficient." 


and communicated to him Mr. Manning's letter respecting 
the convention of the Episcopal Clergy this month at Phila 
delphia ; also Dr. Franklin's letter on the subject of Episco 
pacy and the Liturgy. He assures me that the Administra 
tion would be inclined to give leave to the Bishops to conse 
crate proper persons. He desired copies of the letters."(l) 

Accompanying these letters was the following communi 
cation, addressed to the Archbishop. 

" Old Jewry, 13th September, 1785. 
" My Lord, 

" Enclosed I have the honour to send your Grace the copies 
of the letters which I promised. . . I think it right to 
add also an extract from a letter which I received last year 
from an eminent physician at Philadelphia (Dr. Rush, who 
was physician-general to the Continental army, and some 
time a member of Congress) ; for this affords a proof of such 
candour and moderation towards the Episcopal church, from 
a Presbyterian, as is seldom known, though I have reason to 
think it is not uncommon at present in America. The letter 
was partly in answer to my remonstrance on the subject of 

" Extract of a letter from Dr. Rush, dated 27th of April, 
1784 : ' I am happy in being able to inform you that at- 
' tempts are now making to revive the Episcopal Church in 
' the United States. Though a member of the Presbyterian 
' church, yet I esteem very highly the Articles and the worship 
' of the Church of England. There are but two ways of 
' preserving visible religion, in any country ; the first is, by 
' establishments ; the second is, by the competition of differ- 
' ent religious societies. The revival of the Episcopal church 

* in our country will produce zeal, and a regard to the ordi- 
' nances of religion, in every other society. Such is the lib- 
t erality produced among the Dissenters by the war, that I 

* do not think they will now object to a Bishop being fixed in 
' each of our States, provided he has no civil revenue or ju- 

" I had similar assurances from Dr. Witherspoon, (a mem 
ber of Congress arid Presbyterian clergyman) when in England . 
last summer; and this inclination to promote Episcopacy is 
amply confirmed by Mr. Manning's late account of the in- 

(1) Sharp's Memoirs,, pp. 218, 219. 


tended convention of the Episcopal clergy of the provinces 
of Virginia and New York, at Philadelphia ; as well as by 
Dr. Franklin's declaration of his opinion, that ' unless a 
4 Bishop is soon sent over with a power to consecrate others, 
' so that we may have no more occasion of applying to En- 
* gland for ordination, we may think it right to elect also.' 
All these circumstances prove, that the present time is very 
important and critical for the promotion of the interests and 
future extension of the Episcopal Church in America, and 
that no time should be lost in obtaining authority for. the 
Archbishops and Bishops of England to dispense with the 
oaths of allegiance in the consecration of Bishops for foreign 
churches, that they may be restored to their unquestionable 
right, as Christian Bishops, to extend the Episcopal church 
of Christ all over the world. 

" An immediate interference is also become the more ne 
cessary, not only on account of the pretensions of Dr. Sea- 
bury and the Nonjuring Bishops of Scotland, but also to 
guard against the presumption of ^r. W y and other Meth 
odists, who, it seems, 'have sent over some persons, under, the 
name of superintendents^ with an assumed authority to or 
dain Priests, as if they were really invested with Episcopal 

" Some accounts of this were read to the Society for pro 
pagating the Gospel, in May last, from the letters of their 
Missionaries; and I have since heard that some Methodisti- 
cal clergymen have procured consecration from the Moravian 
churches, which the latter had received from the Bishops of 
Poland. . . . These attempts of the sectaries prove 
that they perceive among the Americans an increasing incli 
nation towards Episcopal government; and, consequently, 
they prove also, that the exertions of every sincere friend to 
the Church of England are peculiarly necessary at this Time, 
to facilitate the communication of a pure and irreprehensible 
Episcopacy to America, by removing the obstacles which at 
present restrain the Archbishops and Bishops of England 
from extending the Church of England beyond the bounds 
of the English Government. 

"f. should also inform your Grace that America is not the 
only part wherein Protestant Episcopacy is likely to be ex 
tended, when the rights of election are better understood; 
for had I been prepared in the year 1767 on this point, as I 
am at present, I have reason to believe that a Protestant 


Episcopal Church would have been promoted in Holland, and 
in several parts of Germany and Switzerland, long before 
this time. 

" How I happened to be concerned in so important an 
affair, if your Grace should have leisure and curiosity to be 
informed, I am ready to communicate on receiving your 

" I remain, with great respect and esteem, 

"My Lord, &c., &c."U) 

In connection with this letter to the Archbishop, it may be 
well to add, from the same source, an extract from a commu 
nication addressed by Mr. Sharp to Dr. Franklin, with refer 
ence to the intimation he had made of the .probability of 
an election of a Bishop by the Americans. The infor 
mation contained in this note was doubtless new to the 
celebrated Philosopher, who, a little earlier, when he had 
been applied to by some young candidates for holy Orders, 
who had been refused ordination in England, in consequence 
of the inability of the Bishops to dispense with the oath re 
quired by the Act of Uniformity, had consulted first the 
Bishops of France, and then the Pope's Nuncio, and after re 
ferring them to .the Bishops in Ireland, had finally advised 
them to act, in case of refusal, as they would be obliged to 
if England were swallow'ed up in the sea. (2) 

(1) Sharp's Memoirs, pp. 219, 220. 

(2) Vide Sharp's Memoirs, pp. 214, 215. We add, as a curiosity, from 
Dr. Franklin's private Correspondence, a copy of this remarkable letter. 
To Mess. Weems and Gant, Citizens of the United States, London. 

Passy, near Paris, July 18, 1784. 

On receipt of your letter, acquainting me that the Archbishop of Can 
terbury would not permit you to be ordained unless you took the oath of 
allegiance ; I applied to a clergyman of my acquaintance for information 
on the subject of your obtaining ordination here. His opinion was, that 
it could not be done ; and that if it were done, you would be required to 
vow obedience to the Archbishop of Paris. I next enquired of the Pope's 
Nuncio, whether you might not be ordained by their Bishops in America, 
powers being sent him for that purpose, if he has them not already. The 
answer was, the thing is impossible, unless the gentlemen become Catholics. 

This is an affair of which I know very little, and therefore I may ask 
questions and propose means that are improper or impracticable. But 
what is the necessity of your being connected with the Church of En 
gland? Would it not be as well if you were of the Church of Ireland ? 


" To his Excellency Benjamin Franklin, &c. 
"You have intimated a probability that the People of 
America, in a certain case, ' may think it right to elect' bish 
ops ; but the Episcopal clergy of America will, of course, be 
aware, that the mere election of a Presbyter to the office of 

The religion is the same, though there is a different set of bishops and 
archbishops. Perhaps if you were to apply to the Bishop of Der- 
ry,(l) who is a man of liberal sentiments, he might give you 
orders as of that Church. If both Britain and Ireland refuse 
you: and I am not sure that the Bishops of Denmark or Sweden 
would ordain you, unless you became Lutherans: what is to be done? 
Next to becoming Presbyterians, the Episcopalian Clergy of America in 
iny humble opinion, cannot do better than to follow the example of the 
first clergy of Scotland, soon after the conversion of that country to 
Christianity; who, when their King had built the Cathedral of St. An 
drew's, and requested the King of Northumberland to lend his bishops to 
ordain one for them, that their clergy might not as heretofore be obliged 
to go to Northumberland for orders, and their request was refused ; they 
assembled in the Cathedral, and the mitre, crozier, and robes of a bishop 
being laid on the altar, they, after earnest prayers for direction in their 
choice, elected one of their 6wn number; when the King said to him, 
" Arise, go to the altar, and receive your office at the hand of God." His 
brethren led him to the altar, robed him, put the crozier in his hand, atfcl 
the mitre on his head, and he became the first Bishop of Scotland. 

If the British islands were sunk in the sea (and the surface of this globe 
has suffered greater changes), you would probably take some such method 
as this : and if they persist in denying you ordination, it is the same thing. 
An hundred years hence, when people are more enlightened, it will be 
wondered at, that men. in America, qualified by their learning and piety 
to pray for and instruct their neighbours, should not be permitted to do it 
till they had made a voyage of 6000 miles out and home, to ask leave of 
a cross old gentleman at Canterbury: who seems, by/ your account, to 
have as little regard for the souls of the people of Maryland, as Kino- Wil 
liam's Attorney General, Seymour, had for those of Virginia. TheRev. 
erend Commissary Blair, who projected the College of that Province, and 
was in England to solicit benefactions and a charter, relates, that the Queen 
in the King's absence, having ordered Seymour to draw up the Charter 
which was to be given, with 2000 in money, he opposed the grant; say 
ing that the nation was engaged in an expensive war, that the money was 
wanted for better purposes, and he did not see the least occasion for a col 
lege in Virginia. Blair represented to him, that its intention was to edu 
cate and qualify young men to be ministers of the Gospel, much wanted 
there ; and begged Mr. Attorney would consider that the people of Vir 
ginia had souls to be saved as well as the people of England. " Souls 

(said he) d your souls I Make tobacco!" 

I have the honor to be, gentlemen, &c., 


Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Benjamin Franklin, LL.D., by 
his Grandson, William Temple Franklin. 4to. London, 1818 Vol ii 
pp. 57, 58. 

(1) Lord Bristol. 


a Bishop, will not be sufficient to constitute the Episcopal 
dignity, nor to confer the kind of authority that is requisite 
for those who preside, according to the Apostolic constitution, 
in the churches of Christ, without the outward form of lay 
ing on of hands by other Bishops, after solemn prayer for 
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to assist and guide the 
elected person in the execution of such a solemn charge and 
trust in the church of Christ as must render him most awfulr 
ly responsible for his whole conduct before God and man. 
I was anxious, that this truly Christian and Scriptural 
rite of laying on of hands should be communicated to the 
Episcopal church of America by a channel of continuation 
from the Apostolic times, that should be as unexceptionable 
as possible ; and therefore I wished that the first American 
Bishops might be consecrated by our English Bishops, whose 
predecessors were particularly instrumental in promoting the 
Reformation from Popery (several of them having sealed 
their testimony with their blood), and whose doctrine in gen 
eral has ever since been limited by the text of Holy Scrip 
ture. . . These are my reasons for wishing that the first 
American Bishops may receive their consecration rather from 
our English Bishops, than from the Nonjurors of Scotland. 
I have good authority to say, that several of the English 
Bishops (and I have not the least reason to suspect that any 
of the rest entertain different sentiments on this point) are 
very desirous to promote the Episcopal Church of Christ in 
America, or elsewhere, upon true Christian principles, with 
out any idea of acquiring the least ascendancy thereby, 
which might be derogatory to the independence of free na 
tional churches; and though they are at present so unhap 
pily bound by the Act of Uniformity, that they cannot dis 
pense with the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, yet I am 
assured, on the best authority, that they will endeavour to 
obtain a due sanction or power to do so, even if an express 
Act of Parliament should be thought necessary to effect it, 
when ever a proper requisition shall be made to consecrate a 
Bishop, or Bishops, for America, provided the elected per 
sons, sent from thence, bring with them the necessary testi 
monials of their ecclesiastical qualifications, morality, elec 
tion, &c., (for the scriptural rubric is, ' to lay hands suddenly 
on no man] ; and I have ample reason to think that all due 
attention will be paid to so just a demand."(l) 

(1) Memoirs of Sharp, pp. 221, 222. 


"With these repeated assurances of success, emanating 
either directly or indirectly from the highest authorities of 
the Mother Church, the Convention of 1785, by a resolution 
adopted on Friday, the 30th of September,(l) directed the 
Committee previously appointed for revising and altering the 
Liturgy, to prepare " a Plan for obtaining the consecration 
of Bishops, together with an Address to the Most Reverend 
the Archbishops, and the Right Reverend the Bishops of the 
Church of England, for that purpose." This Plan and Ad 
dress, which are printed in full in the Journal of the Conven 
tion,^) attest the wide-spread desire of the scattered Churches 
for the union secured by the Episcopate, and also prove 
their preference for the succession in the English line. Re 
cognizing as the great difficulty in the way of Dr. Seabury's 
application the fact, that the co-operation of the laity and 
the concurrence of the civil authority were wanting, they di 
rected the particular attention of the State Conventions to 
means for effecting the removal of this hindrance. Proofs 
of the desire of the laity for the introduction of the Episco 
pate were to be secured, and documents certifying the con 
currence of the State authorities in the measure, or at least 
attesting the want of any constitutional or legislative bar to 
the introduction of Episcopacy, were to be obtained from the 
various civil rulers. In true republican simplicity, and for 
the removal of popular prejudices, they sought to obtain, 
by the concluding paragraph of their Plan for obtain 
ing consecration, the assumption on the part of their future 
Bishops of the lordly titles of English prelates, a provision 
which is not unfrequently, though erroneously, quoted as of 
authority at the present day. 

The Address to the English prelates was manly and digni 
fied. Bishop White, in his "Memoirs,"(3) informs us, that 
both this and the " Plan" preceding it, were his own compo 
sition. As the first out-spoken utterance of the American 

(1) Reprinted Journals, I. 19. (2) Ibid. pp. 25-27. (3) Page 101. 


churches, pleading with the Mother Church for recognition 
and intercommunion, they are well worthy our consideration, 
for, in the language of Bishop White, " thus a foundation 
was laid for the procuring of the present Episcopacy."! 1 ) 

Agreeably to the advice of the Convention, measures were 
at once taken to satisfy the English prelates of the concur 
rence of the civil authorities. Immediately upon the ad 
journment of the Convention, the deputies from Pennsylva 
nia addressed the following petition to the Executive Council 
of their State. 

To the Honourable the Supreme Executive Council of the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

The Petition of the Subscribers, late Deputies of the Pro 
testant Episcopal Church in ye said Commonwealth to a gen 
eral ecclesiastical Convention of ye said Church, held in this 

Humbly Sheweth ; 

That ye said Church has taken sundry Measures for ye ob 
taining within itself ye Powers of Ordination, agreeably to 
its ancient Institutions of Usage, in order that it may exist 
independently of all foreign Authority, Civil or Ecclesias 
tical ; 

That for ye accomplishing of this Purpose ye said Eccle 
siastical Convention have addressed the Archbishops and 
Bishops of the Church of England, requesting them to con 
fer ye Episcopal character on such Persons, as shall be chosen 
and sent to their Lordships by ye said Church in any of ye 
United States; a Copy of which Address your Petitioners 
now lay before your honourable Council. 

That ye said ecclesiastical Convention had reed, undoubted 
Information (which your Petitioners are ready to lay before 
the Honl. Council) that ye English Prelates, on a similar ap 
plication from ye Clergy of ye said Church in one of ye 
United States, were not able to take Measures for ye grant 
ing of ye Request, because the British Ministry were appre 
hensive that it might be offensive to ye civil Authority of ye 
said State; 

That in Consequence of ye above Information, ye said ec 
clesiastical Convention instructed ye Deputies composing 

(1) Memoirs of the Church, Page 101. 


their Body, that on their Return to their respective States, 
they should make a respectful Application to their civil Kulers 
requesting them to certify, that ye said Address to ye Arch 
bishops and ye Bishops of ye Church of England is not con 
trary to our Laws or Constitutions; and that a Compliance 
Avith it will not be offensive to ye civil Powers under which 
we live; and 

That your Petitioners do accordingly now make the said 
Application to your honourable Body ; and as it has been uni 
formly the endeavour of ye Episcopal Church in this State 
and in ye other States represented in ye late Convention, so 
to form their ecclesiastical System, as that it may harmonize 
with our civil Duties and the Interests and Happiness of ye 
United States ; so they trust, that your Honourable Body 
will condescend to their Request; and think it not unworthy 
of your Wisdom or beneath your Dignity, to remove ye po 
litical Obstacle which may prevent their obtaining the Epis 
copal Succession in a Way, which they hope will be thought 
reputable to themselves and safe to their Country. 

And your Petitioners, as in Duty bound, shall ever pray. 
Clerical Deputies: Lay Deputies: 





The response of the Executive Council to this petition we 
add below. Dr. White's criticism on its closing paragraph we 
have already given in a familiar letter of his to the Rev. Dr. 
Smith.(2) From allusions in the same correspondence, it ap 
pears that a similar document had been furnished by the Go 
vernor of Maryland upon the application of Dr. Smith. The 
Certificate subsequently given by the celebrated Patrick 
Henry, at the request of Dr. Griffith, and that procured at 
this time by the Rev. Mr. Provoost from Governor Clinton of 
New York, are also appended ; the one is printed in Bishop 
White's Memoirs, the other from an original copy in Mr. 
Provoost's own handwriting. The idea that such documents 
were deemed necessary by our forefathers to facilitate the in- 

!1) From the original among the Bishop White MSS. 
2) Ante, pp. 142, 143. 


troduction of a purely spiritual and ecclesiastical office, may 
perhaps occasion surprise in our days ; but we can with difficul 
ty, at this distance of time, appreciate the apprehensions of the 
danger of this measure which had been excited, even in the 
minds of Churchmen, by the popular clamour raised against 
the Episcopate during the period immediately preceding the 

Pennsylvania, ss. 

The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania, do hereby certify and make known to all whom 
it may concern, that agreeable to the frame of government 
and laws of this Commonwealth the clergy and others, mem 
bers of the Church of England in Pennsylvania, are at lib 
erty to take such means as they may think proper, for keep 
ing up a succession of religious teachers Provided only, that 
the measures they adopt for this purpose do not induce a sub 
jection to any foreign jurisdiction, civil or ecclesiastical. 
Criven in Council under the hand of the honourable Charles 
Biddle, Esquire, Vice-President, and the Seal of this 
State, at Philadelphia, this twenty-fourth day of Novem 
ber, in the year of oer Lord one thousand seven hundred 
and eighty-four, and in the tenth year of the Common 

Attest, JOHN ARMSTRONG JUN., See.(l) 

By His Excellency GEORGE CLINTON, 
Esquire, Governor of the State of New 
[PRIVY SEAL.] York, General, and Commander in Chief 
of all the Militia, and Admiral of the 
Navy thereof. 
To all to whom these Presents shall come or may concern. 

It is certified and made known that by the constitution of 
the said State, it is ordained and declared that the free exer 
cise and enjoyment of Religious profession and worship, with 
out discrimination or preference, shall for ever be allowed 
within this State to all mankind, and that there is nothing in 
the said constitution, or in any of the laws of the said State, 
to prohibit the Clergy and others of the Episcopal Churches 
or of any other Church in the said State, to take such mea 
sures as they shall judge proper, for keeping up a succession 

(1) Bishop White's Memoirs, p. 239 


of religious Teachers, Provided that the means they may 
adopt for this purpose be not inconsistent with the peace or 
safety of the State and do not induce a Subjection or Alle 
giance to any Foreign Jurisdiction or Power, Civil or Eccle 
siastical, whatever. 

Given under my Hand and the Privy Seal at the City 
of New York this 28th Day of December in the tenth 
year of our Independence, 1785. 

By his Excellency's Command : 

By his Excellency PATRICK HENRY, Esq., Governor of the 

Commonwealth of Virginia. 

It is certified and made known to all whom it may concern 
That the Protestant Episcopal Church is incorporated by 
an Act of the Legislature of this Commonwealth, for that 
purpose made and provided: that there is no law existing in 
this Commonwealth, which in any manner forbids the admis 
sion of Bishops, or the exercise of their office ; on the con 
trary, by the 16th Article of the Declaration of Rights, it 
is provided in the words following, viz. " That religion, or 
the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of dis 
charging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, 
not by force or violence, and therefore all men are equally en 
titled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dic 
tates of conscience ; and that it is the mutual duty of all, to 
practice Christian forbearance, love and charity towards each 
othe," which said Article is now in full force. 

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my name, and 
caused the Seal of the Commonwealth to be affixed, at 
Richmond, this first day of June, in the year of our 
Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, and 
tenth of the Commonwealth. 

P. HENRY.(l) 

Accompanied by these and similar endorsements from the 
Executive authorities of the various States, and enlisting the 
further recommendation of the Federal authorities them- 

(1) This Certificate, which was obtained at a date subsequent to the 
others, was sent to Bishop White by the Rev. Dr. Griffith, Bishop-elect of 
Virginia, to be laid before the Convention of 1786. Vide White's Memoirs, 
pp. 329, 330. 


selves, (1) the Address of the Convention was sent forth on 
its mission. The following characteristic letter, (2) an 
nounced its departure. 


Dear and Revd. Sir, 

The Address was sent by the Packet with 

recommendatory Letters from the President of Congress and John Jay, 
Esqr., who have interested themselves much in our Business. I also en- 
clo^ed a Copy I had taken of the Address, with some other Papers relating 
to the Church in America, in a Letter to the Bishop of Carlisle. 

I expect no obstruction to our Application but what may arise from the 
Intrigues of the nonjuring Bishop of Connecticut, who a few days since 
paid a visit to this State (notwithstanding he incurred the guiit of misprision 
of Treason, and was liable to confinement for life for doing so) and took 
shelter at Mr. James Rivington's, where he was seen only by a few of his 
most intimate friends; whilst he was there, a piece appeared in a newspa 
per under Livington's direction, pretending to give an account of the late 
Convention, but replete with Falsehood and Prevarication, and evidently 
intended to excite a prejudice against our transactions, both in England 
and America. 

On Long Island, Dr. Cebra appeared more openly preached at Hemp- 
stead Church, and ordained the Person from Virginia I formerly mentioned, 
being assisted by the Revd. Mr. Moore of Hempstead and the Revd. Mr. 
Bloomer of New Town, Long Island. 

I relate these Occurrences, that when you write next to England, our 

(1) Vide ante p. 138. 

(2) Notices of the animosity borne by Mr. Provoost toward the first Bishop of Connecti 
cut other than those which incidentally appear in Bp. White's Memoirs of the Church, can 
be found in two privately printed pamphlets by the compiler of this volume, entitled re 
spectively " Bishop Seabury and Bishop Provoost : an Historical Fragment " 8vo. 1862, and 
" Bishop geabury and the ' Episcopal Recorder' ; a Vindication." 8vo. 1863. 

Mr. Provoost persistently spelled Bp. Seabury's name as in the letter given in the text. 
We scarcely need add that the article in the New-York Packet to which reference is made 
by Mr. Provoost, and which is printed in full herewith, in no sense justifies the construc 
tion put upon it by Mr. Provoost. 

" We are informed that about twenty of the Episcopal Clergy, joined by delegates of 
Lay gentlemen, from a number of the congregations in several of the Southern States, 
lately assembled in Convention at Christ Church, Philadelphia, revised the Liturgy of the 
Church of England, (adapting it to the late Revolution,) expunged some of the Creeds, 
reduced the thirty-nine Articles to twenty in number, and agreed on a letter addressed to 
the Archbishops and the Spiritual Court in England, desiring they would be pleased to 
obviate any difficulties that might arise on application to them for consecrating such 
respectable Clergy as should be appointed and sent to London from their body to, act as 
Bishops on the Continent of America, where there is at present only one Prelate dignified 
with Episcopal powers viz. the Right Reverend Dr. Samuel Seabnry, Bishop of the 
Apostolical Church in the State of Connecticut. Hitherto Mr. Pitt, the British Minister, 
has vehemently opposed all applications preferred for consecration to Sees in America ; 
this discouragement occasioned Bishop Seabury to secure his consecration from throe of 
the Bishops in Scotland, which proves as perfectly valid and efficient as though obtained 
from the hands of their Right Reverences of Canterbury, York and London, and is incon- 
testably proved by a list of the consecration and succession wf Scots Bishops since the 
Revolution in 1688, under William the Third." From "The New-York Packet." tfo. 537, 
for Monday, October 31, 1786. 


Friends there may be guarded against any misrepresentations that may 
come to them from that Quarter. 
I am, with respects to Dr. Magaw and Mr. Blackwell, 

Dr. Sir, 
Your most sincere Friend and Humble Servant, 

New York, Nov. 7th, 1785. 

This epistle, betraying the political prejudices of the 
Whig Rector of Trinity, New- York, against the tory Bish 
op of Connecticut was shortly followed by another in a sim 
ilar strain. 


* * * * * If we may judge from appearances, Dr. Cebra 
and his friends are using every art to prevent the success of our appli 
cation to the English prelates. A close correspondence is kept up be 
tween him, Chandler, (2), Ac., and a few days ago two large packets were 
seen at Rivington's address'd to the Archbishop of Canterbury, one of 
which it was imagined came from Dr. Chandler. 

Governor Clinton assures me that Dr. Cebra is in the Bill of Attainder, 
a circumstance which I did not know when I mentioned him in a late let 
ter. He certainly would never have run the risque he did by coming to 
New- York, unless some political ends of consequence were to be ans 
wered by it. * * * * 

New-York, Dec. 28, 1785 

With the remark, in passing that there was no foundation 
for the unkind judgments of Mr. Provoost other than his 
political aad personal prejudices, we turn to the consider 
ation of the feeling in England with reference to the meas 
ures of the Convention of 1785. 

No little alarm was felt abroad by the friends of the 
Church in the United States at the reception of the sermon 
of Dr. Smith on the first introduction of the new Liturgy 
without any further information of the nature and extent of 
the alterations proposed. Rumors as to what had been done 
in the way of change and correction accompanied and pre- 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 

(2) The Rev. Thomas ffradbury Chandler D. D., of New-Jersey, one of the wisest and 
twtt of the Colonial clergy. 

(3) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


ceded the petition of the Convention, and those who had 
most at heart the introduction of the English Succession 
found that new and unlooked-for obstacles to their success 
had been raised by these hasty movements. A few extracts 
from letters addressed to the ReV Dr. White by his old 
friend and correspondent the Rev. Alexander Murray, D. D., 
formerly missionary of the venerable Society in Reading, 
Pennsylvania, graphically present the revulsion of feeling 
in England caused by these rumors and the influence they 
exerted even in minds of the highest dignitaries of the 
English Church. 

London, 24 December. 1785. 
My Dear Sir. 

Two days ago only I was favored with yours, and two sermons. Copies 
of these and your Petition, Mr. Duche delivered to the Archbishop of 
Cant, on the 18th instant. But 1 tremble for the consequences, after you 
have, as it is reported, laid violent hands on the venerable fabric of your 
mother Qhurch, which has withstood the attacks of ages, without any very 
material alterations since Elizabeth. . . . But you will say 
all this must have been expected some time or other, but I presume not at 
a more unseasonable time than when you were applying for a succession of 
Bishops of our National persuasion, and when you had a Rival Church 
opening in Connecticut to observe all your motions, and which I suppose 
has made no alterations in it? public Worship, but in the Prayers for the 
Supreme Magistrate ; tho' now it may proceed to all reasonable lengths in 
spirituals alter it ,has obtained the powers of an Episcopal Convention : 
While your Convention like another Westminister Assembly has left hard 
ly anything for a Bishop in all appearance to do, but to consecrate Deacons 
and Priests, according to a system not known in that Church, from which 
you desire to derive your Succession. 

In any event, before the Abp. can give his opinion on your 'case, he 
must have ample documents of your Faith, which is to be collected from 
your new Prayer Book, and the Minutes of your Conventions, which you 
will not fail to send him without loss of time. Let them be directed to 
some Lay gentleman here who is a member of Rome of your States, to act 
in concert with a Clergyman or two, whom you will mention to his Grace, 
that he may negociate with any or all of these as he sees fit ; for your re 
quest must be enforced by your Laity for whose benefit it cheifly is intend 
ed, and all possible assurance will be expected that no offence will be 
given to your States by the Episcopate you desire. 

Your Envoy here, Mr. Adams, will no doubt be consulted, by our Court, 
if they take the matter up. Some of your Convention are acquainted 
with him, and to him you should send every necessary paper also. It is a 
piece of respect due to his public Character, and may engage his good offi 
ces in your oehalf. (1) 

(1) For an account of Mr. Adams' kind offices in presenting the address of the Conven 
tion see ante, pp. 191, 192. 


It is trne, after your own example, your new Liturgy as the Old, is left 
open to farther Reviews and amendments, but that must be a work entirely 
of your own. For I am confident our Church Dignitaries will not venture 
to alter a single tittle of it, lest they raise a loud cry for a Review of the 
latter, which has been so often, especially of late, demanded by some, and 
thus involve themselves in more contention than ever on that score, if not 
in a bitter Religious war, or ocfcsion a more general Schism, and multi 
ply Dissenters without number and without end. The followers of Lind 
say who have Expunged the two exceptionable Creeds are few indeed. 
The Methodists are many, who make him a public Butt of their indigna 
tion, to secure and increase their Votaries. Tho' Arianisrn and Athanas- 
ism are both very mysterious. 

However I would fain hope the best things of my quondam brethren 
and fellow citizens of America ; that they have retained the sum and sub 
stance of the tenets of our Church and admitted nothing repugnant there 
to, the alterations consisting in things indifferent, which may, or may not 
be proposed and practised without prejudice to the fundamentals 01 this 
Church. If so the Candidates recommended for Episcopal Orders may be 
left at liberty to subscribe our 39 Articles of which yours is tantamount, 
and thereby obviate an almost insuperable difficulty of obtaining an 
Act of Parlament to enable our Bishops to consecrate on other conditions, 
for the reasons I have mentioned. 

Nor will your proceedings meet with the approbation of the Scotch 
Episcopal Clergy, who are superstitiously attached to their antient forms 
and usages and cerimonial trumpery ; for had it not been for that, (not- 
witbstandjng their political principles to which they are still wedded,) 
they would have been long ago extinct. 

The few I have had tim,e to mention your Review to, suspect that there 
has been a Judas among you, who has betrayed you into this preposterous 
measure, to defeat if posible all your views, which in themselves are high 
ly prudent and praiseworthy. ***** 

Your most affec't. 

Bro'r. and Serv't. 
Eevd. Dr. White. ALEX'R MURRAY. (1) 

Reverting to the same subject in an energetic letter 
dated two days subsequently Dr. Murray continues as 
follows : 

Rev'd. Sir. 

I have heard of no letters, since your Convention, from D'rs. Smith, 
Chandler or Seabury. Had you delay'd your Review, as I strove to per 
suade you, there is not an Episcopalian in England but would have secon 
ded your Request with all their influence and might, but upon your gar 
bled Liturgy they hardly can, without bringing forward a Review of their 
own, which might endanger the peace of the State and Church, and revive 
the dormant powers of the Convocation. Better then leave your Candi 
dates for the Prelatic Order to subscribe our Formula at large, which I sup 
pose contains nothing very different from yours, and you may have some 

(1) From the Bp. White MSS. 


assurance of success, as I doubt not your Petition is well supported by 
your Laity for whose benefit it is intended Yon might have sent a Copy 
of it to Mr. DuchS, but having neither that nor any particulars relating to 
it but what are contained in Dr. Smith's Sermon, it is as yet only reasoning 
in the dark upon the whole of your proceedings, which will appear I hope 
more favourable than they do at first view ; only your case had been less 
perplexed had you never been members of our Church, but foreigners only 
professing all the essentials of its Doctrine, discipline, Worship and Gov 
ernment, and nothing contrary thereto. And if your case is considered by 
the Abp. it is likely it will be in that light ; without descending to the 
particular places or persons abroad to which the Act of Parliament is to 
extend, as in that for the Ordination of Deacons and Priests past lately in 
your favour, these having subscribed our Articles it is true, but the Bish 
op to subscribe yours to the same effect. .... 

Among other things I have a large collection of Liturgies down from 
the Jerusalem Liturgy to Lindsay's and the Liverpool ; and tho' some of 
them excell in one part, they are as defective in another. To compose a 
complete one is a Herculean labour, and not to be accomplished but by 
divine assistance which may Aim. God grant you in all your undertaking 
for the good of his Church which is in no very promising way in America 

Your affect. Bro. 

and obliged humble Servant 
Kev'd. Dr. White. ALEX'R. MURRAY. (1) 

The following month the Rev Mr. Duche in his report 
of his interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury con 
firms the Statements made by Dr. Murray as to the wide 
spread apprehensions caused in England by the hasty action 
of the convention in adopting the Proposed Book. 

Asylum, Lambeth, Jan. 30th, 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

Agreeable to your Desire I delivered your Packet and Letters with 
my own Hand to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. As I had 
nothing further in charge I was of course unprepared to answer any Ques 
tions. You had given me no Information of the Proceedings of your Con 
vention. You had not particularized the Alterations in y'r Liturgy. Of 
these Alterations, we have only heard by private letters. How far they 
may not be agreeable to our Archbishops and Bishops, I cannot pre 
tend to say ; and my own sentiments I withhold, till you have fulfilled 
your Promise in sending me a Copy |of the Liturgy. I confess, that as I 
sincerely love you all, not only as my dear Countrymen, but as once Mem 
bers of the same Church Communion, I feel a sincere anxiety for your 
Spiritual as well as temporal welfare and therefore hope you have cau 
tiously avoided any thing that may be construed as an essential Deviation 
from the long received Doctrines of the Church of England, and may have 
any Tendency to widen the Separation from our Church here. Indeed I 

(1) From the Bp. White MSS. 


told the Archbishop, what I really took to be the case at that Time, that 
the Alterations were merely Mutatis Mutandis. 

I mast tell you, however, my Dear Sir, that your Letters to me are 
generally so very short, and appear to be written in so great an Hurry, 
that I have not the Satisfaction I should have, if you would write me 
more at leisure and be a little more particular. Be assured, that while I 
live, I shall love vou, and the people with whom you are connected, and 
it is my frequent ^Prayer, that the Lord would enable you to give them 
proper Food. In this Respect I Endeavour in some measure to labour still 
for them and you. And tho' absent in Body, lam sometimes present with 
them in Spirit. 

Your sincere Friend and Servant. 

J. DUGHE. (1) 

Added information transmitted through various channels 
served to allay somewhat these apprehensions of heterodoxy, 
and the following letter from Dr. Murray written early in 
the Spring of 1786 though full of earnest deprecations of 
change was far more hopeful and encouraging than his last. 

London; llth March, 1786. 
My Dear Sir. 

I would fain hope the day is not far distant when I shall have the hon 
our of addressing you Right Reverend. You meet my wishes more and 
more, I am pleased with the appointment of Mr. Adams and Mr. Peters, 
who have faithfully executed their trust and deserve the public thanks of 
your Convention. Mr. Adams has finally obviated all political objections 
to your Application, and reconciled the King, the Members, and the whole 
Bench of Bishops to it. They are liberal and just enough to distinguish 
between Civil and Religious Separation, and not to excommunicate a People 
who never made Religion a ground of Contest, unless your Convention will 
insist upon doing it now, a thing I never dreamt of till your Alterations, 
rather innovations were announced in Dr. Smith's sermon. 

Happily I see from your last Journal they are not yet approved, but 
only proposed and recommended. If the Church in any of your seven 
States reject* them and will adhere to her ancient forms and the political 
alterations you have agreed upon, that Church and no more, will be ad 
mitted to all the Christian privileges and rights their mother can confer. 
Upon other terms it would be as little to be desired as to be expected by 
you. It would be absurd to form such a close connexion as you propose 
with a heterodox Church. However I suppose you presume upon conces 
sions, and I doubt not some will be made you in things indifferent, but you 
can expect none in those that are established here as fundamental. These 
you can well distinguish. What chiefly gives offence here is your omit 
ting the two Creeds, and at the same time the Doctrine of the Trinity in 
Unity runs thro' the whole of that part of your service I have yet seen. 
For GOD'S sake leave this and all such abstruse points to the discretion of 
your different ministers and congregations, lest they lead to an irreparable 
Schism, and give offence to well meaning Christians of several Sects among 

(1) From the Bishop White MSS. 


you. You know what dreadful effects civil Innovations have lately intro 

Your Articles for number and nature are not arrived here yet tho' they 
ought and might have been sent in Manuscript first, as they are the foun 
dation of your whole system, then you would not have left your friends 
so murh in the dark and a state of suspense. For the Bishops, who are 
your sincere friends, you must acknowledge, can corne to no determination 
till they see your whole Platform and Documents unlolded. Do like mod 
est children submit all your differences to them, and you will never have 
reason to repent it. They wish your Spiritual prosperity as much as ever, 
and they must be answerable for the consequences of what they do in this 
very serious affair, wherein the peace of the Church and State here are 
nearly concerned. You must feel for them and request no more than they 
can with safety and credit grant. You have it now in your power to build 
upon a Rock with great honour and reputation. As a Branch of this 
Church you will have the ablest advocate to defend your Community a- 
gainst all attacks from Dissenters whether 1'opish or Protestant, and your 
Succession will be unexceptionable, which is to be derived only from this 
Church and that of Sweden in the Protestant line in all Christendom, 
strange to tell ! And you may preserve Protestant Episcopacy uninterrupt 
ed, when it may be lost in Europe, as it was about 1641, but in Sweden a- 
lone, with regard to all earthly countenance and public protection. In 
short see that your Formulary is substantially the same with ours and you 
need not doubt of success. The part you sent me of your Prayer Book, I 
forwarded directly to the Archbishop, with some remarks in its favour, that 
he might have time to examine it before Mr. Peters waited upon him. Aa 
I have parted with that, I hope you Will send me one complete. Mr. Pe 
ters will inform you that Messrs Montgomery and Duche have stood aloof 
and given me no sort of assistance, I believe only thro' fear that I had 
started a desperate game since Dr. Seabury's Defection here, which I did 
not believe with them ought to divert or finally discourage your applica 
tion, if made in the mod,e I proposed, and which you have been pleased to 
adopt, as I knew it would be most agreeable to you to apply first to your 
Mother Church. If you meet not her expectations, I am ruined in the es 
teem of the Archbishop, whom I told your Formulary tho' altered contain 
ed still the sum and substance of ours and nothing repugnant in Doctrine, 
Worship or Government, but in what respected the separate civil powers 
of your country. As there are none but political alterations yet agreed 
upon, pray postpone the most exceptionable of the rest to a future day, 
when you can discuss them in an Episcopal Convention, with decency, or 
der, and consistently with your profession of Prelacy. 

Yours most affectionately, 


Rev. Dr. White and Dr. Smith. 

P. S. You must continue your correspondence with Mr. Adams as the 
ostensible person with whom the Abp may treat and finally settle your af 
fairs to the public satisfaction both of this Government and yours. A Lay 
man here of your Church should be also appointed Agent in place of Mr. 
Peters, and if I can be of any service to either of them they may com 
mand it. Your Churches are supplied I suppose in the meantime with ye 
Candidates for Holy Orders. It were to be wished that your Committee 
would declare their minds with regard to the proposed Alterations, and if 
they are found admissible by the Bench of Bishops you might have an Act 


of Parliament passed in the present sessions which are thought will be 
continued till towards June next. Committing -you to GOD'S guidance I 


A. M. (1) 

A little later the same month the Rev. Mr. Duche ad 
dressed the following letter to his American Correspondent. 
It is particularly interesting as plainly and forcibly exposing 
the weakness of the argements by which Dr. White and the 
Southern Clergy sustained their course in holding back from 
union with the Bishop of Connecticut. 

Dear Sir. Asylum, March 25th, 1786. 

I wrote to you hy Capt. Willett ; but I find since, that ye Archbishop 
has returned an Answer to ye Letter of the Convention. This Intelligence 
I have from Mr. Peters. But neither he nor I know the Purport of the 
Answer. I have not called on his Grace since I delivered your Letters. 
And I have avoided all Conversation on the Subject, and shall avoid it, 
unless I am called upon to give my Sentiments, on the Propriety and Ex 
pediency of immediately granting the Request of the Convention. I am 
sure, if this shall be the Case, which I have not the least Reaon in the 
world lo expect, I shall say everything that true Affection for the Episco 
pal Church in my Native Country can dictate. I am also sure, that our 
Archbishop and Bishops here are heartily disposed to do everything, that 
can promote the Interest of a Church, which has been so long cherished, 
and supported by their Influence, and which under ye good Providence 
of the Lord, owes its Existence in America to the Benevolence of the 
Church of England. 

In ye meanwhile I cannot but lament the Prospect there seems to be of 
so Early a Schism among you. Here we could not recognize Dr. Sea- 
bury's Episcopal Character. But with you there can remain but one 
Point to oe settled, in order to establish future Peace and Harmony, and 
that is, the Validity of his Consecration, from Proofs adduced of the un 
interrupted Succession in ye Church of Scotland. This once settled, I 
should think you might receive him, or at least enable him, by previously 
acknowledging his Episcopal Character, to join your General Convention, 
and assist yon, and your future Bishops, (from whatever Channel you may 
obtain them) in making such further Regulations in Discipline and Wor 
ship, as may finally introduce a General Uniformity in the Episcopal 
Church throughout the States. If something of this Kind is not done I 
fear, an unpleasant Disunion may take Place, and put a Stop to ye Pro 
gress of your Church. Bishop Seabury who was much with me, during 
hi? Residence here, appears to be a Man of great Moderation, strong 
Judgment, good Affection and solid Piety. And I really thought, from 
one of your Letters to me, that you were all eager to receive him. But 
enough on this Subject. You will excuse these Hints which are suggested 

(1) From the Bp. White MSS. 


from real Affection to you All, and a sincere wish, that unanimity and 
Brotherly Love may prevail and continue among you. * * * 

I approve much of what I have seen of your Liturgy. It is very 
remarkable, that your first Introductory (Sentence " The Lord is in his 
Holy Temple, &c.," is ye very Sentence I introduced about a twelve month 
ago, to be suug at my Chapel by the Orphans, instead of a Voluntary before 
ye First Lesson, by way of engaging ye attention of ye Congregation to 
Lessons from Scripture. It is used by you with still more Propriety to 
introduce the whole Service. The several verbal alterations are of little 
Consequence, but can be adopted without giving offence. Not so the leav 
ing out one of the Articles of the Apostles' Creed " The Descent into Hell " 
which if properly understood, will be found to be quite consistent with ye 
Analogy of Faith, and therefore not to be omitted. The words " Descent ' 
and "Hell, " do indeed want explanation. And so does every other Art 
icle of ye Creed. But surely it ought not to have been rejected for this 
Reason, otherwise the Scriptures themselves may be rejected. For who 
can say, that he understands them, till " his Understending is opened by 
the Lord?" And of what use is a Gospel Ministry, but to be Instru 
mental in ye Lord's Hands for ihis Purpose ; that is to open the understand 
ings of their Hearers ? Every Body here is astonished to find, 'that your 
Convention of Clergy and Laity should have thought, that " he was bur 
ied " and that "he decended into Hell, " are synonymous Expressions, of 
the same Meaning and Import. Could you suppose for a Moment, that the 
Soul of Xt was buried with his Body ? Impossible If not, then it must 
have been somewhere and in some state. What State could this be but 
the State into which all departed Spirits go, at the Death of ye Body, and 
remain, till a last Judgment sooner or later, gives them who " die in the 
Lord, " as our Burial Service expresses it, " their perfect Consummation in 
Bliss in Body and Soul," or dooms the wicked to Eternal Punishment ?. In 
this State our, Lord's Spirit must have remained betwixt his Death and 
Resurrection. Nay, till his Ascension into Heaven. For though his final 
temptations and Combats were compleated on the Cross, yet his Human 
Body was not completely glorified, and made Divine till his Ascension and 
Session on the Right Hand of God. If you had looked into Bishop Pear 
son, and some others of our Church on this Article you wonld have found, 
that the Process of Redemption could not have been complete, had not our 
Lord passed thro' the several states of Man before, at, and after his Death. 
You would have found the Period at which this Article was introduced, 
the different Interpretations given to it, by different Persons, in preceding 
Ages ; and the Reason, why we retain this Article in ye Sense in which he 
has explained it. and in whic i it is held by every sound Divine of the 
Church of England. You would not have been offended at the words 
" Descent into Hell, " but when properly understood, would have found 
them perfectly consistent, as I have already said, with the Analogy of 
Faith. The necessity of the Case, and your particular Circumstances may 
justify in some Measure your adopting a Republican Form of Church Dis 
cipline. But surely there could have been no necessity for a few Clergy 
men and Laymen undertaking to leave out a single Article in a Creed, 
which is received and adopted by every Xtian Communion even by the 
Socinians, I believe, if they may be called Xtians who, like yejollowers 
of Mahomet, deny the Divinity of the " Lord that bought them." 

Poor Dr. Smith, if we may judge from his Sermon, is sadly fallen off. 
Never was a more lean and meagre Performance Had not his name been 
prefaced, I should never have conceived the Composition to be his. Dr. 


Wharton's is here thought much superior, though in a moral view, he has 
rather lowered the Clerical Character. 

I am sure you will receive and answer these imperfect Hints with your 
usual Candour. Remember, what I write to you is for you alone, that is 
lor your own Perusal. If you think what little I have said, may be of 
any weight, you may communicate it in your own Words, without using 
my Name, which now, perhaps, would give not the least Sanction to Truth 
itself, with those I mean, who view me in a different -Light, from what they 
once did. * * * ^ * 
I am 

Ever yours affectionately 

J. DUCHE. (1) 

The longed-for response of the Archbishops and Bishops 
to which reference is made by Mr. Duche was at length re 
ceived and printed in full in the Journal of the Convention 
of June, 1786. It also appears in Bishop White's Mem 
oirs of the Church(2). The original with the autograph sig 
natures of the Archbishops and Bishops, which is still pre 
served, forms one of the most interesting and valuable Man 
uscripts in the Archives of the American Church. As Bish 
op White informs us(2) it was " the omission of the article 
of Christ's descent into hell, in the Apostles' Creed," that 
was especially distasteful to the English Prelates though 
this objection was urged with earnestness only by a sin 
gle Bishop Dr. Moss of Bath and Wells. At the same time 
the failure of the Bishops to receive the sheets of the " Pro 
posed Book" which though sent to them from time to time(3) 
as the work passed through the press, miscarried, occasioned 
the " caution " which Bishop White noticed as characteriz 
ing this important and interesting letter. That there was not 
unanimity in urging the omission in the creed referred to, 
will appear from the following letter from one of the wisest 
and most worthy of the Southern Clergy ; while the com 
munications which we subjoin from the Rev. Mr. Parker and 
the Bishop of Connecticut will give us the impressions of the 
Convention and its work which obtained in New England 
and to a large extent in New Jersey and New York. 

(I) From the Bishop White Mss.) 
(?) Vagea 297 288.) 



Baltimore Town, Nov. 3rd. 1785. 
Dear Sir. 

If I am not much mistaken Doctor Smith told me, that it was not yet too 
late to retain, in the Apostles' Creed, the Descent into Hell. If it be not, 
and you Gentlemen can, with Propriety, introduce it so as to be repeated 
or not, with the other Articles, at the Discretion of the Minister ; I can 
not but think (as I have written to Dr. Smith) that it would be much 
better to retain than expunge it. When this Matter came before the 
Convention, just at the Conclusion of Business I could not but say I wished 
the article to be retained But rather than Engage in tedious and irk 
some Debate, I only wished it. And the Reasons for my wish at that Time 
occasion my troubling you with this now, if the Article may haply be yet 
retained. The only Reasons I heard for expunging it were that it was not 
anciently in the creed ; and that it impliea Tautology ; but the former 
Reason I believe, will militate in some Measure against retaining another 
Article of the same creed, and Bishop Pearson's observations will show 
that the Descent into Hell does not necessarily imply Tautology ; For our 
Lord's Body only was bnried in the Grave; but his rational Soul (without 
which he could not be Perfect Man), during his Separate State after- 
Death was in Hell, or that State (whatever it be ) into which the rational 
Soul of every Man enters and exists from the Time of his Death, to that of 
the General Resurrection. However as this is not clearly and explicitly 
delivered in the Sacred writings, the Descent into Hell might, I pre 
sume, be omitted without any Injury to the Christian Faith. But I ap 
prehend the Omission of this Article may occasion a Diversity of Senti 
ments in the P. E. Churches of these United States ; all which, especially 
in the only Creed retained, and at this time particularly, I wish to be a- 
voided. But I mean not to be troublesome either with my wishes or my 
apprehensions; and shall acquiesce under the matured judgment of others 
better informed. If therefore what I have observed on this Subject be 
either out of Time, or impertinent; pray suppose it all obliterated, or never 
mentioned. My dear sir. 

Your affectionate Servant. 

WM. WEST. (1) 


New London, Jan 18th. 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

I should have paid the earliest attention to your letter of the 18th. of 
October, but that I flattered myself I would have been favored with a copy 
of the Journal of the Convention at Philadelphia, and a letter from Dr. 
Smith on the subject ; but as I have unhappily been disappointed in both 
expectations, I will no longer delay writing to you, least what has hith 
erto been only apparent, should become a real neglect. 

On the business of your Convention I can at present say nothing because 
I know nothing but from report, and that I hope has exaggerated matters ; 
for I should be much afflicted to find all true that is reported. You men 
tion my disapprobation of your including the Laity in your representative 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence.) 


body. Your extending the power of the Lay delegate, so far as your funda 
mental rules have done, 1 did then, and do now most certainly dis 
approve of; particularly in the article relating to the Bishop, who, if I 
rigntly understand, is to be subject to a jurisdiction of Presbyters and 
Laymen. I hope the general desire to harmonize which you mention will 
produce good effects, I assure you no one will endeavour more to effect the 
cordial union of the Episcopal Church through the Continent than I shall, 
provided it be on Episcopal principles. 
I am, Kev. Sir, 

with regard and esteem, 

your very humble Servant. 
SAMUEL, Bishop, Episcopal Church, Connect. 
Kev. Dr. White. (1) 


Boston Jan'ry. 24, 1786. 

Rev'd. & Dear Sir. 

I -have to acknowledge & return you my thanks for three 
Packets received from you with your favours of Oct 24 & Decern'r. & one 
Packet since with the Sheets of your new prayer book as far as the Collect 
for all Saints Day, with a Note of Dec'r. 27. With your Letter of Octo'r. 
24 I received Drs. Smith's & Wharton's Sermons but not the two half Sheets 
of the Prayer book which you mention in yours of Decem'r. -1st. Had you 
recollected the early Date of that Letter, I believe you will find that no 
part of the Prayer book nor the Journals had then come from the press, & 
consequently could not have been sent as in your great hurry from your 
multiplicity of business you imagined I have received ten half Sheets 
beginning with the Collects before the Communion Service, & shall esteem 
it an additional favour to have the former Sheets as they contain the 
Morn'g. & Even'g. Service which are the most material parts. I have also 
to return you my sincere thanks for your most excellent Letter to Mr. Mil 
ler A for your politeness in giving me the perusal of it before the Delivery. 
It was not a little of a mortification to them that your Letter came thro' 
my hands, for I have so uniformly opposed their proceedings that I have 
exposed myself to their resentment, & this afforded me such matter of Tri 
umph as they could hardly brook. I think you have given your Opinion 
of their Book in a very sensible Judicious manner & shew them their error 
with great Strength of Arguments I sincerely wish it may have a good 
effect. But I despair of seeing them retract as long as their present Read 
er continues with them, & let that Period be longer or shorter he must con 
tinue a Reader only, for in my Opinion he can never be episcopally or 
dained, at least while he retains his present Sentiments, & should he obtain 
Ordination from the Congregational Clergy with whom alone he has always 
associated, that will forever exclude all Pretence of their being an Episco 
pal Church & will open the way for the Minority to recover possession of 
the house, which by the way is the most elegant building not only in 
America, but there are few exceed it in neatness & elegance even in Lon 
don. It coat upwards of 10,000 St'g. 

I thank you kindly Sir for adverting in your letter to Mr. Miller to the 
knowledge you had obtained of their proceedings, by which means I be- 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


came exculpated from any Communications on that Subject & that it could 
not have been at my request that you so highly disapprove of their Conduct, 
Respecting the proceedings of your Convention give me leave to observe, 
that the whole proceeding almost, is in direct Violation of the fourth fun 
damental Principle agreed on by Convention at New-York, which is that 
the American Church shall maintain the Doctrines of the Gospel held by 
the Church of England & shall adhere to the Liturgy of said Church, as far 
as shall be consistent with the American Revolution & the Constitutions of 
the respective States. The State Prayers in the Liturgy I suppose are 
here excepted & them only, but how can you be said to adhere to the Lit 
urgy of the Church of England, after adopting the alterations made in your 
new Praver book Or had this Convention a right to alter amend & dis 
annul the proceedings of that at New- York ? I rather think not, because 
it was upon those fundamental Principles that Delegates were appointed 
for this Convention, & whose business it was not to supercede those princi 
ples but to act in Conformity to them. Had I been present at your Con 
vention I must have protested ag'st. revising the Liturgy for this reason, 
as well as for another which appears to be to have great weight, viz. that 
the business of revising Liturgies & framing ecclesiastical Constitutions is 
the sole & proper duty of Bishops with advice of their Clergy, & that for 
the Clergy & Laity to undertake this is intrenching upon the Episcopal 
Authority in matters ecclesiastical. I foresee you will readily retort, how 
came then a Convention of clerical & lay deputies assembled at Boston to 
invade the Episcopal Province & revise the Liturgy ? I answer they have 
not; Certain Alterations were proposed in the Liturgy of the Church, by 
the Bishop of Connecticut & at his request lay before the Convention at 
Boston for their Approbation, <fe those were made the basis of our proceed 
ings, but when approved were not to be adopted till the other Churches had 
approved of them also, in order if possible to obtain a Uniformity. And 
accordingly we have not yet made any Alterations except a Substitute for 
the State Prayers. With respect to your Address to the Archbishops & 
Bishops of England give me leave to suggest whether if you succeed in 
Consequence of said address in obtaining an Episcopate from England, we 
shall not inevitably have two Episcopal Churches in America which like 
Jews & Samaritans will have no Communication but be at continual En 
mity ? To the Succession thro 1 the Scotch Bishops I think no material Ob 
jection can be made, & the obtaining an Episcopate thro' that Line will not 
be so unpopular as from the English Line. The people of these Eastern 
States still retain a great jealousy of the English nation & will with Diffi 
culty be brought to submit to any Authority civil or ecclesiastical from, 
thence, insomuch that I imagine it next to impossible to obtain from our 
civil rulers such a Certificate as your Convention recommends. To a Bish 
op from the Scotch line there can be no Objection, for unconnected with 
civil power themselves, there can be no jealousy of a Bishop from thence 
introducing any into these States. Was it not for this reason & for our 
already having a Bishop in the Neighborhood from the Scotch Church, I 
frankly confess it would be more eligible to obtain the Succession from 
England as we always have been accustomed to look up to them as Child 
ren to their Parent. With respect to the Alterations in the Liturgy & offi 
ces of the Ch'h. I must suspend giving my Opinion till I see the whole ; 
those in that part of the Prayer Book that is come to hand, are many of 
them the same that were proposed by us, & where they differ, I would as 
soon adopt one as the other. No Objection I think can be made to the 
Omission of the Nicene Creed but the time. Some passages in it are as ob- 


Bcure &, unintelligable as many in the Creed of St. Athanasius, which I am 
very glad we are rid of. The Arian Doctrine is gaining ground very fast 
in these parts, & the throwing out two Creeds at once which were designed 
as a barrier ag'st. that Doctrine will be looked upon by many as acceding 
to the same Opinions. 

Thus you see Sir that relying on your Candour I have given my Opin 
ion of the proceedings of your Convention with as much freedom as you 
did yours to Mr. Miller. You will be kind eno' to put the most favourable 
Construction on my Expressions, &, not imagine that I presume to find fault 
with doings of so learned & respectable a Body but only to inform you of 
such Difficulties as lay in my mind respecting our ecclesiastical Affairs, 
finally I sincerely wish we may settle down in an Uniformity of Doctrine 
& Worship, & still continue one Church cemented in the strictest bonds of 
Union. To the obtaining of which I shall exert my utmost Abilities. (1) 

Even under the eye and influence of the able and deter 
mined Provoost there had grown up dissatisfaction with the 
work of the Convention of 1785 ; while at the southward, 
fears of doctrinal changes in the future led to the warning 
words of Dr. West we give below. It is clear from the 
words of the rector of Trinity, New- York, that the presence 
of Seabury, in the validity of whose consecration there was 
almost universal acquiescence, served most happily as a con 
serving element in the later measures attending the organ 
ization of the Church throughout the land. At the same 
time there can be little doubt that the objections to the Fourth 
of July service alluded to by Provoost, formed a grave obsta 
cle to the acceptance of the Proposed Book. (2) That the 
service itself was the composition of one whose political 
course during the war for Independence had been far from 
consistent added to the general dislike with which its incor 
poration in the Prayer Book was regarded, so that this " most 
injudicious step taken by the Convention," as Bp. White 
styles it resulted in the general disuse of the service and a 
wide-spread disposition " to cry down the intended book, if 
it were only to get rid of the offensive holiday." 

We add the letters to which reference has been made. 

(1) From a copy in the handwriting of Bp. Parker and preserved among hig papers. 

(2) Vide ante, pp. 202, 204 for an extract from Bp. White's Memoirs (pp. 104, 105) giving 
a discussion of the whole subject. 



Dr. Sir. 

I was informed a few days ago by three different gentlemen that they 
had just seen a Box directed to me at the Elizabeth Town Ferry House in 
this City and, in consequence of this information, have at length got the 
first parcel of Prayer Books. I sincerely believe the threatening has been 
of avail in this case as well as the former. 

Such a strong party has been raised against the alterations that I am 
afraid we should not be able to adopt the Book at present without danger 
of a Schism the ostensible objection is that they were made without the 
sanction of a Bishop, but the Thanksgiving for the Fourth of July in all 
probability is one principal cause of the opposition. The sale of the 
Books has been very dull only thirteen have been disposed of. 

Mr. Ogden has given you an account of the Extraordinary proceedings 
at Perth Amboy. I flatter myself our Convention in this Slate will be 
influenced by a more liberal and Christian Spirit. 

I am, Dr. Sir, with the most sincere regard 
your affectionate Brother 

and Hum'le. Serv't. 

N. York, May 4th, 1786. SAMUEL PROVOOST. (1) 


Baltimore Town, May 4th, 1786, 
Reverend and dear Sir. 

Inclosed you will receive by CaptDe Course, the Proceedings 
of the late Convention at Annapolis. They would have been conveyed to 
you sooner, had I not been called and detained from Home on the account 
of my Brother's Sickness and Death. 

Yesterday I received a Box per Stage, directed to me in this Place, and 
containing 10 Dozen Copies of the New Prayer Book: but no Directions 
either by Word or Writing attended ; so that I know not in what manner 
or at what Price they are to be distributed. 

I have been lately told that a Pamphlet (2) has censured the Proceedings 
of the General Convention ; and, among other things thrown out that the 
Dispersion of the New Prayer Book has been delayed with artful Design. 
The Charge, I am convinced, is as false as it is unchristian ; But I am sorry 
that the Neglect of the Printer or Binder has given such an Handle to 
those who, perhaps, wish evil to the Protestant Episcopal Church in these 
States. Should the next General Convention discover great Haste and 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 

(2) The Pamphlet to whih reference is made was the following, viz. "Remarks on the 
Proceedings of the Episcopal Convention for forming an American Constitution. Address 
ed to the Publick. With Proposals for them in Future Conventions. And an account of . 
the Plan proposed for an American Church. By a Layman. Printed by S. Hall, in State- 
Street. Boston. MDCCLXXXVI. 8vo. pp. 8." 

The copy of this pamphlet preserved among the Archives of the General Convention 
bears the following autograph note by Bp. White, "A Pamphlet in Opposition to what was 
transacted in New- York, in ye Autumn of 1784 & presenting ye Proposal of a Church to be 
formed by Professors of all Denominations ; probably with a View to ye Scheme of those 
who call themselves Unitarians. W. W." 

Dr. West's sensitiveness as to doctrinal changes is noticed by Bp. White. Memoirs, pp. 
103, 104. Vide ante, pp. 201, 202. 


Eagerness to confirm and ratify authoritatively this newly -revised Liturgy, 
&c., and before it has been well digested and approved by those who are 
concerned in it : I fear it will have a Tendency rather to separate than 
unite its members. And to prevent this Calamity, sufficient Warning seems 
to have been already thrown out, even by its Enemies, .in the Pamphlet I 
have mentioned. This Pamphlet I have neither seen, nor heard the Par 
ticulars of. Dr. Andrews, who was lately in this Town, communicated to 
me all on which I have founded my Opinion. The very Title-Page of 
the Book itself supposes the envenomed Charge to be groundless ; and in 
deed, it supposes "also. That the Church shall have an Opportunity of 
weighing it deliberately, before it shall be finally ratified and adopted. For 
the 'Title- Page presents it as " the Book of Common Prayer, &c., as revised 
and proposed to the Use of the Protestant Episcopal Church." If then it 
is proposed only ; certainly it ought to be considered by each particular 
State Church ; and if so, a proper Consideration of so important a Matter, 
must in the Opinion of all, require sufficient time for mature Deliberation. 
These are Sentiments which you know prevailed at our late Convention at 
Annapolis ; and tho' the Members have ratified the Book, according to 
their Powers ; yet, I believe, they could have wished those Powers to have 
been more enlarged than they either felt or found them to be. However, 
it is to be hoped that a more general and satisfactory Representation of 
the Ch'h. in other States, will make up what has been wanting in our own : 
and happily remove all Doubts and Fears concerning the Introduction of 
a revised and improved Liturgy. * * * * * 
I am, reverend and dear Sir, 

with hearty Good-Wishes 

for your Happiness 

and Prosperity 

your affectionate Servant 
WM. WEST. (1) 

Baltimore, Town, May 12th 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

I am sorry to understand that Censure has 

been thrown upon the Proceedings of the Episcopalians since their Conven 
tion in Philadelphia ; But I trust that this and every other Aspersion will 
be done away by their Prudence, and the Spirit that will prevail and actu 
ate them. Could Harmony but prevail among the Brethren throughout 
the States, how certain would be this desirable Event ; Matters, involving 
Diversity of Sentiments concerning Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, I arn sure 
ought not to prevent it And I will hope that nothing, touching the Doc 
trine of the Trinity, as it has been received by our Ch'h. will ever come on 
the Tapis, so as to introduce Controversy respecting the real and eternal 
Divinity or Godhead of the Three Persons. Aly Reason for this last Sen 
timent you, I presume, are no stranger to. I am sorry to observe, that 
some, who readily enough espouse the Doctrine in General are unwilling 
*to acknowledge That Adoration is due to the Eternal Spirit, as very and 
Eternal God ! Should any Expression, or Manner of Expression be adopt 
ed, Either in our Service or our Articles, favorable to such an Idea; I am 
too well convinced that the Harmony of our Ch'h. will assuredly cease ! 
Philosophizing Conclusions, I trust, will never have weight sufficient to 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


overthrow the plain Truths of Revelation ; nor the refined and subtle Ideas 
of any professed Christian to bring in Question the Propriety of addressin^ 
the Eternal Trinity, as we now do in the Begnining of our Litany. How 
weak must be the Argument against the Address to say " No such Term as 
that of Trinity is to be found in Scripture" ! Arguments similar to it may 
be used against this and that Expression throughout the Liturgy, so that, 
in the end, the mere Expression must be attended to, and the plain and 
certain Truth unattended to or at least not asserted ! Should such Mat 
ters be proposed at the next Convention, I shall be sorry that my Absence 
from it should put it out of my Power to Dissent with my Tongue, and 
with my whole Soul from them ! 

It is on the Supposition that some such Matters may possibly be pro 
posed, that I have given you the Trouble of reading the last Paragraph ; 
and doing all in my Power to prevent what, in my Opinion, would be 
attended with Consequences fatal to the Peace and Harmony of the Prot 
estant Episcopal Church in America. 

It would give me Pleasure to hear the Success of the late Application 
to the Arch bishops and Bps of England : Pray when is an answer Ex 
pected ; or has one arrived ? 

I am, Dear Sir, 

Your affect'e. serv't. and brother. 

Rev'd. Dr. White. WAI. WEST.(l) 

On the whole, the letter from the English Prelates in re 
ply to the address of the Philadelphia Convention of 1785 
was favorable ; and its reception gave fresh vigor to the efforts 
for securing the succession in the English line. Hurrying 
off, by the hands of a Presbyterian minister travelling south 
ward, a transcript of this Communication to Dr. White who 
had in common with the Clergy of the Middle and South- 
era states been impatiently awaiting its arrival, Provoost 
writes as follows : 

Dear Sir. 

I send by the Reverend Dr. Rodgers the 

Copy of a very affectionate Letter received by yesterday's packet from the 
Prelates of England. It was thought proper to detain the Original till it 
had been produced to the Convention to be held a few days hence in this 
City Pains have been taken to misrepresent our proceedings, yet I flat 
ter myself from the seeming Candour of the Bishops that these misrepre 
sentations will do us no material Injury. 

Your most affectionate Brother, 

and very Humble Servant, 

New York, May 13th, 1786. 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


Dear Sir. 

I wrote by Dr. Rodgers, and am now to acknowledge the receipt of 
yours of the 14th and 16th Instant with the inclosed from our worthy 
Friend Richard Peters, Esq. The Bishops' reply to our Address had been 
communicated to our Convention and copies taken by some of the Cleri 
cal brethren before your Cautionary Letter arrived, but with no intention 
of publishing it. The Convention after sitting two days without doing 
anything very material adjourned to the second Tuesday of next month 
in expectation of a more numerous meeting and to give the ditferent con 
gregations an opportunity of perusing the new Prayer Book before the 
Question for adopting it came forward. The Package with the fifty Books 
(viz 45 black ana 5 red bound) was brought safe to me Early last Wednes 
day morning. But I can get no account of the hundred which were first 

Your best friends in this City approve of your conduct in not admitting 
persons ordained by Dr. Cebra to your pulpit. The Clergy in K Jersey 
act with the same precaution. Mr. Sprague and Mr. Rowe were not to be 
received as members of their Convention. 

The Archbishop by not choosing to answer private inquiries has left the 
matter in Dubio, ana you may still act literally even in that respect upon 
the principle of sub Judice lis est. 

But I really think our Line of Conduct is plain before us. As the Gen 
eral Convention did not think proper to acknowledge Dr. Cebra as a Bis 
hop, much less as Bishop of our Church, it would be highly improper for 
us in our own private Capacities to give any sanction to his Ordinations. 
It would also be an insult upon the Church and to the truly venerable pre 
lates to whom we are now making Application for the Succession. For 
my own part I carry the Matter still further and as a friend to the Lib 
erties of mankind should be extremely sorry that the conduct of my 
Brethren here should tend to the resurrection of the sect of Non-Jurors 
(nearly buried in oblivion) whose slavish and absurd Tenets were a dis 
grace to humanity, and God Grant that they may never be cherished in 
America which as my native Country I wish may always be saved to Lib 
erty both civil and religious. 

I am with sincere regard. 

Dr. and Rev'd Sir, 

Your most affectionate Brother, 
and Humble Servant, 

Rev. Dr. White SAMUEL PROVOOST.(l) 

N. York, May 20th, 1786. 

Following closely upon this communication was another, 
revealing a latitude of theological belief, of itself quite 
enough to account for the fears of the more conservative 
clergy, that the doctrines of the Catholic Faith were likely 
to be tampered with in the Convention now near at hand. 

" I am sorry to find that your Convention has not been without 

its altercations. The doctrine of the Trinity has been a bone of conten- 

(1) From the Biihop White Correspondence. 


tion since the first ages of Christianity, and will be to the end of the world. 
It is an abstruse point, upon which great charity is due to different opin 
ions, and the only way of securing ourselves from error, is to adhere to 
Scripture expressions, without turning into definitions. The following 
lines of the Bishop of Llandaff, in his late collection of Theological Tracts, 
shew a truly Christian and liberal spirit: 

" ' Newton and Locke were esteemed Socinians ; Lardner was an avowed 
one; Clarke and Whiston were declared Arians; Bull and Waterland 
were professed Athanasians; who will take upon him to say that these 
were not equal to each other in probity and Scriptural knowledge ? And 
if that be admitted, surely we ought to learn no other lesson, from the di 
versity of their, opinions, except that of perfect moderation and good will 
towards all those who happen to differ from ourselves. We ought to en 
tertain no other wish, but that every man may be allowed, without loss 
of fame or fortune, et sentire quce velit, et quce sentiat discere. This abso 
lute freedom of Inquiry, it is apprehended, is the best way of investigating 
the sense of Scripture, the most probable means of producing an unifor 
mity of opinion, and of rendering the Gospel dispensation as intelligible to 
us in the 18th century, as we presume it was to the Christians in the first. ' 

" Strong objections, in my opinion, may be made against the validity of 
the Nonjuring consecrations in general, and stronger still against Dr. 
Cebra's, in particular. I never had the pleasure of any conversation with 
you upon this subject, and real want of time obliges me to waive the dis 
cussion of it at present. The line of conduct (1) our delegates are to ob 
serve towards the persons ordained by the Doctor will, I hope, be pointed 
out to them before they go do Philadelphia. 


New York, June 10th, 1786. 

Passing from these evident tokens of dissension arising 
among the few Churchmen in America, we give, as a pre 
face to our notices of the Convention of 1786, the following 
interesting letter. 


London, Mortimer Street, No. 15. 

Reverend Sir. June 6, 1786. 

* * * * Before this time, you have probably received the 
Answer of the English Bishops to the Conventional Letter addressed to 
them, dAiring to know whether they would Consecrate Persons sent here 
for that Purpose, I need not therefore say much about it it was friendly, 
and shewed a Disposition to grant your Request but it was cautious, as it 

(1) That " line of conduct " was marked out by the following resolution, passed in Con 
vention, in St Paul's Chapel, New York, three days after. It was the clotting business of 
the Session as recorded in the thin, dingy pamphlet giving the proceeding*! of the opening 
meetings of that Convention, whose doings, at a single gathering, now-a-days, require a 
volume for their record. 

" Resolved, that the persons appointed to represent this Church, be instructed not to 
consent to any acts that may imply the validity of Dr. Seabury's Ordinations." 

(2) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


was reported that you were about to make great Alterations not only in 
the Liturgy, but in the Creeds and Articles. Since that Time, the Bishops 
have received the Whole of your Common Prayer Book, as altered by the 
Convention ; and observing with Pleasure that the great, essential Doc 
trines of Christianity are preserved ; particularly, the Doctrine of the 
Holy Trinity and our Saviour's Atonement, which in this Country are vio 
lently attacked at present by Socinians and Materialists : They have taken 
np the Business with greater Zeal, and mean to comply fully with your 
Request, if you yourselves will put it into their Power. 

His Grace of Canterbury is particularly solicitous and active in promot 
ing the Measure. He will apply for an Act of Parliament this Session to 
Empower him and the other Bishops to Consecrate the Persons you may 
Bond over. By this Packet he will write another Letter to the Conven 
tion, (directed under Cover to you,) and stating those Conditions on which 
he and the other Bishops will comply ; and those Conditions relate solely 
to yourselves to the Interest and Welfare of the Church in America ; for 
the Bishops are no further concerned in them, than as they will hereby be 
Enabled to comply with your Request in a Manner that is consistent with 
the Dictates of their Conscience. 

The Conditions are such as, I trust, you and the other American Clergy 
will think reasonable and advantageous; and I hope are practicable. 
They are principally those that follow : 1. A Restoration of the Article 
which has been expunged out of the Apostles Creed. 2. A Restoration of 
the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, so far at least as to leave the Use of 
them Discretional. 3. Securing to the future Bishops that just and perma 
nent Authority, which is not only necessary for the right Discharge of 
their Duty and Benefit of the Church ; but which is warranted by Holy 
Scripture and Practice of the Christian Church in every Period of its Ex 
istence. And, 4. Proper Testimonials, such as the peculiarity of the Case 
demands, of the Competency in Point of Learning, the unblemished Moral 
Character, and Soundness in the Faith, of those who may be sent over for 

No man who has any Regard to Virtue or the Purity of Religion, will 
object to the last Condition. With Respect to the Creeds, I hope a Com- 

Sliance with the Requsition, will not, on mature Reflection, meet with 
pposition. I am a Stranger to the Reasons which induced the Conven 
tion to Expunge the Descent into Hell; but I may venture to afSrm they 
were not solid; and I say this after being well acquainted with the History 
of this Article, and the fanciful Explications that have been given of it by 
different Persons. The Convention probably thought it a Tautology ; but 
it really is not. It relates to a different Thing from our Saviour's Death or 
Burial these Articles declare that our Saviours Soul was separated from his 
Body, which was Death the Body was then laid in a Grave, i. e. was Bur 
ied; But the Soul descended, or went into Hades, i. e. the Place of departed 
Souls. So that this Article holds out a different Object of our Belief from 
the two preceding Articles. Accordingly it is received at this Day by 
every Protestant Church in Christendom I might say, by every Christian 
Church upon Earth. 

As to the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds, they unquestionably contain 
the great, Essential Doctrines of our common Faith, as it has been ever 
professed by the Catholic Church of Christ. If there have been Gainsay- 
ere of those Doctrines in different Ages, that should not stagger our Faith ; 
any more than the Assertions of Deists or Atheists should shake our Belief 
in Revelation. And if it be considered to what Lengths the Spirit of In- 


novation in Religion may carry men how many there are at this Day 
who are zealous to overturn the Fundamentals of Christianity, and what 
Encouragement they will receive by expunging those Creeds : I trust that 
those among you who have the Honour' and Interest of Christianity at 
Heart, and are zealous to preserve pure and uncorrupt that Faith which 
was once delivered to the Saints, will be induced to reconsider this Matter, 
and restore those Creeds, so far at least as the Bishops require were they 
fully replaced as before, it would be much better. 

With regard to your future Bishop's permanent Authority, I consider it 
as absolutely necessary to the Peace, Order and good Government of your 
Churches. When I first saw the Regulation made on this Head, I was 
astonished how any People professing themselves Members of an Episco 
pal Church, could think of degrading their Bishop in such a Manner. No 
Episcopal Power whatever is reserved lor him but that of Ordination and 
perhaps Confirmation. He is only a Member ex officio, of the Convention 
where he resides, but is not to take the Chair, or Preside, unless he is asked ; 
whereas such Presidency is as essential to his Character, as Ordination. 
St. Paul's Bishop was to receive, and judge of Accusations brought 
against Presbyters ; as hath been the Case of Bishops ever |ince : But your 
Bishop has nothing to do with such Matters the Convention, consisting 
mostly of Laymen, are to receive, and judge of Accusations against him 
In short, his Barber may shave him in the Morning ; and in the Afternoon, 
vote him out of his Office. 

I was astonished, I say, at this Regulation, and could not account for 
the Clergy's agreeing to it but my astonishment ceased, when I was as 
sured by a Letter from America, that all the Clergy, except one, opposed 
it ; but were out-voted, or overawed into a Compliance, by the Laity. 
This accounted for the Matter ; it is only one of the Evils which I foresaw 
would attend the Introduction of so many Laymen into Conventions ; 
and be assured it will be followed by many others. However I am sensi 
ble of your Situation, and that you cannot do as you would. Now, view 
ing the Matter in this Light, I consider the Interposition of the Bishops 
here on this Head, as a great Advantage to the Church and Clergy with 
you; for it gives the Clergy ground to stand on which they had not before. 
They may now with Propriety, and I trust, with Effect, plead for that Au 
thority in their future Bishops, which is essential to their Character, and 
necessary for the good Government of your Churches. 

The Authority of Bishops, as such, is purely spiritual ; it has nothing to 
do with Civil Constitntions, or their different Forms. It existed as fully 
when Christianity was persecuted by Heathen Emperors, as when Empe 
rors became Nursing Fathers of the Church it exists as fully now in 
the Roman Cantons or Republics of Switzerland, as it does in the King 
dom of France. It is therefore idle to say, that because the American 
States are Republics, therefore Bishops residing in them must be stripped 
of their spiritual or ecclesiastical Powers ; for the one is no Reason for 
the other, nor does the Consequence by any means follow. The purely 
spiritual or ecclesiastical Authority of a Bishop, and you should aim at no 
more, may be as well allowed and exercised in a Democratic State, as in 
an absolute Monarchy. It is a pity that some of you did not think of A. 
Bishop Usher's Scheme of Episcopacy, which I would recommend to your 
Consideration. Agreeably to the spirit of the Times when he wrote he 
lopped off all external Appendages, but still preserved the Essentials of 

The Bishops here have no Right to interpose Authoritatively they can 


only admonish and advise; but when they do this in Matters which are 
for your Benefit, and which are necessary to enable them to serve you, 
consistently with their Duty and Conscience, their Advice should have 

Seat Weight You will find a benevolent brotherly, Christian Spirit 
eathes throughout their Letter, joined to a proper Regard for the Inter 
ests of Religion. I sincerely wish their Letters may have the desired ef 
fect, as it will tend much to the Benefit of the Church ; and I flatter my 
self that no endeavours of yours will be wanting for this Purpose. 

It gives me great Pleasure to find that your Academy is likely to flour 
ish under Mr. Andrews, (1) of whom I always heard a good Character. 
The Presbyterians have behaved with Respect to your College(2) just as 
I Expected they have uniformly behaved so whenever they gained an 
Ascendency, and had Power in their Hands. 

With sincere, best wishes for your 
Health and Happiness, I am, 
Reverend Sir, 

Your affectionate Friend 
and Brother, 

Eev'd Dr. White. 

P. S. This Letter is secret and confidential the Communications it 
contains are for your own private use. Tiie Arch-Bishop's Letter has not 
been seen, nor will be, by any Person but myself, except the Bishops who 
join in it I thought it would be of Service to you to have this Intelli 
gence, and it is for this Reason I write. C. I. 

In much the same strain writes the Rev. Dr. Murray 
whose interest in the Church in America was unabated. 


London, 8th June, 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

I wrote you about Christmas last by Capt. Kearsely, and in March by 
William Bingham, but having only a few minutes notice of Mr. Peters' de* 
parture, I left further and full intelligence to him. 

About the middle of April after that, the Abp. of Can'y. only 
received the last part of your proposed Liturgy and Articles, and [he] 
thinks you have made rather too free with ours, especially in omitting 
" our Saviour's descent into hell," which you must restore to its former 
place, if you desire to continue in Unity with your mother Church ; that 
one Creed at least may be left entire. This Article his Grace insisted upon 
the 30th ult'o. I had the honour of an audience at his own desire on the 
affairs of your Church which he thinks I have so much at heart, and for 
which I have said more than most would venture to do in the present 
stage of its progress, and the strange aspect it has taken from the altera 
tions proposed in it ; but as these are only, like an intricate bill in Parh- 

(1) The Re\. John Andrews, D. D., at that time principal of the Academy of the Pro- 
twtant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. 

(2) Helen-ing to the temporary usurpation by the Legislature of Pennsylvania of the cor 
porate power of the " College and Academy of Philadelphia." 

(3) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


ament, published for consideration, to be repealed, amended, or approved 
at your next convention ; and the best things are hoped from your delib 
erations then, in due consistence with your Address to the Abps. and 
Bps. wherein you profess an adherence to the Doctrine, Worship, Gov 
ernment and Religious principles of the Church of England, his Grace is 
disposed to bring forward, if possible, a bill this session to vest the 
Bench with discretionary power to consecrate Bishops for foreign States ; 
to the benefit of which Act your Church will be entitled, if your next Con 
vention renders it comparable to ours in its religious tenets. In any event 
you should lose no time in sending his Grace the Journal of your Proceed 
ings accompanied by a Letter from your President, explaining any thing 
that may appear exceptionable. If all the parts of your Liturgy be not 
literally the same, I hope they will be found substantially the same with 
ours ; otherwise you would as little desire, as expect, the proposed connec 

The Abp. is your sincere friend, as indeed all the Bps. are, and you 
have every thing to expect from them that they can contribute towards the 
enlargement of Protestant Episcopacy which, in all Christendom, prevails 
only here and in Sweden. The work they began when you were fellow 
subjects, they will without prejudice or resentment, see completed, if obsti 
nacy on the part of you, their Children, prevent it not. They are your 
Fathers in God still, and you owe them all due attention and submission 
as such tho' they have no longer any Jure jurisdiction over you. It is far 
from their hearts to entertain an injurious thought of you, or a cold con 
cern for your first and best interests for the loss of that. An overruling 
Providence has determined that, for good and wise ends, yet unknown to 
us but the Unity of the Church is not cannot be dissolved thereby, but 
remains unalterably the same, under all the changes and chances of the 
Kingdoms of this World ; so that your Church and ours must still continue 
in Unity, so long as they profess the same religious principles, which remain 
to be considered by our Bps , after you have put the last hand to your 
new Liturgy, which you have given no public sanction to as yet, and 
therefore nothing in the mean time can be pronounced of it, only you can 
witn the utmost safety submit it to their correction, if they can with pru 
dence undertake it, but they will do the most they can to assist and ac 
commodate your Church. You need entertain no doubt of their good dispo 
sitions to you. In short, if it had not been for your Alterations, or Inno 
vations you would have had before now your Succession without trouble 
or difficulty. Had Dr. Seabury, who proposed no religious alterations, had 
patience to have waited for such public recommendations as vours, he would 
have readily have succeeded here ; the fault was not in the Bishops that he 
did not. 

The descent into hell may be restored verbatim to ye Creed by explain 
ing it in the words of Dr. Clarke's Catechism, in your first Article after 
buried, " and he departed into the state of separate souls," or in terms to 
y't purpose. But let me have done, and not dictate. . . 

Expecting to hear from you soon I am 

Dr Sir, 
Your most obed't and hum'e Serv't, 


Revd. Dr. White. 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


We have earlier given an important letter from Mr. Pro- 
voost in which his lax views of theology are only too appar 
ent. We therefore add an earnest disclaimer of any loose 
ness of doctrinal belief from the pen of the amiable West 
of Maryland written on the eve of the first Convention of 


Baltimore Town, June 9th, 1786. 

Dear Sir. 

***** It gives me singular Satisfaction to under 
stand that the Archbishops and Bishops of England are so ready to aid 
the Ch'h in these States. 

I felt no surprize that they should desire to see the Proceedings of the 
late G. Convention at Philadelphia before they gave that Body a final 
Answer. But I could have wished those venerable Gentleman had re 
posed so much Confidence in them as to suppose they had not departed 
essentially from the Principles and Doctrines of the Ch'h of England; and 
that, to save Time, they had endeavoured to procure an Act of the Parlia 
ment, then sitting, enabling them, on certain Condition?, to exercise the 
Powers thereby conferred. 

I wish to God tliat no constructions may be put on any of the late con 
ventional Proceedings, by which a Departure from what some of the Ch'h 
of England may deem Essential to its Doctrines, may be inferred! A Di 
versity of Sentiment among even her own Members seems naturally pro 
ductive of such a Fear. The proposed Restoration of the 1. 2. 4. and 5 
Articles might possibly have arisen from Apprehensions similar to those 
which once alarmed me on the Subject of the Trinity; and which, I can 
didly confess to you, have not yet entirely subsided. I know you will 
interpret with Candour and with Kindness my private Sentiments thus 
communicated to you ; and therefore I give them. I fear that on compar 
ing the old Article concerning, the Three Creeds, with the New Article con 
cerning the Creed, an Handle may be made by some to say we have at 
least virtually, departed from the Doctrine of the Ch'h of England 
For the Reason assigned, in the New Article, for receiving and believing 
the Apostles' Creed, is Because it may be proved by the holy Scripture; 
and the Reason assigned, in the old Article, for thoroughly receiving and 
believing the three Creeds is Because " they may be proved by most cer 
tain warrants of holy Scripture." I fear we ourselves must confess that the 
Difference of the two Articles, when contrasted is somewhat striking ; and 
that a Person, fond of discovering faults, might say. the Ch'h of England 
asserts the Scripture Truth of the Three Creeds ; but the P. E. Ch'h in 
America rejects that Doctrine, and asserts the Scripture Truth of the 
Apostles' Creed only ; thereby virtually rejecting the Doctrine of the Ch'h 
of England, by implying that the Apostles' Creed may be proved by the 
holy Scripture, but that the other two cannot. Should such an Idea be 
taken up, the next thing we may probably hear, is that the Convention at 
Philadelphia have rejected the Nicene and the Athanasian Creeds! The 
Truth is, they omitted, but did not reject them; and could the Motive, in- 


ducing that Body to omit them, have been as public as the actual omission, 
I trust no illnatured Reflexions would have been made. 

But I hope the Integrity and Caution of the 2d General Convention 
will enable them to demonstrate to the World that they mean not t:> alter 
the fundamental Doctrines of the Ch'h of England ; nor to depart from 
the Doctrines of revealed Truth in the Gospel. Perhaps when the Busi 
ness concerning the Nicene Creed comes Before the Convention, an Oppor 
tunity may be Embraced, at the same time, to distinguish between the 
very different Ideas of rejecting and omitting. The Doctrine of the Atha- 
nasian Creed I believe, to be as true as that of the Apostles' ; but as it may 
not be so plainly delivered as the latter, and consequently not so level to 
the Capacities of all; it may certainly be omitted in the Performance of a 
Service in which all join, without Censure ; but as its Doctrines, tho' not so 
plain perhaps, are equally true, it might not, I conceive, be rejected, or 
even omitted, in such a manner as to give Offence to those who believe them 
to be supported by Revelation. However I will trouble you no more on 
this subject; but with hearty good Wishes for yourself and family, con 
clude my long Letter, begging you to excuse it in 

Your affect. Servant. 

Eev. William White, D. D. 


The Kev. Henry Purcell, D. D., who subsequently ob 
tained an unenviable notoriety in connection with matters 
under discussion in the Convention of 1795, in a letter dated 
" Charleston, June 22nd, '86 " writes as follows, upon the 
adjournment of the South Carolinia Convention of that 

"I'm happy you have at last heard from the venerable and 
revd. Bench at home, tho' 'tis quite dissonant to my Idea of 
Independency and Sovereignty ; yet as the Majority was 
for it, 'twas folly to kick against the Pricks. I'm fortuuate 
however in one Respect that my Notions were thoroughly con 
genial with that of the Community here for they have re 
solved (and 'tis the Opinion of 19 in 20) not to have Bishops 
in this State. Georgia and North Carolina think the same ". 

In Connecticut the attitude was that of expectancy. At 
the Convocation at Middletown a few alterations in the Lit 
urgy had been proposed, (2) and these had been adopted in 
the main in Massachusetts and Ehode Island with a few 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 

(2) Vide, Hawk s and Perry's Conn. Church Documents, II. pp. 284-286 


others. (1) But even the slight additions to the Middletown 
alterations which were made in Massachusetts were unpala 
table to the Connecticut Churchmen, and the Rev. Bela 
Hubbard writes from New Haven, under date of September 
17th, 1785, " As to the alteration proposed by your Con 
vention in the good old book of Common Prayer, I can at 
present only say, that our Convocation are slow in taking up 
a matter of so much consequence." 

Bishop Seabury writing more at length, a couple of months 
later, gives expression to the same view of the proposed lit 
urgical revision. 


Wallingford, Nov. 28th, 1785. 
Dear Sir. 

. . . Between the time of our parting at Middletown and the Clerical 
meeting at New Haven, it was found that the Church people in Connect 
icut were much alarmed at the thoughts of any considerable alterations 
being made in the Prayer Book; and, upon the whole, it was judged best 
that no alterations should be attempted at present, but to wait till a little 
time shall have cooled down the tempers and conciliated the affections of 
the people to each other. And since the Convention at Philadelphia, 
which, as report says, has abrogated two creeds and nineteen Articles, and 
taken great liberties with the Prayers, &c , we are more apprehensive of 
proceeding to any alterations. 

In this case it is thought best by such of our Clergy as I have had oppor 
tunity of consulting, to endeavour to get one or two Bishops more, partic 
ularly in the Eastern States ; and then to let them meet, with a number 
delegated from the Clergy, and agree upon such revision as shall ensure 
uniformity among themselves at least. Our wish and hope then is, that 
no alterations may at present take place with you, but that yon would 
turn your attention to the procuring another Bishop, to the eastward, in 
the course of the next Summer. 

Let me have your sentiments on this matter, as soon as your conven- 
iency shall permit. I shall be at New London the last of this week, and 
hope I shall not again be called out in the course of the month, unless to 
give you a half way meeting, in case you should think it advisable. 
Your affectionate, humble Servant. 

Rev. Mr. Parker. S. SEABURY. (2) 

A letter (3) from the Rev. Mr. Bass, who was soon to be 
chosen first Bishop of Massachusetts, will attest the feeling 

(1) Vide, Reprint of the Massachusetts Journals. These alterations have been earlier 
given, ante, pp. 91-93 

(2) From the BUuop Purker Correspondeuce. (3) Ibid. 


entertained throughout New England with reference to these 
liturgical changes, and the Episcopacy and consecration of 


Newbury Port, Jan. 3d, 1786. 
Rev. and dear Sir. 

. Dr. Smith observes somewhere ii his Sermon, that the 
Convention at Philadelphia touched, or were disposed to touch the Liturgy, 
in the way of revisal and amendment, with trembling hands. If that 
were really the case, I fancy their hands were paralytic during the whole 
session ; for, by Dr. White's letter, they seem to have touched abundance 
of the Service, and to have made many and weighty alterations. I have 
always been of opinion, that we never should coalesce with these gentry, 
and that it was much more natural for us to endeavour to come to a uui- 
formity in these four Northern States. Dr. White appears to be desirous 
of a member from hence, at their next Convention. I could never learn 
that in any of their meetings and debates they have ever taken the least 
notice of Bishop Seabury, which I look upon as a grat neglect, if not 
even a disrespect to and contempt of the Episcopal Order. They have 
indeed resolved to endeavour to obtain an Episcopate among themselves, 
but it is, in my humble opinion unpardonable, in the mean time, not to 
place the Bishop who is upon the spot, at the head of their Convention. 
Truly very unepiscopal conduct ! For my part, I wish to have little to 
do with them. The alterations and (if we may presume to call them so) 
amendments which were agreed upon at Boston last fall, are, I find, in gen 
eral very acceptable ; they are certainly so here, and I have conformed to 
them in my public ministrations since the adjournment of our Convention 
to April 26th, 1786 

To words such as these it is only necessary to add the 
language of the Rev. Mr. Parker of Boston, whose means 
of accurate judgment were surpassed by none : 

" In these Northern States I much doubt whether a Bish 
op from England would be received, so great is the jealousy 
still remaining of the British nation. Of a Scotch Bishop 
there can be no suspicions, because wholly unconnected with 
the civil power themselves, they could introduce none into 
these States Was it not for these reasons, I frankly confess 
I should rather have the succession from the English Church, 
to which we have always been accustomed to look as children 
to a parent." (1) 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


Meantime there has sprung up an interesting Correspond 
ence between the amiable White and Bp. Seabury, grow 
ing out of the dignified commuincation from the Bishop 
which was read before the Convention and which already 
has its place in our pages. (1) The letter from Dr. White 
in reply to the Bishop's communication has not been pre 
served. It was acknowledged by Bp. Seabury in a brief 
letter which we give below and to which we add from the 
'original Draft in Bp. White's handwriting the reply. With 
these letters and one from the Bishop to Mr. Parker, giving 
an extract from a communication from the celebrated Jon 
athan Boucher, a refugee clergyman from Maryland, and 
one of the most learned and excellent of the Colonial clergy, 
we shall turn to the consideration of the proceedings of the 
first Convention of 1786. 


Rt Rev'd. Father in God. 

I had ye Honor of your Letter by Mr. Wood, and am happy in ye Opp'y 
of apologizing for not sooner furnishing you with ye Journal of ye late 
Convention and ye sheets of our proposed P. Book. 

The Truth is, Sir, I had presumed on Dr. Smith's sending you all neces 
sary Information until very lately, when ye Dr. was in Town, I found 
that ye many Journeys in which he has been engaged had delayed that 
matter longer than he would have wished. I then furnished him with ye 
sheets of ye P. B. and necessary Papers so far as ye Press had gone and 
since I rec d your Letter I find they have gone on to Conn't. They 
are now followed by ye Sheets which contain ye Psalter: ye Rest shall be 
sent as soon as printed and I further enclose a few of our Journals. 

I am happy in believing Sir from your last obliging letter, that I had 
taken in a stricter sense than you intended what you had said of Lay 
Representatives. As to ye Mode of trying Clergymen I apprehend yt ye 
Convention has not yet taken any Steps in adjusting it. If I am rightly 
instructed in what w'd be proper on such a Subject, ye Method may 
vary according to local Circumstances ; and altho' there may be nothing 
incongruous for Laymen to have some Part in that Matter, yet ye 
m[inisteria]l character should not be taken away but by that higher 
Order of Clergy who convey it. And this, as I suppose is ye Reason 
that ye 122 Can. of ye Church of England requires after ye Trial of an 
Ecc'l. Person a Bp. shall pronounce ye Sentence of Dep. or Deg'n. 

I hope, Sir, that any Reports which you may think unfavorable to ye 
late Conv'n will appear on Inquiry an Exaggeration. They may have 

(1) Ante, pp. 7681. 


erred for want of sufft. Information, but I am confident it was not their 
Design to depart from Episcopal'n Principles, and that they wished to main 
tain what appeared to be such from ye System of ye Ch of England 
only accommodating them to local circumstances in such matters as it 
cannot be supposed involved Principle. 

I am, Rt. Revd. Father in God, with great respect &c. (1) 

Endorsed " a Draft of a Letter to Bp. Seabury Feb. 1. '86." 

New London, May 24th, 1786. 
My Dear Sir: 

I this day received a letter from the Rev. Mr. Boucher, Vicar of Ep 
som, in England, who is a good deal in the confidence of the Archbishop 
of Canterbury, and among other things of less moment, though among those 
things of less moment is, that my Reverence makes some noise in the Gen 
tleman's Magazine, and, upon the whole, the world is on my side, he says: 

" The two Archbishops and seventeen Bishops have signed an answer 
to the decent, but very injudicious application of the Convention in Phil 
adelphia, of which this is the purport: that though they feel much for, and 
are cordially attached to their brethren in the United States, they can give 
no decided answer to their application, till they certainly know whether 
or no they are of the Church of England." Then follows : " Their reformed 
Liturgy is amazingly weak, (but I believe not heterodox) their discipline 
savouring much more of the Kirk than of our Church. But of these things 
our folks thought themselves not at liberty to take notice, till they had 
seen some authenticated copies of their proceedings." 

The business, therefore, is postponed for some time ; and unless they 
alter their plan of government, at an end in-England. I humbly beg par 
don of the Bishops in England. They are not so low in principles as I 
feared they were. 

Accept my best wishes, and believe me, my dear Sir, your ever affection 
ate Brother and humble Servant, 

SAMUEL, Bp. Connect. (2) 


The first Session of the Convention of 1786 was barely 
organized, when the Kev. Robert Smith, of South Carolina, 
moved : 

"That the Clergy present produce their Letters of 
Orders, or declare by whom they were ordained." 

This motion, as we are informed by Bishop White, in his 
" Memoirs of the Church "(3) was aimed at the Rev. Joseph 
Pilmore, a 'convert from Methodism, who had received Or- 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 

(2) From the Bishop Parker Corespondence. 
(3; Second Edition, pp. 115, 116. 


ders from Bishop Seabury, and the Rev. William Smith, of 
Stepney Parish, Maryland, who had been Ordained in Scot 
land, by a Bishop of the Church from whence Seabury had 
obtained consecration. The judicious application of the 
" Previous Question,'^ moved by Dr. Smith, and seconded 
by Dr. White, precluded the discussion which it was antici 
pated would grow out of this motion, and the resolution 
itself was lost. 

Mr. Provoost, not satisfied with this expression of the 
will of the Convention, soon came directly to the point with 
a motion 

" That this Convention will resolve to do no act that shall 
imply the validity of Ordinations made by Dr. Seabury." (1) 

Again the " Previous Question " cut off discussion, and 
the main question was determined in the negative, New- 
York, New-Jersey and South Carolina, alone supporting it. 

So determined was the feeling of opposition to Bishop 
Seabury shown in these measures, that a compromise resolu 
tion was unanimously carried, on motion of Dr. White, sec 
onded by Rev. Robert Smith, of South Carolina, to the 

" That it be recommended to this Church, in the States 
here represented, not to receive to the Pastoral Charge, with 
in their respective limits, Clergymen professing Canonical 
subjection to any Bishop, in any State or country, other than 
those Bishops who may be duly settled in the States repre 
sented in this Convention." 

This resolution, as explained by its author in the " Me 
moirs," (1) so frequently referred to, was offered with a view 
to meet the allegation made on the floor of Convention, that 
Bishop Seabury required a pledge of Canonical obedience 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


from those who received Holy Orders at his hands, even 
though they might reside outside the limits of his immedi 
ate Diocese. The Rev. Mr. Pilmore, the only one in the 
body who had received Orders from the Bishop of Connecti 
cut, expressly denied this charge, and the resolution for 
which, as Bishop White expressly states,(l) there was never 
" any ground," other than this apprehension, was carried 
without opposition. 

The following day, the Rev. Robert Smith, with a perse 
verance worthy a far better cause, returned indirectly to the 
attack, and there was passed, unanimously, on his motion, 
the following resolution : 

" That it be recommended to the Conventions of the 
Church, represented in this General Convention, not to 
admit any person as a Minister, within their respective limits, 
who shall receive Ordination from any Bishop residing in 
America, during the application now pending to the English 
Bishops for Episcopal consecration." 

This matter disposed of, the Convention proceeded to the 
consideration of the letter from the English Prelates. Resolu 
tions expressing the "grateful sense of the Christian affec 
tion and condescension manifested in this letter '"' (2) were 
adopted and the Rev. Drs. Smith, White and Wharton with 
James Parker, Esquire, of New Jersey, and the Hon Cyrus 
Griffin of Virginia were appointed to draft a reply. The 
original draft which was from the pen of the Chairman of the 
Committee, Dr. William Smith, we give below. A compar 
ison of this paper with the letter as sent which is printed on 
the pages of the Journal (3) will confirm the statement of 
Bp. White that it was " considerably altered in a motion of 

(1) Memoirs, Second edition, pp. 115, 116. 

(2) Vide Kepriuted Journals, Perry's Edition, I. 37. (3) Ibid. I. pp. 44, 45. 


the Hon. John Jay, Esq., who thought the draft too sub 
missive." (1) 

To -he Most Reverend and Right Reverend Fathers in GOD, the Archbish 
ops and Bishops of the Church of England, 


The clerical and lay deputies of the Protestant Episcopal Church 'in the 
States of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, 
Virginia, and South Carolina this day assembled in Convention in Christ 
Church Philadelphia, had the honour to receive your letter dated London 
Feb. 24th 1786, in answer to their address of Octo'r 5th 1785. 

Your Christian Condescension and goodness, on this occasion, have fill 
ed our hearts with the most lively sentiments of gratitude ; and we desire 
to offer our thankful acknowledgements to your venerable Body, for hav 
ing taken the earliest opportunity of attending to our address, with that 
true and affectionate regard wrfich you have always shewn to that branch 
of the Episcopal Church, planted by your great and pious Predecessers in 
America. We are, moreover, greatly encouraged by the fatherly assurance 
you give us that "nothing is nearer your heart than the wish to promote 
our spiritual welfare ; to be instrumental in procuring for us the compleac 
exercise of our holy religion, and the enjoyment of that ecclesiastical con 
stitution, which we sincerely believe to be truly apostolical, and for 
which (we trust) the most unreserved veneration will ever be maintained 
by our Church in America." We are also happy to be further assured 
that, on your "parts, you will use your best endeavours (which you give 
us hopes will be successful) to acquire a legal capacity of complying with 
the prayer of our address." 

The Joy which we feel on this occasion would therefore be complete, 
were it not for the apprehensions you, our venerable Fathers, have sug 
gested to us, "that in the proceedings of our last convention some altera 
tions may have been adopted or intended which the difficulties of our sit 
uation do not seem to justify ;" but we are greatly comforted, at the same 
time, by the kind assurance which you give us, and our firm dependence 
on your goodness, "that you are disposed to make every allowance which 
candor can suggest for those difficulties ; and that you think it just, both 
to yourselves and to us, to wait for an explanation." 

Nevertheless, while we regret that any difficulties have arisen from mis 
representations of our proceedings thio' any private -or uncertain chan 
nels ; we are, at the same time, greatly edified with the caution exhibited 
to us, by those whom we revere as the chief Guardians and Depositories, 
under GOD, of the doctrines of the Church, whereof we profess ourselves 

From those doctrines no essential deviations were intended by the con 
vention, and we are confident it will appear that none have been made in 
the book which hath been proposed, ana which we thought it but just and 
candid to publish to the world, and particularly to have it presented to 
your Lordships before any Clergyman nominated to the office of a Bishop 
among us, should be sent to you for consecration. In the mean time it 
was to be our endeavour, to remove as far as possible every objection that 
might remain or be apprehended among our Civil Rulers ; to which we 

(1) Memoirs of the Church, p. 116. 


believe nothing could more -contribute than an open and candid publica 
tion of the Alterations which seemed necessary or expedient, either in a 
civil or religious view. We conceived moreover that this declaration of 
our doctrines and public worship, would contribute effectually to do awav 
any prejudices against our Church, which may still be found among ouV 
fellow Citizens at large ; these prejudices we are persuaded are few and 
inconsiderable. For some time past they have happily been subsiding, 
and your Lordships will undoubtedly approve of every measure which a 
sister Church can adopt towards completing the circle of Christian Charity 
and forbearance. 

Some alterations became necessary upon the principles set forth in the 
preface to the proposed book of Common Prayer ; but we apprehend that 
there are none such as can induce your venerable Body to consider us as 
having adopted "an ecclesiastical system which will be called a branch of 
the Church of England, but which may appear to have departed from it 
essentially either in doctrine or discipline." We have already expressed 
our hope that there is no Buch departure, or should it appear to your 
Lordships that there is any, we shall be happy to have it pointed out 
to us. 

Our book is only a proposal although we must say it is a very accepta 
ble one to "those of our Church whp have had the greatest opportunity of 
being made acquainted with it. But we have not established it, nor do 
we consider ourselves as having authority so to do in the Churches of any 
of these States till they are fully organized and have their Bishops in Coun 
cil and Government with them. When those shall be sent for consecration 
to the Church of England, they will be informed in what points, if any, 
there may appear to be essential deviations either in doctrine or discipline ; 
and they, as well as the Conventions in the different States, will undoubt 
edly pay all that deference to your exalted characters which we know to 
be necessary for maintaining a perpetual harmony and union with the 
Church of England in all essentials. 

We therefore Pray, That as our Church, in sundry States, hath already 
proceeded with nominations of Bishops and in others may soon proceed 
with the same ; you will be pleased to give us as speedy an answer to this 
our second address, as in your fatherly regard you were pleased to give to 
our former one ; as it is our wish that some at least of the persons nomin 
ated should embark for England, so as to put themselves under your pro 
tection and patronage, against the meeting of Parliament next winter. 
We are with great and sincere Respect 

Most worthy and venerable Prelates. (1) 

To these measures were added the tentative adoption of 
a Constitution for the American Church; and the reading of 
a Memorial (2) and Communication from the Church in 

(1) The original is endorsed on back in Bp White's handwriting "Proposed Answer to 
tho Letter from the Bps. not agreed to." It was tho't too full of Compliment. 

The above is in ye Hand-writing of Mr. F. Hopkinson. The Document was delivered to 
a Comm'ee; was altered by Mr. Jay, a Member of it. The Original Letter was drawn up 
by Dr. Smith. W. W." 

(2) This Memorial from the pen of the celebrated Thomas Bradbury Chandler, D. D., 
appears m fall in the Appendix to Bp. White's Memoirs, (pp. 298 300) and in the ''Pro- 
cesdinga of the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the State of New Jer 
sey; Includiag the Threo first Meetings. With an Appendix. Irentou, 1787. pp. 13-15. 


New Jersey, which was referred to " the first General Con 
vention which should assemble with sufficient powers to 
determine on the same." (1) 

It should not be forgotten that this wise and temperate 
Communication was as Bp. White expressly states, (2) 
among the causes which prevented the disorganizing of the 
American Church. 

Prior to the adjournment, a Committee of Correspondence 
was appointed with power to convene the Convention in 
"Wilmington on the receipt of letters (3) which were shortly 
expected from England and which, it was hoped, would com 
municate, as in fact they did, the assurance of the success 
of their efforts for the Episcopate in the English line. 
The letters which we give below add further particulars to 
our knowledge of the circumstances attending the final pass 
age of the. Act, than appear in the pages of Bp. White's 
Memoirs or in the Journals. 


London, 28 July, 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

Your favour of 4th April I received the 5th Inst via. Liverpool, with 
the remaining parts of your Liturgy, but I had before then, just as the 
June packet was ready to sail for N. York, taken the Liberty to remind 
the Archbishop of your Church concerns, and he wrote you accordingly 
by that opportunity which made it unnecessary for me also to advise you 
tnat your Consecration bill had at last been passed, tho' late, owing to your 
own delays. This you had besides announced in all our News papers by 
the Packet. I waited then to send you the Act printed. I pressed it twice 
a week, and with some threats. In the end I expect [it] in a lew days. 
But as the Mediator for your port is to sail to-morrow I thought it proper 
in the meantime to give you the material parts of the Act, which is that it 
gives authority to either of our Archbishops to consecrate Bishops for 
foreign nations, " who profess the worship of Almighty God according to 
the principles of the Church of England, they having the good learning, 
" foundness of faith, and purity of manners of the Candidates ascertained 
to them," (the Bps.) The other parts of the Act are much the same with 
that for consecrating Priests, which I sent you. 1 need hardly remark the 
liberal catholic spirit the Act is stamped with. It leaves room for adrnit- 

(1) Reprinted Journals, Perry's Edition, I, p. 38. 

(2) Memoirs, p. 120. 

(3) These letters together with the Act of Parliament anthorizing the Consecration 
desired are printed in the Appendix to Bp. White's Memoirs, pp. 30R-210 


ting local differences in lesser matters which effect not the vitals of our 
holy religion and the constitution of our Apostolic Episcopal Church. 

Yours affectionately 
The Reverend Doctor White. ALEX'R. MURRAY. (1) 


Asylum, August 12th, 1786. 
My dear Sir. 

I am thankful to you for your kind Letter and Present of ye New 
Liturgy. I will say no more on the Subject of ye Alterations, than that I 
sincerely wish the whole had remained as it was, Excepting what relates to 
the Civil Government, and State Holidays of great Britain. It certainly 
was not proper for such a small Number as your Convention consisted of, 
and most of them unacquainted with Ecclesiastical Matters, to undertake a 
Reform in things, that will be deemed Essential by many, or most who 
wish to be of their Communion. I am sorry for the weakness of the 
Argument used for expunging the Article in ye Apostles' Creed. It has 
hurt your Convention much in the Opinion of the People here, both Clergy 
and Laity. The Athanasian Creed might ha~ve remained in ye Book for 
such as chose to use it. And the Nicene, who can object to the Use of that ? 
But I have done, and only beg you not to be offended at my Freedom. I 
hope your Convention will strictly follow the good Advice of our Archbish 
op's last letter. 

I would not have you think, from what I have Raid, that I disapprove 
of all ye Changes in your Liturgy. I approve much of many of them. 
But as ye smallest Change must be productive of some Dissention, I only 
think that nothing should have yet been attempted. I therefore cannot but 
commend the Church of Jersey for rejecting as you tell me, all alterations 
except the Political ; and yet you say, that you " expect the Book will 
remain in its present proposed Form." I think you will change your 
Opinion on ye Receipt of ye Archbishop's Letter. 

I am happy to hear, that you maintain a friendly Correspondence with 
Bishop Seabury: you give me some Dawn of Hope, that there will be no 
Schism on his Account. 

It is reported here, that yourself, Dr. Smith, and Mr. Provoost are coming 
over to be consecrated. I shall be very happy to see you here, But I could 
not have you attempt ye Voyage till you have a full Assurance of Success. 
In Point of Character, and Qualifications, I think, you stand the fairest 
and best of any other ; and I sincerely wish, that every Impediment, as to 
your Ecclesiastical Constitution and Liturgy may be effectually removed. 

Your sincere and affectionate Friend, 
Rev'd. Dr. White. J. DUCHE (1) 


No. 23 Winchester Ro\v. Paddington, 5th Sept'r. 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

A few days since I received yours of 27th June last, with 26 prayer 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


books, and as many constitutions and sermons, which I am sending with 
as many letters to the A'bps. and Bps. who are all in the country. 

I called upon Mr. Smith, secretary to Mr. Adams, who is just now at 
Amsterdam, and he delivered the '2a Address at Lambeth when the Abp. 
was on his visitations in the countrv. I am happy to hear of the harmony 
that pervades in your Churches, and I think the principal part of the Mod 
erate Presbyterians and Lutherans must approve and in time form a co 
alition witli you. Yours is that moderate Episcopacy which they have at 
home and abroad long regretted the want of, far greater Unity in Govern 
ment, and an uninterrupted regular succession of holy Orders. But what 
kind of an Episcopate is that where the Bishop is not perpetual president 
in his own diocesan Convention ? This is not according to the principles of 
the Church of England, and I wish you may not meet with some difficulty 
on that head. The Apostles' Creed also you must retain entire, and use the 
Nicene on some holy days once a year, as in the Swedish Church. 

No State holy day whatever should have been interwoven in your ser 
vice. They are intolerable yokes on all Churches, but you will meet with 
no trouble on that account here, for we have eno'w of them, God knows, 
and by the people never regarded, 'tho ye prior clergymen must observe 
them in some shape or other. 

I expect to see you sooner than hear from you, 

and am D'r Sir, Youra 

A. MURRAY. (1) 

The Reverend Dr. White. 

Meantime a busy correspondence was kept up between 
the indefatigable White and the principal Clergy both at the 
northward and at the south. From a mass of Manuscript 
letters we cull the following as exhibiting the tone and tem 
per of the times. They are given in chronological order 
and will suitably introduce the notice we propose to give of 
the adjourned Convention of 1786. It will be seen from the 
allusions to the fact which these letters contain, that the 
State Conventions had availed themselves of the suggestion 
made by the Committee of Correspondence, to proceed to 
the choice of Bishops-elect in anticipation of the favorable 
reception by the English Bishops of the action contempla 
ted, and subsequently taken, at the adjourned Convention; 
and this choice had fallen upon the Rev. Samuel Provoost, 
D. D., in New York ; the Rev. William White, D. D., in 
Pennsylvania ; the Rev. William Smith, D. D., in Mary 
land and the Rev. David Griffith, D. D., in Virginia 

' / O 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 




Dear Sir. 

. The Accounts from your Part of the country, are 
not so favourable as from St. John's. Your Government is not well spoken 
of. Numbers have come away exasperated complaining of Injustice and 
Breach of Faith ; and it is said, that a large Part of the Refugees to this 
Day, have not drawn their Lands. Refugees, I know, are a very discon 
tented Set of Mortals, and I have no Doubt, that much of their Clamor is 
groundless. But yet, I fear your Governor is exceedingly faulty, and too 
deficient in all the Requisites for good Government. I wish, that you 
were his Mentor then, I am sure, a benevolent Intention to promote the 
Happiness of the Community, would mark the whole Administration. 

It is probable that you have heard of my being in Connecticut. In a 
political View, this is by far, the most eligible State to live in. Distinc 
tions have entirely ceased all oppressive Laws are repealed, and Whig 
and Tory stand upon equal ground. Not so in New-York: That State is 
indelibly marked with Infamy. The highest Whigs in the City execrate 
the Conduct of the Legislature, and it is not uncommon to hear those, who 
stood foremost in promoting the Revolution, sigh their discontent, under 
all the Splendor and Advantages of Independence. I once thought, that I 
. should see no more Trouble in my Day ; but I have altered my Mind ; 
All Things seem to tend to a State of Anarchy ; and unless I take my Flight 
to another World pretty soon, I believe I shall see the political System 
here, in much such a Condition as the natural was, at the Creation 
" without Form and Void, and Darkness lay upon the Face of the Deep." 

The Eastern States, bid fairest for a Continuance, under their present 
Form of Government. The Manners of the People are simple and their 
Mode of living frugal. But from N. York westward, Luxury and 
Dissipation have made a rapid Progress. All Ranks are vying with one 
another in Extravagance. We have put on the fashionable Manners, and 
assumed the gay Complexion, of an old established Nation, long flowing 
in Wealth ; and arrived at the last Period of Folly and Vice ; whilst in 
our political Infancy. If this State of Things does not produce Ruin, there 
will be one exception in the History of Mankind to that position " the 
same Causes always produce the same Effects." 

Amidst all these Disorders, nothing affects me as much as the State of 
the Church. It is much to be feared, that there will be a separation of the 
Eastern and Western Churches. The former, stedfast in Episcopal Prin 
ciples, would send no delegates to the grand Convention at Philadelphia, 
last September, because, the Year preceding, the Convention held at N. 
York departed wholly from the Principles of the Church, in Regard to 
Government. (The Pamphlet herewith will give you the Particulars.) 
Yet, that Convention had the Modesty, to apply to the English Bishops, 
to invest Persons sent from this Country, with Episcopal Powers. The 
Answer was a civil put off. The Bishops said, that they understood, great 
Alterations had been made in the Government and constitution ot the 
Church ; but as the Convention had sent no authentic Copy of their Pro 
ceedings, a decisive Answer could not be given. An authentic Copy has 
since been sent ; and great hopes are entertained of success. But, I am 
fully satisfied, that the English Bishops, will never give their Sanction to 
a Plan of Government, which leaves out the Episcopal Character. Bishop 
Seabury makes a very respectable Figure at the Head of this Church. Hia 


Abilities, Firmnesfi, Diligence and circumspect Conduct give Church-Men 
great Hopes, Dissenters great fears. He consecrated about a Month since, 
the Church lately built in this town ; and confirmed near 400 Persons. 
Nothing is wanting to make this Episcopate flourish, but a little pecuniary 
Assistance. The loss of the Society's Bounty is severely felt. 
From your sincere Friend and humble Servt. 

Norwalk, August 2d 1786, Isaac Wilkins, Esq. 


Baltimore August lOih 1876. 
Dear Sir, 

Some Time ago I received your Favour enclosing the Sermon 
preached at the opening of the Second Gen. Convention; and for the 
Pleasure enjoyed in its Perusal I thank you. 

. . . . In his passage lately thro' this Town Doct. Smith gave me a 
transient Sight of the Return made by the Abps and B[>s of England to 
the first Address of the Gen. Convention; and a like Sight of the last Ad 
dress to that venerable Body. They are I hope convinced by this Time that 
we mean not to depart from the Doctrines of their Ch'h in any fundamental 
Point. But if they purpose to suspend their Endeavours on our Behalf till 
they can be satisfied it may never hereafter be laid to their Charge, That 
they have been instrumental in enabling us to form a Schism, by having 
aided us to organize our Church ; I fear their Endeavours must always re 
main Suspended. For it appears to me that this Difficulty can never be re 
moved by any Declaration or Proceedings on our Part ; unless indeed 
we subordinate our Church to their Authoritative Control ; which cannot 
be done. For the American Church, when duly organized, will undoubted 
ly claim full and independent Powers as a Church ; and no man can say 
beforehand what it may think proper to do hereafter. I hope therefore, the 
venerable Body will gratify our Request from the Charitable Presumption 
that we mean not, at present, to depart from the Church of Engl'd in any 
essential ; and that it will never be laid to the charge of the American Epis 
copal Church that she has ever deviated from the important Doctrines . 
and Essential Truths of the Gospel. 

But tho' we were duly organized, and our several Orders properly sup 
plied, I fear that tho Liturgy, &c., as lately proposed for the Use of the P. 
E. Chh in these States will meet with opposition even from its own Members. 
And a Diversity of Sentiment on this Head will too certainly dissolve 
that Union, by which alone it may be expected that the Chh can be per 
petuated. This Fear has caused me to admire the Prudence of the Eng 
lish Chh in retaining Old and less perfect Forms rather than risk the Con 
sequences even of an Improvement, among a People strongly attached by 
long Habit and a Kind of Veneration to the Old Form. Even granting 
a New Form, &c., to be as perfect and unexceptionable in all its Parts as 
any human Production can be ; what advantages would flow from it if the 
Bulk of the People either cannot or will not approve it? And if, in such un 
happy Circumstances, the Adversaries of our System can find a Handle a- 
gainst the Work, and by raising Prejudices among the weak and ignorant 
should draw them away from our Communion; Quere, whether the abso- 

(1) From the original copy in the possession of the late Govenour Wilkins, Esq. 


lute Improvement on the old Liturgy, &c., and a perfect Conformity to the 
Doctrines and Truths of the Gospel will be able to remove those Prejudices, 
and counteract the Design of those Adversaries? But the Lot is cast! 
And may the Gracious GOD bless its Issue with Success ! Some Congrega 
tions already have, others probably soon may introduce the New Liturgy ; 
some will wait, perhaps, till more satisfactory Appearances may induce 
them to adopt a Form, &c., to w'ch they have no Objections ; and others 
till they shall see the Book finally completed for the Use of our Church. 
The Effects of this Diversity may possibly discover themselves Time 
enough for some future General Convention to secure the Foundations of 
the Church against the Machinations of those who may not wish it Pros 
perity ! In the mean time I cannot but say, that I wish it had been rec 
ommended to all Congregations, Not to adopt the New Book till something 
final and fully satisfactory to the Chh at large had been agreed upon, at 
least by all the Churches represented in the General Convention. But 
what has been done I am sure was done for the best, by much better Judg 
es than myself in this important Matter; and therefore I hope it will end 


Your affectionate Brother 

and humble Servant, 

WM. WEST. (1) 
The reverend Doctor White. 


Fairfax Glebe 15th Aug't 1786 
Dear Sir 

The Communications from the Archbps of England which, 
you was so kind as to enclose in your last, are of a very serious nature in 
deed, and must engage the attention of all who are anxious to see a final 
and happy settlement of our Ecclesiastical affairs. 

You wish to know my. Sentiments respecting the measures it may be 
necessary to adopt on receiving the expected accounts. It is a subject I 
have not had sufficient time to think on : But was that not the case, I ( 
should be at a loss to advise, as I know not to what extent they mean to 
carry their objections. Those which already appear, will, I fear, be pro 
ductive of great embarrassments, ; the principal cause of which, I think, 
will be the situation in which we have put ourselves by resolving to do 
nothing finally until the Orders of our Ministry were compleated, while 
they, on the other hand seem determined not to comply with our request, 
until we have determined on such a Liturgy and such Articles as shall be 
satisfactory to them. This seems to be the principal difficulty attending 
our present situation, from which there appears to me, but one probable 
way of being relieved. 

We know it is the Opinion of the Episcopalians, pretty generally, that 
no Convention wherein all the Orders of the Clergy are not represented, 
is competent to the business of instituting or altering Doctrines or modes 
of Worship. But will it satisfy them if these are made under the Superin 
tendence and with the approbation of the Archb'ps and Bps. of the Church 
of England? If it will this may, perhaps, be the best Ground for us to 
go on, and prove the speediest way, not only to obtain Consecration, but 
to reconcile the People generally, to the alterations which may be agreed on. 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


I am apprehensive that the Bps. of England entertain suspicion, that 
should they Consecrate for us before we have tied ourselves down, in cer 
tain Points relating to Doctrine and Worship, we may hereafter deviate 
essentially, from them in these respects: And if this be the case we shall 
never succeed with them at least until the Doctrines and Worship are set 
tled. Whether I am right in my conjecture, will perhaps be more fully 
known from the Expected Communications. 
. . I remain 

Your affectionate Brother 
and hu'ble ser'vt, 



Lancaster, 18th Aug't, 1786, 4 o'Clock P. M. 

Dear Sir. 

At Carlisle, on my Eeturn from Juniata, on the 15th. Instant, I 
received your Letter, giving me an Account of the last Communications 
from the two Archb'ps of Eng'd. I had never any Doubt, but that on 
seeing our Book, such great and liberal Prelates as they are known to be, 
would take a Pleasure to protect and patronize our Church, as a great and 
growing Branch of their own. 

I presume any Advice I could give concerning the calling the Conven 
tion would be now too late, as a majority of the Committee have approved 
the Measure. If that be the Case, I can have no Objection either to the 
Time or Place of Meeting. But I can see little use in giving the Conven 
tion the Trouble to meet in Pursuance of anything w ch you have men 
tioned to me from the Letter of the Archb'ps. There can be no Doubt of 
a general Compliance with the Alterations they recommend (the Athana- 
sian Creed excepted,) whenever any new Edition of the Prayer Book shall 
be directed by a Convention having Ecclesiastical and Spiritual Authority 
to ratify a Book for our Church. And till such Convention can be had 
(which certainly will not be next October) we have already determined 
not to enter upon the Consideration of any Amendments or Alterations 
whatever. Should we take up those hinted by the Archb'ps, how shall we 
refuse to go upon those also which have been proposed by different State 
Conventions ? And may we not then at the End of next Convention, at 
Wilmington (could we possibly get Seven States together in October) leave 
our Book in a far more exceptionable Point of View with those Prelates, 
and many of our own Church than it now is. For I think it stands now 
with as few Objections to it both in America, and for what appears, in 
England, as ever it will. There are also some things proposed or recom 
mended by the Archb'ps which cannot be complied with by some States at 
all, or at least not without calling their Conventions, and perhaps altering 
some Part of their ecclesiastical Constitutions, all which would require more 
time than to October, and probably would be productive of much Con 
fusion. However you and the other Members of Committee will find 
me ready to meet every Difficulty, and to do my utmost for the general 
good of the Church, but I think we have no Difficulties left unless we cre 
ate them among ourselves. Much do we owe to the two worthy Archb'ps. 

CO From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


I need not write more. I am pushing to be at Home on Sunday, and will 
strive to be at Philad'a about Wednesday next, the 23d, Instant. . 

In Haste, 

Bev'd Dr. White. WM. SMITH. (1) 


Dear Sir 

The Comm'ee of ye Ep'l Church send you by this Conveyance, an 
Invitation to their Brethren of your State & those adjoining, to ye ensuing 
Convention at Wilmington. 

I have considered that it may be desirable to you to be informed of ye 
Substance of ye Letters of ye A'bps ; which came by ye June Packet. 

In regard to ye proposed Prayer Book, they solemnly exhort us to re 
store ye omitted Article of ye Ap' Creed, & they wish that we would re 
tain ye other two Creeds in ye Book, altho' we sh'd not think proper to 
enjoin ye Use of them. It does not appear as if a Conformity to ye 
above were made a Condition of complying with our Request. They also 
Bay that there are some verbal Alterations, of which tney do not see ye 
Necessity or Propriety, 

In regard to ye Ecc'l Constitution, all they say of it, is ye requesting us 
to revise ye 6th Art., which they think derogatory to ye Clerical & espec 
ially ye Ep. Character, (this you know we have altered ; whether satisfac 
torily or not we are yet to learn ) 

In regard to ye Sufficiency of ye Persons who may be recommended for 
Consecration, their Graces require as follows : 

As to their Learning they will be satisfied with their being recommen 
ded as competent. 

As to their Faith, they wish to require no more subscription, than their 
subscribing ye Form prescribed in ye 10th Article of ye Ec'l Constitution ; 
earnestly hoping however, that we shall previously have done what they 
recommend respecting ye Creeds. 

As to their Morals ; they require their bringing two Certificates, Forms 
of which are set down, one to be signed by at least the Major Part of ye 
Gen. Conv'n certifying that they know of no Impediment to ye Consecra 
tion of ye parties, & ye other to be signed by at least ye Major Part of ye 
Conventions respectively sending them, declaring on personal knowledge, 
that they are meet for ye Holy Office of Bp. Besides this, ye Persons to 
be sent & their Intentions are to be notified in ye Churches where they re 
spectively reside ; to give all Persons an Opp'y of making objections, if- 
any they have. 

Their Graces promise us further Communications ; which I suppose will 
come with ye ACT, when passed. 

Altho' I nave not had ye Pleasure of hearing from you, I hope ye Books 
came safe to Hand, which were sent by ye Sloop Industry, Cap'n Colib. 
I am, very aff"y 

Your Brother & humble Serv't 

WM. WHITE. (2) 

Philad'a Sept. 1st, 1686. 

(1) Bp. White Correspondence. 

(2) From the Bp. Parker Correspondence. 



Boston, Septem'r 15 1786. 

Rev'rd Sir. 

I have the honour to acknowledge the Receipt of a Letter from the 
respectable Gentlemen of the Com'tee ot the gen'l Convention acquainting 
us of a Meeting of said Convention to be held at Wilmington in October 
next. I shall with all Speed communicate its Contents to my Brethren in 
these and wish they may find it convenient to delegate some person 
to represent them in said Convention. 

I have also to acknowledge my particular Obligation to you, Sir, for the 
Journal of the late Convention, and the Extract you were so obliging as 
lo communicate from the Whitehall Evening Post. I beg leave to con 
gratulate you on your Election to the first Order of the Clergy in our 
Church, and on the favourable prospect of your being inducted to that 
facred office in the way which you esteem the most eligible. It is my most 
fervent wish that a Uniformity of Doctrine and Worship may be contin 
ued thro'out the United States, to the accomplishing of which I have no 
doubt you will exert your utmost Influence. 

I am with respectful Compliments to your Brethren of the Com'tee, 
and our Brethren of the Clergy in your State, 
Your affectionate Brother, 

and very humble Serv't 
Rev'd. Dr. Provoost. S. PARKER. (1) 


Boston, Septem'r 15, 1786. 

Bev'd Sir. 

I have to apologize for not having in properer Season acknowledged 
the Receipt of your obliging favours of the 28 June and 1st July. The 
Box of books came very sale and I arn under particular Obligations for 
the Copies of your Excellent Sermon at the opening of the Convention. 

Our Convention met here on the 20th of July and seem'd disposed to 
adopt your A Iterations in the book of common prayer but were discouraged 
Irom tne circumstance of your not being agreed in the use of it in those 
States which were represented in the Convention by which those Alter 
ations were proposed. Indeed the Alterations proposed in our own Con 
vention in beptem'i last had been sent to the several Churches in these 
States and Returns received from them purporting their approbation of 
them and readiness to adopt them. And tho yours are in a great meas 
ure similar, yet, as there are some things wherein we disagree, it was 
thought best, all things considered, to leave it optional with the several 
Churches to adopt which they like best, or even to continue the use of the 
old Liturgy (the State prayers excepted) until we become complete in our 
officers and one common Liturgy is established by the first Order of the 
Clergy to whom alone, we are ot opinion, this matter appertains. 

I have however in my own Church with these Alterations adopted the 
Psalms as selected and altered by your Convention, which we have re 
printed by themselves and which I think much more suitable for public 

(1) From the Bp. White MSS. 


worship than the collective body of David's Psalms. Had we generally 
adopted your book, we should have had occasion for more than you Sent 
but I doubt as the case is, whether a third of them will be sold. Should 
they not be in demand hereafter, I shall return the remainder and trans 
mit you the Money for those that Shall be sold. We cannot expect to be 
united in one common Liturgy till the several States shall have obtained 
Bishops and they have agreed upon one that shall be calculated lor gen 
eral use and ratified by their Authority. 

I am very sorry to see with what coolness and Indifference some of the 
Gentlemen in your Convention speak of Bishop Seabury, because I foresee 
that this Conduct must create a Schism in the Church. However Eligible 
it may appear to them to obtain the Succession from the English Church, 
I think there can be no real Objection to Dr. Seabury's Consecration or to 
the Validity of orders received from him ; and I am firmly of opinion 
that we should never have obtained the Succession from England, had he 
or some other not have Obtained it first from Scotland. 

When the Convention discouraged the settling more Clergymen in yonr 
States under Bishop Seabury's Ordinations, if they meant to limit it, during 
the pending of your application to England, and were actuated herein from 
a principle of not doing any thing that might possibly give Umbrage to the 
English Bishops, it may be a prudent Step ; but if it was not from this 
motive, it seems to be a declaring war ag'st him at a very early period 
and forebodes a settled and perpetual Enmity. (1) 

Your ecclesiastical Constitution is much mended but I think not yet 
quite right, especially in the 8th Article. A Bishop amenable to Laymen 
was not, I believe, the Custom in the primitive Ch'h. 

Your Letter of the 1st Instant accompanied with one from the Com'tee 
empowered to summon the gen'l Convention, witn a Journal of the late 
Convention from Mr. Provoost, came to hand yesterday. You will be 
kind eno' to return my sincere thanks to the Gentlemen of said Com'tee for 
their obliging Invitation to the gen'l Convention to be held at Wilmington 
the next month. I will take particular Care to communicate it with all 
Speed to my Brethren in these States, but am confident that it is not in 
our power to comply with the Invitation. Our Number here is so small 
and the distance so great, that we cannot leave our churches so long as 
it would require to attend Said Convention, nor is the Necessity for our 
attendance very urgent. Nothing more I suppose can be now done with 
respect to establishing the revised Liturgy, and as to removing the Imped 
iments to the obtaining the Succession there can be no difficulty now you 
are in so fair a train and the Act for empowering the Archbishops to con 
fer the Episcopal character on Persons out of the British Dominions has 
obtained the royal Assent. This I fiud is the Case by an Extract from the 
Whitehall Even'g Post of July 6 sent me by Kev'd. Mr. Provoost. The 

(1) That this view of the case wag not confined to Parker we may infer from the follow 
ing extract from a letter preserved among the Bp. Parker Correspondence from the Rev. 
Mr. Bass, afterward first Bishop of Massachusetts. 

Newbury Port, Sept. 30th, 1789. 
Dear Sir: 

I have perused yonr enclosed papers, and find that our Southern 

brethren are like to obtain consecration for their Bishops elect ; and also, by a motion re 
specting Dr. Seabury, that they are nearly ripe for making a schism in the American 
Church. Wiseacres ! What a ridiculous figure must they make in the eyes of every secta 
ry or anti-Episcopalian! In the name of wonder, what objection can be raised against the 
validity of Dr. S's ordinations, that may not as well be made against those of the English 
Bishops?. . . EDWARD BASS. 


Nicene Creed I wish to see restored to tbe Book ; the Athanasian not, 
unless the Damnatory Clauses are omitted. As to the Article in the 
Apostles' which is omitted, I am not a little surprized that their Graces 
sh d be so strenuous about it, for I cannot suppose that they hold that 
our Saviour suffered the Pains of the Damned the three days his body laid 
in the Grave, or that his Soul was in that place which in the N. Testament 
is called hell. If they hold no more than is implied in the word Hades, 
or the place of separate Souls, which I take to be the Creed of all Protes 
tants, I do not see that it is a very essential Article, because it is implied 
in the foregoing, that he was dead and buried. And why not this Article 
as necessary in the Nicene as in ye Apost' Creed. 

The Subscription they require respecting the faith of the Persons to be 
admitted to that Order is modest enough, and at the same time full enough 
and such as I cannot see how an Arian or Socinian can set his hand to, 
and if adhered to by the Bishops must exclude persons of that Faith from 
being admitted to the Ministry in the Church. 

Mr. Freeman applied to Bishop Seabury in June last for Ordination 
hut at a Convention of the Clergy at Stratford the Bishop by the Advice 
of his Clergy did not think fit to confer Orders on him upon such a pro 
fession of his faith as he thought proper to give which was no more than 
that he believed the Scriptures. He extended his journey as far as New- 
York and was, as he says, assured by Mr. Provoost that as soon as he sh'd 
obtain Consecration he would ordain him ; this hope alone sustains him 
at present and was it not for this I believe he would relinquish all thoughts 
of obtaining Orders in the Church. Whether Mr. Provoost can do this 
consistently with the profession he is to make and the Constitution he 
must,8ubmit to, rests with him. 

When do you nominate a Person for Bishop in your State, as I make no 
doubt of your being the man, do you intend to repair to England for 
Consecration, or obtain it from those who shall go before you. Do you 
esteem it essential that there sh'd be three Bishops concerned in the Con 
secration of one, or may it be done by a less number, not canonically I 
suppose, but as that Canon is not binding here, will it be adhered to, or is 
that number essential. If a Bishop duly consecrated has the whole power 
in himself, why may he not communicate his power, and if he can, why 
are three necessary. 

When you see Dr. Smith I will thank yon to make him my most re 
spectful Compliments and inform him that I received his Letter of April 
12, and should have done myself the honour of returning an Answer but 
had previously written to you Every thing I could think of upon the 
Subject and supposed that you would communicate to him, whatever of 
mine was worth nis notice and that therefore a letter to him was unneces 
sary. Please to make my best Regards to all our Brethren of the Clergy 
and believe me to be with esteem and respect theirs and your 

Affectionate Friend and Brother 
S. PARKER.(l) 


Fairfax Glebe, 16th, Septr. 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

Yours, with the enclosed Letter and Act of Parliament, I rec'd y ester- 
(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


day, and have this Day sent them to the Chairman of the Standing Com 
mittee, from whom I just had a Letter enclosing the following resolutions. 

" i That the above Communications (meaning those formerly sent 
from the Archb'ps) did not arrive in time sufficient to call a Convention be 
fore the period fixed for the Meeting of the General Convention, Philad'a. 

2. It is the opinion of this Committee that no cause at present appears 
which makes it necessary to call a Convention, and that they think it 
advisable to postpone such call until they have heard that the Archb'ps or 
Bishops of England have obtained the Parliamentary power they wish to 
Enable them to consecrate such Persons as may be sent from the Ameri 
can Episcopal Church for that purpose." 

From those resolutions you may see that Virginia cannot be represented 
in the ensuing General Convention. For altho' the Standing Comm'ee 
may, upon the rec't of the last Communications, call a Convention, it will 
be the last of October before it can meet. I hope you will be enabled 
to do what is proper without us. I expect we shall be the only absent 

As the Persons elected to the Episcopal Office are to produce a testimo 
nial from the General Convention, I should be glad to know if you think 
there would be any impropriety in my applying for it without attending 
personally, and whether a printed Copy of the Journal or a Certified Ex 
tract would be the most proper Voucher for the choice of the Virginia 
Convention. If I fail of obtaining a Testimonial from the next Gen'l Con 
vention, I am apprehensive my going will be delayed to the next fall. 
I wish you would call upon some Brother who is most aHeisure to preach 
at the Opening of the next Convention ; a duty to which I was appointed. 

I rec'd a Notice from the Gen'l Convention at least two weeks ago, and 
Bent it to Mr. Griffin with a request that it might be forwarded immedi 
ately to the Standing Comm'ee. 

I remain affectionately, 

Yours, &c., 
Eev. Dr. White. D. GRIFFITH. (1) 


New Castle, Sep'r 18. '86 
My Dear Sir. 

Your kind fav'r with the enclosed papers was delivered to me a few 
moments ago. You have my most sincere congratulations on your hon'ble 
appointment ; tho' considering the necessary fatigues of a fall or winter 
voyage, perhaps Mrs. W. at least, will not thank me for rejoycing at this 
Event. I see no difficulty in complying with the Archb'ps requisition, 
except the making our past Conventions appear rather ridiculous. How 
ever if Hell must at all events be retained, I think a rubric should be in 
serted to explain its meaning in that place. If the use of the Creeds be 
discretional, no harm can arise from giving them a place in an Appendix. 
As to the Testimonials they are very satisfactory to me, Those from the 
G'l Con'n particularly so. 

We meet at Dover the 26th Inst. and must organize our little Church as 
well as we can. We must belong to some Diocese, and I suppose the mat 
ter will be between Maryland and Pennsylvania. Some have hinted that 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


if the Jersey's unite with von, it would be most expedient for us to join a 
Church Government with Maryland. It will depend much upon the opin 
ion of the Kent County Congreg'ns. 

I hope the Conv'n at Wilmington will be full and respectable. We 
shall meet very conveniently at the Academy. Wilm'n by that time, I 
expect, will be my place of residence. 

Yours Affectionately, 


Dear Sir. 

I can with sincerity assure you that the Judicious Election at your late 
Convention, afforded me the most cordial satisfaction. It was what I had 
earnestly wished for and (I) am convinced it will give pleasure to every 
Episcopalian in the States in union. 

I delayed answering some of your late Letters till I might give you an 
other account of the proceedings of the Convention of the Prot. Episp. Ch. in 
this State. They met the 2d and broke up yesterday afternoon. The prin 
cipal part of their business was signing my Credentials (which they did 
unanimously) and appointing the Rev'd Mr. Moore, the Hon. James 
Duane, John Rutherford, Esq'r and myself to attend at Wilmington. 
They also recommended to the several Episcopal Congregations in the 
State of N. York to contribute to the Expence of my Voyage to Europe. 
As most of the Country Members were anxious to get home, they had not 
time to appoint a Committee to draw up instructions for their Delegates 
to the Gen. Convention, but it was the general opinion of the Conven 
tion that we should be left unshackled as to the * * 
(2;to the English Prelates. To satisfy your inquiries and partly upon my 
own account I went this morning to the Post Office and was informed by 
Col'l Bedlow that the Mails for England are regularly closed the first 
Wednesday in every month and the packet obliged to sail the Day following 
provided wind and weather will permit. I should entertain the same scru 
ples with yourself as to going in company with the Gentleman alluded 
to, (3) but I am perfectly convinced he will never be able to obtain the 
requisite Testimonials from the General Convention. 

The letter to Mr. Pollard was signed by Mr. Jay and myself and sent 
immediately by post to Boston ; previous to the receipt of it the Honble. 
Mr. King at my requisition had sent to Massachusetts, a copy of the Com 
munications from the Archbishops by the June packet, and also notice 
of a general Convention proposed to be held at Wilmington the begin 
ning of October tho' I could not specify the particular Day. 

Should it be in my power to attend the meeting of the Corporation, I 
shall with pleasure accept ef your Polite Invitation. If not I shall make 
a tender of it to the Rev'd Mr. Moore. If my Health which has lately 
been very indifferent will any way admit of it I shall undoubtedly be at 
Wilmington the 10th of next month. 

Please to excuse any inaccuracies in this Letter as I write with a most 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 

(2) A portion ot the letter, which is copied from the original among the Bp White Cor 
respondence, is illegible. 

(3) Unquestionably Dr. William Smith, Bishop elect of Maryland. 


violent Headache and am really afraid to read it over myself least I should 
[find] it necessary to send a fairer Copy. 
I am D'r Sir 

Your most affectionate Brother 

and very Humble Servant 

The Rev'd Dr. White. SAM'L PROVO'STU.) 

New York, Sept. 22, 1786. 


Fairfax Glebe 26th Sept'r 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

I will not say that I congratulate you on your Election to the Episco 
pal office, because 1 do not know that it is matter of rejoicing to be called 
to the difficulties and high obligations of so sacred and important a Station. 
But I very sincerely congratulate the Church on the appointment of a 
Person so well reported of, and who, I am confident, will add both to her 
reputation and her usefulness. 

I told you, in my last, that I expected the Church in Virginia would not 
be represented in the Ensuing General Convention. I am confirmed in 
this expectation as I have not yet heard from the Chairman of the Standing 
Comm'ee. to whom I forwarded the Arch'bps. Letter and Act of Parliament 
in a few hours after I rec'd them. I, at the same time, asked your opin 
ion respecting the propriety of my applying to the Gen'l Convention for a 
Testimonial, apprehending that should I neglect the approaching opportu 
nity, I might not be able to go to Europe (if necessary) till the next fall. 
Whereas, if 1 am not detained for want of Testimonial, it is probable I may 
be Enabled to go before Christmas. The measure appearing highly neces 
sary, (for me at least,) I have, without waiting for your answer, taken the 
liberty to enclose you a copy of our Journal, (I despaired of getting a 
certified Extract in time) which I offer as an authoratative voucher for my 
being regularly (I might say legally) elected to the Episcopal office in this 
state. If the Convention has no objection to granting the Testimonial, I 
shall rely on your friendly offices to do whatever may be necessary on the 

I think your State Conven'n. was right in not restricting, too much, their 
deputies to the General Convention. It is this kind of Latitude which, 
alone, can secure the union of the Churches a point, in my opinion essen 
tial to her existence, and to which all inferior considerations should give 
place. I do not apprehend any difficulty from this quarter on acct. of our 
not being represented ; I think our Convention will not risque a separa 
tion for the sake of small differences. Our late Instructions, which you 
will find in the Journal, speak the Sentiments of the Members, pretty gen 
erally on that head. I am, already, anxious to know the result of your 
meeting, and what path you will pursue in order to avoid the difficulties 
which threaten our affairs. I know not what to advise, but am persuaded 
that if you do not determine with caution, it will be imprudent for any 
one to cross the Atlantic without waiting to be informed how the altera 
tions are rec'd by the English Bps. How would it do if Persons, going 
from this Country, were left at liberty to subscribe conformity to the Doc 
trines and Liturgy now used in the Church of England (Prayers for Civil 
Rulers and Political matters excepted) until altered by competent EC- 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


clesiastical authority? This might answer our purpose, and I think ought 
to satisfy their Lordships. They admit that every National Church has 
power to decree rules and Ceremonies, and to regulate modes of faith and 
worship. If this be true, why should the American Episcopal Church 
be deprived of this right ! But are they not apprehensive that we may 
depart too far from their established Doctrines and Worship, and will 
they not refuse to consecrate for us until we have tied ourselves down to 
continue the Practices which they thall prescribe? I fear this is what they 
intend, and is, I think our principal difficulty ; from which we might be 
easily released, if not prevented by an unreasonable and ill -grounded 
Jealousy. If any thing like what I have hinted should be adopted by the 
Convention, it will be necessary to wait for an answer before we proceed, 
which will occasion considerable delay. But can any thing be propoeed 
which will not require waiting an answer from England? I fear not, with 
out too slavish a compliance on our part. 

I do not see how it will be possible for you to avoid going to Europe ; 
for, unless N. Jersey has made an appointment, I think the next Conven 
tion will not grant Testimonials to a number more than sufficient for con 
tinuing the succession, according to the opinion of English Bps. Should appli 
cation oe made in favour of any improper Person I hope there will be those 
among you who will not hesitate to oppose it. It will be more proper, 
in my opinion to object to an unworthy Person in America, than oppose 
such a one in England, because if the Person is guilty of the charges 
brought against him, they may be more Easily proved on this than on 
the other side of the Atlantic. As no Person will be Consecrated who 
does not obtain a Testimonial from the Gen'l Convention, I hope they 
will, at their next meeting, pay a sacred regard to that part of their 

Very few of the Prayer Books have been sold in Alexandria. One Box 
was sent a few Days ago to Mr. Benj'n Day in Fredricksburg, from whom 
I have not yet heard. I had a Letter from Mr, Buchanan lately, but he 
does not say whether any of the Books are sold. The time for putting 
them off, in that part of the Country, will be at the meeting of the Assem 
bly and Convention, which must happen in a short time. 
I remain, Dear Sir, 

Your affiectionate Friend and Brother 

and most humble Serv't 

Rev. Dr. White. 


Dear Sir 

I fear the further Sale of the Form (2) is at an end here. The 
People in general are disgusted with it, more particularly, the Psalter. 

Sep 28 86 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 

(2) The Proposed Book. 



Baltimore, October 4th 1786 

Dear Sir, 

I am almost ashamed to acknowledge thus late the Favors I 
received from you so long ago as the 24th of August But hear me and 
you will incline to excuse the seeming Fault. Before I could well give an 
Answer I was called by urgent Business to Virginia : where I was detain 
ed so long that both your and Dr. Smith's Letters on the Subject of the 
approaching Convention at Wilmington have, till now, rested in my 

Before I went to Virginia I wrote several Letters to Delegates inform 
ing them of, and pressing them to attend, the Convention ; since which Dr. 
Smith I presume has addressed them : so that I hope they will meet the 
Delegates from other Chhs, and form a full Convention for the Dispatch of 
all such Business aw may require immediate Deliberation in this Body. 

I have written to Dr. Smith some things concerning the Athanasian 
creed ; which, from the Purport of his Letter, I have almost supposed is 
Required by the Abps to be restored to our Liturgy, as a Term of conse 
crating American Candidates. But if so, I am apprehensive we shall 
still meet with Difficulties in obtaining Consecration, notwithstanding the 
Act of Parliament to that Purpose. Such warmth of Argument I remem 
ber to have been once used by some Lay-Deputies on the Subject of the 
Trinity ; that I entertain but small hope that the earnest Request of their 
Graces will be complied with, as to the Restitution of the Creed in Ques 
tion. But if this cannot be done, my Idea is, that, in consequence of the 
very respectable Address of two Abps, and also of Instructions from sev 
eral Chhs relative to the Restitution of the Nicene Creed, the Clergy have 
a fair and tempting Opportunity of revising their Article concerning the 
Creeds. And I hope that, on such an Occasion, the Athanasian Creed, if 
not restored, may yet be mentioned (either in a Rubrick or in the Article) 
in such Terms as to testify, that tho' it be not inserted in the Book of 
Prayer, yet we do not controvert the Truths contained in it, but having 
retained the Use of the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, we have judged it less 
necessary to retain that of the Athanasian also ; especially as the Defini 
tions respecting the Eternal and Ever-blessed Trinity therein contained, 
may not be properly understood by weak Minds. 

As to the other Request of their Graces, concerning the Descent into 
Hell ; I can see no Cause why our Chh should drag the Saw on the Sub 
ject, especially since, even in the Judgment of our own Convention, it is 
no more than a Tautology. But if a Mother Chh, or the Fathers of that 
Chh think otherwise, why need we be stiff in opposing so harmless a Re 
quest? But I trouble you no more on the subject 

Your affectionate Servt. 

WM. WEST.(l) 


Fairfax Glebe, Octob'r 6th 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

I send this in the expectation that it will find you at Wilmington. 
Your two last I have rec'd, and am glad to hear you rec'd the Journal in 

(l)From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


time. My late Colleague (who it seems had apply'd to the Standing 
Comm'ee, for a reappointment of the last Deputies, and from whom he had 
rec'd no answer) is of my Opinion that we have no right to sit in the next 
Gen'l Convent'n without a new Election. This Opinion would determine 
me had I been in doubt before. Bnt I am satisfied you will do as well 
without us, and that no inconvenience will arise in this quarter from our 
not being represented. . . . . 
I remain, Yours, 

very affectionately 

Rev'd Wm. White. D. D. 

The meeting, of the adjourned Convention of 1786 was 
prefaced by the following steps on the part of the Commit 
tee of Correspondence to which had been assigned the duty 
of convening it. We transcribe from the duplicate copies 
in the handwriting of the Secretary the Hon. Francis Hop- 
kinson, the several letters which accompanied the documents 
they transmitted to the State Conventions and which also 
indicated the course of action deemed advisable by the Com 

Reverend Sir. 

As Members with you of the Committee of the General Convention 
we enclose you a Copy of a Letter we lately received from the Lords Arch 
bishops of Canterbury & York with the Form of Testimonials referr'd to 
in their Letter. 

From these Papers we presume that, after receiving the further Commu 
nications which we are encouraged to expect, there will be a necessity of 
using the Powers vested in the Committee to call a general Couvention, & 
to give that notice as may permit the assembling of trie Conventions in the 
different States previous to the meeting of the general Convention. 

We therefore request your Opinion as to the time for the general Con 
vention & take the Liberty, on our Part, to propose that it be some Day 
in the First or Second Week in October next ; the third Day of that 
Month being the meeting of a Corporation at Philadelphia, at which will 
be present many Gentlemen from several States, who may , after finishing 
the business of the Corporation, repair to Wilmington, to which Place the 
General Convention must be summoned. 

We request your full & speedy answer A am Sir, 

Your assured Friends 

& very humble Servants (2) 

Philad'a, July 24th 1786. 

;1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 
2) From an unsigned tisane-paper copy endorsed by Bp. White "Copy of Letter to ye 
others of ye Comm'ee" and preserved among the Bishop's Correspondence. 



Most Reverend Fathers in God. 

As members of a Committee of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church we do ourselves the Honour to Acknowledge the Receipt of your 
condescending Favour which came to Hand within these few Days by the 
June Packet. 

We shall, without Delay, inform the other Members of the Committee, 
not residents in this State, of the Receipt of your Letter ; which with the 
further Communications your Lordships haye encouraged us to expect, 
will make it necessary for us to use the Power vested in the Committee of 
calling a General Convention for the completion of the great & important 
work in Hand a work which your Lordship's kind and ready attention 
hath placed in such Forwardness as give us substantial Reason to hope 
that a happy Issue will e'er long crown what hath been so happily begun. 
We have the Honour to be, 

Most Reverend Fathers, 

With all due & sincere Respect 

Your Most obedient and 

very humble Servants, (1) 
Philad'a, July 24th 1786. 


Philad'a, July 27th 1786. 

As Secretary of the general Convention of the Protestant Episco 
pal Church, I am directed to address the enclosed Packet to your Care, & 
request your forwarding it as speedily as may be to the Archbishop of 
Canterbury. Your former attention to the affairs of our Church has im 
pressed the Convention with proper sentiments of Gratitude & they ex 
pressed their acknowledgments in a letter to you, which went by the Ship 
Caesar, a few weeks ago, accompanying Dispatches of which the enclosed 
are duplicates. A Copy of that Letter would have been forwarded here 
with, out the Convention hath long since broke up & the Original hath 
lome how been mislaid. 

I am Sir, with sincere personal Regard. 

Your Affectionate Friend 
and most obedient humble servant 

His Excellency John Adams, Esq'r, 

Minister, &c., at London. 

The proceedings of the adjourned Convention of 1786 are 
found in the Journal (3) and are noticed by Bp White 
in his Memoirs(4). The letters from the Archbishops and 

8) Endorsed by Bp. White "Committee's Letter to ye Abps." 
) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 

(3) Vide Reprinted Journals, Perry's Edition. I. pp. 47-62. 

(4) Second Edition pp. 26, 27, 120-122. 


the Forms of Testimonials already referred to are spread 
upon the pages of the Journal and the legislation conse 
quent thereupon may be found there in full. The words 
" He descended into Hell" were restored to the Apostle's 
Creed. It was ordered that the Nicene Creed should be re 
inserted in the Book of Common Prayer. The declaration 
required in Art. 10 of the General Constitution was modi 
fied so as to conform to the existing state of things with 
reference to the " Proposed Book ;" the subscriptions to 
alterations of the Liturgy of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church in the United States of America in order to render 
the same conformable to the American Kevolution and the 
Constitutions of the respective States(l) being alone required 
till the ratification of the new Book of Common Prayer. 
The Preface in the Proposed Book was amended so as to 
make it consistent with the reinstatement of the omitted 
clause in the Creed and the fourth Article of Religion in the 
same Proposed Book was altered to render it conformable to 
the adoption of the Nicene Creed. The Athanasian Creed 
was rejected by the following vote. 

New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, Nay : New 
Jersey and Delaware, divided. An address to the Arch 
bishops was agreed to: the testimonials of Drs. Provoost 
and White and the Rev. Mr. Griffith for the Episcopate 
were signed and a Committee of Correspondence chosen, 
whereupon the Convention adjourned sine die. 

Although it does not appear on the Journals, the Corre 
spondence which we proceed to give affords us no uncertain 
testimony that the application of the Rev. William Smith, 
D. D., Bishop elect of Maryland, for recommendation was 
refused. Enough will appear from the incidental allusions to 
this unhappy event in the letter which follows, to attest the 
wisdom of the Convention in its course. It was to the 

a) Ant pp. 110, 111. 


credit of both Dr. Smith and Bp. White that the promi 
nent part necessarily taken by the latter in this matter never 
interrupted the friendship which had long existed between the 
two, and that the close of a life, honored and useful, sav 
ing where these derelictions from duty are concerned, was the 
occasion of the Bishop's editing the works of the venerable 
Doctor, consisting of discourses which had received the honor 
of a commendatory vote of the General Convention itself. 


Fairfax Glebe, 20th October 1786. 

Dear Sir. 

I have rec'd your Letter, dated since your return from Wilmington 
and am greatly obliged to you, as well for the information it contains, as 
for your kind attention to the business of the Testimonials. 

The discussion of the Maryland affair must have been very painful, and 
I feel myself happy in having been absent on such an occasion, yet most 
heartily approve of the conduct of the Convention in a matter of so much 
importance to the reputation and consequently to the usefulness of the 
Church. I should hope and expect that after so publick and general a cen 
sure on his conduct, the Gentleman and his Friends will desist from any 
further attempt to obtain Consecration. However, I think it would be 
proper for you to carry with you a Minute of the proceedings on that oc 
casion, and to lodge them with the Archbp. of Canterbury. Who was the 
lay member from Maryland, and who were the two who voted in favour 
of the Application ? 

Your resolution respecting the Creeds will, I make no doubt, be satis 
factory both in England-, and to the Church in the different States. I 
think there is no reason to apprehend a non-compliance from Virg'a. 

I have forwarded Copies ot the Papers I last rec'd from you to the Chair 
man of our Standing Committee from whom I have not yet heard on the 
subject of the Act of Parliament, tho' it is more than five weeks since I 
sent it to him. In his last he told me they had determined to call a Con 
vention as soon as they were satisfied that the Act had passed the British 
Legislature. They certainly must have heard of it before this, as it has 
been published in most of the Newspapers. I look for nothing but delays 
and difficulties so long as the present Comm'ee exists, as I know some of 
the members to be unfriendly towards Episcopacy, and that others among 
them, will not be satisfied unless the head of the Church resides in or near 
Williamsburg, and is so pliant in his disposition that the sole direction 
of the concerns of religion may be in their own hands. To this I attri 
bute the delays in calling a Convention. 

We shall be again warmly attacked in the present session of Assembly. 
The Presbyterians are petitioning for a repeal of the incorporating Act, 
and the Baptists for the sale of the Glebes and Churches. It would seem 
that nothing will satisfy these people but the entire destruction of the 
Episcopal Church. I know not what will be the issue of this business, as 
many of our ablest defenders and warmest friends are not in the present 


Dr. Madison has, at length, published his Sermon (at the Opening of 
our last Convention) against Articles and Subscriptions, with a vast quan 
tity of Notes. I have not yet seen it, but I expect to receive a Copy very 
soon. If it comes in time, I will send it to you. It may serve to amuse 
you an hour or two on board iShip, and will be a sort of curiosity on the 
other side of the Water. 

As the Packet sails early in Nov'r I shall take this opportunity of wish 
ing you an agreeable voyage, and a speedy and safe return to your family. 
Whe'ther I shall see you in England is very uncertain, as the time of my 
departure is quite so. It does not depend on a variety of Circumstances, 
for had I a Testimonial from the State Convention, and Money sufficient 
for the purpose, I should certainly accompany you and Dr. Provoost in 
the Packet. But I must wait with patience till these necessary things can 
be obtained. I hope to hear from you before your departure, and that 
you will not fail to write me from England by every convenient Oppor 

I am pleased to hear that our Boston Brethren are so well satisfied with 
the Alterations in the Liturgy, and I am not without a hope that the Epis 
copal Churches in all the States will, before long, be united in the same 
form of worship and in one system of Government and Discipline. Chris 
tian forbearance and Moderation on one hand, and a relaxation from big 
otry and prejudice on the other, will do it. 

Be pleased to remember me very affectionately to Mr. Duclie and his 
family. I esteem them very highly for the goodness of their hearts and 
for many instances of a polite and friendly attention. 
I am, D'r Sir, 

Your very affectionate Brother 

and most hu'ble Serv't 


P. S. Very few of the Prayer Books have been sold in Alexandria, 
and Mr. Buchanan Bays nothing about them. (1) 


Wilmington Octr 21, '86 
My Dear Sir 

I am florry to learn you arrived at home un 
well but do not wonder at your being indisposea by keeping such unrea 
sonable houiT, and by the agitation of mind occasioned by the obstinate 
perseverance of a certain Rev. Gentleman (2). I own I was never more 
affected than by his self-sought disgrace. 

. . . . I am now fully settled at this place, and have flattering pros 
pects of competence and happiness. Shall look for yr. return with anx 
ious Solicitude and never fail commending you to the Divine Protection. 
. . . . GOD prosper you, My Dear Sir, and return you speedily and 
well to your family and friends. Of the latter, be assured, no one can be 
more sincerely Yours than 

Your affectionate Br. in Xt, and 

Most obt. humble Servant 
Rev. Dr. White CHARLES H. WHARTON. (1) 

(1) From the Bp White Correspondence. 

(2) Evidently, Dr. William Smith. 



Alexandria 26th Octobr. 1786 
Dear Sir 

I wrote to you six days ago in answer to yours from Wil 
mington, but having just reed, a Letter from Dr. Madison, I could not quit 
town without informing you of the contents, which are that the Commit 
tee had met on the subject of the Act of Parliament and were of opinion 
there was nothing in that or the Archbps' Letter which could justify the 
calling a Convention "It appearing still a doubt whether Consecration 
can be obtained in England, or the Bps. there will consider the alterations 
made here as sufficiently important in their Estimation to justify a refusal 
of the request that has been made. We suppose they will decide upon ihe 
perusal of the Book." The want of Money at present is also given as an 
excuse for not calling the Convention together, which, I think, would be 
the only thing to hasten the Collection of it. I now expect nothing more 
will be done in this business till the Convention meets in May next. May 
GOD bless you and waft you pleasantly and safely across the great deep is 
the fervent wish of 

Your Affectionate 
and very hu'ble Serv't 
Eev'd Dr. Wm. White. 


Balte. 27th Octr. 1786 
Bevd. and Dr. Sir, 

Your favour was given me on my way to our Con 
vention and I take the first opportunity of giving you the earliest notice 
of the steps I took respecting Dr. Smith. 

Mr. Johnson was the only Lay-delegate there besides myself : him, with 
Dr. West, I consulted, and the conclusion was that Mr. Johnson and my 
self address'd Dr. Smith upon the subject. He persevered in his resolution, 
denied the Charge, and insisted upon the information you gave to be laid 
before the Convention (which was, in fact, intended) that a proper investi 
gation might be made and his innocency prov'd. The matter stands thus 
at present. He will insist upon your proving the Charge of intoxication 
and it is necessary to be done (as it is so strenuously requested) before the 
next Convention, when the matter will again be taken into consideration. 
The Doctor requir'd of me an extract of your Letter, which was granted, 
and will, I make not the least doubt, write to you on the subject. It gives 
real pleasure that the matter is on this train, as our Convention may now 
act with a proper consistency and their conduct reflect no dishonor on the 

Church or themselves 

lour affect'e Serv't 
T. CRADOCK. (2) 

(1) From the Bp White Correspondence. 

-<2) From the Bp White MSS. Endorsed by the Bishop as "A Letter of T. Cradock Esq r 
to Dr. Andrews concerning Dr. Smith." 




Baltimore, October the 31st, 1786. 

Rev'd Sir. 

From what I have lately heard, I am persuaded, that an account of 
our late proceedings at the Convention of this estate, will be acceptable 
to you. 

On Tuesday last a small number of the Clergy, and no laymen but my 
self, attended; Doctor Smith was not arrived, and therefore as we were 
few we adjourned to the next Day; at which time the Doctor, and Doctor 
Keen with a few others that were there in Town, not exceeding twelve in 
all. attended, and received information of the alterations made in General 
Convention, as to the Church Service and of the intelligence from the 

In the afternoon Doctor Craddock came, and before the meeting of the 
Convention after Dinner, showed me your Letter ; which Doctor West and 
Doctor Clagget also saw. We were by that time satisfied that Dr. S. was 
determined to bring on the affair, relative to his being recommended as a 
Bishop, before the Convention, and therefore thought it best, to Jet him 
see your Letter. Doctor Craddock and myself, were obliged to perform 
this very disagreeable Task hoping it would prevent the necessity of any 
notice being taken of it in Convention; but in that we were disappointed. 

Dr. S. produced to the Convention a Testimonial or Certificate from the 
Vestry and Church Wardens of his Parish ; strongly recommending him 
for his very great Services, in the character of their Minister ; which he de 
sired to be entered on the minutes of the Convention ; this Certificate 
mentioned the Recommendation which the Clergy had signed some years 
since. (2) Doctor Clagget in a very respectful manner to Dr. S. informed 

(1) Endorsement in Bp. White's handwriting on the original letter preserved among the 
manuscripts of the Qeueral Convention. 

(2) This important recommendation we give below fron. the original Ms. still preserved in 
the family of tuu lute Dr. Smith. 

Maryland, Annapolis, August 16. 1783. 

My Lord. 

Whereas the good people of this State in Communion with tho Church of England have 
long laboured and do still labour under great difficulties through tbe want of a regular 
Clergy to supply the iiuiiiy parishes that have for a considerable time been vacant 

To prevent theruf re and guard against such an unhappy situation for the Inture We, the 
Convention or meeting of the Clergy of the Church of England have made choice of and do 
recommend our brother the Rev. Doctor William Smith as a lit and proper person, and 
every way well qualified to be invested with the sacred office of a Bixhop in order to per 
petuate a regular succession of Clergy among us. We do with the greater confidence pre 
sent unto your Lordship tuis godly and well learned man to be ordained and consecrated 
Bishop, being perfectly satisfied that he will duly execute this office whereunto he is called 
to the edifying of the Church and the Glory of Uod. 

Your Lordship's well known zeal for the Church and Propagation of the Christian Relig 
ion induces us to trust that your Lordship will compassionate the case of a remote and 
distressed People and comply with our earnest request in this matter, for without such 
Remedy the Church in this Country is in imminent danger of becoming extinct. 

That your Lordship may long continue an ornament to the Church is the hearty Prayer 

My Lord 

Your very dutiful and 
most obedient Servants, 

John Gordon, St. Michael's, Tnlbot County ; John Mac. Pherson, Wm. & Mary Parish, 
Charles County ; Wm. Thomson, St. Stephen's Parish, Cecil County; Samuel Keene, Dor 
chester & Great Choptank Parishes, Dorchester Co. ; Wm. West, St. Paul's Parish ; Balti 
more County ; George Goldie, King and Queen, St. Mary's; John Bowie, St. Peter's, Talbot ; 
John Stephen, All Faith Parish, St. Mary's County; Walter Magowan, St. James' Parish, 


the Convention, that he was obliged at that time to mention what Dr. 
Wharton had informed him, relative to Dr. S.'s being much intoxicated 
when at New York in the Convention. Dr. Craddock produced your Letter ; 
and Dr. West mentioned what he heard from Col. Rogers of this Town, and 
requested that his name to the recommendation might be struck out which 
Dr. S. refused as the charge was not made out. Dr. S. then moved that an 
inquiry should be made into the truth of these charges ; which was accord 
ingly ordered by the Convention, so that the truth of the Facts alledged, 
is now to be supported by Evidence in those different Places, or by Persons 
of Character who were present at the time ; these gross Acts of Immorali 
ty (if established) will certainly silence the warmest Friends of that Gentle 
man ; many of whom are of tlie Clerical Order. It is much to be lament 
ed that things are in this critical Situation ; the prospect is gloomy on every 
side. Should the Doctor be so fortunate, to show himself innocent of the 
charges against him, and be recommended to the Bishoprick yet the 
strong prejudices against him will greatly lessen that reverence and respect 
which will be always paid to that dignified Station, when the Person who 
holds the same is of acknowledged Piety and moral Rectitude. Should the 
charges be made out we shall loose the Services and assistance of a very 
able man ; who will certainly withdraw himself. Thus the Church here is 
likely to suffer be the Case as it will. But we must do what is right and 
trust to Providence for the rest. 

I remain Rev'd Sir, 

Your most obed't Humble Serv't 


Baltimore, October 31st, 1786. 

Dear Sir. 

I have received your's inclosing a Letter to Doctor Smith ; but too 
late to do what you requested concerning the Delivery of it. I therefore 
give you this early Information, that you may determine what is to be 
done with it. Doctor Cradock happened to be at my House just returned 
from the Convention, when your Packet came to Hand ; and had the peru 
sal of those Sentiments which you proposed giving him through a Copy. 

This Gentleman, just before a particular Business was brought before 
the Convention, shewed me, out of Doors, your Letter to him concerning 
Doctor Smith ; and Mr. Johnson, himself, and I judged it to be not only 
aifectionate and friendly, but necessary also to apprize the Doctor o the 
Matter ; hoping that he might desist from a Pursuit, which you and I 
have long since endeavoured to prevail on him to decline. But, it seems, 
he was determined to persevere ! And Doctor Cradock produced the Par 
agraph in your Letter concerning him. This brought on an Event, which 
I have but too good Reasons to believe, has provoked the Doctor to with 
draw all his Kindness from me. Several very serious and solemn Conferen- 

Ann Arundel Co. ; Wm. Hanna, St Margaret, Ann Arnndel ; Joseph Messenger, St. Andrew's 
Parish, St. Mary's County; Thos. Jno. Claggett, St. Paul's Parish, Priuce George's Co. ; 
Thomas Gates, St. Ann's, Annapolis; John Andrews, St. Thomas, Baltimore Co. ; Hamilton 
Bell, Stephney. Somerset County ; Francis Walker, Kent Island, Queen Anne's; John Stew 
art. Poit Tobacco Parish; Leo. Cutting, All Hallow Parish, Worcester Co ; Will. Smith, 
Stepney I'arish, Worcester County; Ralph Uiginbothom. St. Ann's Parish, Ann Arundel 
Co.; Kdward Gantt, Jr., Christ Church Parish, Calvert Co.; Hatch Dent, Trinity Parish 
Charles Co. 


ces have parsed between us, in Private before, in whicb I endeavoured to 
diseuale him from the Pursuit of tbe Episcopal Character. But finding 
all my affectionate Labours to this Purpose fruitless, I required in so 
many Words, that my Name should be expunged from the recommendatory 
Letter. This happened in April last. Bui long before that Time even 
when we were with him in Annapolis I did embrace the very Opportu 
nity, to which you allude in your Letter to him and plainly told hin in 
your presence, that " I did not desire my Name to appear in that Recom 

Such was the State of tbis Matter, respecting the Doctor and myself 
when the above mentioned Paragraph of your Letter was presented to the 
Convention by the honest and candid Doctor Cradock. You cannot there 
fore be surprized at my Concern, on understanding that my Name (how 
insignificant soever) should, notwithstanding all that had passed between 
Doctor Smith and myself on that Subject, appear on the Occasion it did at 
Wilmington. I felt much Concern indeed ; and could not but express it to 
t'ie Doctor, who thought proper to bring the Business before The Brethren 
(as he expressed it.) Accordingly he introduced the Affair, which orig 
inated with Col. Rogers, into open Convention ; and was pleased to bring 
into Publick what had passed between himself and me in Private ; together 
with the Reasons w'ch through Friendship, I had been induced to give 
him for my Opinion and Conduct on the Subject. Seeing therefore the 
Matter brought to this unhappy Crisis, and voluntarialy too by the Doctor 
himself, I thought I should have sinned against the Conviction of my own 
Mind, had I remained either silent or reserved on so important a Subject. 
In open Convention therefore I, solemnly as in the Presence of God, deliv 
ered my Sentiments concerning the Whole Matter, and in this public man 
ner both revoked my Name, and required that it might be expunged from 
the Paper. 

What passed after this, respecting the Doctor and myself, it is un 
necessary to trouble you with. Doctor Cradock has given you full Infor 
mation concerning som^ Matters in which you are now particularly inter 
ested, as Doctor Smith has insisted upon your making good the Charge. 
And Doctor Claggett will, I presume, give Information to Doctor Wharton 
concerning some Things in which he is particularly interested ; in Conse 
quence ol a Communication, respecting Doctor Smith, from Mr. Wharton 
to Mr. Claggett, which the latter Gentleman modestly mentioned in Con 
vention. My Motive for writing thus largely on a Subject so ungrateful, 
is to satisfy you that I have long since, done what your letter proposes 
respecting the Erasement of my Name. 

It^istonished me to hear, by your Letter, that there is not a Church in 
your City w'ch will admit Doctor Smith to their Pulpit. Certainly some- 
tiling very notorious and immoral must have been done by him to produce 
euch an Effect. However this Gentleman, by having required certain 
Charges to be made good must now, perhaps, appear in a Point of View 
more public than ever heretofore ; and I wish from my Heart, that every 
Mouth may declare him innocent. 

With sincere good Wishes for yourself and Family, 
I am, dear Sir 

Your affectionate Servant 

WM. WEST. (1) 

(1) From the Bp. White MSS. 



Philad'a, Nov'r 17th, 1786. 
My dear Sir. 

I hope this Letter will find you safe arrived in London, and success, 
fully advanced in the Business on which you went. Soon after you sailed 
Dr. Andrews wrote a Letter to some Gentleman in Maryland, who was a 
Member of the Convention of that State respecting Dr. Smith's moral 
Character, in which he spoke pretty freely of him, and desired that his 
Name might be withdrawn from the Recommendation of 1783. Dr. Smith 
had obtained a recent Testimonial from his own Vestry of his good Con 
duct and Fitness for Episcopal Consecration, and was at the Time en 
forcing this Recommendation with the Convention. The Person to 
whom Dr. Andrews wrote communicated his Letter to the Convention 
whereupon the Convention broke up until Enquiry should be made. The 
Doctor raged with Resentment and threaten'd all the vengeance of the Law 
against Dr. Andrews. He came up to Philadelphia, as was thought, for 
this Purpose, But after being here 10 Days or a fortnight, he returned 
without instituting the threaten'd Suit. Indeed his real Business turned 
out to be with our Legislature to sollicit a Division of Bedford County in 
order that a County Town may be established on some Lands he has there. 
I need not protest that I love and wish you well. 
I should be very glad of a Line or two from you. 
I am with great Truth, 

Your affectionate Friend 

Bev'd Dr. White, FRA'S HOPKINSON. (1) 



Philadelphia. November 24, 1786. 
Dear Sir. 

- As you will probably be anxious to know how 

Dr. Smith made out with the Convention of Maryland I enclose you some 
Letters which were written to me concerning it ; which will give you full 
information, and at the same time, me little trouble. 

Yours affectionately 


We gladly turn from further consideration of this un 
pleasant fragment of our history. During the progress of 
this correspondence, the two Bishops-elect set sail on the 2d 
of November for England and arrived at Falmouth on the 
21st of the same month. The story of the successful ac 
complishment of the long struggle for the Episcopate in the 
English line is detailed at length in the pages of Bp. White's 

(1) From the Bp White Correspondence. 

(2; This letter from Dr. Andrews enclosed the preceding communications on this sub 
ject which we have given in chronological order. 


Memoirs (I) and we need not reproduce it here. It will be 
more to our purpose to give in passing certain letters indic 
ative of the feeling at the Northward respecting the meas 
ures taken at the Conventions of 1786 and the prospect of 
a speedy success of the Church in the Middle and Southern 
States in their efforts for the Succession from the Mother 
Church of England. The letter which we give below from 
the Rev. Benjamin Moore, an assistant Minister of Trinity 
Church, is of no little interest in view of its testimony 
toward the feeling entertained in New York respecting the 
consecration of the Bishop of Connecticut. 


New York, Nov. 4, 1786. 
My dear Sir. 

The day before yesterday Dr. White and Dr. Provoost embarked on 
board the Speedy packet for Old England with the expectation of obtain 
ing consecration from the English Bishops. You know there is an act of 
Parliament authorizing either of the Archbishops, together with such of 
the Bishops as they may desire to call to their assistance, to consecrate 
Bishops for the American States. When his Grace of Canterbury sent a 
copy of the act in a letter which accompanied it, he intimated, that it was 
expected, before persons were seat for Episcopal Orders, every obstacle 
should be removed, by a full compliance with the requistions which had 
been made. In the late Convention at Wilmington all objections were 
obviated, excepting only that it was resolved not to re-admit the Athana- 
sian Creed. The gentlemen, however, thought they might venture to go, 
and I dare say they will succeed. It sometimes happens, in doubtful cases, 
that to act as if you were sure of success, is the most effectual way to ob 
tain it. Possunt quia Posse videntur. Dr. Griffith, who is another Bishop 
elect, through some mistake, did not obtain the necessary testimonials from 
the State Convention, and is, on that account, detained a few months 

I have my fears, but am not so very apprehensive as you appear to be, 
that a schism must take place in our Church. A few people in this State, 
from old grudges on the score of politics, have determined to circumscribe, 
as far as they possibly can, the authority of Bishop Seabury. But they 
will not be able to effect their purpose to any great degree. His Episco 
pal powers have already been acknowledged oy most of the Southern 
States, and Truth and Justice will in due time, get the better of Prej udice 
and Partiality. 

Your affectionate Friend and Servant, 

B. MOORE. (1) 

(1) Pp. 27-8, 124-110. 

(2) From the original letter among the Bishop Parker Correspondence. 


The following winter the Convocation of the Connecticut 
Clergy met at Wallingford, Feb. 27th. (1) It was there de 
cided to send another Presbyter to Scotland for consecration, 
as co-adjutor Bishop to the overworked Seabury. Jeremiah 
Learning, D. D., was first chosen, but he declined in conse 
quence of age and infirmities. The pious Richard Mansfield 
was next elected- by the suffrages of his brethren ; but he 
felt the burthen too heavy to be borne, and the choice finally 
fell on the Rev. Abraham Jarvis, who was deputed to go 
to Scotland " To obtain consecration, that the Episcopal 
office might be canonically conferred." (2) We gather from 
incidental allusions to the matter, in the correspondence of 
the time, that it was part of the plan of the Bishop of 
Connecticut, that a Bishop-elect for Massachusetts and 
New Hampshire should soon follow; and all eyes looked to 
the excellent and zealous Mr. Parker, of Boston, to com 
plete the canonical number for the transmission of the Epis 
copate in the Scottish line. 

This was, however, to be a last resort. It formed no 
part of the intention of Bishop Seabury to keep aloof from 
his fellow Churchmen, if union was possible on terms honor 
able to himself and the Church from which his orders were 
derived. To this end he deferred the action contemplated 
by the Convocation, and on the arrival of the newly conse 
crated Bishops of New York and Pennsylvania, he addressed 
to them letters of congratulation, and an offer of terms of 

These letters we give below. 


New London, May 1st, 1787. 
Right Reverend and dear Sir. 

It is with great pleasure I take an opportunity of present- 

(1) The particulars of the proceedings of this Convocation are taken from a racy letter 
of the Rev. Roger Viets, who was present at the session. The original letter is preserved 
among the papers of Bishop Parker, to whom it was addressed. 

(2) Vide Sprague's Annals of the American Episcopal Pulpit, page 238. 


ing my congratulations on your safe return to Philadelphia, and on the 
success of your application to the English Archbishops. 

You must be equally sensible with me of the present unsettled state of 
the Church of England in this country, and of the necessity of union and 
concord, among all its members in the United States of America, not only 
to give stability to it, but to fix it on its true and proper foundation. Poss 
ibly nothing will contribute more to this end, than uniformity in worship 
and discipline, among the Churches of the different States. It will be my 
happiness to promote so good and necessary a work ; And I take the liber 
ty to propose, That, before any decided steps be taken, there may be a 
meeting of yourself and Bp. Provoost, with me, at such time and place as 
shall be convenient ; to try whether some plan can not be adopted, that 
shall, in a quiet and effectual way secure the great object which, I trust, we 
should all heartily rejoice to see accomplished. For my own part, I can 
not help thinking that, the most likely method will be, to retain the pres 
ent Book of Common-Prayer, accornodating it to the Civil Constitution of 
the United States. The Government of the Church, you know, is already 
settled ; a body of Canons will however be wanted to give energy to the 
government, and ascertain its operations. 

I have written to Bishop Provoost on this subject, and have invited him 
to visit us at the stated Convocation of our Clergy which is to be held at 
Stamford Thursday after Whitsunday. I regret that the distance and time 
will not probably permit you to do us that favour ; more especially as I 
think it would greatly promote so essential an object as the union of all 
our Churches must be esteemed. May God direct us in all things ! 
Believe me to be Right Reverend, and dear Sir, 

Your affectionate Brother, 

and humble Servant 

Bt. Rev, Bp. White. SAMUEL, BP. CONNECT. (1) 


May 1, 1787. 
The Eight Beverend Bishop Provoost, New York. 

Right Reverend and dear Sir: 

It is with pleasure I take this opportunity of presenting my con 
gratulations on your safe return to New York, on the success of your ap 
plication to the English Archbishops, and on your recovery from your late 
dangerous illness. 

You must be equally sensible with me of the present unsettled state of 
the Church of England in this country, and of the necessity of union and 
concord among all its members in the United States of America ; not only 
to give stability to it, but to fix it on its true and proper foundation. 
Possibly nothing will contribute more to this end, than uniformity in wor 
ship and discipline among the Churches of the different states. It will be 
my happiness to be able to promote so good and necessary a work ; and 
I take the liberty to propose, that before any decided steps be taken, there 
be a meeting of yourself and Bishop White and me, at such time and place 
as shall be most convenient, to try whether some plan cannot be adopted 
that shall, in a quiet and effectual way, secure the great object which I 

(1) Prom the Bp. White Correspondence. 


trust we should all heartily rejoice to see accomplished. For my own part 
I cannot help thinking, that the most likely method will be, to retain the 
present Common Prayer Book, accommodating it to the civil Constitution 
of the United States. The government of the Church, you know, is already 
settled. A body of Canons will, however, be wanted, to give energy to 
the government, and ascertain its operation. 

A stated Convocation of the Clergy of this state is to be held at Stamford, 
on the Monday after Whitsun-day. As it is so near to New York, and the 
journey may contribute to the reestablishment of your health, I should be 
much rejoiced to see you there; more especially as I think it would pro 
mote the great object, the union of all the Churches. 

May God direct us in all things ! 

Believe me to be, Rt. Rev. and dear Sir, 

Your affectionate Brother and humble Servant, 

SAMUEL, Bishop of Connecticut. (I) 

Bishop Seabury, in a letter written a few days afterward, 
to his friend in London, William Stevens, Esq., thus ex 
presses his views on the prospect of union and comprehen 


New London May 9th, 1787. 
My very dear Sir : 

It is so long since I heard from any of my friends in London, that 
I cannot help feeling some uneasiness on that account. I did hope that I 
should have received some intelligence respecting the two American 
Bishops, and particularly, whether they were laid under any restrictions ; 
and, if so, what those restrictions were. Those gentlemen have returned, 
but I do not find their arrival has made much noise in the country. I 
have written to them both, proposing an interview with them, and an 
union of the Church of England through all the States, on the ground of 
the present Prayer Book, only accommodating it to the civil Constitution 
of this country; and the government of the Church to continue unaltered 
as it now is, with a body of Canons to give energy to it, and direct its op 
eration. I know not what effect this overture may have. Bat my fears 
are greater than my hopes. Every thing I can fairly do to procure union 
and uniformity, shall certainly be done. 

My letters were accompanied by a packet of charges, directed to my 
good friend, the Rev. Mr. Boucher, which I hope came safely to him. I 
shall set out in a week to attend a meeting of the Connecticut Clergy at 
Stamford. I have invited the two Bishops to visit us ; and as I shall then 
know how my proposals are likely to be relished, I will from Stamford 

write to Mr. Boucher by the way of N. York. This goes ma Boston. 

Your affectionate, humble Servant, 

S., Bp. Conn. (2) 

(1) From Bp. Seabury's Letter Book now in the hands of the Rev. Prof. W. J. Seabury of 
New York. 

(2) From Bp. Seabury's Letter Book. 


The response of Bishop White to Bishop Seabury's pro 
posal is contained in a letter from the Bishop of Connecti 
cut to Mr. Parker, of Boston, which we give below : 


, Philadelphia, May 21st, 1787. 

There is nothing I have more at heart than to see ye members of our com- 
mnnion, throughout ye United States, connected in one system of Eccle 
siastical Government; and if my meeting of you, in concurrence with 
Bishop Provoost, can do anything towards ye accomplishment of this great 
object, my very numerous engagements shall not hinder me from taking a 
journey for ye purpose. But I must submit it to your consideration 
whether it will not be best previously to understand one another, as to ye 
views of ye Churches in which we respectively preside. 

We have been informed (but perhaps it is a mistake) that ye Bishop 
and Clergy of Connecticut think our proposed Ecclesiastical Constitution 
essentially wrong, in ye leading parts of it. As ye general principles on 
which it is founded were maturely considered and compared with ye max 
ims which prevail in ye ecclesiastical system of England, as they have re 
ceived ye approbation of all ye Conventions southward of you, and of one 
to the northward; as they were not objected to by ye Archbishops and 
Bishops of ye English Church, and as they are generally thought among 
us essential to ye giving of effect to future ecclesiastical measures, I do not 
expect to find ye Churches in many of ye States willing to associate on 
any plan materially different from this. If our Brethren in Connecticut 
should be of opinion that ye giving of any share of ye Legislative power 
of ye Church to others than those of ye Episcopal order is inconsistent 
with Episcopal Government, and that ye requiring of ye consent of ye 
Laity to ecclesiastical laws is an invasion of Clerical rights, in this case, I 
see no prospect of doing good in any other way than contributing all in 
my power to promote a spirit of love and peace between us ; although I 
shall continue to cultivate ye hope of our being brought, at some future 
day, to an happy agreement. 

As to ye Liturgy, if it should be thought advisable by ye general body 
of our Church to adhere to ye English Book of Common Prayer (ye politi 
cal parts excepted) I shall be one of ye first, after ye appearance of sucn a 
disposition, to comply with it most punctually. 

Further than this, if it should seem ye most probable way of maintain 
ing an agreement among ourselves, I shall use my best endeavours to effect 
it. At ye same time, I must candidly express my opinion, that ye review 
of ye Liturgy would tend very much to ye satisfaction of most of ye mem 
bers of our communion, and to its future success and prosperity. The 
worst evil which I apprehend from a refusal to review is this, that it will 
give a great advantage to those who wish to carry ye alteration into essen 
tial points of doctrine. Reviewed it will unquestionably be in some places, 
and ye only way to prevent its being done by men of ye above description 
is ye taking it up as a general business. I have been informed that you, 
Sir, and our Brethren in Connecticut think a review expedient, although 
you wish not to be in haste in ye matter. Our Brethren in Massachusetts 
have already done it. The Churches in ye States southward of you have 
iufficiently declared their sentiments ; for even those which have delayed 


permitting ye use of ye new book, did it merely on ye principles of ye 
want of Episcopal order among them. 

If, Sir, we should be of a different opinion in any matter, I hope we 
shall be so candid as mutually to think it consistent with ye best intentions, 
and a sincere desire to promote ye interest of our holy religion. This jus 
tice you have always received from, &c., &c., 

(Signed) WM. WHITE. 

The above, my dear Sir, is the whole of a letter from Bishop White, that 
relates to the subject. It is in answer to one from me to him, in which I 
proposed a personal interview with him and Bishop Provoost previously 
to any decided steps being taken respecting the Liturgy and Government 
of the Church, and mentioned the old Liturgy as the most likely bond 
of union. I send it to you without a comment, and shall be glad of your 

opinion respecting it. Your affectionate, humble Servant, 

S., Bp. Connect,(l) 

Congratulations poured in upon the excellent Bishop of 
Pennsylvania, and with the expressions of satisfaction at the 
successful accomplishment of the strong desire for the An 
glican succession, there were added abundant opportunities 
for the exercise of the newly acquired Episcopal powers, not 
alone in Pennsylvania, but elsewhere at the South. The 
following letters which we give and which, in common with 
many of these documents, appear for the first time in print, 
are from the invaluable correspondence of Bp. White which, 
he preserved with religiouP care throughout his career and 
left as the material for the future history of the Church, of 
which he was, to a great extent, under God, instrumental 
in reorganizing and perpetuating. 


St. James, Ann Arundel County, April 24th, 1787. 
Right Rev'd Sir. 

I have just now heard by Mr. Weems of your Return to America in 
Bishop's Orders. The Information gives me great Pleasure, and I would 
beg leave thus early to congratulate you on the Occasion. Permit me 
Right Rev'd and Dear Sir, to inform you, that a Convention of our Chuich 
will be held at Chester Town in Kent County on the fourth Tuesday in. 
May next, and I have Reason to believe that ye Lay Representation will 
be more complete than it ever has yet been in this State, and that Matters 
of Magnitude will be then brought forward. In this Situation of our Af 
fairs I would take the Liberty to solicit your Presence there, if you can 
possibly make it convenient. A Gentleman of your Character, a Native 

(l)From the original letter in the possession of the Bev. Dr. Perry. 


of this State, a Fishop of our excellent Church Presiding in our Church 
Assembly would give Weight and Dignity to all our proceedings; it would 
have a direct Tendency to promote the Interest of ye Church, to unite us 
all firmly together, and to fix us in a more desirable Situation than we 
have been in since ye Revolution. I should think myself highly honored, 
by ye Reception of a Line from you by Mr. Weema' Return, informing me 
whether you think it will be in your power to attend or not ? In case you 
can not possibly make it convenient, I shall embrace the first opportunity 
of paying my respects to you personally in Philadelphia. 
With sentiments of the most perfect Esteem, 

I have the honor to be 
Right Rev'd Sir 

Your most dutiful Serv. 


Fairfax Glebe, 28th April, 1787, 
Dear Sir. 

Your Letter of the 15th, certifying your safe return made me very hap 
py. It is an event about which I have been exceedingly anxious for many 
reasons, and altho' some of them are of a selfish nature, yet be assured 
that I partake, in no small degree, of that Joy which your real friends 
must feel on the occasion. Since your departure for Europe, the repeal 
of our incorporating Ac, and the revival of some Old Laws in conse 
quence of it, have placed the Episcopal Church in this State (myself iu par 
ticular) in a very embarassing situation ; so much so that I believe it 
would puzzle our whole bench of Chancellors to determine our Exact sit 
uation. I consider my own as very critical, and am anxiously awaiting 
the meeting of our Convention (16th. May) which 1 hope will determine 
what is proper to be done. Should theW>e of opinion that I ought to pro 
ceed immediately to Engand I shall seWout as soon as they lurnish me 
with a sufficiency to defray the Expences of the Voyage, of which, by the 
bve, there is no appearance as yet. As there are frequent opportunities from 
tins place, frugality as well as convenience will determine me to take ship 
ping here; and as I know not how sudden my movements may be after 
the Convention rises it is my earnest wish to possess all the information 
you have to communicate previous to my leaving home, which will be 
about the 10th. of May. I must request you to lose no time in doing this 
as your Communications may be necessary either to determine some of 
the resolutions of the Convention, or for the regulation of my own con 
duct at a time when I consider myself to be very critically situated. 

I remain, my dear Sir, 

Your very affec't Brother, 
and most huble. Serv. 


Fairfax Glebe, 28th May 1787. 
Dear Sir 

The day before my departure for Richmond (from whence I 
am just returned) I rec'd your two letters of the 3rd and llth of May 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


which I, purposely, have delayed answering till the husiness of our Con 
vention should be over. As soon as I receive the Journals, I will send you 
a Copy ; in the mean time I can only inform you, in general, that we have 
passed an Ordinance for the management of our Temporalities, revised 
the Canons, instituted under the incorporating Act, with very few altera 
tions, agreed to the general Constitution, instructed the Deputies to the 
next General Convention (a Mr. Andrews and myself) to propose rejecting 
the descent into Hell, and the Nicene Creed from the Liturgy, and, which 
is more extraordinary, have directed the Standing Committee to write to 
Bishop Provoost and yourself, requesting that you or either of you, will be 
pleased to Consecrate a Bp. for this State. Those who were for leaving 
things as settled at Wilmington, gave very little interruption to the instruc 
tions for rejecting, &c.. being persuaded that they will be over-ruled by the 
General Convention. And as to the other resolution, I was in hopes your Let 
ters to me would so far have satisfied the Advocates for the Measure, that 
they would not insist on it. Such parts of your Letters as related to the mat 
ter in debate were read, but without the Expected effect. They are in hopes 
you may be prevailed on to act contrary to your own Sentim'ts, the Opinion 
of the Bishops of England, and the general practice of the Christian Church. 
Their first proposition was that you and your Brother of N. York should 
request Bp. Seabury to unite with you in the intended Consecration ; but 
this project was rejected as impracticable, and the more absurd one adopt 
ed. I expect you will very shortly hear from the Standing Committee on 
the subject, all the members of that Committee present, except one, were 
in favour of the resolution. The principal Argument used was that it 
would be impossible to raise so much money in the State as will be neces 
sary to defray the Expences of a Voyage to Europe. But the truth is that 
some of the friends to the Measure wish to prevent, if possible, the intro 
duction of a Bp. into the State. What other Construction can be put up 
on the conduct of those who not only endeavour to throw difficulties hi the 
way of its accomplishing, but propose such alterations in the Canons as 
would deprive the Bp of the right of Judging of the qualifications of Can 
didates for Orders, and even compel him to Ordain such as were offered by 
any two Presbyters, though himself should not approve of them. They 
have also ventured to assert the Equality of Bps. and Presb'rs in primitive 
times, and made attempts to deprive the former of his right of precedency 
in Ecclesiastical assemblies. What more could the most zealous Presby 
terian have proposed, to abolish all distinction in the Orders of the Minis 
try, and overturn the Ep'l Ch ? The number of those men is very small, 
but as their intention is disguised with great art, and sometimes asserted 
with popular Arguments, they frequently draw in some well disposed per 
sons to support their measures. There was also among us another party 
who promoted the measure not because they expected it would be regarded, 
or because they were anxious to have it carried into effect, but, merely 
because they hoped, thereby to deprive me of a Testimonial. For, after 
the resolution was carried, they opposed the signing of the Testimonial, 
not because they had any thing to object, as they declared, but because it 
was now rendered quite unnecessary; presuming that they should unques 
tionably succeed in their application to yourself and Bp. Provoost, or one 
of you. They were however disappointed in their main object, for their 
conduct was so obviously malicious and mischievous, that the Testimonial 
was signed by more than four fifths of the Members present. The friends 
of the Episcopal Church (myself in particular) have had, I do assure you, 
a very disagreeable time of it. But we had also the satisfaction to see our 


opposers foiled in almost all their absurd proposals, and they have so clear 
ly discovered themselves, their principles and designs that their influence 
must, I think, be much lessened in future. 

If a prospectof difficulties could alone discourage me there are enough 
in view to induce me to decline the Episcopal Office, and could I see any 
probability of its being filled by a Person who would support the Charac 
ter with propriety and oppose with firmness the ruinous Schemes of this 
junto of innovators, I would certainly relinquish it immediately. We 
nave some worthy Characters among us, but I lear they are not sufficient 
ly known, and hive too little of the publick confidence to render their 
election certain. From this consideration 1 have determined to persevere, 
considering it as absolutely necessary at this time for the defence and fur 
therance of the Ep'l Ch. in Virginia. I am persuaded a great majority of 
the Convention mean well, and I trust will endeavour to give it all the 
support they can. They have recommended to the Parishes to supply their 
quotas of Monev immediately ; and I shall embark for England as soon as 
they send enough to pay the Expence of the Voyage unless you and Bp. 
Provoost shall pronounce it unnecessary. As to the rest I submit it to 
GOD ; with full confidence in his promises that He will not forsake either 
his Church or his faithful Servants. I must beg you to let me hear from 
you as soon as you have determined upon the answer to be given to the 
Standing Comm'ee. 

Mr. Vasey was here on his return from Philad'a and informed me that 
he had made known to you his desire of entering into our Church. Mr. 
Fairfax and myself gave him such a Testimonial as we thought his gener 
al Character and our knowledge of him would justify. Itisa circumstance 
much in favour both of his Morals and Talents, that he was one of the two 
sent out by Mr. Wesley with Dr. Coke; and I ought likewise to mention 
that it is more than two years since Mr. V. made known to me his intention 
of applying for Ep'l Ordination. The People in a very respectable Parish 
are desirous to have him for their Minister, as I have been informed by 
one of the Vestry, who wrote to me more than 12 Months ago on the Sub 
ject. For the forms presented by the Convention of this State, as necessa 
ry to be observed previous to Ordination, I refer you to the 16th of our 
Canons, which you have in our Journal for 1785. But as Mr. Vasey has 
been in the Itinerant way ever since his arrival in America, it will be nec 
essary, in his case, to satisfy you in some other manner than that prescrib 
ed by our Convention. 

I nave a very poor acc't to give you of the P. Books. Of those sent to 
me one half were left with Mr. Geo. Richards at the Printing Office in Al- 
exand'a The remainder were sent to a Mr. Benj'n Day at Fredericksburg, 
and tho' they were Advertised in the Papers more than 4 months, not more 
than 20 have been sold by Day and only 7 by Richards 

The price of the Books is complained of every where in this State. It 
is certainly a principal cause of their not selling among us, Another is 
that a new Edition is Expected with alterations. My opinion is, that the 
only way to get rid of this Edition will be to lower the price, and that 
very soon. A member of our Convention told me that he would take an 
hundred on his own acc't if they were set at two thirds of a Dollar, which 
s about the price people in general would be willing to give. 

I saw Dr. West a few Days ago at the funeral of his Mother, who told 
me that the Convention of Maryland, at their last meeting in Chester, 


chose Dr. S. for their Presid't and appointed him one of their Deputies to 
the next Gen'l Convention it was the only thing done by them. 
With respectful remembrance to Mrs. White I remain 

Your affect'e hu'ble Serv't 


Dr. and Right Revd. Sir : 

I have the pleasure to inform you that our Church Convention after 
sitting 3 Days during which the greatest Harmony prevailed among all 
the members broke up this afternoon. I have copied some of our most 
material Regulations which I enclose for your perusal, the whole of our 
proceedings shall be forwarded as soon as they come from the press. 

Tlie Standing Committee mentioned in the 6th of the regulations con 
sists of the Revd. Mr. Bloomer, the Reverend Mr. Beach, the Rev. Mr. 
Moore, Mr. Duane and Mr. Jay. They are also at my request to be a 
Council of Advice and I have a right to call them together whenever I 
think it expedient. 

The Letter from the Virginia Committee Dated the 4th. of June never 
reached me till the 23d. In my answer I declined complying with their 
request, and at the same time exhorted them to use every exertion to en- 
enable Dr. Griffith to embark immediately for England. 

I shall hold an Ordination on Sunday the 8th. of June. Six Candidates 
have already been mentioned to me for Deacon's Orders, but out of these 
only three or four at most will be admitted. I feel myself quite overcome 
with the fatigue of sitting so long in Convention and must conclude. 

I am Dr. Sir, 

Your most affectionate Brother, 

N. York, June 29. 1787. 


Fairfax Glebe, 4th July, 1787. 
Dear Sir: 

The expedient yon propose for raising money (application to particular 
Persons) will not, I fear, answer the end. If it is not improper, yet there 
are too many difficulties in the way to admit any hope of success. It 
is not possible, without sending a messenger on purpose to convey Letters 
safely and in tolerable time, from this Corner of the State to every part of 
it. Besides I am ignorant of the proper Persons to whom to direct them. 
I am also apprehensive that an application from me (on such an Occasion) 
would not be well rec'd. and that an improper construction might be put 
on it. I expect some attention will be paid to the recommendation of the 
last Convention, as soon as the Journal is published ; at least so far as to 
provide a sufficiency for the expences of the Voyage. 

I much fear that an application to the delegates now at Philada. will 
meet with the countenance of but few of them. Several of them, perhaps, 
would contribute if asked, but most of them are unfriendly, and I do not 
know of more than one (a member of the Standing Comm') who would 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


give himself the least trouble to promote the speedy settlement of our ec 
clesiastical system. I consider the present season as lost by the delay 
already made, and that it would not be proper to go sooner than the fall, 
even if the means for paying the expences were furnished. The Bishops 
of England are, I expect, all in their Dioceses, and will be till the meet 
ing of Parliament, so that one might be detained a considerable time 
should he arrive at an unlucky season. 

With respect to the Prayer Books, I shall make trial of what you offer 
(letting them go by Dozens at 6 shillings your currency) but I fear they 
will be a dull article even at that reduced price, such is the indifference in 
this part of the world, towards everything connected with religion. 

I remain, D'r. Sir, 

Your affect'e hubl'eServ't 

In a familiar letter to the Rev. Bela Hubbard, the Rev. 

Mr. Parker of Boston thus comments on the overtures of 
Bp. Seabury for union with Bps. Provoost and White. 

We print it from the original draft in Mr. Parker's hand 
writing which, as was his wont, he carefully preserved among 
his papers, for future reference. 


Boston, June 1, 1787. 
Dear Sir : 

Your favour by Mr. Miles was duly received, upon his arrival in town, 
and I have to return you my thanks for the same. I had previously heard 
from Bishop Seabury, that he had made an overture to the Brethren of the 
Lawn to meet him at Stamford ; but my faith in their acceding to the pro 
posal was not very strong : though I think had not the invitation been , 
made quite so soon after their arrival, and before matters were arranged 
among themselves, Bishop White would have accepted it, he having fre 
quently expressed his mind to me by letter, of a readiness to coalesce with 
his Northern Brethren and to form one Church in all the esr-entials of doc 
trine, discipline and worship. Some strong prejudices, upon the old score 
of politics, still remain in the minds of the New York gentlemen against 
Bishop Seabury, and therefore of their Bishop your deponent saith not. 
The grand obstacle to a union, I foresee, will be in matters of government. 
The Southern States have admitted Laymen to take part with them ; Con 
necticut has not. They cannot rid themselves of the Lav brethren, and 
you will not admit Laymen. This will keep you apart. I impatiently wait 
to hear the result of your meeting.(2). 

In answer to the latter part of your letter, I can only say two words, 
Nolo Episcopari. 

The consecration of a Bishop for Massachusetts, and the 
selection of Mr. Parker as the first to fill this sacred office 

(1) From the Bp Whit* Correspondence. (2) From the Bp. Parker Papers. 


there, were desired, not only by the Bishop and Clergy of 
Connecticut, but also by the far-seeing Bishop White, who 
seems to have judged, rightly enough, as- the sequel proved, 
that this step once determined upon, would be the connect 
ing lipk between the separated Churches. There is frequent 
allusion to this subject in Bishop Seabury's letters, and 
in those of the Connecticut Clergy found among the corre 
spondence of Bp. Parker. We append, in passing, an ex 
tract from an earlier letter to Mr. Parker, from the Bishop 
of Pennsylvania, under date of July 5, 1787, in which this 
action is strongly urged, on the very grounds we have indi 

" I wish most sincerely that Massachusetts would unite with us, and 
choose a person for consecration ; not merely as it would tend to cement 
the Church throughout the whole continent, but because I think it would 
add to the wisdom of our determinations whenever a General Convention 
shall be held for the final settlement of our ecclesiastical system. (1) 

In carrying out these pacific views, the amiable Bishop of 
Pennsylvania entered into correspondence with the venera 
ble Jeremiah Learning of Stratford, one of the most influ 
ential of the Connecticut Clergy, and a bosom friend of 
Bishop Seabury. We regret that the letters written by 
Bishop White are lost ; but their tenor can be readily in 
ferred from the earnest replies which we append. These 
replies prove conclusively the hearty concurrence of the 
Clergy of Connecticut in the views and conduct of their 


Stratford, July 9th, 1787. 
My very dear and Rev. Sir : 

I have received your kind favour of the 21st of last month, for which 
you have my hearty thanks. Your views of a union of the Church in 
these States give me the greatest pleasure, and you are pleased to desire 
me to consider what will be the best method to accomplish the end desired, 
and to communicate it to you. 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


It appears to me, that if you, Bishop Provoost and Bishop Seahury 
could have a private meeting, all matters might be adjusted in such a 
manner, that a union might be easily effected. For all those difficulties 
which disturb that mutual concord, which ought to be among Christians, 
have their rise from some little misunderstandings. And provided the 
parties were brought together, and would explain themselves to each other, 
in meekness and love, all disagreeable passions would subside and be ex 
tinguished forever. 

But to reconcile differences, when they are come to their full growth, is 
attended with so many difficulties, that it seldom proves successiul. Will 
it, therefore, be a matter of wisdom or prudence to put this business off to 
some future day, at a great distance? I must say, that I wish this meet 
ing might be as soon and as private as possible, that no evil angels might 
have any knowledge of it, wno would be glad of an opportunity to throw 
in the firebrands of dissension. 

If this meeting could be effected as proposed, I doubt not but a union 
would take place so far as is necessary. That peace which consists in un 
ion of mind and agreement in judgement, in every point, is rather to be 
wished than hoped for, in this imperfect state. 

There are more persons that are now labouring, with all the insidious 
arts which they can muster up, for the ruin of the Church of England, 
than you can conceive. All tne Infidels and Dissenters in England and 
these States are our most mortal enemies. However they disagree in sen 
timent, they unite for our destruction. And you will soon find they are 
engaged as much to divide as you are to unite us. 

These enemies have always opposed the scheme of Bishops for America. 
It was by their machinations that Bishop Seabury failed in obtaining his 
desire. These enemies supposed, when he had applied and was refused, 
there was an end to the Church in this country. But when they found he 
had obtained the favour of the old Scotch Bishops, and had received the 
Apostolical power, they started and cried out, What shall we do now ? for 
the Americans will have Bishops, and we cannot prevent it. An expedi 
ent was soon found. We are resolved what to do. Let there be an act of 
Parliament granting liberty to the Bishops of England to consecrate Bish 
ops for America, and then set up a huge cry, that Bishop Seabury is a 
Nonjuror. By this means we shall divide the Church and they them 
selves will demolish it. 

Shall we be made tools by these designing men, to do that which they 
cannot do without our help? The Church has always received her wounds 
from her own sons, who suppose that other men are as honest as them 
selves. When our enemies cry up moderation, they mean nothing more 
or less than that we should renounce our own principles and embrace 
theirs. When all is considered, said and done upon the subject, we shall 
find that the Church of England is the best model we can find, as it is reg 
ulated so exactly according to the Scriptures, by which the order of the 
first Church was fixed, 

Tlieodosius, though a great patron of the Church, by assuming to him 
self the power of erecting new models in the government of it, thereby 
destroyed the being and constitution of a Christian Church; for if it rests 
upon the Divine right, derived from our Saviour and his Apostles, it is then 
iu no man's power to alter it ; if it does not, it is no Christian Church, for 
there can be no such thing unless it came from Heaven. My kingdom is 
not of this world, says our Saviour. If the religion we profess, the officers 
to administer, and the ordinances are not all divine, it is all a mere delu- 


sion at the best. These points are so clear in Revelation, that we must 
hold them or renounce all Revelation itself. 

The Church in this state would be pleased to have the old forms altered 
as little as may be ; but for the sake of a union they will comply as far 
as they possibly can. And I do not see. how a union can be more advan 
tageous to us than it will be to you. If it is reciprocal, both ought to 
give way, and not to be too rigid. And I trust this will be the result, when 
matters are maturely considered. 

I am with every sentiment of esteem, regard and friendship, 
Right Rev. Sir, your most obedient, humble Servant, 

The Rev. Bishop White. 

In his letter of congratulation to Bishop White, Mr. Par 
ker still agitates the matter of union and comprehension. 
Giving, as this letter does, evidence of the feeling of the 
New England States, other than Connecticut, with reference 
to this subject, its testimony to the general desire for union 
on principles of mutual independence and equality, becomes 
of importance ; and the reply to it, which will follow in 
chronological order, is explicit and to the point. 


Boston, July 19th, 1787. 
Right Rev. and Dear Sir : 

I feel conscious of a neglect of duty and a deficiency in politeness, to 
have to acknowledge the receipt of two letters from you, before I had con 
gratulated you on your advancement to the dignity you now possess, and 
your return from two long and dangerous voyages. The disturbed state 
of my family through sickness, and my own indisposition at the time of 
Mr. Montague's going to Philadelphia, and prior to that period, must apol 
ogize for this neglect. However late, I would now present you with my 
sincere congratulations on your having arrived at the highest order of the 
Clerical character, and your safe arrival to your native shore, and cor 
dially wish you may prove a rich blessing to the Church under your Epis 
copal care, and promote the interest of true religion throughout these 

Mr. Montague duly delivered your letter of the 8th inst., with respect 
to the Prayer Books you sent me last year. I have not the pleasure to 
inform you of a rapid sale of them. Our Convention had previously 
adopted the alterations, a copy of which were forwarded to you, which was 
not altogether similar to yours. We have in our parish, adopted the 
Psalms as altered by you, but as we reprinted the Psalter here, it made no 
demand for the Prayer Books. But a dozen of them are disposed of, 
though they have been several times advertised for sale by the bookseller. 
What the probability is of a further sale will depend very much upon the 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


future movements of the Church in this State. Should a union take place 
between the Southern and Northern States, upon the plan of these altera 
tions, no doubt they will meet a quick sale here : but as they are not yet 
adopted, even by some of the states represented in the Convention which 
proposed them, I cannot promise that they will be in demand here. I 
cannot myself consent to any further alterations, till a uniform Liturgy is 
agreed upon by the whole Church in these States, and to effect this I shall 
be willing to give up anything but the essential doctrines of our Church, 
and to adopt anything not repugnant thereto. But I fear from the oppo 
site dispositions of Connecticut and the Southern States this will not be 
effected, though I cannot see why upon the supposition of a different eccle 
siastical form of government, the Bishops of the several states may not 
agree on one common Liturgy, and a uniformity of worship be preserved, 
ii not of discipline. 

Nothing will be determined in this state respecting a Bishop till we see 
how matters are settled between you and the Bishop of Connecticut. We 
are but six clergymen in the whole state (exclusive of Mr. Bowen) and are 
divided in our sentiments respecting the expediency of obtaining a Bishop. 
Two seem to adhere to Connecticut, two to your states, and the other two 
will join either party that will bid fairest to cement the whole. Should 
the case happen, that a person should be chosen for consecration for this 
state, will it be necessary for him to go to England to obtain it, or can 
two Bishops confer it authentically ; or is Dr. Griffith on his way to Eng 
land, or will the Southern Bishops nnite with Bishop Seabury in this act ? 
If this last question is premature or impertinent, I beg pardon, and re 
quest not an answer to it. The reason of my proposing these questions is, 
that the answers may operate very considerably in the determinations of 
the Clergy here. . , . . 

In the mean time, I remain, with every sentiment of respect and esteem, 
Your most obedient and very humble Servant, 

S. PARKER.(l) 

Right Rev. Bisnop White. 

Learning in the zeal and fervor of his desires for union, 
lost no time in replying to Bishop White's response to his 
first communication. His letter again bears testimony to 
the fraternal sentiments of the Bishop of Pennsylvania, and 
points to the single obstacle yet remaining, the animosity 
cherished by Bishop Provoost toward Bishop Seubury, as 
all that was yet to be surmounted, ere a general union 
might be effected. 


Stratford, July 30th, 1787. 

I am so anxious, my dear and Rev. Sir, lor^the prosperity of the Church, 
that I cannot do less than acknowledge immediately the receipt of your 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


favour by Dr. Johnson, who informs me that your sentiments are the 
same with ours in respect of the union. 

If you, Bishop Provoost and Bishop Seabury could be brought together, 
at the meeting of the gentlemen who have the care of the fund for Cler 
gymen's widows, all matters might be adjusted. And whatever may be 
agreed upon by you three, each Bishop may bring his own Clergy to ac 
quiesce in it; and by that means matters would be fixed upon a perma*- 
nent basis. 

You are the only person who can prepare the way to effect this schemo. 
And nothing is wanted to do it, but only to bring Bishop Provoost to 
adopt it. And I cannot think he would hesitate a moment, if he knew 
the sentiments of his own Clergy in that respect as fully as I do.. They 
all to a man, would be overjoyed to find such a plan taking place. There 
is no one thing he can possibly do, that would raise his character so high 
among his Clergy, as this will. And there can be no risk in undertaking 
the affair. You would do essential service to the Church in general, and 
Bishop Provoost in particular, provided you can effect this business, and 
convince him of the wisdom he will manifest in taking such a step now as 
will fix the willing obedience of his Clergy to him all hia life after. The 
act, at his first setting out, that pleases and strikes the attention, will be 
of more advantage to him than he can imagine. 

When you have persuaded Bishop Provoost to acquiesce in the measure 
of having a private conference with you and Bishop Seabury, upon the 
subject of a union, be so good as to write to Bishop Seabury and invite 
him to meet you, and I doubt not he will attend. 'As he first proposed it, 
will it not be proper to acquaint him you are now agreed to have such a 
meeting, which, in my opinion, is the only method by which the end de 
sired can be effected. 

One thing further, provided you should bring about a union, which I 
doubt not will, be the event, if you are brought together, it will save Dr. 
Griffith the trouble and expense of going to England, for he can be canon- 
ically consecrated here. 

I have written now lest if I put it off till Dr. Johnson's return, you may 
not have time to prepare matters before the meeting; and it appears to me 
there ought not to be any delay in this affair. I hope you will not esteem 
me over officious in this business ; if you do, my apology is this ; I have 
been forty years in the service of the Church, and I believe I am the 
oldest Clergyman in America, and I am very desirous to see it complete 
before I die. 

God bless your labours for the converting of sinners and the building up 
of saints. Thus prays, Right Rev. Sir, 

Your most obedient, humble Servant, 


Bishop White. 

Bishop White's answer to Mr. Parker, to which we have 
already referred, will serve as a reply to both of these letters. 
It was written, as we infer from one of its statements, after 
consultation with the Bishop of New York. 

(1) From the Bishop Parker Correspondence. 



Philad'a, Aug'st 6. '87. 
Eev'd and dear Sir : 

Your friendly letter of July 13 was delivered me ye other day by 
Mr. Amory, and I request you to accept my thanks for your congratula 
tions and good wishes. 

I will be very explicit with you on ye questions you put in regard to an 
nnion with Bp. Seabury, and ye consecration'of Dr. Griffith. On ye one 
hand, considering it was presumed a third was to go over to England, that 
ye institutions of ye Church of that country require three to join in ye 
consecration, and that ye political situation of ye English prelates prevents 
their official knowledge of Dr. Seabury as a Bishop, I am apprehensive it 
may seem a breach of faith towards them, if not intended deception in us 
were we to consecrate without ye usual number of three, all under ye 
English Succession : although it would not be inconsistent with this idea, 
that another gentleman under a different succession, should be joined with 
us. On ye other hand, I am most sincerely desirous of seeing our Church 
throughout these States united in one Ecclesiastical Legislature, and I think 
that any difficulties which have hitherto seemed in ye way might be re 
moved by mutual forbearance. If there are any further difficulties than 
those I allude to, of difference in opinion, they do not exist with me: and 
I shall be always ready to do what lies in my power, to bring all to an 

As to Dr. Griffith, he is ready to go to England as soon as he shall be 
provided with money for ye purpose ; and it was contrary to his opinion, 
ye writing to Bishop Provoost and to me, requesting us, or either of us to 
consecrate him. My answer was to this purport: that our Convention, by 
adopting ye English Book of Ordination and Consecration, had made it 
necessary for us to adhere to ye canonical number that besides this, I should 
be very cautious of breaking down such a bar against consecration on 
surreptitious electionsye evil against ye which canonical number was intend 
ed and that it would be indelicate to ye English Bishops. I find from Bishop 
Provoost yt he wrote a similar answer. There ye matter rests for ye pres 
ent. 1 remain in hopes that they will now take effectual measures for 
raising ye necessary supplies. 

With regard to ye Prayer Books, when I wrote last, those left in this 
city were almost gone. Since that we have got supplied from other states, 
where they laid on hand ; so teat as ye distance is great they may as well 
continue with, you, until either you shall despair ot selling them, or there 
shall be a demand elsewhere. 1 do not wish to give you much trouble in 
ye affair; but perhaps your booksellers would take them by ye doz: at a 
discount of 1-oth, and if so, I shall be obliged to you to part with them at 
that rate. In several of ye states ye books have lain on hand from an ex 
pectation of another edition, of which there is not ye least probability 
until this be sold, if then. The state of ye sales, at present, is somewhere 
between ye half and two-thirds ; I believe nearer the latter. 

The haste in which I am obliged to write my letters is not consistent 
either with correctness or a fair hand. I beg vou will excuse these defi 
ciencies ; and am, Kev'd and dear Sir, 

Your affectionate Brother, 

Rev'd Sam'l Parker. WM. WHITE.(l) 

(1) From the Biihop Parker Correspondence. 


Though the succession in the English line had been ob 
tained, the number requisite for the canonical transmission 
of the Episcopate was not complete, and yet the Church in 
Virginia took little or no interest in obtaining consecration 
for its Bishop-elect. The following letters reveal a sad pict 
ure of the apathy of both clergy and laity in a matter of 
vital moment to the being and perpetuity of the Church. 


Right Rev'd Sir. 

Be pleased to accept, at this late period, of my congratulations for your 
safe return to America, and of my nearly prayers for your success in the 
great and important Office you fill. May you long live to be an Orna 
ment to our Church, and an instrument in the hands of Providence in diff 
using genuine Christianity. 

I have to acknowledge the receipt of two letters from you with two par 
cels of prayer-books, and to thank you for communicating so largely to 
me the proceedings of the General Convention of the P. E. Church. I am 
sorry to inform you that I have not had such success in disposing of these 
prayer-books as I wish, partly owing to the people's being sufficiently sat 
isfied with the old ones, and their apprehensions of future alterations, or to 
their not being generally adopted. .... 

It will no doubt 'give you great concern when I inform you that as 
Treasurer to the Church, I have received little more than 20 as a fund to 
defray the Expences of consecrating Dr. Griffith, and I have little expec 
tation of receiving more ; so that that Gentleman will meet with a cruel 
dissappointment, and the Church in this State remain without a head, and 
consequently without discipline. 

This will be handed you by Mr. William Cameron, Brother to the Rev'd 
John Cameron with whom you have corresponded, who is to apply to you 
for Ordination. I have had little personal Acquaintaince with him, but 
am well informed by Gentlemen of Character and veracity in this place 
that they have known his deportment to be serious, decent, and respectable, 
and, it is hoped, if admitted into holy Orders, he will prove useful in that 
sacred character, and be an addition to our Church. As such I recommend 
him to you and sincerely desire you may confer ordination upon him. 
I am, with the highest respect and esteem, 
Right Rev'd Sir, 

Your most ob't Serv't and Brother, 

Richmond, 10th Sept'r 1787. Rector of Henrico Parish. (1) 


Fairfax Glebe, 14th Nov'r, 1787. 
Dear Sir. 

The enclosed Papers were brought me by the bearer, Mr. James Mai- 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


well, a Candidate for Orders in the P. Ep'l Church, on a supposition that I 
was fully authorized to exercise the Episcopal Office. He now waits on 
you for the accomplishment of the Object he has in view. I never had 
the pleasure of seeing Mr. Maxwell until this Day; but from the well 
known Character and established reputation of Mr. Me. Croskey and Mr. 
Vere, I have no doubt he justly deserves the Character given him by these 
Gentlemen. He was formerly known to Dr. Andrews, and has a Testi 
monial signed by him and some others, some time before the beginning of 
the late war, when he was about going to England on the same business 
that now carries him to Philadelphia. 

I have delayed writing to you for some time in the expectation of being 
able, shortly, to send yon some satisfactory information both respecting 
the Episcopate, and the Sale of the Prayer Books, but have not yet rec'u 
answers to my enquiries concerning either, altho' it is a considerable time 
since I wrote to the different Gentlemen to whose care I entrusted the lat 
ter, and to our Treas'r who was to receive the Contributions for the former. 

Dr. S. I am told persists, and insists on his Election. He keeps the af 
fairs of the Church in Maryland, in great confusion. 

Your affectionate hu'ble Serv't, 


P. S. Mr. Avery who signs the Letter addressed to the Bp. of Virginia 
was formerly a clergyman of character he is now, or lately was, a mem 
ber of the Senate for this State. 

Another year opened with little prospect of the completion 
of the number canonically required for the transmission of 
the Anglican Succession.- In New England, the Church 
received the ministrations of the Bishop of Connecticut, and 
showed little interest in the measures adopted in the middle 
and southern states. Bishop White on the one hand and 
Rev. Mr. Parker on the other were laboring for the union 
of the two Churches, but even their efforts flagged in view 
of the opposition to their plans anticipated or felt from the 
Bishop of New York. From the correspondence in our 
hands we transcribe the following letters of interest. 


Eight Reverend and Dr. Sir. 

I am afraid you begin to think me negligent in not having 
replied sooner to your favour of the 18th of last December. The reason 
of the Delay was the Expectation I had of seeing some of the Clerical 
Members of the New Jersey Convention and being able to give you their 
Sentiments upon the subject you have stated. But Mr. Ogden has left us 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


for the Winter, and the only Clergyman belonging to that State I have 
since conversed with was entirely unacquainted with the persons mentioned 
as Candidates for Holy Orders. He was however of opinion that it would 
be prudent to delay the Ordination of these Persons till the next meeting 
of their Convention in order that time might be afforded to make the nec 
essary inquiries into their Characters, and also because he imagined it was 
the intention of that assembly that ouly their allowed members should 
take the Liberty of recommending. 

As the Rubric you allude to is the only restriction left upon the Ameri 
can Bishops by the General Convention as to the Literary Qualifications 
they are to require in the persons who offer themselves for holy orders, it 
is the general Sentiment here that it ought not to be dispensed with. 
I am with great Esteem 

Rt. Rev'd and D'r Sir 

Your affectionate Brother, 

New York, January 15th, 1788. 


Baltimore Town, Jan'y 21st, 1788. 

Right Reverend Sir. 

Agreeably to your .Desire I have perused and forwarded your Let 
ter to the rev d Dr. Claggett ; and am sorry you should have experienced 
the disagreeable Sensations occasioned by the Subject. I am not con 
scious that I am among those who may have given you cause to think, 
that, in their Opinion, you have been too easy in admitting to Holy Orders. 
I never thought that Bp. White would act, in such or any other Matters, 
contrary to the Suggestions of his own Mind ; and my Reasons for think 
ing so have been because all who have mentioned that Gentleman in my 
company, as well as the Sentiments I have entertained of him, ever sincrf' 
the personal acquaintaince with which he has honoured me, have rivetted 
in me an high Opinion of his Integrity and Rectitude of Heart. I hope 
therefore, respected Sir, that you do not suspect Win. West to be one of 
those who have censured your Conduct, especially In a Matter, which, he 
thinks, rests chiefly with yourself. 

How far the Precedents of Bps. in the Ch'h of England (from w'ch I 
presume the P. E. Ch'h in these States never intended to depart) may in 
fluence our Bpa. in the Instance of Ordination is to themselves and not to 
others ; and how far particular Regulations relative to Candidates for H. 
Orders, in our Ch'hs distant from them, may lay claim to their Observa 
tion, must also be left to themselves to determine. As it cannot be that 
any Bp. can personally know all who may apply for Ordination, a Testi 
monial of the Candidate's moral and pious Conversation (not only for 3 or 
4 years last past ; but, if it might be, even from his youth,) seems highly 
proper and desirable ; And I have always thought that Recommenders to 
this Purpose should, in the Act, consider themselves responsible to one high 
er than the Bp., even to God himself! But as to other Qualifications of 
the Candidate, I mean his literary Abilities and Aptness to teach, these, I 
have supposed are to be judged of more by the Bp. himself and his assis 
tant Presbyters immediately about him, than by any others; and that 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence 


being BO " Learned in the Latin Tongne, Ac.," (as pointed out by the 34th 
Canon of the Ch'h of England) the Candidate is to be deemed sufficiently 
learned as to languages. 

Indeed an illiterate Ministry will eventually bring Reproach upon the 
Ch'h ; and the more learned, as well as pious, the Teachers are, in all Things 
leading to Edification, the more apt they will, undoubtedly, be to teach, 
and to "adorn the Doctrine of God their Saviour in all Things" But 
when it is considered that, frcm a Variety of Circumstances, great Latitude 
must be allowed both to Bps. and those who recommend, it must be con 
fessed, I think, by all, that a conscientious Recommendation is the only 
one that can be expected. The Ch'h in Maryland has not, I believe, point 
ed out any particular Degree of literary knowledge to which the Candidate 
must have attained, before his Recommendation ; and, as one of those, 
whose Signature (while I remain Secretary) may possibly be desired by 
Candidates, I should be glad to know the least Degree of literary Attain 
ment absolutely necessary to the due Qualification of a Candidate. 

. As to the Designation of a Bp. for this our Ch'h, I 
have not coincided in Sentiments with some others, perhaps ; and I think 
I have Reason to believe that, on this Head, I have lost the Friendship of 
one, for whom I entertain an high Regard on some Accounts. And as to 
the Revised and final Ratification of our Liturgy, &c., tho' I wish for Con 
sistency and perfect Harmony among the federal Ch'hs ; yet I am per 
suaded a Meeting of the General Convention would not, as yet, effect the 

Many Congregations with us have not, I believe, adopted the New Lit 
urgy ; and among them, that in which I officiate is one. The Reason is 
not because the Members object to it ; but because they expect it will be 
more perfected ; And till this happens they remain satisfied with the Old. 

I am right reverend Sir, 

Your very humble Servant 

WM. WEST. (1) 


Fairfax Glebe, 12th Jan'y 1788. 

Dear Sir: 

The expected information from Richmond was, as is usually the case 
with my Letters, long in coming to hand ; and the enclosed, from Mr. Bal- 
main, containing the whole of what was done there, I send for your satis 

Mr. Woodville has, probably, informed you that I did not go to the 
Convention . I declined it from a persuasion that, as nothing of impor 
tance was to be proposed, except the support of the Episcopate, very few 
would attend. The event proved that 1 was right in my conjecture. The 
Letter .mentioned by Mr. Balmain, as returned to me, was written to the 
President to inform him of my resolution to decline the Episcopal Office, 
their being no Convention, and consequently no President, the Letter was 
returned unopened. 

You will now, my dear Sir, I presume, conclude, with me, that (even if 
I had not determined to decline) Virginia is not to be depended on for the 

(1) Prom the Bp. White Correspondence. 


completing of our Ecclesiastical System, at least not in proper time, and 
without some risk of further inconveniences. I have not any reason to 
believe that greater exertions will be made in favour of some other Person. 
I wish you may meet with more zeal and promptitude, in this business, 
from some of the neighbouring States ; tho' I confess, I am not very san 
guine in my expectations on that score ; However, I am of opinion no 
time should be lost in making application. 

As to calling a General Convention, I see no necessity for it until we are 
assured that some Person, nominated to the Episcopal Office, is willing and 
ready to depart for England. General Conventions should not be too Ire-, 
quent, and only called when absolutely necessary ; otherwise, People, espec 
ially those who live at a distance, will be tired of the inconveniencies at 
tending them, their being too common will occasion their being neglected, 
and we may, on pressing occasions, fail of getting such as are lull and res 

It is true, as Mr. Bull told you, that our Canons rsquire a Deacon to con 
tinue such six Months, But this can affect a Bishop of Virginia only ; It 
would subject to very unreasonable hardships, Gentlemen who travel a 
great distance for Ordination. 

Your affectionate hu'ble Serv't 


But to return to tne northward. It was almost unavoid 
able that Mr. Parker, in his efforts to heal the breach be 
tween the Connecticut Church and that at the Southward, 
should lie under suspicion from one so outspoken and straight 
forward as Bishop Seabury. At Boston a portion of the 
" Proposed Book," the Psalter, was reprinted for use in the 
Church over which Mr. Parker was Rector, and other alte 
rations than those required by the changes in the civil rela 
tions of the United States were made in the Prayer Book, 
on the authority of a Convention held shortly after Bishop 
Seabury's return to this country. 

Exaggerated reports of these alterations were borne to 
the ears of the Bishop of Connecticut ; and on occasion of 
an invitation being extended to him to preach the annual 
sermon in Boston before the Episcopal Charitable Society, 
the Bishop referred to these changes, and expressed his 
unwillingness to countenance, by his presence, these unau 
thorized departures from the " good old Look of Common 
Prayer." Bishop Seabury's first letter on this subject is 

(1) From tho Up. White Correspondence. 


not preserved. The answer of Mr. Parker is a valuable con 
tribution to our general Church history 


Boston, Jan'ry 28, 1788. 
R't Rev'd Sir. 

Your favour of the 15th did not reach me till the evening of 
the 21st instant, and the departure of the Post the next morning prevent 
ed my answering it the last week. 

I am very sorry to find that you have any reluctance to pass the festival 
of Easter at Boston, on account of any irregular or unprecedented conduct 
in our Church. I know not what accounts may have come to your ears 
respecting the great alterations we have made in the Liturgy of the Church. 
I natter myself you have heard more than is really true. I had the hon 
our of transmitting to you, Sir, a copy of these alterations, adopted by a 
Convention held in this state, Sept., '85: no others have been since added, 
except the Psalms. The gentlemen of the Charitable Society would think 
themselves honoured with your company at their annual festival ; but I 
cannot i'eel myself at liberty to promise a recession from our present mode 
of carrying on the service, as I apprehend it would be attended with great 
convulsions in our Church. And if you will indulge me in the statement 
of a few facts relating to those alterations we have really made, and the 
grounds upon which they were adopted", you will be the better able to 
judge how far our conduct has been reprehensible. 

In the year 1785, I think in the month of June or July, there being 
then but four Clergymen of the Episcopal Church in the three states of 
B,hode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and there being in 
those states eighteen or twenty Churches, three of the Clergymen of Mass 
achusetts thought it advisable to invite a Convention of all the Churches 
to consult upon some plan for maintaining uniformity in Divine Worship, 
and adopting such other measures as might tend to the union and prosper 
ity of the Episcopal Church. There being but four Clergymen, and so 
many Churches without, it was absolutely necessary to call in the War 
dens and delegates from those Churches who had no Clergymen. This Con 
vention was proposed to be held on Sept. 7, 1785. In the mean time, 

"being informed that the Bishop of Connecticut proposed to meet his Cler 
gy in Convocation, on August 3, in that year, I was requested by my 
brethren in the ministry, and the wardens and vestry, to attend that meet 
ing, in order to learn what proceedings that body would take, that the pro 
posed Convention in this state might be able to act in unison with them. 
The attention and politeness I received from yourself, Sir, and the Cler 
gy of your diocese, demand my grateful acknowledgements. I had the 

honour of a seat in the first Convention ever held in America. Upon dis 
cussing the subject of the expediency of some alterations in the Liturgy 
of the Church, it was proposed and agreed to, to choose a committee to at 
tend the Bishop, to propose such alterations as should be thought necess 
ary, and to report them to the next meeting of the Convocation. Having 
the honour of being named on that committee, in conjunction with the 
Kev'd Messrs Jarvis and Bowdoin, you will recollect, Sir, that we spent 
Friday and Saturday in that week upon this subject, and that most, if not 
all the prooosed alterations were such as we were under obligations to you 


for, or snch as you readily agreed to. These proposed alterations were to 
be reported to the next meeting of your Convocation, and by your express 
desire, to the Convention that was to meet in this town the following 
month, and were, I think, transmitted by you to the Rev'd Dr. Smith, of 
Maryland, to be communicated to the Convention to be held at Philadel 
phia, in the month of October. The substitutes for the state prayers were 
to be immediately recommended to the Churches of Connecticut ; and your 
injunction was received and adopted, with the alteration of one single 
word by our Convention The other proposed alterations were also agreed 
to, and were to be sent to all the Churches in those states for their ratifi 
cation. In our peculiar situation, without a Bishop, and most of our 
Churches without a Clergyman, what other mode could we devise? Till 
then I had not made, and did not think myself at liberty to make, any 
alterations, even in the state prayers, otherwise than by omitting the pray 
ers for the King, &c. Give me leave, R't Rev'd Sir, to ask what other 
mode we could have devised, in our peculiar situation, without a Bishop, 
and most of onr Churches,without a Clergyman ? As we conld not proceed 
in the most regular way of having our Li turgjt altered by a Bishop, we 
thought we had taken the next most regular step;- that of gaining the con 
sent of a neighbouring Bishop, who, we were led to suppose, would enjoin 
the same in his diocese. We kept our Convention under adjournments till 
July following, in order to see what would take effect in Connecticut, and 
at the Southward. The Convention held in Philadelphia, in October, went 
more thoroughly into alterations than we had proposed, which terminated 
in reprinting the Prayer Book. The Churches in Connecticut, taking the 
alarm at the proceedings of the Philadelphia Convention, began to think 
it best not to start from the old ground ; and, if I am rightly informed, 
sent memorials to the Bishop in Convocation, not to accede to any altera 
tions in the Liturgy, further than the substitutes for the state prayers. 

When our Convention met in July, by adjournment, we found that we 
were left by our brethren in Connecticut that they thought it not advis 
able to make any alterations. The Convention at the South-ward, thougb 
they acceded to some of our alterations, had gone much further, and did 
not adopt the substitute for the state prayers ; and the Churches in this and 
the neighbouring states had readily come into our proposed alterations, as 
they had signified to the Convention, one only excepted : what was there, 
in the power of the Convention, then left to do, to preserve a uniformity ? 
For my own part I was nonplussed we found we missed our object, and 
the only thing left to our choice was, to leave it to the option of the sev 
eral Churches to adopt the new alterations, or continue the old Liturgy, as 
should be most agreeable. 

My Church chose the alterations, and on the first Sunday in August, 
1786, they were introduced, and have been strictly adhered to ever since. 
With those alterations suggested by yourself, and adopted by this Conven 
tion, it was judged best by some of our Church, to take the Psalms as select 
ed by the Convention at Philadelphia. The reasons adduced for this pro 
cedure were the great length of the morning service, which the reading the 
Psalms thus selected would considerably shorten, and that certain passages, 
which were peculiar to the state of the Jewish Church, and in particular 
those called the cursing Psalms, and not so well adapted to worship under 
the Christian dispensation, were omitted. 

This, Sir, being the true state of facts, you will be able to judge how far 
we have acted irregularly, and whether you can with propriety visit us 
under these circumstances. I am not, for my own part, so much attached 


to our alterations, as to be unwilling to part with them, save in two in 
stances : I mean the omission of the Athanasian Creed, and the frequent 
repetition of the Lord's Prayer. To return to these I should feel a reluc 
tance; but still would be willing to sacrifice rny own sentiments to the 
general good. 

I am at the same time confident that, should I attempt it, it would cause 
a convulsion in my Church, [such] as would go near to its total destruction. 
And sure I am that is an event you would not wish to see take place. 
But let us suppose it -might be effected without this risque. Will our return 
ing whence we have departed produce a uniformity through these states? 
If this was probable, I should most surely advise it. You value us in this 
state at much too high a rate, by supposing that our joining either side will 
bring about the desired uniformity. The Church is inconsiderable here, 
compared with what it is in yours or the Southern States. And would 
not our returning, without producing the intended end, discover an insta 
bility and fondness for change, that would be greatly prejudicial to the 
welfare of the Churches? This I will venture to assert, that when the 
several Bishops in America have agreed upon a uniform Liturgy, that it 
will be adopted by the Cmirches in this state. 

Thus, R't Rev'd Sir, I have taken the liberty to lay before you this state 
ment of facts, and the probable consequences of our compliance with what 
you wish ; and however mistaken I may be, I have endeavored to do it 
with all that respect due to your character and office. Your known good 
ness and candour will excuse me if my pen has let any thing slip that is 
improper, for I assure you it was not intended. 

I can only now add, Sir, that the gentlemen of the Charitable Society, 
and particularly myself, would think ourselves honoured with your com 
pany at the annual festival, and highly favoured by your preaching to 
them on that day, (and I will add,' on the Sunday preceding, if you can 
make it convenient;) but at the same'time they cannot authorize me to 
promise a recession from our present mode of performing the service, as 
they are apprehensive that such a measure would* especially at the present 
time, when the Episcopal Church is peculiarly situated, tend to create di 
visions and parties among ourselves. 

A committee of the Society was chosen at the last yearly meeting, to ap 
point some other gentleman to preach, in case you should not accept the 
invitation. You will, therefore, please to let me know, as soon as conven 
ient, the result of your determination, 

And believe me to be, with all possible respect and esteem, 
K't Rev'd Sir, your most obedient, 

And very humble Servant, S. PARKER.(l) 

R't Rev'd BISHOP of Connecticut. 

It was not in the nature of Bishop Seabury to allow any 
misconception of his motives, or wrong interpretation of his 
conduct, to remain long unexplained, and the post soon bore 
to the hands of Mr. Parker the Bishop's reply. Only a frag 
ment of it is still preserved, and that is contained in the 

(1) From the original draft, preferred among the Bishop Parker Papers. 


MS. Letter Book of the Bishop, from which we have tran 
scribed it. It is gratifying to know, that this frank discus 
sion caused no interruption in a life-long friendship, and the 
Easter visit of Bishop Seabury to Boston soon followed, 
proving how completely all misunderstanding had been re 


February 13, 1788. 

It was not my design to excite any resentment, or create any cool 
ness, and I hope I have not done so. Indeed I have no suspicion of it 
from any expression in your letter. But I could not help observing that 
it was written with more formality than you used to write. Notwithstand 
ing the statement of matters in it, I cannot help thinking you have been 
too hasty in adopting the alterations as you have done that it has ren 
dered a union among the Churches the more difficult, and clouded the small 
prospect of uniformity, which gave any encouragement to aim at it. That 
some of our Clergy have been too backward in accommodating the service 
of the Church to the state, or rather the temper of the country, I will not 
deny ; I have more than once told them so. But errors may be committed 
through haste, as well as by delay. I am far from ascribing ill designs to 
you, or to any one who acted with you : but you must forgive me iP I re 
peat it such alterations as have been made are unprecedented in the Epis 
copal Church, without the concurrence of your proper Bishop. Forgive 
me, too, if I say, I did not flatter myself with having any steps taken in 
returning to the old service for my sake. I have been too long acquainted 
with my own unimportance, to expect it. But I did and do wish to have 
as great a uniformity as possible among our Churches ; and I was grieved 
at a measure which I thought impeded so good a work. I never thought 
there was any heterodoxy in the Southern Prayer Book : but I do think 
the true doctrine is left too unguarded, and that the offices are, some of 
them, lowered to such a degree, that they will, in a great measure, lose 
their influence.(l) 

It was not long after the return of Bishop Seabury from 
his visit to the Eastward, that Mr. Learning renewed his 
correspondence with the Bishop of Pennsylvania in an inter 
esting letter, which we give in full. 


Stratford, June 16th, 1788. 
My Bev. and dear Sir : 

I have received your kind and obliging letter, dated the 10th of last 
February, and I should have answered it before this time, but have waited 

(1) From Bishop Seabury's Letter Book. 


to hear how the affair turned out, after the Convention in Virginia, with 
Dr. Griffith. 

As to the affair upon which our correspondence commenced, 

it appears to me, that the union of the Churches is, at present, a mat 
ter that cannot be effected. I was in hopes to see it accomplished soon 
after your return from England. But you inform me some object, and 

will have nothing to do with the Scotch Succession. Dr. P y (1) 

is at the bottom of the plan. He has contrived it to make this country 
all Unitarians ; for, to accomplish that, he must demolish the Church in 
these States. However, if we do not lend him a helping hand, he cannot 
do it. The Church will never fall, unless it is pnlled down by her own 

Perhaps you will say, you cannot think there is any such scheme on 
foot. It will not be long before you will find that what I have told you 
is fact The Presbyterians are employed by , to fill all the South 
ern States with their sort of Ministers, before the Church is supplied with 
Episcopal Clergymen. Where people have no principles about the nature 
of a Christian Church, a man ordained by the Laity is as good as any. 
And a man who professes to believe no creed, but only this, that he believes 
not in any creed, is as good a Christian as any man can be. By this scheme 
the Unitarian doctrine is to take place. In order to preserve the Church, 
the members should be vigilant, lest the foundation should be undermined 
by clandestine enemies. If true Christianity is not preserved by the Epis 
copal Chur,ch, it will soon take its flight from these States, for Unitarians 
will be the whole. 

In order that the common people, members of the Church in this state, 
might understand the nature of the Christian Church, and some of its 
leading doctrines, I have lately published a small treatise upon various 
subjects, a copy of which I now send you. This I should not have pre 
sumed to do, if you had not in a familiar manner expressed your desire 
that I would communicate to you any matters that might turn up with 
regard to our Church. 

If you should, upon the reading of it, approve what I have advanced, 
I should be glad to know if reprinting of it would be of any advantage 
to the people of your State, who are under your care, If we desire to pre 
serve the Church, we must acquaint the people for what end the Church 
was appointed, and what the doctrines of a Christian Church are, in or 
der that they may understand them. 

Thus I have expressed my sentiments freely, and perhaps have been too 
open. But this must be my apology : in love I have done it, and in love 
I hope it may be received. 

I am, with every sentiment of esteem and regard, Right Rev. Sir, 
Your sincere friend and very humble Servant, 


Right Rev. Bishop White. 

Passing from the recital of these efforts for union we turn 
again to the painfully interesting correspondence of the 
Bishop-elect of Virginia with Bishop White. 

(i;Dr. Prietly. (2) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 



Fairfax Glebe, 9th July, 1788. 
Dear Sir, 

I have rec'd. yours of the 24th of June; an answer to the former 
part of which I sent you some time since, in a Letter in which was enclosed 
one from Mr. Balmain to me. 

The zeal of the Persons you mention to support our Ecclesiastical System 
is very commendable. The proposal, (had it been in time) could, I should 
suppose, have given no offence, especially on the footing of a loan ; tho' I 
confess, I see little probability that it would be repaid in any tolerable 
time. However, as I have determined to relinquish the appointment, I 
shall only say on this Subject, that I wish no more time may be lost, and 
that immediate application may be made to the Church in the other States 
united with us. 

I shall inform you of what you wish to know respecting the P. Books 
and Journals, as soon as I can hear from the Persons to whom they are 
entrusted. Mr. Vasey is accountable for 100 copies. He sailed for Eng 
land about three or four weeks ago. I will send you Dr. Madison's Sermon, 
by the first convenient private opportunity. 

I sincerely congratulate you on the Establishment of the Federal Con 
stitution, and pray that it may be productive of more than the many bles 
sings we expect from it. 

I remain Dr. Sir, 

Your affectionate hu'ble Serv't, 

Rt. Rev'd. Bp. White. DAVID GRIFFITH.(l) 

Nor was the state of the Church in Maryland much better. 
The refusal of the Wilmington Convention to recommend the 
Bishop elect was followed by no attempt to choose a less ob 
jectionable candidate and heart burnings and dissensions pre 
vented the growth of the Church at this critical period of her 


Baltimore Town, July 14th, 1788. 
Right Reverend Sir. 

I have received your Favour from Harford, for which I thank you. 
Presuming, from your Information, that the Convention of the Ch'h ia 
Virginia was to set just before the Meeting of ours, I addressed Mr. Grif 
fith on the Subject of Consecration, as at Richmond : But have since un 
derstood that no Convention of that Ch'h has happened. From which 
Circumstance I conclude that possibly Mr. Griffith, tno' perhaps willing to 
be consecrated, is not duly prepared. For as his Nomination or. Appoint 
ment to the office of Bp. was, probably, before the Arrival of those Tes 
timonies, Expressly required by the Bps. in England, it seems to me that 
a Convention must necessarily be, to comply with the Requisites indispensi- 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


bly enjoined by them, before he can expect Consecration, even tho' duly 
recommended by the General Convention of the P. E. Ch'h. This appears 
to me the more unfortunate, because the present state of our Cfc in. in 
Maryland will, perhaps, place her among the last of those who shall be 
completely organized ! 

I presume you are no stranger (tho 1 not informed by me) to the unhap 
py Circumstances under which we have been and still are labouring on 
this Head. Indeed I have hinted to you that probably I had forfeited 
the Friendship of a Person for whom I entertain a very high Regard, on 
account of his singular talents and real Usefulness in many Respects. It 
is unnecessary to relate what passed between us two, on this Subject, in the 
Presence only of our God ! To my very great surprize it was all dragged in 
to Convention more than a twelve-month ago ; and I waa under the irk 
some Necessity of demanding in Public, what I had peremptorily insist 
ed upon in Private before, that my Name should be expunged from those 
who had formerly recommended him for Consecration. Then it was that 
a Scene commenced, which it ^till hurts me to reflect upon! And then too 
it was that one, whom I really love and respect, vented a Spirit of Bitter 
ness upon rne, which confirmed me in my previous Conviction that we 
had not been happy in our Early Nomination of a Man to the sacred of 
fice of Bp. ! But I trust that Gentleman is now better affected towards 
me. Our last Convention was the only one, at which I have been present, 
without hearing something of a Bp. The Necessities of our Chh. seemed, 
in my Apprehension at least, to nave been postponed to this Business, 
which tho necessary, was not equally so with certain Rules or Canons 
for putting into Execution the Principles of our Ecclesiastical System 
(herewith sent you). The Gentleman ot whom I have been speaking waa 
clever; and I am hopefnl will render the Chh. all the Services in his Pow 
er, without touching any more a Subject which has hitherto proved rath 
er injurious to her than otherwise. I have troubled you with these Mat 
ters, in Order to apologize for the seeming Backwardness of our Chh. in 
perpetuating a Succession of its Ministry. But I trust other Chhs. are more 
happily circumstanced than this, and that, being so, they will recommend 
and send forward a Gentleman to complete the Canonical Number neces 
sary for the desirable Purpose. And may Heaven long continue amongst 
us those two who have so readily and happily done their Parts ! 

Your humble Servant, 

WM. WEST.(l) 
Right Reverend William White, D. D., Philadelphia. 

It was left to the erratic Purcell of South Carolina to dis 
cover defects in the proceedings at Wilmington in a charac 
teristic letter which we append simply to illustrate the pecul 
iarities of a man of whom we shall learn more bye and bye. 


Dear and Rt. Rev. Sir. 

I could be very severe upon the different 
Reception that our Reform has met with in the various States. And it 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


is on tins, m a great Measure, that I fix my Data, that the Convention then 
held at Wilmington was illegal and unconstitutional. There really was 
not a Majority of the associatad States And I can most unequivocally 
prove, without calling unto my Aid the Manner in which you met after 
adjourning sine die, to be unparliamentary without a fresh Delegation, 
that even the State of So. Carolina was unrepresented. This you'll say 
is strange indeed but tis no less so than true. Mr. Smith possessed a Power 
of nominating one or more Lay Gentleman to sit with him in the Con 
vention ; but twas hardly presumable that he would have made a choice of 
a Minor in the first Instance, and in the next one who had never been 
baptiz'd a Member of our Church. This I keep snugg to myself, 'tis not 
known but I am sorry that our Church should originate (for I date 
its Era from the first Convention) not in that perfect Purity or according 
to primitive Usage, so as to defy the tongue of Censure. But I forbear at 

Another letter from the Bishop elect of Virginia continues 
the painful correspondence with which we are already so fa 


Fairfax Glebe, 27th Nov. 1788. 
Dear Sir. 

A few days ago I wrote to you by Mr. F. Fairfax who, I hope, is safely 
arrived in Philad'a. I still find myself much embarrassed to reply to the 
proposal in your last letter, notwithstanding I have taken so much time to 
consider of it. This embarrassment arises from my reflections on the 
present State of Church Governm't in Virginia with the absolute neces 
sity there appears to be for compleating our eccles'l System, and the con 
sequences that must foHow from my complying with the proposal. My 
resignation not having been rec'd, there might, perhaps, be no impropri 
ety in my going to England for consecration, especially if it should be con 
sidered as a measure absolutely necessary for perfecting our Church system ; 
Butr the present difficulties are the Situation in which I shall find myself 
at my return the consequences that must result to my family the effect 
it will probably produce in my Parish the absolute impossibility for 
me, circumstanced as I am at present, to Exercise the Episcopal office con 
formably to our Canons, and the odium which this may bring on the Epis 
copal Character. 

When I accepted the office to which I was chosen by the Convention of 
Virginia, I had great reason to expect their support from my Parish I was 
induced to hope that a more adequate Provision would be made, and 
greater punctuality observed in the Payments, and besides, I had the 
greatest reason to believe that my property in the Town of Alexand'a 
would, independent of other expectations, furnish my family with a com 
petent living. In all these resources I find myself disappointed, at least 
for the present time. What I have to expect from the Convention you 
already know ; nor is it probable that I shall be better or more punctually 
paid by my Parish than heretofore, and you may believe me when I assure 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


you that the whole of what I have rec'd for the last 7 or 8 years does not 
amount to 50 pr annum on an average. My property in the Town pro 
duces hardly any thing; the oppressive laws of the State legislature 
have either driven away, or disabled from improving, the Persons who 
had leased my Ground. My present dependence for the support of a large 
family is my Glebe, which, tho' extensive, is but poor land, and requires 
close attention to procure from it a sufficiency of necessaries. What then 
must be my situation when in the exercise of the Episcopal office in this 
large State, which if faithfully attended to, will require a frequent absence 
of many weeks, as my duty would call me more than 300 miles from home? 
The consequence must be-a neglect of my principal means of subsistence 
and the Education of my children, to which I am, now, obliged to attend 
it must be attended with additional expenses, amounting to a much greater 
item than the whole of what I now receive it must lead to disagreement 
between me and my Parishioners, who I believe, would not be content if I 
was, frequently, to leave them for many weeks together ; and it might 
furnish them with a p!ea for witholding the very small sum I now receive 
from them. Besides,' circumstanced as I now am, it would not be possible 
for me to exercise the Episcopal Office in a suitable manner and agreeable 
to our Canons ; the want of Money to defray the necessary expences of 
Visiting and Confirming would prevent the performance of these duties, 
(unless I would undertake to travel as a mendicant) and this, tho 1 a reason 
able and proper excuse, would not, I fear, be sufficient to preserve one 
from censure ; there are always captious and unreasonable Men to be found 
who would attribute it to remissness or indolence ; and the clamours of 
such Men, aided by a little party Spirit, might be sufficient not only to 
bring censure on an individual, but also to excite a prejudice against the 
Episcopal Character in general. My situation being such as I have rep- 
r-'.sented it, and such being the attendant consequences of my officiating in 
the Episcopal Character under such circumstances, you can be at no loss 
to know my determination on the present question. I believe neither of 
us expected to be enriched by accepting the Office of a Bishop. I wa?, and 
still arn, willing to engage in the laborious undertaking, my time and ser 
vices I would willingly devote, and were I in independent Circumstances 
would do more; but these being as I have now represented them, I can 
only resolve to do what prudence dictates, and necessity compels, i. e. re 
linquish the appointment. I have come to this resolution with the great 
er reluctance as there appears to me but little probability of our Eccle 
siastical System's being soon perfected, either from this or any neighbour 
ing State. If I am wrong in my apprehensions, respecting other States, 
be pleased to inform me ; To be assured to the contrary would relieve me 
from great anxiety, which I feel on the account, and afford me a very sin 
gular satisfaction. 

In a Union of the Churches in the different States, Virginia is, certainly, 
of considerable importance, both from the number and consequence of its 
members. These, I am sorry to say, are declining very fast, occasioned 
not so much by the Zeal and Activity of dissenters, as the want of discip 
line among ourselves. This must continue to be the case so long as our 
Eccl'l System is incomplete. Unfortunately for the Episcopal Church in 
Virginia, it has, hitherto, been, almost without discipline ; and tho' I am 
happy in knowing that the Clergy are, in general, disposed to submit to 
and promote it, yet, in the separated State in which they live, it will never 
gain ground without a Superintending power. This, I much fear, we shall 
not have in Virginia, in any reasonable time, if we are to depend on our 


own Member8 for its introduction and support ; For, besides the general 
backwardness to contribute on such occasions, the whole Country is, at 
this time, so greatly distressed for Money, that people of large fortunes find 
it extremely difficult to obtain small sums for the most necessary purposes. 
I can devise no other way for the introduction of an Episcopate in Virg'a 
than by applying, either to the Society for propagating 'the Gospel, or to 
the friendly Office of the Bishops of England. The Society, I should sup 
pose, having a much less number of Missionaries than formerly would have 
something to spare on so necessary an occasion. I should hope that, if 
the means were in their power, they would not be prevented by prejudice 
from complying with the request. But should that be the case, yet, if the 
English Bishops would patronize a Subscription among the wealthy Peo 
ple of their Nation, the business might be effected. You, Sir, I make no 
doubt, know, pretty well, how such proposals would be received. If you 
are of Opinion that they would meet with a friendly reception, either from 
the Society or the Bishops, and would not be too degrading, I would en 
gage to go over in the Spring provided yourself and Bp. Provoost with or 
without Dr. Chandler would recommend the Measure. I have thrown 
out this as a hint for your consideration, on a supposition that the business 
could not be effected soon, in any other 

I was called on yesterday by a Mr. Robert Ayres, a Methodist Preach 
er, his business was to inform me of his wish to obtain Episcopal Ordi 
nation and to settle near Fort Pitt in your State. He desired also that I 
would inform you of his intentions. Of Mr. Ayres I have nothing to 
say but that I never saw nor heard of him till yesterday. He brought no 
recommendatory Letter to me has one from a Dr. Wheeler addressed to 
you. Mr. Ayres has been 4 years a Preacher, from which may con 
clude that his conduct has been unexceptionable for at least so long a time. 
The Disenters, I am told, are renewing their attacks on the Church prop 
erty, in the present Assembly. 1 expect that Buchanan will let me know 
the issue of their application. 

-I remain D'r Sir, 

Your affect' e and obed't Serv't 


Belief from the peculiar difficulties attending the comple 
tion of the succesion in the English line was offered from an 
unexpected source. The proposition contained in this let 
ter should be considered in connection with a later commu 
nication from the same source. 


Winchester Kow, Paddington, Dec'r 3d, 1788. 
Bishop White, 

Right Reverend Sir. 

Now to the old Subject ..... Your 
Triennial Convention meeta in July next. Pray explode not your old 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


Litnrgy, but leave a poor Remnant at least of the present generation 
to offer up their public devotions after these accustomed forms. Popular 
opinions or prejudices are not to be corrected in haste. Of this the good 
people of N. York were aware, and proceeded soberly and cooly to give no 
handle to Methodists and Dissenters ; but your Hot-heads under a more 
Southern sun drove on like Phaetons, and quickly lost their course and 
credit; they are not inspired with ye Grace of final perseverance and 
steadiness. They blow hot and cold, or they would not have been till now 
without a third Bishop, which is very mysterious indeed. Do they still 
stick, as you mentioned^ at the dangers and expense of a Voyage. I wish 
I had not resisted the repeated solicitations of Bishop Provoost who urged 
me to undertake the Superintendence of the Jerseys. But who could have 
then foreseen your straits or my return in easy circumstances. You men 
tion the Virginia Convention met as in May last which made me look out 
every month after for the arrival of Dr. Griffith but hearing nothing fur 
ther of him since, I went last week to enquire of the Archbishop, but not 
finding him at home, as it seems he never is from 7 to 4, since the King's 
lingering nervous fever, I left notice with his Chaplain who by his Grace's 
Order favoured me with the following account, that, " The Lord Archbish 
op has not received any information of the person who was to come over to 
be consecrated." He is anxious to see your business finished here, and 
expressed some surprise before now that it was not. 

May I then with great deference and submission tender my poor ser 
vices to such of your good people as would cordially accept them whether 
in N. Jersey, Delaware or Maryland, the most convenient for my private 
business, till a fourth Bishop was consecrated when I would resign, and 
read Sunday evening lectures with the good Abp. Leighton, in your Acad 
emy or some placid place of retirement from public engagements, singing 
old Simeon's solemn requiem. 

After what has passed, my case is obvious and simple. As I have lived 
upwards of three years under the immediate inspection of the Archbishops, 
and Bishops of London, and personally known to both, the Testimonials, 
with their formalities, necessary in your case, are entirely useless in mine 
which requires no more than for the Committee of any Provincial Conven 
tion, or for the Vestries of any Part or District thereof to set forth, that 
" Being well or credibly assured of the good learning, the soundness in the 
faith, and purity of manners ; of the Rev'd A M . of the parish of St. 
Mary le Bone, in the county of Middlesex, in Great Britain, D. D., mem 
ber of the Episcopal Academy, and honorary citizen of Philad'a, in the 
State of Pens'a, have duly elected, and with all submission (because my 
character must be submitted to cognizance here) do recommend the said 
A M . to his Grace, the Lord Archbishop of or to be consecrat 
ed Bp. in agreeably to a British Act of Parliament, entitled An Act, 

Ac., passed the day of , in the year of our Lord , and of his Brit 
annic Majesty's reign the ." Some Instrument to this effect, accompa 
nied with a joint Letter from you and Bp. Provoost, approving the choice, 
is all that is necessary. 

As there is no occasion for -Testimonials, so there is as little for Sub 
scriptions here, but only in America, in order to be admitted a Member of 
Convention, and not to assist only at Consecration, or the Clergy who con 
secrated you must have subscribed your 20 Articles, Constitution, &c. It 
was enough they tacitly acknowledged them to be " according to the prin 
ciples of the Church of Eng'd." Accordingly an English Bp. only on his 
travels thro' your Parts might canonically assist you at Consecrations or 


Ordinations, without subscribing to Articles or Oaths religious or civil. 

You know my sentiments too well to think that I would sow the seeds 
of Schism or Sedition, by being allowed a latitude in the first instance. 

As to Citizenship in its legal full extent, tho' I conceive I have not for 
feited it, yet from prudential considerations I do and must waive it. 
Meantime it is enough that you do me the honour, as you readily can, to 
have me chosen a Member of your Episcopal Academy which entitles me or 
any one else not attainted to honorary Citizenship where it is, that is to Pro 
tection in Person and Property at least. This appears necessary to obviate 
a strange ambiguity in the Act of Parliament, respecting "citizens out of 
his Majestie's dominions," tho' that particular relation is quite foreign to 
your intentions and Request, which betray no such narrow spirit, from all 
that can be collected from your Correspondence and Addresses. 

The meaning, tho' mistaken, is however dubious, and to be guarded 
against. Dr. Seabury was consecrated when he was not only an Alien but 
an Enemy to the Commonwealth of Connecticut and was peaceably receiv 
ed there notwithstanding. 

I have not heard from Dr. Smith since you left this, .but I have every 
reason to believe that he would give me no opposition, but countenance 
and encouragement, as a Senior brother, and no Rival. It is a pity he had 
not been more guarded. He would have been so useful and active. 

Thus I have taken the earliest opportunity of informing you of my 
present Situation and Resolutions. If you can avail yourselves of them, it 
will give me the sincerest pleasure, without expectation of fee or reward. 
As to honour or dignity, none can be derived from any department in your 
Church while the 8th Art. of your Constitution remains in force, which is 
humiliating in the extreme ; but that you have good reason for it I doubt 

I hazard the whole with you and Bp. Provoost only. Were anything of 
the kind to transpire. I would be exposed anew by some Grub Street Scrib 
blers whom I would not provoke, tho' I little regard. 
Your most obliged 

and most obedient Servant 

Bishop White. 

Right Reverend Sir. 

Just as I was finishing Bishop White's letter 

I take the liberty for the sake of despatch to address it to you, to forward 
it after perusal with your opinion on what equally concerns you both. 
The Southern Conventions have served you ill 'tis true, 
to leave you so long in the lurch, but you may yet waken them to a sense 
of mutual obligation. If you can do better than in the way I have pre 
sumed to propose, I have my desire, which is neither lucre nor ambition 
but an hearty concern for an Orphan Infant Church, which has struggled, 
and has yet it seems to struggle thro' many and great difficulties. 
In haste, Right Rev'd Sir, 

Your most obedient 

and most obliged Servant 

A. MURRAY. (1 
Bishop Provoost. 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 



N. York Febuary 16th 1789. 
Bight Reverend and D'r Sir 

As your early receiving the inclosed may be of some consequence to Dr. 
Murray I send it by the first post. I am afraid the conversations you, 
were witness to in England may have raised expectations in the Dr. which 
it will not be in my power to gratify. Soon after my arrival I really 
mentioned his Situation to some Gentlemen of Influence in the Church of 
N. Jersey and that it was probable he would have no aversion to become 
their Bp. provided he was duly elected, but not being listened to with the 
attention I could have wished, I had no encouragement to press or to re- 
Bume the subject. The same causes which prevented the election of Mr. 
Beach will I am convinced be a bar for some time to their choosing any 
other person. 1 have not had time to pay a due consideration to the Doc 
tor's Proposals, but I shall always be ready to unite with you in any rea 
sonable mode that may be pointed out of rendering him every service in 
my power. 

I am in great Haste D'r Sir 

your most affectionate Brother 


It was from Massachusetts that the proposition tending 
to unite the divergent lines of Episcopacy finally came. In 
a letter, the date of which, other than the year, the good 
Bishop, in the hurry and labor of a wearisome correspond 
ence, forgot to append, the following language is used : 


Philadelphia, 1788. 
Rev'd and dear Sir 

Give me leave te take ye opportunity of asfcing whether our 

brethren of Massachusetts are determined still to keep at a distance from 
us, or whether they will meet us in Convention next July? If there are 
any matters in which we do not think exactly alike, you may rely on it 
that there is an accommodating spirit on our part. If ye same should not 
be found on theirs also ; much more, if there should continue a backward 
ness even to confer with us: it is evident we shall never build up one re 
spectable Church, pervading ye United States; and consequently shall 
never be so flourishing as some other religious societies who will accomplish 
that object. 

We miss your society in another point of view. Of ye Southern States 
it is evident that ye Church is not sufficiently numerous, in some of them, 
to encourage their choosing a Bishop ; while, in others, there are very par 
ticular circumstances preventing such a measure: so that even should Dr. 
Griffith repair to England for consecration, ye business would be imperfect, 
unless there were at least a fourth ready against his return: and we sup- 

(l) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


pos there, that ye respectability of ye Church in Massachusetts would war 
rant our looking to them in this business. 

I have formerly expressed to you another reason for my wishing you 
with us; and ye reason still exists: ye effecting of a junction with our 
brethren of Connecticut. 

It must be considered by all as a surprising instance of negligence in our 
Church ; her not availing herself of ye present opportunity of obtaining 
ye entire and independent possession of that Episcopacy which she had so 
long complained of ye want of. Our brethren in Virginia are no doubt 
most to blame. But when their indifference in ye case of Dr. Griffith had 
shown that there was 110 dependence from them, it should have been taken 
up elsewhere. The only excuse is what I have already stated ye smali- 
ne?s of our communion in some states, and very particular circumstances 

in others. 

I can only add further at present, that I remain 
Your affectionate Brother, 

Rev'd S. Parker. WM. WHITE. (1) 

This letter was a great advance toward the union so ar 
dently desired by the Churchmen of the North. It was 
doubtless communicated to the Bishop of Connecticut, whose 
criticisms upon it are contained in a letter of his addressed 
to Mr. Parker. This letter we give below : 


December 16, 1788. 
Rev'd and dear Sir: 

I intended to have written to you more particularly concerning a 
union with the Southern Churches : but I am obliged to go out of town 
for two or three days, and shall not be back in time for the post. I can 
now only observe, that as it appears to me, all the difficulty lies with those 
Churches, and not with us in Connecticut. I have several times proposed 
and urged a union. It has been received and treated, I think, coldly. 
And yet I have received several letters urging such a union on me, a3 
though I was the only person who opposed it. This is not fair. I am 
ready to treat of and settle the terms of union on any proper notice. But 
Bishops \V. and P. must bear their part in it, actively, as well as myself; 

and we must come into the union on even terms, and not as underlings. 

Your affectionate, humble servant, 


In the following month Mr. Parker replied to the letter 
addressed to him by the Bishop of Pennsylvania. This 
communication, a long and able discussion of the matter, 

(1) From the Bishop Parker Correspondence. 

(2) From the original letter among the Binhop Parker Correspondence. 


and its temperate and conclusive arguments must have car 
ried conviction with them. 


Boston, January 20th, 1789. 
Eight Rev. Sir : 

I was honoured some time last month with your letter, which being 
without date leaves me uncertain how long it was on its passsge, nor could 
I find out the bearer. I have been waiting some weeks for an opportuni 
ty to send to Philadelphia by a private hand, otherwise should have been 
more punctual in acknowledging the receipt of yours. 

You ask, Sir, "wheiher your brethren of Massachusetts are determined 
Btill to keep at a distance from you?" I am quite at a loss how to answer 
the question. True it is that the Churches in Massachusetts have at present 
more the resemblance of Independent congregations than of Episcopal 
Churches, having one common centre of union and communion. There are 
but six Episcopal Clergymen in the state: two of these have received 
Orders since the Revolution ; one from yourself, the other from Bishop 
Seabury ; two of the other four are so lax in their principles of Episcopal 

government, that I rather think them averse to uniting under any common 
ead. The Churches are without funds, and the Clergy supported by vol 
untary contributions, and most of them so small and poor as to afford their 
ministers but slender support. This being the case, your supposition that 
the respectability of the Church of Massachusetts would warrant your 
looking to them to complete the number of Bishops in the English line, is 
not, you will readily perceive, well founded. Greater difficulties would 
arise in this matter than a stranger would imagine ; so great, indeed, that 
I despair of ever Seeing it effected here. 

If there is anything in the power of the clergy here that could effect a 
reconciliation between the Church of Connecticut and Philadelphia, it will, 
I am sure, be embraced with cheerfulness. Something I hope will be at 
tempted in the spring. It appears to me that a union might take place, 
even if the constitutions of government and the Liturgy varied a little in 
the different States. An absolute uniformity of government and worship, 
perhaps, will never take place under a Republican form of civil govern 
ment, and where there is such a variety of sentiments in religious matters. 
Still I conceive we may become so far united as to be one Church, agreeing 
in the general principles of discipline and worship. 

The late alteration that has taken place in the political principles of the 
Nonjurors in Scotland, their being no longer entitled to that name, I should 
suppose will remove one bar to a reconciliation with Bishop Seabury. If 
our brethren in Connecticut are so tenacious of the rights of the Clergy, as 
not to be willing to yield any part of Church government to the Laity, 
why need that be an impediment to an union with those in offices pertain 
ing to the Episcopal chair, who think the Laity are entitled to a share of 
the government ? For my own part, I am not of opinion that the Church 
of England is entirely free from Lay government, and I am still more of 
the opinion that a Church existing under such constitutions of civil gov 
ernment as are adopted in the United States, especially where it has no 
funds of is own to support its officers, can never flourish without yielding 
to the Laity who hold the purse-strings, a share in the government. 

This, however, in my mind, is the greatest obstacle to a union with our 


brethren m Connecticut. It is in vain to dispute which form comes near 
est to, the primitive practice. The question is, which is most expedient 
under our present circumstances? They are doubtless too rigid in their 
sentiments, at least for the latitude of America, and must finally be obliged 
to relax a little. They think, on the other hand, that your Constitution is 
too dernocratical for Episcopal government, and especially in permitting the 
Laity to sit as judges at the trial of a Bishop, and to have a voice in de 
posing him. Bishop Seabury in a letter to me last month, has these words : 
"All the difficulty in effecting a union lies with the Southern Churches, 
and not with us in Connecticut. I have several times proposed and urged 
a union, it has been received and treated, I think coldly. And yet 1 have 
received several letters urging such an union on me, as though I was the 
only person who opposed it ; this is not fair. I am ready to treat of and 
settle the terms of union, on any proper notice ; but Bishops White and 
Provoost must bear their part in it actively as well as myself, and we must 
come into the union on even terms." Here certainly appears a disposition 
to unity ; where, then, is the impediment? 

I have lately heard that some proposals have been made by the Convo 
cation at New York for a reconciliation. What they are, if any such have 
been made, I am not yet able to learn. I heartily wish that we were one body, 
and the Church in every state completely organized. Nothing on my part 
shall be wanting to effect this desirable end. If my meeting you in Con 
vention next July would have any tendency to bring this 'to pass, I would 
willingly accept your kind invitation; and would endeavour to come prop 
erly authorized to accede to any proper terms of accommodation. In the 
mean time, I could wish to know if any general principles are agreed upon 
which it is supposed the opposite parties will accede to, and which would 
be the basis of the union. If some preliminaries of this kind were previ 
ously settled, it would much facilitate the business, and afford a more 
pleasing prospect of success. 

Any communications of this kind you can find leisure to make will be 
most gratefully received by 

Your most obedient and very humble Servant, 

Right Rev. Bishop WHITE. S. PARKER. (1) 

Meantime further letters from Dr. Griffith continue 
the story of the efforts of this worthy man to obtain the 
Episcopate to which he had been elected by the suffrages of 
the clergy and laity of Virginia. 


Fairfax Glebe. 10th Feb'y 1789. 
Dear Sir ; 

I have rec'd yours of the second of Jan'y. Your objections 
to the proposal in my last satisfy me with respect both to the propriety of 
applying and the practicability of succeeding in the modes hinted at by 
me. I was by no means sanguine in my expectations of success in either 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


way ; but as I supposed you must be acquainted with the Sentiments of the 
Euglish Bp's on those subjects, I ventured to mention them. 

1 have determined, notwithstanding the difficulties in the way, to go to 
England for Consecration, provided I can be furnished with the means. 
You mention my waiting for the Virginia Conven'n this, I believe, 
would defeat the resolution I have taken, for I am persuaded there will 
either be no Convention or so thin a one that little could be expected from 
it. But should there be a full Convention and should their resolves be fa 
vourable, (which I really believe they would) yet I have no reason to sup 
pose they will be more attended to than those already passed. The gener 
al scarcity of money is an additional reason for inducing me to believe 
they would be regarded with some inattention. To wait lor our Conven 
tion would, in my opinion, be attended with the loss of another year, with 
out accomplishing the business ; I have resolved, therefore, if I am enabled 
to do so, to set off as early in the Spring as I can. And you will greatly 
oblige me by informing me, as soon as possible, whether I am to expect the 
proffered assistance, that I may be preparing for my departure. With re 
spect to the necessary quantum you will be the best Judge who have made 
the trial. I can only say that, tho' I would not make a job of such busi 
ness, it is only reasonable that every attendant expence should be allowed 
for, and that I should quit my borne with great reluctance if I thought it 
would be in the power of accidents to reduce me to distresses in a Strange 
Country remote from my friends. 

If your answer favours my determination I shall write you further on 
the subject, as I shall want information in many particulars, and your 
friendly assistance in procuring some introductory Letters. 

With great esteem, I remain, D'r Sir 

Your affectionate hu'ble Serv't 

The R't Rev. William White, D. D. 


Fairfax Glebe, 30th April 1789. 
Dear Sir. 

I embrace this opportunity, the return of Mr. Foot, to inform 
you that I have received your two last Letters by the Post, on the con 
tents of which I have only to observe, that had I known the motives of the 
Gentleman for making the proposal you was pleased to Communicate to 
me, I never should have given you so much trouble on that Score. The 
Ohject which appeared to me of importance, was the completion of our Ec- 
clesiasfl System, and not the particular occasion in reserve. This great ob 
ject, if I understood the matter right, was not likely to be effected, soon, 
in any other way than by my perseverance. This consideration, together 
with the necessity of a Superintending Officer, (for the want of which the 
Church in Virginia is not only manifestly but rapidly declining) induced 
me to bid defiance to difficulties, the many difficulties that stood in my way, 
and engage in the arduous work. It has pleased GOD, in his providence, to or 
der it otherwise, and, I have no doubt, for some good purpose towards his 
Church. I acquiesce, cheerfully, in the dispensation, having a double 
satisfaction therefrom ; for I find myself relieved from a load of anxiety, 

(1) From the Bp White Correspondence. 


and I have also the satisfaction to know that the business is not impeded 
through any neglect or backwardness in me. The only Mortification I 
feel on the occasion is that I did not receive an answer in time to alter the 
arrangements I had made in my domestic affairs. 

I am much pleased to hear of the restoration of the College Charter 
have you restored the Provost to his office ? 

I remain, D'r Sir, 

Your affec'e hu'ble Serv't 


In the meantime the proposal of Dr. Murray had not 
been lost sight of as the following letter shows. 


Rignt Reverend" and D'r Sir. 

Before the receipt of your Letter I had sent an Answer to Dr. Mur 
ray in which without entering into the merits of his Scheme I mentioned 
to him the little encouragement I had to propose it to New Jersey, and 
that the suddenness of his intended departure from England would be a 
grand obstacle to its being embraced any where. Your Judicious observa 
tions will doubtless convince him not only of the impropriety of it, but 
also of the impracticability of its Execution either here or in England. 
The Doctor took my conversation rather too seriously, but I have really a 
regard for him and shall be ready to meet his wishes whenever I can do it 
in a regular and consistent manner. 

As to our Friend Dr. Griffith my opinion is, that as he has Delayed his 
Departure so long, it will now be a point of prudence and Delicacy to wait 
the result of the next Virginia Convention ; should the difficulty of fur 
nishing him with the necessary means for his Voyage to England be still 
urged as the only Reason for protracting the time of his Consecration, his 
Friends will then be enabled to assist him without any impropriety in the 
manner they proposed and he will also have an Opportunity of getting his 
Credentials renewed in Gen. Convention. 

The Members of the Committee of Correspondence in this State will 
not be able to meet together till the adjournment of oar Legislature which 
it is expected will take place in a few Days. There is no doubt but that 
Dr. Smith's proposal will be approved of by them except as to Connecti 
cut. An Invitation to the Church in that State to meet us in General 
Convention I conceive to be neither necessary nor proper not necessary, 
because I am Informed that they have already appointed two persons to 
attend the next gen. Conv ; without any Invitation not proper ; because it 
is publickly known that they have adopted a Form of Church Government 
which renders them inadmissible as members of the Convention or Union. 

The following is the Resolve alluded to in your Letter 

"Upon Motion of Mr. Harrison seconded by Mr. Rogers, it was unani- 
"mously Resolved, That it is highly necessary in the opinion of this Con 
tention that measures should be pursued to preserve the Episcopal Suc- 
"cession in the English Line, and 

'Resolved also That the union of the Prot: Episc: Ch: in the United 
"States is of great importance and much to be desired ; and that the dele- 

(1) From the Bp White Correspondence 


"gates of this State in the next general Convention be instructed to pro- 
"mote that union by every prudent measure, consistent with the Constitu- 
"tion of the Church and the continuance of the Episcopal Succession in the 
"English Line." 

Delegates to the next General Convention 

Reverend Messrs Beach, Moore, Ellison, Bloomer. Hon. James Duane, 
Col'l Giles, Messrs Harrison and Rogers. 

As I am always happy to see your friends I can't conclude without ex 
pressing my obligation to you for your late Introduction of Mr. Harrison 
to my acquaintance. I find myself greatly prejudiced in his Favour and 
have only to regret that ha has given us so little of his Company. With 
affectionate Compliments to Mrs. White and Family I remain with much 
esteem D'r Sir 

Your affectionate Brother 

N. York SAM'L PROVOOST. (1) 

February 24. 1789. 


4th May, 1789. 
Dear Sir : 

As the proposal I made was only an expedi 
ent to hasten the organization of your Church in an easy way, as I con 
ceived, it is as well it cannot be adopted, for by the time I can see you 
I trust it will be much better accomplished. It was hardly to be expected, 
at my time of life, that I could have resided in Maryland or Delaware but 
at the hazard of my health and usefulness. Indeed it mattered little where 
I resided at my own expense to answer a temporary purpose only. Your 
Constitution is so pure and primitive that it lorbids Non-residence " in all 
cases whatsoever." But does not the yet deranged state of the Church re 
quire a Supernumerary Itinerant Bishop for the convenience of confirma 
tion and ordination to ye South of you? Will it be no prejudice to the 
Church that your Constitution also forbids any few districts or counties 
choosing a Bishop, without a majority of those in a State are agreed ? 

The more sound and zealous part of the people may remain destitute at 
this rate, of divine ordinances, because oi the opposition or lukewarm- 
ness of the other. Pardon these remarks. You must know best who are 
on the post.(l) 

A further letter from Dr. Murray expresses his philosoph 
ical acquiesence in the failure of his proposal of himself for 
an American Episcopate. It was certainly no discredit to 
this worthy and amiable man that he should thus suggest a 
solution for the vexed problem, and the fact that Bp. White 
ever regarded him as a deserving and estimable brother will 
free his memory from any suspicion of self-seeking in this 
expression of his willingness to return to his American home 
in the character of a Bishop of the Church of God. 

(1) From the Bp. White Correspondence. 


While these letters were passing and repassing the 
Churchmen at the north had not remitted their efforts for 
union, and at length, with prospects of success. But, even 
at this late day, Bishop Provoost was implacable. His own 
Convention, much to his annoyance, had taken measures 
looking to a union. He had himself declined acting on the 
absurd proposition of the Virginia Convention, that, in con 
nection with Bishop White, he should proceed to the conse 
cration of Dr. Griffith to the Episcopate of Virginia, with 
out waiting the completion of the canonical number of Con- 
secrators. But in his personal dislike of Bishop Seabury, 
even in the midst of the presages of the much desired union, 
which all his efforts could not prevent, he wrote to Bishop 
White as we have seen above. 

Without waiting for the receipt of Mr. Parker's reply, 
Bishop White addressed a cordial invitation to Bishop Sea- 
bury and the Connecticut Church, to send representatives 
to the coming Convention in Philadelphia, on terms honor 
able to both parties. This overture was met in the kindly 
spirit which prompted it, and a hurried note from the good 
Bishop of Connecticut to Mr. Parker tells the result to one 
who, perhaps, more than any other, had been made the in 
strument of healing the divisions of the American Church. 
To this brief note we add a longer communication from the 
excellent Mr. Learning, and then proceed to give, in full, 
Bishop Seabury's letters to Bishop White and Dr. "Wil 
liam Smith. 


April 10th, 1789. 
Bev'd and dear Sir : 

I believe we shall send two Clergymen to the 

Philadelphia Convention, to see whether a union can he effected. If it 
fail, the point will here be altogether given up. 

I am, Rev. Sir, your affect. Bro'r and Serv't, 


(1) From the Bishop Parker Correspondence. 



Stratford, June 9, 1789. 

Rev'd and dear Sir : 

The circumstances of my family have prevented my attendance upon 
the two last Conventions in this state ; but I hear Bishop Seabury had a 
letter from you, in which you observed that you had received a letter from 
me and had answered it ; but as you heard nothing from me, supposed it 
had miscarried. You were right in that conclusion, for that letter hath 
not come to hand. 

I am unacquainted with the subject of your letter to Bishop Seabury ; 
but report says there was something in it concerning the union of the 
Churches which thing I most reverently wish might take place upon 
that plan that we may worship God according to our consciences. 

I have no doubt that such an event would be agreeable to Bishop Sea- 
bury ; and to all the Clergy of this state, and to the Church Universal. 

I cannot conceive the reason why you should apply to the Bishops of 
England to consecrate a Bishop for these States, when we have three 
Bishops in them already. It appears to me we ought to be united, in or 
der that the line of succession of the English and Scotch Bishops might 
unite in America, as they were derived from the same line originally. 

Bishop Seabury has twenty Clergymen in this state, and a very respect 
able body of people under their care, who are true sons of the Church ; 
and if any state snould send to the English Bishops to consecrate a Bish 
op, it would cast such a face upon affairs, as would exclude all possibil 
ity of a union : for such a measure would not be adopted unless they de 
signed to keep up a separation from us. We shall do every thing in our 
power for a union, that is consistent with prudence, benevolence and re 
ligion. More than this no one can expect. 

I am not able to see why there may not be a, general union, although 
we did not agree in every little circumstance. I suppose you agree with 
us in all Articles of Faith. Although you have cast out two of our 
creeds, I imagine you do not mean to deny the Divinity of our blessed 
Lord : for if we are ever justified, it must be by the merits of Christ, and 
no created being can do any thing by merit for another. All he can do is 
only to act up to the dignity of his nature ; and God has a right to all 
this, because he gave all the ability. 

I do not wish this letter to be laid before the General Convention ; but 
if you think proper, I should have no objection to its being seen by some 
Gentlemen of candour, that wish a union of this Church with yours. 
I am your most obedient, humble Servant, 



New London, June 20th, 1789. 
Right Rev. and dear Sir : 

Your favour of December 9th, 1788, came safely to me, though not 
till the middle of February. I heartily thank you for it, and for the sen 
timents of candour and Christian unity it contains, and beg you to believe 
that nothing on my part shall be wanting to keep up a friendly inter- 

(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 


course, and the nearest possible connection with you, and with all the 
Churches in the United States, that our different situations can permit. 

That your letter has not been sooner attended to has not been owing 
to disrespect or negligence I was unwilling to reply to the great and in 
teresting subject of union between the Church of Connecticut and the 
Southern Churches, merely on the dictates of my own judgment ; and as 
we were about to call a Convention of Lay delegates from our several con 
gregations, to provide for the support of their Bishop, and to consider of 
the practicability of instituting an Episcopal Academy in this State, it 
was thought best that the point of sending Lay delegates to the Geneial 
Convention should come fairly before them. The annual Convocation of 
our Clergy was also to meet in June, and I determined to take their sen 
timents on the subject of sending some of their number to your Conven 

When the matter was proposed to the Lay Convention after some con 
versation, they declined every interference in Church government or in 
reformation of Liturgies. They supposed the government of the Church 
to be fixed, and that they had no right to alter it by introducing a new 
power into it. They hoped the old Liturgy would be retained, with little 
alteration ; and these matters, they thought, belonged to the Bishops and 
Clergy, and not to them. They therefore could send no delegates, though 
they wished for unity among the Churches, and for uniformity of wor 
ship ; but could not see why these great objects could not be better se 
cured on the old ground than on the new ground that had been taken with 

The Clergy supposed that, in your Constitution, any representation from 
them would be inadmissible without Lay delegates, nor could they submit 
to offer themselves to make a part of any meeting where the authority of 
their Bishop had been disputed by one Bishop, and probably by his influ 
ence, by a number of others who were to compose that meeting. They 
therefore, must consider themselves as excluded, till that point shall be 
settled to their satisfaction, which they hope will be done by your Con 

For my own part, gladly would I contribute to the union and unifor 
mity of all our Churches ; but while Bishop Provoost disputes the valid 
ity of my consecration, I can take no step towards the accomplishment of 
so great and desirable an object. This point, I take it, is now in such a 
state that it must be settled, either by your Convention, or by an appeal 
to the good sense of the Christian world. But as this is a subject in which 
I am personally concerned, I shall refrain from any remarks upon it, hop 
ing that the candour and good sense of the Convention will render the 
further mention of it altogether unnecessary. 

You mention the necessity of having your succession completed from 
England, both as it is the choice of your Churches, and in consequence of 
implied obligations you are under in England. I have no right to dictate 
to you on this point. There can, however, be no harm in wishing it were 
otherwise Nothing would tend so much to the unity and uniformity of 
our Churches as the three Bishops, now in the States joining in the consecra 
tion of a fourth. I could say much on this subject, but should I do so, it 
may be supposed to proceed from interested views. I shall therefore leave 
it to your own good sense, only hoping you and the Convention will de 
liberately consider whether the implied obligations in England, and the 
wishes of your Churches be so strong that they must not give way to the 
prospect of securing the peace and unity of the Church. 


The grand objection in Connecticut to the power of Lay delegates in 
your Constitution, is their making part of a judicial Consistory for the 
trial and deprivation of Clergymen. This appears to us to be a new pow 
er, utterly unknown in all Episcopal Churches, and inconsistent with their 
Constitution. That it should be given up, we do not expect ; power, we 
know, is not easily relinquished. We think, however, it ought to be giv 
en up ; and that it will be a source of oppression, and that it will operate 
as a clog on the due execution of ecclesiastical authority. If a Bishop 
with his Clergy are not thought competent to censure or depose a dis 
orderly brother, or not to have sufficient principle to do it, they are unfit 
for their stations. It is, however, a presumption that cannot b^ made, 
and therefore can be no ground of action. 

If the power with which your Constitution invests Lay delegates be 
conformable to the sentiments of some of our best writers, I confess I am 
unacquainted with them ; and as I profess myself to be always open to 
conviction and information, I should be glad to know to what writers I 
am to apply for that purpose. And as to the principle* which have governed 
in the English Church, I have always understood that the Liturgy and 
Canons and Articles were settled and agreed upon by the Convocation, 
and were then; by Act of Parliament, made part of the English Constitu 
tion. I know not that the Laity had anything further to do with it. 

With regard to Massachusetts and Rhode Island, I never understood 
your Constitution has been adopted by either of them. Mr. Parker, in 
Boston, and I suppose the other congregations there, adopted your Litur 
gy with but little variation ; but I know not that it was done elsewhere. 
And an attempt to introduce it into Newport, I speak my own opinion, 
has laid the foundation for such dissentions in that congregation as, I fear, 
will long continue. 

Was it not that it. would run this letter to an unreasonable length, I 
would take the liberty to mention at large the objections that have been 
here made to the Prayer Book published at Philadelphia. I will confine 
myself to a few, and even these I should not mention but from a hope they 
will be obviated by your Convention. The mutilating the Psalms is sup 
posed to be an unwarrantable liberty, and such as was never before taken, 
with Holy Scriptures by any Church. It destroys that beautiful chain, 
of Prophecy that runs through them, and turns their application from. 
Messiah and the Church to the temporal state and concerns of individu 
als. By discarding the word Absolution, and making no mention of Re 
generation in Baptism, you appear to give up those points, and to open 
the door to error and delusion. The excluding of the Nicene and Athana- 
sian Creed has alarmed ye steady friends of our Church, lest ye doctrine 
of Christ's divinity should go out with them. If the doctrine of those 
Creeds be offensive, we are sorry for it, and shall hold ourselves so much 
the more bound to retain them. If what are called the damnatory clauses 
in the latter be the objection, cannot these clauses be supported by Script 
ure ? Whether they can or cannot, why not discard those clauses, and 
retain the doctrinal part of the Creed ? The leaving out the descent into 
Hell from the Apostle's Greed seems to be of dangerous consequence. 
Have we a right to alter the analogy of faith handed down to us by 
the Holy Catholic Church? And if we do alter it, how will it appear 
that we are the same Church which subsisted in primitive times? The 
article of the descent, I suppose, was put into the Creed to ascertain 
Christ's perfect humanity, that he has a human soul, in opposition to 
those heretics who denied it, and affirmed that his body was actuated by 


the divinity. For if when he died, and his body was laid in the grave 
his soul went to the receptacle of departed spirits, then he had a human 
soul as well as body, and was very and perfect man. The Apostles' 
Creed seems to have been the Creed of the Western Church ; the Nicene, 
of the Eastern ; and the Athanasian, to be designed to ascertain the Cath 
olic doctrine of the Trinity, against all opposers. And it always appeared 
to me, that the design of the Church of England, in retaining the three 
Creeds, was to show that she did retain the analogy of the Catholic faith 
in common with the Eastern and Western Church, and in opposition to 
those who denied the Trinity of persons in the Unity of the Divine Es 
sence. Why any departure should be made from this good and pious 
example I am yet to seek. 

There seems in your book a dissonance between the Offices of Baptism 
and Confirmation. In the latter there is a renewal of a vow, which in the 
former does not appear to have been explicitly made. Something of the 
same discordance appears in the Catechism. 

Our regard for primitive practice makes us exceedingly grieved that 
you have not absolutely retained the sign of the Cross in JBaptism. When 
I consider the practice of the ancient Church, before Popery had a being, 
I cannot think the Church of England justifiable in giving up the sign of 
the Cross, where it was retained by the first Prayer Book of Edward the 
VI. Her motive mav have been good ; but good motives will not justi 
fy wrong actions. The concessions she has made in giving up several 
primitive, and I suppose apostolical usages, to gratify the humours of fault 
finding men, shows the inefficacy of such conduct She has learned wis 
dom from her experiences. Why should not we also take a lesson in her 
school ? If the humour be pursued of giving up points on every demand, 
in fifty years we shall scarce have the name of Christianity left. For 
God's sake, my dear Sir, let us remember that it is the particular business 
of the Bishops of Christ's Church to preserve it pure and undefiled, in 
faith and practice, according to the model left by apostolic practice. And 
may God give you grace and courage to act accordingly ! 

In your Burial office, the hope of a future resurrection to eternal life is too 
faintly expressed, and the acknowledgement of an intermediate state, be 
tween death and the resurrection, seems to be entirely thrown out ; though, 
that this was a catholic, primitive and apostolical doctrine, will be denied 
by none who attend to this point. 

The articles seem to be altered to little purpose. The doctrines are 
neither more clearly expressed nor better guarded ; nor are the objections 
to the old articles obviated. And, indeed, this seems to have been the case 
with several other alterations ; they appear to have been made for alter 
ation's sake, and at least have not mended the matter they aimed at. 

That the most exceptionable part of the English book is the Communion 
Office may be proved by a number of very respectable names among her 
Clergy. The grand fault in that office is the deficiency of a more formal ob- 
lation of the elements, and of the invocation of the Holy Ghost to sanctify 
and bless them. The Consecration is made to consist merely in the Priest's 
laying his hands on the elements and pronouncing, " This is my body, &c., 
which words are not consecration at all, nor were they addressed by Christ 
to the Father, but were declarative to the Apostles. This is so exactly 
symbolizing with the Church of Rome in an error ; an error, too, on which 
the absurdity of Transubstautiation is built, that nothing but having fall 
en into the same error themselves, could have prevented the enemies of 
the Church from casting it in her teeth. The efficacy of Baptism, of Con- 


firmation, of Orders, is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and His energy is im 
plored for that purpose ; and whv He should not be invoked in the conse 
cration of the Eucharist, especially as all the old Liturgies are full to the 
point, I cannot conceive. It is much easier to account 1'or the alterations 
of the first Liturgy of Edward the VI, than to justify them ; and as I have 
been told there is a vote on the minutes of your Convention, anno. 1786, 1 
believe, for the revision of this matter, I hope it will be taken up, and 
that God will raise up some able and worthy advocate for this primitive 
practice, and make you and the Convention the instruments of restoring 
it to His Church in America. It would do you more honour in the world, 
and contribute more to the union of the Churches than any other alter 
ations you can make, and would restore the Holy Eucharist to its ancient 
dignity and efficacy. 

I shall close this letter with renewing a former proposal for union and 
uniformity, viz. that you and Bishop Provoost, with as many proctors from 
the Clergy as shall be thought necessary, meet me with an equal number 
of proctors from Connecticut. We should then be on equal ground, on 
which ground only, I presume, you would wish to stand, and I doubt not 
everything might be settled to mutual satisfaction, without the preposte 
rous method of ascertaining doctrines, &c , &c., by a majority of votes. 

Hoping that all obstructions may be removed by your Convention, and 
beseeching Almighty God to direct us in the great work of establishing 
and building up His Church in peace and unity, truth and charity, and 

I remain with great regard and esteem, 

your affectionate Brother and very humble Servant, 


I presume you will lay this letter before the Convention, and I have to 
request that 1 may be informed of their proceedings, as soon as convenient, 
as all our proceedings will be suspended till then or, at least, till Novem 

The remarks on your Prayer Book are the principal ones I have heard 
made. They are here repeated from memory, and I have not your Book 
at hand with which to compare them. 

I observe you mention that the authority of Lay delegates in your Con 
stitution is misunderstood. We shall be glad to be better informed, and 
sh>ll not pertinaciously persist in any unfair constructions, when they are 
fairly pointed out to us. That the assent of the Laity should be given to 
the laws which affect them equally with the Clergy, I think is right, and 
I believe will be disputed no where, and the rights of the Laity we have 
no disposition to invade. (1) 


New London, July 23, '89. 

The wish of my heart, and the wish of the Clergy and of the 

Church people o/ this state, would certainly have carried me, and some of 
the Clergy, to your General Convention, had we conceived we could have 
done it with propriety. The ground on which Bishop P. disputes the va 
lidity of the Scotch Episcopal succession can best be explained by himself: 

(1) From the origional MS. preserved among the Bishop White papers. As this letter is 
mutilated more or less on every page, we have supplied the ouiisfcioiis from the first draft 
of this paper contained in Bishop Seabury'g Letter-book. 


I know not what it is. And the ground on which the Letters of Orders 
were called for from every Clergyman, in a former Convention at Phil 
adelphia if I have been rightly informed in order to make a distinct 
ion between English and Scotch ordinations, they can best explain who 
were concerned in it. As I know not precisely how this matter ended, I 
shall say no more about it. But while this matter stands as it does, and 
there is a Resolve on the minutes of the New York Convention strongly 
reflecting on Bishop Seabury's Episcopal character while by your own 
Constitution no representation of Clergymen can be admitted without Lay 
delegates ; and no Church can be taken into your union without adopting 
your whole plan, I leave you to say whether it would be right for me, or 
for my Clergy, to offer ourselves at a Convention where we could be ad 
mitted only in courtesy? Should we feel ourselves at home ? or, as being 
on an equal footing with the other ministers ? 

The necessity of a union of all the Churches, and the disadvantages of 
the present disunion, we feel and lament equally with you : and I agree 
with you, that there may be a strong and efficacious union between Church 
es where the usages are different. I see not why it may not be so in this 
case, as soon as you have removed those obstructions which, while they 
remain, must prevent all possibility of uniting. 

My joining with Bishops W. and P. in consecrating a fourth Bishop was 
some time ago proposed to Bishop W., and by him declined. His noncom- 
pliance has had a bad effect here. It has raised a jealousy of attempting 
an undue superiority over the Church of Connecticut, which, as it at pres 
ent consists of nineteen Clergymen, in full orders, and more than 20,000 
People, they suppose as respectable as the Church in any state in the 

Before I wrote to Bishop White I took the most deliberate pains to ob 
tain the sentiments of both Clergy and Laity ; and I shonld not now think 
myself at liberty to act contrary to their sentiments, even did not my own 
coincide with theirs. I have, however, the strongest hope that all difficul 
ties will be removed by your Convention that the Connecticut Episco 
pacy will be explicitly acknowledged, and that Church enabled to join in 
union with you, without giving up her own independency. 

A great deal, my dear, sir, will depend on the part you now act. The 
dread of alterations in the Liturgy here arises from the observation, that 
every review of the Liturgy has set the offices of the Church lower, and 
departed further from primitive practice and simplicity. The book you 
published was a remarkable instance of depreciating the offices, and we 
hope to see it remedied. To enter into particulars after what I have writ 
ten to Bishop W. will be useless. But if a uniformity of worship be 
aimed at, I know of no other method besides the one I mentioned to Bish 
op W. to leave the matter to the Bishops and the Clergy. It is their 
business ; and if your Laity will not consent to it, they interfere out of their 
sphere. (1) 

As the time for the Convention of 1789 drew near, the fol 
lowing letters passed between Dr. Griffith and Bp. Provoost 
and Bp. White. They are well worthy of preservation as 

(1) From Bp. Seabury's Letter Book. 


important contributions to the history of this period of our 
Church's organization. 


Fairfax Glebe, 18th June, 1789. 

Dear Sir. 

I have no copy of my Letter to you of the 30th of April, but from 
what ia suggested in yours dated the 30th of May, which 1 have r'cd. I 
fear I have been understood as censuring the Gentlemen who made the 
proposal you was so obliging as to communicate, or that I conceived my 
self improperly treated by you. However incautiously I may have ex 
pressed myself on that subject, you may rest assured that I feel no resent 
ment against any Person for his conduct on that occasion, and that I enter 
tain not the least suspicion respecting the propriety of yours particularly, 
through the whole of that business. I deem it, however, an unlucky cir 
cumstance that I was not acquainted with the motives that induced the 
proposal, as it certainly would have prevented me from offering myself 
(very imprudently I acknowledge) at the time I did. But I viewed the 
subject in a very different light from the Gentlemen before alluded to, and 
being anxious to complete our Ecclesiastical System, as well as desirous to 
prove my disinterestedness, I suffered myself to be led by a warm (I will 
not say blind) zeal, which, but for the interposition of Providence, would 
soon have brought me into great and additional perplexities. The Grace 
of God is, I believe, a sufficient support for his faithful Servants ; yet hu 
man nature shrinks at the approacla of such difficulties as I had in pros 
pect, and I confess I feel much satisfaction at my deliverance from the 
weighty and oppressing Cross I was about to take on myself for the re 
mainder of my Pilgrimage on Earth. The Cross I allude to is the partic 
ular inconveniences and distresses that must have attended me in the dis 
charge of the Episcopal Office. 

The Virg'a Conv'n met at the stated time between 30 and 40 Members 
assembled. They did nothing except settle the Parochial, or rather Party, 
disputes in two of the lower Parishes, and again represent, to the Members 
of our Communion, the deplorable state of the Church in Virg'a. They 
made no alteration in the former appointm't of deputies to the General 
Convention, and, to show that I am not angry with them for neglecting 
their Bp. elect, and have not as some may expect, quitted, in disgust, the 
cause of the Church, as well as to gratify a respectable Majority of its 
Members in this State, who wish, I believe, that I should represent them, 
and to keep from among you certain troublesome innovators, I have de 
termined to go to the ensuing Conven'n. I cannot find that they have 
given any additional instructions respecting the ratification of the Prayer 

I remain, D'r Sir, 

Your affectionate 

and very hu'ble Serv't 


(1) From the Bishop White Correspondence. 



Dear and Right Reverend Sir. 

Your Letter of July 13th, was delivered to me by the Rever 
end-Mr. Hurt who is to dine with me to-day and I shall be happy to shew 
him every attention due to your recommendation. 

I am very sorry to inform you that it will not be in the power of Mrs. 
Provo'st and myself to accept your kind and repeated Invitation. I have 
been so much indisposed for some days past with a constant fever and vio 
lent headaches and have so little prospect of immediate amendment (for I 
have already been bled by Dr. Bard without receiving the relief I expect 
ed) that in compliance with the advice of my friends I have laid aside all 
thoughts of attending the General Convention. 

I have every reason to think the Church of this State will be fully rep 
resented and I hope the present information will prevent any Inconven 
iences that might have arisen from my non-attendance without giving you 
timely notice. 

I am Dear Sir 

Your most affectionate Brother 

N. York July 22d 1789.