Philander Chase



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Chase discusses funds that been raised for the project in Illinois and updates Bexley on the progress in the state. He hopes to raise enough money to hire quality teachers and professors.




Diocese of Illinois, Mississippi River, Hudson Bay Company, Timothy Wiggin


50 Harley Street London Nov. 1835

Very dear Lord Bexley

I do most heartily thank your Lordship for directing Mr Wiggin to put down 50£ to the objects of Illinois. This munificent gift raises my contribution already re’d to near 400£. With this beginning I ought to feel greatly encouraged. It is so much better than when I first began for Ohio. The united efforts of the friends of the far west of both countries will do great things for the glory of God in the prosperity of his apostolic church especially in enabling her to contend against the Romanists who claim the river Mississippi and its tributary waters as their own. They are all around me in Illinois; & have many means in cathedrals, churches, convents, institutions for the training of priests & popular & fashionable boarding schools, than all the Protestant denominations put together. The Jesuits, both Lay & Clerical, spread themselves through the country as it becomes settled & acting as one body beguile many unwary protestants to their ruin to compete with these Papists & to overcome the many other difficulties that impede the progress of the pure word of God. I must have learned Clergymen & these I cannot have but by sustaining learned professors & teachers: & it is to make a beginning by [erecting] a competent fund to do this, that I have come to England: and because my own country in the great struggle of providing for an immune population flowing in upon her in the far west, & that in a great measure from the British Dominions, I throw myself on the christian benevolence of my former friends. Were I not to do this, my prospects would be hopeless – Clergymen fit to labour in Illinois are not to be found or obtained in America: so that I might as well sit down in despair, as to hope to obtain them from the seminaries now in existence there. Each diocese can not supply its own demands & often even to the fourth of what are wanted. I have been to Illinois & have been an eyewitness of the distressing wants of that diocese & returning to the atlantic states more than 1200 miles while all the Church were in Gen’l Convention in every diocese the Saviour’s words are literally verified – “the harvest is great but the labourers are few” – Let it be remembered that the Mississippi River wh. bounds Illinois for 320 miles is as far from the centre of Ohio as that is from the Atlantic Ocean.

Under the impression that the funds now collecting in England are to be put at interest and that applied solely to the maintenance of competent Professors and teachers if your Lordship should ask how are the expenses of erecting the necessary buildings of the Institution to be provided for, I would beg leave to state that the monies now collecting by my agent in America I intended to apply to this end: but still greater prospects begin to open upon me since my arrival in this blessed land, whence so many things have from time to time arisen to make glad the city of God – – The governor of the North West Hudson Bay Com’y who came in the same ship with me to England having been made acquainted with my intention of establishing an Institution of the character in view in Illinois, & being well informed of the uncommon facilities of that state for immediate cultivation (in as much as there is no necessity of clearing off the trees as in all other states east of the Mississippi a suitable proportion of the lands being Prairie immediately fir for the plough & the soil of the richest quality,) has in view the forming of a Company for the purchase of a large trail of land ten miles square: & on condition the Institution is placed thereon, of giving, in consideration of the increased value of said lands which this will occasion, enough to erect the buildings required, & to cause the buildings to be erected forthwith, thus uniting & objects: great profit to the Company, & the accomplishment of our benevolent christian place. In this event the collections now making in America will go to augment the funds for the maintenance of the Professors. But even if this should fail, I do not, will not despair. In God have I put my trust; & having thus far, in my weary & painful pilgrimage been sustained by his merciful hand, I will not, must not, now in my old age, when the crown purchased by the precious blood of Christ is so near at hand, yield to unbelief. Some way will be opened by which the Divine Will & command to evangelize the scattered sheep in my new Diocese & to feed the lambs committed to my unworthy charge can & will be accomplished.

I pray your Lordship to assure the Ladies who had so kindly interested themselves in my favour before I arrived in England of my most grateful acknowledgements. The money mentioned 120£ in the hands of Mr. Farquhar has not been called for by Mr Wiggin, but will I trist in the cause of today.

For no one’s regards & kind remembrance of me do I feel more thankful to Him who hath all hearts in his hands, than for those of your Lordship & of your Lordship’s sister

Ever your Lordship’s faithful & most obedient servant

Bishop of Illinois


It will add interest as well as serve to explain to your Lordship the above plan were I to state as I now beg leave most respectfully to do that it is proposed the Stock of the Company be laid out as follows.

Three fourths for the purchase of lands.

One eighth for the erection of buildings forthwith for the accomodation of the Institution on a Section reserved and given by the Company for that end.

One eighth for the building of small Churches on the lands of the several Parishes to be formed & for providing mills & other houses for the accomodation of the first settlers on the Company’s property.

It is obvious that this arrangement will serve to increase the Company’s stock to an immense degree. The government price of these beautiful lands now for for immediate cultivation is only one dollar & a quarter.

Some purchases may have been made: these may be bought out for perhaps double their cost. The lands will average when settled as above ten dollars per acre & perhaps much higher.

Letter to Lord Bexley



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