Philander Chase



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Philander Chase writes to Bishop McIlvaine to warn him against publishing a statement against him concerning the financial status of Kenyon College, and reprimands him for calling a Special Convention on the potential sale of the South Section of Kenyon College.




Philander Chase, Charles McIlvaine, Kenyon College, Samuel Chase, Special Convention, finances, dispute


Jubilee College Feb

To the Right Rev.

Dr. MacIlvaine [sic]

Bishop of Ohio

Dear Brother in Christ:

Till I rec’d a letter, not long ago, from your Presbyter, the Rev. Mr Muencher, I had no idea of the deficient state of the finances of Kenyon College. He told me that there were more than 30,000$ which the Trustees of the Theological Seminary had no available means of paying to their Creditors.

This news, you may well suppose, was exceedingly painful to me, who had spent so great a portion of my best days of my Earthly substance in founding so useful an institution; and to save which from perishing by strife, I had been content to go into the wilderness and commence my labours anew.

In reply, I told Mr. M., in substance, the true nature and history of the case, between me and Ohio, my first diocese: and in conclusion observed that if they (the Ohio Convention) would declare officially what they had already done virtually, in the case of yourself against the Rev. W’llm Sparrow at Steubenville thereby acknowledging that injustice had been done me the founder by the Convention of 1831 who required me to violate my conscience or quit the presidency of the Institution, I would freely forgive their injury done me in general & especially by their reports so widely spread that I had left my station without an adequate reason. And that in the meantime I would do everything in my power to aid them in paying off their debt.

About a month after my letter to Mr Muencher was sent I learned [from] the [Epis.] Recorder that you had summoned a special convention the object of which was to deliberate on the measure of Selling the South Section 4,000 acres of land in the middle of which were the buildings: an act which I knew would forfeit most of the donations which I had collected for the Institution.

If I had been astonished before at the indebtedness of the Institution, I was doubly so by this mode of releif[sic].

Not long after this came Mr Muencher’s answer, but not one word touching the subject of in [very] & [?] one: and with it the journal of the Special Convention; at the reading of which I have no words adequate to the expression of my surprize[sic]. Happily the Rev. Samuel Chase the Head Teacher of Jubilee College was with me: a man not only of known & tried integrity and accurate knowledge in book-keeping, but one who was an eye witness of what passed on Gambier Hill some time before for a year after I left it. Into this man’s hands I placed your journal and financial address and other papers mercifully preserved by Providence in my possession, to give light on the important subject. Mr C took the whole and after due attention returned me the following note.

Pray read it, for I have done so, and to the best of my recollection and judgment believe every thing he states to be correct and true. Concerning the Authorship of your [farcical] statement, I entirely concur with him, and it relieves my mind in [seding] viz that you are not the originator of this singular statement; but that you only put your name to it, believing it to be correct.

Under this impression I most respectfully and affectionately desire you once more to review all you & others have written & stated on this subject; and examine the accounts of the Institution yourself, with the aid of some disinterested and competent Accomptant: and finding the errors specified and others which may still remain behind whereby the Reputation of the Founder and his plans (under your mistaken statement) do now & will hereafter materially suffer; you may enjoy the exquisite pleasure of doing justice to an injured man. (Turn over for the conclusi[on])

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Pray let me know what you intend to do on this subject and write me at your earliest convenience and thus much oblige

Your faithful & affectionate Brother in Christ Jesus our Lord

Phil’r Chase

Your statement, being before the public it is but justice to me of the same be incorrect but it be contradicted as soon as may be

Both Mr Chase and myself think we know it to be so and consequently see the necessity of

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Your statement having gone to the public something to shew their incorrectness if incorrect they be must soon appear. To prevent the necessity of a painful publication on my part will you not have the goodness to publish your correction & relieve me the wounded feelings of an injured brother?

Ever faithful


Letter to Charles McIlvaine



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