Philander Chase



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Philander Chase reviews the documents Rev. Gillett submitted to him on the approval and foundation of the Episcopal Church in Texas. He states that he has no objections, and offers a number of ways Gillett and the Bishops could go about getting the Church approved.




Philander Chase, Charles Gillett, Texas, Republic of Texas, Church of Texas, Church of England, Episcopal Church of America, Episcopal Church, religion, bishops


Jubilee College Illinois

14 Aug 1843

To the Rev Charles Gillett

Sec’y of the first Convention of the Prot. Epis’l Church in Texas

My dear Sir

I was from home when yr letter of the 22’d of May arrived at my dwelling. My absence was protracted till the middle of July: and since at home my cares have been unusually pressing. Pray let this serve as a sufficient apology for my apparent delay.

I rejoice to learn by the documents which you have done me the honour to submit for inspection that the primitive Christians in Texas both Clergy & Laity met at Matagorda in Convention of a national Church on the 8th day of may[sic] 1843 and unanimously appointed all the Clergy there of a Committee of correspondence on the subject of obtaining the Episcopate; and that they were empowered to call a Convention at any future period of time or any place in their judgment most proper. The Ministers of the Convention were entrusted to the Corresponding Committee and the whole signed by J.C. Ives, president; and C. Gillett, Secretary, both Clergymen of organized parishes in the Republic of Texas.

From all which I am convinced that the Chh in Texas henceforth assumes a National Character, and as such expects to take other steps towards a more perfect organization and with that view solicits advice.

1. Among the first steps as means to the end, is to give due notice of a national Convention specifying the time, place, & object; the last beijing to nominate and choose fit persons to fill the Episcopate of the Republic of Texas.

2’d. When assembled; tp call upon God thro Jesus Christ, for the direction and assistance of his Holy Spirit in so great and important a matter

3. After having elected three persons, number being required by antient[sic] usage of the Church to form a national Episcopate apt and meet to exercise the office of a Bishop, and of exemplary and holy lives, and to present the same for approbation and for consecration to the Bishops of any other national Church enjoying the Apostolic succession, and not under the domination, nor corrupted with the false doctrines and idoletrous[sic] practices of the Church of Rome. In short the Texian Church can apply to the Church of England or the Protestant Episcopal Church of America for the consecration of her bishops.

In case she apply to the English branch of the Universal Church, the Candidates will doubtless be obliged to sign the “Augsburg Confession of faith;” as Doctor Alexander was required to do before he was consecrated by the Arch Bishop of Canterbury to full the Episcopate of Jerusalem.

In case the Candidates for Consecration apply to the American branch of the Catholic (not Roman) Church I see no impediment but such as will, without doubt, be removed at the session of the General Convention of 1844. [vide pp. 82. & 132 of the Convention of 1841]

Should the Texian not apply to the English Chh but wait till the meeting of the Convention of the American branch of the Chh in Phil’a in the year of our Lord 1844., as an individual Bishop of the Same I assure them of my good wishes & hearty co-operation in effecting the Completion of the National Church of Texas. If the Bishop elect be expected to sign a “Concordat” to secure the Protestant faith and worship of Texas similar to that which was signed by the Bishop elect of Jerusalem embracing the XXXIX articles & the authorized Liturgies of the Church in both Countries of England and America so far as the duties of political and national allegiance will allow and if this proviso be carried duly into effect, there is at present in my mind no impediment to the accomplishment of the wishes of the Texian Church

The only objections of which there can be any reasonable apprehension are from without & of a circumstantial character. Of all these the faithful brethren of Texas are better judges than myself. Can they give assurances that the Bishops whom they wish to have consecrated, will be maintained in the discharge of their duties without resorting to secular employments so disgraceful to any national Church? If they answer in the negative, on what Church do they expect under God to rely for aid in so important & delicate a matter? Is this reliance placed on the American branch? Her youth and the suffering condition of some of her own Prelates, Missionaries and Religious Institutions seem to render such reliance hopeless. “Physician, heal thyself” “Take care and provide for thine own household that thou deny not the faith and become worse than infidels” are maxims not to be despised even by those whose hearts are yearning to assist the needy in foreign lands

I forbear to go further into this delicate inquiry as to “Whence you can obtain support for your Bishops, lest I should tread on ground belonging to others which would make my advice gratuitous and perhaps offensive. But this much I will venture to say because it is so true in itself and at the same time so honourable to the protestant faith. If there be a church on Earth that exceeds all others in primitive purity of doctrine and discipline in the learning and zeal and piety of her clergy; and a willingness and ability to support ministers of the Gospel & especially foreign Bishops, that is the Chh of England. For proof of this behold what is doing throughout the Christian world.

With this remark, I hope not altogether irrelevant, I would close my letter of Advice in answer to yours in behalf of the Church of Texas and am

Rev. & D’r Sir

Your faithful Friend and Servant in the Lord

Philander Chase

Sen’r Bishop of the Prot Epis’l Church of the H.S. of America

Letter to Charles Gillett



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