Henry Onderdonk



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Bishop Onderdonk responds to Philander Chase concerning the ordination of Arthur Carey. He writes that he does not wish to express his opinion officially, but that he believes there is a fondness for extremism within the Church, and calls this "extremely annoying" and "foolish." He also writes about the Church in Texas and believes the candidates for bishop there have all been chosen in good faith.




Philander Chase, Henry Onderdonk, Arthur Carey, Episopal Church, Church of Texas, religion, zeal


Phil’a Aug. 15th 1843

Right Rev. & Dear Sir.

I rec’d your letter of the 31st ult. a few days ago, & have deferred replying, to have more time for reflection. Of the case of Mr Carey, I have not yet formed such an opinion as I should be willing to express officially. It is the misfortune of the fault of that gentleman, & of Dr. Seabury too, to be fond of saying the extreme of what can be said in favour of the general soundness of Rome, tho; they heartily reject her corruptions,--a practice whh I regard as very foolish at the best. It is true that the most, the only effective opponents of Rome, are those who have so investigated her case as to see & allow what she retains of good, & are thus able to expose definitely her errors, without mixing up with them her better features,--the common indiscriminate opprobrium cast upon her being a feeble warfare;--but Dr. S & Mr C. go farther, & seem at least to give her too much credit, instead of saying she derives no approbation for anything while she retains her abominations. In the course now concerned, there may be danger to a few excitable individuals, but I see none ot the Chh,--her character & principles are too conservative for that. Yet it is extremely annoying to have such concessions blazoned before the public,--who will dwell more on them, than on any counteracting remarks.

On the subject of a Bp for Texas, &, let me add, of one for the Indians, I am disposed to be governed in my vote by the character of the individuals selected. If they are thoro’ly of the right sort, in piety, attainments, & adaptedness to the respective stations, I should say, let them be consecrated. If not , no theoretical arguments will convenience me this ought to be done. What I mean is--that the men be chosen, or virtually so & in good faith, before the measure is event discussed in the Gen. Convention. --As to any special agreements of the Chh in Texas to avoid all heretical pravities & other abuses, I see not how we can bind it further than its Constitution may provide. In our own case, cast off liturgy, orthodoxy, & episcopacy, by the act of two Gen. Conventions; & will Texas submit to closer restraint, implying, as it would, a suspicion of that Chh’s constancy in the truth? The vow of conformity in the Consecration Office, must of course, in the case of a Bp for Texas, amount fully in substance to what it now is.

I fear the above tho’ts are not as mature as they ought to be,--but it seemed to me most respectful not to delay any longer my answer to your letter.

With great deference & affection

Your friend & brother

H.U. Onderdonk

Letter to Philander Chase



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