Philander Chase



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Philander Chase sends Bishop McIlvaine a word of warning against leaving his residence at Gambier Hill, lest he relinquish his role as Bishop of Ohio (which stipulates residence at Kenyon College).




Philander Chase, Bishop McIlvaine, Charles McIlvaine, Ohio, Kenyon College, General Convention, residence, warning, legal, law, Episcopal Church


To the Rt. Rev. Charles P. McIlvaine

Gambier, Ohio

Jubilee College Illinois November 1st 146

Very dear Brother;

When, by the grace of God, I collected funds in England, with which to found a Church-Institution in Ohio, the whole plan was based on the condition that the Bishop of s’d Diocese, for the time being, should always reside on the premises; whether there were the farms of mine in Worthington, conveyed by deed to Lord Gambier in trust for that purpose; or a landed property of equal or superior value & so to be adjudged by the Referees after I should have arrived in America.

This condition of the Residence of the Bishop was made known; and declared to be so understood by the repot of the Committee for that purpose appointed, at the meeting of the diocese Convention in Chillicothe in November 1824.

On this condition the monet & other presents from England were given: and on this condition they were received; thus constituting a Covenant between Donors & Donees - alias - the English Benefactors; & the Convention & Diocese of Ohio: the condition being the personal residence of the Bishop on the premises giving him the chief management of the contemplated institution.

This contract could not, it is obvious, be set aside by any act of the Legislation.

Nor could the Trustees be empowered by the Legislation to in any wise to annul this contract.

Equally impossible was it for the House of Bishops or any other body, however venerable in their character, or respected for their official station, to set aside this contract.

Like a note of hand it spoke and till speaks its own promise on its face; and as such it was virtually signed before the money contributed was transferred. God and all just men, acquainted with the nature & circumstances of this contract, witnessed it.

Who, then, will presume to say that any power on Earth can alter it?

Now, my very Dear Brother, I cannot bring myself to believe that you were duly aware of these truths, when you published your determination to become, henceforth, Nonresident on Gambier Hill & no longer to have the “Chief management & oversight of the Institution founded, as above, by English Benefactors. Your fine mind must have been led astray by the advice of persons ignorant of Law, or, for some cause, prejudiced in their opinions.

No unkind feelings, very dear Brother, prompt the words I am now speaking to you. I trust I am too deeply sensible of my near approach to the Eternal world, to harbour anything but christian love towards a respected brother; especially when I consider how much need there is of unanimity among the Bishops of our Church, at this critical period of her history.

It is my Conscience which makes me write to you thus on this subject; the same religious sense of duty which made me leave Kenyon College to save that Institution, now compels me to entreat you my Successor to save the same from being irretrievably lost by violating the condition above named--a condition so evidently essential to its lawful existence & perpetuity.

If you treat this as you have other communications from me on this subject, with silence, I shall mourn and weep as doth a father over the grave of his firstborn. If you quit all residence on Gambier Hill you[sic] silence will not avail you as heretofore it hath done.

You must be aware, that the public for other reasons than those here assigned has long been of opinion that the Charter of Kenyon College is forfeited. It is your residence on the premises that has served to quiet and allay anxiety. But when that no longer exists, I dare not promise that a Visitation will not take place, and the case be duly investigated and the whole laid before a legal tribunal for decision.

Continue, therefore, very Dear Brother to reside on the premises, till we ca have a personal interview.

Delay going away from Gambier Hill till next general Convention; and in the mean while let us correspond; and perhaps thus save the Western Church from much very much evil.

That God may bless you, and direct all your steps to his Glory, in the prayer of

Rt. Rev. and Very Dear Sir

Your affectionate and Faithful Friend & Brother in the Lord

Philander Chase

Letter to Bishop Charles McIlvaine



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