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The Diocese of New Jersey has delayed approval of Philander Chase's appointment as Bishop. The Diocese of Ohio attempts to persuade them to change their decision by speaking of Chases's good character and the importance of a Bishop in Ohio and the west.
Diocese of New Jersey, Diocese of Ohio, Philander Chase, Bishop
Gardiner, B, "Letter to the standing Committee of the Diocese of New Jersey" (1818). Philander Chase Letters. 130.
Columbus September 17th 1818
To the standing Committee of the Diocese of New Jersey
We, the undersigned members of the standing committee of the state of Ohio, write unto you in behalf of our infant Diocese, and especially concerning the desired consideration of the Rev’d Philander Chase to this Episcopate.
The reasons why the names of the Reverend, our associates in the committee are not also affixed, are these — The Rev’d P. Chase, our President, is the person of whose expected connexion with us, through the episcopate, our letter must necessarily treat; of course motives of delicacy make him silent: The Rev’d Mr. Searle, the Jr clerical member of the committee is on a tour into Kentucky, [te] and distant dome hundred miles from us: the Rev’d Mr Johnson is also far from us at the eastward; we must, therefore by leave to address you; and although here are but two of the committee, we are confident that the sentiments we write, will be those of every member of our primitive communion, not only in this Diocese, but in that numerous section of Virginia, who, in the event of our wishes being accomplished; will become part of this Diocese. — Gentlemen, among the numerous communications from the different parts of our ecclesiastical union, especially those where our Bishop elect is best known, approbating, not only in canonical, but in other highly respectful and affectionate terms, his speedy concentration; We have been honored with two letters from your secretary, the Rev’d Tho. C. Rudd; one is dated at Elizabethtown N.J. July 1, 1818; and in it your secretary says “The Committee were far from intimating that they would not sign the requisite testimonials, but unanimous in opinion of the propriety of delay.” — The resolution of the board of your Committee is in the following words, “Resolved, that, inasmuch as doubts have arisen in the minds of the committee as to the propriety of proceeding no to the signature of the desired testimonials, the consideration of the subject be postponed to the meeting of the next annual convention of New-Jersey, to be held August 19th 1818, and that, in the meantime the President of the committee take measures to obtain information in relation to this subject,” “Tho.C.Rudd, President of Committee Pro. Tem.”
Your other communication is dated New, Brunswick N.J. August 20th 1818, and contains this resolution of your Board: “Whereas such doubts with respect to the propriety of the contemplated measure still exist in the minds of the members of the committee as to induce there to withhold their consent to the proposed consecration. — Therefore, Resolved, unanimously, that the Bishop of this Diocese be respectfully advised in case she shall be called on the act in such consecration, to urge the postponement of that act, till the meeting of the next General convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the states, to be holden in the city of Philadelphia in the month of May 1820.”
“A true contract to — “Tho, Churchill Rudd, Sect —”
We beg leave here to enquire what are the members of the Diocese of Ohio to understand from the tenor of those resolutions? These words in particular, to wit — “doubts with respect of the propriety of the contemplated measure?” So they affect the character of our Bishop elect? Or do they affect the much desired object of our having so soon as may be, the great blessing of the Episcopal officers amongst us, taken independently of these, we humbly conceive must necessarily be the case. The your “doubts” reach the character of our Bishop elect, we cannot for a moment admit, for these substantial reasons, — 1st. Your secretary, Mr, Rudd, assures us, in the first communication, that, “ the committee were far from intimating that they would not sign the requisite testimonials, but were unanimous in the opinion of the propriety of delay.” 2nd. Wherever our Bishop elect, has been, it is best known, (every state north and east of New Jersey) thence are his testimonials received; and the letters accompanying them are most congratulatory to us, and affectionate to him; it must therefore, be the later which has given rise to your “doubts”. You doubt the propriety of our having “now” a Bishop in this Diocese. We beg to know what hae the Diocese of Ohio done, that we are, in the opinion of the Standing Committee of New Jersey, to be debased the privileges to which other members of our primitive communion are admitted. And have we acted contrary to the existing constitution and canon of our Church? If so, why not condescend to point out our error and lead up, by your kind advice, into the right way? Most gladly would we rectify our proceedings, if we could be sensible they were not canonical. — But, perhaps, your “doubts”, in regard to our having now the blessings of the Episcopate, arise from something we have left undone. If so, pray, Gentlemen, read the journals of the two last conventions, which have been carefully transmitted to you; and the report of the Rt. Rev’d. House of Bishops, in relation to this state. In those things to which that report refers and of which those journals were the result, our Bishop elect was, under a kind Providence, a principal instrument. With that [disinterested] benevolence which characterized the Apostolic Church, he came into our state, and, without fee or reward, but such as was furnished by his own bosom, he traveled our woods, visited our infant settlements, officiated in our cabins, established churches in our towns and villages, gathered together the dismembered professors of our communion, admitted many hundreds by holy Baptism, into the fold of the Redeemer, and fed with the Bread of Life the numerous flocks, over whom he has now the pastoral charge. He being pure in his morals, dignified in his manners, pious in his conversation, and rubrical in his public ministrations, we did hope that, in unanimously choosing him to fill the Episcopate, who, under God, had excited us to do so much to build up our Church in the West, we should have the hearty concurrence of all those whose duty it is to give their sufferages in such cases; but it lamentably appears, that in relation to the Diocese of New-Jersey we were mistaken — So mistaken as not only to have their negative, but a positive denunciation, that in case we presume to ask their Rt. Rev’d Bishop to assist in the [conservation] of our Bishop, be will be “respectfully advised to urge the postponement of that act, till the next general convention at Philadelphia in May 1820.” — In the disappointment occasioned by this unreasonable proscription, we think, we have grounds for complaint. We call it unreasonable because no reason is assigned where we had a right to expect it. Surely nothing but mistake or ill advice could have been the cause of your misjudging of that which we deem, and actually is deemed, throughout our state, the true and best interest of the church in the west, Would, that some of your, Gentlemen, had been present when the important event of the election of our own Bishop took place. The Rev’d Dr. Doddrige of Virginia, (though not till the event of the conservation a member of the convention, yet) being permitted to give his counsel, urged in the strongest terms election of a Bishop on the ground that such a measure was all important to the interests of the western parts of Virginia and eastern parts of Ohio — in which he officiates: Accordingly the election took place, after the most ample investigation of the propriety of the measure. After which the Rev’d Mrs Searle in his sermon to the congregation, did congratulate them, and through them the whole Diocese; and in the most solemn manner thanked God that they were so soon to enjoy the blessings of the Episcopate, for which they had been so long and so ardently praying. Had you, Gentlemen, or either of you been present to witness those things, you could not, it is confidently believed, have been thus “unanimous in the opinion of the propriety of delay.” — And what, permit us once more respectfully to ask, will be the result of this delay which your Rev’d Bishop is respectfully requested to urge? Will it not end in (what we are very far from intimating is your intention) an alarming discouragement of the church in the west, where their members see their best endeavors so coldly hated; their real in the cause of the church so illy [sic] requited; and the gentlemen of their choice so unreasonably used? Nothing, we believe, will give greater cause for triumph in the ranks of the opposers of our church, then the very thing you desire your Rt. Rev’d Bishop “to urge” against us! Their opposition to our primitive discipline is surely now sufficiently strong without the aid of a discomfiture of this nature from the professed friends of the church — A few more words in relation to the personal feelings of our Bishop elect and we will have done — Did we unanimously elect this worthy gentleman to his office, but to suspend him as it were between heaven & Earth, as an object of malicious enquiry? Who will not ask the reason of this unexampled delay? And when no reason is given, will not a reason unfavorable to his character, by the enemy at least, be suggested? So that, were he has pure as Abel, as meek as Moses and as holy as the Apostles, his character, in such case, must suffer. And is it to be supported that the Diocese, who have elected him, and obtained his reluctant consent to accept this election, will tamely submit to such a procedure? We are not of opinion that they will. Most devoutly, therefore, do we pray Almighty God, in whose hands are the hearts of men, that you may be inclined to do us justice in the canonical favor which we have asked of you; or, that your worthy and Rt. Rev’d Bishop be not so influenced by your urgent request, as to wound us in a point, wherein the consequences to our prosperity in the church of the blessed Redeemer will be fatal —
A sincere belief in the vast importance of this subject, viewed in its true and full extent; and a consciousness that it is our duty, under existing circumstances, to be frank and explicit, constitute our apology for addressing you at this time and at such length; we earnestly hope you will candidly consider and correctly appreciate accordingly our motives and sentiments.
Very respectfully, Gentlemen,
We are your most obedient and very humble servants,
Members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Ohio
Copy of Letter to the Standing Committee of New Jersey