Philander Chase



Download Full Text (2.5 MB)


A few pages in the "British Critic" have denounced Chase's motives. He copies a letter from Charles Sigourney that has cheered him up, it mentions an address Reverend Baldwin of Saratoga, who shares the same feelings as Chase on establishing a theological society in the west.




London, England


England voyage, Platt Hall, Charles Sigourney, Bp. White, Reverend Baldwin, Benjamin Chase, Catherine, Charlotte


Featherstone buildings Dec. 1 1823

My very dear Friend:

The pleasure which your good letter of the 29th [?] gave me I can not describe: I had however hardly begun to enjoy it and to praise God that I had such a friend, when it pleased Him to wring my heart with deeper anguish than at any former period. A Friend, I have no doubt with good motives, sent me a No. of the British Critic for Nov. 1823, just from the press. I directly saw for what particular reason this No had been sent me by the table of contents. Under the head of the “American Church” was a review, or summary of intelligence of several pages purporting to be written by a member of the British Church but evidently by the same hand which composed the “Notice” which I send you. To see myself thus brought forward not exactly by name; but in ever plainer terms than those held out in the paper I send you: and that in the respectable pages of this permanent work both myself and my cause held up to public derision and contempt criminal in the high degree of a schismatic and a disturber of things that are good, has inflicted a pang in my breast which few things else could do. My motives have been innocent form the beginning. I have sought the unity and harmony of the Church in every public act of my life; and I have laboured in Christ’s vineyard, I humbly hope, with a single eye to his glory; and now my Father and my Brothers misrepresent (I pray God not wilfully) all my actions!! O blessed Saviour of my soul! Grant me a forgiving spirit! If by reason of my manifold unworthiness, I am not fit to be an instrument of salvation to the poor people in the woods, save them, I beseech thee, by some other hand! But O God save them for the worthiness of thy precious blood which was shed for them and for me.

Excuse, Dr. Friend, these expressions of my soul in bitterness; for if I did not write thus I could not (it seems) write at all.

If you have a wish to see the article I dare say it has been industriously sent to Manchester and to all other parts of the kingdom.

Yet, even yet, I do not give up my hope and trust that God will, somehow or other, open a door for me to escape out of this trouble. My soul would say (I wish that I might have grace to say with the full assurance of faith) “O tarry thou the Lord’s leisure: Be strong and he shall comfort thine heart. Put thou thy trust in the Lord.” (Indeed this whole 27th Psalm has been and is now in particular a great comfort to me.)

I am glad that you approve of the course I have been I think providentially led into. This is indeed my last resort. God grant thee I find the way not strewed with thorns too sharp and painful for me to bear. You mentioned Tuesday this is not correct it is Thursday that I am to meet his Lordship. Perhaps the mistake arose from myself in bad or wrong wishing. I thought I should rectify it for fear that you might be led into error in addressing me any letters. By the Leeds I think my friends have sent me something and probably by the way of Manchester.

When at Platt Hall I believe I often mentioned to you the name of Mr. Chas Sigourney of Hartford Connect. He is Treasurer of the Bishops fund of that state. I have a letter from him, which, as it, like yours, cheers me, I will copy.

Hartford Connect. Oct 13 1823

My dear Sir,

The letter which you wrote me from N. York I received and I regret and grieve for, very sincerely, the trials to which you have been exposed. But doubtless there is a reason for all these things in the Providence of the Most High. In the present case I think that good may be educed from the evil you are threatened with. It called forth the letter to Bishop White, temperate, tho’ earnest, which has succeeded, in my opinion, in demonstrating the necessity, and expediency of the measure you have recommended, and in vindicating the course you have deemed precedent to pursue, to accomplish it. You have my, among others, most hearty prayers for your complete success and few circumstances would give me more gratification that to hear that such were the result of your visit to G. Britain. I will not trust myself to make any other comment on Bishop Hobart’s letter to you, printed in the appendix, particularly on the concluding paragraph in it, than that it is discreditable to him. Your own letter will do you good and your cause. And in regard to Bishop Hobart, you must leave him to be taken care of by God’s overruling providence; and I trust that in all differences of views and opinion however hardly they may be urged, for the honour of our Church and Religion Christian forbearance never be lost sight of. We had great pleasure in remembering you particularly on Sunday the 5th inst. in our public prayers for your health and safety; and you have often been on our minds and in our hearts on other occasions. As I hope to be able to send this by Mr. Hayden, who is to sail from N. York on the 16th I shall inclose in it a number of the Philadelphia Recorder of the 4th inst. because it contains in an address of the Rev. Baldwin of Charlton Saratoga County in N. York a remarkable coincidence of opinion with you in your views of establishing a Western theological seminary. Mr. B. has been employed as a Missionary for our church in the western states; after spending some time there this is the result of his observations while there, now first made publick, and probably in type at the very moment when your letter to Bp. White was printing. I have not had leisure to read the letter, but I see its drift, am told it is written with ability. I thought you would be pleased to see it, that it might be [?] to you, and cooperate possibly in your great design, and therefore I send it. Perhaps if you could get it republished in Eng. with some comments in the Christian Observer, or some other religious periodical work it might do you good by corroborating your own statements, and convincing the world that your plan of establishing a great Western theological seminary was not the solitary wild opinion of a Single Individual but a measure commenced by expediency, and growing naturally out of the necessities of the case.

It will give me great pleasure to hear from you while in Eng. and particularly of your successful progress. I trust our friend Mr. W[?] will be able to led you a helping hand by a good word seasonably put in. We think, and have thought much of you here since your difficulties in N. York: and few things would give us more satisfaction than to have the pleasure of seeing you with us on your return. Remember if you come, if we are alive and well, you are our guest.

My beloved wife is well and would be greatly pleased with knowing Mrs. Chase. She desires to unite with me in a very affectionate remembrance to you, and in best wishes for the continuance of your health, and for the successful issue of your labours

While I remain very respectfully and sincerely

Your Friend and Obedt Sert

(signed) Charles Sigourney

Thus Dr. Mr. Wiggin have I finished copying Mr. S’s letter verbatim. In excuse for troubling you with it I plead your assurances of kindness to me and that you have the goodness to interest yourself in my affairs. It moreover served a purpose very desirable under my present depression of spirits, to keep my mind from dwelling on the dark side of things. Come what will, said I often in copying it, I have the love of those who know me best. This is a balm to my soul, which being a boon from Heaven, I would not exchange for all the ambitious views and riches of the world. I thank God and take courage. I think I shall sleep sweeter tonight (for it is quite late) for having beguiled the moments thus with two of the best friends I ever had: for tho’ absent you both seem at this moment to stand before me smiling on me cheering me with your kind advice. The rest of the Blessed inmates at Platt Hall come in succession as they used to do while I was there. I hear Mrs. W’s friendly voice and see her benignant look. Mrs. [?] is behind leading her precious charge. Cousin Benjamin is there also talking about Paris and Brussels and R[?] and young Benjamin your son and Catherine and Charlotte and all the little ones contribute in their turn to the general enjoyments. Let these blessed images be set off against the angry figures which [frown] in the British Critic! Thus is good tempered with evil thro this journey of life. Merciful God! Grant that the latter never be too heavy to bear by

Your very sincere and grateful Friend

Philander Chase

Letter to Timothy Wiggin



Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States