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Letter responding to the Diocese of South Carolina's objections and doubts regarding the Diocese of Ohio election proceedings for Bishop Elect Rev. Philander Chase.
Members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Ohio, "Letter to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina" (1818). Philander Chase Letters. 188.
Sept. 19, 1818
To the Standing Committee of the Diocese of South Carolina
We received in due course of mail the Resolution of your board in session in the 6th day of July Last, under cover of a letter from the Rev. Dr. [Gardsden].
We should have, ere this, replied to them had not our situation as a Committee been somewhat singular.
The Rev Philander Chase our President is the Bishop Elect, of whose desired consecration our letter must treat. [Delicacy] therefore, forbade his interference in even his sitting with us to form a Board.
The Rev. Mr. Pearle is on a journey to Kentucky; or if he have before now, returned to his family in Trumbull Co. Ohio, he has not called this way.
The Rev Mr Johnston, the other member, the other member, is on a tour to Phila and N York with a view to solicit donation for the interesting Parish of Christ Church, of which he is the Rector in Cincinnati.
We must therefore, tho somewhat unacquainted with ecclesiastical proceedings, answer you by ourselves relying on you candour to make [allowances] hen our sentiments are not in due form.
Your Resolutions are as follow.
“Resolves. That the [standing] Committee The Diocese of South Car. view with great delight the increasing propensity of the Ch. of the Redeemed & particularly the prospect of having the Episcocate established in the western parts of our country: and while they lament that they cannot [consistently] with the Canons of the [Gen] [Con] assent to the Election of a Bp in the Diocese of Ohio held on the 3rd [?], yet they appease the Ch. in that Diocese that they will accord with any Election which may be held in strict conformity with the Canons of the Gen Conventions.
Resolves. That the Second canon of the Gen Convention requires that before a Diocese [moves] to the Elections of a Bishop there shall be six officiating Presbyters Therein & That a majority of [such] Presbyters shall concur in such election: and as it appears That There were only three Presbyters and a Deacon present at the Election of the Rev. P. Chase held on 3rd and that those of the Clergyman only concurred in this election, which are a moiety not a majority of the number required by the Canon therefore resolved that the [standing] Committee of the Diocese of South Caro. can not consent to the Elections of the Said Rev P. Chase to the Episcopate of Ohio.”
The Tendency with which these resolutions are expressed certainly [deserved] our grateful respect; and in behalf of ourselves and The Diocese of Ohio we most showfully and sincerely render it you.
You have, however, Tho in the most delicate terms given as a negative to our request; not on the grounds of objections to our Bp Elect but solely to the mode of his election. For this distinction also we Thank you.
That we were canonical in the mode of elections on Bishop was not only the unanimous opinion of our Convention, [and] we hope to make appear to you.
Confident as we were of the propriety of our proceedings in the [?] referred to, yet our confidence was not founded on the Canon to which your resolution refers. The Second Canon does indeed require six presbyters officiating in the Diocese before they shall ever proceed to the election of a Bishop. If no other Rule, [therefore] of a subsequent death existed, we should never have dared to proceed to the measure in question.
But another Rule did present itself to us in the Canon paper in the Gen Con[?] entitled “a Canon limiting the operation of the Second Canon & the 9th Canon”
The Words to our purpose are contained in the first and last clause of this Canon. [?] “In the event of there being a Bishop consecrated for any state or states westward of the Allegany mountains. The member of the Clergymen specified in the Second canon shall not be [requisite]”
So That in consecrating on Bishop Elect the Right Rev Bishops officiating are by this Canon clearly authorized: and if they [can] consecrate under this Canon [?] it was implied that we can elect - for in authorizing the end the means were also authorized.
In regard to there being four Clergymen (Three Presbyters and one deacon) present at the election of the Rev P. Chase, and only three of them voting in his favor, one glance at our [?] may show how this came to [hap].
The Rev P. Chase himself The Bp Elect was one of The Clergymen then present. How then came the scattering vote among The Clergy? How but by supposing as we are morally [?] he did [vote], not for himself but for another person: So that excepting his own vote [?] by his known delicacy, he was unanimously elected both by the Clergy & Society of put Diocese.
But Gentlemen, The Affectionate spirit which personally your kind letter to us, emboldens us not only to obviate your objections which we conceive were founded on mistake, but to say something more by way of [?] of the propriety of giving a Speedy signature to the testimonials in favor of our Bishop Elect.
If he be not consecrated in due Time the consequences will be dreadful both to us and him. The prosperity of our Church now just emerging from a state of chaos of under the Blessing of a kind Providence [thro’] his means will experience a check sincerely to be [depricated].
He being the man of our unanimous choice and the scattered members throughout our extension Diocese having promised themselves so much satisfaction in the prospect of enjoying thro’ him so speedily the blessing of episcopal offices, the disappointment will be incalculable should any delay on opposition mark his way to the Episcopate.
If evidence the most ample & satisfactory can form the [basis] of a correct opinion of any man’s character we are not mistaken in placing our Rev Bishop Elect among the highest.
Not only primitive in his [?] pious & dignified in his manner learned & orthodox in his opinion as exhibited since he [came] among us; but whereas he has been best known through the long course of his successful ministry thence have his testimonials been received accompanied by letters most [consecrates] latory and most expression of his praise. To have Therefore many things thrown in the way of the consideration of such a man whereby the enemies of our rising importance can surmise ought against him will be peculiarly detrimental. Most [devoutly] do we pray it may not take place. May he have the universal suffrage of the American Church as he has the unanimous voice of The Diocese of Ohio.
Should your doubts therefore have been [so] moved, we earnestly desire a speedy compliance with our former request. Our Bishop Elect will probably go on shortly for consecration, perhaps before your letter can reach us. Will you therefore, if you see fit to make out his testimonials have the goodwill to give a Duplicate of the same, sending one to us and one to his address to the care of the Right Rev. Bishop White Phi.? By so doing you will, Gentlemen, greatly oblige.
Your Most Obl.
Members of the S.C. of the Diocese of Ohio