James Dallin



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Dallin apologizes for not writing for a long time, explaining that he felt had nothing significant to say until now. He commends Chase for the work on his school, gives a detailed account of the religious divide and tension in England, and provides an update on his own personal affairs.


Summer 6-28-1826


York, Mrs. Reed, General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, Convention of Ohio, Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church of North America, Delaware, Bishop Hobart, Restoration of Charles the 2nd, Mr. Overton, Church of England, Methodists, Beverly, Mr. Wesley, Papists, Roman Catholics, Catholic emancipation, Ireland, Duke of York, Parliament, Apocrypha, Bible Society, Scotch, Mr. Gray son, Margaret, Derby, Mr. Jon.


Rudston near Bridlington,

June 28th. 1826.

Right Reverent

And Very Dear Sir,

With very great pleasure embrace the opportunity, which the residence of a few weeks on this living affords me, of again taking up my pen to address you. A thought will perhaps cross your mind how can it have happened, if my friend be sincere in that expression of pleasure, that he has been so long in replying to me, when I have written twice to him since my return to America, and have besides communicated with him by the printed copies of two conventions in my Diocese. The delay has chiefly arisen from an apprehension, that the communications I am able to make are scarcely worth sending so far. But after so long a silence you will be glad to hear of your friend at York, who entertain for you their former regards and often talk of you. I will therefore endeavor, after noticing more particularly your kind communication, to entertain you by relating so few particulars of public affairs so far as they bear upon religious matters, and by informing you of your friends in York.

I scarce need state how much your letters, and the proceedings of the conventions in your Diocese interested and delighted us all. In the latter we observed particularly the ability, and piety, with which the members applied themselves to and executed the purposes of the Conventions; and though we witnessed with concern the losses you have sustained in your zealous Clergy, yet we could not doubt of the final success of an undertaking so excellent in itself, and so wisely conducted. Our gracious Lord and [haster] has promised to be with his ministering servants to the end of time. On this promise we may confidently rely. This subject was much on my mind (when I last had the honour and pleasure of addressing you,) in connection with a visitation sermon I had to preach about that time. It applies doubtless to all the ministers of the church, but especially to its Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, to whom the promise was made. Doubtless it will be made good in your case; and though you now sow in tears, you will it cannot be doubted reap in joy. The cores of so great a charge as yours must be heavy upon you: the variety of business, which the proceedings of your Conventions exhibit, must require on your part much previous thought, and solicitude. The great weight of consideration will lie upon yourself; and in such a multitude of business every thing cannot be expected to succeed to your mind. The convention of last June do not appear to have yielded to your wishes respecting Mrs. Reed’s donation of land as the site of your seminary, though perhaps not with any intention of ultimately opposing them. Their resolutions however appear to come into your ideas of the expediency of placing your seminary in the country and not in any town. This measure appears highly conducive if not absolutely necessary to its final prosperity, I look with interest to the proceedings of the next convention of your Diocese, when this matter will be to appearance finally determined. The meeting of the General Convention of the Prot. Ep. Church in Novm. next is important in connection with the affairs of the Diocese of Ohio. I shall be glad to have the proceedings of both of them, if they should be printed. Those of the Convention of Ohio will no doubt continue to be so; and I shall esteem it a favour to have one sent to me every year. The copy of the general Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church of North America, which in your letter of the 15th of Sep. 1824 you write that you send with that letter, has not reached me. If you should be able to send me another copy, when you are making up a packet for this country I shall be much gratified. In order however to its safely reaching me, it will perhaps be necessary to put it into an envelop and direct it to me -- Your letter of the 16th of Mary 1825 was particularly grateful to all your York friends: it was and is all highly interesting to us, your preparations for the fixing of a new Seminary; the foundation laid, in the interval, for Theological instruction at your present residence by the acquisition of two promising Tutors; and the laying of the first stone of a Church at Delaware with other particulars [there] stated made it a great treat to us. I had to read it several times to friends, besides lending it to others. Your friends at Delaware make us a very acceptable return for our good will towards them, by the interest they take in your relation respecting us. This communion of persons like minded in distant lands upon subjects of highest interest is very [cheering]. As for myself, that the course of God’s providence should have made me an object of regard and friendly feeling to yourself, your Clergy, and your devoted flock is a distinction, that beyond measure is grateful to me. May I prove at last worthy of the good opinion and kindnesses, which in various ways have through life been showed me. ------ besides the communications, with which you have yourself favoured me, I have read with great interest [such] particulars, as have been inserted in our periodical publications respecting your proceedings. Among these your visit to a tribe of Indians on one of your rivers, who continued to use among them the liturgy of our Church, was very interesting. The prospect of your having a Seminary, where they may have teachers trained up for them is one additional circumstance, which [commends] your mission in this country. Without such aid it is to be feared, they might have been [prevailed] with in a course of years to give up the form of sound words, to which they still adhere so steadily. Then I read the account, I was gratified exceedingly in reflecting upon the pleasure you would experience in discovering this simple and pious society of Christians; and in the confirmation it would afford you of the expediency and utility of your visit to this country. --------- I some time back purchased Bishop Hobart’s sermons, and have read, not so much as I wished and intended, but yet enough to discover his scheme of theology and the peculiarities of his style. The former appears to me to be that of our divines, who came into repute after the Restoration of Charles the 2nd at least in the main points of their doctrine. If I am right in this opinion, and I think I paid a sufficiently close attention to his statements to come at the truth, you are likely to have in your Church the same variations in stating the distinguishing points of Christian doctrine, and the same disputes respecting them, which have taken place in ours. If so, Mr. Overton’s work, “The true Churchmen ascertained,” may be as useful in America as it has been in England. Bishop Hobart’s style, general ability as a Preacher, and weight of talent and character are sure to gain advocates to his opinions: they are sure to spread to some extent. And, when I recollect you stated, that he has been highly useful in spreading and extending the Church in his Diocese, I anticipate that his mode of stating Christian doctrine will become generally acceptable in that portion of your Church, which falls under his own direction, or can be influenced by him. Mr. Overton’s work, above alluded to, is therefore well worth a very careful preservation. I think, a copy of it was presented to you, when you were in York.

But you will, I fear, think me unreasonable in detaining you so long, before I endeavour to communicate to you such particulars as have occurred in this country in matters connected with religion since you left, and may perhaps be interesting to you. I hope the interests of true religion are on the whole upon the advance among the members of the Church of England; the number of faithful zealous ministers continually increasing, and the people are becoming more and more acquainted with and interested in the truth, [such] as it regards their own and their neighbours good. And notwithstanding the propensity, at present so rife in this country, to separation and division, every man, who sets up a new scheme, or professes to adapt an old one better than his neighbours, being sure to find hearers and admirers, yet I am disposed to believe, that serious reflecting people in this country, once indifferent to, or adverse to the Church of England, are in many instances otherwise disposed. If they do not cordially enter into our modes and ways of regulating religious matters, yet they begin to see and own the value of our excellent Establishment, or find that enmity and bitterness have no colour of defence and justification. The evils of the dissenting system, where dissent has long prevailed, shew themselves, and set to view in their true light the advantages of Episcopal government in a Church, provided, as ours is, with truly evangelical articles, Liturgy and Homilies. The secession of Methodists at Beverly near [Hall] from the Conference, on the score that modern Methodists depart from the Church contrary to Mr. Wesley’s intention, has established itself, though I do not hear that the measure spreads to other places. It is understood however, that among leading men of the Conference there is a disposition to inquire, in what way they and the members of the Church could go hand in hand in promoting the eternal interests of mankind. That may be the issue of this state of things amongst us, it is impossible to conjecture. May Almighty God overrule us all for good, that true religion may flourish more and more amongst us. Of this we are certain, that whatever events and changes may be taking place in particular portions of Christ’s vineyard, the cause of truth will in the issue generally prosper and the name of God be glorified.

I must however on the other hand [advert] to the virulent opposition, still kept up by the dissenters and Papists against us. The former, with such exceptions as are before mentioned, manifest their forefathers bigotry and enmity. Their desire to injure the Establishment appears on many occasions: while the intolerance of the latter surpasses all bounds, and broke out in a very singular manner in Ireland a few months after you left England. The number of Papists in that country emboldened the priests, and other advocates of the Romish faith, to be very forward and confident; and presuming upon an easy victory, the priests challenged the Protestant Clergy to public disputations on theological subjects. They seemed to imagine, that nothing was wanting to put down Protestantism in that country, but a public disputation, ending advantageously for themselves. And of this advantage they did not suffer themselves to doubt. The issue however entirely disappointed their expectations. The Protestant clergy there of the established Church, in a manner which will do them immortal honour, accepted the challenge; and wherever the disputations were not interrupted by a [Popish] mob entirely defeated their adversaries. The Roman Catholic Clergy were quite unable to cope with their opponents, while a number of able advocated on the other side have been brought forward who have done honour to the cause of Protestantism. In some instances great violence was used on the part of the Papists, and the lives of the Clergymen concerned were put in jeopardy. Notwithstanding the cause of true religion gained by the occurrence, Roman Catholics being [put] [upon] inquiring into he grounds of their faith. The superior Clergy therefore (seeing no good to be gained on their part in this trail of skill in theology, and some of their adherents wavering in their attachment) interdicted the disputations, on the ground that it was beneath the dignity of the Catholic Church, that doctrines which had been decided by its high authorities should be brought into debate and put to the vote in popular assemblies. So the matter ended. This was a very adroit way of getting out of a measure, which had been [?] at, when esteemed likely to turn to their account.

In the following year, during the session of our Parliament in the spring of 1825, the question of what is called Catholic emancipation, or the admission of Roman Catholics into Parliament and to the highest offices of the state, was fully and warmly discussed; and thrown out of the House of Lords by a larger majority than before. It had passed the Commons as on former occasions. The violence of the Papists in Ireland had done injury to their cause. Indeed it is now evident, that the participation of equal priviledges with the Protestants is not the true, and sole, purpose of the [?] for the emancipation; but the suppression of the Protestant Church in Ireland, and perhaps also some political change, to which emancipation is to be a stepping stool. So much is now declared by the popular Demagogues in the sister country; and the Protestant Community is put upon its guard against the ultimate designs of the Papists. The Duke of York, (now I lament to say the late Duke of York) made a very manly and able declaration of his sentiments on the question, in unison there can be no doubt with the opinions of the sovereign. The death of that Prince is felt as a loss by the Friends of the established order of things in this country: but the bearings, and importance, of admitting Romanists to power has become so much better understood, that at the new election of our Parliament last year the return of members for England was more [against] the Catholics than in the last Parliament. I think the general opinion in this country is, that further concessions to them can do no good, as long as their present hostility to us remains. In Ireland the violence of the Priests obtained returns favourable to their views. For myself, I think, the concession of their claims will be a calamity to our country: for if they should fail in any ulterior object they have in view, which I believe will be the case; yet the violent discussions, party projects, and contests, likely to ensure would be really injurious to the peace and good order of Society. The Church of England, I am persuaded, will stand the shock: there is so much, that is excellent, truly excellent in her internal constitution; and so much, that has been and may be still useful in her external order and connections, that she will weather, as she has done, many a storm. Our civil and ecclesiastical policy have been so long united, are so closely interwoven, and have been in so many ways mutually beneficial, that the connection will not easily be broken. And if even that event should take place, I am inclined to think, that all which is essential to our Church, which I have termed her internal constitution, will not sink, perhaps will rise, in the estimation of the wise and good.

Another subject of public concern and interest to which I feel inclined to allude (though I have some apprehension), that, what I have to state on this and the preceding subjects, have been anticipated by communications made by friends or by publications) is the disagreement which has arisen on the subject of [ye] Apocrypha among the members of the Bible Society. The committee had been in the habit of distributing the apocrypha with the Bibles intended for foreign countries, and of assisting by their funds the printing abroad of such Bibles with the Apocrypha. This the Scotch have opposed with a great deal of bitterness, bigotry, and violence; and have made so strong an impression in this country, that the committee have found it expedient to give up the Apocrypha. And yet the Scotch are not satisfied, but go on to other charges; and bring the most unfounded accusations against the officers of the Society as to the management of the funds. This is a very unhappy dispute; and thus, after the institution and singular success of a society, in which it was hoped all the friends of Christianity among Protestants might join, and shew their mutual good will, and get together for the religious welfare of mankind, discord and division have arisen and blasted these fair hopes. Such a creature is man; so contracted and short sighted in his views, and so often driven from a good purpose by some sinister, selfish or, at best, mistaken view of things. Discord in this society is a great evil: but it is a far greater, that by abandoning the apocrypha, the door is shut against the distribution of their Bibles in Roman Catholic countries; and that dissatisfaction is given to Protestant churches abroad. These last, though they no no [sic] more consider the apocrypha of a divine authority than the Church of England does, yet are much attached to it, as a useful book of moral instruction, and have it printed with their Bibles. It is much to be feared, that the intercourse of the Bible Society with the foreign auxiliaries will hereafter be much shackled, and the prosecution of their grand purpose be much impeded. But almighty God can cause the wrath of men to praise him, making the working of their passions subservient to the end of his providence.

March 8th. 1827. The greater part of this sheet, you will perceive, was not written till the beginning of this year. I now proceed to finish my tardy epistle, and to send it to the post. Successive interruptions have caused this delay; and especially an event, which I think will give you pleasure, as it has added much to my happiness, my marriage with a lady who has for some years been my Parishioner, and to whose former husband I am the surviving [executor]. Her annual income is at present handsome, and ultimately will be greater than mine. Thus has Almighty God prospered me. When I look back I am amazed. Entering the church with nothing but a strong, and I trust sincere, desire to glorify God and benefit his Church; and feeling myself at every period of my life afterwards unworthy of what I possessed, I have repeated favour of providence bestowed upon me, with out, I may say, my own seeking, till I am now, with my habits of expense, abundantly rich. I have through life had my heart and purse open to the calls of benevolence, and the interests of religion; and thus am I rewarded. My life is an exemplification of that text, “Here is that scattereth and yet increaseth.” My heart overflows with gratitude, but is filled with anxiety, how I may use to the best advantage the gift bestowed upon me, and asks [?] what shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits? I more than ever need the prayers of my friends, that in this time of my wealth my heart may not be lifted up, and drawn away by the deceits of this vain world. But while I have been prosperous, some of your friends here have been sufferers. Mr. Gray son lost his wife, last Dec.: she was buried in the family vault in my Churchyard: nearly a year before, in the month of January, he lost his surviving daughter Margaret, wife to Mr. [J.] [?], who lives near Derby and whatever was very singular, on the same day died Mr. Jon. daughter [Gra?] Margaret just in the bloom of her days. I buried the aunt and niece at the same time in the family vault. Mr. J. Gray has printed an account of his daughter from her papers, and desires me to inquire of you, whether you have packets of books sent you from this country? And, if you have, by what Bookseller and at what times? If you can inform me on these points, when you favour me next with a letter, he will send you a copy of the little book. In other respects your friends here are well. I am not deserving of a letter [from] you after so long a silence; but assure you, I shall be exceedingly gratified by one, if your manly engagements give you sufficient leisure. In conclusion, in which all your friends cordially join with me in this place, I beg you to accept the assurance of my continued esteem and respect, and of my earnest wishes and prayers for your happiness and prosperity and for your devoted Clergy; and am, Right Reverent and very dear Sir,

Yours faithfully,

James Dallin.

Letter to Philander Chase



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