Philander Chase



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Chase informs Kinney of his appointment to the Episcopate of Illinois. Unsure of how he will support his family in this role, he worries for the wellbeing of his wife and children. He considers the possibility of opening a school in Illinois, but is put on guard due to what occurred in 1831 at Kenyon College.




Episcopate of Illinois, Diocese of Illinois, Worthington, Gambier, Gilead, Peoria, Samuel Chase, Sarah Chase, Illinois, Michigan, Mrs. Kinney


To Mr. Aaron Kinney

Gilead M.I.

April 6. 1835.

Very dear Sir,

That I have not answered yr. very kind second letter before this you must attribute to any thing but want of affection to you or your dear family. Most thankful am I to Him who the author of all goodness for the blessings to which you and your sons and your daughters enjoy at his merciful hands. Methinks I can see you all as assembled around your firesides or as you sit in the house of God expressing your grateful sense of divine favour and imploring heavenly grace to improve them to the glory of God and the good of his Church. Oh that by these means you might thro’ the atoning blood of the Lamb be prepared to meet at last a family in Heaven, not one lost - not one, out of your great number missing!

A week ago today I received an appointment to be the Episcopate of Illinois; which, being offered me by the unanimous vote of the Convention of that Diocese and in no way, directly or indirectly, sought for by myself, I can not but regard as the clear expression of the divine will, and as such demanding my acceptance. I should feel my depression of spirits (freely acknowledged the effect of a want of faith), were [as] young as when I came into Ohio. But God can strengthen my aged arm and can power my enfeebled body to do his will. - Oh that He would also give efficacy to my voice, when preaching his word for the communion of dinners to holiness; and above all his spiritual sanction to the laying on of my trembling hands!

In the communications which I have red. from Illinois it is expressly stated “no salary must be expected” by me for the support of myself and family. In this case you will ask what am I to do! - I am too old to work on a farm as I did in Ohio for the support of my little ones; or to go abroad for means to support my helpers in the gospel work. - The only way I can think of is to constitute a School & my superintending it and engaging faithful & pious teachers to try to do good to the souls of my pupils while for their tuition I receive something to live on. And yet even this seems to be a sorry expedient when I look on the enfeebled [frame] of my dear Wife already worm out with such work at Worthington and Gambier. And then the danger of my under Teachers making such high demands for the services they render me as that if not granted they would enter into a conspiracy to ruin me again by deceiving the People and exciting their passions against immaginary [sic] failings. - One thing is in my favour I am put on my guard by the melancholy scenes at Gambier 1831 - and another is that the only person who kept himself untainted by the poison then poured out against me is now with me, and ready to go with me to the work in Illinois. This is the Rev. Samuel Chase now married to our dear Sarah the daughter of my dear niece Mrs. Russell. - This worthy gentleman was at the head of the Gramr. School while in Gambier, and is now fit to fill the chair of a Professor. He, I say, will go with me and commence the School at Peoria, which we intend to carry on had we remained in Gilead. Another and the last thing I shall mention as encouraging me to commence anew in Illinois is that all the Clergy there heartily detesting the conduct of the Conspiracy at Gambier will join with me against any such measure should it break out among the pampered teachers of any school I may set on foot in my new Diocese. - Under these encouraging circumstances putting my own trust in God I shall go on in the good work -

Should it be the will of God that no support can be derived from this source of school keeping I can but submit to the will of God and seal my faith in him with my death. This, it seems to me, I should be supported in doing were myself alone concerned-: but when I look on my suffering wife and the children whom God hath given us, I tremble in view of the weakness which might attend me. The little substance we have here I have husbanded with great care and by the blessing of God on the labour of myself and boys we had good reason to hope that with the fruits of the earth and the avails of our Sawmill we could not only get a living but be enabled to give some learning to my sons as we crept along in the downhill of life. But the work now imposed on us and the prospects now opened to our view changes all things of this sort into a mere dream. - Our cattle must be sold our saw mill left to [untried] [?] [?] and our fields left uncultivated: As for a sale of the Farm, there is so much wild land about us at government price it will bring in money, I fear, but a [moity] of what we have laid out on it in improvement & buildings.

Pardon me [?] friend for talking thus to one who is, and must be, ever so distant from us. My excuse is I am speaking to a Friend who has ever lent a listening ear to my woes and who now will not misuse nor abuse the confidence [in] [which], for the case of my asking heart, I repose in his faithful bosom.

After all, it will give you pleasure to learn that amidst all the clouds of darkness which hang over my head I see the hand of mercy - goodness - and love. - The bright beams of the setting sun of my life gilds the bosom of the clouds so that I have hope - hope of a blessed day of life eternal, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you will write to me soon I think in the course of mail I may receive your letter before I set off with Mr. S. Chase for Illinois. Pray do so with best love to Mrs. Kinney and all your family as if named I am,

Very Dear Friend

your faithful Friend

& Servant in the Lord

Philanr. Chase

Letter to Aaron Kinney



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