Henry Lee



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Lee refuses to sign the letter to the southern bishops. Prefers that north do nothing. In three years will probably come together anyway. If southern bishops come, treat them as Christian brothers.




letter, Lee, Hopkins, church


Davenport, Iowa

July 6, 1865.

Rt. Rev.

and dear Brother,

The Circular proposed to be sent to the Southern Bishops was just rec’d. I have given to it as full a consideration as I am capable of, and regret that I must decline giving it to my signature. IT contains several sentences which are susceptible of an interpretation which I could not approve, and which might give an impression to those to whom it is addressed that would be contrary to what I believe to be the fact in the case. I cannot go into details; but, my dear Bishop, will it not be better for our Southern brethren to go to work to undo what they have done in organizing a separate Ecclesiastical Body; and then, in the regular course of things, return to that Body from which they are voluntarily and prematurely retired? We can hardly ask or expect them to come to the General Convention so long as their distinct organization is in existence. Personally I should prefer to wait three years before having them again with us, so that time might be given for the purpose above indicated, and for the general quieting down of both civil and Ecclesiastical matters; but if they should, any of them, appear at the approaching Triennial Meeting, I should be most strongly in favor of treating them only as brethren in Christ; though I am opposed to any advances or compromises on our part which would, either seemingly or in reality, give a false impression of our position, or commit the Church at large to views or principles which she has never adopted.

If the ground should be taken that their General Organization falls with the so-called Confederacy, it might be said that the Confederacy did not really exist when they organized; and yet the Dicoeses concerned gave in, in a formal manner, their adherence to the new Body. Is no action now required, on their part, to place them where they were before? I cannot argue this point at length but it seems to me to be attended with serious difficulties, which the seceding Dioceses above can remove.

But to my mind the Circular is objectionable on other grounds, and I know you will give me credit for sincerity and honesty when I say that I cannot consistently sign it.

Faithfully your Brother

in Christ,

Hewey [W] Lee

Bishop Hopkins.

[First two are in 1865-07-06a doc]

Letter to Bishop Hopkins



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