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Declined to sign letter - gives his reasons.
letter, Williams, McIlvaine
Williams, J. W., "Letter to C. P. McIlvaine" (1865). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 294.
Albany, July 26th 1865.
My dear Bishop,
I rec’d yours of the 1st here, last evening, and hasten to reply, fearing you may think me inherently negligent. I have been absent for several weeks from home.
I wrote our bro of Vermont, declining to sign his circular on the ground first that I could not acquit - as he did - the Ch. South of complicity in the war, and next on the very ground you mention of injustice towards brothers who should not sign it. I venture to express my doubts as to the possibility of any circular being drawn [safe?] to which all could sign; and to suggest to him the plan of writing individually to the Bishops South, saying to these that from correspondence with his Brethren [? fast ascent] of their kindness & fraternal feelings; could signing that be behind that such as could come to the Gen Convocation worked in welcome.
Elliott I did not suppose could come, on account of other [those] [sic?] ecclesiastical relations. But I see [??] that he has taken the oath of allegiance. He had, to my knowledged, declared that he should leave the country; [read Coxe] told me he understood that manners come in hand to give him a “living” in England. [Jobs] not think he will show himself.
Bps. Lee of Delaware and Coxe declined to sign the circular so that four, certainly, have refused; and refused in such a way as has, doubtless, given the matter [?].
The ground which I have been inclined - under correction - to take, is, that (as Mr Lincoln said “the Govt could not [some the Character so]) the Ch. cannot [?] the Govt. and that all who came ??? as to the Christ Authority, might be safely received; it being understood of course that [Wilman’s] care stood by itself, and must receive separate reflections.
[Justly] wish the Bps would assemble a day or two before the opening of Convocation, to talk over this matter. [?] to [?] to hear from you again.
[?] affly your friend & bro
The Rt. Revd. Bp. McIlvaine