Download Full Text (7.6 MB)
1. We are Bishops aew visitors - no need of services of other Bishops. This feature introduced by Chase as a consequence pf Hobart's attack on him in England. 2. We (you and I) are connected with the college and seminary only in spiritual duties in power of seminarians only as are in Ohio - with preofessors as they are clergy in Ohio. 3. I am ex-officio president of the theological seminary - a trustee. Government of Seminary in hands of faculty. As Bishop have no control - on this rock Chase stood. "I am satisfied with it." 4. "I am a discretionary committee." Is as president of Board (not as Bishop) that I am prudential committee. As a professor, you are member of faculty. As vice-president, you are presiding officer of faculty when I am gone. 5. Advises Bedell to attend faculty meetings regularly. 6. Indignant that Bedell has been asked not to preach. 7. Mission committee again a failure. 8. Charges against Craeroft in the making.
letter, McIlvaine, Bedell, Kenyon College
McIlvaine, Charles Pettit, "Letter to Bishop Bedell" (1864). Charles Pettit McIlvaine Letters. 368.
Cinc. Dec. 19, 1864
[many valuable hints]
My dear Bishop
I rec’d. at Gambier your letter from Davenport & “noted contents” as Merchants say. We had the matriculation. Mr. [?] left for Boston soon after. I met the Mission House Com. & visited the [premises]. Now about the contents noted. I sympathise in much of your view & all your feeling. As to [now], there is not much difference. I will [define].
We & all the Bishops are Visitors. I wish it were not so. As for us we have, in connection with the Trustees, all the power that Visitorial office bestows. And as for other Bps. we have no need of their services. That feature was introduced by Bp. Chase in consequence of Bp. Hobart’s attack on him in Engl’d. But at any rate it does not apply to ordinary [rule]. It only comes in on great emergencies.
I as Bishop (you as my Assistant acting in my place when I cannot otherwise act) am connected with the College & Seminary. I understand the right of control thus involved as extending only to the “spiritual” duties & interests, such as matters of [?], [etc.] with theological students, it places me in power only when they are candidates in my diocese, & with [Profession] only as they are clergymen of the same.
I am ex [officio] President of the Theol. Seminary, & [?] a member of & Pres. of its Faculty. It is by this [relation] as a Trustee, that I came into connection with the Faculty of the Seminary & its students as such. The whole Gov’t. of the Seminary, subject to the Trustees, is in the hands of the Faculty, with the Bp. as its head. Thus I do not claim as Bishop any right of control over the acts of the Faculty or of [reference] to me for approval of its doings. It was precisely on this rock that Bp. Chase struck; & because he would claim the right to call in his Episcopal powers in aid of his Presidential when he & the Faculty & the Trustees differed & because they refused to acknowledge the right, he resigned. As a President unable to attend & be cognizant of all the doings of the Faculty, I may require a reference to me in special [?], but I can not by my approval or disapproval overrule the majority of the Faculty. This distinction between my relation as Bishop & as President, I consider of great importance to keep distinct. It is of importance to the Faculty & me must not wonder if they value it. It is equally important to our peace that we leave no doubt of our standing on such ground. I am satisfied with it.
But [thus] also I am a discretionary Committee. The Article of the Constitution is “During the [recess] of the Board the Bishop shall be the Presidential Committee in all secular matters of the Institution.” It is as President of the B’d. of Trustees & not as Bp., that I am that Presidential Committee, & the jurisdiction touches secular matters only, such as triumph connected with [homes], lands, expedition of [money] [expedition], & [then] only when such matters can not be postponed till a meeting of the Board.
Now I come to [yourself] & points in your letter. I hold that as a Professor you are a member of the [Seminary] Faculty, that as Vice Pres, you are the proper presiding officer of the Faculty when I am absent, & are entitled to all the defence [?], which I might [claim]. But as in my capacity as Bishop I do not claim to have any rights over the doings of the Faculty in matters belonging to that body, or in the gov’t. Of students of the Seminary as such, so I do not think that you have as Assistant Bp. In this I do not know that we differ. Under these [views] of your Seminary [relations], as Prof. & as Vice Pres., I took [occasion] after the Matriculation, when all the Professors were present to say what I hope will affect all that you desire, & at the same time I did it so as to avoid all appearance of having heard from you at any time on the subject. I began by saying that while I rec’d. from Mc[Elhenny] the paper about [?], that I did not write about it, because I supposed that as you were in my place it would be [referred] to you for advice. [That] led me to say that you are Vice Pres. of the Seminary by act of the Trustees & as such are the proper Presiding Officer of the Faculty in my absence, & moreover as Professor a member of the Faculty. This led to my saying that I wished you would attend when at home the Faculty meeting, adding that when I lived in Gambier I used to do so. I also said that I desired that you & I in all matters should be regarded as one, that therefore when I wished to make any [communication] to the [Semy.] or institute any proceeding in connection with it, from a distance, my [custom] was to do it through you, thus giving you the opportunity of [expressing] your mind & suggesting any thing that occurred to you, & all so that we might act entirely as one. Dr. McElhenny said that the reason why he had not [?] the [?] paper before you was that in [?] after it was sent me (supposing I was at home) he left Gambier for the vacation. I think you would avoid a great deal of the appearance of being slighted as to your just authority, if you would attend at least sometimes the meetings of the Faculty, & thus show the [link] of connection between you & the body.
You mention what seems to you a departure from my [custom] of acting through you, namely that at the Faculty meeting last June a measure was passed with my consent (The [Examination]) without reference to you. There are two points to be remembered. 1st, that I supposed you were to [be at that meeting] & you excused yourself as being otherwise engaged. 2nd, That when I am present & can act [personally] I do not regard my rule as applying, that is that the action should pass through you. I should have much preferred that you had been present. Besides the nature of the matter proposed by the Professors did not seem of that kind of importance which [involved] in any degree the aspect of our acting as one, in case I should then consent with’t consultation with you. It was a wish expressed by the Professors to which I [?] no objection, a sort of thing which if the Faculty had adopted it in the absence of [both] of us & with’t consultation either, would not have [struck] me unpleasantly. I have always obscured the exceeding [proneness] of Presbyters to apprehend [encroachment] on their rights, on the part of Bishops, & there are certainly Bishops in other Dioceses who have given reason for such fear. I have a pride in being very particular to give them all they can reasonably [claim], & I have seen the great importance of getting along with authority, in reserve, and as long as possibl[e/y] [uncalled], seeming not to think of it, & attaining ends by ways & influences more agreeable on both sides.
I must again refer to your relation to the Faculty as Professor & Vice Pres. I think it of great importance to your own influence to [?] & the right going on of the [Semy.] in all things that you should as much as other matters will allow, attend Faculty meetings. When I lived there there was great jealousy in certain minds of my [?]. But I attended the meetings when I could.
In regard to your not being invited to preach, I hold the case to be an outrage, & don’t wonder you feel it as [?]. I only wonder at your patience & quietness. I found that such as Mr. [Leonard], Mr. Blake & others have wondered at it, & could not understand it. He (Mr. N.) asked me to lecture for him [on] one of the nights I was there. I was too busy to do it, but I told Mr. Blake that as long as you were not asked I doubted if I ought to consent. [How] to get at the other without making things worse I did not see, except to suggest to Mr. Blake who perfectly [?] with me about it, that he should converse with Mr. Newton indirectly about it, as a thing in which the people were [?]. He said he would have no objection. So we will wait & see what comes.
About [tonight’s] case, I am much perplexed. I had him before me in the presence of Mc[Elhenny] & [?], with reference to the question of his Candidateship. I asked him about the things alledged. I then saw individually & without informing either of them whom else I saw. [Putnam], with whom he [boarded], [?], Dorris who was once [intimate] with & [?] with him, [Grear], [Woodbridge] who is his most intimate friend & I believe among the students, his only [upholder] & Mr. Newton. My [impression] of his being very unsafe, at least, to be rec’d to the ministry, of his having a very [?] dispositions, a great proneness to take strong offence in slight or [imaginary] grounds; of his having a very irritable & ungoverned temper & a tongue that talks very [acrimoniously] & bitterly of those whom he dislikes or is offended with is very strong, based on evidence scarcely less than unanimous. [?] is very strong & decided that way. The only relief is the belief of Newton & one or two others that he is & has been making strong efforts to overcome himself & has in a degree, succeeded. I don’t know what to do. I could not feel pleasantly in sending to another [diocese] a candidate of [whom] I am in such doubt. To put him to [private] study is little better than nothing. To re-admit him to the [Semy.] would be very inexpedient. To cut him off after so many years of toleration during which in College & [Semy.] all the [features] have been seen & known, would be very painful. I do not know what to do.
The Miss. Com. was again a failure. Only Mr. Andrews, [McCarty] & I were present. Your letter of [?]  advising certain appropriations was rec’d., & all the action that could be taken, seeing that the stipends for the quarter [?] last [expired] were unpaid & there were only about $1450 in hand for the purpose, was to refer all to you & me, wit so much power to act as the meeting could give. I enclose the letter referred to, & will wait your present advice as to what [appropriations] should be made I enclose a letter from [?]. The [Sec.] had written him that there is no record of his having been appointed, [Missy.], under our Committee, & this is his answer. We supposed he must be mistaking our Committee for the Church Miss. [Soc.], which I think I remember you applied to in his [?]. He acknowledges one payments, but which did not go from us. Perhaps you can explain. If so, write the Secretary.
I spend Christmas at [Columbus]. Since I began this I have rec’d from Chicago with White House’s papers enclosed. I wrote to [Cracroft] soon after you were here advising him (as we talked) about the letter [dimissory]. I have his answer asking for it. He states as charged that after receiving the [inhibition], as he had already given noticed of service, he preached [?], in the morning & then read the [inhibition] & gave notice that he should not officiate again. He says the Bps’ letter was sent by a noted [Copperhead], as if that affected it.
I consider that by that act he has made it impossible to give him a letter-dimissory, & [now] there is no [?] but either to try him here or leave him to be tried in [?]. He has made up his mind to leave our Ch. & become either a N.[?]. [Presbn.] or a Congregationalist. If he used such language in the pulpit as the Bp. alledges (he [?]) his case is bad & we can not help him. But I can not conclude him to proceed till I receive the changes [?] as sent by Bp. W. to you & which you mentioned when here. Send them as soon as you can. This is a long letter to be sure, but I could not make it shorter.