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an essential; which would not have been warranted by the feeble recommendation of their letter, not to say by the impossibility of justifying to the world the withholding of Episcopal succession, for no other reason than this, from a Church descended from their own, and once a part of it. It is here supposed, that the very awkward appearance on the journal of the preceding vote, must have attracted the attention of the archbishop of Canterbury, and of those whom he consulted; for he took occasion to remark, what he thought the exceptionable plan of making the records on the journal so particular. His cautious avoiding of minute discussion, especially in the way of censure, induced us to account for this remark in the way stated.
An address to the two archbishops was drawn up by this convention, to be forwarded by the two bishops elect present in it, who now declared their intention of embarking for England. See for it the Appendix, No. 11.
It would be a withholding of justice from a highly deserving gentleman, not to notice his zeal and probably his influence, in accomplishing the views of the American Church.
The hostility to the Scotch Episcopacy had derived some weight from scruples on the subject, which were communicated by Granville Sharp, Esq. the author of many learned publications, himself being of a religious and amiable character, and zealous for the system of the Church of England. In a letter to Dr. Manning, a Baptist minister, and president of Rhode Island College, who had been recently in England, Mr. Sharp had expressed his doubts on the subject of the Scotch Episcopacy, grounded on documents in his hands, of his grand-father, Archbishop Sharp, who was so conspicuous for his opposition to the arbitrary measures of James II. Dr. Manning had communicated the information in such a line, as that it was privately circulated during the convention of 1785. On its being urged in conversation, advantage was taken on the other side of the singularity of the channel of communication. This, however, was accidental; it not appearing that the writer contemplated any public effect. He afterward watched the progress of the business, and gave his aid in every step of it.
Before the meeting on the adjournment, there had been sent to the author by Dr. Franklin, then president of the state, a letter to him from Mr. Sharp, manifesting Christian concern in the business pending, uneasiness at some reports which had reached England, of our declining towards Soeinianism, and satisfaction from some discoveries which contradicted the reports. In the letter to Dr. Franklin, there were extracts of letters written by Mr. Sharp to the archbishop of Canterbury, evincive of interest taken in our behalf. In some late publications in England, there have been erroneous statements of the agency of Mr. Sharp. For this reason, and to manifest the Christian zeal of that worthy person, his communications are given in the Appendix, No. 12.
Afterward, when Bishop Provoost and the author were in England, they became acquainted with the said worthy person, who continued to interest himself for the Church. On a certain day, he made us a visit, and expressed much solicitude on the subject of our business, which he supposed, from its not having been accomplished immediately, to have met with some interruption. He was on his way to visit the archbishop of Canterbury, intending, he said, to remind his grace of some things by which he seemed to stand pledged, considering the shape in which the matter was now before him. Mr. Sharp was thanked for his benevolent zeal, but was requested not to offer to the archbishop any thing in the way of complaint, and was informed that there was no room for any; his grace having intimated that the short delay would be only until the ensuing meeting of parliament. There was also given to Mr. Sharp the reason of this short delay, which will appear in its proper place.
Before the declaration made by two of the bishops elect, of their intention to embark for England, there was perceived a difficulty likely to occur in the case of Dr. Provoost, on account of subscription to be made as proposed by the convention of 1785, and considered as satisfactory by the English bishops. The convention in New York had held in suspense the proposed liturgy, including the articles. This was the faith and the worship recognized in the constitution, and not yet adopted by the Church in which Dr. Provoost was to preside.
To meet this difficulty, the convention adopted the expedient of a form to be subscribed by him, and by any other person in the same circumstances. The form bound the subscriber to the use of the English book of Common Prayer, except so far as it had been altered in consequence of the civil revolution, until the proposed book should be ratified by the convention of the state in which the party lived, and to the use of the latter book, when so ratified. A promise to this effect was signed by Dr. Provoost, and the document is in possession of the author. It is part of an act of the present convention, predicated on the requisitions of the archbishops. See for it the Appendix, No. 13.
The provision thus made by the convention, did not altogether relieve Dr. Provoost from the difficulty. Subscription was to be repeated in England, agreeably to the requisition of the archbishops, doubtless with the concurrence of the bishops generally. It was not probable, that the archbishop of Canterbury would accommodate to another form, without further consultation, which would at least have occasioned trouble and delay. Dr. Provoost candidly stated his situation in this particular to the archbishop, to whom the disclosure was evidently unexpected. After a short pause the author remarked, that if in England
a any changes should be made in the ecclesiastical institutions, by competent authority, and in themselves not contrary to Christian doctrine, the subscription of the clergy would not -it was supposed-be hindered by the ordination vows by which they were now bound. On a look of appeal to the archbishop for the correctness of this sentiment, he assented to it unequivocally. He would never have given a decision on the special case of Dr. Provoost: but the supposed case had so evident a bearing on it, that the scruple was dismissed. It had rested on the mind of the doctor, who, on a question of truth and honour, would not have erred on the side of laxity, in regard to promise to be pledged.
H. Page 28. Of Personal Intercourse with the Archbishop
Sundry matters having passed in this intercourse which may be thought connected with the subject of these sheets, the author supposes that it may be of use to insert in this place certain letters, which he addressed from England to the committee of the Church in Pennsylvania, with notes taken for another letter intended to have been written, if an opportunity had offered. The committee were the Rev, Dr. Samuel Magaw, the Rev. Robert Blackwell, and the Rev. Joseph Pilmore of the clergy; and of the laity, the Hon. Francis Hopkinson, Dr. Gerardus Clarkson, and John Swanwick, Esquire.
Westminster, December 6, 1786. GENTLEMEN,
I think it my duty, and it is my inclination, to embrace the earliest opportunity of acquainting you with my arrival in England, and of the progress made, by the blessing of God, in the important business of my voyage.
On Thursday, the 2d of November, I embarked at NewYork, in company of my worthy friend and brother, Dr. Provoost. The next day we left land. After a passage, in which we had some tempestuous, although for the most part pleasant weather, we made the lights of Scilly, on Monday, the 20th of the same month, and the next day landed, in good health, at Falmouth. In giving this account of my prosperous voyage, I am happy in the conviction that I am writing to those who, as well from private friendship, as from their interest in the great concerns of the Church, will rejoice with me on the occasion, and join me in devout acknowledgments to Almighty God.
Owing to sundry incidents, we did not reach the metropolis until Wednesday, the 29th, when we made it our first business to wait on his excellency, Mr. Adams, who politely returned our visit, on the evening of the same day, and finding that it was our wish to be introduced by him to his grace, the archbishop of Canterbury, readily undertook the office, and named Friday for the purpose. Accordingly, on that day we accompanied Mr. Adams to the palace of Lambeth. His grace having received no intimation of the intended visit, was not at home. In the evening, Colonel Smith, the secretary of the legation, waited on him, to request the appointment of an hour: he named twelve o'clock, on Monday. At that time, we again accompanied Mr. Adams to Lambeth, where we had a polite and condescending reception, entirely answerable to the sentiments which we had been taught to entertain of this great and good archbishop.
After some questions on his part respecting our passage, we presented our papers : on which we were asked Whether we expected another gentleman, in time to be consecrated with us? In answer to this, his grace was informed, that the Rev. Dr. Griffith, the only gentleman recommended by the General Convention beside the present company, would not, in all probability, be over before the spring. Here I must note, that my saying of this was in consequence of a letter received from that gentleman after my embarkation.
Dr. Provoost then mentioned that there was a peculiarity in the charter of his church, requiring his presence at the annual election at Easter: on which his grace said, that he had no inclination to detain us so long, and indeed would give us no delay, provided our papers should be found satisfactory, which he presumed would be the case. But at the same time he apologized for his postponing of our business for two or three days, being engaged in some ecclesiastical business, depending before the privy council, and also in some concerns of a college, of which he is the visiter. He added, that when this was done, he would see us again. In the course of the conversation, the archbishop asked me, whether I had received the letter signed by himself alone, in which he had mentioned that three was a sufficient number to be sent for consecration, and whether we understood it to be the sentiment that three only should come.
On his being told that the letter had been received, and so understood, he gave the reason—That as the present service
, was asked of the Church of England, in consequence of an extraordinary exigency, it seemed proper to do no more in the affair, than the exigency required, and to leave all subsequent measures for the continuing of our ministry, to be taken among ourselves.
This is, gentlemen, to the best of my recollection, the substance of the conversation; and we shall be daily in expectation of renewing our intercourse with his grace.
Having paid our respects in the first place to the archbishop, we were of opinion that it was our duty to wait on the lord bishop of London ; his lordship's predecessors having been the diocesans of our Church; although we understood, that the present bishop—the venerable Dr. Lowth -had undergone a decay of his great talents, as well as laboured under gievous bodily complaints. Accordingly we waited yesterday on the Rev. Mr. Eaton, his chaplain, by whom I had been hospitably entertained when formerly in this country. Mr. Eaton, after much conversation concerning the affairs of our Church, stated to us his lordship’s situation, mentioning, among other things, his debility of mind to be such, that although he should answer a question properly and pointediy, yet he might in half an hour, forget both the question and the answer: and his indisposition was so considerable, that a morning might be appointed, and yet, when the time should come, his lordship might be incapable of receiving us. These things he thought it necessary to mention, but doubted not that there would be named an