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the bishop of London, except in the single matter of ordination, was held by the proprietary government to be an encroachment on its authorities.*

For these reasons, and on the ground of the evident propriety of being supplied with all the orders of the ministry, recognised by their ecclesiastical system, application had been made to England, at different times, by the clergy, especially those in the northern colonies, for the obtaining of an Episcopate. These applications had produced much contention in pamphlets and in newspapers; the writers on the Episcopal side pleading the reasonableness of being indulged in the full enjoyment of their religion; and their opponents objecting, that bishops, sent from England to America, would of course bring with them, or, if not, might be clothed by the paramount authority of Britain, with the powers of English bishops, to the great prejudice of people of other communions, and in contrariety to the principles on which the settlement of the colonies had taken place. What would have been the event, in this respect, had the Episcopal clergy succeeded in their desires, is a problem, which it will be for ever impossible to solve. In regard to the motives of the parties in the dispute, there are circumstances which charity may apply to the most favourable interpretation. As the Episcopal clergy disclaimed the designs and the expectations of which they were accused; and as the same was done by their advocates on the other side of the water, particularly by the principal of them, the great and good Archbishop Secker, they ought to be supposed to have had in view an Episcopacy purely religious. On the other hand, as their opponents laid aside their resistance of the religious part of it, as soon as American independence had done away all political danger, if it before existed, it ought to be believed, that in their former professed apprehensions they were sincere. A.

The author, before his being in the ministry, knew a gentleman (the Rev. Mr. Edminston) who, being in London for orders, had brought with him such recommendations to Lord Baltimore, proprietary of Maryland, as induced the promise of an order to his governor, for any future parish that might be vacant. It was necessary after ordination, to show the testimonial of the transaction to the proprietary who, perceiving with the instrument a license to preach in the province of Maryland, was much dissatisfied with the bishop of London on that account. The bishop usually gave such a license, according to the province for which the party was ordained: a practice similar to what obtains in England. From this, and from other circumstances, the conviction is felt, that his lordship would not have endured in his province any Episcopal authority distinct from his designation of the person. It is mentioned, as one of the difficulties attendant on the subject of an American Episcopacy.


If such was the difficulty of being supplied with a ministry during the acknowledged supremacy of the British crown; much greater, as may be supposed, was the same difficulty during the struggle which ended in the elevating of the colonies to the rank of independent states. During that term, there was no resource for the supply of vacancies; which were continually multiplying, not only from death, but by the retreat of very many of the Episcopal clergy to the mother country, and to the colonies still dependent on her. To add to the evil, many able and worthy ministers, cherishing their allegiance to the king of Great-Britain, and entertaining conscientious scruples against the use of the liturgy, under the restriction of omitting the appointed prayers for him, ceased to officiate. Owing to these circumstances, the doors of the far greater number of the Episcopal churches were closed for several years. In the state in which this work is edited, there was a part of that time, in which there was, through its whole extent, but one resident minister of the church in question, he who records the fact.


No sooner was it known in America, that Great-Britain had acknowledged her independence, than a few young gentlemen to the southward, who had been educated for the ministry, but kept back from it by the times, embarked for England, and applied to the then bishop of London, Dr. Lowth, for orders. As the bishop could not ordain them, without requiring of them engagements inconsistent with their allegiance to the American sovereignty, he applied for, and obtained, an act of parliament, allowing him to dispense with requisitions of that sort. While this matter was depending, and the success of the candidates was doubtful, there was an incident, which it may be proper to record, in justice to the intended good oflices of a foreign sister church.

Mr. Adams, then the minister of the United States at the court of St. James, being in company with M. de St. Saphorin, the minister of the crown of Denmark, mentioned to him the case here stated, of the candidates for orders, with a view to his opinion, whether they could be gratified in the kingdom which he represented. Some time after, the Danish minister made a communication to the American, from which it appeared, that the inquiry of the latter had been notified to the Danish court; that the consequence had been a reference to the theological faculty of the kingdom; and that they had declared their readiness to ordain

candidates from America, on the condition of their signing of the thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, with the exception of the political parts of them; the service to be performed in Latin, in accommodation to the candidates, who might be supposed unacquainted with the language of the country. This conduct is here the more cheerfully mentioned to the honour of the Danish Church, as it is reasonable to presume, that there would have been an equal readiness to the consecrating of bishops, had necessity required a recourse for it to any other source than the English Episcopacy, under which the American churches had been planted. The proceeding in Denmark was made known to the American government by Mr. Adams; a copy of whose letter to the president of congress, was sent to the author by the then supreme executive council of Pennsylvania. Mr. Adams stated, that the transaction arose from his having been applied to by an American gentleman, in behalf of the candidates for ordination referred to. Mr. Adams mentioned the matter to M. de St. Saphorin, the Danish minister; who accordingly wrote to the Count de Rosencrone, privy counsellor and secretary of state to the king of Denmark. The result was as above given.

In truth, there was no idea of having recourse, in the first instance, to any other quarter than that of the English Episcopacy, in the minds of those who had begun to direct their attention to the supply of the present and the future exigencies of the churches. But it seemed to those at least who took up the subject in the middle states, that nothing could be done to effect, without some association, under which the churches might act as a body: they having been heretofore detached from, and independent on one another; excepting the bond of union which had subsisted through the medium of the Bishop of London. That medium of connexion had been confessedly destroyed by the revolution; and therefore it was evident, that without the creating of some new tie, the churches in the different states, and even those in the same state, might adopt such varying measures as would for ever prevent their being combined in one communion.

The first step towards the forming of a collective body of the Episcopal Church in the United States, was taken at a meeting for another purpose, of a few clergymen of New-York, New-Jersey, and Pennsylvania, at Brunswick, in New-Jersey, on the 13th and 14th of May, 1784. These

clergymen, in consequence of prior correspondence, had met for the purpose of consulting, in what way to renew a society that had existed under charters of incorporation from the governors of the said three states, for the Support of Widows and Children of deceased Clergymen. Here it was determined, to procure a larger meeting on the fifth of the ensuing October, in New-York; not only for the purpose of reviving the said charitable institution, but to confer and agree on some general principles of an union of the Episcopal Church throughout the states. C.

Such a meeting was held, at the time and place agreed on: and although the members composing it were not vested with powers adequate to the present exigencies of the Church, they happily, and with great unanimity, laid down a few general principles, to be recommended in the respective states, as the ground on which a future ecclesiastical government should be established. These principles were approbatory of Episcopacy and of the Book of Common Prayer; and provided for a representative body of the Church, consisting of clergy and laity; who were to vote as distinct orders. There was also a recommendation to the Church in the several states, to send clerical and lay deputies to a meeting to be held in Philadelphia, on the 27th of September in the following year. D.

Although at the meeting last held, there were present two clergymen from the eastern states; yet it now appeared, that there was no probability, for the present, of the aid of the churches in those states, in the measures begun for the obtaining of a representative body of the Church at large. From this they thought themselves restrained in Connecticut, in particular, by a step they had antecedently taken, for the obtaining of an Episcopate from England. For until the event of their application could be known, it naturally seemed to them inconsistent to do any thing which might change the ground on which the gentleman of their choice was then standing. This gentleman was the Rev. Samuel Seabury, D. D. formerly missionary on Staten-Island; who had been recommended to England for consecration before the evacuation of New-York by the British army.

On the 27th of September, 1785, there assembled, agreeably to appointment, in Philadelphia, a convention of clerical and lay deputies, from seven of the thirteen United States, viz. from New-York to Virginia, inclusive, with the addition of South-Carolina. They applied themselves

to the making of such alterations in the Book of Common Prayer, as were necessary for the accommodating of it to the late changes in the state; and the proposing, but not establishing, of such other alterations in that book and in the articles, as they thought an improvement of the service and of the manner of stating the principal articles of faith; these were published in a book, ever since known by the name of the proposed book. E.

The convention entered on the business of the Episcopacy, with the knowledge that there was now a bishop in Connecticut, consecrated, not in England, but by the non-juring bishops of Scotland. For Dr. Seabury, not meeting assurance of success with the bishops of the former country, had applied to the latter quarter for the succession, which had been there carefully maintained; notwithstanding their severance from the state, in the revolution of 1688. Bishop Seabury had returned to America, and had entered on the exercise of his new function, in the beginning of the preceding summer, and two or three gentlemen of the southern states had received ordination from his hands. Nevertheless, the members of this convention, although generally impressed with sentiments of respect towards the new bishop, and although, with the exception of a few, alleging nothing against the validity of his Episcopacy, thought it the most proper to direct their views in the first instance towards England. In this they were encouraged by information which they thought authentic, assigning for Dr. Seabury's failure these two reasons; that the administration had some apprehension of embroiling themselves with the American government, the sovereignty of which they had so recently acknowledged; and that the bishops were doubtful how far the act of some clergymen, in their individual capacities, would be acquiesced in by their respective flocks. For the meeting of the former difficulty, it was thought easy to obtain, and there were afterwards obtained, from the executive authorities of the states in which the new bishops were to reside, certificates, that what was sought did not interfere with any civil laws or constitutions. The latter difficulty was thought sufficiently obviated by the powers under which the present convention was assembled..

Accordingly, they addressed the archbishops and bishops of England, stating, that the Episcopal Church in the United States had been severed, by a civil revolution, from the jurisdiction of the parent Church in England; acknow

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