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This was accompanied with a letter from the Rev. Samuel Parker, the worthy rector of Trinity Church, Boston, to the Right Rev. Bishop White, dated June 21st, 1789, of which the following is an extract :-" The clergy here have appointed me their agent, to appear at any convocation to be held at New-York or Pennsylvania; but I fear the situation of iny family and parish will not admit of my being absent so long as a journey to Philadelphia would take. When I gave you encouragement that I should attend, I was in expectation of having my parish supplied by some gentlemen from Nova Scotia ; but I am now informed, they will not be here ull some time in August. Ilaving, therefore, no prospect of attending in person at your General Convention, next month, I am requested to transmit you an attested copy ot' an act of the clergy of this and the state of New-Hampshire, electing the Rev. Edward Bass our bishop, and requesting the united assistance of the right reverend bishops of Pennsylvania, New-York, and Connecticut, to invest him with apostolic powers. This act I have now the honour of enclosing, and hope it will reach you before the meeting of your General Convention in July.
" The clergy of this state are very desirons of seeing an union of the whole Episcopal Church in the United States take place; and it will remain with our brethren at the southward to say, whether this shall be the case or not; whether we shall be an united or divided Church. Some little difference in government may exist in different states, without affecting the essential points of union and communion."
In the like spirit, the Right Rev. Dr. Seabury, bishop of the Church of Connecticut, in his letter to the Rev. Dr. Smith, dated July 23d, writes on the subject of union, &c. as followeth :-" The wish of my heart, and the wish of the
L clergy and of the Church people of this state, would certainly have carried me and some of the clergy to your General Convention, had we conceived we could have attended with propriety. The necessity of an union of all the Churches, and the disadvantages of our present dis-union, we feel and lament equally with you; and I agree with you, that there may be a strong and efficacious union between Churches, where the usages are different. I see not why it may not be so in the present case, as soon as you have removed those obstructions, which, while they remain, must prevent all possibility of uniting. The Church of Connecficut consists, at present, of nineteen clergymen in full orders, and more than twenty thousand people, they suppose, as respectable as the Church in any state of the union."
After the most serious deliberation upon this important business, and cordially joining with our brethren of the eastern or New England Churches in the desire of union, the following resolves were unanimously adopted in convention, viz.
[Here follow the resolves, as given in the preceding number.]
We have now, most venerable fathers, submitted to your consideration whatever relates to this important business of union among all our Churches in these United States. It . was our original and sincere intention to have obtained three bishops at least, immediately consecrated by the bishops of England, for the seven states comprehended within our present union. But that intention being frustrated through unforeseen circumstances, we could not wish to deny any present assistance, which may be found in our power to give to any of our sister Churches, in that way which may be most acceptable to them, and in itself legal and expedient.
We ardently pray for the continuance of your favour and blessing, and that, as soon as the urgency of other weighty concerns of the Church will allow, we may be favoured with that fatherly advice and direction, which to you may appear most for the glory of God and the prosperity of our Churches, upon the consideration of the foregoing documents and papers. Done in Convention, this 8th day of August, 1789, and
directed to be signed by all the members, as the act of their body, and by the president officially.*
No. 20. Page 146.
A General Constitution of the Protestant Episcopal Church
in the United States of America. Art. 1. There shall be a General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America, on the first Tuesday of August, in the year of our Lord 1792, and on the first Tuesday of August in every
Signed by the president and all the members.
third year afterwards, in such place as shall be determined by the convention; and special meetings may be called at other times, in the manner hereafter to be provided for; and this Church, in a majority of the states' which shall have adopted this constitution, shall be represented, before they shall proceed to business, except that the representation from two states shall be sufficient to adjourn; and in all business of the convention, freedom of debate shall be allowed.
AR?. 2. The Church in each state shall be entitled to a representation of both the clergy and the laity; which representation shall consist of one or more deputies, not exceeding four of each order, chosen by the convention of the state; and in all questions, when required by the clerical or lay representation from any state, each order shall have one vote; and the majority of suffrages by states shall be conclusive in each order, provided such majority comprehend a majority of the states represented in that order. The concurrence of both orders shall be necessary to constitute a vote of the convention. If the convention of any state should neglect or decline to appoint clerical deputies, or if they should neglect or decline to appoint lay deputies, or if any of those of either order appointed should neglect to attend, or be prevented by sickness or any other accident, such state shall nevertheless be considered as duly represented by such deputy or deputies as may attend, whether lay or clerical. And if, through the neglect of the convention of any of the Churches which shall have adopted, or may hereafter adopt this Constitution, no deputies, either lay or clerical, should attend at any General Convention, the Church in such state shall nevertheless be bound by the acts of such couvention.
Art. 3. The bishops of this Church, when there shall be three or more, shall, whenever General Conventions are held, form a house of revision, and when any proposed act shall have passed in the General Convention, the same shall be transmitted to the house of revision, for their concurrence. And if the same shall be sent back to the convention, with the negative or non-concurrence of the house of revision, it shall be again considered in the General Convention, and if the convention shall adhere to the said act, by a majority of three-fifths of their body, it shall become a law to all intents and purposes, notwithstanding the non-concurrence of the house of revision; and all acts of the convention shall be authenticated by both houses. And in all cases, the House
of Bishops shall signify to the convention their approbation or disapprobation, the latter with their reasons in writing, within two days after the proposed act shall have been reported to them for concurrence, and in failure thereof it shall have the operation of a law. But until there shall be three or more bishops, as aforesaid, any bishop attending a General Convention, shall be a member ex-officio, and shall vote with the clerical deputies of the state to which he belongs. And a bishop shall then preside.
ART. 4. The bishop or bishops in every state shall be chosen agreeably to such rules as shall be fixed by the convention of that state. And every bishop of this Church shall confine the exercise of his Episcopal office to his proper diocese or district, unless requested to ordain, or confirm, or perform any other act of the Episcopal office, by any Church destitute of a bishop.
Art. 5. A Protestant Episcopal Church in any of the United States, not now represented, may, at any time hereaster, be admitted, on acceding to this Constitution.
Art. 6. In every state, the mode of trying clergymen shall be instituted by the convention of the Church therein. At every trial of a bishop, there shall be one or more of the Episcopal order present; and none but a bishop shall pronounce sentence of deposition or degradation from the ministry on any clergyman, whether bishop, or presbyter, or deacon.
Art. 7. No person shall be admitted to holy orders, until he shall have been examined by the bishop, and by two presbyters, and shall have exhibited such testimonials and other requisites as the canons, in that case provided, may direct. Nor shall any person be ordained, until he shall have subscribed the following declaration : " I do believe the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be the word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation: And I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrines and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in these United States." No person ordained by a foreign bishop shall be permitted to officiate as a minister of this Church, until he shall have complied with the canon or canons in that case provided, and bave also subscribed the aforesaid declaration.
Art. 8. A book of common prayer, administration of the sacraments, and other rites and ceremonies of the Church, articles of religion, and a form and manner of making, ordaining, and consecrating bishops, priests, and
åeacons, when established by this or a future General Convention, shall be used in the Protestant Episcopal Church in these states, which shall have adopted this Constitution.
ART. 9. This Constitution shall be unalterable, unless in General Convention by the Church in a majority of the states which may have adopted the same; and all alterations shall be first proposed in one General Convention, and made known to the several state conventions, before they shall be finally agreed to, or ratified in the ensuing General Convention.
Alterations in the Subsequent Session.
« The committee reported, that they have had a full, free, and friendly conference with the deputies of the said Churches, who, on behalf of the Church in their several states, and by virtue of sufficient authority from them, have signified, that they do not object to the Constitution, which was approved at the former session of this convention, if the third article of that Constitution may be so modified, as to declare explicitly the right of the bishops, when sitting in a separate house, to originate and propose acts for the concurrence of the other house of convention; and to negative such acts proposed by the other house as they may disapprove.
“ Your committee, conceiving this alteration to be desirable in itself, as having a tendency to give greater stability to the Constitution, without diminishing any security that is now possessed by the clergy or laity; and being sincerely impressed with the importance of an union to the future prosperity of the Church, do therefore recommend to the convention a compliance with the wishes of their brethren, and that the third article of the Constitution may be altered accordingly. Upon such alteration being made, it is declared by the deputies from the Churches in the eastern states, that they will subscribe the Constitution, and become members of this General Convention."
Upon special motion, the above report was read a second time; whereupon the following resolution was proposed, viz.
Resolved, That this convention do adopt that part of the report of the committee which proposes to modify the third article of the Constitution, so as to declare explicitly “the right of the bishops, when sitting in a separate house, to originate and propose acts for the concurrence of the other