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MR. EDITOR, If the accompanying lines shall be found worthy of a place in your Mag
azine, I shall be much gratified by their insertion. They are the production of Mr. Peter DowNES, who served as midshipman on board the Leander, which ship formed a part of the line of battle, in Lord Nelson's fleet, on the first of August, 1798, in Aboukir bay. Mr. D. lost his life on the twelfth of the same month, in the action with the French 80 gun shin Guilliaume Tell, to which the Leander struck.
TO A FRIEND.
1 P. D. *** *
** ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS.
LONDON, JULY 15, 1783. GENTLEMEN,
IN prosecution of the business committed to me by you, I arrived in this city on the 7th inst. Unfortunately the Archbishop of York had left this city a fortnight before, so that I was deprived of his advice and patronage. I waited on the Bishop of London and met with a cordial reception from him. He heartily approved of the scheme, and wished success to it, and declared his readiness to concur with the two Archbishops in carrying it into execution: but I soon found he was not disposed to take the lead in the matter. He mentioned the State Oaths in the Ordination offices, as impediments, but supposed that the King's dispensation would be a sufficient warrant for the Archbishops to proceed upon. But upon conversing with His Grace, of Canterbury, I found his opinion rather
different from the Bishop of London. He received me politely, approved of the measure, saw the necessity of it, and would do all he could to carry it into execution. But he must proceed openly and with candour. His Majesty's dispensation he feared would not be sufficient to justify the omission of oaths imposed by act of parliament. He would consult the other Bishops; he would advise with those persons on whose judgment he thought he could depend. He was glad to hear the opinion of the Bishop of London, and wished to know the sentiments of the Archbishop of York. He foresaw great difficulties, but hoped there were none of them insurmountable. I purpose to set out for York in a few days to consult the Archbishop, and will do every thing in my power to carry this matter into a happy issue; but it will require a great deal of time, and patience, and attention. I endeavoured to remove those difficulties that the Archbishop of Canterbury mentioned. And I am not without hopes that they will all be got over. My greatest fear arises from the matter becoming public, as it now must, and that the Dissenters here will prevail on your government to apply against it: this I think would effectually crush it, at least as far as it relates to Connecticut. You will therefore do well to attend to this circumstance yourselves, and get such of your friends as you can trust, to find out, should any such intelligence come from hence. In that case, I think it would be best to avow your design, and try what strength you can muster in the Assembly to support it. But in this matter your own judgment will be a much better guide to you than any opinion of mine.
I will again write to you on my return from York, and shall then be able to tell you more precisely what is like to be the success of this business.
I am, reverend gentlemen,
LONDON, AUGUST 10, 1783. REVEREND GENTLEMEN,
IN the letter which I wrote to you after my interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury, I informed you of the objections made, and difficulties mentioned by him, with regard to the busisiness on which I came to England. I also informed you of my intention to take a journey to York, that I might have the full bene efit of his Grace of York's advice and influence. This journey I have accomplished, and I fear to very little purpose. His Grace is now carrying on a correspondence with the Archbishop of Canterbury, on the subject ; what the issue will be is not certain; but I think, unless matters can be put on a different footing, the business will not succeed. Both the Archbishops are convinced of the necessity of supplying the States of America with Bishops, if it be intend
ed to preserve the Episcopal Church there ; and they even seem sensible of the justice of the present application, but they are exceedingly embarrassed by the following difficulties :
1. That it would be sending a Bishop to Connecticut, which they have no right to do without the consent of the State.
2. That the Bishop would not be received in Connecticut. 3. That there would be no adequate support for him.
4. That the oaths in the ordination office cannot be got over, because the King's dispensation would not be sufficient to justify the omission of those oaths. At least there must be the concurrence of the King's Council to the omission; and that the Council would not give their concurrence without the permission of the State of Connecticut to the Bishop's residing among them.
All that I could say, had no effect, and I had a fair opportunity of saying all that I wished to say.
It now remains to be considered what method shall be taken to obtain the wished for Episcopate.
The matter here, will become public. It will soon get to Connecticut. Had you not, gentlemen, better make immediate application to the state for permission to have a Bishop to reside there? Should you not succeed, you loose nothing, as I am pretty confident you will not succeed here, without such consent. Should there be any thing personal with regard to me, let it not retard the matter : I will most readily give up my pretensions to any person who shall be agreeable to you, and less exceptionable to the State.
You can make the attempt with all the strength you can muster among the Laity : and at the same time I would advise that some persons be sent to try the State of Vermont on this subject. In the mean time I will try to prepare and get things in a proper train here. I think I shall be able to get at the Duke of Portland and Lord North, on the occasion. And should you succeed in either instance, I think all difficulty would be at an end.
I am, worthy gentlemen,
• SAMUEL SEABURY. ** *
LONDON, SEPT. 3, 1783–No. 91, WARDOUR-STREET. MY DEAR SIR,
THOUGH I have so lately written to you, as well as to the Clergy of Connecticut, explaining the situation of the business on which I came to England ; yet I must more fully open my mind to you, and you are to be the judge, whether any, and how much of this letter is to be shewed to any one else.
With regard to my success, I not only think it doubtful, but that the probability is against it. Nobody here will risk any thing for the sake of the Church, or for the sake of continuing Episcopal ordination in America. Unless therefore it can be made a ministerial
affair, none of the Bishops will proceed in it for fear of clamour; and indeed the ground on which they at present stand, seems to me so uncertain, that I believe they are obliged to take great care with regard to any step they take out of the common road. They are apprehensive that my consecration would be looked on in the light of sending a Bishop to Connecticut, and that the State of Connecticut would resist it, and that they should be censured as medlers in mat. ters that do not concern them. This is the great reason why I wish that the State of Connecticut should be applyed to for their consent. Without it, I think nothing will be done. If they refuse, the whole matter is at an end : If they consent that a Bishop should reside among them, the grand obstacle will be removed. You see the necessity of making the attempt, and of making it with vigour. One reason, indeed, why I wished the attempt to be made in Connecticut, relates to myself. I cannot continue here long: necessity will oblige me to leave it in March or April, at furthest. If this business fails, I must try to get some provision made for myself: and indeed the State of Connecticut may consent that a Bishop should reside among them, though they might not consent that I should be the man. In that case, the sooner I shall know it the better : and should that be the case, I beg that no Clergyman in Connecticut, will hesitate a moment on my account. The point is, to get the Episcopal author. ity into that country; and he shall have every assistance in my power.
Something should also be said about the means of support for a Bishop in that country. The Bishops here are apprehensive that the character will sink into contempt, unless there be some competent and permanent fund for its support. Please let your opinion of what ought to be said on that subject be communicated by the first oppor. tunity, i.e. provided you think any thing can be done in Connecticut.
Dr. Chandler's appointment to Nova-Scotia, will, I believe succeed. And possibly he may go thither this autumn, or at least early in the spring. But his success will do no good in the States of Amer. ica. His hands will be as much tied as the Bishops in England; and I think he will run no risks to communicate the Episcopal powers. There is, therefore, every thing depending on the success of the application to the State of Connecticut. It must be made quickly, lest the dissenters here should interpose and prevent it ; and it should be made with the united efforts of clergy and laity, that its weight may be the greater; and its issue you must make me acquainted with as soon as you can. Please to send me one or two more testimonials from the copy which Dr. Inglis has. Mr. Moore and Mr. Odell will assist in copying and getting them signed ; and I may want them.
By Capt. Cowper I expect to be able to acquaint you with the result of the interview of the two Archbishops in my business. In the mean time, may God direct and prosper all the endeavours of his faithful servants, to the establishment of his true religion in the western world. Adieu, friend of my heart! May I see thee again in peace ! May I again enjoy the pleasure of thy converse, and with thee be instrumental in promoting the welfare of Christ's kingdom.
Adieu ! says thy ever affectionate, S. SEABURY
Let application be made also to the State of Vermont, lest that to Connecticut should fail.
[NO. VII.] LETTER FROM THE CLERGY OF CONNECTICUT TO DR, SE ABURT. REV. AND DEAR SIR,
SINCE the receipt of your letters, addressed to the Clergy in Connecticut, we have by your letter to the Rev. Mr. Leaming, a more explicit information of the difficulties suggested by the Bish. ops in England, and which appear to operate upon their minds, against complying with our petition, and to their giving you Episcopal consecration.
The Clergy were immediately made acquainted with what you had written, and shortly after met at Wallingford. In convention it was voted, that the leading members of both Houses of Assembly which was then sitting at New-Haven, should be conferred with, so far as the proposed difficulties had reference to the civil government. We the subscribers were appointed a committee of convention for the above purpose, and, as a conventional answer to your letters, communicate to you the result of that conference, together with our opinion, and what we could do, to obviate the objections made by the Bishops. Mr. Leaming and Mr. Hubbard converscd freely and fully with a number of principal members of both Houses of Assembly, and collected their sentiments on the subject. They met with a degree of attention and candour beyond our expectation; and in respect of the need, the propriety, or the prudence of an application to government for the admission of a Bishop into the state, their opinions appeared fully to coincide with our own.
Your right, they said, is unquestionable. You therefore have our full concurrence for your enjoyment of what you judge essential to your Church. Was an act of Assembly expedient to your complete enjoyment of your own ecelesiastical constitution, we would freely give our vote for such an act. We have passed a law which embraces your Church, wherein are comprehended all the legal rights and powers, intended by our constitution to be given to any denomination of Christians. In that act is included all that you want. Let a Bishop come, by that act, he will stand upon the same ground that the rest of the Clergy do, or the Church at large. It was remarked that there were some, who would oppose and would labour to excite opposition among the people, who if unalarmed by any jealousies, will probably remain quiet. For which reason it would be impolicy both in us, and them, for the Assembly to meddle at all with the business. The introduction of a Bishop on the present footing, without any thing more, in their opinion would be the easiest and securest way in which it could be done, and we might be sure of his protection. This they thought must be enough to satisfy the Bishops, and all concerned in the affair in England. We are further authorized to say, that the legislature of the state would be so far from taking umbrage, that the more liberal part, will consider the Bishops in this transaction as maintaining entire consistency of principle and character, and by so doing merit their commendation.