Project Canterbury

Sequel to "Two Letters re the Anglican Church in Hawaii."

[By John Usborne]

Honolulu: no publisher, 1898.

To the Members of the Anglican Church in Hawaii.

I have been tried, as it were, for my life, or for something dearer, my reputation and standing as a Priest in the Church. I have been found guilty, unworthy, condemned and deprived of my benefice.

My judge is a man appointed by Her Majesty the Queen of England, to a position perhaps among the holiest, most sacred and most important in Her Majesty's gift, since to its occupant is entrusted the awful responsibility of the care, the protection and nourishment of the souls of the Churchmen of a whole nation, cut off by thousands of miles from all other means of grace.

If a Commander-in-Chief is appointed, to him, in a large measure, is confided the honour of the nation. If a Prime Minister is appointed, with him rests the responsibility of the guidance of the great ship of State; these are temporal matters only, and at best must pass away in a few years. But to a bishop, more especially when isolated as we are, is entrusted the eternal welfare of a whole community, and men's souls are won and lost by hundreds, according, largely, to his life, teaching and example. It is for him to raise his diocese to a high state of spirituality, or to sink it in the depths of doubt and indifference. To him is entrusted the distinguished honour of heading and leading' on his band of priests against the world of sin, for the honour and glory of Almighty God, to the saving of men's souls.

While the former deal with the affairs of this world and their deeds must soon pass into history, the latter deals with things of [1/2] eternal import, so momentous and of such vital and paramount importance, that God saw fit to send His own Son to this scene of sin and shame as a witness of that awful importance, as well as an example to those who would lead others to Him. Therefore, in this our dire extremity, I dare to say much responsibility rests upon any power giving any single individual unlimited sway over the Church of God in a whole republic, and then retiring beyond the reach of them who cry aloud for help and protection.

I say I have been tried and condemned as being unworthy of being your Rector, and by a judge drawing his commission from the English Grown. May I beg of you to read carefully a list of my crimes, and judge, I pray you, of the issue.

His Lordship making my failure to "read in" the ground of a grave charge, I must ask you to read two letters which had passed between us on this subject:

HONOLULU, 15th MARCH, 1898.

The Right Reverend

My Dear Lord Bishop:

On reading up Ecclesiastical Law lately, I have become aware that it is necessary in England, for a Rector to go through the form of publicly reading the Thirty-nine Articles and assenting to the same.

This, of course, I am quite ready and willing to do.

Although you have not spoken of it, I should feel obliged by your appointing a day when I may do this, as I wish to conform, in every respect, to the requirements of the law; and if you would [2/3] kindly instruct your Secretary to send me a blank form of certificate I should be much obliged.

I am, yours faithfully,

(signed) John Usborne.

March 19, 1898.

My Dear Sir:--I have to acknowledge the receipt of a pamphlet from you entitled, "Two Letters," etc., from which it appears that you regard my appointment of you to a Canonry in the Cathedral, and my making you Vice Dean, to be null and void and of no effect.

I have also to acknowledge your letter of the 15th of March, 1898, in which you inform me that a step, necessary to render valid and effectual your institution as Rector of St. Andrew's has never been taken.

Since you maintain, in your opinion, you have no official position in my Cathedral Church, and you admit you are no lawful Rector of any Parish Church, I must decline for the present to invite you or to give you my permission to take any part in the services of the said Church, whether the same be regarded as a Cathedral or Parish Church, without which permission you are at the present moment, according to your own statements, without authority to officiate or perform any ministerial act in this city or Diocese.

The questions you have raised are under consideration, and as soon as they have been fully and carefully examined, the conclusions arrived at shall be communicated to you.

I am, yours very faithfully,

(signed) Alfred Honolulu.

[4] By this letter I was suspended, and unrighteous as it was, I put away my cassock and surplice for the Easter season, and took my seat with the congregation, feeling that under the circumstances it was better to patiently await developments.

His Lordship's next communication, a few days after, was as follows:

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that JOHN USBORNE who was admitted to the Holy Order of Deacons by the Bishop of Toronto in the year of our Lord, 1889, and in the same year was ordained to the Priesthood by the same Bishop, was licensed by us the Bishop of Honolulu to officiate in the Diocese of Honolulu for six months in the year, 1892, and therefore could not be ignorant of this, that the Hawaiian Islands lie outside the limits of the British Empire, and of the United States of America, and also that the Anglican Church in Hawaii is a Missionary offshoot of the Mother Church of England, dependent for its support on the freewill offerings of the faithful, and a grant from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, having no glebes, tithes, or endowments for the support of its Clergy:

And that he the said JOHN USBORNE, having this full knowledge of the situation as aforesaid, did on or about December, 1896, freely and voluntarily, without any previous communication from us, offer his services to us the Bishop of Honolulu, expressing his desire to labour for the advancement of the Gospel in the City of Honolulu, within our diocese and jurisdiction:

And that we, the said Bishop, fully confiding in the integrity, fidelity, and good morals of the said JOHN USBORNE did accept his offer, and to show our appreciation of his willingness to serve our Cathedral Church without stipend for a period, did signify, to him in writing that we purposed to promulge a Cathedral constitution and under that constitution install him a Canon of our Cathedral with the office of Vice-Dean, but of making him Rector wrote not a word:

[5] In pursuance of which purpose on our part, we, the said Bishop, did on the 5th day of April, 1897, promulge a Cathedral constitution, and duly and canonically install the said JOHN USBORNE a Canon of our Cathedral Church, he first making declaration as follows:

"I will be faithful to this Church of Honolulu, and to the Bishop and chapter of the same Church; I will observe and keep all the statutes, regulations, ordinances, rules, and customs of the same * * * * the rights of this Cathedral Church I will defend, nor will I give any assistance, advice, or encouragement to any person or persons whatsoever who shall or will endeavour to violate or infringe the same," and after his installation promising obedience to the Bishop as Dean of the said church:

And on the same 5th day of April, 1897, in order to commit to the said JOHN USBORNE cure of souls and parochial administration in the City of Honolulu, although this was no part of any previous agreement, we, the said Bishop, did at his urgent request give him the title and style of Rector, instituting him Rector of the Parish Church of St. Andrew, such institution having no power to make him a "corporation sole," all freehold rights in the property of the Anglican Church in the Islands, being vested in the "Trustees of the Anglican Church in Hawaii" and should any action at law arise touching the property of the Church, the person to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded is the said Board of Trustees in its corporate capacity; the mandate for the induction of the said JOHN USBORNE as Rector as aforesaid being issued by us on April 7th, 1897:

And further fully confiding in the integrity and fidelity of the said JOHN USBORNE, we, the said Bishop, did on the 8th day of April, 1897, commission him to be our Commissary during our absence from the Diocese to attend the Lambeth Conference:

Be it further known that on or about the 12th day of March, 1898, a Pamphlet was circulated in the city of Honolulu by the said JOHN USBORNE, a copy of which was sent us through the mail, entitled, Two Letters re the Anglican Church in Hawaii, signed [5/6] "your Rector, JOHN USBORNE" and dated February 22nd, 1898, in pamphlet he denies (p. 13) the validity of the Cathedral Constitution promulged by the Bishop, and claims that all appointments under the said Constitution are null and void, and of no effect, and that, if valid, the said constitution took from him all his Rectorial rights, stating as follows:

(a) On page 13, that the Cathedral constitution given and accepted on April 5th "took from me all my Rectorial rights," which did not then exist, for the mandate for his induction was not issued till April 7th, and as will hereafter appear he has not read himself in:

(6) Again on page 13--"as a matter of fact, if I may judge from various Ecclesiastical legal lights, there is no St. Andrew's Dean and Chapter at all and no Constitution:"

(c) And again on page 20--"in my opinion our Dean and Chapter is not a legal body, and in fact does not exist. There is no Dean and there is no Chapter, and St. Andrew's is the Parish Church and no more:"

In which belief he states on page 17, that he has "laid before his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury the question of the legality of our Cathedral organization and Constitution," a step on the part of the said JOHN USBORNE, of which we had no previous information till we read the above statement:

Be it further known that instead of waiting for any reply from his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, the said JOHN USBORNE has proceeded to act as if his own opinion were already established, as if there were no Cathedral constitution, no Dean and Chapter, and as if the actual possession of St. Andrew's Church were vested in himself as Rector, together with a lien on all money contributed for the support of the said Church either at the Offertory, or by means of subscriptions, and caused to issue on March 11th the [6/7] following injunction to the Wardens of our Cathedral Church:


Cecil Brown,

Honolulu, H. I., March 11, 1898.

Ed. Stiles, Esq.,
H. Smith, Esq., Church Wardens:

As Attorney for the Rev. JOHN USBORNE, who claims that the Dean and Chapter of St. Andrew's Cathedral is not a lawfully constituted body, and therefore has no control over the affairs of said Church, and that, therefore, he. as Rector of said Church, it being the Parish Church, is entitled to the full control thereof.

I now notify you, and each of you, to hold all monies now in hand, or that you, or either of you, may hereafter receive on account of said Church through offertories, subscriptions, or in any other manner, and under no consideration whatever to pay over to any person or persons, or disburse any portion of said monies now held or to be hereafter received as aforesaid, until such time as it has been decided by the proper authorities in England who is entitled to receive the same.

And I further notify you that upon failure to comply with the foregoing, you, and each of you, will be held personally responsible for all such monies now in or hereafter coming into your possession or under your control, as such Church Wardens as aforesaid.

Yours very truly,


[8] By which injunction the said JOHN USBORNE first releases himself from all obligation to observe the Cathedral Constitution and defend the rights of the Cathedral, and, secondly, endeavours to set in motion a civil process, which, if carried out, could have no other effect than to cause the Divine Service to cease in our Cathedral Church to the dishonour of God, and the scandal and offense of all Christian people; for no authority in England or elsewhere, out of the Diocese, having any jurisdiction in the premises, no salaries and no expenses of Divine Service could henceforth be paid:

The said injunction, moreover, being in open and direct defiance of the laws of the Church, which enact in the Rubric after the order for the Holy Communion, that "the money given at the Offertory shall be disposed of to such pious and charitable uses as the Minister and Church Wardens shall think fit, wherein if they disagree it shall be disposed of as the Ordinary shall appoint." Which rubric estops any questions regarding the money given at the Offertory from being carried out of the Diocese, or into any court of law in the Diocese; the decision of the Ordinary is to be final, and the Ordinary in this case is the Bishop.

BE IT KNOWN FURTHER, that after causing the injunction aforesaid to issue on the 11th day of March, 1898, he, the said JOHN USBORNE, wrote to us on the 15th day of March, 1898, as follows: "On reading up Ecclesiastical law lately, I have become aware that it is necessary in England for a Rector to go through the form of publicly reading the 39 Articles and assenting to the same * * * * I should feel obliged by your appointing a day when I may do this;" by which words he admits that on the 11th day of March, 1898, when he caused the injunction aforesaid to issue in his name as Rector, he was no lawful Rector at all, he not having "read himself in," a qualification as necessary for the validity of his appointment as Rector in this Diocese as it is in England.

NOW, therefore, by reason of the premises aforesaid, and for divers other reasons, WE, ALFRED, by Divine permission, BISHOP [8/9] OF HONOLULU, do, by these Presents, by virtue of our Episcopal authority, pronounce and declare as follows: That our institution of the said JOHN USBORNE as Rector of S. Andrew's Parish Church, is now and ever has been without qualification, that said appointment is null and void and of no effect; and, further, that by releasing himself from all obligation to observe and keep the statutes of the Cathedral, which he bound himself to observe and keep at his installation as Canon, and by setting himself to violate and infringe the rights of our Cathedral Church as if it were no Cathedral, and there were no Cathedral Constitution, he has annulled all claim to continue to hold the Canonical Stall to which we duly installed him with the office of Vice Dean, and we now declare that the said Canonical Stall is vacant, and that all instruments whatsoever given under our hand and seal giving the said John Usborne our authority and license to have cure of souls, minister or officiate, whether as Canon, Vice Dean or Rector, or in any other manner whatsoever within our Diocese and jurisdiction, are null and void and of no effect.

Given under our hand and seal in the Chapter-house of our Cathedral Church, in presence of our Chapter, on the thirty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, and of our Consecration the twenty-seventh.


This is to Certify that the within notification was this day duly recorded in the Hawaiian Diocesan Registry in Honolulu, H. I., March 31, 1898.

P. JONES, Registrar.

[10] I do not wish to remark upon his Lordship's action just now, but only to give some little explanation where it is necessary.

It is quite true that I entered the Church late in life, and that I offered my services to the Bishop of Honolulu freely and unreservedly. At the time, I was the Rector of a very pretty Church in Toronto, was very happily situated and, I trust, was doing a good work; however, I was led to offer to break up my home and come out here to work.

The Bishop wrote me an exceedingly kind letter, accepting my offer, and here I feel that I must ask his forgiveness if I make one or two quotations from that letter, which I do with the greatest reluctance, as I look upon it as almost sacred; but when one's reputation is attacked, one feels constrained to use any legitimate means to defend it. He begins his letter thus:

"It would be nothing short of disbelief in the overruling Hand of the Great Head of the Church if I failed to recognize the fact that the offer your letter contains is made in obedience to the silent promptings of His Spirit, Who is choosing you to be His instrument for consolidating the Church in Hawaii, and removing the disaffection that has so long impeded its growth.

"That your offer should have arrived at this particular moment is the more remarkable because I was just beginning to give up hope of being able to attend the Lambeth Conference next July."

Again I ask the Bishop's pardon for quoting this, but I feel I must do it, because it shows that this was no ordinary engagement, on either the Bishop's part or my own. I, at least, was most intensely in earnest. God, and God only, knows the marvellous combination of circumstances that brought me to these Islands.

In offering my services to the Bishop I did not ask for, or suggest, any position; but as I was a Rector at the time, I naturally expected the same position here, as that post was vacant. I spoke of myself as 'Rector, as a matter of course. As, for instance, I [10/11] wrote: "It must surely be unnecessary for me to say that should you call me I shall be loyal and true to you, but a perfect confidence must exist between us. If the Bishop and the Rector have not perfect faith in each other, you cannot expect the people to have faith in either, and the very foundation of respect and love is faith," etc., etc. I could have been of no use in any other capacity. However, when the Bishop states, "but of making him Rector wrote not a word," he forgets, and I must quote from his letter once more. He wrote thus:

"This sense may make them more disposed in a little while to see the necessity of reunion on the basis of a stipend being found for a Rector, to which post it is understood you should be appointed, and Mr. Mackintosh to have a honorary Stall in the Cathedral with a stipend (provided it can be raised without prejudice to the stipends of the Rector and the Chaplain), equivalent to the services." etc., etc.

This letter coming from a bishop satisfied me, I took it for granted that he intended to make me Rector, and I thought no more about it. When I arrived here, his Lordship appeared indisposed to make the appointment, and assured me that the office of Vice Dean was all that was necessary, and I finally had to insist upon my institution as Rector. I certainly offered my services, and without any immediate stipend at that, but was it a probable thing that I should give up my Rectory at home, break up my house and family, to come out here as a curate, with such an important work ahead of me as I expected, a position which could give me no sort of power. It is too absurd. The only thing I did require was the necessary power to set my parish in order, by first, uniting the two Congregations on fair and just lines. Besides all this, even suppose nothing had been said about the Rectorship, he did institute me as Rector, which is conclusive.

It is true that the Bishop generously wrote me, that he proposed appointing me Vice Dean of the Cathedral. On my arrival, and [11/12] looking over the Cathedral Constitution, I found it provided, that this appointment of vice dean, should be a yearly appointment. An annual vice dean was a Cathedral appointment new to me, and I had to insist on this being changed, and made permanent.

Now with regard to this Cathedral declaration, as I told you before, when I made it I believed the Dean and Chapter to be a lawful organization. If this Chapter should prove legal, if there is such a body, I gladly stand by my declaration so long as I am connected with that Chapter. I am a reasonable man, and will support anything that is for the good of the Church, but I definitely decline to be held to any declaration of any kind, drawn from me under false pretenses, or to be compelled to support, against my will, any measure that I see clearly to be adverse to the interests of the Church, as this is, for the people voted unanimously last June, that they would not unite under the existing Dean and Chapter. It is little difference to me whether St. Andrews is the Cathedral or Parish Church, or whether it is governed by a Dean or the Rector, only let the work go on, let there be harmony and peace and good will, purify this all pervading atmosphere of spite, malice and jealousy, let the Congregations be united, and our services of that character that the people will feel that it is God's Church they are in, and go home with glad and thankful hearts. Do not think for one moment that I am seeking either position or money for its own sake.

With regard to my offering so decided an opinion about the legality of the Chapter, without having waited for his grace's reply to my letter, I may say no disrespect or discourtesy was meant, but the Bishop's attack in his open letter upon the mission Church, obliged me to reply to it at once. After all, I gave but my opinion, well supported, and I have no reason to change it.

As to the so-called injunction. After his Lordship's attack upon me, I instructed my Attorney to write two letters, one to his Lordship, demanding my Parish Church of St. Andrews, and full control [12/13] thereof, as Rector, and the other to the Church Wardens, as set out.

Not only do I claim to have a lien on these funds, but a first lien, as Rector, for I fail to see why the Bishop's Chaplain should be paid his stipend, and all officers of the Church be paid for their services, out of these funds, and the Rector should receive nothing, especially after one year's gratuitous services. It is not for the sake of the money, but the principle. It is neither lawful or right or reasonable. And if we ever hope to get out of this slough of despond, it must be done through the laying a foundation of law and justice. On a rotten foundation, the older an institution gets, the more unsafe it becomes, and is bound in the end, to come down with a crash.

I do not quite follow his Lordship's argument with regard to the civic powers, but my English Ecclesiastical law books tell me that a Rector is justified in taking action, and compelling the Church Wardens, or others, to pay to him his rightful emoluments, and it appears to me that the scandal, is in his being obliged to take such steps.

I need not tell you that the Rubric, referred to by his Lordship, applies only to the offertory taken up at the Holy Communion service. This offertory is almost always kept for some special purpose, generally to be given to the poor, but there being no poor people in this parish, this offertory goes into the general fund, for the support of the Church.

Now as to this question of "reading in." I am much surprised at the Bishop taking the stand he has, for the fact of my having, or not having, "read in" does not affect my position as Rector one whit, which I should think he would know.

The law of England states that a Clergyman, when he has been inducted, becomes a complete incumbent, and that he has then full possession of the temporalities, as well as the Spiritualities, of his benefice--but it requires further, that, although he is now in full [13/14] possession, he shall, at some time, publicly, in the hearing of the people, declare his belief in the doctrines of the Church as laid down in the Thirty-nine Articles. Thus--"Every person instituted or collated to any benefice with cure of souls shall, on the first Lord's day, or on such other Lord's day as the Bishop may appoint and allow, publicly and openly in the presence of the congregation there assembled read the Thirty-nine Articles of religion, and immediately after reading make the declaration of assent." "And if any person so instituted or collated wilfully fails to comply with this provision, he shall absolutely forfeit his benefice. The making this declaration as now required, constitutes what has heretofore been termed "reading in," and if omitted at the proper time the only question which would arise would seem to be whether the omission was wilful."

It is the Bishop's duty to appoint a day for such "reading in" when requested by the Rector.

As the law provides "that lapse shall not occur because the Church remain void through the Bishop's own default, and he thereby is a disturber," so a Rector, who is willing and ready to "read in," is blameless, and the non-fulfilment of this requisite, through the Bishop's default, in not appointing a day when requested, does not in any way impair his Rectorial rights.

In Canada, or the United States, the law does not require a Rector to "read himself in." Nor do the canons of this diocese.

In the face of the above law, his Lordship thought fit to suspend me for not complying with a law that he himself refused to permit me to obey.

This reading in, really bears about the same relation to a Rector's institution and induction, as signing the marriage register bears to the marriage ceremony. The law provides that after a marriage, the contracting parties shall publicly acknowledge their union in the record books of the parish, by signing their names in the same. Now if a bishop married a couple, who were not familiar with this law, and the bishop allowed them to depart without signing the [14/15] register, and a year after the man writes to the bishop and tells him he has just discovered that the law requires him to sign this register, pleads ignorance, and asks permission to do so now, but the bishop should reply, that he will not permit it now, that it should have been done at the time, and since he had failed to do it,' that his marriage was illegal, and that in this country he was no husband, and if he continued to live with the woman he married he was living in sin, what would any reasonable man think of such a case? And so it is with my induction. I cannot 'read in' until the Bishop allows a day for it, I am willing, and always have been willing, and always shall be willing, but he must appoint the day. I did not 'read in' the first Lord's day I officiated in St. Andrew, because I did not know that any such law existed here, and I thought the custom was obsolete, even in England, but as soon as I discovered it was in force in England. I wrote at once, on the 15th of March, to his Lordship, for permission. Apart from all this, this 'reading in' is no law of this diocese. It is not mentioned in any Canon, nor has it ever been done by any Rector in Hawaii. Why pounce on me? "Phillimores Ecclesiastical Law," says thus: "Where a thing by any act of Parliament is required to be done, that also is required without which the thing itself cannot be." Ergo--the Bishop is at fault, not I.

Again, his Lordship seems to make much capital out of the confidence he reposed in my integrity and fidelity in making' me his Commissary. The Cathedral statutes provide that such commission can only issue to a member of the Chapter, and there were but two of us, and I, being Vice Dean and Rector, it was but natural he should appoint me. The Bishop however, safeguards his confidence, by leaving his Episcopal seal in his Chaplain's charge, and for any document requiring the Episcopal signature and seal, during the Bishop's absence, his Chaplain kindly sent me a single seal for the occasion. I do not feel that his Lordship showed unqualified confidence in my fidelity.

[16] Such has been my list of crimes, and for these I have been deprived of my benifice.

I am well aware you do not recognise the gravity of the Bishop's action. You have been accustomed to this kind of thing for too many years, and have seen too many men fall beneath the same axe, but it is a terrible blow to a man's reputation. No living bishop would believe that the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, was here told, they would think there must be something behind.

The question now arises, and a very grave question it is, is it in the true interests of the Church, in Hawaii, for England to maintain an English Bishop, in this Republic, so cosmopolitan in its inhabitants, and that, in opposition to the wishes of the people?

In 1890, in a fit of desperation, the Church arose in a body, and nearly every Churchman and Churchwoman in Honolulu, signed a petition to his Lordship, to resign his charge, and the appeal ended thus:

"We do so in the firm belief that whilst your Lordship is in charge of this diocese, peace and harmonious work cannot exist therein, and the well-being and hoped for extension of our Church in this country is impossible."

Such a letter from all classes and conditions of men surely speaks for itself.

In any other sphere of life men must give an account for their actions. A general, or an admiral, or a railroad magnate, or a prime minister, or the President himself, must answer to an angry public for the wrecking of their honour or their fortunes; but a bishop, because he is an independent bishop, can wreck the Church of God in a whole diocese unscathed.

The first have to do with worldly interests and ambitions, and men will endure only so far, and then rise and rebel and fight for their rights; but in the Church, when they have equally [16/17] endured, they become disgusted and give up, feeling that, if this is religion, they do not want any of it. Therefore I say the greater responsibility, rests upon those who place men in such positions of power, without retaining in their hands a controling authority.

The Bishop carries this matter into his Diocesan Magazine to be blazed abroad to the world, and in it directly charges me with an attempt to deceive the people, in quoting a part of his letter of the 13th of February, 1897, relative to his approval of Church extension, and not all of it, claiming that the portion I read was misleading, without the context, and that I had refused to produce the whole letter, when asked on two occasions to do so, in order that proper interpretation might be placed upon the quotation.

This requires an explanation, which I only give because compelled to do so in self defense.

I would not show the letter to the Bishop's Chaplain at the time, when asked, because, he evidently doubted that I had read what the Bishop had written, and he wanted to see with his own eyes whether I had spoken the truth. This I resented, and, he being my subordinate, I refused to give him any further information.

I refused to furnish the Bishop with a copy, because in his open letter to you, he had denied remembering writing any such thing, and I felt satisfied in my own mind that he had a copy of that letter at the time, which it appears he had.

In his open letter, under date 7th February, 1898, reproduced in my former pamphlet, referring to this letter of 13th May, he says:

"I have been told that, when the erection of this building, as a Mission Church, was first mooted, it was generally believed that the project had the full sanction of the Bishop, and that a letter purporting to express that approval was read from the Cathedral pulpit. Let me tell you that at the date when a certain letter of mine was read from the pulpit, all that I had written in any way [17/18] bearing upon the subject, that I have any recollection of, was a general remark that the time was approaching when we ought to have Mission Churches in the out-lying parts of the city."

Here he distinctly repudiates remembering having said any thing more whatever, bearing on the subject of a new Church;--but in his Diocesan Magazine for April, he writes as follows, referring to the same letter--

"At Sydney the Bishop received a letter from Mr. Usborne asking him to agree to certain proposals for the union of the two Congregations. To this the Bishop replied, writing on the steamer "Orizaba" between Adelaide and Albany, on the 13th of May last, explaining why he could not agree to what was proposed, and expressing his views that a conditional union was anomalous; adding that if an unconditional union were brought about, this would not involve any curtailment of the liberty which members of a re-united congregation would enjoy to organize a new parish in Honolulu and build a new Church at the distance of one mile from the Cathedral. That the time was not far distant when we ought to have a Church in Palama and another in the Punahou direction, and whenever a sufficient number of people might be able to start such a new organization there was nothing in the Cathedral Constitution to hinder their doing so; that whilst as Bishop he would not give his consent before hand to consecrate another Church for the English-speaking race within a mile of the Cathedral, beyond that distance he would be prepared to do so; this erection and support being both satisfactorily guaranteed. That this practically gave the laity all the liberty they could possibly desire," etc., etc.

I do not understand how his Lordship can reconcile these two statements. In his open letter he distinctly implies that I had read something from the pulpit, purporting to be an extract from a letter of his own, but which he had never written, and which really was a fabrication on my part, thinking no doubt [18/19] that the matter would end there, and yet here he publishes a great part of the very same letter, in his own Magazine.

Before replying to this charge, I took the letter down to the British Consul-General, and asked him to verify this quotation, which, in the ordinary course of business, he kindly did, and I produced it in my pamphlet.

The Bishop could not, any longer, deny being the author of this passage, therefore he must acknowledge having expressed his approval of Church extension, or else, show by the context of this clause, how he meant such approval to be conditioned. But this he could not do, without a copy of the letter he had already repudiated. I saw his difficulty, and I tell you candidly I did not think it wise to help him, although I did not consider that the context affected the building of the Mission one way or the other. The Bishop, instead of asking me for a copy, demands a copy from the Consul-General, and the Consul-General in turn applies to me. I called upon him, and explained to him fully, my reasons for refusing to furnish the Bishop with a copy. Being unable then to obtain a copy from me, he falls back on his own resources, and gives the context in his Magazine, and explains that he meant, that he would only consent to Church extension, on the basis of a new parish and new Church organization.

As a matter of fact, I read this most innocently, and I may say more in his own defense than anything else, to show that he was not the wet blanket on all Church work, that he was supposed to be; for why should it be an incredible thing in the eyes of his people, that he should permit a little Mission to be built? I had no personal ends to gain by reading this letter; I did not use it as a lever to accomplish anything; I do not think I asked a subscription from one of my hearers. Being both Bishop's Commissary and the Rector of the parish, I felt quite justified in doing what I felt to be in the interests of the Church, and I maintain I was so, had I never heard from him on the subject. It is too absurd, making such a mountain out of a mole hill. It was [19/20] not a question of uniting the two congregations, that had failed long since. It was not a question of a new parish, or a new Church organization, or any other vital question touching the autonomy of the parish. Had I had any such end in view, I should have read all that part of his letter that referred to such matters, had I read any of it. What I had in view, was a Mission to St. Andrew's, which did not touch on these weightier matters, and I could not see, and I cannot now see, why the Mission should not be built; and I still hold that any other man in my position, not knowing the Bishop's peculiarities, would have argued as I did.

If there was nothing to hinder the people from building a new Church, a mile from the Cathedral, as the Bishop says, why, failing this, should there be anything to hinder some of them from, building a mission, double the distance, and where it was much needed. I explained to his Lordship that I wanted to serve the mission morning and afternoon, and the Cathedral in the evening, to show it to be nothing more than a mission.

If the Bishop did not really want this mission built, he, in common justice, should have told me so, when I notified him that I was building it, and not allow me to finish it, so that I could not well retract.

It is quite clear to my mind that his Lordship wishes to make this Chapel a ground of quarrel, and through it, endeavour to make life here unendurable, and I cannot but feel, that he allowed me to resign my parish, and break up my home, to come out here, with my family, at my own expense, to enable him to go to Lambeth; meaning to make it impossible for me to remain, after his return. I was warned of this by many people, when I first arrived, but I scouted the idea as too atrocious. Everything points that way. There is no room here for another man, unless in another Church.

Now with regard to this depriving me of my Rectory. It is childish--his document is not worth the paper it is written on. [20/21] I do not say this disrespectfully, but I want you to understand that the Bishop has no authority or power whatever, to deprive me in this summary fashion, any more than I have power to deprive him, of his office. And I will tell you why; because the English courts have decided, that the Crown has no power to confer on any bishop, in a Colony, or State, having an independent legislature, any coercive legal authority whatever, over either the Clergy or laity. He has authority conferred upon him to make a rector, but no authority to unmake him.

In England or America, or any where else, a rector's appointment is for life, and such rector can only be removed from his rectory, when tried by a lawfully constituted court, and proven guilty of any gross immorality. Here, he cannot be removed at all# since the Bishop has no coercive jurisdiction, and herein is one of the grave errors of the system. I am Rector of this parish today, and God willing, I propose to stay bo. The Bishop certainly has forcible possession of my rightful parish Church, and no doubt, until there is a higher power to appeal to, will keep it, but all these wrongs will have an end.

In the Bishop's Magazine for April, he states that "the Anglican Church in this country is a voluntary association." This I believe to be true. As soon as his Lordship acknowledged this fact, I opened the Chapel at once, because the members of this association desired it, and there could be no question now, as to our being right in so doing. I had determined not to open it, until I had received from England, information that would have made me feel justified in doing so; but the Bishop, here acknowledges that he has no jurisdiction in the matter, which has relieved me. I understand that the Bishop is, nevertheless, affirming that St. Clements is not a Church at all, since he, as Bishop, will not recognize it; but since he has acknowledged to some of my people, that he would recognize it, as a Church, if the property were deeded to him, it must be, that a Church, is a Church, or is not a Church, depending on who holds the deeds.

[22] I need hardly tell you that St. Clement's is as much a lawful Church, as is St. Andrew's.

If it be true that the Anglican Church in Hawaii, is a voluntary association only, we are indeed, in an anomalous condition. Let me, for a moment, picture our position. We have heretofore depended on England as the source of our being, for protection and assistance, but England tells us we cannot do this, that she has no jurisdiction in a foreign country, having an independent legislature, that our position here is the same as that of dissenting bodies, that we must manage our own affairs, and settle our own difficulties, that she cannot interfere. That she can only give a bishop coercive authority, over those persons who choose to acknowledge and assent to such authority, and that she cannot control such bishop's actions. That the Church here is a voluntary association and must protect and govern herself, as other associations do. Yet we rest under the iron hand of her representative.

In sending Bishop Willis here, England conferred on him the power of exercising his episcopal functions only. These powers interfere with no man's liberties, because no man is obliged to recognize them, and therefore they are not coercive; but here you must draw the line across the page, here ends the authority given any English bishop, in a foreign and independent State, by either the Church or Crown; and if you will think the matter over calmly for a few minutes you will at once see that it is all that could be given, for the simple reason that no government could confer on any person, in another free and independent State, the power of interfering with the liberties of any citizen of that State, without the consent of its legislature. Bishop Willis has, therefore, no power to try, deprive, excommunicate, or punish, in any form, any persons, or interfere in any other way with their freedom, since such action would be coercive, and the exercise of usurped authority. I do not mean to say it is either right, or desirable, on the contrary, it is disastrous to a degree, but it cannot be helped. [22/23] It is the penalty attached to an independent bishopric, in an independent state. This is our position, and the question is, should we be right to render an allegiance to a usurped authority that clearly militates against the welfare of the Church?

Had Bishop Willis been lawfully invested with authority, I should either have been loyal to that authority or have left the diocese.

We have really no more to do with England, than we have to do with America. We stand to-day, a body of men, calling ourselves a Church, without a legal head, almost without law, for what is law worth, if it cannot be enforced? without a tribunal of appeal, or a power of any sort to rectify wrongs, or reverse unjust judgment, in a state of hopeless confusion; the majority of people totally ignorant of the law, the customs or the usages, of the great Church in the outer world, and a large proportion of the people, believing in the infallibility of the Bishop, in matters of Church government, of his absolute power, and that what he says, is Church law, be it right or wrong. A condition of things exist in the Church in Hawaii to-day, that I suppose could not be paralleled in Christendom. There is nothing to prevent any priest from coming to this town, and building a Church, opposite the Cathedral or elsewhere, and holding the services of the Anglican Church, and preaching what doctrine may please him. There is no constituted authority to say, you shall not do this. Therefore I say, if this association is to be worthy of the name of a Church, her foundations must be laid on firmer rock, and she must be placed in such a position that law/ order, justice and obedience can be maintained. As a voluntary religious society, we are thrown upon our own resources, and must take the law into our own hands. If it is deemed expedient to have a resident bishop here, then it is for this association, either to confirm Bishop Willis' appointment and confer on him coercive authority, or elect another, and, if it is clearly in the interests of the Church, I hold that the association would be quite justified, in demanding of England the recall of the present [23/24] Bishop. If a voluntary association cannot elect its own head, it is not a voluntary association.

It is not desirable to have a bishop without coercive authority still less is it desirable to have a bishop with coercive authority, without some higher authority behind, and that, within reach.

The surest way to sow the seeds of disaffection and rebellion, in a society, is to permit any one man the power of being prosecutor, judge and jury. This is the privilege Bishop Willis has enjoyed, and used so ruthlessly for many a year, and this is at the bottom of all the trouble of this diocese. Honest men will not submit to such rule.

For my part, I do not think we require a bishop in Hawaii at present, there is no occupation for a bishop, in our infantile condition. Nor do I think we are justified, in accepting so large a sum from Missionary funds, as is necessary to support a bishop, while the work could be equally well done, by affiliating ourselves with one of our neighbouring ecclesiastical provinces, and working our diocese through an Archdeacon, under the Bishop of one of the dioceses of the province with which we affiliate, who could come down periodically to confirm, visit, etc.; in the meantime working up an Episcopal Endowment Fund, so that in a few years, when we have Clergy working in twelve or fifteen parishes, and we had something accumulated to offer a bishop, we could then elect a suitable man. This would ensure there being no repetition of our past experiences.

England is the last place with which we should be affiliated in Church matters, and I say this, although myself an English subject. It is too far away. It is altogether beyond reach. It is impossible to govern a Church satisfactorily at such a distance. A difficulty arises, it is referred to England, almost two months elapses before a reply is received, and that is probably in the form of a request for more information. A man might be decapitated here, and well established in another diocese, before he could get any information even, from England. I wanted some information [24/25] from England, before issuing this letter, but I have waited and waited in vain, until my case is almost forgotten.

What satisfaction have you ever had, from appeals made to England? Their methods are different from ours, and unsuited to this democratic country. Even suppose their courts are open to us, which is very doubtful, it is unreasonable to suppose that we should have to incur the great expense, to say nothing of the disgrace, of litigation, to secure to ourselves the simplest justice. In such a case as my own, what must have been the fate of a man depending on his earnings for his support? He could only leave the diocese, with a blasted reputation at that, and with a bitterness in his heart, that only an innocent man, so treated can analyse, for although the Bishop's action in depriving a man, is without effect, it is not harmless, inasmuch as many outsiders do not know that it is illegal, so the slur remains. It is such men that should have the protection of the Church they serve. There is nothing in common, in Church life, between England and Hawaii, while experience sadly teaches us the desirability of connection with a nearer ecclesiastical province. Our Church's welfare and advancement, is too important a matter, to allow any feelings of sentiment, to stand in the way of what we know to be for her advantage. In our isolated position it is far better that we should control our own affairs, and affiliate ourselves with some adjacent diocese if we see fit.

Had this been done ten years ago, the stigma of being called a missionary diocese, would have been wiped out long since. I take exception to the pauperizing of this diocese. Every other religious body in the Islands, is self-supporting, and not only that, but all doing good work. Bishop Willis was sent out here seven and twenty years ago, at the request of Kamehameha V, as Missionary Bishop to his people, that was well, it was then a real missionary diocese; but twenty-seven years, work a vast change in this western world; the American and the European has largely supplanted the native Hawaiian; wealth has poured in upon these islands, and yet [25/26] we are a missionary diocese. Are we always to be a missionary diocese?

In the reports of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel for last year, all the Honolulu Clergy are marked down as "Missionaries to the Heathen." We are really about as much missionaries to the heathen, as is the Rector of St. George's, Hanover Square.

These islands compose the most prosperous state in the world to-day. I do not suppose there is less poverty, or more wealth, refinement or luxury, in any city of its size in the world, and no where will you find such liberality. This report throughout is misleading, and I must say if the S. P. G.'s reports of their other work, are not more to be relied irpon, than that of Hawaii, they give a very wrong impression to their readers. This diocese has, I believe, received something like five thousand dollars a year for many years from the English Missionary Societies, and I cannot think it right, considering the work that is being done, or indeed, under any considerations, especially in the prosperous condition of this country, after perhaps twenty-five years assistance, to accept such grants from such sources, much of which conies from the savings of poor work girls, clerks, labourers, widows and others, who give with a desire and a belief, that their offerings go to real missionary work among the heathen, and who entrust their money to these great societies, as being the safest channels to ensure its being properly applied in the spread of the Gospel of Christ.

These Islands must have received upwards of One Hundred and Twenty Thousand Dollars of English money, for other English money comes in, besides that received from the societies, and what have we got to show for it? Little more than a half finished Cathedral, and a good big quarrel of twenty years standing. I cannot understand why these Societies have not their inspectors like other monetary institutions. The fact of these grants having been paid into the hands of the Bishop, instead of to a committee, [26/27] has been a very grave mistake; inasmuch as it has enabled him to keep in his own hands, the purse strings of every Clergyman coming to the diocese; and on the first assertion of independence, or individuality on his part, or a vote cast in opposition to the Bishop, the purse might be closed, and he have to leave the diocese. How many good men have left in this way, who are now doing capital work elsewhere?

Let me give you the heading of the S. P. G. report for Honolulu:

Take Kona, established in 1872. Twenty-six years ago. This parish is accredited with 140 members. I am credibly informed by people who have attended the services, that the Sunday congregation numbers from five to ten persons, the latter being a large congregation. This parish receives Seven Hundred Dollars a year from the S. P. G., or about two dollars a Sunday for each member of the congregation. Is this right? The Rector, no doubt, is a very estimable man, and if the people are not there, he cannot make them go to Church, but do you think the Committee of the S. P. G. would feel justified in granting such a sum, to such a work, after twenty-six years assistance. Yet in the town of Hilo, a growing, flourishing town of some five thousand inhabitants, the Church has never been represented.

Or take the Bishop's own congregation in Honolulu.

This is accredited with 1000 members, with 420 Communicants. Why, the seating accomodation of the Cathedral is only 250 outside [27/28] the Chancel, and the attendance is a handful. I gave some particulars of this in my previous pamphlet. I say these reports give a wrong impression.

These missionary grants have, without doubt, been a very serious drawback to the Church here, instead of a blessing, inasmuch as they have not been necessary, of late years, and yet have enabled the Bishop to keep the control of the Synod, and through it, the Board of Trustees, and everything else throughout the whole diocese; in the face of which the Church is paralyzed and powerless.

The great question that faces us now is, what must be done, what steps must be taken, to promote and ensure the peace, growth and prosperity of our Church?

The first thing, I think, should be that the people understand and realize what our relations to England are. The Privy Council has spoken very plainly on this point, in the judgment given in the case of "Long vs. the Bishop of Capetown," in 1863, as follows:

"The Church of England, in places where there is no Church established by law, is in the same situation with any other religious body,--in no better, but in no worse position; and the members may adopt, as the members of any other Communion may adopt, rules for enforcing discipline within their body which will be binding on those who expressly, or by implication, have assented to them." "In such cases the tribunals so constituted are not in any sense Courts; they derive no authority from the Crown; they have no power of their own to enforce their sentences; they must apply for that purpose to the Courts established by law, and such Courts will give effect to their decisions, as they give effect to the decisions of arbitrators, whose jurisdiction rests entirely on the agreement of the parties."

However else we may be related to England, this would show that the English Courts consider us free, to frame our own laws, and govern ourselves. Therefore I think the members of this [28/29] Society should come together in general meeting, and discuss the situation. In so important a matter, it is the bounden duty of every Churchman and Churchwoman to come to such meeting, and take an active interest in the proceedings, and decide definitely what action the Church here shall take to establish herself on happy and progressive lines; and not only decide what action, but take the action. If we do not find solutions to these questions ourselves, no one else will. The honour and extension of the Church really rests in the hands of the people.

Honolulu, being the citadel of the diocese, as it were, should be divided into three parishes: Punahou, Central Honolulu and Palama. It is five miles across, with 30,000 people, and perfectly unmanageable as one parish. If we sought a union with a Pacific coast diocese; appointed an archdeacon under its bishop, who should have charge of St. Andrew's, who, with a curate, could amply attend to the wants of this diocese, and appointed one man in each of the other two parishes, this would be a step in the right direction; with any such chance of Church work ahead, I would gladly relinquish my claim to St. Andrew's, and take the Punahou parish.

One thing very certain, is, that as this country is too small to govern itself, as a state, so is the Church too small, to govern herself as a Church, but it remains with us to say, on what conditions we will join another Church, and which that Church shall be. But neither the Church in Canada, or the United States, will admit us while we have an English Bishop here, unless with his consent. It is then for the people to say what they will do. I think we are bound to sink personal feeling and sentiment, of all kinds, and act solely and entirely in the interest of the Church, and England is bound to listen to the united voice of the Church in Hawaii.

England cannot say to any foreign nation, nor has she any wish to say, I will maintain a Bishop of my Church in your country, with or without, your consent, and if you wish to worship [29/30] God in the Episcopal faith, you must be governed and controlled by my law, and my Bishop. Yet this is practically what she has unwittingly done. It is true, she is careful to give a Bishop in such cases, no coercive authority, but if he arrogate to himself supreme power, and England permit it, she virtually gives him supreme authority, for when a man permits an action in his servant, he endorses it.

This country is not like China or Japan, it is an enlightened, educated and Christian country, and neither the interests, of the Church, or of religion, demand such action on England's part. The last thing England wishes, no doubt, is to be a block in the advance, or the welfare of the Church, in any part of the world; if she has proved so here, it is only because the Hawaiian Church at large, has never laid before her, the actual result of her well intentioned liberality.

My experience has taught me, that wise men, will only permit enterprises in which they are interested, to be controlled by successful men. If the manager of a bank, or railroad, or plantation, continues to lose money, and proves himself incompetent, he is deposed. No matter how he was put there, he must come down. This gentleman may be ever so good a friend; he may be ever so charming, socially; he may be ever so conscientious, and anxious for the success of the enterprise he manages; but if his incompetency is the cause of general and continued disaster, these things go for nothing, and he must make way for a better man. The object of that company is to make money, and its object cannot be defeated, to support one man. The company was not formed to support that man, but that man was appointed in the interests of the company, and shareholders will not stand on any ceremony, or points of etiquette, or feeling of sympathy, or sentiment, if they clearly see their enterprise going to pieces under his mismanagement. In the same way, the Church is not formed for the bishop, but the bishop for the Church, and if that greatest of all enterprises, in a whole nation, is gradually and [30/31] surely becoming bankrupt, under the maladministration of one man, then the shareholders, if that Church be an independent Church, are equally justified, and bound, to put all feeling on one side, and make the necessary change. They are the interested parties, outsiders have nothing to say in the matter.

Therefore I say, if it is true today, what the people said with one voice in 1890, when they asked Bishop Willis to resign his charge, that peace and harmonious work, and Church extension in Hawaii, is impossible, while the present ecclesiastical representative of England rules the Church, then I see but one thing to do, and that is for the people to demand the withdrawal of this representative, and let the care of our Church be entrusted to other hands; and I hope the laymen of this diocese will once more stimulate their flagging interests, and in general meeting take matters into their own hands, and do what the majority may determine to be the best in the interests of the Church. It is unusual, no doubt, but the case is unique.

The Bishop, when petitioned by the people in 1890 to resign his charge, gave, as one reason for not doing so, that Iolani School, being his private property, would be lost to the Church in event of his leaving. I cannot see that Iolani School is, in any sense, a factor in the interests of the Church, Nor would its loss be of importance. It is, no doubt, a good school, and so is the Royal School, and others in Honolulu; but Iolani School is no better, and in its thirty years history, has never, I believe, turned out a single native Clergyman, while the Congregational School has sent out scores.

Before I came to these Islands, I told the Bishop I should be loyal to him, and I wish to say here that I have been as loyal to him as he would permit me to be, conscientiously; but if I must choose between a blind fealty to the person of the Bishop, and a true loyalty to the Church, then I must cast in my lot with the Church, even at the risk of condemnation without.

As any good soldier is jealous of the honour of the army, a [31/32] sailor, jealous of the reputation of the navy, so am I jealous of the purity and fair name of the Church, and I mean to defend it.

I seek no personal advantage, I ask for nothing, I want nothing, but to see the Church liarmoniously and prosperously established in these Islands, on a just and lasting foundation.

God forbid that I should be unjust in my criticisms of the Bishop's actions, or wrong him in the least particular. His sincerity I have not brought into question, no man can judge of that; but a diocese must have something more, even, than sincerity, in its Bishop, and the Bishop's record of twenty-seven years, would make it clear to any unprejudiced mind, that he is not competent to govern this diocese. He has the unhappy faculty of antagonizing almost everyone he comes in contact with professionally, unconsciously, no doubt, but the fact remains, and this very trait alone is fatal to such a work.

You will oblige me very much by not looking upon this controversy as a "quarrel"; it is nothing of the kind. I never quarrel. One can hardly be said to quarrel, in defending one's life, or that of another. A quarrel implies, ill will, bad feeling and spite. I have none of these. I am not a contumacious man; I am not a quarrelsome man; I am not a peace disturber; there is no man that holds the office of bishop in greater reverence than myself; there is no man more loyal to duly constituted authority, either in Church or State, than I; nor is there one who loves better to do his daily work in harmony, peace and affection to all. But because one feels thus, is he bound to endorse, by his silence, a continued usurpation of power by any man, to the destruction of what he holds dearest and most honoured on earth, when neither law, honour, justice or expediency demands it?

Did I write one word with the express desire to injure Bishop Willis, it would be unpardonable, but I hold that I am justified in taking any action that is laid open to me by the law of the Church, for her defence. One vindictive thought I disclaim, and on no terms or conditions, will I place myself in that position, that I [32/33] cannot look you in the eye, from the pulpit, and without shame, and with a clear conscience, tell you that you must not bear malice, and that you must, from your heart, forgive freely and gladly the wrongs done you by others, be they ever so great. What I do, I do from the purest sense of duty, and I shall be only too glad to retract, at any time, if I am shown to be wrong.

It is very difficult to lay before you the exigency of the case, in a manner that will compel your attention, without Slaving the appearance of writing under the influence of personal ill-feeling, I am indignant, to a degree, at the depth of degradation to which our Church has been sunk in the eyes of the public, and that her name should be used throughout the town as the synonym of malice and hypocrisy, and I am indignant at the wrongs that have been done in her name, but I am moved by no vindictive feeling, and were the Bishop my best friend, and I could not reach him otherwise, I should take this same action. For myself, I am ready to resign my work here any hour that I see it to be for the advantage of the Church, and I expect other men, having her interests at heart, to be ready to do the same. No man is worthy to stand in the ranks of Christ's army, much less to be an officer, if he is not willing to sacrifice himself to the death, if necessary, in its interest, inasmuch as Christ himself says: "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple."

I feel soiled and contaminated in being mixed up in so disreputable a matter, believe me, it is a new experience, and I can only pray God that out of this mass of trouble, the Church will emerge fresh and cleansed to begin a new era of usefulness in these glorious Islands, and a career of sound religious and practical teaching, of love, harmony and peace.

Believe me, faithfully and affectionately, your Rector,


27th MAY, 1898.

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