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Transcribed by Wayne Kempton
Archivist and Historiographer of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, 2008

THE right of assembling in a peaceable manner, to express our opinion upon subjects of oppression, whether originating in Church or State, is one of the inestimable privileges secured to us by a free Government. This privilege we are certain, will never be questioned by any but the friends of monarchy or despotism. In a despotic Government, indeed, those who would rule have only to say, the Church or State is in danger, and the floodgates of oppression are immediately thrown open, and the tide of intolerance overwhelms every one who dares to raise his arm or his voice against the foulest acts of cruelty and injustice. Even under our liberal Government, in the case of the Reverend Mr. Jones, the cry of the "Church is in danger" has resounded through every part of our city, and were not our persons protected by the law, to judge from the disposition shown by certain Clerical Gentlemen, our Park would hardly escape being fitted up for another Smithfield. But, God be praised, we have laws for our safeguard, and we have the right, in spite of threats and denunciations, peaceably to assemble, and firmness enough to make use of that right. It is said, public opinion is awful to the wicked; that its majestic voice, like the thunder of Heaven, strikes their corrupt bosoms with terror. It is also affirmed, that public opinion may reach and correct a thousand abuses, of which the law does not, or cannot take cognizance. [3/4] The experiment has been made. This awful opinion has been recently expressed, and it remains to be proved, whether it will be respected or set at defiance, by those who have never seemed, as yet, to regard any rule of justice or humanity. The meeting of Tuesday, great and overflowing as it was, in manner of its conduct, reflected infinite honour upon the persons assembled. The solemnity and regularity which prevailed, could only be equalled by the importance of the occasion.--Peter Jay Munro, Esq. opened the Meeting, in an impressive and argumentative speech, which could not fail to carry conviction to every heart, of the existing necessity of calling them together, and the perfect propriety, of expressing public sentiment, on a case so disgracefully marked with illegality and oppression. Alderman Mesier followed Mr. Munro in a short, but eloquent address upon the occasion of the Meeting, and was listened to with profound attention. The resolutions, which follow, were then adopted without a dissenting voice, and the friends of Mr. Jones, have reason to thank the joint authors of the three penny address to Episcopalians, that pitiful contrivance of pitiful men. It seemed to be intended, as a warning against the Meeting, but to our certain knowledge, operated in a way directly contrary, for it brought many there, even grey headed men, who from their years, might not have attended if they had not felt indignant, that such despicable means of preventing the exercise of an allowed right, should be resorted to. The paltry contrivance thus rewarded itself, and may such arts always meet with similar success.

[5] Meeting was held, in consequence of the following notification.

We, the subscribers, appointed at a meeting of Episcopalians of the City of New-York, to consider and adopt such measures as we shall think proper to pursue, in the present unfortunate state of our Church, request the members of the different Episcopal Congregations of this City, who disapprove of the late proceedings of the Vestry of Trinity Church, and of the Tribunal to which they appealed in the case of the Rev. Cave Jones, to meet at Mechanic Hall, on Tuesday Evening next, the 14th instant, at 7 o'clock.

January 8.


At a very-numerous and respectable Meeting [* It is said by gentlemen who attended the meeting, that at least between seven and eight hundred persons were present.--And more Episcopalians, it has been declared by a gentleman who particularly noticed, were obliged to retire without admission, than the whole number of those who might attend from motives of curiosity, of other denominations.] of the Episcopalians of the city of New-York, convened by public notice, and held at Mechanic Hall, on Tuesday Evening, the 14th of January, 1812.

THOMAS FARMAR, Esq. Chairman.
WM. N. STUYVESANT, Esq. Sec'ry.

The following Resolutions were unanimously opted:

[6] Resolved, That we sincerely deplore the dissensions which disturb the religious society to which we belong--that we conceive it to be the duty of every Member of that Society, to use his utmost efforts to restore tranquility to the Church. And that if those persons who are most immediately concerned with the existing controversies, would bear a spirit of reconciliation, and exercise the virtues of charity, forbearance, and humility, which belong to their sacred offices, and are enjoined by the precepts of christianity, the peace of the Church might be restored.

Resolved, That in the opinion of this meeting, the proceedings and sentence of a Convocation of the Right Reverend Bishop Moore and certain Presbyters of this Diocese against the Reverend Cave Jones are illegal and unjust:

Illegal, 1st. Because the Canon under which those proceedings were instituted and that sentence was pronounced, did not apply to his case, no controversy having existed between the Vestry or Congregation, and Mr. Jones:--Or, if any controversy did exist between them, no efforts having been made, according to the Canon, the dictates of humanity, and the principles of the Gospel, to settle it between themselves. On the contrary, the controversy to which the Vestry have assumed to become parties, was a controversy between three individuals, the Reverend Dr. Hobart, and the Reverend Mr. How, and Mr. Jones,--and though much to be lamented, it neither demanded nor justified the proceedings on the part of the Vestry, which that body have seen fit to adopt.

[7] 2nd. Because the Members of that Convocation, or Tribunal, were not impartial judges. Bishop Moore being in his capacity of Rector, a Member of the Vestry, and as such one of the Complainants, while in his capacity of Bishop, he acted as Judge.--And most of the Presbyters having taken active parts in that controversy, and expressed decided opinions respecting it--and some of them moreover, being expectants upon the bounty of the Vestry.

3rd. Because, the Reverend Mr. How, being then in the employ of the Vestry, and a dependent upon their bounty as to the amount of his salary, and upon their will, as to its duration, was permitted contrary to law, and contrary to the sacred principles of justice, to sit as judge upon his adversary, in a controversy in which he was himself a principal party, and respecting which, he had previously written and published a Book, loudly condemning the conduct of Mr. Jones.

4th. Because those proceedings were instituted, and that sentence pronounced without a previous enquiry into the truth of Mr. Jones' charges against Dr. Hobart and Mr. How, or affording him an opportunity of establishing them by evidence, if true.

The sentence is unjust, because it is severe, infinitely beyond Mr. Jones' demerits, even if he were guilty of every thing of which he was accused. If it were wrong to publish his Appeal, when he thought he was injured by his Colleagues; when he thought it his duty to develope, what he conceived to be the character of one, who was then a candidate for the highest office in the Church. Dr. Hobart and Mr. How have committed similar offences, with no other plea to [7/8] extenuate their conduct, than that which Mr. Jones urges in his defence, viz. "that they thought their Publications due to their Characters, and the good of the Church." A sentence, therefore, which in effect deprives Mr. Jones and his family of bread, banishes him from his native city, and shuts every Pulpit against him, while without enquiry into the truth of the charges exhibited by him, Mr. How is left in the enjoyment of his living, and Bishop Hobart is elevated to the highest Clerical Dignity, is partial and unjust.

Resolved, that by the original Charter, granted to the Protestant Episcopal inhabitants of this city, and by the acts of the Legislature of this state, all the inhabitants of this city in communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the state of New-York, were constituted and now are one body politic and corporate, by the name or style of "the Rector and INHABITANTS of the city of New-York, in communion with the Protestant Episcopal Church, in the state New-York." That all such inhabitants, are equally entitled to express their sentiments respecting any dissentions which may arise in the Church, and to adopt such measures as in their opinions maybe most conducive to its peace. That they are all equally interested in the preservation and due administration of the temporalities of the Church; and have equally a right to vote at elections of the Vestry, who are the Trustees of those temporalities.

It is, therefore the duty of each individual possessing such a right, to claim, exercise, and assert it.

[8/9] Resolved, That

Thomas Farmar, Nicholas Fish, Peter Mesier, George Warner, Levinus Clarkson, Gold Hoyt, Benjamin Ferris, William Irving, Benjamin Mumford, David Wagstaff, Peter G. Stuyvesant, John P. Groshon, Mathew L. Davis, Dr. John Bullus, James Farquhar, Simon Schermerhorn, Peter Jay Munro, Jacob Delamontagnie, John Pell, Thomas Ellison, John Kemp, Dr. Joseph Bayley, Thomas Hamersly, Dr. G. W. Chapman, James P. Vanhorn, Jonas Humbert, A. R. Lawrence, W. N. Stuyvesant.

be a Committee, to endeavour to carry the preceding Resolutions into effect. And they are hereby authorized and requested to adopt all such measures, as in their opinion will tend to heal the existing divisions in the Church, restore peace, and prevent a repetition of similar dissentions, and such as the good of the Church, under existing circumstances, may require.

Resolved, That the proceedings of this meeting be published and signed by the chairman and secretary.

WM. N. STUYVESANT, Secretary.

[* Levinus Clarkson; from particular considerations, distinct from opposition to the cause of Mr. Jones, (to whom he is highly favourable,) has been induced to decline serving. It ought to be further remarked, that none of the other gentlemen, mentioned in the late pamphlets of Dr. H. have declined serving; notwithstanding the strenuous efforts made by him and his partizans to that effect.]


BEDFORD, 13th January, 1812.

It was not until yesterday, that I received your letter of the 2d inst. requesting my permission to publish the letter which I wrote to you on the 25th of June last.

That better explains why, and on what occasion, it was written. There is no person from whom I wish to conceal my having expressed the opinions and sentiments which are stated in it. You may therefore extend the publicity of it in any manner that you may think proper.

I am Rev. Sir,
Your most ob't serv't
The Rev. Mr. Cave Jones.

BEDFORD, 25th June, 1811.

I received by the last mail, your letter of the 15th inst. requesting my permission to mention the sentiments which I expressed on certain topics in a late conversation with you.

Prudence forbids us to intermeddle with private and personal disputes, except on occasions when, and as far only as, the duty of promoting peace and concord, or truth and justice, imposes that task upon us. But prudence usually permits, and frequently prompts us, [10/11] to say what we think of affairs which have an influence on the interests of the country, or of the church, or other societies to which we belong.

The sentiments to which you allude, relate to transactions which affect the church of which I am a member; and I have expressed them to others as well as to you. I can therefore have no objection to your mentioning them. To obviate any risk of mistake, I will concisely state them; they are as follows:--

That to me it is not clear, that the Convention were authorized by the Constitution of the Church, to create the office of Assistant Bishop,--and that, if so authorized, they ought to have declared and defined powers and duties:--

That in my opinion, both the Election and the Consecration of Dr. Hobart to that office, while the charges which had recently been made and published against him by respectable Clergymen, remained untried and unanswered, were precipitate and unseasonable;--and the more so, as those charges were neither anonymous, nor insignificant, nor made by persons unworthy of credit or notice. That the truth and importance of those charges, do not depend on the motives which induced the publication of them; and therefore were not exempted from attention and inquiry, on account of any real or imputed demerit in those motives:--

That your declining to pursue the advice given to you to resign, was proper;--that under existing circumstances, it would have had the appearance of pusillanimity; and given occasion to unfavourable inferences and imputations:--

[12] That it becomes all free men, and particularly those of your profession, to assert and maintain their rights with all that moderation, candour and temper, which respect to others and to themselves may demand; but at the same time to adopt with decision, and with firmness to persevere in, such means as prudence may indicate and christianity justify.

There is no gentleman among your friends or opponents to whom, in conversing on these subjects, I should hesitate to express these sentiments. Permit me to request that Bishop Moore may be among the first of those to whom you communicate them.

I intended to have written this letter early in the day; but having unexpectedly been engaged by visitors, it was necessary that I should either write and send it in haste to the office this evening, or postpone it to next week's mail. To avoid delay, I have written it as it is;--perhaps too hastily.

With the best wishes for your health and welfare,
I am, Sir,

Your most ob't serv't. JOHN JAY.

The Rev. Mr. Cave Jones.

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