GIBSON BROTHERS, PRINTERS.
 WASHINGTON, D. C., FEB'Y 29, 1868.
RIGHT REVEREND HORATIO POTTER, D. D., LL. D.
Bishop of the Diocese of New York:
DEAR SIR--As one of the counsel of the Reverend Stephen H. Tyng, Jr., I was prevented from taking a part in his late trial by reason of previous engagements requiring my attendance here--and probably had I been present, I should have yielded my claim to the other counsel who appeared in his defence--the Court having restricted the number to two for the prosecution and two for the defence. At the conclusion of this most extraordinary trial it was announced by the presiding officer of the Court that a copy of their decision would, without delay, be transmitted to the accused, and a second copy, together with all the evidence and papers in the case would be given to the Bishop of the Diocese, and that it remained for the Bishop to affirm or annul the proceedings--acting upon the supposition that the presiding officer was correct in asserting that these proceedings would be reviewed by yourself, and believing as I do, that the whole of their proceedings, from beginning to end, have been conducted in flagrant violation of the rights of the respondent, and contrary to all established principles of law, I have resolved to address you this communication. I trust that the same love of law and order, and desire to promote peace and harmony in the Church, which prompts this communication, will insure for it a careful and full consideration at your hands.
My purpose is to show, not only that the canon of the Church, now, for the first time, called in question, was wise in its purpose and intention, but that, no breach of the canon has been made by the respondent.
1. The presentment avers that the respondent violated section 6 of Canon 12 of Title I of the Canons, adopted by the Protestant Episcopal Church in General Convention, October, 1859--first--
"In this, that the Reverend Stephen H. Tyng, Jr., did, on the morning of Sunday, the 14th day of July, 1867, within the corporate bounds of the city of New Brunswick, in the Diocese of New Jersey, which city then constituted the parochial cure of the Reverend Alfred Stubbs, D. D., and the Reverend Edward B. Boggs, D. D., ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church, duly settled and in charge of congregations in said city, officiate, by preaching and reading prayers, within the said parochial cure of the said the Reverend Alfred Stubbs, D. D., and of the said the Reverend Edward B. Boggs, D. D., without their permission, or the permission of either of them, or of the Church-Wardens and Vestrymen or Trustees of either of their congregations, or of a majority of such Church-Wardens and Vestrymen or Trustees."
[3/4] And second--
"In this, that the said Reverend Stephen H. Tyng, Jr., did, in the evening of the day aforesaid, within the corporate bounds of the city aforesaid, officiate, by preaching and reading prayers, within the said parochial cure of the said Alfred Stubbs and Edward B. Boggs, without their permission, or the permission of either of them, or of the Church-Wardens and Vestrymen or Trustees of either of their congregations."
The canon referred to provides that--
"No minister belonging to this Church shall officiate, either by preaching, reading prayers, or otherwise, in the parish or parochial cure of another clergyman, unless he have received express permission for that purpose from the minister of the parish or cure, or, in his absence, from the Church-Wardens and Vestrymen or Trustees of the congregation, or a majority of them."
That "parochial boundaries shall be the limits, as now fixed by law, of any village, town, township, incorporated borough, city," &c.
That "if there be two or more congregations or churches therein, it shall be deemed the cure of the ministers thereof; and the assent of a majority of such ministers shall be necessary."
2. It is further averred in the presentment, that the respondent is a Presbyter canonically resident in the Diocese of New York--and that these proceedings are instituted "upon a certain notice given to the said Standing Committee by the Right Reverend, the Bishop of New Jersey"--reference being made to the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York, the "notice" here referred to was in pursuance of section I, Canon 3 of Title 2, of the Canons of the General Convention, which reads as follows:
"If any clergyman of this Church belonging to any Diocese or missionary district shall, in any other Diocese or missionary district, conduct himself in such a way as is contrary to the rules of this Church, and disgraceful to his office, the ecclesiastical authority thereof shall give notice of the same to the ecclesiastical authority where he is canonically resident, exhibiting, with the information given, reasonable ground for presuming its correctness."
We are bound to presume, therefore, that the Bishop of New Jersey, upon giving the "notice" required, did comply with the canon by "exhibiting" therewith "reasonable ground for presuming its correctness;" in other words, that a document accompanied the "notice," containing "reasonable ground for presuming" that the Reverend Mr. Tyng did, in the city of New Brunswick, on the said 14th day of July, 1867, not only "conduct" himself in such a way as was "contrary to the rules of the church," but did also "conduct" himself in such a way as was "disgraceful to his office." It is much to be regretted that a document so important as this, and coming from such high authority as the Bishop of New Jersey, should not have been produced upon the trial, and especially as such document, in courts of law, would have been regarded as most important in view of the allegations of the presentment to show the regularity of the proceedings.
The alleged acts in violation of the canon having been committed in another Diocese, and it appearing, by the articles of presentment, that the respondent was brought to trial in pursuance of the "notice," &c., given by the Bishop of that Diocese, the respondent had a right to demand, and the Court were bound [4/5] to require of the presentors a copy of the "notice" referred to, and also, the document accompanying the same, "exhibiting reasonable ground for presuming its correctness." The reason for this is obvious. These proceedings having been based upon the canon cited, the production of the document referred to was necessary in order to show that all the requirements of the canon had been complied with. As it is, the friends of the respondent, (if not the respondent himself,) are left in ignorance in reference to the graver charge implied in those proceedings of having conducted himself in the Diocese of New Jersey in such away as was "disgraceful to his office."
3. But I claim that the proceedings in this case are without the authority of law, and are irregular from the beginning to the end.
The General Convention have provided that--
"Every minister shall be amenable, for offences committed by him, to the Bishop, or if there be no Bishop, to the clerical members of the Standing Committee of the Diocese in which he is canonically resident at the time of the charge." (Sec. I, canon I, title 2.)
There was a Bishop in the Diocese of New York. Therefore the respondent was amenable to him, and not to the clerical members of the Standing Committee. Again:
"If a clergyman of this Church belonging to any Diocese or missionary district shall, in any other Diocese or missionary district, conduct himself in such a way as is contrary to the rules of the Church, and disgraceful to his office, the ecclesiastical authority thereof shall give notice of the same to the ecclesiastical authority where he is canonically resident, exhibiting, with the information given, reasonable ground for presuming its correctness." (Sec. I, canon 3, title 2.)
Who constituted the ecclesiastical authority of the Diocese of New York when the alleged "notice" in this case was given? Ans.--The Bishop.
Again: "Every minister shall be liable to presentment and trial for any crime or gross immorality,and for violation of the constitution or canons of this Church, or of the Diocese to which he belongs,(Sec. I, canon 2, title 2.)
Who was sole judge of whether the respondent was "liable to presentment and trial?" Ans.--The Bishop.
The Convention of the Diocese of New York have provided that--
"Whenever any minister of this Diocese, not being a Bishop thereof shall become 'liable to presentment and trial' under the provisions of any canon of the General or Diocesan Convention, the mode of proceeding in this Diocese shall be as follows, viz:Whenever, from public rumor or otherwise, the Bishop shall have reason to believe that any clergyman is under the imputation of having been guilty of any offence or misconduct for which he is liable to be tried, and that the interest of the Church requires an investigation, it shall be his duty to appoint five persons, of whom three at least shall be presbyters, to examine the case; a majority of whom may make such examination; and if there is in their opinion sufficient ground for presentment, shall present the clergyman accordingly." (Canon 17.)
Who was to judge of the alleged "offence or misconduct" of the respondent, and whose duty, was it to appoint the "five persons" who appeared in this case as the presentors? Ans.--The Bishop.
 But who judged, in this case, as to whether the respondent was "liable to presentment and trial?" Who "had reason" to believe that the respondent was "guilty of any offence or misconduct?" Who performed the "duty" of appointing the "five persons" who were to act as a grand jury? The presentment says: "The undersigned, a committee appointed by the Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York. as the ecclesiastical authority of said Diocese, under the provisions of canon 17 of said Diocese, to examine the case of the Reverend Stephen H. Tyng, Jr., &c., do hereby present," &c. Who gave authority to the "Standing Committee of the Diocese of New York" to exercise all this discretion, and then select the "five persons" the presentors? True, the Bishop of the Diocese was temporarily absent at the time, being in England. But there is no canon giving any such powers to the Standing Committee in the case of absence. It is only in the case of "vacancy" in the Episcopate, or "inability" or "disability" of the Bishop, that the Standing Committee are authorized to perform the "powers and duties to be performed by the Bishop in matters of discipline." (See section 2, canon 10.) There being no "vacancy" in the Episcopate, nor "inability" nor "disability" on the part of the Bishop at the time, the proceedings in this case are entirely irregular and without the authority of law. The notice and papers in this case should have been forwarded to the Bishop, and his discretion exercised, and not that of others unauthorized thereto. He was Bishop, and was neither inable or disabled from performing the duties and bearing the responsibilities of his office. The canon provides that--
"In case of a vacancy of the Episcopate, or the inability or disability of the Bishop, the powers and duties to be performed by the Bishop, in matters of discipline, shall be performed by the Standing Committee," &c.
By "inability" is meant want of ability from within--impotence--incapacity--incompetence--weakness. Inability is an inherent want of ability to perform the thing in question; while disability arises from some deprivation, or loss of needed competency.
It follows from this that the proceedings in this case are absolutely void and of no effect--that they are without the authority of law--and that the respondent is under no obligation whatever to pay the slightest heed or attention to them. The mistake is fundamental and cannot be waived. In, short, it is fatal.
My purpose, however, is not to avoid the main issue in this case, but to proceed at once to a consideration of the meaning of the canon alleged to have been broken by the respondent, and for this purpose to admit that the respondent, being at the time rector of and in charge of a church in the city of New York did, on the 14th day of July, 1867, at the urgent request of some one or more of his own parishioners, then temporarily resident in the city of New Brunswick, in the Diocese of New Jersey, officiate, by preaching and reading prayers in said city without first obtaining or securing the [6/7] express permission of the Reverend Doctors Stubbs and Boggs, then settled over and in charge of the Episcopal Churches in said city.
THE CANON--ITS MEANING.
1. I assert, in the outset, that this canon was adopted for wise and beneficial purposes--and that it is not a dead letter, but designed to be observed and obeyed by the ministers of the Church.
Canons differ in no respect from statutes. As written laws, the same principles of construction are applicable to canons as to other written laws--they are legislative enactments, and do not differ in that respect from ordinary enactments of civil government.
The common law has laid down certain rules for the interpretation of statutes. These rules are hallowed by immemorial usage, by being the combined result of the united wisdom of those learned in the law--by their having secured the sanction of courts and having been affirmed and reaffirmed by judges and jurists.
We will cite a few of these rules:
1. "The primary rule in the interpretation of a statute is to ascertain the intention of the law-makers. This is the life of the statute, as well as the object and reason of its creation."
2. "The intention, when it can be discovered, must be followed, although contrary to the letter, and a thing within the letter of a statute is not within the law unless within the intention, and a thing within the intention is within the law, though not within the letter."
3. "In the construction of all remedial statutes there are three things to be observed, the old law, the mischief, and the remedy; that is, how the common law stood at the making of the act; what the mischief was for which the common law did not provide, and what remedy the parliament hath provided to cure this mischief."
4. "Cotemporaneous usage may be resorted to as evidence of the construction put upon a statute by those best acquainted with the mind and intention of the law-makers."
5. "When a particular construction has been assumed and acted upon at an early day and so continued, the Court will not disturb it at a subsequent period, even if it should appear to be indefensible on principle."
These are plain, and familiar rules. They are laid down in all commentaries on law, and are declared again and again in English and American Reports. In utter defiance and contempt, however, of these rules, the Court, in their proceedings of the fourth day announced that "they would be peremptory in excluding evidence looking to an interpretation of the canon." Ecclesiastical Courts are, of course, as much bound by the rules of common law as any civil Court. The question under consideration was purely a question of law. [7/8] It would be perfectly natural for a lawyer to consult with a theologian in reference to questions of theology--and it is equally natural that a theologian should consult some one learned in the law in reference to questions of law. But this Court so far from selecting some Amicus curae from the Bench or Bar seemed to have treated all suggestions of counsel (except it might be the counsel for the prosecution) as of no account, and on the whole as an invasion of their high judicial prerogative.
Had it not been for this absurd ruling of the Court, the respondent could and would have proven that the Chairman of the Committee on Canons, on reporting the canon in question to the General Convention held at Richmond in 1859, was asked in open Convention what was the object of the canon, to which he replied that it was "a canon against ecclesiastical squatters."
He would also have been able to prove a "usage" in the Church, not only "cotemporaneous," but coextensive with the existence of the canon itself, to the effect that it never had been the custom or practice of ministers, when occasionally or incidentally officiating in a large city, to first obtain the express permission of a majority of the ministers having the charge of churches in such city. In fact, if it had been possible to exhaust the testimony in this respect, it doubtless would have established the fact, not only of the usage and custom as stated, but that there never was a case during the whole existence of the canon where such express permission under the circumstances named had been obtained.
He also would have been able to show, not only that the custom and usage was as stated among the clergymen themselves, but that this custom and usage had been sanctioned by the Bishops, (the ecclesiastical authority of the Church,) not only by their knowledge of such being the fact, and their tacit approval thereof, but by their own acts, when temporarily or casually sojourning in parishes of others.
The result would have clearly established the fact that it was the intention of the law-makers that the canon in question should not apply to incidental or occasional acts of officiating.
But, in the interpretation of a statute, the primary rule is to construe it according to the "intention of the lawmakers." It therefore follows that the canon in question was never intended to apply to incidental or occasional acts of officiating.
Again: a thing within the letter only, if not within the intention, is not within the statute. Incidental or occasional acts of officiating, though within the letter, are not within the intention, and therefore are not within the statute.
Again: "cotemporaneous usage," and especially when that usage is not only cotemporaneous, but coextensive with the existence of the statute, "is evidence of a construction put upon a statute by those best acquainted with the mind and intention of the lawmakers." Such evidence shows that it was not in the mind or intention of the makers of the statute in question that it should apply to incidental or occasional acts of officiating.
 Again, such a construction having been assumed and acted upon, from the time of the adoption of the canon, even unto this day, the Court was bound, by the highest obligations known among men, to maintain and declare that the statute was never intended or designed to apply to incidental or occasional acts of officiating.
The issue involved in this case does not render it necessary for the respondent to show affirmatively as to what acts are embraced in the canon. All that is required of him to show is that the alleged acts on his part were not within the intention and purpose of the statute, and therefore not forbidden by it. It may, however, tend to throw additional light upon the issue involved in this case to inquire into the intention of the law-makers, not only as to what acts they did not intend to include, but to show what kind of acts of officiating they intended to prohibit. A similar logical enquiry will lead us to an equally clear conclusion. The statute in question is remedial in its character--it was designed to remedy some evil. One of the rules of common law already cited is, that "in the construction of all remedial statutes, there are three things to be considered--the old law, the mischief, and the remedy." Let us apply this rule to the canon under consideration. We will assume, that prior to the existence or adoption of the present canon, no law existed upon the subject. That ministers were allowed to preach when and where they pleased. Now what mischief resulted from that which the canon was designed to remedy. The canon prohibits a clergyman from officiating "in the parish" of another. According to Blackstone, "a parish is that circuit of ground which is committed to the charge of one parson or vicar, or other minister having the cure of souls therein." With reference to this title of "parson," the same commentator says: "He is sometimes called the rector or governor of the church, but the appellation of parson, however it may be deprecated by familiar clownish and indiscriminate use, is the most legal, most beneficial, and most honorable title that a parish priest can enjoy." A parson--his parishioners--and the parish property, may be said to constitute a parish. What "mischief" can result from another clergyman intruding into this parish? it certainly will not be supposed that he will damage the church property, for this would be a civil injury for which the civil law already had provided a remedy. Nor would it be contended that he would injure or impair the rights of the parishioners, as such. Parishioners' rights may be said to consist in having the Gospel preached, the sacraments administered, the sick visited, the dead buried, &c. The intruding minister, so far from impairing these rights, would furnish additional facilities for their exercise. But how is it with the "parson?" In what do his rights consist? In return for his ministrations to his parishioners, he is entitled in England to "tithes" in this country to such voluntary contributions as may be made for the support of Episcopal services. Any such intrusion as is intended to detract from these voluntary contributions, or divert [9/10] them in another channel, is an infringement upon the rights of the "parson." It is the "mischief" which the canon was designed to remedy by prohibiting, except with the consent of the parson, all intrusions made with that purpose or tending to that end. And, inasmuch as the canon may be said to be in derogation of common rights, it is to be construed liberally as a remedial statute, as having application only to such continued acts of officiating by preaching, reading prayers or otherwise, as might tend to result in the mischief set forth.
2. In further confirmation of the proposition that the canon embraces acts within its letter, which arc not embraced within its intention, and therefore not within the canon, it will not be contended that the canon was designed to interfere with the manifest duty of a Christian minister. And if it be possible to instance a case where the letter of the canon would so interfere, and restrain a minister from the performance of duty, then certainly the letter of the canon is not to prevail. We will suppose a clergyman of the Protestant Episcopal Church to be travelling in the far West on some railway--suddenly, at midnight, he finds himself lying amid the ruins of the train. He rises, to his feet (thanks to a kind Providence) unhurt. A fellow passenger, in the pains of death, calling him by name, tells him he cannot long survive his injuries, and desires him to pray with and baptize him. The minister, opening his satchel, says: "I have here a copy of the canons of the church, and I find, by reference to section 6 of canon 12 of title 1, that a minister belonging to my church cannot officiate by preaching, reading prayers, or otherwise, in the parish or parochial cure of another, without first obtaining express permission for that purpose front the minister of the parish or cure. My friend, before, therefore, I can do anything for you, I must ascertain where we are, and in whose parish we are, and then I must find the parson and obtain his express permission to do that which you desire." Is this acting within the meaning and intention of the canon? Most undoubtedly not.
Again we will suppose that during the late war a regiment, with Mr. Tyng as their Chaplain, on their way to protect and defend the honor and flag of their country are passing through the said city of New Brunswick on Sunday, and there halt for the purpose of holding Divine service; as the preparations are being made Dr. Stubbs makes his appearance and warns the Chaplain against any such "disgraceful conduct" as proceeding to officiate in that parish without first obtaining the express permission of a majority of himself and Dr. Boggs. With great consideration, however, in view of the unpleasant predicament of the zealous Chaplain he gives his consent, but at the same time informs him that the Reverend Dr. Boggs and a majority of his Church-Wardens and Vestrymen are absent from the city, so that it will be impossible to obtain their consent, and as a consequence he, Mr. Tyng, will have to desist from conduct so "disgraceful to his office." We will suppose (if it be possible to suppose such a thing) that the Reverend Mr. Tyng thereupon informs his regiment [10/11] that no services can be held, that he cannot officiate--that the canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church forbid him from so doing. Can it be possible that these are the teachings and this a part of the discipline of the Protestant Episcopal Church. A church professing to be commissioned with the solemn duty of proclaiming salvation to a dying world. No! such are not the teachings--such is not the discipline of our Church.
Again, on Sunday morning in the parlors of a large hotel for summer resort, where hundreds have come in pursuit of health or recreation, the guests are assembled--notice has been given that the Right Reverend, the Bishop of New York, will hold Episcopal service--among the company is sitting the Reverend Dr. (the Elder) Tyng--the Bishop makes his appearance, his brother, the Reverend Dr., reminds him of the "sacred obligation of the ministers of the Protestant Episcopal Church to maintain the discipline of the Church, and that in accordance with the solemn decision of a most learned and imposing ecclasiastical Court lately held in the city of New York, the canon in question is to be observed according to its letter, and that no service should be held without first obtaining the consent of the minister of the parish." The Bishop thereupon informs his astonished audience that he cannot consistently with his duty officiate for them. What would be the effect of such an announcement? Would not Episcopal ideas of duty and Christian obligation become by-words and a reproach among men? But such never was, and in spite of influences to the contrary never will be the doctrine and teaching of the Protestant Episcopal Church.
But it may be said that these are special cases. But there is no principle or rule of law by which you can except special cases. You are compelled to lay down some general principle of exception; and that general principle of exception is that the canon does not include incidental or occasional acts of officiating. In short the intention of this canon cannot be better expressed than in the homely but expressive statement that "it is a canon against ecclesiastical squatters."
3. If a new church is about to be established in the parish of another, then the canon in question is brought into requisition; an act of intrusion is then about to be committed which will directly interfere with the rights (so called) of the "parson." It is true that in such cases, according to section 2 of canon 5, title 3, of Canons of the General Convention, the power is "vested in the Bishop of the Diocese, acting by and with the advice and consent of the Standing Committee thereof," &c. Yet we have the authority of the Convention of the Diocese of New York for saying after quoting the canon in question, "Hence, previous to incorporating a new church in such a parish or cure, the consent of the clergymen or a majority of them should be asked to a minister's officiating in the parish with a view to such incorporation. If this consent be not given, application can be made to the Bishop of the Diocese." [11/12] These words are quoted from appendix No. III, giving "instructions and forms for the incorporation of a church in the Diocese of New York," published in connection with the constitution and canons, &c., of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of New York in 1864, and endorsed, "published by authority of the convention." The construction here given to the canon is to the effect that it has application when a minister seeks to officiate in the parish of another with a view to permanancy, and "is a canon against ecclesiastical squatters."
4. I have alluded, Right Reverend Sir, to the prevailing custom and usage of the Church as confirming the proposition that the canon was not intended to apply to incidential or occasional acts of officiating--and that this custom and practice was well known to the Bishops and Standing Committees, and having by omission of action on their part received their tacit assent for a long period, it follows that the construction of the canon contended for, has already virtually received the sanction of the ecclesiastical authority of the Protestant Episcopal Church. But not only has this received the sanction of the Bishops by their tacit approval of the action of others, but they, themselves, have given the canon the construction so plainly set forth by their own acts and deeds. The canon says "no minister," &c. It has no application to a Bishop when acting as such. But when not engaged in the peculiar functions of his high office he is a "minister," and the canon applies to and includes him. It is often said that one of the best arguments that can be presented to another is what is styled "argumentum ad hominem." You may, perhaps, be able to call to mind some knowledge of the fact, that previous to the removal of the Reverend Dr. Boggs from the parish of St. Matthews at Bedford, West Chester County, New York, the Right Reverend, the then Bishop of New York, was asked, urged, and finally pursuaded by a lady of honored descent to baptize her child, which official act was done at the family mansion, and without having first received "express permission for that purpose" from the minister of the parish. This is one of many--and, if truly stated, is certainly high ecclesiastical authority for asserting the plain and simple truth that the canon has no application to incidental or occasional acts of officiating.
At the opening I referred to the statement made by the chairman of the Court that after their finding, it remained for the Bishop to affirm or annul the proceedings. Assuming that the proceedings in this case had been regular. I can find no direct canonical authority for this statement, yet, it is my belief, that this power exists in the Bishop as one of the powers necessarily implied in the canon, which provides that "every minister shall be amenable for offences committed by him to the Bishop." (See section 1, canon 1, title 2, Canons of General Convention.) It is provided by the canons of the Diocese, however, that "the Bishop, if he shall be satisfied that justice requires it, may grant a new trial [12/13] to the accused, in which case a new board of presbyters shall be appointed, the proceedings before whom shall be conducted as before mentioned." That the Court will come to a conclusion in this case, adverse to the respondent, may be safely inferred from the rulings of their chairman, and the tacit acquiescence of the other members in the announcement during the progress of the trial, by that chairman, of their to him uncommunicated decisions: as well as from the fact that some, if not all the members of the Court, were and are members of an extraordinary association formed in the city of New York during the present winter, called "The American Church Union." One of the objects of which association was the maintainance of church "discipline:" but whose real object and purpose was more distinctly and pointedly set forth in their first resolution, unanimously passed immediately after the adoption of their constitution, being, in substance, an endorsement of the measures then being taken by the Bishop for the maintainance and enforcement of Church discipline--reference being made to the only proceedings then pending, viz: The proceedings against the respondent. In anticipation of this event it is hoped that the Bishop of the Diocese will at once stay these proceedings, annul them, and dismiss the complaint as unworthy of further consideration or, if he shall doubt his power in that respect, that he will order a new trial, and give the respondent the benefit of a Court composed of men of learning, intelligence, and free from prejudice, whose opinions will be respected--not ritualists--but men who love the Protestant Episcopal Church in her simplicity, in sincerity and truth.
Is not a decision adverse to the respondent, anticipated as a part of the programme? How happens it that these proceedings were commenced during the absence of the Bishop? Did they believe that if the Bishop had been here he would not have approved of them? Why did the "American Church Union" pass the resolutions referred to? In speaking of these resolutions, the "Church Journal" of December 18, 1867, says:
"The following resolutions were adopted unanimously, without a word of debate, as the first act of the American Church Union in the line of its vocation:
" 'Resolved, That the American Church Union express to the Right Reverend the Bishop of New York their gratification at the decided manner in which, after long forbearance, he has undertaken the vindication of the law of the Church.
" 'Resolved, That we cordially pledge to the Bishop our hearty support in all measures which he may think it necessary to adopt, in maintaining ecclesiastical discipline in this diocese.' "
Why were the resolutions passed "without a word of debate?" Had they been determined on at the outset? Wherefore was this "gratification?" Why this assertion of the "decided manner" and "long forbearance" of the Bishop? Did they entertain fears that after all the Bishop might disapprove, and therefore conclude that the resolutions might tend to give him courage? Who took a most active part in organizing this "American Church Union," [13/14] and at whose house have many of its meetings been held? Ans.--One of the presentors in this case.
Many with deep feeling have inquired whether, if the respondent shall be found guilty, these proceedings will be further continued? Whether sentence will be pronounced? Will the Bishop summon the accused and certain clergy, in the language of the canon, "to meet him at such time as may, in his opinion, be most convenient; at some church to be designated by him, which shall for that purpose be open at the time to all persons who choose to attend;" and then and there proceed to pass sentence, and thereby publicly dishonor and cast reproach upon a most faithful and devoted Christian minister, who not only by every rule of law has not broken the canon in question, but, in doing what he did, was performing what manifestly it was his duty to do? In a time past, one "Paul" was complained of for preaching, not to the "Methodists," but to the "Gentiles." They brought him before one "Gallio," and made the following presentment, saying: "This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to law." The trial was about proceeding, when the same was brought to the following abrupt conclusion: (Is it too late for a similar result in this case?) Gallio, sitting in his judgment-seat, said to the presentors (just as Paul had risen to offer his defence): "If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you; but if it be a question of words and names, or of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters." And thereupon, history says, "he drave them from the judgment-seat." Now Gallio was a heathen!
I need not remind one so learned and read in the experience and teachings of history as the Bishop of New York that religious warfare once commenced runs rapidly, and no one knows where it will end. Perhaps no happier parish ever existed than that of the Church of the Holy Trinity--a parish started and built up by the respondent. Attached to their Rector, its members have pressed forward with zeal and earnestness; and to-day, not only support their own church, but some three or four chapels. But a change has taken place. The rights of their pastor, as a minister, as a gentleman, and as a citizen, have been invaded by a planned combination, who have used the forms of law for that purpose, and with that intent. Have the instigators of these proceedings counted the cost?
In concluding this already protracted letter, I desire to state, that owing to my absence from New York since the commencement of this trial, I have had no opportunity of conferring, during its progress or since, either with the respondent or his other counsel. But a conscientious and clear conviction that the rights of the respondent have been outraged, and the plainest and simplest principles of law trampled underfoot, by the tribunal sitting in judgment in this case, have compelled me to write what I have written.
 I am well aware that other constructions by way of defence have been put on this canon. It has been alleged that the jurisdiction, so to speak of Drs. Stubbs and Boggs, did not extend over the Methodist Church in which the respondent is alleged to have preached, and that therefore the canon had no application. In my judgment their Episcopal jurisdiction did extend over this Church, and should that Methodist congregation undertake to-day to reorganize as a Protestant Episcopal congregation, and the respondent should accept a call thereto, the canon would come in play, and the consent of a majority of Drs. Stubbs and Boggs would be necessary. Nor am I one of those who know of any principle of logic by which this canon can be made to apply to acts of officiating performed, or about to be performed in parish churches only.
With sentiments of personal respect and great consideration for your high office, I have the honor to be,
Faithfully and truly yours,
EFFINGHAM H. NICHOLS,
One of the Vestry of the Church of the Holy Trinity, and one of the Counsel for the Respondent.