New-York, on Wednesday, October 22, 1823.
PRINTED BY T. AND J. SWORDS,
No. 99 Pearl-street.
BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY AND LAITY,
THE frequent recurrence, during the last spring and summer, of the sickness which so seriously interrupted the discharge of my official duties during the preceding year, has prevented much attention to them through the past season. The state of my health is considered by my physicians and friends to require a sea voyage, and a complete relaxation from official cares, by a residence abroad. The provision made by the Vestry of the Church of which I am Rector, and the kind liberality of several of my friends, have enabled me to carry this design into effect, in a manner highly satisfactory and gratifying to myself. And I wish to be permitted, in this way, to express my grateful acknowledgments.
I have to notice the following official acts:--
On Thursday, the 17th of last October, the day following the adjournment of the last Convention, I held a confirmation in St. Paul's Church, Troy, Rensselaer county; and on the following Sunday, the 20th after Trinity, I administered the same ordinance in St. Peter's Church, Albany. On Friday, October 25th, in St. John's Chapel, in this city, the Rev. Lawson Carter, Deacon, Missionary at Ogdensburgh, St. Lawrence county, and parts adjacent, was admitted to the holy order of Priests. On the 25th Sunday after Trinity, November 24th, in Trinity Church, in this city, I admitted Seth W. Beardsley, to the order of Deacons. He is now the Minister of Christ Church, Sackett's Harbour, Jefferson county. On the 4th Sunday in Advent, [3/4] December 22d, in St. Ann's Church, Brooklyn, King's county, I admitted to the order of Priests, the Rev. James P. F. Clarke, Deacon. This gentleman has removed from the churches at Delhi and Waterville, and is now the Rector of St. John's Church, Canandaigua, Ontario county. On Tuesday, December 31st, I consecrated to the service of Almighty God St. Philip's Church, in this city, belonging to a parish composed of coloured persons. The destruction by fire of the former edifice of this name was mentioned in my last address. The present church is erected on the same foundation, and is a very neat brick building. The prudence of the Vestry in insuring the old church, has enabled them thus speedily, to repair the loss. On Wednesday, January 15th, in St. John's Chapel, in this city, I admitted to the order of Priesthood, the Rev. Benjamin Dorr, Deacon, Minister of Trinity Church, Lansingburgh, Rensselaer county, and Grace Church, Waterford, Saratoga county. On Friday, the 31st of January, I visited Binghamton, Broome county, and consecrated an uncommonly neat and commodious edifice in that village, being the second which has been erected by that congregation within the space of a few years. At the same time Burton H. Hecox was admitted to the order of Deacons.
On Quinquagesima Sunday, February 9th, at an ordination held in Christ Church, in this city, John Sellon was admitted to the order of Deacons, and now officiates in a congregation worshipping in the same edifice; the former congregation having removed to a spacious
and commodious edifice, erected by them with great enterprise and zeal, in Anthony-street. It was consecrated by the name of Christ Church, on Easter-Even, March 29th.
On Wednesday, May 14th, in St. Paul's Chapel, in this city, I admitted Augustus L. Converse to the order of Deacons.
I was prevented, by sickness, from attending the meeting of the General Convention of our Church, at Philadelphia, [4/5] in May last, and from uniting with my brethren in the interesting and gratifying act of admitting to the Episcopacy the Rev. John S. Ravenscroft, the first Bishop of the Church in North-Carolina. I cordially cherish the general expectation of great usefulness to that Diocese from his superintendence.
On the first Sunday after Trinity, June 1st, in St, Luke's Church, in this city, I admitted Orsamus Smith to the holy order of Deacons. On Tuesday, June 17th, I consecrated to the service of Almighty God, St. Thomas's Church, Mamaroneck, Westchester county; and on Friday, July 4th, laid the corner stone of a new church in New- Rochelle, in the same county.
In the month of July I made a partial visitation of the Diocese; officiating at Hudson on the 9th, and confirmed 24; at Cattskill on the 10th, A. M. and confirmed 19, and at Athens, P. M. and confirmed 30; at Greenville on the 11th, and confirmed 6; at Rensselaerville on the 12th, and confirmed 8; and at Windham on the 13th, and confirmed 23.
Shortly after my return to the city, a renewed attack of sickness prevented me from the discharge of my duty as a Trustee and Professor in the General Theological Seminary, at a meeting of the Trustees, and an examination of the students, in July. But I heard, with great pleasure, of the approbation of the Trustees, and particularly of our venerable presiding Bishop, of the proficiency of the students, and of the general affairs of the Seminary.
On Wednesday, August 6th, at an ordination held in Trinity Church, in this city, I admitted Cornelius R. Duffie to the order of Deacons, and the Rev. George W. Doane, Deacon, officiating in Trinity Church, New-York, to that of Priests.
From an earnest wish to accomplish a more extended visitation of the Diocese, and with a view to acquire strength for that purpose, I took a journey into Canada, in the month of August, officiating on my way, at Plattsburgh, Clinton county, and proceeded as far as Quebec, [5/6] where I received every possible attention from the Right Rev. the Bishop of Quebec and his clergy, and from the laity of the Church in that city. But on my return, before I reached my own Diocese, a third attack of sickness rendered it necessary that I should reach home as speedily as possible.
Since this time, the only events I have to record are the following:--
On Friday, September 19th, I consecrated St. George's Church, Hempstead, Queen's county. This building has been erected near the site of the former church, which was built about eighty years ago, and the decayed state of which rendered it necessary to take it down. The present church is of larger dimensions than the former, very neat in its style, and commodious in its arrangements, and reflect great credit on the Rector and parish, by whose exertions and liberality its erection has been accomplished.
On the 17th Sunday after Trinity, September 21st, I held an ordination in St. Paul's Chapel, in this city, and admitted to the holy order of Deacons, Edward K. Fowler, Henry N. Hotchkiss, and Richard Salmon; and to that of Priests, the Rev. Phineas L. Whipple, Deacon, Missionary at Fairfield, Herkimer county, and parts adjacent. Mr. Fowler will immediately commence his ministerial labours in St. John's Church, Huntington, Suffolk county, where he had, for some time, been very usefully engaged as a lay-reader.
The sentence of suspension on the Rev. Timothy Clowes, LL. D. has been removed by an instrument, executed by me, in the words following:--
"By John Henry Hobart, Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the State of New-York.
"The Rev. Timothy Clowes, LL. D. having, in reference to the sentence of suspension by me duly pronounced on him, on the 21 th of October, 1817, made full and satisfactory acknowledgment, whereby ecclesiastical discipline, and the honour of the ministry, are sustained, I do hereby revoke the said sentence of suspension, and I do [6/7] declare that it is revoked, and that the said Rev. Timothy Clowes, LL. D. is restored to the exercise of the functions of the office of a Presbyter of this Church.
"In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this 23d day of September, in the year of our Lord 1823, and in the 13th year of my consecration."
The following changes in the Diocese are also to be noticed:
The Rev. Amos G. Baldwin has resigned his mission at Sandy-Hill, Washington county, Stillwater, Saratoga county, and parts adjacent; and has been employed, a great part of the year, in a journey into the western states, as agent for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. The Rev. David Brown has removed from Hyde Park, Dutchess county, and is now Missionary at Freedonia, Chatauque county, and parts adjacent. The Rev. Nathaniel F. Bruce, M. D. has resigned the charge of St. Paul's Church, Red-Hook, Dutchess county, and removed to the West-Indies. The Rev. Nathaniel Huse has resigned the charge of St. Paul's Church, Paris, Oneida county, in which the Rev. Algernon S. Hollister, Deacon, Missionary, supplies occasional service; and is confined to St. Luke's Church, Richfield, Otsego county. The Rev. Levi S. Ives, Deacon, has resigned his mission at Batavia, Genesee county, and parts adjacent, and removed to Pennsylvania. The Rev. Lucius Smith has succeeded to that mission, having resigned the Rectorship of St. Peter's Church, Auburn, Cayuga county. The Rev. Richard Bury, Deacon, officiates in Christ Church, Duanesburgh, Schenectady county. The Rev. William L. Johnson, Deacon, has removed to New Jersey; also the Rev. John Grigg; the latter having resigned the Rectorship of St. John's Church, Philipsburgh, Westchester county. The Rev. Milton Wilcox, Deacon, has left the Diocese. The Rev. Palmer Dyer, Deacon, has resigned his mission at Manlius, Onondaga county, and parts adjacent. The Rev. William S. Irving, [7/8] Deacon, has been compelled by ill health, to relinquish his ministrations in St. Mark's Church, Le Roy, Genesee county, and at Avon, Livingston county, and to sail for Europe. The Rev. William Barlow has removed to South-Carolina. The Rev. Manton Eastburn, Deacon, has been appointed Assistant Minister of Christ Church, in this city. The Rev. Ravaud Kearney has removed to Maryland; and the Rev. Reuben Hubbard, from that Diocese, has become Rector of St. James's Church, Goshen, Orange county. The Rev. William Shelton, Deacon, from Connecticut, is officiating, as a Missionary, at Plattsburgh, Clinton county, and parts adjacent. The Rev. Richard F. Cadle has returned to this Diocese, from New-Jersey; but is, at present, officiating, temporarily, in St. John's Church, Elizabethtown, in the latter Diocese. The Rev. John F. Schroder, Deacon, of Maryland, has been appointed to officiate in Trinity Church, in this city, during my absence.
The following are candidates for orders: George M. Robinson, Eleazar Williams, Samuel R. Johnson, William. H. Bostwick, William C. Meade, Edward Neufville, jun. Lewis Bixley, William R. Whittingham, Danforth Billings, James L. Yvonnett, Benjamin Holmes, Isaac Low, Henry J. Whitehouse, Charles P. Elliot, Samuel Seabury, Joseph Pierson, Smith Pyne, George Shrady.
At a period when there are many infant congregations which require the cherishing aid of Missionary labour, it is with deep regret I state that the deficiency of the Missionary Fund will render necessary a reduction of the number of Missionaries, unless efforts are made to increase the contributions for this most valuable object. And I entreat my brethren of the clergy and laity, not, by a relaxation of zeal, to permit congregations that are now rising to importance, to languish or become extinct; and the numerous opportunities that occur of establishing new ones, to be lost.
Exertions are making, agreeably to the provisions adopted at the last Convention, for collecting funds for [8/9] the establishment of a college at Geneva. Having expressed myself so fully and decidedly on this subject, in my last address, I need only now state my increasing sense of the importance of an institution in that influential and interesting section of the country, which will provide the means of education, under the most favourable circumstances, and under the more immediate patronage of our own communion.
In my former address, Henry W. Ducachet, M. D. was ranked among the number of candidates for orders. He has since been rejected by me. The great publicity which has been given to erroneous representations of this act, which would exhibit it as one of tyranny and injustice, and other peculiar circumstances in the case, having a most important operation on the character of our Church, and the exercise of its discipline, render it proper for me to lay before you a correct statement of this subject. The ground of rejection was, faults of temper, leading to violent abuse of the characters of individuals. I ascertained this fact from the information of persons of the first respectability, some of them communicants of the Church, who had the fullest opportunity of judging of the moral qualifications of this gentleman. But the most decisive evidence appeared in a Funeral Eulogium on a medical friend, delivered by him, and published, in which the most unwarrantable liberties are taken with the private characters of persons who were obnoxious to him, and a charge, totally unfounded, of having been "a dastardly traducer" of the character of the person whom he was eulogizing, brought against a gentleman of the first standing in society, of great purity of character, and who, for many years, had been an exemplary communicant in the Church of the Vestry of which he was a member. On the rejection of Dr. Ducachet, means, it is believed, were taken to procure his ordination in other Dioceses, but without success. It is certain that application was made by his friends to the Bishop of Quebec; who declined ordaining any candidate from the States, unless he should bring satisfactory [9/10] testimonials from the Bishop of the Diocese where be had resided. Application was at last made to the Bishop of the Eastern Diocese; to whom as well as to members of the Standing Committee of Rhode-Island, in May last, on their return from the General Convention, I gave an explanation of the causes which led to Dr. Ducachet's rejection. I afterwards received the following letter from my Right Rev. Brother:--
"Bristol, July 9th, 1823.
"Right Rev. and dear Sir,
"That perplexing subject, the application of Mr. Ducachet to this Diocese to be received as a candidate for orders, is still in agitation; and it is proper that you should be apprised of what is doing, and consulted in whatever steps may be taken. Whether our Standing Committee will recommend him I know not; nor have I formed any determination respecting my future conduct in the business. To prevent any misunderstanding, it will be proper to state to you my general view of such questions, and to ask a statement of yours, and of this case particularly. A Bishop's authority, we know, is confined to his own Diocese. It is decidedly my opinion, that a candidate, being rejected by one Bishop, does not in itself debar him of the right of applying to, and being received by, another; for such a rule might sanction the most intolerable oppression. It is also my opinion, that if any Bishop receives one who has been refused by another, it does not necessarily imply any censure upon the conduct of the Bishop who refused. They act independently, each (we must suppose) according to his best judgment, and, of course, as his conscience dictates. Either of them may act injudiciously; or the case may very possibly be so equally balanced, that a wise and impartial judge would hesitate to say which of the two pursued the wiser course. It is also my opinion, and it is evident to all, that the Bishop and Standing Committee, who receive the person that has been rejected, take on themselves the whole responsibility. If the person is unworthy, no blame can rest upon those who rejected him. The case is similar to what we daily see in civil causes. If one judge reverses the decision of another, no censure is implied or understood. It is no uncommon thing for a man to bring an action before a court, and lose it; a new trial is granted him, and he gains his cause. In such case no manner of disrespect is shown to the former court. Of course, in the present case [10/11] you are interested only in the general honour and good of the Church. Mr. D. comes here very highly and abundantly recommended. You judge him to be an unfit person. The reasons for it given me verbally by yourself are worthy of serious consideration. But, with deference, I conceive that we ought to have some definite statement in writing of his disqualifications, with the proper proof. His address, delivered on a certain funeral occasion, and published, to which we have been referred, is reprehensible, but is not, in my judgment, sufficient to debar him from the sacred ministry. I have to request, then, that you will address to me, or to Mr. Wheaton, the President of our Standing Committee, such statement, and such proof, of Mr. Ducachet's unfitness for the holy ministry as you shall think proper. This, I know, is to you an unpleasant business; but to me it is much more so; called, as I probably soon shall be, to decide in a question of such great delicacy and importance.
Most respectfully your friend and brother,
ALEX. V. GRISWOLD."
Properly appreciating the frankness which dictated this communication, and agreeing in the sentiment that there should be, on so important a subject, a free interchange of opinion, I returned the following answer:--
"August 6th, 1823.
Right Rev, and dear Sir,
"Your letter of the 9th of July last arrived during my absence on a visitation of part of the Diocese, and before I could answer it, on my return, I was seized with an intermittent fever. The information which I received of what passed among the Bishops at the General Convention, induced me to hope that the subject of Mr. Ducachet's application to you for orders would not engross much more of your or my attention. The state of my health must be my apology for my delay in writing to you, and for my not going very fully into the subject. This, however, is the less necessary, as the views which appear to me correct, are stated by our presiding Bishop, in the opinion which he read in the House of Bishops; and as you may not have a copy of it, I take the liberty of subjoining one, taken from a copy with which Bishop White furnished me:--
'Question. Is there any possible case, in which a person, refused orders by a Bishop, and applying to another Bishop for ordination, may justifiably be ordained by him?
 'Answer. The case is here supposed to be possible; but not under any circumstances, in which such an act would not be an open testimony against either the heterodoxy or the injustice of a brother Bishop.
'Let there be supposed two cases, as happening either in the Diocese of Bishop Kemp, or in that of Bishop Croes--These Right Rev. Brethren will excuse the attaching of their names to the fictitious cases; because the question is contemplated as having a bearing on a possible application to the writer of this; and because, if either of their Dioceses should be passed over, to reach that of Pennsylvania, such a procedure would be considered by him as evidence of the belief of a diversity of sentiment, influencing the administration of ecclesiastical discipline. The suggestion would prevent procedure in the case; although it might not prevent the consulting of Bishops on the subject, abstractedly considered, as is done in the present instance.
'Let it be supposed, that in either of the two named Dioceses, there should be hereafter a Bishop, denying the Sacrifice of the cross to have been made for all. Scripture affirms it to have been "for the sins of the whole world:" but he would give the interpretation, that it might have been so extensive, had such been the will of God. Our Church says--"who redeemed me and all mankind:" but this would be interpreted of all sorts of men. Before the Bishop there appears a candidate who is rejected, because, not giving satisfactory answers on the specified points, he is considered as a denier of the sovereignty of God; and as excluding the agency of the Holy Spirit, from the giving of a beginning to the work of saving grace: doubtless just causes of rejection, if truly predicated of the person. In the circumstances stated, it may be supposed that the latter of the Bishops applied to would enter into a Christian correspondence with his Right Rev. Brother; not for the discussion of the implicated points, but perhaps for friendly expostulation; and, at any rate, for the ascertaining of facts: and on the latter account, other resources might be had recourse to. If the cause of the rejection should be found to be as stated, there would seem no hindrance to the ordaining of the party; although not even then, without the advice of the Standing Committee of the Diocese, and after taking the advice of some brother Bishops.
'Another case. Let the circumstances be as before; except that the rejection is for some act contrary to good morals. Let it be the manifesting of a disposition to intemperate abuse of character: than which there can scarcely be a [12/13] fault more tending to the disgrace of the Christian ministry. If it should not bring down personal vengeance on the minister; there will be the sting of professed forbearance, because of the sacred profession of the offender. One would hope that no Standing Committee would sign the requisite testimonial in favour of such a person. If this should be done, it might further be hoped, that the Standing Committee of the Diocese applied to, would not strain their consciences to the same extent. But we will suppose both of these events to have happened. The opinion entertained is, that the Bishop applied to should disregard them both, and not take on himself the heavy responsibility which would result from his compliance. Let the above case be so varied, as that, in the estimation of the second Bishop applied to, the offence is resolvable into an act of indiscretion, not evidencing malignity of mind. That this is possible, cannot be denied. But how great should be the caution of predicating an ordination on the ground of the unreasonable severity, and, as would be alleged, the tyranny, of another Bishop! If, however, the extreme case should happen, and if it should be continued, after reasonable time and endeavour for conciliation; no doubt the majority, or rather all the rest, of the Bishops, would express such sentiments concerning it, as would make the course of conduct clear to the Bishop applied to, and justify his compliance with the request made.
"Agreeably to the principles laid down in the opinion referred to, I should consider it my duty to act in any particular case which might come before me. If an application should be made to me to ordain a candidate rejected in the Eastern Diocese, I should not proceed, because, as suggested by Bishop White, this measure would imply a belief that there was some 'diversity of sentiment,' which, in the opinion of the candidate, would render his application more likely to succeed with me than with the Bishop of Connecticut, to whom, as the nearest Bishop, it would be natural and proper that the candidate should apply. If the case of a candidate rejected by an adjoining Bishop, should come before me, I should not think proper to ordain him, unless I were satisfied of the heterodoxy or injustice of my brother Bishop' in rejecting him. I conceive that only in an extreme case of this kind, would I be justifiable in ordaining a person rejected by another Bishop, and not then, without 'consulting my brother Bishops.' I should, in the first instance, inquire of the Bishop who had rejected the candidate, 'whether' (in the words [13/14] of the canon) 'any just cause exists why the candidate should not be ordained.' If he answered in the affirmative--if, for example, he stated, that after full inquiry, he was satisfied that the candidate did not possess 'the qualifications which would render him apt and meet to exercise the ministry;' that his temper and disposition led him to language and conduct so violent as to expose him to just censure, and that his temper had been particularly displayed in an 'intemperate abuse of character,' I should immediately refuse to act in the case, satisfied that I could not ordain the candidate without bearing an 'open testimony' against the 'severity and injustice of my brother Bishop;' and of this 'severity and injustice,' I must have strong and full evidence, before I should consider myself justifiable in ordaining the person whom he had rejected, His general assurance that he had full and satisfactory evidence of the moral unfitness of the candidate would satisfy me, unless there were clear and decisive proof to invalidate an assurance to which, from every consideration, I was bound to give full credit. But if my brother Bishop went further, and laid before me, as proof of the disposition of the person whom he had rejected, to an 'intemperate abuse of character,' a pamphlet, containing the severest charges against individuals, amounting, if false, to slander, and at the same time, assured me, that he was satisfied, by full evidence, that at least some of these charges, and particularly the most exceptionable charge, were false, I should be still more fortified in my determination to reject the application of the candidate; as by not doing so, I should consider myself as impeaching the veracity, and the mental capacity, and the purity of intention, as well as the justice of my brother Bishop, by the supposition that he had not this evidence, as he asserted, or that he was incapable of estimating the force of evidence; or had judged and decided corruptly and unjustly. To require from him a detail of the evidence, I should think unreasonable and improper. Unreasonable, because it might be impossible to present this detail, as cases may readily be conceived, where individuals, on whose information and testimony the judgment of the Bishop may be founded, would not consent to come forward in a public manner: and improper, because, by this procedure, I should bring my brother Bishop, and the person rejected by him, before my tribunal, and, by my decision, determine on the correctness of the conduct of the parties. And if I should decide in favour of the Bishop, and against the other party, he might, by the precedent which I should establish, apply to all the other Bishops, and thus cite the Bishop who has [14/15] refused him orders, before their tribunals successively. Having full confidence in the capacity and integrity of my brother Bishop, I should think, that however he might err in matters of opinion, in regard to matters of fact, as in this case, to the moral fitness of the candidate, determined by facts of which he became possessed, and of which he could judge much better than myself, I ought to respect his decision. At any rate, conceiving that the canons, instead of favouring these applications from rejected candidates, rather guard against them, and that though injustice might possibly be done, yet this possible case ought not to weigh against the certainty of the weakening of ecclesiastical discipline, and of the injury to the character, reputation, and influence of my brother Bishop, I should think it decidedly the safest course not to ordain the candidate.
"I have thus, Right Rev. and dear Sir, with that frankness which you have invited by your friendly and frank communication to me, stated my views on this unpleasant business. The case above supposed is that of Dr. Ducachet. The ground of rejecting the supposed candidate, as I stated to you, and to some members of your Standing Committee, is the ground on which I rejected Dr. D. The testimony on which I formed my judgment, is the testimony of most respectable individuals, some of whom are the personal friends of Dr. D.--though they think him very unfit for the ministry. But more particularly, my judgment was decided by the published address, not on account merely of what some consider as reprehensible language, but of the matter, which amounts, in one case more particularly, to gross slander. The individual whom he charges with being 'a dastardly traducer of Dr. Dykeman's character,' and holds up as deserving of 'public execration,' is a most respectable and exemplary man, a member of our Vestry, and long a communicant of our Church--and I now repeat to you the assurance, that there is no ground whatsoever for this charge. This assurance is founded on a minute knowledge of the circumstances of the case. The considerations, that this attack on character was without any provocation, that Dr. Ducachet had withdrawn from the medical profession, and become a candidate for orders, and that the circumstances on which he professes to found the charge, took place nearly three years before the delivery of the address or eulogium, much aggravate the offence. To require me to exhibit proof of all this, would, I humbly conceive, be liable to the objections which I have stated in the supposed case; and would, indeed, from the reluctance of individuals to come forward, be [15/16] perhaps impracticable. And I do further respectfully suggest, whether, if credit cannot be given to the declarations of a Bishop, as to the grounds on which he has acted in rejecting a candidate, and the facts on which his decision is founded, there is not an entire end to confidence and harmony between the Bishops. The power of ordination is a discretionary power, for the exercise of which a Bishop is responsible to God and to the Church. The act of ordination is an admission to privileges which no individual has a right to claim--analogous to admission to the legal or medical profession, or to membership in any society, which may be, and is, refused to individuals, on satisfactory evidence of unfitness, without the forms of a trial.
"The act of a Bishop in ordaining a rejected candidate is not an independent act, affecting only himself; inasmuch as it must fix 'heterodoxy or injustice' on a brother Bishop. The reversal of the sentence of one court by another, is in a process of law, not contemplated in cases of ordination. But even here, I should suppose, that if a judge or jury pronounced a judgment or verdict, relative not to legal points, but to matters of fact, on evidence laid before them, and another judge or jury, on the same evidence, pronounced a different decision--the latter would be considered as a crimination of the former.
"With regard to the high and abundant recommendations of Dr. D. I would only remind yourself, and the Standing Committee, of the ease with which testimonials may be procured, and of the circumstance that the testimony of a hundred persons to the general good character of an individual, could not invalidate the testimony of two, to his guilt, in any particular case. The persons who met with Dr. D. on religious occasions, where he would be on his guard, could not have had an opportunity of judging of the faults of his temper, disqualifying him for the ministry. I can only say, that gentlemen of the most respectable character and standing, who know Dr. D. have expressed to me, not merely a cold, but the warmest, approbation of the course which I have pursued. One gentleman, of judgment and discrimination, who, by the representations made to him, became somewhat interested in Dr. D.'s favour, and consented to a personal interview with him, informed a friend of mine, that he thought no explanation or justification on my part necessary; he was perfectly satisfied, from the language and conduct of Dr. D. on that occasion, that I had done right in refusing him orders.
"In the event of Dr. D.'s receiving orders, I shall find myself placed in a most unpleasant predicament. Unwearied [16/17] pains have been taken to circulate extensively imputations on me of severity, of tyranny, and of injustice, in relation to Dr. D. I have submitted in silence, trusting for my vindication to the gradual progress of truth. But should these imputations receive sanction, (as they certainly will, though unintentionally on his part,) by the ordination of Dr. D. by another Bishop, they will become much more serious in their import, and in their influence, on my personal and official character and reputation.
"I deprecate this measure even more on account of the effect which it will have, as a precedent, on the Church--weakening the legitimate exercise of episcopal authority, and leading to an interruption of that confidence and harmony among the Bishops, so essential to their dignity and usefulness, and to the honour and peace of the Church.
"I must beg you to have the goodness to lay this letter before the Standing Committee.
"And I remain,
"Right Rev. and dear Sir,
"Very respectfully and truly,
"Your friend and brother,
"J. H. HOBART."
On my return from my journey, the last of August, I heard a report that Dr. Ducachet was admitted as a candidate for orders in the State of Rhode-Island; and I concluded to address the following letter to the Right Rev. Bishop Griswold, in whose Diocese that State is situated:--
"New-York, Sept. 9th, 1823.
"Right Rev. and dear Sir,
"I wrote to you from Quebec, informing you that the Bishop of Quebec, through his son, Archdeacon Mountain, in answer to inquiries from Dr. Ducachet's friends in that place, whether a candidate for orders from the States would receive ordination from him, returned for answer--Not unless he produced satisfactory testimonials, or letters dimissory from the Bishop under whom he was a candidate.
"I have been informed, since my return to the city, that Dr. Ducachet has written to his friends here, that the Standing Committee of Rhode-Island have recommended him as a candidate for orders--and that he expects to receive ordination in a few months. There must, I presume, be some mistake in this; as it does not follow from the recommendation [17/18] of the Standing Committee, that you have admitted him as a candidate--and even in this case, a year must elapse before he can receive ordination, and, as I am satisfied, he will not be able to produce an unimpeached character for piety, good morals, and orderly conduct, for three years last past.
"In my letter to you I omitted to notice your remark that Dr. Ducachet comes 'very highly and abundantly recommended.'
"'You know how easy it is, from the indifference of many in such case, or from compassion, or from a desire to escape from importunity, or from false representations, to obtain testimonials. Against these, however, I should suppose, my declaration, that I received testimony the most respectable of Dr. Ducachet's unfitness, and particularly the fact of a slanderous publication by him, would have decided weight. A deliberate, and unprovoked, and slanderous attack on respectable individuals, evidencing, in connexion with other facts, 'a disposition to intemperate abuse of character,' is surely 'a fault, (I use the language of our venerable presiding Bishop,) 'than which there can scarcely be one more tending to the disgrace of the Christian ministry!' and let me be permitted to go on with his opinion--'One would hope that no Standing Committee would sign the requisite testimonial in favour of such a person. If this should be done, it might further be hoped, that the Standing Committee of the Diocese applied to, would not strain their consciences to the same extent. But we will suppose both of these events to have happened. The opinion entertained is, that the Bishop applied to should disregard them both, and not take on himself the heavy responsibility which would result from his compliance.'
"I have not seen the testimonials to which you allude: But I presume they are signed by the religious companions and friends of Dr. Ducachet, in whose society, he probably has been careful never to exhibit those violent tempers which he has elsewhere displayed--and by others, whose signatures have been obtained by the assiduous application and misrepresentations of interested individuals. Where is the person who, by certain arts, cannot obtain from some person, or from some quarter, his testimonials of character?
"Allow me, Right Rev. and dear Sir, to suppose it scarcely possible, that a candidate for orders, rejected by one Bishop, on the ground of 'moral unfitness, arising from a disposition to intemperate abuse of character,' should be received as a candidate by another, on whom, as there were other Bishops, more contiguous to the residence of the candidate, there was [18/19] no particular call to attend to his case--that this should be done, in deviation from the prudent and judicious course pointed out, in an opinion delivered at the request of this Bishop, by the presiding Bishop; in opposition to the earnest and solemn representations of the Bishop who rejected the candidate, that this measure was the result of serious deliberation and inquiry, and of satisfactory testimony of impartial individuals, who had the fullest opportunity of judging of his dispositions and character--and in disregard of the fact, that an eulogium, delivered and published by him, in departure from his appropriate character as a candidate for the ministry, contained not merely unprovoked and unmerited invective, but slanderous charges against respectable individuals.
"If Dr. Ducachet be admitted as a candidate for orders in the Eastern Diocese, then it will be impossible to prevent the community from drawing the conclusion, that the charges of 'injustice and intolerable oppression,' 'of unreasonable severity and tyranny,' which have been industriously and extensively circulated against me, have received the high sanction of the ecclesiastical authority of the Diocese; the Episcopal character and office will be lowered in public estimation--distrust and division will, in the present instance, and hereafter, if the precedent should be followed, be introduced among those who, from their eminent stations in the Church, it is of peculiar importance, should exhibit, in the exercise of discipline especially, unity of counsel, and mutual confidence and co-operation--and then, the guards with which the Canons of the Church have so solicitously surrounded the door of entrance into the ministry, will be materially weakened. It is the result on the general interests of our Church, which, even more than its effects as to my personal and official character, excites, with respect to this measure, my deepest solicitude.
"I expected to proceed from Canada on a visitation of the Diocese; but the morning I left Quebec, I was attacked with fever, for the third time this summer, and was induced to make the best of my way home. The state of my health, in the opinion of my physicians and friends, renders highly expedient a sea voyage, and a respite from official cares and labours. I accordingly expect to sail for England on the 24th of this month. I must previously prepare my address to our Convention, exhibiting an account of my proceedings, among which, I must, of course, mention my rejection of Dr. Ducachet, as a candidate for orders. I shall, therefore, esteem it a great favour, if you will, as early as convenient, acquaint me with your determination as to this case, and if [19/20] he be admitted as a candidate, at what time it is proposed to ordain him.
"Right Rev, and dear Sir,
"Sincerely your friend and brother,
"J. H. HOBART
"The Right Rev. Bishop Griswold."
To this letter I have received no reply: in consequence, I presume, of the absence of my Right Rev. Brother, on a visitation of his Diocese. I have heard that Dr. Ducachet is licensed by him as a Lay-Reader; which would seem to establish the fact of his admission as a candidate for orders.
I have thought it my duty, Brethren, to make this communication to you, as well from a wish to correct very erroneous representations which prevail on the business to which it relates, as with the view, if this should be the last time I address you, of recording my sentiments on a point, which, considered as a precedent, I regard as among the most important, in reference to the purity of the Ministry, the honour and harmony of the Episcopacy, the efficiency of discipline, the prosperity of the Church, and the high interests of evangelical religion, that could possibly occur.
At the moment of commencing what, I trust, will, through the blessing of Providence, be only a temporary separation from my Diocese, I cannot refrain from expressing my liveliest sensibility to the confidence with which my Brethren of the Clergy and Laity have honoured me, and to the prompt and united support which they have given to my exertions to advance the interests of the kingdom of our Lord. To this confidence and support, under God, must be principally attributed whatever degree of success may have followed these exertions. In imploring for the Clergy and the congregations of the Diocese, the blessing of Almighty God, I trust I may hope for their prayers for myself.
JOHN HENRY HOBART.
New-York, September 23d, 1823.