Project Canterbury

Statement of the Difficulties between the
Diocese of North Carolina and Dr. Ives,
lately Bishop of Said Diocese

1853. [E. J. Hale, 29 pp]

DR IVES, Lately Bishop of said Diocese.


At a Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of North Carolina, held in the city of Raleigh, May 27, 1853, the following resolution was adopted:

"Resolved, That a committee of three Clergymen and two Laymen be appointed, with instructions to draw up a detailed statement of the difficulties between Dr. Ives, lately Bishop of this Diocese, and the said Diocese; and that they deliver the same to the Delegates from this Diocese to the next General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, to be by them laid before the said General Convention; and also that a copy of the said statement be published with the Journals of this Convention."

In pursuance of the above resolution, the Committee have drawn up the following Statement, to be laid before the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church, to be held in the city of New York on the fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-three.


At a Convention of the Diocese of North Carolina, held in the town of Salisbury, Rowan county, beginning on May the 24th, 1849, the committee on the State of the Church deplored the "existence of great agitation and alarm, arising from the impression that doctrines had been preached, not in accordance with the Liturgy and Articles of the Church, and that ceremonies and practices had been introduced, either unauthorised by the customs of the Church, or in plain violation of its Rubricks."

The particular causes of the agitation and alarm spoken of by the committee in these general terms were as follows:—

It was supposed that Bishop Ives himself had, in a "Pastoral on the Priestly Office," published previous to the Convention of 1849;—in a pamphlet entitled "The Voice of the Anglican Church," and advertised as edited by the Bishop of North Carolina;—and in seven sermons preached in various parts of the Diocese, and published after the Convention of 1849 under the title of "The Obedience of Faith," inculcated the doctrine of private confession and absolution as taught by the Church of Rome; that he had induced some of his Clergy to teach the same doctrine; that he had, in conversation at least if not in public preaching, declared his belief in the Romish doctrine of Transubstantiation; that he had pronounced our Church in a state of schism; and that his influence was producing injurious effects on the Church by the spreading of these errors both among the Clergy and the Laity. That there had been instituted by him a secret society termed "The Society of the Holy Cross," whose object and rules, though then unknown, were feared to be inimical to the laws and spirit of the Church. That at Valle Crucis, a missionary station in the western part of the State, there existed a practice of frequently reserving the consecrated bread in a pix on the communion table, for the purpose of privately receiving the same; that prayers to saints and angels, and prayers for the dead, had been taught the pupils at this institution; and that these things had been practised without the disapprobation, if not with the sanction, of the Bishop. That in other parts of the Diocese, ceremonies were beginning to be introduced which, though in some cases they might be of little moment in themselves, were looked on as designed at that time, and under existing circumstances, to be introductory of practices and teachings of Romish tendency, and that these things had been done with the knowledge, if not with the consent, of the Bishop.

How far these apprehensions were well founded, will be seen, partly from the publications mentioned above, and partly from documents to be presently introduced into this statement.

The committee on the State of the Church in 1849, further observed, "that as it was not their business to say, they did not say, whether or not such doctrines had been preached or such practices introduced, but they stated it as their full conviction, that the far greater part of the clergy were entirely opposed to any such departure from the doctrines of the Church; that they desired no ceremonies unauthorised by the customs of the Church, and were still less tolerant of such as violated the Rubricks." With respect to the Society of the Holy Cross, the committee added, "that they had assurance on which they entirely relied, that no such society was at that time in existence in the Diocese."

The Bishop, responding to this report, sent by one of his Clergy, as he was confined to his room by sickness, the following Charge to the Clergy:—

"BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY:—In the Report on the State of the Church, made by members of your Order, reference is made to excitement in the Diocese, growing out of the idea that doctrines are promulged, and practices encouraged among us, more or less repugnant to the authorised doctrines and usages of our branch of the Church. As these doctrines and practices are not specified, your Bishop can address you only in general terms. But he does, by way of charge, hereby address you, and authorise you, when you return to your several parishes, to assure your people, that no efforts shall be wanting on his part, so long as God shall give him jurisdiction in North Carolina, to hinder the inculcation of any doctrine or the introduction of any practice come from whatever quarter it may—not in strict accordance with the Liturgy of our Church, as illustrated and defined by those standards of interpretation authorised by the Church itself.

In respect to a particular question, which has agitated the Diocese of late,—the question of auricular confession,—I may here express my conviction, that the Book of Common Prayer, our standard of doctrine, discipline, and worship, does not authorise any Clergyman of this Church to enforce such confession as necessary to salvation and that the only confession which it authorises, is the voluntary confession of the penitent in accordance with the exhortation in the Office for the Holy Communion.

(Signed,) "L. S. IVES, Bishop of N. C."

Of this Charge of the Bishop, the Convention expressed their approbation by the following preamble and resolution:—

"Whereas, in the Report of the committee on the State of the Church, mention is made of certain rumors of doctrines and practices not in accordance with the principles of the Protestant Episcopal Church: and whereas, while in the opinion of this Convention, the Church encourages her members to seek, whenever necessary, the godly counsel and advice of her pastors yet she no where requires the practice of auricular confession and private absolution: And whereas, in the language of the late Bishop Hobart, the Church of Rome makes auricular confession to the Priest, by every individual, of all his sins of thought, word and deed, an indispensable condition of forgiveness—the Churchman justly deems auricular confession and private absolution, an encroachment on the rights of conscience—an invasion of the prerogative of the Searcher of hearts—and with some exceptions, hostile to domestic and social happiness, and licentious and corrupting in its tendency. And, whereas, a communication from the Right Rev. Bishop of this Diocese has been made to the Clergy during this Convention, expressing his views, which this Convention have heard with great satisfaction, and to which they desire to give extended circulation. Therefore,

Resolved, That 1,000 copies of the Report of the Committee on the State of the Church, together with the charge of the Bishop, and this preamble, be published in pamphlet form and distributed the secretary to the different parishes.

In returning from the Salisbury Convention, several of the clergy were made acquainted with a manual of devotion given to the pupils at Valle Crucis, in which were introduced—1. The ‘Hail Mary’, the salutation to the blessed Virgin, so common in books of Romish devotion. 2. The following prayer to the guardian angel: "Oh! blessed angel, to whose care I am committed by God’s mercy;—enlighten, defend, and govern me through all my life, and to the hour of my death. Amen." 3. The following prayer for the dead: "Bless the dead in Christ, grant them a remission of sins, and a peaceful rest in Thee."

The knowledge of the existence of such a manual occasioned great displeasure and apprehension among the clergy who were made acquainted with its contents; and produced from at least two of them a correspondence with the Bishop, in which they strongly remonstrated with him for having permitted, if not sanctioned, the use of such devotions in an institute for youth that was immediately and especially under his control. The correspondence of one of these clergymen with the Bishop on this subject accompanies this Statement. [See Appendix.]

From this correspondence may be seen the views entertained by the Bishop on the one hand, and by the generality of the clergy on the other.

The Bishop soon made it appear that he was not satisfied with the result of the Salisbury Convention, for in October of the same year he set forth a pastoral letter to the clergy and laity of the diocese containing severe reprehensions of the proceedings of the Convention, and especially of the Committee on the State of the Church. In this pastoral he expressly denied having made any retractation, and apparently reaffirmed views and teachings which had been attributed to him.

The publication of this pastoral excited very great and very general surprise and dissatisfaction, and received various answers both from within and without the diocese.

In consequence of this state of the public mind, the Bishop, on the advice of some of his clergy, requested a convocation of the clergy on the night preceding the Convention to be held in the town of Elizabeth City in May 1860.

At this meeting of the Clergy, the Bishop read to them a paper explanatory, as he said, of his views.

This paper, the greater part, at least, of the Clergy present, believed would not be satisfactory to the community. They thought it too obscure, too long, and too much taken up with quotations from others. A committee was appointed to wait on the Bishop, and express to him these views; the committee in addition requested that he would be as explicit as possible, as concise as possible, in the setting forth of his opinions; and that he would especially declare what he did not hold in regard to those points on which the soundness of his views had been questioned. The Bishop then submitted to the committee the following remarks, with which he afterwards concluded his Annual Address to the Convention:

"For myself as an individual, I have nothing to urge—nothing to say. But as your Bishop, responsible in some sort at least for the truth, I feel bound to remove in plain terms of denial, some misconceptions which are operating to hinder the due effects of that truth as set forth in my writings, and to keep up agitation and distrust in the Diocese.

"I neither teach nor hold, as some have thought, private confession and absolution, in the Romish sense. The Romish church holds them to be a necessary sacrament in themselves, as in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I hold and teach, that our branch of the Church denies this. That Church makes them obligatory on all her members. I teach and hold, that our Church does not, but makes them an exception to a general rule, which general rule is public confession and absolution, according to the forms of our Liturgy. That church obliges the priest to see that every communicant comes to them. I teach and hold, that our church leaves it with the penitent to determine whether and how far he needs them, and does not permit the priest to do more in bringing the penitent to them, than point out the dangers of self-trust and self-delusion, and the benefits of unburdening the conscience, and of receiving the godly counsel and advice of God's Ministers, according to the direction of the exhortation to the Holy Communion in our Liturgy. That church holds to the necessity of confessing each mortal sin of thought, word, and deed, to the priest. I teach and hold, that our church regards it needful that each communicant should so search and examine his conscience, according to the rule of God’s commandments, as to be able to confess all heinous offences in will, word, or deed, to Almighty God; and that if he cannot by this means "quiet his conscience," and come to the Holy Communion "with a full trust in God’s mercy," he shall open his grief to some minister of God’s Word, that he may obtain his counsel and aid to "the removing of all scruple and doubtfulness."

"In regard to Christ’s Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist, I neither teach nor hold it, as in the sense of Transubstantiation; neither do I teach or hold, as I do not understand, how Christ there present, further than that He is not there in a material but spiritual manner—"but because spiritual not the less real."

"I do not hold nor teach, that "the creatures of bread and wine," in the Holy Eucharist, are to be, in the meaning of the 28th Article, "reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshipped."

"I do not teach nor hold, that our church allows any addresses, by way of prayer and invocation, to the Blessed Virgin, or to any Saint or Angel; while I regard the Romish doctrine of invocation of Saints, implying meritorious mediation and condemned by Article 22d, as clearly derogatory to Christ, and derogatory to God’s Word.

"Finally, I do not teach nor hold, that our branch of the Catholic Church is, from any cause, either in heresy or schism, or that she is destitute of the true Sacramental system."

The committee on the State of the Church express, in their Report, the great satisfaction they received from the explanations of the Bishop.

Still, a great portion at least of the Convention were persuaded, that the difficulties which had existed in the Diocese required a thorough investigation, and many of the members had determined to call for a committee for this purpose. The Bishop being informed that this would certainly be done, anticipated such action by the following communication:—

"BRETHREN OF THE CONVENTION: Aware that the difficulties in the Diocese, to which I have alluded in my Address, still threaten the peace of the same, and being anxious to do all in my power to restore harmony and good will, I hereby ask of you a committee of clergymen and laymen, to investigate all the circumstances connected therewith, and report to a future meeting of this body."

This committee of Investigation, consisting of three clergymen and three laymen, was appointed by ballot.

At the Convention of 1851, held in Fayetteville, this committee presented, in their Report, the result of their investigations, containing evidence of very erroneous teaching by the Bishop, both in public and private, in the following particulars:—

"1st. It was alleged that the Bishop stated, that he believed the church to be in schism; and that he would not be Bishop of Maryland for his right arm."

"2d. It was alleged that he declared his purpose to appoint a penitentiary priest to visit the different parishes of his Diocese."

"3d. It was alleged that he declared he objects to the prayers to the Virgin Mary or the Saints, not because they are wrong in themselves, but because they are liable to abuse."

"4th. It was alleged that the difficulties in the Diocese have been caused by the teaching of the Bishop on the subject of Auricular Confession and Absolution."

"5th. It was alleged that these difficulties have been caused by the teachings of the Bishop on the subject of the Real Presence in the Eucharist; which words were supposed to be used by him in the Romish sense."

"6th. It was alleged that the Bishop’s supposed connection with the publication of the pamphlet known as "The Voice of the Anglican Church," had been one of the causes of the difficulties in the Diocese.

"7th. It was alleged that the Bishop did establish within this Diocese, the Order of the Holy Cross, and that he did introduce novel and unauthorised customs and practices within the same."

After the introduction of the Report of the Investigating committee, a committee of six clergymen and six laymen were appointed to confer with the Bishop on the subjects contained in that Report. This committee, after conference with the Bishop, reported as follows:—

"That the Bishop said to the committee, it might be considered humiliating in him to offer to the committee the statement he was now about to make; but a sense of duty, both to himself and to the Church, compelled him to do so. That it had been at one time a very favorite idea with him, to bring about a union of the Roman, the Greek, the Anglican, and the American churches; and that in his zeal for catholic union, he had overlooked the difficulties in the way, which he was now satisfied were insuperable. That this tendency of his mind towards a union of the churches had been greatly increased, and his ability to perceive the difficulties in the way had been diminished, by a high state of nervous excitement, arising either from bodily disease or from a constitutional infirmity. That in the pursuit of this favorite idea, he had been insensibly led into the adoption of opinions on matters of doctrine, and to a public teaching of them, of the impropriety of which he was now fully satisfied; and upon a review of those opinions, wonders that he should ever have entertained them. That this change in his views has been brought about in part by a return to a more healthy condition of mind and body, but mainly from having perceived the tendency of those doctrines to the Church of Rome, as sad experience has shown in the cases of Arch-deacon Manning and others. That among the effects of his desire to bring about this union of the churches, he was induced to tolerate the Romish notion of the ‘Invocation of Saints,’ as expressed in his letter to the Rev. C. F. McRae, which expression he now retracts and would denounce as strongly as any one. That on the subject of Auricular Confession and Absolution, whatever extravagancies of opinion or expression he may have heretofore indulged, he now holds that confession to a Priest is not necessary to salvation; and that he does not believe in judicial absolution, or the power of the priest to forgive sins. Nor does he hold that the absolution recognised by the Protestant Episcopal Church is merely declaratory, but that the priest is therein an instrument through whom pardon is transmitted to the penitent, while its efficacy does not in any degree depend upon the volition or intention of the priest. That absolution is not essentially necessary to the forgiveness of sins, but that it is important when practicable to obtain absolution as contained in the ritual of our church, which is the only absolution that he holds proper, except in those cases in which that is impracticable. That he had at one time, under the influences before mentioned, entertained doubts whether our branch of the church was not in a state of schism. That he had never gone so far as to believe that it was, but merely entertained doubts. He was now satisfied beyond doubt that she was not in schism. That he had never held the doctrine of the real presence in the Holy Communion as synonymous with Transubstantiation, but on the contrary had always abhorred it. He admitted that on a review of some of his writings, he had become satisfied that he had exposed himself to misconstruction by the use of the term Real Presence, which was in the Romish sense synonymous with Transubstantiation. But in the use of the term Real Presence, he had in his mind only the spiritual presence of Christ. That the term spiritual presence was the only one proper to be used, as the general expression real presence was, in the present state of the Christian world, liable to be understood as asserting Christ’s bodily presence in the Eucharist—being used by the Romish Church to express its idea of Transubstantiation. And that the spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist is all that our Church teaches, and would recommend the use of that expression instead of real presence.

"With regard to the publication of the Tract called ‘The voice of the Anglican Church," the Bishop says that he had nothing to do with its compilation; but learning while in New York that such a compilation had been made by two clergymen in whom he had entire confidence, he determined, without verifying the quotations, to have it published as an appendix to his volume of Sermons. But that when he had ascertained its true character, he immediately countermanded its publication, and now regrets ever having had any thing to do with it.

"With regard to the Order of the Holy Cross, the Bishop states—That no such Order is now in existence, nor has been since the Salisbury Convention. That from his experience of the results upon the minds of the young men, he is satisfied that no vows beside those expressly required or allowed by our Ritual, ought to be taken in our church; and furthermore, that any vows beyond those, are contrary to the spirit of our church, and are a temptation and a snare to those who take them. And that Valle Crucis is now only a missionary station."

Although this recantation did not give entire satisfaction, it was nevertheless deemed unadvisable to proceed further in the matter, and this feeling of forbearance on the part of the Diocese was confirmed by the Bishop’s Address at the close of the Convention, in which he thanked the Convention for having given him a check, and assured them that the church night rely on his increased devotion to her service.

From this time till the Convention of 1852, nothing occurred to disturb the tranquility which the Diocese at length now enjoyed.

At the Convention of 1852, held in Fayetteville, the Bishop introduced into his Annual Address the following remarks:—

"BRETHREN OF THE CLERGY AND LAITY: Let us unite in thanksgiving to God, that we are allowed to assemble once more, in the peace and unity of the Gospel. The affairs, both of the Diocese and of the Protestant Episcopal Church throughout the world, have, during the past year, assumed a more encouraging aspect. In our own Diocese, God seems by his providence and grace to have appeared in our behalf. His solemn interposition at our last Convention, through the death of a much loved brother, as connected with the adjustment of our trying difficulties, has been followed by a less signal, perhaps, but no less certain manifestation of his grace, in the increasing harmony and prosperity of our parishes, during the whole period since we last met. Your Bishop desires to record his grateful thanks to Almighty God, for more than usual tokens of Divine blessing upon his labors during his late visitation. The thoughts of men, which for a time seemed, by our commotion, diverted from themselves, have manifestly, as seen in numerous instances, been called back by the more urgent claims of personal religion; so that now the anxiety seems to be rapidly gaining ground, ‘what must I do to be saved?’ ‘Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?’ The only serious drawback, in my view, to this encouraging state of things, is the diminished number of ministers, ordained of God, to answer such questions, and guide inquiring sinners in the way of life.

In our branch of the Church Catholic, too, there are pleasing indications of increased stability in the faith, and increased zeal for the salvation of men. But what, in the view of your Bishop, is, at present, demanded to give depth and substantial reality to this advancement, is a thorough knowledge of, and simple adherence to, the teaching of the Book of Common Prayer. It hardly need be observed that this, to us, as Christians as well as Churchmen, is the teaching of Holy Scripture; and that we are bound as honest men to shape our faith and practice to its plain and natural meaning;—to allow no fancy or prejudice of our own minds either to warp that meaning or be the ground of departure from it. Every priest, it is true, is expected to form his judgment of the sense, and to exercise a sound discretion in the use, under extraordinary circumstances, of the Prayer Book. But this is clearly distinct from the idea that we are at liberty to sacrifice its natural obvious meaning, to our prejudices, or to force from it a meaning to suit our private theological views. The fact is, the system of the Liturgy, and not our own minds, is to be our guide. Our first aim, then, should be to keep our minds in a state of simple submission to its actual teaching.

The tranquility of the diocese still continued uninterrupted.

On the 27th of September, 1852, the Standing Committee received from the Bishop the following letter:

RALEIGH, Sept. 27, 1852.

"DEAR BRETHREN: Feeling it to be my duty, from the state of the health of Mrs. Ives and myself, to request an absence of six months from the diocese, and an allowance of $1,000 in advance on my salary to enable us to travel, I addressed a letter to the several parishes, making this request, and now submit the result to yourselves as my canonical advisers—which result is much less full at this date, than it will doubtless be on the fifth of next month—that being the time on which I requested an answer to my communication. Circumstances, however, having arisen to hasten my departure, I take this early opportunity to ask your official concurrence with the sentiments of the Vestries thus far expressed, and, 1st, consent to my absence for six months from the first of November; and, 2d, consent to my drawing on the Treasurer of the Diocese for one thousand dollars in advance of my salary.

"With sentiments of the most affectionate regard, I remain, brethren, your faithful friend and servant in the Lord,

(Signed,) "L. SILLIMAN IVES."

It is plain that in this letter to the Standing Committee there is no intimation of any change of views entertained by the Bishop, of any reverting to his former doubts and difficulties, any inclination towards the church of Rome, much less any expressed intention of joining her communion; nor is there evidence of any such intimation by any public act or declaration. Soon after the departure of the Bishop for Europe, rumors began to prevail through the Diocese, that he was proceeding to Rome for the purpose of conforming to the church of Rome, and it was even asserted that he had taken such a step before his departure.

On the 28th of February of the present year, a communication was received by the Standing Committee, and on the 3d of March ensuing a duplicate of the same, addressed to the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of North Carolina, and containing the declaration of Bishop Ives’s renunciation of his Diocese, and of his apostacy to the Church of Rome.

The communication of the 28th of February is herewith submitted:—

"ROME, Dec. 22d, 1852.

"For the Convention of the
"Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of N. Carolina:

"Dear Brethren: Some of you, at least, are aware that for years, doubts of the validity of my office as Bishop, have at times harrassed my mind and greatly enfeebled my action. At other times, it is true, circumstances have arisen to overrule these doubts and to bring to my mind temporary relief. But it has been only temporary; for, in spite of my resolutions to abandon the reading and the use of Catholic Books—in spite of earnest prayers and entreaties that God would protect my mind against the disturbing influence of Catholic truth—and in spite of public and private professions and declarations, which in times of suspended doubt, I sincerely made, to shield myself from suspicion and win back the confidence of my Diocese, which had been well nigh lost,—in spite of all this and of many other considerations, which would rise up before me as the necessary consequence of suffering my mind to be carried forward in the direction in which my doubts pointed, these doubts would again return with increased and almost overwhelming vigor—goading me at times to the very borders of derangement. Under these doubts I desired temporary repose from duties that had become disquieting to me, and determined to accompany Mrs. Ives, whose health demanded a change of climate, in a short absence abroad. But absence has brought no relief to my mind. Indeed the doubts that disturbed it have grown into clear and settled convictions—so clear and settled, that without a violation of conscience and honor and every obligation of duty to God and His Church, I can no longer remain in my position. I am called upon therefore to do an act of self-sacrifice, in view of which all other self-sacrificing acts of my life are less than nothing—called upon to sever the ties, which have been strengthened by long years of love and forbearance—which have bound my heart to many of you as was David’s to that of Jonathan— and make that heart bleed as my hand traces the sentence which separates all Pastoral relation between us—and conveys to you the knowledge that I hereby resign into your hands my office as Bishop of North Carolina,—and further, that I am determined to make my submission to the Catholic Church.

"In addition, (my feelings will allow me only to say,) that as this act is earlier than any perception of my own, and antedates by some months, the expiration of the time for which I asked leave of absence, and for which I so promptly received from members of your body an advance of salary, I hereby renounce all claim upon the same, and acknowledge myself bound, on an intimation of your wish, to return whatever you may have advanced to me beyond this 22d day of December.

"With continued affection and esteem, I pray you to allow me still to subscribe myself, your faithful friend,


At the Convention of 1853, held in the city of Raleigh, beginning May 26, this communication being laid before that body, the following preamble and resolutions were adopted:

"Levi Silliman Ives, D. D., L. L. D., lately the Bishop of this Diocese, having in the month of October last left the United States for Europe, upon leave of absence asked and obtained by him for the purpose of recruiting his health, and that of Mrs. Ives, alleged by him to have become impaired: and having, by a communication written from Rome, under date of the 22d of Dec'r last, (mentioned in the report of the Standing Committee,) and addressed to this Convention, in the form of a resignation of his Episcopal place and jurisdiction, made known the fact that he had renounced the Communion of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and had determined to make his submission to the Church of Rome: and it thus appearing that he has relinquished and abandoned his Episcopal charge, and by his apostacy to the Roman Church, has disabled himself from ever exercising any Episcopal jurisdiction within this Diocese: this Convention, in the name and in behalf of all the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese, doth declare the Episcopate thereof to be vacant. And therefore,

"Resolved, That the Convention will proceed to elect some suitable person as Bishop of this Diocese, to fill the said vacancy.

"Resolved, That a Committee, consisting of three Clergymen and two Laymen, be appointed, with instructions to draw up a detailed statement of the difficulties between Dr. Ives, lately the Bishop of this Diocese, and the said Diocese; and that they deliver the same to the Delegates from this Diocese to the next General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States, to be by them laid before the said General Convention; and also that a copy of the said statement be published with the Journals of this Convention."

In pursuance of the first of these resolutions, the Rev. Thos. Atkinson, D. D., Rector of Grace Church, Baltimore, was, on Saturday the 28th of May, 1853, duly elected Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina.

From the above statement, the Committee think it will plainly appear that these two objects have been kept constantly in view by the Diocese of North Carolina:—First. The preservation in full purity of the doctrines and practices of the Church; and, Secondly. The exercise of as great kindness and forbearance towards the late Bishop as was consistent with the first of these objects.

R. S. MASON, Chairman.


Correspondence of the Rev. C. F. McRae with Bishop Ives


WARRENTON, July 10, 1849.

MY DEAR BISHOP: It distresses me to bring to your notice anything of a painful character; and yet, in this instance, my conscience obliges me to do so. I have constantly sympathized with you in your efforts for the establishment at Valle Crucis, and have cheerfully contributed according to my means to relieve you of the pecuniary obligations assumed for it. I have done more. I have so represented the character of the school at Valle Crucis, and the mission there, as to prevail on others to contribute also. I feel, therefore, more than a common interest in the character and teaching of the establishment. It was with unfeigned pleasure I heard you state in your address to the late Convention that "no doctrine will be taught or practice allowed" there which is not in accordance with the principles and usages of our branch of the Holy Catholic Church, contained in the Book of Common Prayer. Judge, then, my surprise, when, as I returned from the Convention, there was put into my hand a form of daily devotion for the use of a young man who had been at Valle Crucis, drawn up in the hand-writing of Mr. French, containing a prayer to the Virgin Mary, an invocation of Saints and a prayer for the dead. This was exhibited not to me only, but to Dr. Mason, Dr. Drane, Mr. Smedes, Mr. Forbes, and Mr. Parham;—and there was but one sentiment in regard to it.

Now, my dear Bishop, this is not in accordance with the declaration of your address. And it is but right you should know that doctrines and practices not recognized by our Church, and not contained in the Book of Common Prayer, are taught at Valle Crucis. They must be taught without your knowledge, and of course without your sanction. Pray exert your authority to suppress such teaching.

I hope you will not regard this entreaty as unbecoming or unwarrantable. As I have already stated, I feel conscientiously bound to protest against any contributions I have made or have influenced others to make being perverted to such an end. And I trust you will give me the assurance that no such doctrines or practices as I have named shall be taught there.

Not knowing your address, I send this to Raleigh, that it may receive the proper direction.

I remain, my dear Bishop, yours, truly and affectionately,

(Signed,) CAMERON F. McRAE.

Reply of Bishop Ives


VALLE CRUCIS, July 27, 1849.

MY DEAR MCRAE: Your last letter gave me sincere pleasure, for it was written in the true way of your duty. Had all your acts, and the acts of other presbyters been done on the same principle, there would have been no difficulty in Convention. But let that pass. It will yet be the occasion of good to the truth. God takes his own way: we have only to submit.

In regard to the little manual, I can only say, that as in all other things done lately, you have gone off half-cocked—particularly Forbes—as I have heard of all this matter weeks ago. But to the facts. Two years ago, the Rev. Mr. French, than whom the church has not a truer son, prepared this little manual from Bishop Cosin, Andrews, and a Romish book of devotion, putting in only those things which he conscientiously thought, I think erroneously, that he had a right to put in, intending, however, before giving it to the boys, to submit it to my revision. But as I was in Raleigh, and there was some delay of mails, he did not receive it in a revised state till in the summer. When I arrived here last fall, I collected the copies, and had them as I then supposed all altered in the respects you mentioned. This was done thoroughly, as I can show you when we meet, as I have with me, and had last winter, and offered to shew it Forbes, a corrected copy. But it seems Golett was absent on a visit to a Mr. Harden when I corrected the copies; as was also Gatlin, and one other boy. When they returned, through hurry and by no design, as Forbes has published, their copies were not corrected—and hence all this bluster. Still, I blame not you—as you and any presbyter have a right to make such like inquiries of me. But not as has been done by others—make charges before they know the truth.

I feel bound, however, to say that while I allow no prayers to the Virgin Mary or to Saints—not because they are wrong in themselves, but because they are liable to abuse—I still do retain, in St. Basil’s Litany, which I have authorized in our domestic devotions, such an expression as this, "May all those who have passed from the shadow of this world in faith, enjoy rest and peace till they are united with us in thine everlasting kingdom." I regard this as the doctrine of the Bible and Prayer Book, and necessary to the Communion of Saints.— "Prayers for the faithful departed" were retained in the Liturgy of Edward, left out under the pressure of Puritanism, sanctioned by various bishops and doctors after being left out, and hence as they are found in all the earliest liturgies of the church, and authorized by Holy Scripture, 2 Tim. 1, 18, I do not hesitate to give them a place in our domestic use.

Give my love to Julia, and believe me faithfully your friend and brother,

(Signed,) L. S. IVES.

P. S. I wish you to write to Drane and any one who has been misled by the fact of this manual being found with Goelett, and give them the circumstances above detailed. Passmore and French both regret the omission exceedingly: they desire in nothing to seem even to depart from the Prayer Book.

Reply of Rev. Mr. McRae


WARRENTON, Au't 6, '49.

MY DEAR BISHOP: I am pleased to find you have taken my letter so kindly, and so fully appreciate the feelings with which it was written. It encourages me to write again. You say had I or others acted before in this way there could have been no difficulty in Convention. And if by this is meant that I have not at all times acted with the most perfect candor and frankness in all matters touching the present unhappy agitation in the Diocese, great injustice is done me. I have from the very first spoken very freely to you of the great repugnance felt by every clergyman properly belonging to North Carolina, to anything that looks like a departure from the teaching of the Book of Common Prayer. I remember on several occasions warning you of the storm that has at length arisen.

Your letter, however, gives me leave to enter more fully into these matters.

And first, as to the manual found in the hands of young Goelet. You say it was prepared by Mr. French, "than whom the church has not a truer son." His position in the Diocese shows the estimation in which you hold him. But let me say others will think differently when they learn that a book of devotion prepared by him for boys under his care was considered so objectionable by his bishop as to call for its suppression.— For the book when altered was no longer the tract compiled by Mr. French, and which as I learn from your letter was in the hands of the boys a twelvemonth for their daily devotional use. And it was then altered because you disapproved, and not because Mr. French considered its teaching wrong. For all that appears, he holds such doctrines still. I think I may take this for granted, because you say in the latter part of your letter that you did not prohibit prayers to the Virgin Mary or to Saints because they are wrong, but because they are liable to abuse.

Now, my dear Bishop, I cannot conceal from you the distress your letter gives me. I cannot but regard it as a declaration of belief on your part which the Church positively condemns. Whereunto is all this to lead? If Mr. French or any Presbyter will make the same declaration, I will most unhesitatingly present him.

Now, if such doctrines are held by Mr. French, and merely withheld from the boys from fears of abuse, is it not reasonable to infer they form a part of his teaching in cases in which he thinks abuses will not ensue? And can such doctrines be said to be in "accordance with the principles and usages of our branch of the Holy Catholic Church, as contained in the Book of Common Prayer?" How can these things be called in any sense usages of the Protestant Episcopal Church? Where is the office or expression designed to inculcate any such doctrine? And yet for a twelve-month Mr. French taught such things to the boys? How many left the school whose minds were never disabused? The Book was corrected, but what means were taken to correct the impressions made on the minds of the boys?

My dear Bishop, I must frankly say, that those with whom I have conversed, (and I have conversed with several,) and who contributed to the founding of the establishment at Valle Crucis, little dreamed it was designed to become the nursery of such errors; and I feel bound to say for myself and others, that we consider it a sad perversion of what was given, and I formally call upon you as trustee of that fund to carry out the intent of the donors. It has already become a matter of complaint, and could your letter be known that the teaching put forth in the tract by Mr. French is not considered false but true, and merely liable to abuse, and on that account withheld; I repeat, if this were known, there is not, I believe, a contributor to that fund in North Carolina who would not protest against its perversion.

You say I have ‘gone off half-cocked;’ and if by this is meant that I fired at the very suspicion of errors, I plead guilty: but if you mean to say my suspicions were groundless, let me assure you they will not be so considered by the Clergy and Diocese at large. I cannot tell you how sad I felt to find myself sustaining this new relation to you. But I must obey my conscience, as I hope for acceptance in that day.

You once spoke of calling a special Convention. Pray do so. It would I think accord with the universal sentiment of the Diocese. And when called, pray announce distinctly what you do hold and sanction. For as it is, you subject yourself to the charge that "this thing is done in a corner."

My intercourse with the Clergy and Laity of the Convention was very unreserved, and I was satisfied, had such declaration as your letter contains then been made, your resignation of the Diocese would have been requested that very day.

The nature of your letter forbids me to regard it as a private communication, and unwilling to be the depository of what so vitally affects the Church in North Carolina, I shall without delay send our correspondence to the Standing Committee of the Diocese.

Believe me, dear Bishop,

Very truly and affectionately,

(Signed,) C. R. McRAE.

The three letters above submitted were sent to the Standing Committee by the Rev. Mr. McRae on the 9th of August, 1849. The letter which follows was not sent to the Standing Committee. It has been placed in the hands of this Committee by a person to whom it was sent by the Rev. Mr. McRae, to be used at that person's discretion.

VALLE CRUCIS, Aug. 17, 1849.

"It is an honor to a man to cease from strife."—Prov. 20, 3.

MY DEAR MCRAE: I have your letter of the 6th inst., and feel bound before you suffer your excitement to do yourself or me any further injustice, to speak to you as your Bishop, whose godly judgment you have vowed to follow, and warn you against a terrible temptation to which I see you exposed. At this moment, I can truly say, I feel a deeper anxiety for your spiritual welfare than for any issue of the matter of your complaint as respects myself. The temptation to which I allude is a desire to be a leader, to appear to the Laity very solicitous for the purity of the faith—forgetting all this time that your Bishop has authority over you, and that he has a right to be considered not less knowing nor conscientious than yourself; and that he has been constituted by the Church in these United States the guardian of the truth in this Diocese. I doubt not your sincerity; but I clearly see that you are under a delusion; and that this is endangering your own salvation, as well as the peace and prosperity of this Diocese. I know there is an excitement, and that it has been gotten up with no fault of mine, either in teaching the faith, or in administering the faith entrusted to me.

1. In the first place, you speak to me in altogether an unbecoming manner, as to the fulfilment of my trust at Valle Crucis;—speak as if I was a defaulter to you and the Church. I cast back such insinuations as unworthy of you, and as utterly groundless in respect to myself. You demand of me to fulfil my trust: I demand of you to act towards me as a christian and a presbyter. So give me at least the consideration which is granted to the veriest criminal, to be viewed as innocent till proved guilty. I demand of you to be reasonable, and look at the facts of the case.

In the year 1844, I was moved by no other consideration than a desire to rescue the ignorant and wretched from spiritual degradation, to purchase a farm for the purpose of establishing a religious house or missionary family (call it what you will) to keep up the daily worship of Almighty God in these mountains, and to extend permanently to the mountaineers the blessings of the Gospel in the Church. A classical school was engrafted upon this establishment to aid the foundation. But by mismanagement it brought me greatly in debt. Previous to this, however, as documents will show, I had made over the property in trust (reserving a life estate to myself) for the purposes above specified. This I had done in the fear of God, and felt, when I found myself in debt, that I could not allow this property thus devoted to Him, to be sacrificed or directed to a secular use. I made up my mind to submit to any personal sacrifice to accomplish my purpose. This, I thought, with what I could obtain from friends, might relieve me. I made an appeal to the Church at Newbern, offering to put the whole establishment under the Diocese. But the Diocese declined to have any responsibility. Friends, however, and yourself among the number, showed me the affectionate confidence to come forward and aid me to the amount of about $1500. Upon this I at once altered the deed, so as to preclude my life estate in the property, and only reserved to myself the management of the establishment during my natural life, and after that to the Head of the Community of the Holy Cross established here, he being appointed with the sanction of the Bishop of North Carolina, and conducting the mission "in agreement" (I quote literally from the deed,) "with the Book of Common Prayer, set forth by the Gen. Conv. of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States." This, I thought, as the whole responsibility was thrown upon me, and as I had contributed to the property, as my papers will show, more than $5000, I had a right to do. Particularly as I had hoped, if God should spare me (and this hope I expressed at the outset to Judge Cameron and other friends) to be able to retire and spend the last of my days in devotion and labors of love and mercy at Valle Crucis. And now for what you are pleased to designate as a suspected "work in a corner." In the summer of 1847, after having had various persons at the head of the house, I resolved to get a permanent one. For this purpose I wrote to Bishop Doane and others to aid me, and was first directed to Mr. Passmore. But he had objections on the score of youth. I was then directed to Mr. French. With great difficulty I persuaded him to accept the place. He came, however, with high recommendations for personal piety, energy, self-sacrifice and fidelity to the Church. And he has thus far honored his testimonials. About Christmas 1847 he prepared the little manual of devotions, to which objections have been made. It was a compilation from various books, and copied in the midst of a great press of duty. In two or three copies, I am told, (I have never seen one of them,) an address to the Virgin Mary was copied by mistake, (Mr. French holding with me such addresses to be not allowable.) When I went up in Sept. following I saw the manual and objected at once to the invocation of the guardian angel (there being no invocation to a saint or the Virgin Mary,) and had it altered, and I supposed and so did Mr. French that this was done in all the copies, as I have told you already. And I notice again here to correct the mistake you have fallen into, in supposing that I alluded in my last letter to prayers to the Virgin, when I had never seen any such, although it is believed that two or three copies had them in. On learning from you the fact in regard to Golett's manual, I called for them again, and all manuscripts used in teaching or lecturing, and all textbooks; and in no instance has a book been used that is not found in the list of the house of Bishops, nor a sentiment expressed, so far as I can learn, in opposition to our standards. Hence I say that I have not only been faithful to my kind friends who aided me, but to the Church and every body concerned, and have a clear conscience before God in the matter. I repeat it, there is no man or clergyman in this Diocese who has done more for two years past for the Church, according to her Prayer-Book, than this same much abused Mr. French. If you doubt, come and see for yourself.

2. But as you have laid what you regard my heresy before my Standing Committee, you have cut yourself and the Diocese off from any friendly explanations from me. No special Convention will be called with my consent, and no separation will take place between me and my Diocese, except as I may be disposed of by my peers, Bishops of the Church, to whom I am always ready to answer for my faith and manners. Threats avail nothing with me, and unauthorized and irresponsible demands, no matter from what quarter they may come, will receive from me no attention. Peace and conciliation I have always sought, so far as my duty to God and His Church would allow, but when authority is invoked to force me to solve the gossip of the multitude, or to declare my faith to meet the suspicions and false charges of those over whom I am made the authorized guide and teacher, I have done. The problem must be worked out by those who put it; I neither court the operation nor fear the result. But with a good conscience before God, and a firm and unfaltering trust in His mercy and goodness towards me, His most unworthy servant, I shall continue by His grace to discharge my duties as "a good steward of His manifold gifts." And praised be His name, I am not left comfortless; but am receiving almost daily expressions of confidence from those whose judgment I most value. My brother of South Carolina, Dr. Gadsden, has come out in the June No. of the Messenger in a clear and decided and too flattering defence of my Pastoral on the Priestly Office. While the Churchman has given an unqualified recommendation of my seven sermons. My letters too are of the most cheering kind. But what is cheering above all, is the voice that speaks within my own breast—"If ye suffer with Christ, ye shall be glorified together;" assuring me at the same time that I am suffering with Him— suffering for my fidelity to Him and to the souls He has committed to me. When sick and unable to act for myself, I very sinfully spoke of resignation. But that thought is dismissed forever. So that they who are determined to put me, an old man broken down in their service, aside, they must push for a presentment. And in these times they may get it, and obtain perhaps my degradation for heresy or anything else. But when death comes, though it may take me and my poor wife from the cabin of the pauper, I tell you with my eye fixed upon the judgment-seat, that I would not for worlds exchange the satisfaction I now feel from a consciousness of fidelity to my trust, if God will grant them to me at that solemn hour, for all the joys of my persecutors for having crushed their father in God for daring to interpret his duty for himself. I repeat, that by the help of God I shall proceed in my vocation, and not lift one finger to stay the fury which, without my fault, (as God is my witness,) others have raised, but which must, whatever may become of me ultimately, fall by the guidance of the Almighty on their own heads. From my soul I pity them, and daily pray that God may spare them.

And for you, my son, I pray and tremble as I pray, (for I love you as a son,) that God may give you the spirit of wisdom, and soberness, and of a sound mind in this the most critical, yea perilous (if justice and eternity be not fancies,) point in your existence.

You have the blessing, and whatever you may give in return, you shall ever have the affectionate and earnest prayers of your true friend and father in Christ,

(signed,) L. SILLIMAN IVES.

P. S. On looking over your letter again, I am constrained to warn you in reference to another point. Its tone of patronizing and offensive dictation makes me fear you may presume upon my being a poor man. It is written, I know, that "the destruction of the poor is their poverty." And it is written again, I know, "rich men oppress you and bring you before the judgment-seats." Still there are exceptions to both of these rules, and I would have you understand, that however tightly you may fasten the screws upon me, you will not find me guilty of Simony. Mrs. Ives and myself (thank God she stands by me,) made up our minds before we parted this summer, to submit to any hardship from want or persecution, after hearing of a threat that the Bishop would be brought to terms by starvation. We both feel, after what we have already sacrificed for North Carolina, that "it is better to trust in the Lord than to put any confidence in man."

Besides, you may do your best to excite the Laity against me, as you are doing, and you will find the result after all a sad disappointment to you. I have some means of knowing the temper of the Diocese as well as yourself.

In addition, if you have any Church principle, read the 18th Canon of the Council of Chalcedon.

P. S. I have received from the low country a united request from a large body of the Laity to come to them for sympathy, and I am going soon.

Where is your boasted promise that your sermon should not be published without the Bishop's consent?

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