NEW-YORK, A.D. 1870,
A COMMUNICATION FROM THE DIOCESE
OF LONG ISLAND.
JOHN W. AMERMAN, PRINTER,
No. 47 CEDAR STREET.
The circumstances which led to the appointment of this Committee were as follows:
At the Annual Convention of the Diocese of New-York, in the month of September, A. D. 1868, it was resolved to divide it by the erection within it of two new Dioceses, now known as those of Long Island and Albany.
The consent of the General Convention to the proposed division was given at the session in October, 1868, and the two new Dioceses were formed accordingly.
The Primary Convention of the Diocese of Long Island was held on the 19th day of November, 1868, in the City of Brooklyn. At that Convention a Committee of Seven was duly appointed, to confer with a similar Committee of the Diocese of New-York upon the interests of the two Dioceses, and to ascertain what interest the Diocese of Long Island might have in the funds of the late undivided Diocese of New-York. Notice of the appointment of this Committee was received by the Convention of the Diocese of New-York on the 29th day of September, 1869, whereupon a Committee of Seven was appointed to confer with the Committee of the Diocese of Long Island and report to the Convention. This is the Committee which now presents its report.
The Convention of this Diocese adjourned sine die on the day after that on which this Committee was appointed, and it was not found practicable to confer with the Committee from Long Island during that session. Meanwhile the scope of the proposed conference, whenever it might be held, was narrowed by the report of a Special Committee of the Diocese of New-York, known as the Committee on Apportionment of Charitable Funds, and by the [3/4] action of the Convention adopting its recommendations. On the report of that Special Committee, all the charitable funds over which this Convention had or now has control, were divided between this Diocese and those of Long Island and Albany, and the amounts transferred and paid over to the Dioceses of Long Island and Albany were subsequently duly acknowledged. This action having been taken and ratified, no fund remained in which the Diocese of Long Island could regard itself as having an interest, excepting the Episcopal Fund of the Diocese of New-York; and the Committee, having in view the general history of those measures which were taken to obtain the recent division of the Diocese of New-York, and putting full faith in the assurances repeatedly, or rather incessantly made, that the Episcopal Fund should remain intact, were excusable in indulging the hope that there was nothing to confer about, and that they might ask to be discharged.
Nevertheless, at the last Convention of this Diocese, on the 29th of September, 1870, a communication was received from the Secretary of the Convention of the Diocese of Long Island, transmitting a document, entitled the "Report of the Special Committee on the Charitable and other Funds of the late undivided Diocese of New-York;" and constituting a report of the Committee of Seven appointed at the Primary Convention of the Diocese of Long Island, and made to the Convention of that Diocese in the month of May, 1870. In this document it was admitted, that the action of the Convention of New-York in 1869 had disposed of all the funds of the late undivided Diocese of New-York in which the Diocese of Long Island had or regarded itself as having any legal or equitable interest, with the exception of the Episcopal Fund; while it was asserted that the Diocese of Long Island has claims on that Fund which can only be satisfied by its division. This communication, on being received and read, was referred to your Committee, with directions to consider the whole subject and report at the next annual session. It is in accordance with these instructions that this Committee now presents its report. The subject, therefore, which your Committee has considered, under the terms of its appointment, and the only subject which has been brought be-fore it for such consideration, is that of the Episcopal Fund of the Diocese of New-York. To a portion of that Fund the Diocese of Long Island appears to lay claim; and the questions before this Committee were, 1st, whether the Diocese of Long Island has any legal or equitable claim to any part of the said fund; and, 2d, if it has no such claim, whether any action of any kind in the premises ought now to be taken by the Diocese of New-York with a view to pacify the Diocese of Long Island, and to preserve, if possible, our friendly relations with it. In preparing for this report, your Committee has considered with close and respectful attention the documents referred to it by this Convention, and other printed matter subsequently submitted, and has held conferences with the Committee of the Diocese of Long Island; we have listened with similar attention to the arguments presented by that Committee, and have endeavored to estimate them at their full value. After such due and thorough examination of the whole subject in all its lights, we have arrived at the conclusions which we have now the honor to submit to this Convention.
 It appears that the Diocese of Long Island demands a division of the Episcopal Fund of this Diocese, and claims a portion of that Fund as of right its own. In a paper submitted to this Committee by the Committee of the Diocese of Long Island, and taken by this Committee as fairly representing the views of the Convention of that Diocese, it is stated that they consider them-selves as justly entitled to the sum of $25,272 69, but might be satisfied with the sum of $31,060 57 by way of compromise. Such a claim as this could not be set up, were it not supposed to rest on some foundation in law, and, accordingly, it has been argued that a legal right does exist. The argument addressed to your Committee was, in substance, this: that whenever a Diocese is divided, the parts set off retain their right to the property of the undivided Diocese; wherefore, Long Island has not lost its right and title to the Episcopal Fund of the Diocese of which it once formed a part. No other argument was made on behalf of the Diocese of Long Island in support of its alleged legal claim; and in this argument your Committee were unable to discover any weight. The case of the division of a Diocese is the same as that of the division of a Parish, or of a County. If an outlying portion of a Parish divides from the Mother Church, and forms a new Parish, in the absence of agreements to the contrary, it retains no right to the property of the old One. Though the individuals who withdraw may be the very ones who had contributed most largely to the building of the old Church, with, perhaps, a Parsonage or school house, or to creating an endowment for the support of the minister, they can reclaim nothing; of course, as individuals, they retain such legal rights as they may have in pews or burial lots, but the new Parish as such can make no legal claim to the former Parish property. The same rule holds good in the division of a county; it must also apply to the division of a Diocese, and, therefore, to the Diocese of Long Island in reference to the property of the former Diocese; and we are quite clear in the conclusion that, so far as legal rights are concerned, there are none on the part of the Diocese of Long Island or its Churches which require any discussion.
But the Diocese of Long Island, through its Committee, also urges its equitable claim to a part of the Episcopal Fund of this Diocese. In reference to claims of this character it very often happens that when defined, they are at once seen to have no foundation; their strength consists in their vague-ness. A claim, however, to a fund of money, or to a specific portion of it, if rested on any grounds at all, must be capable of accurate statement. The Churches on Long Island, when they took measures for a Diocese of their own, knew that this would involve expense, in a special pecuniary burden growing out of the fact of division itself, and of their having a Bishop of their own. If there had been no Episcopal Fund, they would have never dreamed of charging any portion of this expense on the old Diocese. The case is like that of the division of a county. The new county must have its own court-house, jail, &c, and pay its own officials. It is the division itself which creates the new expense. Where the division divides what wag previously a common burden, as if, for instance, when a county is divided, a portion of the poor has to be provided for by each of the divisions, then, if there be a Fund on which that burden was a charge, there is equitable ground for the division [5/6] of that Fund. This principle was acted on in reference to the Aged and In-firm Clergy Fund; it does not, however, cover the case before us. For, we may ask, if, supposing there had been no Episcopal Fund, the new Diocese would have had no equitable claim upon the old for the support of its Episcopate, how does the fact of there being such a Fund alter the case? This Fund is an accumulation of moneys given by individual donors for the support of the Episcopate of the Diocese of New-York. It is faithfully applied according to the trust, and it is not too large for the purpose. The call by the Convention for the moneys which have gone into the Fund under consideration, and the response by the donors, have created an honorary pledge on the part of the Convention. The Canon of this Diocese, (13, Sec. 2,) was the call: "It shall be the duty of every Rector to cause an annual collection or "contribution to be made in aid of the Fund for the support of the Episcopate; and the moneys thus raised shall be kept in a regular course of accumulation without diminution, until by such accumulation it shall amount "to at least $100,000." Every one who contributed to this Fond has a right to hold the Convention to the pledge "to accumulate it without diminution." But it was not the Diocese of Long Island, nor the Churches of Long Island who gave the money, and they, therefore, cannot remit this obligation. The money was given by individuals who are all unknown, whose left hand hardly knew, perhaps, what the right hand gave, and who cannot be consulted; the duty is, therefore, made the more sacred to fulfil the trust according to its terms. In this light, even the Legislature could not authorize this Convention to appropriate the Fund to any other purpose than that for which it was given, the support, viz., of the Episcopate of the Diocese of New-York. No Clergyman would dream of taking up a collection for one purpose and diverting it to another, nor fancy that the sanction of the Legislature would excuse him in doing so. And though it be argued that the division now asked for is not with a view to the permanent diminution of the Fund, and though it be alleged that what would be given away could be easily replaced by new gifts; that does not seem so clear, for the reply to fresh appeals might be very properly and very forcibly made thus: We once contributed to make up this Fund for the support of the Episcopate of New-York; you have diverted it in violation of good faith; we shall not trust you a second time.
The equity, then, which is appealed to by the Diocese of Long Island is simply another name for generosity. But one must be just before he is generous; or, rather, Trustees have no right to be generous at all. What is our own we can give away; what has been confided to our administration simply, we must faithfully administer. Your Committee are satisfied that, without an enabling act of the Legislature, this Fund could not be divided. The capital of the Episcopal Fund is not in the custody either of the Bishop or of the Convention of this Diocese. It was confided to a corporation by an act of the Legislature of May 14, 1845, (Sess. Laws, 1845, ch. 307,) entitled "An Act to incorporate the Trustees for the management and care of the Fund for the support of the Episcopate of the Diocese of New-York." The Trustees were constituted a corporation to hold real estate, and were empowered with the [6/7] sole management and care of the Fund, subject to instructions in writing from the Convention, and recorded in the Journal touching the same, and to appropriate, the income of the said Fund for the support of the said Episcopate, according to the directions to be from time to time given by the Convention of the said Diocese. By Canon, in 1846, all collections for the Episcopal Fund were entrusted to this corporation. The only control which the Convention now has is over the income of the Fund; the principal they have no power to touch; nor could such power be granted without a breach of faith towards the donors, unknown by name, and of whom large numbers are deceased. The Convention has authoritative advisory power in the management and care of the Fund, in the exercise of which power it recently ordered the consolidation of the Disposable and Accumulating Funds, so called; but it has no power to direct the alienation of any part of it, and none over the Trustees in their custody of what is by law committed to their trust. Your Committee are, therefore, satisfied that the Diocese of Long Island has no legal or equitable claim whatever to any part of the Episcopal Fund of the Diocese of New-York; and they are also satisfied that the Convention of this Diocese has no power to direct the division of it, or to alienate any portion of it. As the law now stands, it cannot be divided, and there is no legal or equitable reason why it should be.
To the views which we have now presented, and which were urged upon the attentive consideration of the Committee of the Diocese of Long Island, this reply was made: that they are refuted by the fact, that in all other instances in which Dioceses have been divided, the Episcopal Funds of those Dioceses were also divided, and the cases of Maryland and Pennsylvania were cited in illustration. To this, the answer is obvious; that these and similar instances prove nothing, because in the case of the recent division of this Diocese it was distinctly understood and agreed to on all sides, that the Episcopal Fund should remain intact. Your Committee has no information as to the circumstances under which other Dioceses were divided, nor did we regard it as important to make inquiry about them. This case is singular, in this respect, that it was understood beforehand that the Episcopal Fund was not to be touched, and that assurances were given that the subject was not an open one and would not be agitated. On this understanding the erection of the Dioceses of Albany and Long Island was agreed to, and without this understanding the division of the Diocese could not have been accomplished. In proof of these assertions we refer to the history of the past nine years, a history well known to members of this Convention.
The action of the Convention of the Diocese of New-York as to the Episcopal Fund, in view of a division of the Diocese, has been uniform and consistent from the year 1863 down to that in which consent to the division of the Diocese was finally given. In the year first aforesaid, a special Committee was appointed, consisting of nine members, the Rev. A. N. Littlejohn, D. D., being Chairman, to consider the whole subject of division in conference with the Bishop. That Committee reported in the following year, A. D. 1863, that they "had conferred with the Bishop as directed, and had, with "much time and labor, carefully considered the subject referred to them, and [7/8] "as the result of many deliberations, reported" certain resolutions. In these resolutions is sketched an outline of a division to be made at a future day; after which comes the following:
"Resolved, Fifth, that the Episcopal Fund of the present Diocese of New-York shall be and remain for the use and benefit of the Diocese in which "the City of New-York shall be situated."
It is well known that the Bishop of New-York withheld for a long time his approval of the proposed division, and it is believed that among his reasons was a fear lest the rights and independence of his successors in office might be injuriously affected if this question of the due support of the Episcopate were left at loose ends. His views were shared by a large number of the most respected and influential members of the Convention, as well lay as clerical. The apprehensions of these persons, so far as the question of the Episcopal Fund was concerned, were removed by the language of the resolution which we have quoted; its terms could not have been more precise or explicit; it was the result of "careful consideration," of "many deliberations," and of conference with the Bishop, a conclusion reached "after much time and labor," by a Committee commanding the respect of all for ability and wisdom, (and of which the Chairman is now Bishop of the Diocese of Long Island.) It was taken as an expression in which full faith might be reposed, and regarded as settling, so far as the question of the Episcopal Fund was concerned, the basis on which progress towards division was to be made.
In the year 1866, another Committee was appointed, known as the Committee of Fifteen, to whom was referred the whole matter of the erection of one or more new Dioceses within the limits of the Diocese of New-York. A majority of this Committee were appointed from those parts of the Diocese which now constitute the Dioceses of Albany and Long Island; the Rev. Drs. Tucker and Bostwick, the Rev. Mr. Reese and Mr. Orlando Meads representing the former, and the Rev. Drs. Littlejohn, Hoffman, and Messrs. D. R. Floyd Jones and Henry E. Pierrepont the latter. [Governor King was a member of the Committee, but died before it reported.] The Committee reported to the Convention in the following year, 1867; and beyond a doubt the con-sent of the Convention to the division of the. Diocese was due to their very able and long report. But in that report they state, that "after a full discussion and a careful examination of the whole subject, they arrived at a unanimous conclusion in the adoption of the following resolutions:
"Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Committee, acting under suitable legal advice, that no part of the existing Episcopal Fund of the Diocese can be used for the endowment of the Episcopate in the new Dioceses proposed to be erected.
"Resolved, That inasmuch as the legal impediments to any such use of the fund are insuperable, the Committee recommend to the Convention to declare [8/9] by resolution, the moral and equitable right of the proposed new Dioceses to liberal assistance from the Diocese of New-York in the endowment of their Episcopates."
These resolutions, expressing the unanimous conclusion of fifteen of the ablest and most respectable members of the Convention, and arrived at, not hastily, but after full discussion and a careful examination of the whole subject, and reiterating, in the strongest terms which language supplies, the resolution of the year 1863, were accepted by those members of the Convention, without whose votes division would have been impossible, as removing one great difficulty, perhaps the chief difficulty, felt by them in connection with the subject. The decent support of the Episcopate, and its independence, involve heavy expense to a Diocese. The work of securing an Episcopal Fund for the Diocese of New-York had proved a long and tedious one. It was foreseen that the division of the Diocese would be regarded by many as involving a division of the Episcopal Fund, then inadequate to the support of a single Bishop, into three portions, each wretchedly insufficient for its purposes, while experience had shown how great is the difficulty of increasing such a fund by individual donations, and how tedious is the process of accumulation by means of collections through the Parishes for that object. It must have been known to the learned Committee who had this subject in charge that numbers felt this difficulty; that many would not consent to the division of the Diocese until it was removed, and that the number of such persons was so large as to block the way towards division and defer it indefinitely, unless the question of the Episcopal Fund was thrown out. To meet and remove this difficulty was a matter of prime importance with the Committee; and the understanding was, that they had agreed unanimously to dispose of it by setting it at rest for ever. When, therefore, they reported, that "no part of the fund could be used for the endowment of the Episcopate in the new Dioceses, and that the legal impediments to any such use of the fund were insuperable," it was believed that the question of partition of that fund was buried, and so deeply that it could never rise again. In full faith in the wisdom and correctness of these unanimous conclusions of the Committee, men felt them-selves free to act; the opposition of many persons to the division of the Diocese was happily overcome; and a majority in favor of division was thus secured, which could not have been secured except on this settlement as a basis, a settlement understood to be final.
Hence it appears, that the answer to our general argument, drawn from the alleged action of other Dioceses in their division, has no weight. This was a peculiar case. Division was opposed by many, because they feared that it would involve the division of the Episcopal Fund; it was finally secured, by assurances in which full faith was placed, not merely that the fund should not be divided, but that it could not, owing to insuperable legal impediments. A moral pledge of the strongest kind was given, which carries with it all the force attaching to obligations of that description; and none can be stronger among just and fair dealing men.
 To this view of the subject your Committee have heard, thus far, no reply worthy of the name. Replies have been attempted as follows:
In the first place, it is alleged that the action of the Convention of the undivided Diocese of New-York cannot bind the new Dioceses which have subsequently been formed within it; and that it matters not to those new Dioceses whether any pledges were given, or, if any, what, during the progress of the measures which led to the division. We can hardly believe that the attempt will be seriously made to maintain this position; nor to refute what is held in law, that corporate bodies are, as a general rule, bound by the declarations or prospectuses, on the faith and basis of which they derive their origin.
In the second place, it is alleged that a certain memorial presented by the Rev. John A. Paddock, D. D., on the 30th September, 1868, immediately after the division had been consummated, so far as it could be in the Convention of the old Diocese, in some way saved the rights of the new Diocese. The memorial referred to was doubtless presented, but most unexpectedly; and the scene which ensued is fresh in the memories of many. Amazement was felt by all not in the secret, at a proceeding deemed so indefensible; and, amid general confusion, the house refused to permit the paper to go upon its Journal. If the arguments and views which we have presented, drawn from the history of the measures taken by this Diocese in view of division, are correct, the astonishment and indignation of the Convention on that occasion were justifiable; and to gay that the case is modified or affected in any way by the presentation of the paper referred to, is but substantially to say that a breach of faith is not a breach of faith, provided faith be broken promptly at the earliest possible instant.
Thirdly, it is alleged that the opinions of the several Committees of the undivided Diocese of New-York, as to the existence of insuperable legal difficulties in the way of a division of the Fund, were not correct, and that, in point of fact, no such impediments existed. But, though this were granted, it would not affect the case. The consent of a majority to the setting off of the Diocese of Long Island was given, not conditionally on the correctness of the processes by which certain conclusions had been reached, but on the conclusions themselves. It is not a question whether the law of the Committee of Fifteen was good or bad, but whether what was done in full confidence in their sincerity and wisdom, and on the basis of their expressed views, would become void on the subsequent discovery that they were not go wise as they were thought to be. If it is true that the legal difficulties are, as they said, insuperable, the case is at an end; if it is not true, still it remains certain that the consent to division of the Diocese was obtained, and the division accomplished, on the strength of statements concerning the law of the case which the Convention deemed at the time to be undoubtedly correct. It is no longer of practical consequence to inquire whether they who made those statements were right or wrong.
Fourthly and lastly, your Committee would observe, that the plea of the Diocese of Long Island is supported by continual reference to the Episcopal [10/11] Fund of New-York as comprising two distinct portions, known as the Disposable and the Accumulating Funds; and it seems to be assumed and taken for granted, that there is some fundamental difference between these two portions, of such a nature that the former only should be left to this Diocese and the latter should be appropriated by the Dioceses which have been set off. It is not easy to understand by what mental process this difference has been invented; to us it appears to be, for the purposes for which it is used, altogether vague, shadowy and illusive. A brief review of the history of the efforts made to secure an Episcopal Fund during the last thirty years or more, will help to clear the thoughts on this point:
In 1838 the Diocese of New-York was for the first time divided, and the Diocese of Western New-York came into existence.
The Diocese of New-York was left, after the division, with $67,500 to start with, as an Episcopal Fund. The Vestry of Trinity Church agreed to make an annual contribution of $1,600 for thirteen years towards the support of the Episcopate of the Diocese of New-York as then constituted and organized, on condition that collections should be made throughout the Diocese for the same period, until by accumulation the fund should amount to $90,000. This arrangement fell through, in consequence of the total failure of the congregations to do their part, and in 1841 the Corporation of Trinity Church rescinded their offer.
In 1845 the Trustees of the Episcopal Fund were duly incorporated, by act of the Legislature, and in the year 1846, the entire Fund then existing, together with all that might thereafter be contributed or acquired, and any accumulation thereon, was, by Canon of the Convention, intrusted to the corporation created the year before. This Canon still remains the law.
After thus committing the Fund to its Trustees, the Convention, in pursuance of the power of care and management vested in them, directed that the Fund should be kept in two parts; the interest on one of these two portions to be disposed of annually for the support of the Bishop, the interest of the other part to be added to the principal yearly fur accumulation, This was the origin of the Disposable and Accumulating Funds, so called. The directions of the Convention about the interest of the Fund did not affect the sacredness of the trust; it did not follow, because they chose to fund the interest of so much, that the portion of which the interest was so ordered to be funded might be alienated. The distinction between the Disposable and Accumulating Funds cannot be urged to show that one was to be sacredly kept in trust while the other might be given away at pleasure. The order of the Convention was, that the accumulation of a part of the fund, as well by adding its own interest as by the collections and contributions in the Churches, was to go on until the whole fund together amounted to $100,000, or until the further order of the Convention. The inference is, that the Convention intended that the Episcopal Fund should not be less than $100,000, and that the income of that sum at least should constitute the salary of the Bishop.
In the year 1866, the sum named in the resolution of 1846 was reached, and the fund amounted to $100,816 38. This sum, owing to the increased [11/12] expenses of living and the changes of twenty years, was deemed insufficient to yield an income adequate to the becoming support of the Bishop of this Diocese, and the accumulation was ordered to continue. In this simple history we seek in vain for the basis of the distinction which is drawn between the two parts of the Fund; the importance attached to the distinction is fictitious. The Trustees never have had the power to alienate any part of it; the Convention never had the power to direct such alienation; the Diocese of Long Island, in its erection, had no legal or equitable claim to one part more than to another. When that Diocese was set off, it went away under that state of things, and with the full understanding, attested by the reports and resolutions of its own people while members of the Convention of New-York, that "no part of the existing Episcopal Fund of the Diocese," by whatever name such part might be called, "could be used for the endowment of the new Dioceses proposed to be erected;" or, in the stronger language of the Committee, of which the present Bishop of Long Island was Chairman, that "the Episcopal Fund of the Diocese of New-York," whether styled "Disposable" or "Accumulating," or designated in any other way, "should be and remain for the use and benefit of the Diocese in which the City of New York is situated." As it had no right to the Fund then, it has none at present. The Fund is now consolidated, by the action of the Convention of 1869, and the case is closed.
It seems hardly necessary to mention, in passing, the final plea of the Diocese of Long Island, founded on the proposal of the Bishop of this Diocese, during the session of 1869, to give $20,000 in equal portions to the Dioceses of Long Island and Albany. With the most cordial appreciation of the spirit, so characteristic of himself, which prompted the Bishop to make this suggestion, the Committee must, however, express, very respectfully, their opinion that the recommendation could not have been legally carried out. The capital of the Fund is not in the custody of the Bishop, nor in that of the Convention. The only control which the Convention has is over the income of the Fund; the Bishop's right is simply to receive the income appropriated to his support. He is competent to divide the income, after ha has received it, with the Bishops of Long Island and Albany, or otherwise to dispose of it at his discretion; but he has no power to give away the principal. The proposal made by him affords no sound pretext to the Diocese of Long Island to allege any moral or equitable claim; it was the result of an impulse of generosity, paternal regard, and self-sacrifice, which could not affect the responsibilities or duties of Trustees. Trustees, as such, can know nothing of generosity or liberality; they have no choice but to administer their trust impassively, according to its terms.
To recapitulate: your Committee believe that they have now considered every material point in the argument by which it has been attempted to establish a claim on the part of the recently erected Diocese of Long Island to a part of the Fund which has been for many years slowly accumulating, in the care of Trustees, for the support of the Episcopate of another Diocese The conclusions of this Committee are as follows:
 1st. That the Diocese of Long Island has no claim on any part of that Fund which would be held valid in the courts.
2dly. That it has no equitable claim which is capable of being defined in terms.
3dly. That no precedent can be adduced, in the proceedings in the case of division of other Dioceses, which ought to rule and determine the question in the present case.
4thly. That if any party to this controversy be now aggrieved, it is the Diocese of New-York, which, considering the circumstances under which the Dioceses of Albany and Long Island came into existence, may well complain that this question has been opened and that claims on its Episcopal Fund have been set up.
It is further evident, that the Episcopal Fund could not be divided, unless the Committee of this Diocese should first apply to the Legislature of the State of New-York for an enabling act; nor until the said Convention should have formally reconsidered and rescinded the resolutions adopted by them, Sept. 30th, 1869, directing that the Fund be consolidated, and that, in the opinion of this Convention, it is solemnly and inalienably pledged to the support of the Episcopate of New-York, and may not be directed to the maintenance of the Episcopate of Long Island, or the Episcopate of Albany.
Your Committee, after mature examination, finds no reason why it should recommend the reconsideration of those resolutions, which now constitute the law on this question, or the application to the Legislature for such an enabling act as has been referred to. Regarding the case as settled, and justly settled, so far as the action of this Convention is concerned, we have no further action to recommend in the premises.
Nevertheless, it is, in our opinion, a fair question, whether any thing can now be done, through the liberality and generosity of individuals composing this Convention, towards aiding the Dioceses of Long Island and Albany in their efforts to secure the means of ample support for their respective Diocesans. Such aid as this was had in view, by the Committee of Fifteen, when they presented their report. While in that report they treat the question of a division of the Episcopal Fund of the Diocese of New-York as one which must be thrown out, and never raised again, they maintain the moral and equitable right of the new Dioceses to liberal assistance from the Diocese of New-York in the endowment of their Episcopates in any practicable way. The assistance here referred to is assistance from individuals, and assistance other than such as can be given by the partition of a Fund. Even so, the Committee, in their final resolutions recommended to the Convention for adoption, dropped altogether from consideration the Diocese of Long Island, as if it was not supposed that that Diocese would need assistance, and limited themselves to recommending that "the Convention recognise the duty resting on the older and more wealthy portions of the Diocese to aid liberally in the endowment of the Episcopate of the new Diocese in Northern New-York, and most earnestly commend this measure to the [13/14] sympathies and generous contributions of the members of the Church." Thus was the case left by the Committee of Fifteen, and thus was it dealt with by the Convention. Aid was to be sought and given, from members of the Church in their individual capacity; the appeal was to their "sympathies," and they were asked for "generous contributions;" and this, not for the whole district to be set off, but for the poor and remote area of Northern New-York. This language, very different from what has been subsequently heard, does, how-ever, give basis to a claim on individual liberality, and furnishes a reasonable ground for the disappointment arising out of the failure of members of the Church to respond as requested. The failure of the appeal to their "sympathies" and "generosity," which is, unfortunately, conspicuous, notwithstanding the laborious and persevering efforts of several Committees appointed to obtain, through personal application, contributions and donations towards the endowment of the Diocese of Albany, does not, in the slightest degree, affect the legal aspects of the case. It does, however, cause deep regret that the encouragement afforded by the Convention to expect assistance from us, was given to no purpose, and that up to this hour, no aid, worth naming, has been forthcoming. Your Committee feels that there is a difficulty here which ought to be met, though we are at a loss what advice to give. The remedy is not to be sought in acts of injustice or breaches of sacred trust. The only appeal which can be made is to the private conscience and to the liberality of individuals. This Convention, as such, has no duty to discharge. It retains its Fund, in accordance with well understood conditions to that effect. It administers that trust faithfully, through its appointed agent, according to the laws of this State. It declared the moral and equitable claim of those parts which were set off, to aid from generous and sympathetic persons. It appointed one Committee to secure such aid; when that Committee, after much hard work, failed, it proceeded to appoint another. It has done, as a Convention, all that it could legally do. It is under no obligation to go further; much less can it be expected to impoverish itself, to aim a blow at the independence of the Episcopate, and to alienate moneys which were given for one specific object, and no other, and impose new burdens on the Diocese at large which, after more than thirty years of effort, has but recently succeeded in securing a very modest and inadequate support for its Bishop. Such measures as these are not to be suggested, nor entertained for an instant. The Bishop of New-York, as has been already observed, proposed at one time to give $10,000 apiece to the Dioceses of Long Island and Albany the interest of that sum could be raised, by subscription, or otherwise without interference with vested rights, and paid, for a series of years, to each of the new Dioceses, the Bishop's suggestion would be substantially met. Whether the Convention can properly act in this matter, is doubtful; it is perhaps, equally doubtful, or more so, whether such action would be accepted by the other Dioceses in question in settlement and discharge of the claim which they have on the liberality of the members of this Diocese. This Convention, two years ago, adopted the following resolutions:
"Resolved, That, in the opinion of this Convention, the Episcopal Fund of [14/15] this Diocese is solemnly and inalienably pledged to the support of the Episcopate of New-York, and may not be diverted to the maintenance of the Episcopate of Long Island or the Episcopate of Albany.
"Resolved, That the Trustees of the Episcopal Fund be, and are hereby, directed to consolidate into one the Accumulating and Disposable Funds, and to pay to the Bishop of New-York the income of such Fund so consolidated."
Your Committee, after a full examination of the subject, finds no reason for reconsidering that action. It has, therefore, no recommendation to make, and now asks to be discharged from the further consideration of the questions referred to it.
All which is respectfully submitted.
JOHN COTTON SMITH,
GEORGE H. HOUGHTON,
SAML. J. HOLLINGSWORTH,
LLOYD W. WELLS,
S. P. NASH.