BAKER & GODWIN, BOOK AND JOB PRINTERS,
CORNER NASSAU AND SPRUCE STREETS.
INASMUCH as there have been many mistatements, in regard to the difficulties between the People of St. Andrews and Trinity Parishes, Staten Island, and their Vestry, which have been prejudicial to both parties, it seemed but just in the mind of the Committee that a fair statement of facts should be made without note or comment, that the people on the Island and the public elsewhere, might be able to judge for themselves wherein lay the origin of the difficulty, and upon whom rests the responsibility of destroying the peace and harmony of the Church of God.
The Rev. Dr. David Moore, the late rector of these united parishes, died on the last of Sept. 1856. At that time there was associated with him as assistant minister of the parish, the Rev. Robt. Travis, jun. There was also, officiating as assistant to the Rector, the Rev. S. D. Denison.
St. Andrews church is situated in the village of Richmond, near the central part of the Island. Trinity church is situated in the village of Castleton, on the north shore of the Island, about seven miles from Richmond. Originally the entire Island was included in St. Andrew's parish, which was established and supported by the Society for the propagation of religion in foreign parts, under the reign of Queen Anne, whose name is on the communion plate now in use in the parish church. About the beginning of the present century, it was found necessary for the accommodation of those members of the church who resided on the north shore, and who found it inconvenient to go to church at Richmond, to have a chapel of ease erected. This, with the aid of Trinity church, New York, and of contributions of friends elsewhere, was accomplished; and about the year 1800 or 1801 the chapel was opened for Divine service.
The Rector, the Rev. Dr. Moore, afterward Bishop of Virginia, preached in the morning at Richmond, and in the afternoon at the chapel. This state of affairs continued during his rectorship, and that of his son Rev. Dr. David Moore, till June the 1st, 1854, when it was found necessary to have service twice each Lord's Day at both places of worship. The people had long desired it, and the interests of the church demanded it. The Rev. Robt. Travis, jun, who was at this time the assistant to the Rector, [3/4] was called as the Assistant Minister of the parish. The clergy alternated every Sunday, each preaching once in both churches.
In the summer of 1855, the Rev. Dr. Moore finding that his health was growing feeble, and that he was unable to perform the amount of the ministerial labor to which he had been devoting his energies, procured as his Private Assistant the Rev. Edw. Marshall. Subsequently the same position was filled by the Rev. Ralph Hoyt. Subsequently the same position was again filled by the Rev. S. D. Denison--and who as has been stated was occupying it at the time of the death of Dr. Moore. Out of regard to the memory of their old Pastor, it was suggested that it would be well to leave matters in statu quo for the time being; and it was generally believed that the matter of the Rectorship would not be definitely considered, until the following Easter season. Subsequent events, however, have shown that certain parties were busy working to secure a candidate of their own, and in the last week of December, 1856, a paper was signed by a majority of the Vestry, assembled in a shop in the village of Richmond, purporting to be an invitation to Rev. Theodore Irving to preach at Richmond. [It should be here remarked, that the Rev. Mr. Denison being unable to continue the labors that he had been for some time performing in the parish, consistently with his duties in the Missionary Society, had a few weeks before discontinued his services, and the Vestry were under the necessity of procuring from Sunday to Sunday such assistance as they could. Some six or eight different clergy had in this way preached in the parish. Rev. Mr. Irving was invited, as understood and directly stated by the individuals who procured the signing of the paper, to come down and preach on trial, that the people might see whether they were pleased with his pulpit performances.] This invitation was so worded, however, that it was de facto a call to the Rectorship. Subsequent to this, the Rev. Mr. Irving came down and preached, once at Richmond and once at Castleton on the first Sunday in the January following. On the Monday and Tuesday following, the Rev. Mr. Irving called at the houses of certain of the Vestry and other members of the church, in company with one of the Vestry. At no place, as far as ascertained, was it stated that he had received a call to the Rectorship, or even intimated. (From this time till after the Installation the Rev. Mr. Cainpfield of the diocese of Mass. officiated in assisting Rev. Mr. Travis in the Sunday duties of the parish.) In the latter part of January, it was intimated that the Vestry were about to call the Rev. Mr. Irving as Rector. A day or two after this rumor was afloat, a minority of the Vestry having assembled in the church at Richmond, performed such acts as were agreeable to themselves, and having adjourned, gave out that the Rev. Theodore Irving hid been called Rector; and afterwards when two of them were pressed to state when and where, declared that it had been done for nearly a month, at the house of one of their [4/5] number, in the village of Richmond. [Up to this time, five at least of the members of the Vestry had denied that a call had been made. The reconciliation of these different statements with consistency, is left to those who can make it.] Another meeting of the Vestry was appointed to be held on the following Tuesday in the Vestry room of the church, to perform such business as might come before them. At the announcement of the acts of the Vestry, the people were struck with surprise! They were hardly believed to be true, and not until they heard the statement from the Vestry themselves, would many believe that a call had been given. The only course left was to petition the Vestry to stay proceedings, or revoke what they had done. For it was now ascertained that none of the meetings of the Vestry had been legally called. Anticipating trouble, one of the body had, some weeks before (in the month of November), resigned; another had not been notified at all of the meeting at which the pseudo call to the Rectorship was made; and the canonical provision for the call of a Vestry meeting had not in one single instance been complied with.
Two separate protests were made and signed by a large number of the congregation to this summary and secret proceeding of the Vestry. They each originated independently of the others, without the knowledge that the others had been made, and from two different parts of the parish: one was from the north shore, one was from the center and south side of the Island; and these protests were presented to the vestry meeting on the Tuesday above-mentioned. A third one would have been presented, but from the fact that the gentleman who had it in his possession was actually ignorant of the time of this meeting of the Vestry, so secret were their movements. [The knowledge of this meeting of the Vestry was attained by the other parties, who presented the two protests, only by accident, and the names attached to them were procured on Monday and Tuesday, and those attached to one of them solely on Tuesday (the day of the meeting of the Vestry) before 12 o'clock; all which goes to show how little the people knew of what the Vestry had done even up to this late period, and how incensed they were by their sudden and united action as soon as they discovered what had been done.] It was at this meeting that the letter of acceptance from Rev. Mr. Irving was received and accepted, and that, too, notwithstanding the reception at the same time of the two above-mentioned protests, with 15 names attached to one of them, 35 to the other.
Together with these protests there was a letter also read to the Vestry, from a gentleman who knowing certain facts connected with the relation existing between the late Rector and the Assistant Minister, desired that they should be fairly stated to them. The substance of this letter was, that the Assistant Minister accepted the invitation from the Rector to become associated with [5/6] him, under the promise, distinctly stated and understood, that he should be his successor; that the most friendly relations had always existed between them; and that at the last interview a few days before his death, anticipating soon the occurrence of that event, the Rector gave a charge to his young friend as to his duty to the flock which he should leave in his care. Protests and letter, and the presence of several gentlemen acquiescing therein, were ineffectual, and the acceptance of Rev. Mr. Irving was received. Either at this meeting or within a day or two subsequent, the time of the installation was appointed.
The exact state of feeling in the parish at the time may be better conceived than described.
On the following Sunday morning, Feb. 1, at Trinity Chapel, Castleton, the following notice was given by the clergyman from the desk:
A paper has been put into my hand to read, and it is as follows:
Rev. Mr. Traves, pleas give the following Notice from the desk The Right Rev'd. the Bishop of this Diocese will on Thursday Next Feb. 5th 1857 in St. Andrew's church Institute the Rev'd. Theodore Irving, L.L.D. Rector of this parish,
Service to Commence at 12 O'clock, M. dated Feb. 1st, 1856.
J. W. JOHNSON Sin. warden.
WEBLY J. EDWARDS clk. of Vestry.
A notice similar to the above was also read by the Rev. Mr. Campfield, at Richmond.
Immediately after the reading of this paper the following notice was handed to the clergyman to read:
DEAR SIR:--Will you please give notice to the congregation that they are requested to wait after the morning service, as business matters of importance are to be laid before them. Yours, &c.
The following printed notice was also found scattered throughout the church, two or three in every pew. It was also posted up in the most public places in Factoryville and Port Richmond:
NOTICE. To the Members and Congregation of Trinity Parish, Staten Island. A PUBLIC MEETING
Of the members of Trinity Parish, will be held at the Chapel of the above-named Parish,
On Monday Evening, February 2d, at seven o'clock, P. M.
To take action upon the late proceedings of the Vestry in relation to the Successor of the late Dr. Moore.
All those of the Members and other persons attending said church, who desire a fair representation of the majority in a matter so important as the selection of a Rector, and are opposed to underhanded movements made in direct opposition to the known public sentiment, are respectfully invited to attend.
 At this meeting a committee of five were appointed to wait upon Bishop Potter, to lay the whole matter before him and request a stay of proceedings.
In the afternoon at Richmond, the following notice was handed to the officiating clergyman:--
Richmond, February 1st, 1857.
REV. AND DEAR SIR,
Will you please give notice this afternoon to the congregation, that they are requested to stay after church, as matters of the utmost importance to the welfare of the church are to be brought before them.
At the conclusion of service the congregation tarried, and having organized by appointing a chairman and secretary chose a committee of five, who were to co-operate with the committee from the other church in stating their grievances to the Bishop, and laying the whole matter before him.
On Monday the above-mentioned committees met at the Howard House, 11, A. M., and appointed from their numbers a sub-committee of five to wait on the Bishop and hand to him the following letter, and to make such other statements as the time and circumstances would permit.
Letter to Bishop Potter.
After a preliminary statement, they say to the Bishop:
Our objections, briefly stated, are as follows:
1. The meeting of the Vestry at which what purported to be a call was made, was not a regular meeting of the vestry: the canonical notice was never given.
2. The Vestry was not complete; one member thereof having resigned some weeks before, and the vacancy thus occurring has never been filled, nor have any steps been taken to fill the vacancy.
3. One member of the Vestry had no notice of the meeting whatever. He could have been easily notified.
4. The Vestry had distinctly promised, to call no man till it was ascertained that the majority of the people were in favor of the candidate.
5. The call was made secretly and not in the vestry of the church, and did not transpire to the knowledge of the people till about a month subsequent.
6. Some of the Vestry state that the paper which was signed, and now construed into a call, was considered by them at the time it was given, and so stated and understood, to be only an invitation to Mr. Irving to preach, to see how he was liked, and that if a majority were in his favor, then and not till then should a call be made.
7. The people are not in favor of Mr. Irving.
8. If Mr. Irving should come, his services will not be acceptable, and he will not be useful in the parish.
 9. Should there be an attempt at an installation, there will be a public protest.
10. The people protest against any call for a Rector being made by the present vestry, or at least, until after the ensuing annual election for vestry.
The Bishop was not at home. But the Vestry with the Rev. Mr. Irving met soon at his house. Having waited some length of time, and discussed in general terms the merits of the case, the respective parties separated, having learned that the Bishop would probably be at home the next day.
Meantime several letters were addressed to the Rev. Mr. Irving, at Bay Ridge, L. I., informing him fully of the state of affairs on the Island, and the distraction that would be caused in the church should he persist in coming to the Island.
The following are copies of a few of them:--
Manor, S.I., January 28th, 1857.
REV. MR. IRVING.
DEAR SIR,--At a meeting of the vestry and church wardens of St. Andrews and Trinity Parishes held yesterday at Richmond, a letter of acceptance from you was read of a call that was made a short time since by an illegally convened meeting of said church wardens and vestry, inviting you to the Rectorship.
Believing that you are laboring under a mistake, as to the views of the members of the above-mentioned churches, I hereby send you a statement of a few facts which it is but justice to you should be made known. You expressed, when on the Island, an unwillingness to accept a call unless it was the unanimous sentiment of the people. Now, Sir, you have not more than a very small minority of the voices of the members of the churches in your favor. Yesterday when your letter was read, two protests were presented and read to the vestry--one from Trinity and one from St. Andrews, to the action of the vestry in your case. And a third also from St. Andrews, coming from the people of the south and west end of the Island, has been made, and is also soon to be presented to the vestry. The knowledge of the fact that a call had been made, was not positively known by the people belonging to Trinity Church till yesterday morning, and before 12 o'clock between thirty and forty names were obtained to a protest; not a single member of the church to whom application was made refusing to sign it; it being the almost unanimous desire of the people attending there that Mr. Travis should be their Pastor. The protests that have been made from the center and south side of the Island, have respectively the former from twelve to fifteen names of some of the most influential persons and families, and the latter between twenty and thirty names.
The facts are simply these, viz., at Richmond there is a very large majority opposed to the action of the vestry, and on the north side an almost unanimous opposition; and should you come, the distraction that will necessarily ensue will destroy the prosperity if not cause the entire dissolution of the churches; and a statement of the whole affair will be made to the Bishop. Now Sir, I have only the good of all parties in view when I make this statement. It is but just to you and to the churches to make it. Respectfully yours, &c.,
New York, January 29th, 1857.
DEAR SIR,--When an invitation was made to you by the vestry of St. Andrews and Trinity Churches, S.I., it was with the distinct understanding that if the people were please then a regular call should be made; otherwise not, and the matter should quietly drop. It is now ascertained, that you understood said invitation to be a regular call without conditions, by your acceptance of it by letter to the vestry. In consequence of which there is a great stir among the people. As you are not, I frankly tell you, their choice, protests have been gotten up, &c. in different quarters. I believe you have been deceived buy the representations of certain of the individuals with whom you have had intercourse, and who are a clique of certain contentious spirits desiring to have all their own way, despite the wishes of the majority. These few would listen to nothing but to have their own way, and thus persuaded others of the vestry to unite with them on what was not their original wish, for the sake of peace; but it is found that instead of making peace, it has caused confusion worse confounded. The people are not to be choked down. All they want is a fair representation, and that their wishes should be consulted before any action is taken, in so grave a matter as the one referred to; and they mean that they shall be fairly represented. Yours,
Staten Island, January 30th, 1857.
REV. THEODORE IRVING.
DEAR SIR,--It has come to our knowledge that the vestry of of St. Andrews Church have given you the call as their Pastor, and that you have accepted the same. Having remonstrated with those gentlemen against this course without effect, we feel it incumbent upon us to lay the facts before you so that you may be the judge as to the propriety of your filling the position. Numbers of the congregation named several prominent gentlemen that they wished to be invited to preach to us; but the vestry would not do it. The vestry have acted in such a summary manner, and in total violation of our rights and wishes, that we are sure the waning fortunes of our parish will be followed by almost entire desertion if their course is persisted in. Petitions signed by upwards of fifty-five heads of families, attendants of the church, have been presented to the vestry, remonstrating, but to no effect. And we assert without fear of contradiction that three quarters of the whole congregation consider it a high act of usurpation. The vestry have always pretended to act in accordance with the wishes of the congregation. Yet we find this call has been made when only three of that body had ever heard you preach, and before the congregation had the least intimation of any such design. Immediately on receipt of such intelligence remonstrances were drawn up, signed and presented to them; when we were coolly informed we were too late. Respectfully yours,
[Here follow the names of twenty persons, heads of families belonging to St. Andrews Church, Richmond.]
Staten Island, N. Y., Jan. 30th, 1857.
REV. MR. IRVING,
Dear Sir,--Inclosed you will find a statement, and protest to an illegal and summary action of the Vestry of St. Andrew's and Trinity Parishes in endeavoring to elect a Rector. Hoping that, in the consideration of it and of the consequences that will ensue in any attempt to carry it out, your course will be such that we shall not have to resort to the extreme measures provided by the Rubric and Canon,
We remain, yours, &c.,
We, the undersigned, having learned that the Vestry of St. Andrew's and Trinity Churches have secretly and without the knowledge of the Church members given a call to the Rectorship, do consider ourselves aggrieved in having nothing to say as to the person who shall be our Pastor; and this the more as it is well known that it is our wish and the almost unanimous wish of the church on the north shore that the Rev. Mr. Travis, who by three years' active and useful labor has justly entitled himself to the Rectorship, should fill that position.
[Here follow the names of fifty members and pewholders of Trinity Chapel.]
The Vestry and the Committees on behalf of the Churches met the Bishop next day, and had a conference of between two and three hours, and presented the letter above given. (p. 7) Nothing definite was settled further than that the Bishop promised to give his final answer in the case in the evening at eight o'clock. Perceiving that matters were drawing to a crisis, the Committees employed counsel to act for the future in their behalf. Accordingly, in the evening the counsel of the Committees waited upon the Bishop, and learned from him that he intended to proceed with the institution. Meetings were immediately appointed to be held at Richmond and Factoryville on the next (being Wednesday) evening, to hear the report of the committees, and to determine definitely what to do.
At Factoryville, the Committee reported as follows:--
We, the undersigned, a Committee, at a public meeting of the members and pewholders of Trinity Chapel, Castleton, S. I., to draft resolutions expressive of the feelings of the people in regard to the late movements of the Vestry of the united Parishes of St. Andrew and Trinity, do hereby respectfully report the following resolutions:
Resolved,--That in the late action of the Vestry we deplore that absolute departure from that Christian sentiment which should prevail, between us as their constituents, and them as the guardians of a sacred trust delegated them, and which we sorrow has been so betrayed.
Resolved,--That in the late action of the Vestry, they have transcended their powers in making any call at the present, on account of there being an existing incumbent.
 Resolved,--That the manner in which all their proceedings have been conducted has not been in a Christian spirit, nor with that open frankness which becomes the good and harmony of the Church.
Resolved,--That we believe that in consequence of the state of feeling now existing in the Parish, the Rev. Mr. Irving could never be useful as a Christian minister among us.
Resolved,--That the persistency of the Rev. Mr. Irving in desiring to become the Rector of this Parish when he well knows that it is the wish of the people that he should not be their minister, exhibits a desire for the temporalities of the Church without looking to its spiritual advancement.
Resolved, That in case the Rev. Bishop Potter persists in instituting the said Mr. Irving, we cause a public protest to be made by a Committee appointed for that purpose; that we all present ourselves on that occasion to sustain those who are appointed as our exponents.
Resolved,--That a copy of the above resolutions be presented to Bishop Potter in the Vestry prior to his attempt to proceed with the office of institution, and that a copy hereof be presented to Mr. Irving, and that the above resolutions be also printed in three public newspapers of the city.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
[Here the names of the Committee follow.]
The above being duly presented to the public meeting of the pewholders and members of Trinity Church, convened pursuant to notice on the fourth inst. at 7 o'clock P.M., were unanimously approved and adopted.
Similar resolutions were passed at the meeting at Richmond, held the same evening.
It had been determined to have a meeting of the people of both churches at Richmond, in St. Andrew's Church, at 11 o'clock A.M., one hour before the appointed time of the institution. The meeting was accordingly held, and having organized by appointing a chairman and secretary, the above resolutions were again read, and by the united voices of those present of both congregations were carried by a large majority, at about thirty minutes before 12, the house being nearly filled by this time.
Meantime, the Associate Rector had demanded and procured from the churchwarden the keys of the church, which, through fear of resistance on the part of the people, the said warden had procured to be taken from the church between 8 and 9 o'clock in the morning.
Entering the church a few moments after 12, the Bishop and two or three attending clergy proceeded to the vestry-room, where the Associate Minister presented to the Bishop a written protest on behalf of the people to the institution now about to take place. Whereupon the Bishop commanded him to give up the keys of the church to the warden, and threatened, in case of refusal, to "visit him with summary punishment,"--"to disrobe him," &c. When told that he did not have them, having given them to another [11/12] person, the Bishop, ordered his clergy to robe themselves. At this moment the counsel for the Committee handed the Bishop the resolutions above-mentioned. Disdaining to look at them, he threw them behind him. Having robed themselves, the clergy proceeded to the chancel, the Associate Minister of the parish taking his seat in the midst of the congregation, and the rector-elect in a chair in front of the chancel rails.
The service proceeded as usual. The morning prayer having been said, and the psalm being sung, the Bishop beckoned to the warden from whom the keys had been obtained, and having whispered something in his ear he went to the Associate Minister and whispered something in his ear. Immediately he arose and went to the Bishop, and there was a third whispering between them. When the Rev. Mr. Travis went to his seat he was observed immediately writing something on the fly leaf of a book he was holding. At the time, in the service of the institution, when the Bishop asked if there was any objection, the counsel of the committee appointed to make the protest read quite a lengthy paper having three general heads with several specifications. Hereupon the Bishop remarked that he had previously examined them all and found them to be groundless. When immediately Rev. Mr. Travis, who had reprocured the keys from the person to whose safe keeping be had given them, and had taken his seat in a pew within two or three feet of right of the chancel, rose and read from the paper on which he was observed writing a few moments before, a statement setting forth that he now handed, as an individual, to the Bishop the keys, because he did not wish to be contumacious to the Bishop of the church, yet in doing so did not wish to be understood as yielding at all the rights of the people and his own rights. Having made this statement he handed him the keys and took his seat, when the Bishop proceeded with the institution and preached, and the Rev. Mr. Irving administered the Lord's Supper to 29 persons, including the clergy. The congregation consisted of about 500 persons, of whom probably 250 were communicants from St. Andrew's, Trinity, and other Episcopal churches on the Island.
The above is a brief summary of the main facts. It will be but a short time before a fuller statement will be made containing all the papers that have passed between the parties, the protest on the occasion of the installation, a fuller account of the acts of the Vestry, the times of their meeting and the members present, what has been done since the installation, &c., &c.
The above is what the title to this pamphlet indicates, and is believed to be a fair and just though brief statement of what has occurred.