Chaplain and Professor of New Testament Language and
Interpretation in the University of the South
For The Protestant Episcopal Society for the
Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge
The charges against Dr. Shipman are cumulative in character. First comes a pamphlet, with an accompanying letter, urging Bishops and Standing Committees to refuse assent, on the ground that the Bishop-elect is president of a society which publishes an objectionable magazine. Absolutely no prior inquiry was made of the accused by the accusers in this or any subsequent charge, as to whether a given accusation rested upon a technicality which, perhaps, could be quite adequately and satisfactorily explained; whether it was in accordance with the facts, or whether there were any circumstances which might modify or even reverse the presumptive evidence. In every case the very first knowledge the accused had was by reading the published charges, which by that time were on their way to every Bishop and Standing Committee. Such has been the consistent and continuous method by which Christian gentlemen (several of whom assisted in making the vote for Dr. Shipman unanimous at the Convention) have endeavored to influence the highest authorities in our Church to condemn a man and blast his career. Now contrast this form of Christianity with the attitude of Pagan Rome. When the Jewish ecclesiastics, desperately determined to railroad St. Paul to condemnation, had made not altogether dissimilar appeals to the authorities, the straightforward old Roman magistrate sternly answered them that "it is not the custom of the Romans to give up any man, before that the accused have the accusers face to face and have had opportunity to make his defence concerning the matter laid against him."
With the issuance of the first pamphlet, however, the hunt was on. And it is an extremely difficult task, when once this primitive instinct has been aroused, and especially when this inheritance of paleolithic times is allied to Religion, either to check it or to appeal cogently to the better side of human nature. "Our brother the black beetle" is not our only brother; and most of us, under certain conditions, can still hear the almost irresistible cry of the pack. To justify our action in yielding to this temptation by saying we are sincere, to interpret as from God the curious psychologic thrill as we murmur to ourselves, "For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace," to cry with our comrades in the pure joy of the chase, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!" is scarcely enough. Doubtless our brother the wolf is also sincere, as with preserving cunning and every lupine art he relentlessly pursues his quarry to the death. But in the long process of our evolution, He Whose servants we claim to be has told us that we are to imitate such primitive relatives as wolves or serpents only in their wisdom. Be it for life or character, the hunt, with all its joys of surmounting successive failures by ultimate success: the lust for blood, whether physical or metaphorical, for Christians, at any rate, belongs to the past. "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have loving kindness one to another."
But perhaps nothing in our Church in recent times has been more profoundly depressing than to see the almost joyful alacrity with which men have responded to the cry. The one redeeming feature of the case is that the successive and cumulative attacks, so far from originating in or extending to the general Church, have been strictly limited to [2/3] members of that party which glories in the name "catholic." If it be true that "by their fruits ye shall know them," some of the methods pursued by this group are not likely to attract outsiders to their fold.
Almost immediately following the pamphlet comes the first of a series of editorials in the Living Church, more elaborately expounding the original charge. To this single point the editor has adhered, although, as the series of charges has multiplied, he says on August 13th, perhaps not in accord with the best legal procedure, which still insists upon keeping separate the functions of district attorney and jury, "Other objections to the confirmation of his election have been raised, some of which seem entirely valid" (italics mine). Now let the reader bear in mind that to the writer's personal knowledge the editor made absolutely no inquiry of the accused as to these, and then let him picture the effect of that last clause, coming from a high-minded editor of a religious magazine, upon the minds of distant Bishops and Standing Committees, to whom Herbert Shipman is but a name.
Soon, however, it was realized that the original charge would not stand. The editor of almost every other religious paper in our Church, not to mention such men as Dr. Stires, punctured it and showed its fallacy. It was demonstrated that whatever the nature of the Chronicle, the "paper arguments and inferences" which were drawn from his technical connection with it were in complete opposition to the facts. Nowhere has this been more cogently shown than in the dispassionate and judicial summing up of the situation by the editor of the Southern Churchman of July 23d. "From the evidence which we have sought impartially to weigh, though it be true that Dr. Shipman is technically the head of the Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge and is associated with the Chronicle, it does not appear to be true that in spirit and intent he has been back of the kind of expressions which the Living Church resents. Still less is it true, and this is the crux of the whole matter, that Dr. Shipman is a man of the character and temperament which the Living Church editorial would indicate--character and temperament such as to make him hostile, uncharitable, and therefore of necessity unwelcome in his ministry as Bishop to the Churchmen of the 'catholic' group. All the evidence which we have read, the testimony of Bishops, of clergymen and laymen who know him best, goes to demonstrate the exact opposite. The implications which the Living Church would seek to draw from the fact of Dr. Shipman's official connection with a periodical collapse before the living fact of the manner of man which those who know him best overwhelmingly hold Dr. Shipman to be. There is no use trying by paper argument and inference to invalidate the vital impression which a man creates among his fellows every day."
Though the first charge had collapsed, the instinct of the hunt had been aroused, and accordingly there follows the first of the series of additional charges. The Clerical Union for the Maintenance and Defence of Catholic Principles, through its secretary, who presumably, as a delegate to the Convention, helped to make Dr. Shipman's election unanimous, sent to the Bishops a strangely pathological appeal, setting forth that the Bishop-elect (after the example of the holy Apostles) had been guilty of the heinous sin of making an address in a Jewish house of worship! He had actually told some New York postmen assembled there to do honor to their soldier dead, he, one of our principal Chaplains in the war, that their comrades who had given their lives in France had offered themselves for God and the Right! Should such an one be allowed to become Bishop in the Church [3/4] of God? Perish the thought! Truly the hunt is now on in earnest. But this second charge was even more devoid of humor than the original pamphlet, and fell rather tragically flat.
Clearly some other plan to run the quarry to earth must be found; and accordingly the following letter from the Secretary of the Association for the Sanctity of Marriage appears in the Living Church of July 16th:
"To the Editor of The Living Church:
"It is obscuring the situation completely to assume that the chief or only objection to the confirmation of Dr. Shipman's election is his theological views or even his partisanship. All the Bishops and Standing Committees should have the exact words of the following confession of Dr. Shipman, in connection with a marriage performed in his church a few months ago, accompanied though it be by regret for 'the serious mistakes that were made,' concerning his dealing with what he had been told explicitly beforehand of a gross case of divorce. These are his words addressed on May 24th, to his informant, by whom I am permitted to make them known:
" 'The parties in question called upon me, and according to my invariable custom, I read to them the canon and stated the fact that I was bound to its observance. I also said that if they cared to do so the matter might be taken up with the Bishop (Burch)....The answer which the Bishop returned was that while he could not give his consent as required by the canon, he would nevertheless oppose no objection, under the circumstances, to the performance of the ceremony....Your telegram reached me about seven o'clock on the evening before the day set for the wedding (November 27th). In view of that protest, and the consequences of the scandal which it intimated, I immediately communicated with the Rev. Dr. P. T. Edrop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, who consented to perform the ceremony. In the short time which I had to make a decision it seemed to me unjust to make others suffer for a mistake not their own.'
"The question before the Bishops and Standing Committees, in view of this letter, as stated in Canon 12, is not concerning the particular stamp of churchmanship of the Bishop-elect, but of freedom from 'error in religion' and any other 'impediment on account of which he ought not be ordained and consecrated to that holy office.' In view of the strange casuistry and lack of sound judgment in a critical situation manifested in the above statement, can the Bishops and members of Standing Committees 'on this solemn occasion, without partiality or affection, and in the presence of Almighty God,' testify that they know of no such impediment?
General Secretary of the Association for the Sanctity of Marriage.
Summit, N. J., July 5th."
Now let the reader compare the above extract and comments thereon, first with the complete letter printed below, asking himself whether, as the most influential "catholic" layman in the country wrote me recently, the differences are "absolutely trivial," and that it is quite possible that the extract and the letter below are not one and the same epistle; and then let him consider the exonerating answer; finally, let him ask himself some searching questions. The subject matter of the charge is dealt with later.
"CHURCH OF THE HEAVENLY REST PARISH HOUSE
May 24, 1921.
My Dear Bishop Hall:
I have your letter in which you tell me that because of a marriage performed in the Church of the Heavenly [4/5] Rest on November 27th last you cannot give your canonical approval to my consecration as Bishop Suffragan of New York. I am not writing, please believe me, in an attempt to alter your decision, but simply that, should you desire to use them, all the facts in the case may be before you.
According to the best of my recollection, a considerable time before the ceremony, the parties in question called on me with reference to the marriage taking place in the Church of the Heavenly Rest; and, according to my invariable custom in such cases, I read them the canon and stated the fact that I am bound to its observance. I also said that if they cared to do so the matter might be taken up with the Bishop. This suggestion was adopted, and the matter, through another presbyter of this diocese (a relative of either the bride or groom), was laid before the Bishop. It was this presbyter, by the way, who was to perform the ceremony, not I. The answer which the Bishop returned was that while he could not give his consent as required by the canon, he would, nevertheless, oppose no objection, under the circumstances, to the performance of the ceremony. The arrangements were therefore made as you know, the clergyman of whom I have spoken to perform the ceremony and I to assist.
Your telegram of protest reached me about seven o'clock on the evening before the day set for the wedding, which was to be at twelve o'clock. In view of that protest, and the consequences of the scandal which it intimated, I immediately communicated with the Rev. Dr. P. T. Edrop, of the Reformed Episcopal Church, who consented to perform the ceremony, which, as I think I wrote you, is recorded in his parish register, not ours. Had your protest reached me earlier, there might have been time to recall the invitations and change other arrangements made, but in the short time which I had in which to make a decision it seemed to me unjust to make others suffer for a mistake not their own.
In regard to this whole matter, my dear Bishop, I want to admit frankly that serious mistakes were made--mistakes by which I had already determined to profit before receiving your last communication. May I add that in all my ministry of twenty-seven years I have married but one divorced person? I have lost friends and parishioners because of my refusal to interpret personally the canon otherwise than literally. Because of this experience I came to the decision some time ago that no interpretation of the canon other than literal is justifiable either for a priest or bishop.
May I say again that I am writing this not necessarily to change your decision, but to set myself right before you and others to whom you may speak?
Very sincerely yours,
The Right Rev. A. C. A. Hall, D. D., Bishop of Vermont,
Bishop's House, Burlington, Vermont."
Rutland, Vt., May 26, 1921.
DIOCESE OF VERMONT
Bishop's House, Burlington, Vermont.
My Dear Mr. Shipman:
I thank you for your frank and manly letter, which relieves me of an exceedingly unpleasant task.
I had prepared the draft of a circular to send to all the Bishops, in case I did not hear from you, stating the reason why I could not give my consent to your consecration. This of course is made unnecessary by your explanation that you had the quasi-permission of Bishop Burch for the solemnization of the marriage in the Church of the Heavenly Rest (his course cannot be canvassed); and by your acknowledgement [5/6] that serious mistakes were made, which would not be repeated.
You will understand that however I may deplore the action taken, my only object was to prevent, as far as lay in my power, an apparent sanction by the Church of a serious irregularity.
Again thanking you for your letter, I am,
Very faithfully yours,
ARTHUR C. A. HALL.
The Rev. Herbert Shipman,
Your letter would have been acknowledged yesterday had I not been engaged here in the business of our Diocesan Convention."
The original thesis charged that Dr. Shipman, as president of the society which issues The Chronicle, was responsible for all the published statements of his officers. But Bishop Manning, while not actually president of the Association for the Sanctity of Marriage, is nevertheless recorded in the Living Church Annual as being a member of its governing body. Could there be found a man silly enough to charge the Bishop of New York with even remote responsibility for this very serious publication of his secretary? Yet surely the two cases are not entirely dissimilar.
So as to come to the most important matter as quickly as possible, there is mentioned here, though out of chronological sequence, the memorial of the Churchmen's Alliance. The New York Times describes this society as "an organization of lay members of the Episcopal Church whose sympathies are with what is known as 'The Catholic Party'." Two prominent "catholic" laymen are Chairman and Vice-chairman, respectively, the latter being the compiler of the original pamphlet and the writer of its accompanying letter. It is not a serious document, in spite of its terrifying list of members, and a not inconspicuous characteristic is "terminological inexactitude." If the man who penned the following statement from the preamble, for instance (I quote from the reprint in the New York Times), was present during the sessions of the Convention, he was guilty of a deliberate falsehood; and whoever wrote it, as well as the society which endorsed it, cannot justify by any ingenuity or tortuous argument the absolute reversal of fact involved therein. "The nomination of Dr. Shipman for the office of Suffragan Bishop was unexpected, unanticipated, and without notice, so that there was no opportunity for the expression of opposition to such nomination" (italics mine). As the published minutes of the Convention will reveal to anyone, Dr. Shipman was nominated between 2:30 and 5 P. M., on Thursday, May 12th. In company with twelve other nominees put forward between the above mentioned hours, his nomination, with theirs, was equally "unexpected, unanticipated, and without notice," for the simple reason that the Bishop did not ask for Suffragans until about four o'clock on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 11th, and by resolution made on the morning of Thursday, May 12th, 2:30 of that day was fixed as the hour at which nominations would be received. This was immediately followed by a second resolution, making the next day after that, Friday, May 13th, at 11 A. M., the time at which the election should be held! Both resolutions were adopted. Here were at least eighteen hours' "opportunity for the expression of opposition to such nomination"! But not a single voice of protest was heard. Actually the opportunity was lengthened to twenty-four hours, as Dr. Shipman was not elected until 4 or 5 P. M. But that is not all. When a vote was taken to make the election unanimous, not one dissenting voice was heard. And it will be idle for any delegate who was present to say, "I did [6/7] not vote," for if not, his very silence gave consent. The present writer, as he was leaving Synod Hall a few minutes later, had a foretaste of what was to come. He personally heard one of the most highly placed "catholic" clergymen in the diocese, who by his presence on the floor had just assisted in making the election unanimous, and who that very afternoon had joined in prayer with other members of the Convention, that God would show which of the candidates He had chosen, say in a tone of fury to a friend, "Well, I shall never be satisfied with the result of this election." As for the charge embodied in the resolution of the Churchmen's Alliance, it is a repetition of that which accompanied the original pamphlet, to which, indeed, it bears some striking similarities. But what of the effect of the statement in the preamble upon the Standing Committees and Bishops ignorant of the facts? Would there not seem to have been an obvious attempt by a packed assembly to railroad a man into office?
But now there is evolved a plan designed to bring the hunt to a very definite conclusion. The Standing Committee of the Diocese of Vermont, duly convened, and "fully sensible how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality or affection, do testify that from evidence which we believe to be well founded, the Rev. Herbert Shipman, D. D., ought not to be ordained and consecrated Bishop in the Church of God." The quarry is now to be run to earth and dispatched by a coup de grace. Four charges follow, one of which is a virtual repetition of that made by the Association for the Sanctity of Marriage, and the three remaining going far beyond anything hitherto published.
The first count charges felony. That Dr. Shipman, as "President of a Society which in publishing a magazine of objectionable and unchristian character misappropriates funds given for the education of men for Holy Orders." Now men are in jail for such a crime as this, and men are also in jail who have falsely made such a charge. It is earnestly to be hoped that the Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge will ascertain from the courts whether an accusation of this sort may be made with impunity. Its utter falsity is witnessed to by another "catholic." The editor of the Living Church, in the issue of July 23d, says,
"We must make it perfectly clear that we make no charge against Dr. Shipman or against the society of which he is president of any misappropriation of trust funds, nor have we seen such a charge elsewhere. It was entirely within their discretion to take over The Chronicle and to subsidize it if such was their conception of the right way by which to promote evangelical knowledge. We believe it was bad judgment on their part, but they were entirely within their rights in acting upon their own judgment."
But it may be well to quote from the Charter and Constitution of "The Protestant Episcopal Society for the Promotion of Evangelical Knowledge," to give its full legal title. Section II. of the Act of Incorporation states that, "The object of this Society shall be to promote Evangelical Knowledge by the publication of tracts, Sunday school and other books." Article II. of the Constitution reads as follows: "The object of this Society shall be to maintain and set forth the principles and doctrines of the Gospel embodied in the Articles, Liturgy, and Homilies of the Protestant Episcopal Church, by the publication of tracts, Sunday-school and other books." There is no reference, direct or indirect, either in the Act of Incorporation or in [7/8] the Constitution, to the alleged fact that the whole or any part of the Society's reason for existence is "the education of men for Holy Orders." Neither the phrase nor any synonym occurs in either document at all.
The above statements should dispose of this particular charge, so far as it relates to Dr. Shipman's case. But how are the Standing Committees, let us say of Georgia or Tennessee or Arkansas, to know the true nature of this charge? It is not made by an irresponsible correspondent, such as the "catholic" who, on August 17, writing to reproach me for some of my published statements, elegantly asked, "Would a wreath of garlic do as a substitute for a mitre in Shipman's case?" No: the accusation proceeds from an official body of Christ's Church--men who are "fully sensible how important it is that the Sacred Order and Office of a Bishop should not be unworthily conferred," and who are also "firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality or affection"!
The complete reversal of fact in the third charge; that contrary to canon "he has solemnized the marriage of a divorced person," was guaranteed by the New York World of August 2d, an extract from which appears below. It ought to be said that the writer of the World article is himself a member of the Clerical Union for the Maintenance and Defence of Catholic Principles, who, up to the time he had made an examination of the facts, sincerely believed the charges against Dr. Shipman, inasmuch as they proceeded from apparently responsible Christian gentlemen. But only the other day he said to the present writer, "I am still a catholic, but I hang my head in shame for my party." He informed me, with reference to the article appended, that the secretary of the above society, the Rev. W. H. A. Hall, was the person who assured him that the marriage of Mr. Sidney F. Ward was the case to which the above charge had reference. Well, here is the statement from the World of August 2d, 1921. I may add that I verified the statements from Mr. Ward myself:
"The next charge [of the Vermont Standing Committee] was that he performed the marriage of a divorced person other than according to the canons of the church. The case was the marriage of Sidney F. Ward, a prominent New York banker and broker, of No. 20 Broad street, and Flora May Germond, on April 16, 1914, in the Church of the Heavenly Rest.
"Mr. Ward told the whole circumstances to the World yesterday, and this completely exonerates the Bishop-elect. The canons of the Episcopal Church permit the remarriage of the innocent party in a divorce granted for adultery if the Bishop of the diocese gives his assent.
"'When I went to Dr. Shipman to see about being married,' said Mr. Ward, 'he asked me if either of the contracting parties had been married before. I said it was my first marriage, but that the bride-to-be was divorced. Then he declared that he could not marry us, unless certain conditions obtained, and read from the canons of the church just what these conditions were.
"'I got a properly attested transcript of the absolute decree granted by a New York court, and this he took to Bishop Greer. From him he got authorization to perform the marriage, as all the conditions of the church's requirement had been met.'
"But," someone may very justly say, "you have not really shown that Mr. Ward's marriage is in fact the case referred to in the Vermont charge. Your evidence is only hearsay, that of a newspaper, and it is quite possible that the World correspondent's informant was entirely mistaken." That is true. But I must add that I wrote as well to [8/9] the secretary of the Vermont Standing Committee, Rev. E. D. Stone, D. D., who, in answer to my demand for specifications as to the charge, such as names, date, ground of previous divorce, etc., replied, "I am not permitted to give names and date," confessed that the evidence on which the charge was based was hearsay, and again failed to say whether it was other than the innocent party who had been remarried. Now there is only one word to apply to all this, and the reader can fill it in for himself. Utterly failing in my endeavors to secure first-hand evidence, for the reason just stated, I was thrown back upon a solemn inquiry addressed to the accused, as to whether he had at any time broken the Church's law in this matter. Under date of August 1st he replied as follows: "Never to my knowledge have I performed a marriage ceremony in which there was the slightest doubt without consulting the Bishop. To have done so would have been a violation of principles so deep-seated as to make it inconceivable." Now let the reader ponder the effect of this accusation upon Bishops and Standing Committees generally. Here is a charge made by a body of Christian clergymen and laymen, next to the Bishop the highest authorities of the diocese, who are met together in solemn conclave, and reach a most painful conclusion "from evidence which we believe to be well-founded." "Why, it must be true: these priests and laymen solemnly vouch for it. We do not think such a man ought to be made Bishop. We shall withhold assent." And the resolutions were sent to all Bishops and Standing Committees by four "laymen of the diocese of New York," every one of whom, I am informed, is a member of an extreme "catholic" parish.
As to charge number four, I can scarcely bring myself to speak. That Christian men, in their desperate determination to torture and then kill the quarry at any and all costs, should sink so low as to attack a man through his wife, who happens to have been born into fashionable New York society, is so appalling as to make one almost despair for the Church. No man has dared to come out openly and make a specific charge, for he knows well what would follow. But innuendo, backstairs gossip, "Town Topics" tattle, "I hear this" and "I hear that," have been circulated by underground channels through the length and breadth of the Church, to the shame and disgust to every follower of Christ. As a lay member of a distant Standing Committee, who at first had been profoundly influenced by some of the earlier charges, but who after investigation had utterly reversed his judgment, wrote me the other day: "I had made up my mind to vote for concurrence; but if I had not, the effort to drag family and personal matters into the controversy would, I think, have decided me. I have no patience whatever with that kind of tactics, and some of these things are dastardly." I leave the subject with a sense of nausea; and I can think of no more appropriate words by which to summarize my feeling than those of Mr. Marshall, which, in his letter to the Bishops that accompanied the original pamphlet, he applies to the Chronicle. "I have a sense of disgust in handling some of the material submitted in connection with a candidate for a holy and apostolic office."
But there is yet another charge in this four-square document from Vermont. Charge number two is that contrary to canon "he has permitted a man not a minister of this Church to officiate, the occasion being the marriage of a divorced person." This count, which is virtually that of the Association for the Sanctity of Marriage referred to above, has reference to the marriage in the Church of the Heavenly Rest on November 27th, last, of Wyllys E. Dowd, Jr., [9/10] to Anna Clement Knowles, the ceremony being performed by the Rev. Percy T. Edrop, D. D., a clergyman of the Reformed Episcopal Church. This marriage, after the Bishop's authorization testified to in Mr. Dowd's affidavit printed below, and required by Dr. Shipman as stated in his letter printed above, had been secured, was to have been solemnized in the above named church by a relative of the groom, Rev. Nathan A. Seagle, D. D., with Dr. Shipman assisting. Then came Bishop Hall's telegram of protest, at the very last hour, during the "rehearsal" of the ceremony. This was immediately taken to Bishop Burch by Dr. Seagle, as Mr. Dowd's affidavit below shows, and the former gave his consent to the marriage being performed by Dr. Edrop. It is distasteful to bring Bishop Burch's name into this matter, but inasmuch as a prominent "catholic" has written that those whom he calls "the anti-Shipmanites" charge that in reality he gave no such consent; inasmuch, further, as the Diocese of Vermont has seen fit to make this charge, again with absolutely no prior inquiry of the accused, it seemed necessary for the sake of truth to ask for statements from the parties concerned. I have requested a statement from Dr. Seagle, but as he is away on a motor trip it has been impossible to get into communication with him. It is hoped that in view of the statements appended, the meaning of Dr. Shipman's remark in his letter to Bishop Hall, that serious mistakes had been made, by which he had determined to profit, may become apparent. It is of a piece with the delicacy and chivalry of the rest of the letter, wherein everyone but himself is shielded.
Mr. Dowd's affidavit:
"W. E. Dowd, Jr.
September 7, 1921.
The pertinent facts in regard to my marriage in the Church of the Heavenly Rest on November 27th last are as follows:
In my presence and in the presence of an Episcopalian minister of this city, who is not connected with the parish of the Heavenly Rest, about four weeks prior to the marriage, the late Bishop Burch authorized the latter to perform the ceremony, the facts in the case having been presented by me to the Bishop at the request of Dr. Shipman, in whose church it was desired to have the wedding. The evening before the date set for the wedding Dr. Shipman received a telegram from Bishop Hall of Vermont, calling attention to the fact that a divorced person was about to be married in his church. The substance of this telegram was at once communicated to the Bishop by the above mentioned Episcopal minister, by whom I was informed that he, Bishop Burch, gave consent to the ceremony being performed in the Church of the Heavenly Rest, either by an Episcopalian minister or by another not of that church. Dr. Shipman thereupon elected to request Dr. Percy T. Edrop to officiate, and the ceremony was entirely performed by the latter.
W. E. DOWD, Jr.
Sworn and subscribed before me on this 7th day of September, 1921.
[Seal] DAVID M. McCULLOCH,
Notary Public, Kings Co. No. 86.
Certificate Filed N. Y. County No. 21.
Kings County Register No. 3007.
N. Y. County Register No. 3014.
Commission expires March 30, 1923.
Dr. Edrop's statement:
"To the best of my recollection, at about 9.30 P. M., November 26, 1920, Dr. Shipman, my very dear friend and fellow chaplain in the war, called me up at my house to ask whether I would solemnize the marriage of Wyllys E. [10/11] Dowd and Anna Clement Knowles in the Church of the Heavenly Rest the following morning. He informed me that one of the two parties had been divorced, and that some time previously it had been arranged for the Rev. Nathan A. Seagle, D. D., a relative of one of the parties, to perform the ceremony, and himself to assist, the circumstances having been presented to Bishop Burch by the groom in the presence of Dr. Seagle, and consent having been secured from the Bishop. He said, further, that about two hours previously he had received by telegram a protest from Bishop Hall of Vermont, which Dr. Seagle had immediately taken to Bishop Burch. That following the conference with the Bishop, Dr. Seagle had reported to him (Dr. Shipman), that in view of the protest being received at the very last hour, with arrangements of various sorts having been made which it would be well nigh impossible to cancel, he, Bishop Burch, would offer no objection to the marriage being performed in the church by one other than a clergyman of the Episcopal faith. Accordingly I performed the ceremony the following day in the Church of the Heavenly Rest and recorded it in my parish register."
(Signed) PERCY T. EDROP.
September 7, 1921.
This, so far as I am aware, completes the series of charges against the Suffragan-elect. For the unworthy editorial of Mr. George H. Randall in the August number of the St. Andrew's Cross need not be reckoned among the number, inasmuch as the writer has made public apology for his words, both to Dr. Shipman and in all our Church papers. And he has thereby created a good precedent.
The present writer does not lay claim to infallibility, and it is quite possible that in some detail above he may have been guilty of error. If such be shown to him, he will most gladly apologize. But he does claim to have given most serious and painstaking study to each and every charge as it appeared. He further affirms that, with reference to every accusation, he has faithfully and honestly examined the accused, having no other motive than the elucidation of Truth and Righteousness, on whichever side a patient sifting of the evidence should reveal it to lie. And as he has pursued his inquiry, certain facts have become apparent, and today stand out in sharpest relief. First, that the general Church has alleged no fault in him whom the Diocese of New York unanimously elected as its Suffragan Bishop. Second, that every single charge of which the writer has been able to secure knowledge, has proceeded solely and absolutely from the members of one single party in the Church--that which calls itself "catholic." Third, that so far from endeavoring to obtain from the accused any data which might have bearing upon any prima facie evidence against him, his accusers completely ignored him, and kept him in ignorance of the accusation until it was on its way to the (nearly) two hundred distant juries who were to decide his fate. And, further, that in many cases his accusers, upon the basis of their own "evidence," much of which, as has been shown, is to be spelt with a very small "e," were not content simply to present it for what it might be worth, but on the contrary, to the limits of their power instructed the above-mentioned juries to return a verdict of "Guilty"!
Fourth, that apparently in every case where presumptive evidence was ambiguous and admitted of either a worse or a better construction, the former was adopted, and made the subject of the charge. Fifth, that more than one Standing Committee and more than one Bishop have accepted one or more of the above charges at their face value. Finally, that among the many and [11/12] varied charges sent broadcast through the Church, not one single fact has been produced which was not known to those who elected him Bishop at the Convention last May. Known also were all facts to Bishop Manning, his fellow presbyter and neighbor for many years, who, at the great Waldorf dinner held shortly after the election, said with deep feeling that an almost ideal Convention had
"crowned its splendid work by electing as Suffragan Bishops two men whose choice should give, and I am sure will give, satisfaction to the entire diocese--two men of strength, of experience and of spiritual power, for each of whom I have a warm personal affection, each of whom will make his own special contribution to our united strength, both of whom I welcome with my whole heart as brothers and co-laborers--Bishop Lloyd and the Reverend Dr. Shipman."
This is not the perfunctory utterance of one formally accepting the election of a man whose nomination "was unexpected, unanticipated, and without notice, so that there was no opportunity for the expression of opposition to such nomination." Very obviously they are words of profound gladness and thanksgiving, and proceed from the fulness of the heart. And with this we may bring the subject to a close.
May we all--as at this critical juncture in our Church's life we seek to ascertain the facts--endeavor to set aside our own prepossessions, whether on the one side or the other, and make our own the words of our Lord: "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."