ELIZABETHTOWN, June 20, 1774.
MY DEAR SIR,--The not seeing you on your return from Philadelphia last winter, was a considerable disappointment to me, as I partly depended upon your spending a day here, that we might have time to read over, while together, the "Life" of your father which I had compiled a year before. If I could have consented to send it to the press without your inspection and examination, it would have been published long ago, but I have all along been impressed with a strong sense both of your right to be consulted, and of the advantage which the work would receive from your correction, and perhaps from your addition, which has hitherto, and will still cause me to suppress it, till it can be honored with your Imprimatur. With a view chiefly to this I have proposed from time to time, to take a journey into New England; but difficulties have as often arisen to interrupt me. Once indeed, I could have come, but I recollected that you must then be engaged in attendance upon the General Court at Hartford, and consequently would not be at leisure, nor at home to consider matters of a literary nature. As, therefore, I have no prospect of going your way, and hear not of your intending to come this way, during the present summler, I have determined to send you, as I am like to have no opportunity of bringing, the rough copy of the "Life; " requesting you to examine it very closely, and to make such corrections upon ally parts of it as may occur upon a careful perusal. I expect Mr. Beach to call upon me in an hour or two in his way to New England, by whom I propose to send it; and if you can be ready to return it by him, it will be so much the better. [Rev. Abraham Beach, then Missionary of the Church of England at New Brunswick, and afterwards assistant minister of Trinity Church, New York.
I shall send with it your father's MS. that you may compare them together. On that comparison you will find that I have used it only as a guide, preserving the facts in their chronological order, adding many anecdotes collected from other quarters, and some of them recollected from what I formerly knew, and expressing the whole in my own language. This I thought would better answer the general design than confining myself more strictly to the MS. I have concluded the whole with a portrait of the character of my beloved patron and friend. I could wish to do it justice; in order to which I would neither say too much nor too little. As I find that private affection is apt to predominate, I have endeavored to be on my guard, in this part, which is by far the most difficult of the whole. Be so good, therefore, as to bestow a particular attention to this part, and advise and assist me in it with all freedom.
In transcribing for the press, I fancy I can make some considerable improvements, especially by way of notes. I have, as you will see, made some references to authors, extracts from which are intended for that use.
As soon as you return the "Life," I think of issuing Proposals to see what encouragement can be procured for a publication of this nature. New England, and especially Connecticut, I flatter myself, will subscribe liberally to the work. New York may be expected to do something, and the Colonies to the southward of it but very little. With right management I should imagine a pretty large subscription may be procured; in which case I may save myself here, although I have lost money by every former publication I have been concerned in. If you think proper, I will try what encouragement can be had for a volume of your father's sermons, towards which but little can be expected this way. When I have done what I have to do, I will return you all the papers, letters, etc., which you were so good as to transmit to me but while anything is depending, it is best that they should remain in my hands; for which reason I must desire you to send back the original MS., from which the "Life" is chiefly compiled.
By so good an opportunity I shall send a copy of my "Free Examination," etc., of which I request your acceptance. A few copies were subscribed for, and five or six paid for in Connecticut; but as strange as it may seem, I have not been able to get them sent. Gaine says it has not been possible to procure a binder to do them up in New York, as every person of that occupation was previously engaged in other business; however, he now promises that they shall be forwarded very soon. A copy arrived in England about the beginning of April; and the Bishops, etc., ordered the substance of my "Free Examination," together with Sherlock's "Memorial," to be immediately reprinted there, imagining it might be of service at that critical time when a plan was under consideration for the future regulation of the Colonies. Lord Dartmouth took up the cause of the Church, and appointed to meet, and consult with the Bishop of London about the Episcopate requested. He thought of bringing the case immediately before the Parliament; but the Bishop of Oxford was of opinion that the Parliament had no business with it, and that it was best to wait for the event of the Boston Expedition.
With compliments to Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Kneeland, and your families,
I am, with great truth and sincerity,
Your very respectful and obedient servant,
THOMAS B. CHANDLER.
After the Revolution and the settlement of' the Government, he wrote again in answer to a request for the return of the papers as follows:--
ELIZABETHTOWN, December 28, 1785.
MY DEAR SIR,--
Although I do and always shall think myself honored and obliged by every line I may receive from you, yet I am ashamed that I have given occasion for that of the 21st instant, by not sending you, or at least, not giving you some satisfaction concerning the papers of your most excellent father, my ever honored friend and patron. I am ashamed too, that I have not sooner returned the " Journal " of the Convention in Virginia, which you kindly put into my hands on my first arrival in New York. These neglects will not admit of a full justification, yet I beg you to allow as much as you can to the following apology.
To a person of my disposition, and in my situation, it was impossible, for a considerable while after I got home, to attend to any matters of business excepting that kind of business mentioned by Sir T. Moore; nempe reverso domum, cum uxore fabulandum est, garriendum cum liberis, colloquendum cum ministris. Quæ ego omnia inter negotia numero. As soon as I was able to attend to other matters, I found my books and papers in such confusion and so widely dispersed, many of them being still in New York, and in different hands there, that it was the work of much time to collect and arrange them. When I had got together the bigger part of your father's sermons, letters, etc., considering that everything of the kind must be peculiarly agreeable to the family, I meant to send them to you in New York, but, upon inquiry, was informed that you were gone into the country. Mr. Beach paid me a visit about the 10th of November, and then informed me that you were not in town. Since that time I have had the same answer to the same question, and did not know of your return, till I learned it from your letter. I shall now soon send you, to the, care of Mr. Livingston, the various articles I have collected, they being, in my opinion, too bulky to go by post, unless divided into different parcels. Most of the Sermons and Letters I have found, and am not without hopes of finding the remainder. As to the "Memoir," I took it with me to England, imagining it would be safer with me, though subject to the perils of the sea, than if left behind, "in perils among false brethren." I brought it back with me in good preservation.
I have taken the liberty of inclosing a letter for Bishop Seabury, and must beg the favor of your passport for it. I now return the "Journal" of the Convention in Virginia. I had hardly time to read it in New York, and I brought it over with me, that I might be able to give a better account of the transactions to some people in England, in letters which I was a long time in writing. After making this use of it, I meant to send it with the other papers; and for the reasons assigned above, this part of my intention has not sooner been carried into execution. In the meanwhile, I hope you have not suffered greatly for want of this curious publication. A curiosity indeed it is for it exhibits such a motley mixture of Episcopacy, Presbytery and Ecclesiastical Republicanism as before was never brought together and incorporated, and must surprise the whole Christian world.
The proceedings of the Convention in Philadelphia, which is to be considered as a kind of cumenical Council, were much in the same style, though not so wild and intemperate. In their Address to the English Archbishops, they say that it is "their earnest desire and resolution to retain the venerable form of Episcopal government;" and yet they have placed their Church under a government that is evidently Presbyterian. Conventions, consisting of ministers and lay-elders, or messengers (no matter by what name they are called), are to meet without the call or license of the Bishop; it does not appear that he is to have any negative upon their proceedings, or even to preside ex officio; and, in case of his delinquency, he is to be arraigned before the tribunal of his own presbyters, etc., who have a power to displace him. They expect the Bishops in England to countenance this newfangled Episcopate; but, from what I know of them, I can hardly believe that they will be aiding to a scheme formed with a design to degrade the Episcopal order by depriving it of that authority which it has ever claimed and exercised as an essential and unalienable right, since the time of the Apostles.
In Connecticut the Church has proceeded upon other maxims, and merits the approbation and applause of all the friends of genuine Episcopacy. I wish that so fair and proper an example may still, if possible, be followed in the other States. The more I consider the matter, the more I am pleased, that, as yet, you have made no alterations in the Liturgy, but such as are necessary to accommodate it to the change of Government.
You are pleased to intimate an inclination or wish to make me a visit. I should be extremely happy in seeing you here, and in giving you the best reception in my power; and I shall rejoice in every kind of opportunity of proving myself to be, with peculiar esteem and respect,
Your very affectionate humble servant,
T. B. CHANDLER.
DR. W. S. JOHNSON.