STANFORD AND SWORDS, 139, BROADWAY.
GEORGE S. APPLETON, 148, CHESNUT-STREET.
IN the first part of his Statement, Bishop Onderdonk thus writes of my participation in the steps leading to his impeachment: "Some six or seven days after the opening of the Convention, (the late General Convention in Philadelphia,) when the House of Bishops were about coming to order, Bishop Meade approached me, and suggested that I had better leave the house. I expressed my surprise, and asked why he made the suggestion. He said he could not explain the reasons, but again urged me to absent myself. On my repeating my surprise at a proposition so dark and suspicious, and so little comporting with the courtesy of a gentle man, the duty of a friend and brother, and the proprieties of a Christian, he said that if I continued in the house, my feelings might be hurt. This increased my surprise, and I demanded of him his reasons for so strange a procedure. He hesitated about giving any explanation. I warmly expostulated with him on the injustice and wickedness of the course he was pursuing. At length, as if reluctantly compelled, he said that there were reports unfavorable to my character, [3/4] respecting which he wished to take counsel of the Bishops. I felt what I trust was just indignation, and expressed myself to this effect: Now my course is clear. I will not shrink. I will remain at my post. If any man has aught against me, let him look me in the face, and say what it is. I also spoke strongly of his unworthy design of inducing me to withdraw, that he might, in my absence, make my character and conduct the subject of discussion in the House of Bishops. He replied, not in the House of Bishops, but before the bishops informally. This unholy evasion, was the subject of severe remarks, but I trust not more severe than they deserved. I asked what were the charges against me. He said he was not at liberty to tell. There our conversation ended. This was all that I ever heard from this brother of his having aught against me, until he was about to become one of my Presenters for trial. Yet I have good evidence that Bishop Meade had for years been speaking against me, and contributing tow public rumor to my prejudice. After some time, Bishop Meade came to me again, and said in substance, you were right. I will have nothing more to do with the matter. They must attend to their own business. These last words satisfied me that he had been acting in concert with others. And when we consider the darkness and secresy with which he acted his part, how can an honorable and Christian man think otherwise than that he was connected with a conspiracy against me."
To the same effect, in his letter to the Presenters, he says: "I assume that a clear case of malicious motive may be made out; that other views than regard for the purity of the Church may be shown as lying at [4/5] the foundation of this movement; and that a well defined conspiracy, not it is to be feared falling short of our own house (the House of Bishops,) in its comprehensiveness, may be made manifest." In the same letter he also rites: "Of Bishop Meade I was asked two or three days since, whether I considered him my friend. The question was put by one who had been in Virginia, and who said that his doubts on the subject were the result of what he had there heard, I think from the Bishop himself. I cannot but connect this with his present position, and particularly with his effort at the late General Convention to get rid of me, that he might in my absence make my character the subject of remark among my brethren."
Having made these extracts from the Statement of Bishop Onderdonk, no apology is needed for the following narrative in explanation of t part I have taken in this unhappy transaction. The reader must judge how far I am justly liable to the charges made against me.
It is, I think, about four or five years ago last August, since a worthy presbyter of our Church mentioned to me that the Bishop of New-York had brought great reproach upon religion, by the intemperate use of intoxicating drink--that on two occasions, at the meeting of a missionary committee, he had greatly distressed the same by coming thither in a state of inebriety. Shortly after this, in passing through Philadelphia, another presbyter asked me how it was that our House of Bishops was so secret as to their admonition of Bishop O. for his intemperance, adding that at their last meeting it was understood such admonition was administered. I replied that "no such thing had occurred so far as I knew;" for I had never heard of the transgression until a [5/6] few weeks before, nor did I mention to the presbyter having heard it then. A year or two after that, perhaps, I heard something, though not very particularly, about his misconduct to Mrs. Butler. On my return from England three years since, to the General Convention in New-York, I heard two of the bishops, one of whom was very intimate with Bishop O., and much attached to him, and the other on the most friendly terms, say that "the Bishop of New-York was slumbering over a volcano, which might break forth at any moment." I did not ask the cause. At the same time, I remember hearing that one or more of his presbyters spoke very freely of some improprieties of his. The next fall, at the consecration of Bishop Johns in the city of Richmond, I met with Bishop Griswold, Bishop Ives, and Bishop Whittingham. By this time the intemperance of the Bishop of Pennsylvania had become the subject of much conversation, and I mentioned it to Bishop Ives as a matter which ought to be inquired into, requesting hint to confer with Bishop Whittingham. I also mentioned it to Bishop Griswold, who said that he would make it his duty to attend to it, but he died soon after. Bishop Ives has since mentioned to me that he did inquire into the aggravated case that was stated, but found that it was unsustained.
I also alluded to the case of the Bishop of New York, and stated what I had heard as to his intemperance, and the question asked me concerning the admonition of the bishops. Bishop Ives informed me that it was true. He had been guilty in that respect, and that several of the bishops had spoken to him on the subject, that he had promised amendment, and as he believed, had fulfilled his promise. I asked him if I was at [6/7] liberty to mention the fact of the admonition, and the belief that amendment had taken place. He told me that he wished me so to do. He also spoke of the other evil report, and Bishop Ives assured me that though he believed he had been imprudent, yet he was satisfied that there was no evil design, that one of the other bishops had made inquiry concerning reports in Western New-York, and found that there had been great exaggerations. This statement of Bishop Ives I have repeatedly made when the subject has been mentioned. In the month of July last, I met with Bishop Whittingham in Alexandria, at which time, while conversing with him about the unhappy course of the Bishop of Pennsylvania, I asked him how it was now with the Bishop of New-York. He replied, "All right now." Knowing that he was intimate with him, and well acquainted in New-York, and taking his opinion in connection with that of Bishop Ives, I was satisfied that whatever may have been the transgression of this brother six or seven years ago, when the charges were first made, that there was no ground now for them. This I repeatedly said on the authority of the brethren above mentioned.
I remember stating this my conviction to a presbyter of Maryland, on my way to Philadelphia, last fall. Not only then, but for some days after leaving Philadelphia, such continued to be my conviction as to both of the faults imputed to the Bishop, and such was declared to others, when the first rumors of an inquiry were brought to my ears. It was not until from day to day I heard it asserted most positively, that one of these evil habits at least, had continued to a much later period than I had supposed, and might not then be abandoned--that proof could be adduced of the fact--and [7/8] that the members of the convention from various and even distant parts of the land, had brought with them this evil report; that I began to think I might be mistaken. I heard rumors that an impeachment was threatened by some visitors of the General Seminary. On one occasion I met a clergyman in the street, who proposed to communicate something in confidence to me about it. I at once replied, I could hear nothing in confidence, and left him rather abruptly, as he will doubtless remember. At length I became satisfied that something ought to be done. On the night preceding the day on which I attempted to bring the matter before the Bishops, I seriously considered what was my duty, not, I trust, without sincere prayer to God for direction. The result was, a determination on the ensuing morning, without, conference with any human being, wishing to implicate no one in the act, to seek an occasion of proposing to the bishops, not as a house of bishops, but as individuals, informally, to confer together as to the course of duty. And now before I proceed to state my mode of proceeding, and what occurred, I must beg of the reader, just to look over again that part of Bishop Onderdonk's Statement which refers to it, and which is at the head of this paper, in order that he may the better see wherein we differ, and also what additional matter I present. It was, as he has said, just before the opening of the house, that I proposed to him that he should retire. I had previously asked one of the bishops to do it, but he declined. I did not state my particular object to that Bishop, I believe. Most of the bishops were in the room, and some of them near us. In an under tone of voice, I asked Bishop O. to retire for a short time from the house, as I had a communication [8/9] make at which he might not wish to be present. He immediately asked whether it related to himself, or to his brother, whose case was expected daily to come be fore the house. Of course I replied, that it related to himself. He asked what it was. I replied, I did not wish to state it then, but that he would know in due time. On being again requested to inform him, I said it related to some evil reports concerning himself, about which I wished to consult the bishops. He then replied, that he would not leave the house, adding that he knew more about this subject than I did; alluding, I suppose, to charges and threats in his own diocese at a previous period, or to what was then going on. He then remonstrated against the method I proposed for the first consideration of the case, as improper, and uncanonical, saying that if any persons had charges against him, let them be brought forward, duly proved and presented as the canon provides. All this was said, according to my recollection and firm conviction, not in the style of severe and indignant condemnation of myself as an artful and wicked conspirator, but in a respectful manner, as towards one who he believed was doing what he conceived to be his duty, but was about to adopt an improper mode of effecting his object. He seemed as one expecting something of this kind, and ready to meet it in the way most likely to prevent its prosecution. Such was the impression made on my mind at the time, and immediately conveyed to some of my brethren. On his refusal to leave the house, and his remonstrance against the proposed method of bringing the subject before the Bishops, I desisted, and immediately communicated to Bishop Whittingham, whom I took into the church-yard, what had occurred. He united with [9/10] Bishop O. in his objections to the proposed method of proceeding. I assented to the force of the objections so far as to resolve not to proceed any further at that time and in that way.
Immediately on closing the conference with Bishop Whittingham, I saw at a little distance in the church yard, a clergyman who had spoken to me in strong terms on the subject, a day Or two before, expressing his firm belief of the Bishop's guilt. I went to him, and told him that I had communicated to the Bishop these evil reports against him; that his reply was, let those who make them come forward with the same duly proved in the canonical form. I then said to the clergyman, there has been much on this subject, in the way of evil report; it is time that the matter be settled; the Bishop should either be proved to be guilty, or else the persons speaking of him be silenced, and regarded as false witnesses. The clergyman's answer was: a regular memorial is now preparing, or has been pre pared, to be signed by a number of respectable ministers and laymen, and sent to the House of Bishops, requesting them to inquire into the case. I forthwith left him, and communicated to Bishop Whittingham what had passed. I afterwards spoke to Bishop Onderdonk, saying that I believed I was in error as to the proposed method of introducing this subject; that I had stated what had occurred between us to a gentleman who was acquainted with what was going on, requesting him to say to those who were making complaints, that they must make them in a regular, canonical way; that I had endeavored to do my duty, and should proceed no further in the way I had intended to adopt.
Thus my action ceased until a day or two [10/11] afterwards, when the memorial of five gentlemen was sent in to the House of Bishops. During the discussion whether this memorial should be even read, which was earnestly and effectually opposed by the Bishop's most particular friends, as an uncanonical procedure, although a precedent was in its favor, I rose and stated to the house what I had attempted to do a day or two before, my reasons for the attempt, and also for relinquishing it. My statement was briefly this: that in consequence of the numerous and scandalous reports in circulation among the members of the Convention, in the private and public houses of the city, and in the country at large, I had, during some sleepless hours of the night, many of which had late years fallen to my lot, and which admonished me that my life was more uncertain than that of perhaps any of them, seriously inquired as to my duty in this instance--that I had dome to the conclusion, that it was proper to take counsel of the bishops on the subject, but without conferring in the first instance with any of them--that being aware how the canon provided that three bishops might present a brother bishop for trial, I knew that the bishops as a house were not the proper body for originating the trial; but yet, as they were all assembled together there might be a peculiar propriety in conferring in an informal manner, as to the duty and expediency of having any investigation,--that each one might state what he knew or had heard on the subject, and thus all the information which could be obtained would be before us, and there would be less liability to mistake as to the responsible step of making a presentment. I stated the possibility of three bishops being led to make a presentment of an innocent person, not only through some [11/12] misrepresentation, but in some measure through pi dice; but that where all were convened together a at that time, it seemed the safest and most proper course for them as brethren to communicate the knowledge of the facts of the case, and their opinion as to the propriety of an investigation, grounded either on the probability of the guilt, or the extent and nature of the evil report requiring correction. I further stated, that on conversing with Bishop Onderdonk and Bishop Whittingham, I had been so far satisfied as to the impropriety of an individual bringing it forward as I proposed to do, that I had desisted from my purpose. Several of the bishops--the warmest friends of Bishop O., most solemnly remonstrated against any such preliminary conference, saying that would be a previous trial--that the matter must be commenced by three bishops acting on their own responsibility, and I was called on most earnestly to take part in it, if I thought there was sufficient reason.
Such is the simple narrative of what I have heard, said and proposed, in relation to the case of Bishop O., up to the period of its agitation in the House of Bishops. So far from being engaged in a secret conspiracy with those who have been charged with such a mode of action in this case, it may not be amiss to state, that I saw Mr. Trapier but once, I think, during the Convention, and then after the memorial was presented, and for a few moments only, at the door of the church: that I was not even introduced to Mr. Gallagher until the memorial was sent in: that I was introduced to Mr. Memminger only the day before the memorial was hand ed to me by himself, and had no conversation with him on the subject: that at the time he gave me the [12/13] memorial, our meeting was accidental in the church-yard as I was going into the street: that with Dr. Dubois I had not the slightest acquaintance until some time after the memorial was sent, and then only an introduction in company: that with Mr. Morris I had a brief conversation on the subject of Bishop O. along the street one Sunday morning, as we fell in together on our way to church, whether before or after the presentment I do not recollect. With Dr. Hawks, who has been considered by some as a chief mover in the business, I spoke a few passing words on two occasions, once in the church-yard, and again along the street, on subjects entirely foreign to this matter. Not a word did I exchange with him on the subject while in Philadelphia. While thus contradicting the charge of acting in concert with these or any other persons, in bringing on the trial of Bishop Onderdonk, I beg not to be understood as casting any censure on those worthy persons who did confer together for the purpose of investigating the truth of reports so injurious to religion, and of bringing the supposed guilty person to trial. It is impossible to exercise godly discipline on the bishops of the Church without such conference, and the bishops are the last persons who should attempt to load with obloquy those who are faithful to their duty in this respect, lest they subject themselves to the suspicion of preventing discipline in their case. My only object in the foregoing is to state the real facts of the case, and that neither directly nor indirectly, by word or epistle, did I have any intercourse with these or any other persons in the incipient steps leading to the trial. My action, or effort at action, was entirely independent, as stated above, and without conference with any being on this earth.
 Having said thus much as to my own personal concern in this transaction, I feel called on as the oldest of the Presenters, and the one most convenient to the unhappy scene of controversy, to add a few words on one or two points referred to in Bishop Onderdonk's pamphlet.
Bishop Onderdonk complains of the want of honor and generosity on our part in not showing him all the affidavits, and having a personal brotherly interview with him before the presentment, thus affording an opportunity of making explanations which might have prevented the trial. His complaint is chiefly against Bishop Elliott, in relation to a promise made by him. I leave it to that worthy brother to make answer, if indeed it shall require any from him, after the brief remarks I shall offer. All that I know on this part of the transaction is, that on being asked, by Bishop Elliott one day in the House of Bishops, whether I had any objection to the affidavits being shown to the delegation from New York, with an intimation, that perhaps on reading them they might advise the Bishop to resign, I at once consented. What passed between Bishop Elliott and those to whom he read the affidavits, I know not. When we were ready to make the presentment, Bishop Elliott mentioned to us his promise of some further communication to the Bishop and his friends before the final step. Bishop Otey and myself, of course agreed to whatever he had promised. We accordingly sent for Dr. Berrian, who bringing Dr. Higbee with him, received from us a statement of what we had done, and carded a letter to the Bishop with the substance of the presentment. As no new affidavits on which the presentment was formed, had been obtained [14/15] in New York, and the former ones had been read to three of the bishop's friends, with a request that they would state the contents to him, which contents were of such a character as could not easily be forgotten, and might readily be stated; we had therefore, nothing new to communicate. In requesting to hear from the Bishop the next morning, we did not positively limit him to that time, but I must say that we did think he would not desire more, as we believed he had nothing to offer in delay or hindrance of the presentment. When, however, on the following day, more time was asked by his friends, we at once postponed it for twenty-four hours longer, at the end of which time we were informed, that though there was dissatisfaction at the manner of our proceeding, yet no further delay was asked. In relation to the complaint that we did not personally appear before the Bishop, and receive his explanations and rebutting statements, it is sufficient to say that the charges were such as to admit of no explanation which could satisfy. So did they appear to the court and counsel on both sides. They must be either true or false. They came to us sworn to by most respectable members and ministers of the Church. Bishop Onderdonk could only deny them--as he has done since. We wished to avoid the painful refusal to admit his denial against the oaths of so many excellent persons, to which we might have subjected ourselves by a brotherly visit, such as was indeed spoken of amongst us.
But if there was this difficulty in the way of our approaching Bishop O., was there any such difficulty in the way of an approach to us by any of Bishop Onderdonk's friends, with such explanations and rebutting statements as they could furnish? Would we have [15/16] refused to listen to any one of them? Was it not the most natural thing in the world, that his friends should by proper means get accurate information of the different cases, and furnish us with the same that we might be kept from so grievous an error as a false presentment. The fact that none of his friends thus approach ed, was to us a strong proof that they had nothing to offer, and the result of the trial shows that a large majority of the bishops, beside the presenters, were dissatisfied with all that was adduced.
Bishop Onderdonk complains much of our delay of the presentment for two weeks, perhaps, after the General Convention, as affording opportunity and encouragement to his enemies to injure him by false reports. Having undertaken so painful and responsible a task as that of inquiring whether a presentment should be made, and if so, of doing it in the most unexceptionable way, it became our duty to proceed in the most cautious and deliberate manner, and to be sure that the charges made should be properly sustained. We felt, in deed, from the peculiar nature of the case, and the difficulty of obtaining information as to all the rumors afloat, and the complaints made, that months, rather than weeks were required to do ample justice to the subject. The fact, that more than three weeks were required for the trial, on the comparatively few cases adduced, is one proof of this. But the delay might surely have been used by the Bishop and his friends, in order to his benefit. Had the presenters been furnished with any good reasons for disbelieving the affidavits received in Philadelphia, they would certainly not have used them for the presentment. Friends of the bishop had heard them; the authors of them were known; most of them were [16/17] near at hand, and the ears of the Presenters would have been open to any communication; but, as already said, the very silence of the Bishop's friends as was often remarked by the Presenters, was to them proof that there was nothing satisfactory to offer. Another and most sufficient reason did we have for delay. Besides the cases on which affidavits were given, we heard while in Philadelphia and New-York, of numerous other instances of similar misconduct imputed to the Bishop, and measures were in operation for ascertaining their truth, and the practicability of obtaining evidence of the same for the trial; on which account it was proper to keep the presentment open. There was reason to believe that in several most important ones, witnesses might be induced to furnish affidavits. This expectation, however, was disappointed And here I must remark, that if the Bishop and his friends had reason to complain of certain disadvantages from the lapse of time and the nature, of the charges, much more had the Presenters, to complain of the difficulty of obtaining testimony, from the nature of the crime charged, and from the obstacles thrown in the way, of either affidavits, or an appearance of the insulted females before the court. Efforts most likely to succeed, were made to dissuade even those whose affidavits had been given, and who had consented to appear, to relinquish their purpose. Letters, anonymous, and letters with the signature of friends were written to them, entreating and warning them not to appear. The terrors of examination before a court were set forth. Ruin to the reputation of young females thus coming before the public, was declared to be inevitable, however true their testimony. A young minister of the Gospel was told, that [17/18] he might as well give up his ministry at once, as appear against the Bishop on the trial. Although these failed, yet the opposition of friends in other instances prevailed, to prevent the attendance of witnesses. And when we consider the shrinking modesty of the sex, and think upon the severity of examination to which the witnesses were subjected, our wonder now is, that so many were induced to come forward. In the fact of their coming, we see the hand of an overruling Providence, and in the manner in which they were enabled to bear their testimony, we see the power of truth to restrain the most timid of the sex under circumstances most overwhelming. In this great difficulty of obtaining witnesses to facts which came to our ears in such a manner as greatly to increase our conviction of the certainty and frequency of the Bishop's misconduct, we surely had a very sufficient reason for the delay complained of. To this may be added, a consideration which had weight with us in desiring to obtain an additional number of cases well substantiated--viz.--that it would make the trial less difficult, and perhaps supersede it altogether by a confession of guilt.
This brings me to the last remark which seems to be called for, in explanation of the conduct of the Presenters. It relates to the last article in the presentment of which Bishop Onderdonk complains, and which has been the subject of severe animadversion by some of his friends. It is that which states that beside the fore going specified cases, there were sundry others, which for want of power to compel the attendance of witnesses, the Presenters were unable to state as particularly as the others, but that the names of the persons who could testify, and who had been summoned, were [18/19] placed in the hands of the accused. In the statement made of the difficulty and failure in obtaining affidavits, and promise of attendance in different cases reported to us, may be found our reason and our justification for this article. There were some cases which we still hoped might be witnessed to, when the court should meet, but whose particulars as to time, place and circumstance, we had not been able to ascertain, through the unwillingness of the persons concerned. There were others, which we hoped the authority of the court might enable us to obtain. We designed to say to the court and to the accused, if it is wished to have the fullest investigation of the whole matter, we ask leave to enlarge the number of cases, and to introduce others which have contributed no little to the evil report against the accused. Lest he should complain of being taken by surprise, we had, at the time of the presentment, furnished him with the names of the additional wit nesses, and if more time were required to adduce rebutting testimony, the court would grant what was asked. Such was our motive and object in this last article of the presentment. The Bishop and his friends being entirely opposed to this, although there were those of the court who thought it would conduce to the most satisfactory examination of the case, it was stricken out, nor did the Presenters object. They always meant to leave it to the Bishop himself. The court, however, did not dismiss it without ordering that the names of those who, being summoned, had refused to testify, whether clergy or laity, should be reported to the bishop or ecclesiastical authority of the Diocese to which they belong.
 IN reviewing what is written above, I think of nothing which it seems important to add, but the considerations which led me to mention the fact of intemperance, as charged on the Bishop, and as having been the occasion of an admonition some years since. In the Bishop's Statement, he says "Intemperance was one of the immoralities with which it was stated by the ostensible movers in this matter, in Philadelphia, I was charged by rumor. All that the Presenters could find available on this, subject, was an allegation of having been under the inlfuence of vinous or spirituous liquors, on one occasion, more than seven years ago. How fairly the verdict was sustained by the evidence, will appear, when that is made public. The charging of an insulated act, so many years before, certainly looks very like a resolution and endeavor to blacken my character as much as possible."
So far from such an act being our desire, although we well knew all that had occurred as to this unhappy propensity, yet as he had been admonished by some of his brethren, and we had no evidence of recent transgression, we forbore to make the charge of intemperance a part of our presentment, except in connexion with the case of Mrs. Butler, from which we found it impossible to separate it.
In conclusion. In relation to the charge a personal hostility to him on my part, and of contributing for years to create prejudice against him by evil speaking, of which Bishop O. says he has good evidence, I have only to say: as to ecclesiastical matters, we have ever differed widely, and I have openly expressed my objection to his views and course, but have still spoken of him as an amiable and conscientious man, in all the [20/21] intercourse between us. Of the transgression mention ed above, I have, at different times, of course, spoken of him when the subject was introduced among brethren, lamenting the ill effect thereof on the Church and religion, in such terms as they deserved, believing them to be true; but as stated above, have ever done him the justice to mention the reasons for believing that amendment had of late years followed admonition.
Would that I were able to say that the disclosures at the recent trial, and his whole conduct during the same, had confirmed the hopes that had been entertained.
Bishop of the P. E. C. of Va.
MILWOOD, Feb. 3, 1845.