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TO MESSRS. WEENS AND GANT, CITIZENS OF THE
UNITED STATES IN LONDOX.
Ordination of American Clergymen of the Episcopal
Passy, 18 July, 1786 GENTLEMEN, On receipt of your letter, acquainting me that the Archbishop of Canterbury would not permit you to be ordained, unless you took the oath of allegiance, I applied to a clergyman of my acquaintance for information on the subject of your obtaining ordination here. His opinion was, that it could not be done; and that, if it were done, you would be required to row obedience to the Archbishop of Paris. I next inquired of the Pope's Nuncio, whether you might not be ordained by their Bishop in America, powers being sent bim for that purpose, if he has them not already. The answer was, “ The thing is impossible, unless the gentlemen become Catholics."
This is an affair of which I know very little, and therefore I may ask questions and propose means that are improper or impracticable. But what is the necessity of your being connected with the Church of England ? Would it not be as well, if you were of the Church of Ireland ? The religion is the same, though there is a different set of bishops and archbishops. Perhaps if you were to apply to the Bishop of Derry, who is a man of liberal sentiments, he might give you orders as of that Church. If both Britain and Ireland refuse you, (and I am not sure that the Bishops of Denmark or Sweden would ordain you, unless you become Lutherans,) what is then to be done? Next to becoming Presbyterians, the Episco
palian clergy of America, in my humble opinion, cannot do better than to follow the example of the first clergy of Scotland, soon after the conversion of that country to Christianity. When their King had built the Cathedral of St. Andrew's, and requested the King of Northumberland to lend his bishops to ordain one for them, that their clergy might not as heretofore be obliged to go to Northumberland for orders, and their request was refused; they assembled in the Cathedral; and, the mitre, crosier, and robes of a bishop being laid upon the altar, they, after earnest prayers for direction in their choice, elected one of their own number; when the King said to him, “ Arise, go to the altar, and receive your office at the hand of God." His brethren led him to the altar, robed him, put the crozier in his hand, and the mitre on his head, and he became the first Bishop of Scotland.
If the British Islands were sunk in the sea (and the surface of this globe has suffered greater changes), you would probably take some such method as this; and, if they persist in denying you ordination, it is the same thing. A hundred years hence, when people are more enlightened, it will be wondered at, that men in America, qualified by their learning and piety to pray for and instruct their neighbours, should not be permitted to do it till they had made a voyage of six thousand miles out and home, to ask leave of a cross old gentheman at Canterbury; who seems, by your account, to have as little regard for the souls of the people of Maryland, as King William's Attorney-General, Seymour, had for those of Virginia. The Reverend Commissary Blair, who projected the College of that Province, and was in England to solicit benefactions and a charter, relates, that, the Queen, in the King's absence, having ordered Seymour to draw up the charter, which was to be given, with two thousand pounds in money, he opposed the grant; saying that the nation was engaged in an expensive war, that the money was wanted for better purposes, and he did not see the least occasion for a college in Virginia. Blair represented to him, that its intention was to educate and qualify young men to be ministers of the Gospel, much wanted there; and begged Mr. Attorney would consider, that the people of Virginia had souls to be saved, as well as the people of England. “Souls !” said he, “damn your souls. Make tobacco.” I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, &c.
PIN B. FRANKLIN.
Restraints on Commerce. — Cook's Voyages. — Dr.
Passy, 26 July, 1784. TDEAR FRIEND, plays
I have received several letters from you lately, dated June 16th, June 30th, and July 13th. I thank you for the information respecting the proceedings of your West India merchants, or rather planters. The restraints, whatever they may be upon our commerce with your Islands, will prejudice their inhabitants, I apprehend, more than us. o
I have received Cook's Voyages, which you put Mr. Oswald in the way of sending to me. By some mistake the first volume was omitted, and instead of it a duplicate sent of the third. If there is a good print of Cook, I should be glad to have it, being personally acquainted with him. I thank you for the pamphlets by Mr. Estlin. Every thing you send me gives me pleasure; to receive your account would give me more than all.
I am told, that the little pamphlet of Advice to such as would remove to America,* is reprinted in London, with my name to it, which I would rather had been omitted; but wish to see a copy, when you have an opportunity of sending it.
· Mr. Hartley has long continued here in expectation of instructions for making a treaty of commerce, but they do not come, and I begin to supect none are intended; though perhaps the delay is only occasioned by the over great burden of business at present on the shoulders of your ministers. We do not press the matter, but are content to wait till they can see their interest respecting America more clearly, being certain that we can shift as well as you without a treaty.
The conjectures I sent you concerning the cold of last winter still appear to me probable. The moderate season in Russia and Canada, does not weaken them. I think our frost here began about the 24th of December; in America, the 12th of January. I thank you for recommending to me Mr. Arbuthnot; I have had pleasure in his conversation. I wish much to see the new pieces you had in hand. I congratulate you on the return of your wedding-day, and wish for your sake and Mrs. Vaughan's, that you may see a great many of them, all as happy as the first.
I like the young stranger very much. He seems sensible, ingenious, and modest, has a good deal of instruction, and makes judicious remarks. He will probably distinguish himself advantageously. I have not yet heard from Mr. Nairne.
Dr. Price's pamphlet of advice to America is a good one, and will do good. You ask, “what remedy I have for the growing luxury of my country, which gives so much offence to all English travellers without exception.” I answer, that I think it exaggerated, and that travellers are no good judges whether our luxury is growing or diminishing. Our people are hospitable, and have indeed too much pride in displaying upon their tables before strangers the plenty and variety that our country affords. They have the vanity, too, of sometimes borrowing one another's plate to entertain more splendidly. Strangers being invited from house to house, and meeting every day with a feast, imagine what they see is the ordinary way of living of all the families where they dine; when perhaps each family lives a week afterwards upon the remains of the dinder given. It is, I own, a folly in our people to give such offence to English travellers. The first part of the proverb is thereby verified, that fools make feasts. I wish in this case the other were as true, and wise men eat them. These travellers might, one would think, find some fault they could more decently reproach us with, than that of our excessive civility to them as strangers.
By the by, here is just issued an arrêt of Council taking off all the duties upon the exportation of brandies, which, it is said, will render them cheaper in America than your rum; in which case there is no doubt but they will be preferred, and we shall be better able to bear your restrictions on our commerce. There are views here, by augmenting their settlements, of being able to supply the growing people of America with the sugar that may be wanted there. On the whole, I believe England will get as little by the comVOL. X.