John Ireland.

A second solemn appeal to the church : containing remarks and strictures on the late violent proceedings of a pretended ecclesiastical court against the author online

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themselves very differently under similar circumstances ?
Has not one of them confessed (while discussing this
very point) that had not his sons forcibly restrained him,
* he should have broken every bone in a certain person's
' body?' Have I not frequently heard Dr. B. Moore de-
tail, with infinite humour, the particulars of the prowess
displayed by his reverend friend* of pugilistic memory ?
Nay, have I not heard him dilate with all the enthusi-
asm of a Cribb, a Mollneux, or a Belcher, on the ma-
nual exploits of a Right Rev. gentleman, who held, as long
as he lived, the first place in the Doctor's love and es-

* The Rev. Mr. — of A — was, while he lived, the confi-
dential friend, the *■ Magnus Apollo," the " omnis homo" of Dr. M :
who never appeared in such ecstacies, as while this pupil of Men-
doza was displaying his enorsnous fists, j.nd recounting- the dread
'^iflects of their application.



56

teem : does not Dr. Hobart himself promise to rival
* The chicken' in feats of hardihood aiid valour ? Has
he not called his colleague * coward' ' brandished' his braw-
ny arm over the little man's head, ;>iid put himself in a
posture to " to punish him ^*' Whence is it that these ^r^a^
men sliould be entitled to applause for deeds of actuai vi-
olence (committed, in one instance, on the body of anothi-
er clergyman, and in the presence of a numerous collec-
tion of the clergy) while a mere sciolist, a very tyro, fol-
lowing ' baud passibus sequis' is doomed to condemna-
tion ? Su'-ely these things ought not so to be. Has Astiaea
then quitted the gross atmusphere of the lower regions ?
and IS she, indeed, gone to re-inhale tre purer air of her
native skies ? Godd.:-ss farewell ! may we meet in an-
other and a better wr-f id.

Thus have I, with all that ingenuousness which has
hitherto marked my walk thro' life, laid before the public
the full front of my offending. What sentence awijits
this my appeal to the moht av/ful tribunal on earth, I ven-
ture not to foretel : but I repose with ' trembling hope'
on the conviction that my pre^^ent judges are nnpartial,
and that no improper bi s will make them swerv*- from
the line of rectitude, in their decision. The publi' sel-
dom judge amiss, when no concealment is practised, when
the subject of discussion is laid before them without art
or disguise. I therefore expect, with no little confidence,
that this my "appeal unto Cesar" will be proJuctive of
a decfee less severe, than that which has issued from a
benchof implacable J ws.

An important question (so far as importance can be at-
tached to the subject of these sheets ) suggests itself here
— W-'hence is it that four clergymen could prosecute with
sucli rt-lentless cruelty, and xXvdifour others, with a bishop
at their head, could agree to punish with such unparalleled
severity, a man who describes himself as more sinned
apaiust, than sinning ? The answer to this enquiry must
be sought from those who were concerned in this scheme
of proscription. For my own part, I am destined to ' grope
« in the dark,' until I shall be brought to confront my ac-
cusers at the bar of a righteous God. Then indeed, will
the secrets of all hearts be disclosed, and then shall every
njotive to cvcrv lutrnan action be derclopcd. In the mean



57

time I must sit down contented with such imperfect lights,
as the nature of the case will afforcJ. Vaiious are the con-
jecturt^s which I have heard hazarded on the subjccu Some
of them are such as I can not repeat without the imputa-
tion of vanity : but vhey generally meet in this central
point— that a powerful combination has been formed, for
the purpose of expelling all independence of mind and
conduct, all talents, learning, and piety, from the diocese.
Is there a man so sturdy as to refuse the customary to-
kens of homage, exacted by the lordly Haman i The dogs
of war areslipped againstthe d» voted victim, who, if he had
a thousand lives, must forfeit them all to their ruthless
rage. Is a candidate for orders discovered to possess
superiour talents or acquirements i The dread, lest certain
characters, high in dignity and power, should serve as foils
to so bright a gem, is an insuperable bar to his success
'hi the church, Is a clergyman known to pray in his fam-
ily ? He is instantly denounced as one in whom no confi-
dence can be placed ! Is he known to pray out of his fami-
ly ? The unpardonable sin is noted down and ceaseless
persecution awaits the bold innovator. What is it that has
obr^ained for Mr. Lyell's congregation the enviable eulo-
gviattiy pronounced by Dr. Hobart ? The desertion of
hun ireds of its most valuable members, and the expulsion
of all those evidences of piety which were, of late its most
honoural-iie characteristics.

A love of justice, a regard for the reputation of the.
church and her ministry, could 7iot have been the motives
Which actuated the parties concerned in my prosecution
and sentence. Thn se principles produce an uniformity of
character, a consistency of conduct. But is it consistent to
stride over a a mountain of enormity, and to stumble at
a molehill of delinquency ? Did not Dr. B. Moore him-
self ihform me, that ore of my prosecutors had been charg-
ed with immorality, with lying? Did he not add that the
charge had been exhibited to him both by clergymen and
laymen, and that he had been urged to give the accusers
an opportunity of substantiating the charge I Did not the
same Right Rev. gentleman inform me, that one of his
presbyters had been accused before him, of exacting five
dollars for administering the sacrament to a dying wo-
man ? And has not this good bishop, since the exhibition



^8

of the complaint? recommended that presbyter to a cutt
which he now holds in the diocese ? Is a habit of daily-
intoxication a venial offence ? and is speaking unadvisedly
with the lips a deadly sin ? Where lurked a regard for
the reputation of the church and her ministry? while the
colleague, the constant companion, the bosom friend of
Dr. B, Moore> was permitted to reel through the streets
of New York, and to stagger into the pulpit of Trinity
church, while both hands and eyes too plainly betrayed
the preceding night's debauch ? Is an unfounded charge,
of receiving more interest than a statute allows, to be pun-
dished capitally ? and is the constant practice, of violating
a divine statute against intemperance, a peccadillo unworthy
of notice ? Have no such offenders been known to the
gentleman who presided at my trial, or to him who pro-
nounced my sentence ? Was it not straining at a
gnatj to punish without mercy a clergyman, whose only
crime was a momentary ebullition of anger ? and was it not
swa lowing a camel, to receive with every mark of hos-
pitality, respect and esteem, another who was openly
living m a state of adultery ? a rcrlsal of what I have al-
ready written under this head fills me with horror and
disgust J and I start with affright at the very outlines of
a picture which I had undertaken to draw. This must be
my apology for dropping the pencil.

Nor was it a dread, lest I might interfere with the de-
signs of a rival, which actuated my prosecutors and pro-
duced my sentence. Six years ago I had discovered,
that a certain young man of lofty pretensions had associa-
ted with ' seven other spirits' as factious as himself ; had
put himself at the head of the party ; had insinuated him-
self nto the good graces of a certain dignified personage 9'
had contrived to drive from the ear and confidence of the
latter, all who would not subserve his own views ; had
formed a plan for filling with his minions every vacancy in
the church ; and had proscribed, not only those who
might stand in the way of his aggrandizement, but such
also as refused to fall into his train. No sooner had I
mad? this discovery, than I withdrew myself as much a&
possible from the scenf* of turmoil, in the hope that a life
of privacy and seciusun would exempt me from the
effects of envy, hatred, or malice. I declined every



HiVerture of exchange with my brethren of N. York atid
gradually retired from all their councils. I made, however,
two or three attempts to rescue nty once much respect-
ed friend, Dr. B. Moore, from the danger that awaited
him. Conscious that a plaa * was laid for readering his
administration ridiculous and odious, I advised him to re-
admit to his confidence other counsellors and friends*
But he was so completely fascinated, that he could not
make an effort to throw off the chain by which he was
bound, altho he complained, that it already began to gall
him : and I was compelled) with infinite reluctance, to re
sign him to his fate. Nor were my efforts to ward off
my own destiny more successful ; the conductor, which
I had so carefully erected over my humble dwelling, in-
stead of adding to my security, conveyed the lightning to
the very spot : my refusal to join in the work of d -ath, was
the very signal for my own destruction. About three
years ago, circumstatices of a private nature seemed to re-
quire my presence in Europe. I resigned my charge in
Brooklyn. The state of public affairs, at this period,
rendering an European voyage hazardous, I (engaged fof
an indefinite term to supply the vacancy in Jamaica.
After devoting som months to this duty, I resolved to
pay a visit to my friends m S. Carolina, among whom I
passed a winter On my return to this diocese I led a life
of perfect retirement ; interfered with no man's labours ;
interrupted no man's views ; and declined three proposals
for settling in vacant parishes. Mention is made in one of
the late pamphlets (it matters not which) of some unhappy
consequences to be apprehended from my expected set-
tleixient in Jamaica. To what consequences the vvriter
alludes, I know no more than any one of my readers;
perhaps he means only to say, that my settlement there
[email protected] have excluded one of Dr. Hobart's dependents.
But, *' Davus sum, non Oedipus ;'' I pretend not to un-
derstand the cabalistic language of our ecclesiastical cab-
inet I have reason to (relieve that I was respected and

* That Messrs. Hobart and How held Bishop M. in utter con-
terapt, and that they had the effrontery to speak of his conduct in.
terms of disrespect, is ^as 1 am informed^ susceptible of proof by a
venerable clergyman, who resides within a hundred miles of St'.
-Paul's church, N. York.

H



esteemed in Jamaica, and that no apprehension was thfre
entertained of unhappy consequences to result from my
residence in that parish : on the contrary, the proposals
made to me by some respectable and influential mem-
bers of that congregation (but which I declined) led me
to suppose that my clerical services would be acceptable
to them. While I was thus reposing in imaginary secur-
ity under my own vine and figtree, enjoying the comforts
of seclusion, and anticipating some peaceful days to come,
suddenly a cloud broke over my head, and the bolt fell ;
not a speck had previously marked the heavens, nor was
there even a flash to prepare me for the tremendous ex-
plosion : a letter from Dr. B- Moore announced that
my days were numbered, and that I must prepare myself
to be offered up, a victim to the malice of unseen and
unknown foes.

But it is in vain to perplex the reader or myself with
conjectures and surmises : the motives of my accusers
will never be made known, (unless the consciences of
some of them should constrain them to cry out) until the
day of final retribution will bring to light every deed of
darkness. Nothing is more easy than to shew, what the
motives were not ." but to shew what they xvere^ requires a
knowledge which few possess, a knowledge of the arcana
of the Vatican.

If I have succeeded in establishing one fact, viz : that
the proceedings against me are unwarrantable, I flatter
cayself that I have succeeded no less irj establishing an-
other^ viz: that Mr. Jones's assertion (of the existence -
in this diocese of a system of violence^ intolerance, ty-
ranny and oppression) is true, and that I am a living
instance of its truth. To myself it is perfectly imma-
terial, whether Mr. Lyell, or Dr. Hobart, or Dr. B.
Moore be at the head of this system : but its existence
is as well ascertained, as the existence of the sun in the
firmament. Mr. Jones has taken some pains to convince
the public, that the person who has brought the church
into its present state of temporary disgrace, who has
occasioned the distraction that now pervades the dio-
cese, is no other than Dr. Hobart. This measure on the
part of IVlr. Jonts might be necessary in behalf of those
who reside at a distance from the sc^ne of action: but



61

in N. York and its neighbourhood the fact is too noto-
rious to require proof. If, however^ there be any who
still doubt of the ascendency which Dr. Hobart has
gained over the mind and conduct of Bishop Moore, or
of the supreme control which he exercises over all the
affairs of the church in this state, let them once more di-
rect their attention to Mr. Ly ell's certificate, respecting
the origin of the charge brought against Mr. Feltus. It
will there appear that Bishop Moore had not resohition
enough to take a single step in the affair, without pre-
viously consulting Dr. Hobart. He therefore proposed
to accompany Mr. L. to Dr. H's sick room, where this
triumvirate, Mr. Lyell, Dr. Hobart and Bishop Mo ore ^
agreed that a statement, of Mr. Feltus's imputed impro-
priety of conduct should be presented to one of their own
number, viz : to Bishop Moore j who thus joined in
drawing up an accusation which was to be laid before
himself^ and on which himself was to pass judgement :

* Dr. Hobart*s agency in the business arose from the above

* interview with the bishop.'

Should this instance (published with the apparent de-
sign of proving Bishop M.'s imbecility) fail to produce
conviction, I will here detail some particulars of the last
interview, which took place between the last mentioned
gentleman and myself. If the perusal do not convince
those who have hitherto remained in doubt, neither will
they be persuaded though one were to appear to them
from the dead.

I had written a letter to Dr. B. Moore, which, in order
to prevent the possibility of interception^ I had determined
to put into his own hands. I found him in his study, in
conversation with another clergyman. After apologizing
for interruption, I entered on the subject of my letter ; ad-
verted to the cruel treatment which I had lately experien-
ced ; complained of Dr. M.'s own unkind conduct towards
me ; and concluded with a request that he would appoint
the time and place.for a future and more important inter-
view, in the presence of two or three mutual friends. Hr,
M. was melted by the representation which I made of my
sufferings : my complaint not only entered into his ears,
but descended into and softened his beart. The man was
himself again : he promised to see noe in his own study, at



m

10 o'clock tbfi next morning, when atl company should
be excluded, except such persons as I might bring with
me, I»» virtut of this engagement, 1 requested a friend to
meet me at the time and place appomted. I then called
at the house of another, to whom I made a sitnilir re-
quest : but the latter gentleman was of opinion that I had
acted indiscreetly in consenting to an interview, at which
none but myself and my immediate friends were to be
present. He therefore urged me to return, and to insist
(as I had r)riginaUy proposed) that Dr. M. should be at-
tendL'd by an equal number of his own friends. On en-
|:ering Dr. M.'s study, I found him sitting with Messrs*
Hohart and How. He received me with an inflamed
(Countenance, every ftature of wkich was distorted by rage.
He .ose from his seat, and insisted upon my quitting him
instantaneously. Amazed at finding the lamb so sud-
denly transformed into a lion, I confess that I was discon-
certed, and at a loss how to act. I ventured, however, to
state the cause of my unexpected return, and was proceed-
ing to assign my I**" ason for wishing the attendance of some
of hts own friends, when Mr. How suddenly arose and ad-
vanced towards us, with a look and a gesture indicating
hostility. Dr. M. observing himself thus powerfully sup-
ported, abruptly interiupted me, declared his resolution
pot to listen to any reasons, and concluded with saying-^
Tell your friends that I will consent to no interview either
with them or with vourself. When I had gained the en-
try, I turned and asked — ' Do I indeed understand you.
Dr. Moore ? Do you mean to say that you will violate
your promise, that you will break the engagement which
you ^nade with me this morning, and on which I have
acted i^ The plain language of this question staggered
him : he appeared to bf greatly perplexed. But the voice
of his prompter xvithi?i soon roused him, and with a fal?
tering tongue he pronounced— r* yes ; you understood me
aright.' I thought this an instance of rather hard ridings
and left the house with a mental prayer—that God would
fit th. b^ick to its burden,

I 'nust now be yjermitted to bring into one point of view
the substance (so far as it more immediately relates to my^
gelf) of the preceding pages, and to close t]ie painful an^
disgusting scene. v



63

The late p/roceedings against me are invalid — not merer
ly because they originated in ungodly motives, nor
because they are cruel, oppressive, tyrannical, uapar-
ralleled— but

1. Because they palpably violate the letter and spirit of
the gospel rule, which is paramount to all rules, canons
and decrees whatsoever: (Mat. I8thch. 15th. and following
verses, explained by Potter and other expositors.) •• Sen-
tence ought not to be given by a spiritual court without
previous admonition :' (Bishop Gibsons's code of eccles.
laws) Appeals have been made from sen]tencrs of suspen-
on, as • unjust for virant of a canonical admonition.' (Arch-
bishop \rundel*s register.)

2. Because, they are at variance with the articles of the
church : ' the church ought not to decree any thing against
holy writ.' ( art. 20.)

3. Because, two of the charges exhibited against nae
were not cognizable before a spiritual tribunal : one of
them referred to usurious transactions ; the other to a de-
mand made by a body corporate on an individual, being a
matter of *meum and tuum :' but an ecclesiastical court
has no authority to act under a statute, nor lo decide ques-
tions of a civil nature. (Hicks, Burns, &c. &c.)

4. Because the third charge was not established by the
requisite number of witnesses : the canon expressly re-
quires that ' no charge be considered as established on a
testimony of less than two witnesses ;' whereas, in sup-
port of the third charge o}ie witness only appeared.

Because the staremeat of the proceedings, on which
the sentence was grounded, is a tissue of wilful omission,
misrepresentation, and falsehood : whereas the copy of the
record to be laid before the bishop, conformably to the
canon, ought to contain the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth : if the foundation fail, the super-
structure can not stand.

5. Because the punishment of degradation can not^
agreeably to the established usage of the church, be inflict-
ed for such crimes as were imputed to me. ' It was not
says St. Austin, ' all manner of failings that hindered
* men's ordmation at first ; for if it were required, as a
^ qualification in persons to be ordained, that they should
■f be without sin, all men must be rejected and none ordain^



64

' ed; since no man lives without sin : but it is only required

* that ihey should be blameless with respect to scandalous

* offences. And this was the rule which the church ob-

* served in canvassing the lives of her clergy after ordina-

* tioriy when they were actually engaged in her service ;

* ii was not every lesser failing or infirmity (such as hasty

* anger &c.) that was punished with degradation j but
only crimes of a deep die, such as theft, fraud, murder,

* perjury, sacrilege, fornication and adultery.' (Bingham's
antiq. Chr. cb.)

6. Because, the board which tried me was an infor-*
mal, unauthorised} illegal body : they derived their j&re-
tended authority from one who had no power to consti-
tute a bench of judges (Barlow, Burns, Bingham &c.)

7. Because, the sentence was pronounced illegally :
*"* The sentence must be pronounced in the presence of
both parties ; Qthe.rvi\%& sentence given in the absence of
one of the parties is void** (Gib. eccle, code)

8. Because, the sentence was pronounced by a man
who had no more authority for holding an ecclesiastical
court, than for holding a court of '^ Oyer and Terminer.'*

Here are eight distinct reasons, any one of which is of
itself sufficient to vacate the sentence of my degradation :
combined, they exhibit irresistible proof of the violence,
of the wickedness, that has been practised against me.
To prevent a recurrence of these outrages j to expose that
spirit which wants nothing hut the power, to establish an
inquisition in this diocese ; to defeat, in some degree,
the plans of that formidable aristocracy which has been
erected in this section of the P. E. Church ; and to dis-
play some of its prmcipal members in their genuine
colours ; these are the considerations which have com-
pelled me (God knows, and some of my friends knov/,
that it is with infinite reluctance) to make a disclosure
of particulars, which nothing but imperious necessity
could have extorted from me. I am fully aware that I
have done a deed, which may alienate a few of my friends,
and which can not fail to bring d^^wn upon me some pow-
erful enenries : but conscious of the rectitude of my in-
tentions, conscious that no selfish motives have swayed

* This judicious regulation was adopted for the express purpose
I5f defeating star-chamber intrigues and other midnight machuiatioDs.



65

me, conscious that the welfare of the church is my sole
object, I look for defence in the approbation of a dis-
cerning public. * If they do these things in the
green tree, what will they not do in the dry' i If such
be the state of our church in the infancy of her esta-
blishment in this country, what may we not expect from
her progress, from her advancement to maturity ? Nag's-
head ordinations, star-chamber councils, Smithfield con-
flagrations, will be the signs of her approaching decrepi-
tude, and our * Israel Will be a proverb and a by-word
among all people.' Scarcely is there a clergyman in this
diocese who now dares to act on independent principles ;
and the language of one of them, on a late occasion, may
with strict propriety be adopted by many more—-/ can
never return to my parish unless I vote for Dr Hohart,
Better, far better for the interests ot the church, if the
enormous wealth of a certain corporation were buried in the
depths of the sea, than that the clergy should be subjected
to a baneful influence, by which their minds are shackled,
their principles are perverted, and their usefulness is di-
minished. But this a topic in the discussion of which
thousands are more interested than myself, and to their
serious deliberation I therefore leave it.

I now enter this my public protest (I have already en-
tered a private one) against all and singular the late un-
just proceedings against me, as also against all the parties
concerned therein: and I thus publicly and solemnly as-
sert my claim to the character and privileges of a pres-
byter of the P, E. Church in these states, in complete
standing as heretofore, and as fully competent to dis-
charge all the duties appertaining to my office.

P. S, Gladly would I now lay down the pen, were it not
expected that I should notice some remarks respecting
me in Dr. Hobart's defence. A full reply to that pam-
phlet I leave to those who are more immediately con-
cerned in its contents ; who are more competent to the
task ; and who are imperiously called upon, by a duty
to the public as well, as to themselves, to perform this
act of justice. To one of Dr. H's observations respect-
ing me I have already replied :* another, which mate-
rially affects my moral character, now demands an answer,

* Page 15.



6^

But before I enter on this undertaking, let me premisfii.
that the late elevation of Dr. Hobart is an act which gives
me no other concern, than such as is connected with my
regard for the church. Those who conscienc'iously be-
lieved him to be wcrthy of the office, have done no more
than their duty in promoting him to it : and far better



Online LibraryJohn IrelandA second solemn appeal to the church : containing remarks and strictures on the late violent proceedings of a pretended ecclesiastical court against the author → online text (page 6 of 51)