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FROM THE LIBRARY OF



REV. LOUIS FITZGERALD BENSON. D. D.



BEQUEATHED BY HIM TO

THE LIBRARY OF

PRINCETON THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY



/^^-/6



APR 22 1932 ^



HANDBOOK

OF THE

GENERAL CONVENTION

OF THE
GIVING

ITS HISTORY AND CONSTITUTION, 1785-1880.



WILLIAM STEVENS PERRY, D.D., LL.D.,

BISHOP OF IOWA,

LATE SECRETARY OP THE HOUSE OP DEPUTIES, AND HISTORIOGRAPHER
OP THE AMERICAN CHURCH.



New York :
THOMAS ^WHITTAKKR,

2 and 3, BIBLE HOUSE.
1881.



COPYKIGHT, 1881.
BY



TABLE OF CONTENTS.



Inteoduction xiii-xiv

The Preliminary Meetings, 1784 1-7

Minutes of informal Meeting at New-Brunswick, 1, 2 ;
The " Broadside" Proceedings of October 6tli, 3, 4 ; Fun-
damental Principles of Union, 4 ; Additional Particulars,
5-7 ; Choice of Bishop of Connecticut, 5 ; Clergy of
Massachusetts and Rhode Island unwilling to take active
Measures, 6 ; Appointment of Clerical Examiners recom-
mended, 6 ; Notices of representative Men who were
Members of the Preliminary Convention, 6, 7.

The Convention of 1785 8-43

Organization of Convention, 8 ; The Subject of Alte-
rations in the Liturgy referred, 8 ; Action respecting,
9-12 ; The " Fourth of July" to be observed, 10 ; Ap-
pointment of an annual Day of *' Thanksgiving," 10 ; Ar-
ticles as amended, referred to next Convention, 11 ; Read-
ing and Singing Psalms, and Kalendar of Lessons to be
appended to Prayer-Book, 13 ; the " General Ecclesiastical
Constitution," 12-15 ; Correspondence between Bishop
Seabury and the Rev. Dr. White, 15-18 ; Address to the
English Archbishops and Bishops asking for the Succession,
18-22; Notices of the "Proposed Book," 22-25 ; The
" Alterations " comprised in the ' ' Proposed " Book, 25-34 ;
The Proposed Articles of Religion, 34-39 ; The Table of
Holy Days, 40 ; The Reception of the " Proposed Book,"
40, 41 ; Notices of Editions of this Work, 41, 42.

The Conventions of 1786 43-62

The Convention in Philadelphia (June), 43-50 ; Organi-
zation, 43 ; Opposition to Bishop Seabury, 43, 44 ; Address
to the English Prelates, 44-46 ; Changes in the Constitu-



]V CONTEXTS.

lion, 47, 49 ; Influence of a Memorial from New-Jersey,
50 ; Letters from the Archbishops, 50-56.

The Adjourned Convention in Wilmington (Octo-
ber), 56-61 ; " An Act of the General Coitvention," 56-59 ;
The Restoration of the omitted Clause in the Apostles'
Creed, 50, 51 ; the Rejection of the Athanasian Creed, 51 ;
The Refusal to sign the Testimonials of the Bishop -elect
of Maryland, 60, 61 ; The Consecration of Bishops White
and Provoost, 61, 62.

The Conventions of 1789 63-77

The Convention in Philadelphia (July), 63-71 ; The
Application from the Clergy of Massachusetts and Nsw-
Hampshire for the Consecration of the Rev. Edward Bass,
63-65 ; Resolutions adopted by the Convention respecting
the Application, 65, 66 ; Further Proceedings, 66, 67 ; Ca-
nons adopted at this Convention, 67-70 ; Death of the
Bishop-elect of Virginia, 71.

The Adjourned Convention in Philadelphia (Sep-
tember and October). Union of the C hurches, 71 ; Organi-
zation of the two Houses, 71 ; Adoption of a Liturgy, 71-
73 ; Further Proceedings, 73, 74 ; The Change of Art. 3 of
the Constitution, 74, 75 ; Proposal of a full Negative on the
lower House for the Bishops, 75 ; Record of the adhesion
of Bishop Seabury and the New-England Deputies to the
Constitution, 75 ; Views of the Bishop of Connecticut
respecting the Athanasian Creed, 76 ; Misunderstanding as
to the printing of the Clause in the Apostles' Creed, " He
descended into Hell," 76, 77 ; The " Selections of Psalms,"
77.
The Convention of 1792 78-83

Organization, 78 ; The first American Consecration, 78 ;
The Rule providing for the Presidency of the House of
Bishops changed, 79 ; Action resi)ecting the Comprehen-
sion of the Methodists, 79-81 ; the first Missionary Docu-
ment of the Church, 81, 82 ; Changes in the "Ordinal,"
82 ; Postponement of the consideration of the Articles of
Religion, 82, 83 ; Information of the Accession of the Church
in North-Cnroliua received, 83 ; Number of Clergy, 83.



CONTENTS. V

The Convention op 1795 84-88

Organization, 84 ; Refusal of Testimonials of the Bishop-
elect of Vermont, 84, 85 ; Action respecting " the Strictures
on the Love of Power in the Prelacy," 85-88 ; Permission
to place a "Protest" on record, denied, 87; Failure of
Bishop-elect of North-Carolina to attend, 87, 88 ; Further
Measures adopted, 88.

The Special, Convention of 1799 89-95

Circumstances attending the Call of this Convention, 89 ;
The Testimonials of the Bishop-elect of New-Jersey referred
back to the Diocesan Convention, 89, 90 ; Measures adopted,
90 ; Articles of Religion published by order of the House
of Deputies, 90-95.

The Convention op 1801 96-103

Organization, 96 ; Direct Refusal to sign the Testimonials
of the Bishop-elect of New-Jersey, 96 ; Resignation of the
Bishop (Provoost) of New-York, and Action relative to the
Consecration of a Coadjutor, (B. Moore), 96-98 ; Action re-
specting the " Articles," 98, 99 ; Adoption of the " XXXIX
Articles" with the necessary Changes, 99-101 ; Bishop
White's Opinion respecting the Articles, 101, 102 ; Defeat
of Proposal requiring that Lay Deputies should be Com-
municants, 102, 103.

The Convention op 1804 .104-107

Change of the Time of Meeting, 104 ; Enactment of
additional Canons, 105, 106 ; Adoption of Office of In-
duction, 105; "Course of Ecclesiastical Studies" set forth,
106; Action respecting the notorious " Ammi Rogers,"
106, 107 ; Provision for the closing Exercises of Con-
vention, 107.

The Convention op 1808 108-112

A " full Negative" given to the House of Bishops, 108 ;
Appeal from Ammi Rogers, and Action thereon, 108-110 ;
Opinion of the House of Bishops respecting the Obligation
of English Table of Degrees wathin which Marriage can
not be celebrated, llO ; Proposed Alteration of Art. 8 of the
Constitution, 110, 111 ; A " Pastoral Letter" set forth, 111 ;



Vi CONTENTS.

Associated Rectorships disapproved, 111 ; Hymns added,
111 ; Title of Office of Induction changed, 111 ; Concur-
rent Resolutions respecting the Burial of Duellists and the
Marriage of Divorced Persona, 111, 112 ; Comments of
Bishop White, 113.

The Convention of 1811 113-115

Ratification of Constitutional Provision (Art. 8) respect-
ing Changes in Prayer-Book and Offices, 113 ; Consecration
of Bishops-elect delayed, 113 ; Failure of Measures for the
Choice and Support of a Western Missionary Bishop, 113,
114 ; Modification of Rule respecting Burial of Duellists,
114; The " State of the Church," 114; Circumstances at-
tending the Consecration of Bishops Hobart and Griswold,
114, 115.

The Convention of 1814 116-120

Evidences of new Life, 116 ; Decision with respect to
the Effect of the Removal of a Deputy after Election,
116 ; The Holy Communion made a Part of the Opening
Services of Conventions, 116 ; The Republication of the
Journals ordered, 116, 117 ; The Condition of the Church at
the South, 117 ; Opinion of the Bishops respecting clerical
Dress, 117 ; Standing recommended during the singing of
Psalms or Hymns, 117, 118 ; Refusal of Bishops to sanc-
tion a devotional Work, 118 ; Identity with the Cliurch of
England declared, 118, 110 ; Opinion of the Bishops re-
specting the Wanner of receiving into the Church "Per-
sons not baptized within its Pale," 119 ; A Pastoral Letter
set forth, 120.

The Convention op 1817 121-123

Organization of a Theological Seminary determined
upon, 121 ; Expression of Disapprobation of worldly and
licentious Amusements, 121, 122 ; Designation of a Stand-
ard Bible requested, 122 ; French Prayer- Book set forth,

122 ; Catechetical Instruction and Lectures enjomed, 122,

123 ; The State of the Church encouraging, 123.

The Convention of 1820 124-127

Admission of Maine into Union, 124 ; Change of Loca-
tion of General Seminary from New York to New-IIaven



CONTENTS. Vll

determined upon, 124 ; Opinion of tlie Bishops respecting
private Baptisms and Qualifications of Sponsors solicited,
124 ; Standard Prayer-Book established,124,125 ; "Offices"
declared " of equal Authority with the Book of Common
Prayer," 125 ; Formation of a Missionary Society deter-
mined upon, 125 ; Discussion respecting the opening Ser-
mon, 126 ; Bishop White's view respecting Baptismal Re-
generation, 126 ; View of the Bishops respecting the offi-
ciating in our Churches of Persons not regularly ordained,
126, 127 ; The Church extending, 127.

The Special Convention of 1821 128-133

Occasion of this Session, 128 ; Transfer of the General
Seminary to New-York, and its Organization, 128, 129 ;
The Constitution of the Missionary Society perfected, 129 ;
Opinion of the Bishops concerning the last Rubric in the
Communion Service, 129-132 ; Recommendation of the
Missionary Society, 132, 133.

The Convention of 1823 134-136

Reception of Georgia into Union, 134 ; Canons enacted,
134 ; The General Seminary commended to the Support
of the whole Church, 135 ; The Supply of Clergy insuffi-
cient, 135 ; Action respecting Affiliation with Societies of
a political Character, 135 ; Original Editions of the Jour-
nals presented by Bishop White, 136.

The Convention of 1826 137-141

Bishop Hobart's Resolutions respecting abbreviated
Services, 137-139 ; Action thereon, 139, 140 ; Resolution
respecting the Authority of the Psalms and Hymns, 140 ;
Proposal to put the Articles on the same Footing with the
Prayer-Book in respect to Alterations, 141 ; Canon requir-
ing three Years' Candidateship previous to Ordination,
141.

The Convention of 1829 142-144

Notice of Members of the House of Deputies, 142 ; Ken-
tucky and Tennessee admitted into Union, 142 ; Applica-
tion for the Consecration of Rev. William Meade as "As-
sistant or Suffragan," 142 ; The constitutional Change re-



Vlll CONTENTS.

specting Alterations of the Articles adopted, 142, 143 ;
Bishop Hobart's Resolutions withdrawn, 143 ; Notices of
the State of the Church, 143 ; Provision for Expenses,
144 ; Canons enacted, 144.

The Convention of 1832 145-152

The Resignation of the Bishop of Ohio (P. Chase), 145 ;
Action of the two Houses thereon, 145-147 ; the " Pre-
siding Bishop," 147 ; Opinion of the Bishops respecting
Postures in the Communion Office, 147-149 ; a " Declara-
tion" concerning an Error in one of the Prayer-Book
Offices, 149 ; Changes in the Rubrics proposed, 150 ; Tlie
Revision of the Canons, 150 ; " Ratification" of the Selec-
tions from the Psalms in Metre, 150, 151 ; Admission of
Alabama and Michigan into Union, 151 ; Defeat of Pro-
posal to make the Representation in the House of Depu-
ties depend upon the number of Clergy in the various
Dioceses, 151, 152 ; The " South- Western Diocese," 152.

The Convention op 1835 153-155

Illinois admitted into Union, 153 ; Constitution of Board
of Missions adopted, 153 ; Missionary Bishops elected,
153, 154 ; Conservator of Documents appointed, 154 ;
Recommendations of Bishops advising discontinuance
of Lord's Prayer and Collect before Sermon, and advi-
sing the saying of the Confession with the Minister,
and regulating the Mode of printing of the "Amen" in
certain cases, 154 ; Division of Dioceses provided for, 154 ;
The word right in place of north adopted in the Rubric
before the Commission Office, 155 ; Grateful acknowledg-
ment of the presence of Bishop White, 155.

The Convention op 1838 156-158

The Decease of the Presiding Bishop, 156 ; Admission
of Indiana, Florida, and Louisiana into Union, 156 ; The
Division of the Diocese of New-York ratified, 156 ; Pro-
posed Changes in the Constitution, 157 ; Correspondence
with For(;ign Prelates, 157 ; Rules to be observed in
printing the Book of Common Prayer, 157, 158 ; Historio-
graphers appointed, 158 ; Canons adopted, 158.



CONTENTS. ix

The Convention of 1841. * 159-163

Missouri admitted into Union, 159 ; Election of Mis-
sionary Bishops, 159 ; The Provision of more ample Free
Sittings recommended, 159, 160 ; Contested seats, 160 ;
Majority and Minority Reports respecting the requirement
of Six Months' Candidateship of Ministers of the Denomi-
nations applying for Orders, 160-162 ; Election of a Bishop
for Louisiana, 162 ; Recommendation respecting Missions
to the Jews, 162 ; Christian Education in Church
Institutions commended, 162 ; Action respecting Mar-
riages prohibited by the Law of God, 163 ; Correspond-
ence with the Archbishoj) of Canterbury and other Bish-
ops, 163.

Tii^ Convention of 1844 164-178

Comments of Bishop Burgess respecting this Session,
164, 165 ; Article 10 added to the Constitution, 166 ; Ac-
tion of the House of Deputies respecting the Oxford
Movement, 166-171 ; Reference of the Testimonials of the
Bishop -elect of Mississippi to the Diocesan Convention,
171 ; Opinion of the Bishops respecting the six months'
probation required of Ministers applying for Holy Orders,
171, 172 ; Recommendation concerning the Paper on which
portions of the Prayer Book should be printed, 172 ; The
Meeting of the Convention in places other than Churches
advised, 172, 173 ; Precedent as to the excusing Members
from voting, and granting permission to enter their rea-
sons on the Journal, 173 ; Choice of Missionary Bishop of
Cape Palnias, 173, 174 ; Form of Foreign Missionary Bish-
op's testimonial, 174 ; Proposal for Reduction of Number
of Deputies to General Convention, 174 ; Continuance of
the Session of the House of Bishops after the Adjourn
meut of the House of Deputies, 174, 175 ; the Resigna-
tion and Suspension of the Bishop of Pennsylvania,
175-177 ; Visitation of the General Theological Seminary,
177, 178.

The Convention of 1847 179-181

Wisconsin admitted into Union, 179 ; Suspension of the
Bishop of New- York, 179 ; Canonical Enactments, 179.



X CONTENTS.

180 ; Canon of Suffragan Bisliops referred, 180 ; Mode of
Appointment of Supplemental Deputies, 180 ; Refusal to
sign the Testimonials of the Assistant Bishop-elect of
Illinois, 180, 181.

The Convention of 1850 182-184

Canonical enactments, 182 ; Texas admitted into Union,
182 ; Canon of Suffragan Bishops postponed, 183 ; Resig-
nation of the Missionary Bishop to Turkey accepted, 183 ;
The Missionary work recommended to the support of the
Church, 183 ; Election of Dr. Payne as Missionary Bishop
to Africa, 183 ; Action respecting Lay Helpers, 183 ; Reso-
lution concerning the Provincial System, 183, 184 ; Rights
of Bishops on Visitations, 184.

The Convention of 1853 185-106

The Deposition of the Bishop of North-Carolina, 185-
187 ; Canonical Enactments, 187, 188 ; Iowa admitted into
Union, 188 ; Missionary Bishops appointed for California
and Oregon, 188 ; The " Memorial " in favor of Liturgical
Relaxation and Church Comprehension, 188-191 ; Report
concerning the Interposition of the Civil Courts in the
Administration of Discipline, 192, 193 ; The Question of
the Provincial System referred, 194 ; Passage of a Canon
under the Provision of Art. 3 of the Constitution, 194,
195 ; Proposed Amendments to the Constitution, 19G.

The Convention of 185G 197-201

California admitted into Union, 197 ; Action of the
House of Bishops on the " Memorial," 197, 198 ; the
" Tune Book," 198, 199 ; Canons enacted, 199, 200 ; Re-
mission of the Sentence of Suspension passed on the
Bishop of Pennsylvania, 200, 201 ; The Nomination of a
Missionary Bishop of Nebraska not confirmed, 201 ; Deci-
sion that a Question lost by non-concurrence of Orders is
not determined in the Negative, 201 ; Refusal to accept
the Resignation of the Bishop of Illinois, 201.

The Convention of 1859 202-208

Minnesota and Kansas admitted into Union, 202 ; The
Episcopate made coextensive with the limits of the United



CONTENTS. XI

States, 202 ; Appointment of a Lay Committee, 202, 203 ;
Canons adopted, 203 ; Importance of Christian Education
recognized, 204 ; Action of the House of Deputies con-
cerning the " Memorial," 204, 205 ; Systematic Offerings
commended, 206 ; Need of more Laborers expressed, 206 ;
Action referring to Church Music, 206-208.

The Convention op 1862 209-217

Action respecting the State of the Country, 209-211 ;
Order of Public Worship on the Day of Fasting, Humilia-
tion, and Prayer, 211-214 ; Committees appointed, 214, 215 .
Standard Bible recommended, 215 ; Change of Boundaries
of Dioceses, 215-217 ; The Pastoral, 217.

The Convention op 1865 218-220

Presence of the Metropolitan of Canada and other Digni-
taries, 218 ; Division of Pennsylvania, 219 ; The Reunion
of the Church, 219 ; The Reception of the Bishop of
Alabama, 219 ; Federate Councils allowed, 219 ; Additional
Hymns licensed, 219, 220 ; The List of Communicants, 220 ;
Resolution respecting the Eastern Churches, 220 ; Desig-
nation of Dioceses, 220, 221 ; Recommendation respecting
Postures at Baptism and Confirmation, 221 ; Service of
Thanksgiving for the Restoration of Peace, 221-224 ;
Election of Bishops, 224 ; Resolutions on Christian Educa-
tion, 224, 235 ; On Missions, 225, 226 ; Authority of Rubric
at the end of the Metrical Hymns, 226, 227 ; Alleged
Typographical Errors in the Table of Proper Psalms for
Certain Days, 227-229.

The Convention of 1868 230-243

Nebraska admitted into Union, 230 ; Maryland, New-
York, and Western New- York divided, 230 ; Membership
of the Board of Missions increased, 230 ; Grammatical Inac-
curacy in the " Invocation," 231, 232 ; Recommendation of
the Bishops as to the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel to be read
when a Sunday and Holy Day come together, 232 ; Reports
on the Conduct of Public Worship (majority), 232-234 ;
(minority), 234-236 ; Action thereon, 236, 237 ; Memorials
respecting the Use of the Prayer Book, 238 ; Resolutions
on Christian Education, 238, 239 ; Missionary Resolutions,



xii CONTEKTS.

239 ; Maintenance of tlie Clergy, 239 ; Action respecting
Hymnody, 239, 240 ; Establishment of an Indian Mission-
ary Jurisdiction, 240; Resolutions of tlie Bishops on the
Lambeth Conference, 340-342 ; Canon of Divorce, 343.

The Convention of 1871 244-273

Presence of the Lord Bishop of Lichfield and other
Dignitaries of the English Church, 244, 245 ; Report of the
Committee of the House of Bishops on Ritual, 245-250 ;
Action of the House of Deputies thereon, 250-263 ; Speech
of the Rev. Dr. De Koven, of Wisconsin, 262-264 , Declara-
tion of the Bishops in Council on the Meaning of the Word
" Regenerate," 264-266 ; The Chicago Fire, 266 ; Adoption
of the Hymnal, 267, 268 ; Typographical Error in Art. 2 of
the Constitution, 268, 269 ; Removal of Constitutional
Restrictions upon the Division of Dioceses, 269 ; Arkansas
admitted into Union, 369 ; Revision of the Canons on Theo-
logical Education, 269 ; Adoption of a Standard Prayer
Book, 270 ; Establishment of the Boundaries of the Juris-
diction of Niobrara, 270 ; The Jubilee of the Missionary
Society, 270 ; Report of the Committee on the State of
the Church, 371 ; The Institution of an Order of Evange-
lists, and the Organization of the Services of Christian
Women, 271 ; The Increase of Missionary Bishops recom-
mended, 271, 373; Action of the Bishops concerning the
New Translation of the Bible, 373; The Alt-Catholic
Movement, 373 ; The Provincial System, 272 ; Canons
adopted, 273.

The Convention of 1874 274-301

Increased Attendance, 274 ; The Opening Services, and
Sermon by Bishop Selwyn, 375, 6 ; Organization of the Two
Houses, 376, 7 ; The Refusal to confirm the Election of the
Rev. Dr. Seymour to the Episcopate of Illinois, 377, 8 ; Doc-
trinal Positions and Statements of the Bishop-elect, 378-380 ;
The late Rev. Dr. Andrews's Summary of the Result, 281 ;
The Canon on Ritual, 281, 3 ; Reversal of Previous Preced-
ent respecting the Constitutional *' Three Days" allowed
the House of Bishops for determining with respect to any
Measure proposed by the Lower House for Joint Ac-
tion, 383, 3 ; Adoption of Amendment to Article 4 of the



CONTENTS. Xlll

Constitution, 283 ; Proposed Changes to be acted upon
finally in 1877, 283, 4 ; Relations with the Canadian
Church, 284 ; Change of Title of the Lower House, 285 ;
Republication of Journals of Early Conventions, 285, 6 ; The
Question of the Filioque, 286; The Hymnal, 286, 7 ; Short-
ened Services and Separation of Services, 287, 8 ; The Lam-
beth Conference, 288 ; German Version of the Book of Com-
mon Prayer, 289, 90 ; Proposed Relaxation of Rubrics in
Baptismal Office, 290 ; Canon on Church Music, 291 ; Ques-
tions referred to next Convention, 291, 2 ; Creation of
New Dioceses, 292 ; Covenant with the Haitien Church,
292-5 ; Action respecting the Defection of the late Assistant
Bishop of Kentucky, 295-7 ; Standing Orders respecting
Election of a Bishop or Confirmation of a Bishop-elect,

297, 8 ; Minute respecting the decease of Bishop Payne,

298, 9 ; Christian Education, 299 ; The Old-Catholic Move-
ment, 299-300 ; Report on State of the Church, 300, 1.

Convention op 1877 ' • . • .302-320

Meeting in Boston, 302 ; large representation, 302 ; pres-
ence of Rev. Crauf urd Tait, 303 ; Admission of New Dio-
ceses, 303, 304 ; Defeat of Proposed Amendments to the
Constitution, 304 ; Changes in Constitution and Canons,
304-313 ; Resolution on Christian Education, 313, 314 ; Ac-
tion respecting Missionary Bishopric of New Mexico and
Arizona, 314 ; Report on the Force of Joint Resolutions,
314-317 ; Matters alluded to in Report of the Committee on
the State of the Church, 318 ; Closing Words of Report,
318, 319 ; Close of Pastoral Letter, 319, 320.

Convention of 1880 321-336

Attendance of Bishop of Edinburgh and Bishop Herzog,
321 ; Place of Meeting, 321 ; Prominence given to Mission-
ary Work and Organization, 322 ; Increase of Missionary
Episcopate, 322 ; Advantages of the two Houses sitting to-
gether, 323 ; The Observance of the Approaching Centen-
nial of the Organization of the Church, 324 ; Report on
the Functions of Rectors, and Wardens and Vestrymen,
325 ; Changes in the Canons, 327 ; Provision for Shorten-
ed Services, 327 ; Powers of Federate Council in Hlinois,



XIV CONTENTS.

328 ; Committee on Liturgical Enrichment, 329 ; Action
respecting Polygamy and the Protection of the Indians,
330; Addition of the " Evangelical Hymns" to the Hym-
nal, 330 ; Changes in Boundaries of Western Sees, 331 ;
the New Lectionary, 331 ; Minute respecting Resignation
of Bishop of Michigan, 331 ; Covenant with the Church in
Mexico, 331 ; other Matters under Discussion, 336 ; the
Pastoral, 336.

Convention of 1883 337-340

Appendix T 341-355

Summaries of Statistics of Church Progress, 1829-1880
inclusive, 341-355.

Appendix II 356-363

Rules of Order of the House of Bishops, 356-359 ; Rules
of Order of the House of Deputies, 360-363.

Appendix III 364-365

Declaration of the House of Bishops, 1880, respecting a
Declaration of the Lambeth Conference of 1878. . .364-365



mTEODUOTIOK



At the preliminary meeting in 1784 for tlie
organization of tlie American Church, severed
from the mother Chm'ch of England, by the change
in the political condition of the state, it was de-
termined as one of the " fundamental articles" of
the proposed union "that there shall be a General
Convention of the Episcopal Church in the United
States of America." In 1789, when the present
Constitution of the American Church was adopted,
the first Article of this instrument provided for
the triennial meeting of the Church in General
Convention, and, on the appearance of a representa-
tion of "this Church, in a majority of dioceses
which shall have adopted this Constitution," for its
proceeding to business. At all meetings of the
Church in General Convention " the Church in each
Diocese" is entitled to a representation of both the
clergy and the laity, not exceeding four of each
order. The Bishops of the Church form a sepa-
rate House, and the concurrence of both Houses is
necessary to give validity to any legislation. To



16 INTRODUCTION.

the Church in General Convention belongs the
right to propose, and, at the subsequent meeting,
to ratify, changes in the Constitution ; in the Book
of Common Prayer or other Offices of the Church ;
and in the Articles of Eeligion. The Church may
enact canons, which are of obligation on the whole
body of the faithful, at any meeting in General
Convention. It provides in the Constitution of its
representative body for the trying of Bishops by a
Court composed of Bishops only ; it prescribes a
form of declaration to be subscribed prior to -ordi-
nation ; for the provision of Bishops for foreign
countries ; and for the erection of dioceses. Other
matters of temporary or lasting interest come



Online LibraryWilliam Stevens PerryA handbook of the General Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church : giving its history and constitution, 1785-1880 → online text (page 1 of 28)