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afterward, "of being named in that Committee, in conjunction with the Rev'd Messrs. Jarvis and Bowdoin, you will recollect, sir, that we spent Friday and Saturday in that week upon this subject, and that most, if not all the proposed alterations were such as we were under obligation to you for, or such as you readily agreed to." The changes in the State prayers were set forth at once in an Injunction dated August 12th, 1785, but the other alterations were reserved to be reported at a meeting to be held at New Haven in September. A copy of them was transmitted "to the Rev'd Dr. Smith of Maryland, to be communicated to the Convention to be held at Philadelphia, in the month of October."


Convention at Boston, 1785.

They were also laid before a Convention of four clergymen and ten lay deputies from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, which assembled at Boston, September 7th and 8th of the same year. The substitutes for the State prayers were received and adopted by this Convention with the change of a single word, viz., the word "State," in place of which the word "Commonwealth" was used. The other proposed alterations, with two exceptions, were also agreed to and proposed to the churches in the States represented.* "You will see upon perusal of them," says the Rev. Mr. Parker writing to Bishop Seabury, "that those proposed at Middletown are mostly adopted, and some few others proposed. The only material ones we have not agreed to are the omitting of the second Lesson in the Morning Service and the Gospel and Exhortations in the Baptismal Office. The additional alterations in some of the offices are such as were mentioned at Middletown, but which we had not time to enter upon them."5 The text of the alterations drawn up at Middletown, other than those set forth in Bishop Seabury's Injunction, is unfortunately lost. But that they did not differ in their general character from those proposed at Boston would seem to be clear from a letter of the Rev. Mr. Parker to Bishop Seabury, in which he assumes the substantial identity of both sets of alterations, and expressly speaks of them as "these alterations suggested by yourself and adopted by this [i. e., the Boston] Convention." And writing to Dr. White, he says, "Certain alterations were proposed in the liturgy of the Church by the Bishop of Connecticut and at his request lay before the Convention at Boston for their approbation, and those were made the basis of our proceedings, but when approved were not to be adopted till the other churches had approved of them also, in

1 Hist. Notes and Doc., p. 364.

2 Appendix II, 1.

3 Hist. Notes and Doc., p. 365.

4 Appendix II, 3.

5 Church Documents of Connecticut, Vol. II, p. 284.

6 It is to be regretted that, while the records of the early Conventions of the Church in the other States have been preserved and are accessible in print, those of Connecticut, prior to 1790, have not yet been discovered. That they were known to the Rev. Dr. S. F. Jarvis is evident from the fact that in the Memoir of Bp. Jarvis his father, printed in the Evergreen, he quotes them, and refers to them in his Voice from Connecticut. These precious documents belonging to the diocese of Connecticut may still be among the papers of Dr. Jarvis, although a letter of enquiry written by the Editor of the present work to the Rev. S. F. Jarvis, of Brooklyn, Conn. (in whose possession they are said to be), met with no response.

"Notes and Doc., p. 365.

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order if possible to obtain an uniformity. And accordingly we have not yet made any alterations except a substitute for the State prayers.' From these propositions for the revision of the Prayer Book, drawn up by New England Churchmen, the Proposed Book of 1786 immediately derived not a few of its most characteristic features. It is here that we first meet with the omission from the Te Deum of the clause, "thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb" and the substitution of, "thou didst humble thyself to be born of a pure virgin." Here also we meet with the omission of the article on the Descent into Hell from the Apostles' Creed; the disuse of the Athanasian Creed; the permission to omit the Nicene Creed; the omission of the second Lord's Prayer and the Kyries in Morning and Evening Prayer, and likewise of the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of the Communion Service; the saying of Gloria Patri but once; the doing away with the interrogative Creed in Baptism; the permission to omit the Sign of the Cross in Baptism; the change in the formula of Committal in the Burial of the Dead; the omission of the Churching office; the omission of the form of private Absolution; the reducing of the exhortation in the Marriage Service to one sentence; the permission to omit the Collect for the day from one service when Morning Prayer is followed by the Communion; and the permission to read the Communion Service in the desk.2 It needs only the most cursory examination of the Proposed Book to convince anyone of the positive influence exercised by these suggestions in shaping the revision of the Prayer Book in the General Convention held a few weeks afterward. Moreover we have the express statement of Dr. William Smith, in a letter to be cited hereafter, acknowledging his indebtedness to the work of the Committee appointed at Middletown and the Boston Convention.

Convocation at New Haven, 1785.

These proposed alterations, although most of them, according to Mr. Parker, were either suggested by Bishop Seabury, or such as he readily agreed to, did not commend themselves to the general body of Church people in Connecticut, and at the Convocation which met at New Haven on the 14th of September, 1785, they do not seem to have been even presented for discussion. The result of this Convocation, so far as the revision of the Prayer Book was concerned, may be given in the words of Bishop Seabury writing to Mr. Parker. "Between the time of our parting at Middletown and the clerical meeting in New Haven, it was found that the Church people in Connecticut were much alarmed at the thought of any considerable alteration being made in the Prayer Book; and upon the whole it was judged that no alterations should be attempted at present, but to wait till a little time shall have cooled down the temper and conciliated the affections of the people to each other." 3

General Convention of 1785.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Convention held in

1 Hist. Notes and Doc., p. 295.

2 If we are to believe Mr. Parker, as cited above, Bishop Seabury was chiefly responsible for suggesting these alterations. Yet we know that after the action of the General Convention of 1785 he exerted himself to the utmost to have the Apostles' Creed restored to its integrity, and to have the two other Creeds replaced in the Prayer Book.

3 Church Doc. of Conn., Vol. II.

New York, May, 1784, the first General Convention assembled at Christ Church, Philadelphia, on September 27th, 1785, and continued in session until the seventh of the following month, under the presidency of the Rev. Dr. William White. There were present sixteen clergymen and twenty-six laymen, representing seven States, viz.: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. No delegates were sent from the New England States. On the second day a Committee was appointed, of which the Rev. Dr. William Smith of Maryland was Chairman, "to report such alterations in the liturgy, as shall render it consistent with the American revolution and the Constitutions of the respective States: and such further alterations in the liturgy as it may be advisable for the Convention to recommend to the consideration of the Church here represented." As this Committee was also directed to "report a draft of an ecclesiastical Constitution," it divided itself into two sub-divisions, one of which took charge of the revision of the Prayer Book, the other prepared the draft of a Constitution. Dr. Wm. White was assigned to the latter, and so had no hand in the work of liturgical revision.

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When the alterations in the Prayer Book were brought by the subCommittee into the General Committee on the fifth day, "they were not reconsidered; because the ground would have to be gone over again in the Convention." "Even in the Convention there were but few points canvassed with any material difference of opinion.' With regard to the Service for the Fourth of July, an office which Dr. Smith had compiled from the State services then in the English Prayer Book, Dr. White objected to its adoption on the ground of the inexpediency of requiring the use of such an office. "To his great surprise, there was but one gentleman, and he a professed friend to American independence, who spoke on the same side of the question; and there were very few, if any, who voted with the two speakers against the measure. Only on two points does the opinion of him, who was afterward the first Bishop of Pennsylvania, seem to have had any modifying influence in the Convention on the report of the Committee. The one was with regard to the Article on Justification, in place of which he succeeded in having the English Article restored; the other was with regard to the Article on Original Sin, the phraseology of which he induced the Convention to amend. So little did he have to do with the revision of the Prayer Book at this time. The facile princeps in this work, both in the Committee and in the Convention, was Dr. William Smith, of Maryland. And the Convention formally recognized the important part he had taken, by extending to him a vote of thanks "for his exemplary diligence and the great assistance he had rendered this Convention as Chairman of their Committee, in perfecting the important business in which they have been engaged," and asked him to preach the sermon at the close of the session. It was also resolved "that the service be then read as proposed for future use." Which last resolution Bishop White speaks of as a 'capital error which helped to confirm the opinion that the proposed alterations were to be introduced with a high hand.'4

A few quotations from the sermon preached before the Conven

1 Bp. White's Memoirs of the Church, p. 116. 3 Ibid., pp. 119, 120.


Ibid., p. 118.

* Ibid., p. 121.

tion, on this occasion, will set before us the aim had in view by Dr. Smith in the work of revision. Speaking of the changes made in the Prayer Book, he says: "Ardent and of long continuance, have been the wishes of many of the greatest, wisest and best Divines of our Church, for some alterations and improvements of this kind. Among these we have a Whitby, Tillotson, Sanderson, Stillingfleet, Burnet, Beveridge, Wake, Tenison, Hales, and innumerable others of venerable name among the Clergy, and among the Laity a multitude more, at the head of whom may be placed the great Lord Bacon, the father of almost all reformation and improvement in modern philosophy and science..........The greatest and most important alterations and amendments were proposed at the Revolution, that great æra of liberty, when in 1689 commissioners were appointed..........At the commencement of a new æra in the civil and religious condition of mankind in this new world, and upon another great revolution about a hundred years after the former, all these proposed alterations and amendments were in our hands, and we had it in power to adopt or even improve them..........It is our duty, as it hath been our great endeavour in all the alterations proposed, to make the consciences of those easy who believe in the true principles of Christianity in general, and who, could they be made easy on certain points no way essential to Christianity itself, would rather become worshippers, as well as labourers, in that part of Christ's vineyard, in which we profess to worship and to labour, than in any other..........Let us not, therefore, repeat former errors, nor let the advantages now in our hands slip from us.'

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The alterations accepted by the Convention were set forth under two general heads, viz: "Alterations agreed on and confirmed in Convention, for rendering the Liturgy conformable to the principles of the American revolution, and the Constitutions of the several States,' and "Alterations in the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the use of the Church of England, proposed and recommended to the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America." It will be observed that the first of these two sets of alterations was "agreed on and confirmed" by the Convention, the second is not said to be adopted, but only "proposed and recommended." An editing Committee, consisting of the Rev. Dr. White, the Rev. Dr. Smith, and the Rev. Dr. Wharton, was appointed "to publish the Book of Common Prayer with the alterations, as well as those now ratified, in order to render the Liturgy consistent with the American revolution and the Constitutions of the respective States, as the alterations and new Offices recommended to this Church; and that the book be accompanied with a proper Preface or Address, setting forth the reason and expediency of the alterations, and that the Committee have the liberty to make verbal and grammatical corrections, but in such manner, as that nothing in form or substance be altered." The Committee was also "authorized to publish with the Book of Common Prayer, such of the reading and singing Psalms, and such a Kalendar of proper lessons for the different Sundays and Holy-days throughout

1 Life and Correspondence of the Rev. William Smith, D. D., by Horace W. Smith, Phila., 1880, Vol. II, pp. 134–139.

Appendix II, 4.

Appendix II, 5.

the year, as they may think proper." With these ample powers the Committee set about their work. The occasional letters which passed between them during the winter and spring of 1785-1786 bring before us the ideas of liturgical revision prevalent at the time, and are among the most valuable of the documents illustrative of the history of the Prayer Book in America.1

The Preface for the new Prayer Book was written by Dr. Smith. The Tables of Lessons and the Easter Tables were prepared by Dr. White. The Psalter the most original feature of the work seems to have been the joint work of all three members of the Committee. In its preparation the Psalms were very freely handled; those portions which for one reason or other were thought to be unsuitable for Christian worship were omitted, and new Psalms were made by the combination of verses gathered out of two or more of the Psalms of David. The result was a series of sixty centos, two of which were assigned to each day of the month, one for the Morning, the other for the Evening service. Some of the verses of this new Psalter were taken from the Prayer Book version, others were from the Authorized Version, and still others. were original renderings of the compilers.

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The guiding principles of this revision as a whole were those which characterized the work of the Commissioners of 1689. It is exceedingly doubtful however that anyone in the Convention of 1785 was acquainted with the original records of this attempted revision in the reign of William III. The Preface of the Proposed Book probably indicates the chief sources from whence the knowledge Dr. Smith possessed of the great and good work" of 1689 was derived. Bishop Burnet, and Dr. William Nicholls are there credited by name, and a quotation is made from "other certain account," which, although the Preface does not say so, is probably taken from the Puritan Calamy, who had gathered together all the exceptions made against the Prayer Book. Besides these, we learn from a letter of Dr. Smith's' that Warners was consulted, who had given an account of the alterations prepared by the

These letters have all been printed in Bp. Perry's Hist. Notes and Doc., pp. 125-200.


They are now accessible in a Return to an Address of the House of Commons, March 14, 1854, and ordered by the House to be printed, June 2, 1854. They have also been set forth in The Revised Liturgy of 1689, being the Book of Common Prayer interleaved with the alterations prepared by the Royal Commissioners in the first year of the reign of William and Mary, edited from the copy printed by order of the House of Commons, by John Taylor, London, 1855.

3 For an account of this revision vide Cardwell's Conferences, p. 392, Lathbury's History of Convocation, chap. XI, and Bp. Patrick's Brief Account of my Life, Works, Oxford, 1858, Vol. IX. See also "The Attempted Eng. Revision of 1689 and the Prop. Bk. of 1785,” The Churchman, Dec. 20, 1873. 4 The History of my own Times, bk. V.

5 Gulielmi Nicholsii Presbyteri Defensio Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, in qua vindicantur omnia, quæ ab adversariis in Doctrina, cultu et Disciplina ejus, improbantur. Præmittitur Apparatus, qui Historiam Turbarum, e secessione ab ecclesia Anglicana, exortarum continet. Londini, 1707, p. 92 et seq. (A copy of this book is in the library of the General Theological Seminary, New York.)

6 An Abridgement of Mr. Baxter's History of his Life and Times, by Edmund Calamy, D. D., London, 1713.

7 Hist. Notes and Doc., p. 173-175.

8 An Illustration of the Book of Common Prayer, by Ferdinand Warner, M. A., London, 1754.

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