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sent in articles of complaint on the uncanonical, immoral and wicked conduct of Bishop Jarvis, and pledged myself to prove them, if they would give me an opportunity. My petition was not actea on, and Bishop Jarvis again without hearing or trial, and without my knowledge issued and published another paper, founded on the misrepresentations which he himself and his party had made to the House of Bishops in New-York, and which they had referred to Connecticut for trial. My articles of complaint remain with the Secretary to this day, untried and uninvestigated.
Soon after this last paper of Bishop Jarvis was published, a meeting of the Episcopal Society of St. John's church, in Stamford, was legally warned, to call and settle a minister; and by a vote of this meeting I was called, received, and acknowledged to be the regular, ordained, and settled minister and Rector of St. John's church in Stamford, and they agreed to pay me at the rate of $558 a year during my natural life, any order, determination, or decree of the bishop and clergy, or any body else, to the contrary notwithstanding. About one hundred lawful voters of that parish were in favor of this vote, and seven against it. These seven, except one, were near relations and family connections of Bishop Jarvis; they claimed that they, seven, were the society, and owned the church and property; and that the hundred had, by their vote, ipso facto, ceased to be churchmen, and had forfeited all right and title to the church and property
. On this ground, they seven, sued me at law, for trespass, in going into their church and preaching, after the bishop had forbid me. On trial I claimed that the bishop had no AUTHORITY to forbid any clergyman or to silence or degrade him. It was then incumbent on the plaintiffs to show what authority the bishop had; and to do this, the bishop's vows of office, on condition of which he was made a bishop, and the constitution and canons of the church, must be introduced and read in court.
Before any person can be made a bishop in the United States, he must make this promise. viz. "in the name of God, Amen." "I, -chosen bishop of the Protes
tant Episcopal Church in Connecticut, or whatever state it may be,) do promise conformity and obedience to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America; so help me God through Jesus Christ.”
Among other things he promises, "that he will, by the help of God, diligently exercise such discipline as by the authority of God's word, and by the order,” (that is by the constitution and canons) “of this church is committed to him.” In confirmation of this oath and promise, he takes the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and on these conditions with others, he is ordained and made a bishop;-(see the consecration of bishops in the book of Common Prayer.). By this, the Bishop has no authority to exercise any discipline, to forbid, silence, degrade or eveň to censure any clergyman without the previous steps required by the authority of God's word, and the constitution and canons of the Episcopal Church. The authority of God's word is, if thy brother trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone,” (Matth. 18th chapter) "Against an elder receive not an accusation but before two or three witnesses," (Tim. 5th chapter.)
The constitution of the Prot Epis. Church in the United States—"Article 6th. In every state the mode of trying clergymen shall be instituted by the convention of the church therein,” &c.
“Article 4th. Every bishop of this church shall confine the exercise of his Episcopal office to his own proper diocess or district."
Canons made by the convention of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, on the first Wednesday in June, 1798, in conformity to the 6th article of the constitution of the Episcopal church in the United States.
CANON 3d. Offences for which a clergyman may be brought to trial in the state of Connecticul- Disorderly and immoral conduct, neglect of duty, disregarding the constitution and canons of the church, or disseminating or countenancing opinions which are contrary to its doce trines are offences for which a clergyman may be brought to trial.
CANON 4. The mode of trying a clergyman in Connecticut.-If a minister offend in any of these respects, application in writing, signed by his accusers, shall be sent in the first instance to the standing committee, and if it appears to them that there is ground for the charge, they shall report thereupon to the bishop, who shall call a convention of his clergy, not less than seven, and after a full hearing, and fair trial and examination, the bishop with the advice of the clergy present,
shall pronounce sentence against him.*
Before the Hon. Judge Davenport, in Connecticut. NATHANIEL WEBB AND OTHERS vs. AMMI ROGERS.
This is an action of trespass, in which the plaintiffs demand of the defendant damage and their cost,
going into their church in Stamford, in Connecticut, and performing ministerial duties, after he was degraded and forbidden by the bishop.
“And the defendant did offer then to prove in court, by the Rev. Ashbel Baldwin, who had long been, and at, and long before the time of rendering said sentence of degradation, was, and still is, secretary of the convention of the diocess of this state, and one of the standing committee thereof-that no application in writing was ever made to the said standing committee, against or concerning the said Ammi Rogers; and that no report had ever been made against said Rogers by any standing committee, as is required in said 4th canon; and that no trial of said Rogers was ever had by any convention of clergy in this state. The defendant claimed that the said testimony of said Baldwin was admissible, to shew that said bishop had no power to degrade the defendant at the time of issuing and pronouncing the same. To which the plaintiffs did object, on the ground that the said bishop and clergy are à court ecclesiastical, with competent power and authority; and they only having juris
*This is the security which every Clergyman of the Episcopal Church has, and no Bishop has authority contrary to the Canons, more than a Judge or Justice has contrary to the statute laws of the state.
diction to try, condemn and degrade any of the clergy belonging to the diocess of Connecticut, and that their decision is final and cannot be inquired into by the courts of law of civil jurisdiction; which testimony of said Baldwin was adjudged by this Court to be admissible—and the same was heard, and went to prove; and the court found the facts from him claimed by the defendant to be TRUE.”
-“and the said Rogers is not silenced nor degraded; but has full power and authority to go into the church to preach, to baptize, to administer the sacrament, to marry, and to perforın all the duties pertaining to his office as a Priest in full orders and in good standing in the Protestant Episcopal church."]
The foregoing is truly extracted from the bill of exceptions, [before the superior court in Fairfield county) in the case of Nathaniel Webb and others vs. Ammi Rogers, dated May 28th, 1805. Examined by me,
EBENEZER DAVENPORT, Justice of the Peace.
The Bishop's party sued me nine times for this same trespass, and there was seldom a day, for almost eight years, when I was not harassed, persecuted and distressed with these vexatious and unreasonable lawsuits. I was attacked in the most spiteful manner, and brought before justice courts, county courts, superior courts, courts of error, and in every instance I beat them, and recovered my cost, or they withdrew their suit and paid their own cost. They never did at any time, or on any occasion, recover from me so much as one cent, prove any thing to my dishonour or disadvantage, though they ransacked, with the most malicious intentions, the most private passages of my whole life. I was obliged to attend court four, and six times a year, at a distance of twenty or twenty-five miles, with my lawyers and witnesses, and prepared for trial; and towards the end of the term they would get the case continued, or appeal or withdraw and sue again, or I would beat them. Their object was, without doubt, to run me down and to run out my property. If the reader asks why was all this hatred, animosity, and contention about Mr. Rogers? I answer, not because I had committed any crime, not because I was not a clergyman in regular and good standing, and in love and friendship with my own people; and the bishop himself had acknowledged my character and authority to be good and that he had nothing against me, but I was a republican in principle. I was opposed to a union of church and state- I was opposed to compelling people by force of law to support that which they did not believe to be true. In Connecticut every settled congregational presbyterian minister can send his collector and take any man's horse from under him, or his oxen, or cows or hogs, or any property which he possesses, (unless he has signed off,) and can sell it at the post without suing him, or granting him a hearing. I have known them to take even a man's bible and sell it at the post to pay the minister's tax. I have known Episcopalians, Baptist, Methodists, and others, actually locked up and contined in a filthy, disgraceful jail, in Connecticut, merely because they would noi, or could not in conscience pay their money to support that which they did not believe to be true. I could mention the persons, times and places, but I presume that no one acquainted in Connecticut will deny the fact. Can it then be any wonder if these same people should join with bishop Jar.. vis, and cause me to be sued nine times for the same pretended trespass, keep me eight years in law, and finally on the charge of crimes which never were committed, disgrace, imprison, and ruin me and my innocent children and friends.
The Rev. Philo Shelton made solemn oath before the Superior Court in Fairfield county, Connecticut, 1st, that he then was, and for many years then last past had been, one of the standing committee of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, and that he was one of them at the time Bishop Jarvis issued and published his papers against Mr. Rogers; 2d, that there was not then, and never had been any complaint against, or hearing or trial of said Rogers in any way or manner prescribed by the Constitution and Canons of the church to which he belonged; 3d, that the House of Bishops did decide that