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RIGHT REVEREND WILLIAM WHITE, D.D.,
Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocess of Pennsylvania, and Senior Bishop of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the
Right REVEREND AND DEAR Sir,
If it were in my power to consult my brethren of the clergy, I am sure that all would name you as the individual to whom a work, concerning any part of the Protestant Episcopal church in this country should most properly be inscribed. To this consideration of propriety, allow me to add, that I, at least, find another in the ready kindness and advice with which you have furthered my purposes, and encouraged my efforts in the prosecution of this work.
I beg leave, therefore, to offer it as the humble tribute of affectionate respect justly due to one who for more than half a century has watched the progress of the church in America ; and who to the piety which becomes a prelate adds the learning of a scholar, and the courtesy of a gentleman.
With affectionate veneration,
I am, sir, your grateful friend and servant,
THE AUTHO K.
It is now more than five years since the author of this work undertook, with the aid of a valued friend,* the task of collecting such fragments of the history of the Protestant Episcopal church in the United States as, having escaped the ravages of time, were to be found among the manuscripts of the earlier clergy, or rested in the less secure repository of the memory of the aged.
Encouraged in the undertaking by many of the bishops and clergy of the church, the plan originally proposed was, to preserve in the form of annals the facts thus saved from oblivion, for the benefit of some future historian who might attempt a connected narrative of events, believed to possess some interest, at least for Episcopalians. After some progress had been made in the work, and materials, both more numerous and more valuable than had been antici. pated, had accumulated on the hands of those who had undertaken the task-death removed the colleague of the author, and he was left to pursue alone a work which, in addition to the interest it had for him, afforded also a melancholy pleasure by often recalling the memory of a buried friend.
It was not until some time afterward, that it occurred
• The Rev. Edward Rutledge of South Carolina.
to the writer, that his labour might prove more acceptable to the members of the communion to which he belonged, should he attempt himself the narrative which he had hoped might at a future period proceed from some pen more fitted for the task than his own. He, accordingly, (not, however, without some distrust of himself,) selected Virginia as being the oldest state in the Union, and the result is in the reader's hands. Had he supposed that he was adding nothing to what already existed touching the history of his country, it would have been his duty to be silent; for he who publishes a book can justify it to a becoming sense of modesty only by the hope that he is communicating something which is new, or happily enforcing something which is old. The author, therefore, ventures to hope that in this contribution to the Ecclesiastical History of the United States, (as yet an almost untrodden field,) he has performed a work not entirely useless. That it has faults, no one knows better than he who wrote it; that it contains errors, is not improbable ; for in the labour of research, which it will here be seen has not been small, it is scarcely possible always to avoid mistake: for the faults, the author begs indulgence ; and of the errors, if such there be, he can only say they were undesigned
It was impossible to write upon the subject treated of in the following pages, without sometimes adverting to religious denominations different from that to which the author belongs. There were events affecting the Episcopal church in Virginia, in which they were actors, and a regard for truth required the notice of them.