his Apostles, are to be maintained independent of every foreign or other Jurisdiction, so far as may be

consistent with the civil Rights of Society. II. That ever since the Reformation, it hath been the

received doctrine of the Church whereof we are Members (and which by the Constitution of this State is intitled to the perpetual enjoyment of certain Property and Rights, under the denomination of the Church of England) “ That there be these three Or" ders of Minister's in Christ's Church, Bishops, “ Priests and Deacons,” and that an Episcopal Ordination and Commission are necessary to the valid administration of the Sacraments, and the due exer

cise of the Ministerial Functions in the said Church. III. That, without calling in question the Rights,

Modes and Forms of any other Christian Churches or Societies, or wishing the least contest with them on that subject, we consider and declare it to be an essential Right of the said Protestant Episcopal Church to have and enjoy the continuance of the said three Orders of Ministers forever, so far as concerns matters purely Spiritual; and that no persons, in the character of Ministers, except such as are in the Communion of the said Church, and duly called to the Ministry by regular Episcopal Ordination, can or ought to be admitted into, or enjoy any of the “ Churches, Chapels, Glebes, or other Property," formerly belonging to the Church of England in this State, and which by the Constitution and Form of Government is secured to the said Church forever, by whatsoever name, she the said Church, or her superior Order of Ministers, may in future be de.

nominated. IV. That as it is the Right, so it will be the Duty, of

the said Church, when duly organized, constituted, and represented in a Synod or Convention of the different Orders of her Ministry and People, to revis: her Liturgy, Forms of Prayer, and public Worship, in order to adapt the same to the late Revolution, and other local circumstances of America; which, it is humbly conceived, may and will be done, without any other or farther departure from the venerable Order and beautiful Forms of Worship of the Church from whence we sprung, than may be found expedient in the change of our situation from a Daughter to a Sister Church.

Signed, August 13th, 1783. William Smith, President, and Rector of St. Paul's and

Chester Parishes, Kent-County. John Gordon, Rector of St. Michael's, Talbot. John M‘Pherson, Rector of William and Mary Parish,

Charles County. Samuel Keene, Rector of Dorchester Parish, Dorches

ter County. William West, Rector of St. Paul's Parish, Baltimore, William Thomson, Rector of St. Stephen's, Cecil County. Walter Magowan, Rector of St. James's Parish, Ann

Arundel County. John Stephen, Rector of All-Faith Parish, St. Mary's

County, Thomas John Claggett, Rector of St. Paul's Parish,

Prince George's County. George Goldie, Rector of King and Queen, St. Mary's

County. Joseph Messinger, Rector of St. Andrew's Parish, St.

Mary's County. John Bowie, Rector of St. Peter's Parish, Talbot County. Walter Harrison, Rector of Durham Parish, Charles

William Hanna, Rector of St. Margaret's, Westminster

Parish, Ann-Arundel County.
Thomas Gates, Rector of St. Ann's Annapolis.
John Andrews, Rector of St. Thomas's Pa-
rish, Baltimore County.

Hamilton Bell, Rector of Stephney Parish,
Somerset County.

June 23d,

1784. Francis Walker, Rector of Shrewsbury Pa

rish, Kent County.


The foregoing declaration of Rights being made and subscribed, a copy of the same was presented to his Excellency the Governor, with the following Address, viz.




We the Protestant Episcopal Clergy of the said State, at a Meeting or Convention, duly held at Annapolis in order to consider, make known and declare those fundamental Christian Rights, to which we conceive ourselves intitled, in common with other Christian Churches; Do hereby, in the first place, return your Excellency our most sincere and hearty thanks for your great concern and attention manifested for the Christian Church in general and her suffering Clergy of all denominations. We trust and pray that your Es. cellency will continue your powerful intercession till some Law is passed for their future support and encouragement, agreeably to the Constitution.

We herewith lay before your Excellency an authen. tic copy of a declaration of certain Rights, to which, according to our best knowledge of the Laws and Constitution of our Country, we think ourselves intitled, in common with other Churches. Should your Excel. lency, from your superior knowledge of both, think that the declaration we have made, stands in need of any further Sanction, Legislative or otherwise, we are well persuaded that a continuance of the same zeal and regard which you have formerly shewn, will at length produce the happy effect which you so anxiously desire.

Praying for a continued increase of your Excellency's public usefulness, and that you may meet the Reward thereof in the world to come,

We are, &c. [Signed by all the Members, by whom the above declaration was signed.]

To which his Excellency was pleased to return the following answer, viz.

GENTLEMEN, I have attentively considered the paper intitled “ A « declaration of certain Fundamental Rights and Li« berties of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Mary“ land.” And as every denomination of Clergy are to be deemed adequate Judges of their own Spiritual Rights, and of the Ministerial commission and authority necessary to the due administration of the Ordinances of Religion among themselves, it would be a very partial and unjust distinction to deny that Right to the respectable and learned Body of the Episcopal Clergy in this State; and it will give me the highest happiness and satisfaction, if, either in my individual capacity, or in the public character which I now have the honour to sustain, I can be instrumental in advancing the interests of Religion in general, alleviating the Sufferings of any of her Ministers, and placing every branch of the Chris. tian Church in this State, upon the most equal and res. pectable footing.

I am,

Your most obd't. humble Servant,


We have only here to observe that the general Judgment of all our Churches at this time, so far as it hath been yet collected, is for the invariable maintenance of the three distinct Orders of our Ministry. It is a matter that cannot concern any other Religious Society, and in which, without entering into any contest, we have certainly a Right to our own Judgment.

At a General Convention, June 22, 1784. Committee of Clergymen and Lay-Delegates was appointed to essay a plan of Ecclesiastical Government, and to define therein the duties of Bishops, Priests and Deacons, in matters Spiritual; and the Rights and Du. ties both of Clergy and Laity in general Synods or ConVOL. II.

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ventions for the Government of the Church, and for preserving uniformity of Worship, and the reclaiming, or excluding from Church Communion, scandalous Members, whether of the Clerical or Lay Order.

The said Committee, not having had time to essay a full plan for the purposes above mentioned, reported the following as some of the fundamental Principles thereof, which were agreed to, viz. 1. That none of the Orders of the Clergy, whether

Bishops, Priests or Deacons, who may be under the necessity of obtaining Ordination in any foreign State with a view to officiate or settle in this State, shall, at the time of their Ordination, or at any time afterwards, take or subscribe any obligation of obedience, civil or canonical, to any foreign Power or Authority whatsoever; nor be admissible into the Ministry of this Church, if such obligations have been taken for a settlement in any foreign country, without renouncing the same by taking the oaths required by Law as a test of allegiance to the United

States. II. According to what we conceive to be of true Apos

tolic Institution, the duty and office of a Bishop, differs in nothing from that of other Priests, except in the Power of Ordination and Confirmation; and in the Right of precedency in Ecclesiastical Meetings, or Synods. The duty and office of Priests and Deacons, to remain as heretofore. And if any further distinctions and regulations in the different Orders of the Ministry, should afterwards be found necessary for the good government of the Church, the same shall be made and established by the joint voice and authority of a Representative Body of the Clergy and

Laity, at future Ecclesiastical Synods or Conventions. III. The Clergy shall be deemed adequate Judges of

the Ministerial Commission and Authority, necessary to the due Administration of the Ordinances of Religion in their own Churches; and of the Literary, Moral, and Religious qualities and abilities of per

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