Henry Codman Potter, Seventh Bishop of New York

Henry Codman Potter, Seventh Bishop of New York

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Henry Codman Potter, Seventh Bishop of New York

Henry Codman Potter, Seventh Bishop of New York

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Richard Watson Gilder, of the Century Magazine, wrote to Bishop Potter in 1902 in the hope of persuading him to be his own biographer.

"You know," he said, "what Samuel Johnson says about biography -- that every man should write his own life. . . . Have you not already begun jotting down your reminiscences? I hope you have, or, if not, I hope you will begin. Of course, such things should be written as if not for publication. The question of how much should be printed, and when, would come in afterwards. You would probably think, in writing, that it would be only after your translation to the board of heavenly bishops. As a matter of fact, you might find that many chapters would be very good reading during your own lifetime. I am writing both as an editor and as a representative of our publishers in stirring you up about this."

This pleasant invitation Bishop Potter declined. At the same time, quite unconsciously, he was preparing, year by year, a considerable store of autobiographical material.

Two things we desire to know about a man: what he did, and what he thought. The canons of the Episcopal Church require of every bishop that he shall make a regular and careful record of these two series of personal facts. He must keep, and annually print, an official journal recording all his visitations, his sermons and addresses, his religious services, with dates and places. Thus the biographer of Bishop Potter is able to find out just where the bishop was and in what sort of episcopal act he was engaged on the ninth day of December, 1901, or on the twelfth day of April, 1884. Also a bishop must annually . . .

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