Meade, William, Dd
Meade, William, D.D.
a noted prelate of the Protestant Episcopal Church, was born at Millwood, Clarke County, Nov. 11, 1789, his father being Colossians Richard K. Meade, aide-de-camp to Genesis Washington, and was connected both by birth and marriage with some of the oldest and best families in Virginia. His great-grandfather was an Irish Romanist, who came to this country, married a Quakeress in Flushing, L. I., and removed to Virginia. His grandmother was a descendant of Richard Kidder, bishop of Bath and Wells. William was educated at Princeton College, N. J. (class of 1808); was ordained deacon by bishop Madison, Feb. 24,1811, in Williamsburg, Va.; and priest by bishop Claggett, in St. Paul's Church, Alexandria. He commenced his ministry in his own native parish, Frederick (now Clarke) Comity, as assistant to the Revelation Alexander Balmaine; in the fall of 1811 he took charge of Christ Church, Alexandria. where he remained two years, when he returned to Millwood, and, on the death of Mr. Balmaine, became rector of that Church. In 1826 he was a candidate as assistant bishop in Pennsylvania, but failed by one vote of nomination by the clergy; and in the following year the Revelation H. U. Onderdonk, D.D., was elected. In 1823 he was elected assistant bishop to bishop Moore, and was consecrated Aug. 19, 1829, in St. James's Church, Philadelphia, by bishops White, Hobart, Griswold, Moore, Croes, Brownell, and H. U. Onderdonk. On the death of bishop Moore, Nov. 11, 1841, he became bishop of the diocese of Virginia. In this capacity he labored unceasingly, up to the hour of his death, March 14, 1862, for the good of evangelical Christianity. He advanced the interests of his Master's cause not only in the pulpit, but in many and various ways he labored for the good of humanity. Several educational and missionary societies owe their origin to him, and the Theological School of Virginia, lately at Alexandria, was largely indebted to him for its existence (though the plan of a theological seminary in Virginia was not original with him). He gave to, this school of the prophets his personal care and labors, nearly to the close of his life. During the exciting days of 1861 bishop Meade made many fervent though futile efforts to save Virginia from the troubles of the impending civil war. He steadfastly opposed secession to the very last. Taken altogether, but few men in the nation have enjoyed the confidence of the people to a greater degree than did this honest ecclesiastic, who sought in more ways than one to serve his day and generation as a truly Christian man. For years before his death bishop Meade was the recognized head of the evangelical branch of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States. On bishop Meade's ecclesiastical position, the Church Review (July, 1862) thus comments: "The gross worldliness, and even the .open immorality of many of the early clergy of Virginia; the moral-essay style of preaching which characterized many of the missionaries; the French infidelity introduced during the Revolution, and the absence of that bitter opposition to Church principles which was, and even now is waged in the Northern States, led the bishop to regard as not only mainly, but only important, the development of the subjective in religion. His 'extraordinary will,' as the Episcopal Recorder calls it, and his Calvinistic doctrines, led him to separate evangelical truth from apostolic order, and to make him, we doubt not an honest, but a most determined. opponent to any earnest presentation of the positive institutions of Christianity." Bishop Meade was buried from St. Paul's Church, Richmond, March 17. His principal published works. are, Family Prayer (1834):-Lectures on the Pastoral Office, and Lectures to Students (1849): -Old Churches and Families in Virginia (Philad. 1856, 2 vols. 8vo):-The Bible and the Classics (1861, 12mo). Besides these, he also published Memorials of [his] 'Two Beloved Wives, which the Church Review informs us was suppressed. His controversial writings are numerous. See Life, by bishop Johns (Baltimore, 1868). (J.H.W.)