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 travel was followed by years in which Polk was as much a farmer as a clergyman. Then came the appointment as missionary bishop of the Southwest, and later the care of the diocese of Louisiana. These not only satisfied his religious aspirations, but met the physical necessity for a life in the open air. His field of labor was almost boundless, and his travels were incessant. But his diocesan tasks are of interest here mainly because at the outset they included territory which was not a part of the United States. Churchmen, and doubtless others, will remember the position assumed by Bishop Polk at the time of Louisiana's secession respecting the relations of his diocese to the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. He held that the constitution of the Church limited it to the boundaries of the nation. If by any accident the nation lost control of any region, the churchmen of that region became independent of the Church as a national body. In the light of such a declaration, one recalls with glee the fact that Polk's first jurisdiction as a bishop included the Republic of Texas. In his episcopal visits he went into a foreign country perhaps, annually; yet it probably never occurred to him that he passed on these occasions beyond the pale of the Church to which he owed allegiance. Subsequent events made his distinction in one case as futile as it would have been in the other; though, as Dr. Polk points out, if the States in rebellion had achieved their independence, the division in the Episcopal Church, North and South, would have been a practical fact, whatever method canon lawyers might have taken to account for or to ignore it. The Bishop's haste and eagerness, however, to make his point, doubtless did as much as anything to fix upon him the accusation which his biographer deeply resents, that ‘he was one of those who were said to be plotting the dissolution of the Union.’ The absorbing interests of his growing diocese, and particularly the effort to carry out the plans which he had studied for years for a great university, are indicated as occupations vast enough even for a man of Bishop Polk's activity. Americans, as time proceeds, will perhaps be less and less certain as to the deliberate purpose of any man, or any group of men, to bring on the civil war. In the light of what happened afterwards, Bishop Polk's own letter to President Buchanan on the right of peaceable secession reads almost like a missive from one distraught, but unquestionably it expressed the hope of many Southern men of intelligence. The mere supposition that Buchanan could change the purposes which were forming in the
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