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H. B. (Henry Bidleman) Bascom.

The Methodist Church property case. Report of the suit of Henry Bascom, and others, vs. George Lane, and others, heard before the judges Nelson and Betts, in the Circuit Court, United States, for the Southern District of New York, May 17-20, 1851 online

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Online LibraryH. B. (Henry Bidleman) BascomThe Methodist Church property case. Report of the suit of Henry Bascom, and others, vs. George Lane, and others, heard before the judges Nelson and Betts, in the Circuit Court, United States, for the Southern District of New York, May 17-20, 1851 → online text (page 12 of 87)
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time possessed of slaves, inherited from her former hvisband's estate, and belonging
to her. Shortly after my marriage, being unwilling to become their owner, regarding
them as strictly hers, and the law not permitting their emancipation, I secured them
to her by a deed of trust.

It will be obvious to you, from the above statement of facts, that I have neither
bought nor sold a slave ; that in the only two instances in which I am legally a
slaveholder, emancipation is impracticable. As to the servants owned by my wife, I
have no legal responsibility in the premises, nor could my wife emancipate them if
she desired to do so. I have thus plainly stated all the facts in the case, and submit
the statement for the consideration of the General Conference. Yours respectfully,

' JAMES O. ANDREW.'

" ' All which is respectfully submitted.

'"ROBERT PAINE, Chairman.''

"A. Griffith and J. Davis offered the following preamble and resolution, which
were read and debated :

" 'Whereas the Rev. James 0. Andrew, one of the bishops of the Methodist Epis-
copal Church, has become connected with slavery, as communicated in his statement
in his reply to the inquiry of the Committee on the Episcopacy, which reply is em-
bodied in their report, No. 3, offered yesterday ; and whereas it has been, from the
origin of said Church, a settled policy and the invariable usage to elect no person to
the office of bishop who was embarrassed with this " great evil," as under such cir-
cumstances it would be impossible for a bishop to exercise the functions and perform
the duties assigned to a general superintendent with acceptance, in that large portion
of his charge in which slavery does not exist ; and whereas Bishop Andrew was
himself nominated by our brethren of the slaveholding States, and elected by the
General Conference of 1832, as a candidate, who, though living in the midst of a
slaveholding population, was nevertheless free from all personal connexion with
slavery ; and whereas this is, of all periods in our history as a Church, the one least
favourable to such an innovation upon the practice and usage of Methodism as to
confide a part of the itinerant general superintendency to a slaveholder ; therefore,

" ' Resolved, That the Rev. James O. Andrew be, and he is hereby affectionately
requested to resign his office as one of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal
Church.'

" When brother Griffith, in favour of his resolution, had spoken as long as the
rule allowed, a motion was made to permit him to proceed. G. Filmore offered as a
substitute for this, that the rule which restricts a speaker to fifteen minutes, be sus-
pended during the discussion of this subject. The substitute prevailed, by a vote of
one hundred and three.

" On motion of N. Bangs, it was resolved, that when we adjourn, it be to meet
again this afternoon at half-past three o'clock, one hundred and four voting for it.

" W. Capers then moved, that we do now adjourn. Lost.

" J. P. Durbin moved to reconsider the vote by which we resolved to meet this
afternoon. This was lost.

" The motion for adjournment was renewed and carried ; and Conference ad-
journed with prayer by brother Tippett.

" WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 22. Conference met, pursuant to adjournment,
at half-past three o'clock, Bishop Soule in the chair, and was opened with religious
services by brother Fowler.

" The chair called for reports from standing and select committees. None being
offered, W. Cooper moved that the resolution under discussion this morning be post-
poned, and made the order of the day for to-morrow morning. Lost. The conside-
ration was resumed, and several speakers were heard.

' On motion of J. A. Collins, Conference adjourned with prayer by brother Bond.

" THURSDAY MORNING, MAY 23. Conference met at the regular hour, Bishop
Hedding in the chair, and was opened with religious exercises by brother Robinson.

" The journal of yesterday afternoon was read and approved.



63

" The chair called for reports from standing and select committees. None were
presented.

" Conference resumed the consideration of the resolution under discussion yester-
day, viz., the resolution offered by brothers Griffith and Davis on Wednesday.

" J. B. Finley offered a substitute for the resolution, in the following word?,
viz. :

" ' Whereas the Discipline of our Church forbids the doing anything calculated to
destroy our itinerant general superintendency, and whereas Bishop Andrew has
become connected with slavery by marriage and otherwise, and this act having drawn
after it circumstances which, in the estimation of the General Conference, will
greatly embarrass the exercise of his office as an itinerant general superintendent, if
not in some places entirely prevent it ; therefore,

" ' Resolved, That it is the sense of this General Conference that he desist from the
exercise of this office so long as this impediment remains.

" ' J. B. FIN-LEY,
J. M. TRIMBLE.'

" A discussion on the above substitute ensued, occupying the morning session. A
few minutes before one o'clock, when W. D. Cass was speaking, it was resolved to
continue the session five minutes after the regular time, for the purpose of hearing a
statement which J. Early wished to make. When this was made, Conference
adjourned with prayer by brother Steele.

" FRIDAY, MAY 24. The order of the day, namely, the above-named substitute,
(Finley's,) was resumed, and its discussion continued until one o'clock, when Confer-
ence adjourned with prayer by brother Ferguson.

" SATURDAY, MAY 25. The order of the day, namely, the substitute of brothers
Finley and Trimble, for the resolution offered by brothers Griffith and Davis, was
resumed.

" During the discussion, J. P. Durbin asked leave of absence, on account of family
affliction. The leave was granted.

' After the consideration of the substitute had been resumed, G. Baker moved
that the vote by which the rule limiting a speaker to fifteen minutes had been sus-
pended, be reconsidered. On motion of J. E. Evans, the proposal to reconsider was
laid on the table. The discussion was continued until fifteen minutes before the
hour of adjournment, when, on motion of L. M. Lee, Conference adjourned with
prayer by brother Bush.

" MONDAY, MAY 27. The whole session was occupied in discussing the substitute
under consideration for some days past.

" TUESDAY MORNING, MAY 28. Conference resumed the consideration of Finley's
substitute. J. A. Collins, who was speaking at the adjournment yesterday, concluded
his remarks, and was followed by E. W. Sehon, W. Winans, and J. B. Finley.
Bishop Andrew also addressed the Conference.

"At the request of T. Crowder, brother Finley gave way to permit him to ofier the
following resolution :

" ' Resolved. That when this Conference adjourn, it adjourn to meet again at half-
past three o'clock.'

" The resolution prevailed. P. Cartwright obtained the floor, but the hour of
adjournment having come, Conference adjourned with prayer by brother A. D. Peck.

" TUESDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 28. The subject under consideration at the adjourn-
ment was resumed, and discussed by P. Cartwright and J. Stamper.

"When P. Cartwright had concluded his remarks, P. Crandall offered a resolution,
that the discussion on this question close at half-past five o'clock this afternoon.
J. A. Collins rose to a point of order, whether the resolution could be entertained, the
Conference having no rule for the previous question. The chair decided that the
resolution was not in order. From this decision J. B. Houghtaling appealed ; and
the decision of the chair was sustained by a vote of one hundred and three.

" S. Dunwody obtained the floor, but gave way for a motion to adjourn, which was
withdrawn to permit Bishop Soule to make a few remarks, asking leave of the Con-
ference, before the final action, to make some remarks on the subject now under con-
sideration. J. Early moved that Bishop Soule and all the other bishops be at liberty
to address the Conference on the subject now under consideration, at any time after
brother Dunwody has concluded his remarks.



64

'' Without taking the vote, on motion, Conference adjourned with the benediction
by Bishop Waugh,

- WKDIOMDAI MORNING, MAY 29. Conference took up the resolution of J. Early,
which was under discussion when Conference adjourned. A motion was made to lay
the resolution on the table, which prevailed. J. S. Porter moved to reconsider the
last vote. Carried. J. P. Durbin moved the previous question, which being sus-
tained, the vote on the resolution before the Conference was taken, and the resolution
was adopted.

" The Conference renewed the consideration of the substitute offered by J. B.
Finley. 8. Dunwody addressed the Conference, and was followed by Bishop Soule.

S". Bangs moved, that when Conference adjourn, it adjourn to meet again at
half-past three o'clock this afternoon. Carried.

" Bishop Soule having concluded his remarks, the Conference adjourned with the
benediction by brother Dunwody."

I will hereafter read the remarks of Bishop Soule from the debates of the
General Conference of 1844 ; but, before doing so, I beg your Honours to notice the
dates of the proceedings which have been read, that you may see how long the dis-
cussion continued.

" WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, MAY 29. Conference resumed the consideration of
the substitute of J. B. Finley. J. P. Durbin addressed the Conference, after some
explanation by W. A. Smith, A. B. Longstreet, and others. W. Capers then
obtained the floor, but gave way for a motion to adjourn, which being put was car-
ried.

" THURSDAY, MAY 30. The consideration of Finley's substitute was resumed, W.
Capers having the floor, who addressed the Conference. When he had concluded,
G. Peck obtained the floor, but yielded it to J. Hobart, who moved the previous
question. J. P. Durbin moved, that on the vote whether the main question shall
now be put, the ayes and noes be taken. The ayes and noes were ordered by a vote
of one hundred and seventeen.

" The list was called, and ninety-eight answered in favour of putting the main
question, and eighty against it.

" So the motion to take the main question was lost, not having a majority of two-
thirds.

" At this moment Bishop Hedding suggested that the Conference have no after-
noon session, and thus allow the bishops time to consult together, with a hope that
they might be able to present a plan of adjusting our present difficulties. The
suggestion was received with general and great cordiality ; and, on motion, the dis-
cussion of the substitute under consideration was postponed until to-morrow morning.

"FRIDAY, MAY 31. Bishop Waugh, in behalf of the bishops, presented the
following communication, which was read by himself, and also by the Secretary :

" ' To the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

" ' REV. AND DEAR BRETHREN, The undersigned respectfully and affectionately
offer to your calm consideration the result of their consultation this afternoon in
regard to the unpleasant and very delicate question which has been so long and so
earnestly debated before your body. They have, with the liveliest interest, watched
the progress of the discussion, and have awaited its termination with the deepest
solicitude. As they have pored over this subject with anxious thought, by day and
by night, they have been more and more impressed with the difficulties connected
therewith, and the disastrous results which, in their apprehension, are the almost
inevitable consequences of present action on the question now pending before you.
To the undersigned it is fully apparent that a decision thereon, whether affirmatively
or negatively, will most extensively disturb the peace and harmony of that widely-
extended brotherhood which has so effectively operated for good in the United States
of America and elsewhere during the last sixty years, in the development of a system
of active energy, of which union has always been a main element. They have, with
deep emotion, inquired, Can anything be done to avoid an evil so much deprecated
by every friend of our common Methodism ? Long and anxiously have they waited
for a satisfactory answer to this inquiry, but they have paused in vain. At this pain-



65

ful crisis they have unanimously concurred in the propriety of recommending the
postponement of further action in the case of Bishop Andrew until the ensuing
General Conference. It does not enter into the design of the undersigned to
argue the propriety of their recommendation ; otherwise, strong and valid reasons
might be adduced in its support. They cannot but think that if the embarrassment
of Bishop Andrew should not cease before that time, the next General Conference,
representing the pastors, ministers, and people of the several annual conferences,
after all the facts in the case shall have passed in review before them, will be better
qualified than the present General Conference can be to adjudicate the case wisely
and discreetly. Until the cessation of the embarrassment, or the expiration of the
interval between the present and the ensuing General Conference, the undersigned
believe that such a division of the work of the general superintendency might be
made, without any infraction of a constitutional principle, as would fully employ
Bishop Andrew in those sections of the Church in which his presence and services
would be welcome and cordial. If the course pursued on this occasion by the under-
signed be deemed a novel one, they persuade themselves that their justification, in
the view of all candid and peace-loving persons, will be found in their strong desire
to prevent disunion, and to promote harmony in the Church.
" ' Very respectfully and affectionately submitted,

" ' JOSHUA SOULE,
ELIJAH HEDDING,
B. WAUGH,
T. A. MORRIS.
- ; Thursday Afternoon, May 30, 1844.'

'J. A. Collins moved that the consideration of the communication just read be
postponed until to-morrow morning, and that the communication itself be printed
forthwith. A third reading was called for, and ordered by the Conference. I.
Winner moved to amend the above resolution by striking out ' to-morrow morning,'
and inserting four o'clock this afternoon.' This amendment, on motion of J.
Stamper, was laid on the table. T. Stringfield called for a division of the resolu-
tion ; and that part which relates to the printing was adopted. The other member
of the resolution was also adopted.

" SATURDAY, JUNE 1. At this juncture all the bishops on the platform addressed
the Conference, in the following order :

' BISHOP HEDDING said he wished to withdraw his name from the Address of the
Bishops, presented yesterday. He had not been argued or persuaded into signing
it, but had attached his name of his own free will and accord, because he thought it
would be a peace measure ; but facts had come to his knowledge since, which led
him to believe that such would not be the case. Again : he thought it would be
adopted without debate, but he was convinced now that it would give rise to much
discussion, and therefore he wished to withdraw his name from the paper on the
table.

" BISHOP WAUGH followed, and said he came into the measure, as his ' venerated
and honoured colleague did, without persuasion or restraint. He considered it as
the last resort to promote the future peace of the Church. He admitted he had not
been very sanguine on the subject, and if it failed, he would not be disappointed.
Still he did not desire to withdraw his name ; he would regret if the communication
should be the cause of lengthened debate, and in that case might feel called upon
to withdraw his name from the document. At present he was content to let it remain.

" BISHOP MORRIS succeeded, and said he wished his name to stand on that paper,
as a testimony that he had done what he could to preserve the unity and peace of
the Church.

" BISHOP SOULE added, that his colleagues would certainly say, that they adopted
the paper as freely as he did. He put his name to that document under the same
circumstances as they did. He had not changed his views or convictions in any way,
He wished his signature to stand to that document, which had now gone forth to the
American people through a thousand mediums.

" N. Bangs moved to lay the Address on the table. J. Early moved that the
question of laying it on the table be taken by ayes and noes. This prevailed. The
vote was then taken, and ninety-five affirmative and eighty-four negative votes were
given. So the Address of the Bishops was laid on the table.

5



" J. A. Collins moved to take up the substitute of J. B. Finley, which had been
laid on the table by a vote some days ago. J. C. Evans moved the previous ques-
tion on taking up the substitute. The call for the previous question was sustained
by two-thirds' voting affirmatively; and the substitute was taken up by another vote.
J. T. Peck moved the previous question on the substitute, and the words, ' Shall
the main question now be put?' applied to the substitute, according to the resolution
establishing the previous question. A motion that the vote whether the main ques-
tion now be taken shall be by yeas and nays, was lost by a vote of 128 to 47. The
call for the previous question was sustained by the requisite majority, and the vote
on the substitute being ordered, it was moved to take this vote by yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered. The list by conferences was called, and the vote
on the substitute was decided by 110 yeas, and 68 nays. So conference adopted
the substitute of James B. Finley, which is in these words :

" ' Whereas the Discipline of our Church forbids the doing anything calculated to
destroy our itinerant general superintendency, and whereas Bishop Andrew has be-
come connected with slavery by marriage and otherwise, and this act having drawn
after it circumstances which, in the estimation of the General Conference, will great-
ly embarrass the exercise of his office as an itinerant general superintendent, if not
in some places entirely prevent it ; therefore,

" ' Resolved, That it is the sense of this General Conference that he desist from
the exercise of his office so long as this impediment remains.'

" During the call for yeas and nays, J. C. Clark asked to be excused from voting,
as he was compelled, by the want of health in some members of his family, to remove
from Texas. Conference by a vote declined excusing him."

If your Honours please, I beg leave here to read two resolutions which were offered
in that Conference. I read from book of Proofs, No. 2, pp. 6, 7.

" Mr. Drake's resolution proposed, but not acted on, in General Conference of 1844.

" ' Whereas there have been found difficulties of a serious nature in the bishops of
the Methodist Episcopal Church exercising a general superintendency ; therefore,

" 'Resolved, That the General Conference recommend the episcopacy to assign to
each superintendent his sphere of labour for the next four years.'

" This proposition, not being in order, was offered as a suggestion, and no action
was had on it.

" Mr. Durbin's resolve not passed in that Conference.

" ' Resolved, That the case of Bishop Andrew be referred to the Church, and that
the judgment of the next General Conference be deemed and taken to be the voice
of the Church, whether Bishop Andrew shall continue to exercise his functions as a
general superintendent in the Methodist Episcopal Church while he sustains the rela-
tion to slavery as stated in his communication to the Conference, as reported to the
Conference by the Committee on Episcopacy.' "

I now return to the first of the Proofs, page 94.

" L. Pierce gave notice that a Protest would be presented by the minority on this
vote, at as early a day as practicable ; to be entered on the journals of the Conference.

" W. Winans moved that the Conference do now adjourn. This motion was car-
ried. After prayer by brother Sovereign, conference adjourned until Monday morn-
ing, at half-past eight o'clock.

" MONDAY, JUNE 3. The following resolutions were offered by H. Slicer and T.
B. Sargent :

"' 1. Resolved, That it is the sense of this General Conference that the vote of
Saturday last, in the case of Bishop Andrew, be understood as advisory only, and not
in the light of a judicial mandate.

" ' 2. Resolved, That the final disposition of Bishop Andrew's case be postponed
until the General Conference of 1848, in conformity with the suggestion of the
bishops in their Address to the Conference on Friday, 31st May.

"'H. SLICER,

" ' June 3, 1844.' T. B. SARGENT.

5*



67

" It was moved to lay these resolutions on the table for the present. On the ques-
tion of laying them on the table, the yeas and nays were called for, and ordered.
Ayes 75, Noes 68.

" So the resolutions, for the present, are laid on the table."

I believe that they were never afterwards called up again, so that the Conference
resolved not to put that construction upon its acts.

" Dr. Capers offered a series of resolutions, which were read, and lie on the table,
under the rule. They are as follows :

" ' Be it resolved by the delegates of all the annual conferences in General Confer-
ence assembled :

" ' That we recommend to the annual conferences to suspend the constitutional re-
strictions which limit the powers of the General Conference so far, and so far only,
as to allow of the following alterations in the government of the Church, namely :

" ' That the Methodist Episcopal Church in these United States and territories, and
the republic of Texas, shall constitute two General Conferences, to meet quadren-
nially, the one at some place south, and the other north of the line which now di-
vides between the States commonly designated as free States and those in which
slavery exists.

" ' 2. That each one of the two General Conferences thus constituted shall have
full powers, under the limitations and restrictions which are now of force and binding
on the General Conference, to make rules and regulations for the Church, within
their territorial limits respectively, and to elect bishops for the same.

" ' 3. That the two General Conferences aforesaid, shall have jurisdiction as fol-
lows : The Southern General Conference shall comprehend the States of Virginia,
Kentucky, and Missouri, and the States and Territories lying southerly thereto, and
also the republic of Texas, to be known and designated by the title of the Southern
General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States. And
the Northern General Conference to comprehend all those States and Territories
lying north of the States of Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri, as above, to be known
and designated by the title of the Northern General Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church in the United States.

" ' 4. And be it further resolved, That as soon as three-fourths of all the members
of all the annual conferences voting on these resolutions, shall approve the same, the
said Southern and Northern General Conferences shall be deemed as having been
constituted by such approval ; and it shall be competent for the Southern annual con-
ferences to elect delegates to said Southern General Conference, to meet in the city
of Nashville, Tenn., on the first of May, 1848 ; or sooner, if a majority of two-thirds
of the members of the annual conferences composing that General Conference shall
desire the same.

" ' 5. And be it further resolved, as aforesaid, That the Book Concerns at New-
York and Cincinnati shall be held and conducted as the property and for the benefit
of all the annual conferences as heretofore the editors and agents to be elected
once in four years at the time of the session of the Northern General Conference,
and the votes of the Southern General Conference to be cast by the delegates of that
Conference attending the Northern for that purpose.

" ' 6. And be it further resolved, That our Church organization for foreign mis-
sions shall be maintained and conducted jointly between the two General Confer-
ences as one Church, in such manner as shall be agreed upon from time to time
between the two great branches of the Church as represented in the said two
Conferences.'

" On motion of N. Bangs, the resolutions offered by W. Capers this morning were
referred to a select committee of nine, who were instructed to report on them as
soon as practicable."

It was in reference to these resolutions that the report was made by a committee
of nine, which we call a " Plan of Separation."

MR. FANCHER, The committee of nine to which those resolutions were referred,



Online LibraryH. B. (Henry Bidleman) BascomThe Methodist Church property case. Report of the suit of Henry Bascom, and others, vs. George Lane, and others, heard before the judges Nelson and Betts, in the Circuit Court, United States, for the Southern District of New York, May 17-20, 1851 → online text (page 12 of 87)