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

. (page 8 of 87)
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 8 of 87)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Philadelphia Conference, held April 24, 1833

Missouri Conference

Georgia Conference

Alabama Conference

Illinois Conference

Tennessee Conference...





Fifteen conferences non-concurring.

Number for, 741 Against, 96
17 503

Whole number in the several conferences against, 758
" " " " for, 599

For, 599

Majority against granting Canada claims,



" Brother Case then addressed the committee, making several remarks and state-
ments in favour of the claims being answered. Committee was then addressed by
brother Lord. After some information, obtained by brother Waugh, committee ad-
journed, to meet again next Tuesday evening.

(Signed,) C. SHERMAN, Sec'y.

" The report of the committee appointed upon the subject of the Canada claim
was presented and adopted May 19, as follows:

" The committee to whom was referred the communication from the conference
of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in British North America, beg leave to report :

" Your committee have given a serious, and they trust a candid, attention to the
document referred to them. They have invited before them the president of the
Canada Conference, the Rev. William Lord, and the delegate from Canada, the
Rev. William Case, and have listened with pleasure to their remarks, and perused
with close attention a communication purporting to set forth the grounds of these
claims. But inasmuch as the last General Conference did distinctly avow that con-
stitutional restrictions prohibited their action, and proceeded to lay the question be-
fore the several annual conferences, in order to obtain the decision of these primary
bodies upon the subject, your committee were admonished that the task devolving
upon them is limited to this single consideration, namely, Have the annual confer-
ences determined against the claims of the Canada Conference 1 ?

" This point is determined by the votes of all the annual conferences, which, be-
ing properly authenticated, and having been carefully examined, stand as follows :

In favour of concurring with the General Conference of 1832 599

Against concurring 758

Whole number of votes taken 1357

" This statement shows that, instead of three-fourths of the votes being in favour
of obviating the constitutional restrictions, as the Discipline in such cases requires, a
large majority have decided against it. And this decision your committee regard as
final and conclusive against these claims.

" But inasmuch as the General Conference have ever claimed and exercised the
right to regulate the discount at which our books may be sold to wholesale pur-
chasers, and with a view to an amicable and final arrangement of all the difficulties
which have existed on this subject, and especially with a sincere desire to go as
far as justice to the Methodist Episcopal Church will authorize, to encourage and
perpetuate the friendly and fraternal feelings which should ever exist between the
different members of the great Methodist family, the committee submit to the con-
sideration, and for the adoption, of the General Conference the following arrange-
ment, mutually agreed to by the delegates from Canada and the book agents, and
which we are assured will be satisfactory to our Canadian brethren, if sanctioned by
this Conference.

" Whereas the Canada Conference, now in connexion with the Wesleyan Method-
ists of Great Britain, was formerly united to, and formed part of, the Methodist Epis-
copal Church ; and whereas the union, which by mutual consent then subsisted, was
dissolved at the earnest and repeated solicitations of the ministers and members of
the Church in Canada, which was definitively determined upon by an act of the
Canada Conference, who thereupon and subsequently did form a union with, and be-
come a part of, the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion ; and whereas there has been a
difference of opinion between the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Canada Con-
ference in regard to the claim which has been urged by the Canada Conference, of
an interest in, and a portion of, the Methodist Book Concern ; and whereas the de-
cision of the several annual conferences, to whom the subject was referred by the Ge-
neral Conference of 1832, has been adverse to the claim of the Canada Conference,
and has thereby precluded any further action of the General Conference on the ground
of claim, as made by the Canada Conference ; but whereas this General Conference
cherishes an affectionate remembrance of the Canada brethren, and is desirous to
manifest its fraternal regard in every suitable way ; and whereas the Canada Confer-
ence did, at its last session, appoint its president, the Rev. William Lord, and the
Rev. Egerton Ryerson, delegates to this General Conference to negotiate its claims
on the Book Concern, and the Rev. William Case, having been duly appointed to


take the place of Rev. E. Ryerson in the negotiation ; and whereas the said Rev.
William Lord, president of the Canada Conference, and the Rev. William Case,
have full powers to bring to an amicable termination the question pending between
the two connexions, therefore it is hereby declared to be mutually understood and
agreed, that the following plan shall be considered as an arrangement for the full and
final adjustment and settlement of the matter at issue between the Canada Confer-
ence and the Methodist Episcopal Church ; to wit, The agents of the Methodist
Book Concern shall furnish to the book-steward of the Canada Conference any of
the books which may be issued from its press at the following rates, subject to the
conditions and provisions hereinafter named :

" 1. The general alphabetical catalogue books, whether in sheets or bound, shall
be sold at forty per cent, discount from the retail prices, as long as the present dis-
count of one-third shall be made to wholesale purchasers ; but should the discount
be hereafter changed to one-fourth, then, in that case, the books sold to the book-
steward of the Canada Conference shall be charged at a discount of one-third from
the retail prices which shall from time to time be affixed to them respectively. Pro-
vided that this discount shall not apply to such books as may be reduced below the
usual prices on account of rival publishers ; and provided, also, that the Canada
Conference shall give satisfactory security in regard to the payment of any debt
which may be contracted with the Methodist Book Concern, within one year from
the time such debt may be created. And it is also expressly understood and agreed,
that no interest shall be demanded or paid on any such debts, unless payment shall
be delayed beyond the period of credit before named, in which event interest shall be
charged and paid, from and after the expiration of said credit term. It is also further
provided, that all books which may be ordered by the book-steward of the Canada
Conference shall be at the risk and expense of the said Conference, from the time
they shall be forwarded from the Methodist Book Concern.

" 2. Sunday-school books and tracts shall be furnished to the book-steward of the
Canada Conference at a premium of eighteen per cent., to be paid in general cata-
logue books at retail prices ; and it is hereby declared to be understood and agreed,
that the same provisions and conditions are to be adjudged applicable to Sunday-
school books and tracts as have been specified above in regard to books generally.

" 3. It is understood and agreed, that the privileges herein secured to the Canada
Conference shall be binding on the Methodist Book Concern until the first day of
May, 1852, next ensuing the present date ; Provided, also, that the said Canada
Conference shall regularly and truly make annual settlements to the satisfaction of
the agents of the Methodist Book-Concern, and not otherwise.

" 4. Finally, it is hereby mutually understood and agreed, that the foregoing ar-
rangement is considered as a full, and definite, and satisfactory adjustment of the
question which has arisen between the Canada Conference and the Methodist Epis-
copal Church on the subject of the Methodist Book Concern.

" In testimony whereof, the agents of the Methodist Book-Concern, and the dele-
gates of the Canada Conference, have mutually affixed their respective signatures,
this eighteenth day of May, 1836, in the city of Cincinnati, Ohio.

(Signed) B. WAUGH & T. MASON, Agents.

WILLIAM LORD, ) Delegates from

" MAY 23, 1832. On motion of P. Akers, which was seconded, Resolved, that a
copy of the resolution of the last General Conference by which the Canada Confer-
ence was allowed to dissolve connexion with the Methodist Episcopal Church in the
United States ; and also a copy of the acts of this General Conference on Canada
affairs, accompany the resolutions about to be presented to the annual confer-

I propose now, if your Honours please, to return to page 43, and to read from
that and subsequent pages an address from the Canada Conference, held in 1833,
to show that, notwithstanding their separation, the parties treated each other as
members of the same body the Methodist Episcopal Church for all practical pur-


" To the Bishops and Members of the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal
Church in the United States.

REVEREND FATHERS AND BRETHREN : We rejoice to avail ourselves of this oc-
casion to declare, in the words of the venerable Wesley in his last letter to America,
' that the Methodists are one people in all the world, and that it is their full deter-
mination so to continue,

" Though mountains rise, and oceans roll,
To sever us in vain." '

" In connexion with you, we were born and nourished ; in connexion with you, we
have laboured and prospered ; and from your example and liberality, and the coun-
sels of two of your venerable bishops, and several of your highly esteemed preachers.
we have derived assistance and advantages which have enabled us greatly to extend
the work of God in this new country, and the grateful recollection of which will
never be effaced from our minds.

When the full period arrived in 1828, in which the welfare, harmony, and safety
of our Church rendered it expedient for us to be organized into a separate and inde-
pendent body, you candidly took into consideration our local circumstances, and
generously complied with our wishes and, at the same time continued to us the
expression of your kindness and liberality. That separation, however, was not on
our part, any more than on yours, a separation of doctrine, of discipline, of motive, or
of affection, but only of political, geographical, and ecclesiastical boundary. Still
"with you we were one in heart, in aim, in doctrine, and discipline. Under the
influence of this conviction and feeling, we sought to obtain a general superintendent
from your connexion, and made successive applications to no less than four members
of your conference to fill that highly important office over us. But all our applica-
tions were unsuccessful, and our efforts to establish and settle our economy were
fruitless. In this unsettled state of anxious suspense, we have been involved for the
last five years, during which time we have been with difficulty, but mercifully, pre-
served from agitation, division, and encroachment. Providence has at length opened
the way for the settlement of our economy upon a permanent foundation. By the
large influx of British emigration to this province, and especially of persons who had
been connected with Methodist societies and congregations in Great Britain and
Ireland, the attention of the Wesleyan Missionary Committee in London was particu-
larly attracted, and pressing appeals were made to the Christian feelings and bene-
volence of the British Conference from many of their former flocks for a supply of
those ordinances which they had enjoyed in the land of their fathers. These circum-
stances, together with the admitted and notorious fact of our inadequacy as a body,
both in regard to men and means, to supply all the religious wants of the white
settlements and Indian tribes, induced the Wesleyan Missionary Committee about a
year since to determine on sending a number of missionaries into Upper Canada.
For this purpose the committee sent the Rev. Robert Alder as their representative
to this province, to inquire into its religious condition. Between Mr. Alder and- this
conference a negotiation was commenced, which has now resulted in a union
between the Canadian and British connexion. This measure has been accomplished
upon a principle of perfect equality, without any sacrifice of principle or independence
on either side, and with merely those changes in one or two features of the pruden-
tial part of our economy, ' which our local circumstances require,' as stated and
provided for in the articles of separation from your connexion in 1828. So that,
without departing from either the letter or spirit of the resolutions of your body, in
generously granting our request for a separation, we have, through the Divine bless-
ing, been enabled to adopt a plan the only and most efficient plan by which divi-
sions may be prevented among our own societies, and misunderstandings with others ;
a plan which will secure the unity of Methodism throughout the province, and bring
to our assistance a large addition of means and men to carry on the work of the Lord
among the white population and the Indian tribes of North America ; a plan which
'i adopted unanimously and cordially both by this and the British Conference.

In this providential and gracious opening we recognise the peculiar hand of God,
and we arc persuaded you will rejoice with us in thus witnessing Methodism through-
out the British empire, as throughout the United States, connected in a common
bond of union, and sustained and extended under a common management. Nor are


we in this necessary and beneficial arrangement the less united and grateful to you
as our fathers, brethren, and benefactors ; and we devoutly hope that no circum-
stance will occur which may tend to weaken our mutual confidence and affection in
the final adjustment of those claims, the justice of which has been recognised and
sanctioned by the majority of your body at two successive sessions.

" We shall rejoice to co-operate with you, and to assist you with native labourers, as
'far as in our power, until, by the blessing of God, the Western wilderness shall be
illuminated by the light of the Gospel, and the banners of the Lamb shall be unfurled
to the Pacific Ocean.

" We enjoy perfect harmony and peace throughout all our borders, and great pros-
perity in many places. Our Church members amount to 16,039, and the blessings
of the Lord our God are abundantly upon us. We rejoice to hear of your great
success, and most devoutly pray that you may go on prospering more and more.

" By order and on behalf of the Conference of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in
British North America.

(Signed) "-GEORGE MARSDEX, President.


" YORK, UPPER CANADA, October 9, 1833."

I will read next, if your Honours please, a few extracts in relation to alterations
which have taken place from time to time in the restrictive rules :

"MAY 22, 1828. W. Fisk, for the committee to which had been referred the
subject of recommending to the annual conferences some alterations in the restrictive
rules, reported. The time of adjournment being near, it was moved and seconded
to extend the session until six o'clock, and the motion was lost. It was then re-
solved, on motion, to extend the session for fifteen minutes. During the discussion,
the time of adjournment having nearly arrived, it was resolved, on motion, to extend
it ten minutes. A division of the above report was called for; and the question
being taken on the first part, it was carried. The vote was then taken on the second
and last part, and that was also carried.

" And then the Conference adjourned.

" The following is the report referred to above :

" ' The committee to whom was referred the subject embraced in a resolution sug-
gesting the propriety of providing for the alteration of one of the rules commonly
called the restrictive rules, beg leave to report the following resolution :

" ' Resolved, That this General Conference respectfully suggest to the several
annual conferences the propriety of recommending to the next General Conference
so to alter and amend the rules of our Discipline, by which the General Conference
is restricted in its powers to make rules and regulations for the Church, commonly
called the restrictive rules, as to make the proviso at the close of the restrictive
rules, No. 6, read thus,

" ' Provided nevertheless, That upon the concurrent recommendation of three-
fourths of all the members of the several annual conferences who shall be present
and vote on such recommendation, then a majority of two-thirds of the General Con-
ference succeeding shall suffice to alter any such regulations excepting the first

" ' And also, whenever such alteration or alterations shall have first been recom-
mended by two-thirds of the General Conference, so soon as three-fourths of the
members of the annual conferences shall have concurred as aforesaid with such re-
commendation, such alteration or alterations shall take effect.

"' All which is respectfully submitted. W. FISK, Chairman.'

" MAY 22, 1832.. The Committee on the Itinerancy beg leave to report the fol-
lowing, as the result of their deliberations on the subject recommended to them, viz. :

" ' I. Resolved, That this General Conference recommend to the several annual con-
ferences for their concurrence and adoption, as provided in the sixth article of the
restrictive rules, the following resolution to amend the second article of the said
restrictive rules :

" ' II. Resolved, That the second article of the restrictive rules be so- altered as to


" t .. They shall not allow of more than one representative for every fourteen
members of the annual conference, nor allow for less number than one for every
thirty : provided, nevertheless, that when there shall be in any annual conference a
fraction of two-thirds the number which shall be fixed for the ratio of representation,
such annual conference shall be entitled to an additional delegate for such fraction.
And provided, also, that no conference shall be deprived the privilege of two dele-

' III. Rcsohed, That the secretary furnish each of the bishops with a copy of
these resolutions, and they are hereby respectfully requested to present the same to
the several annual conferences, or cause the same to be presented at their next ses-
sion, for their concurrence ; and where the bishops or any two of the bishops shall
have ascertained that three-fourths of all the members of the several annual confer-
ences voting in the case have concurred with this General Conference, they shall
certify the same, and cause such certificate to be printed in the minutes, and pub-
lished three successive weeks in the Christian Advocate and Journal.

" ' IV. Resolved, That the ratio of representation for the next General Conference
be one for every fourteen, provided the annual conferences concur in the alteration
as above recommended by this conference.

" 'And that the Discipline in Section 3, Answer 1 to Question 2, on page 19,
shall thereupon be so altered as to read,

" ' " The General Conference shall be composed of one member for every four-
teen members of each annual conference," ' &c.

"1836. The ratio of representation was altered to one for every twenty-one:
and to allow this, the second of the restrictive rules was changed to the follow-

" 'They shall not allow of more than one representative for every fourteen mem-
bers of the annual conference, nor allow of a less number than one for every thirty :
provided, nevertheless, that when there shall be in any annual conference a fraction
of two-thirds the number which shall be fixed for the ratio of representation, such
annual conference shall be entitled to an additional delegate for such fraction ; and
provided, also, that no conference shall be denied the privilege of two delegates,' "

Now, if your Honours please, I will read what relates to the subject of slavery.
I will first read what appears in the Discipline as it stands on that subject. And first
what is contained in the Discipline of 1840, under which, in fact, all these difficulties

" Of Slavery.

" Quest. What shall be done for the extirpation of the evil of slavery 1

"Ans. 1. We declare that we are as much as ever convinced of the great evil of
slavery : therefore no slaveholder shall be eligible to any official station in our
Church hereafter, where the laws of the State in which he lives will admit of eman-
cipation, and permit the liberated slave to enjoy freedom.

" 2. When any travelling preacher becomes an owner of a slave or slaves, by any
means, he shall forfeit his ministerial character in our Church, unless he execute, if
it be practicable, a legal emancipation of such slaves, conformably to the laws of the
State in winch he lives.

" 3. All our preachers shall prudently enforce upon our members the necessity of
teaching their slaves to read the word of God ; and to allow them time to attend
upon the public worship of God on our regular days of divine service.

" 4. Our coloured preachers and official members ^hall have all the privileges which
are usual to others in the district and quarterly conferences, where the usages of the
country do not forbid it. And the presiding elder may hold for them a separate dis-
trict conference, where the number of coloured local preachers will justify it.

" 5. The annual conferences may employ coloured preachers to travel and preach
where their services are judged necessary ; provided that no one shall be so em-
ployed without having been recommended according to the form of Discipline. Pp.
209, 210."

Now I turn, your Honours, to the extracts from "Minutes of several Conversations
between the Rev. Thomas Coke, LL.D., the Rev. Francis Asbury, and others,
at a Conference begun in Baltimore, in the State of Maryland, on Monday, the 27th


December, in the year 1784." This is the first Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal
Church, adopted at what is called the " Christmas Conference."

" ' Quest. 41. Are (here any directions to be given concerning the negroes ?

" ' Ans. Let every preacher, as often as possible, meet them in class. And let the
assistant always appoint a proper white person as their leader. Let the assistants also
make a regular return to theconfercnce of the number of negroes in society in their
respective circuits.

" ' Quest. 42. What methods can we take to extirpate slavery ?

" ' Ans. We are deeply conscious of the impropriety of making new terms of com-
munion for a religious society already established, excepting on the most pressing oc-
casion : and such we esteem the practice of holding our fellow-creatures in slavery.
We view it as contrary to the golden law of God on which hang all the law and the
prophets, and the unalienable rights of mankind, as well as every principle of the re-
volution, to hold in the deepest debasement, in a more abject slavery than is perhaps to be.
found in any part of tlic world except America, so many souls that are all capable of
the image of God.

" ' We therefore think it our most boundcn duty to take immediately some effectual
method to extirpate this abomination from among us : and for that purpose we add the
folloicing to the rules of our society, viz :

" ' 1 . Every member of our society who has slaves in his possession, shall, within
twelve months after notice given to him by the assistant, (which notice the assistants
are required immediately, and without any delay, to give in their respective circuits,)
legally execute and record an instrument, ichereby he emancipates and sets free every
slave in his possession who is between the ages of forty and forty-five immediately, or
at farthest when they arrive at the age of forty-five.

" ' And even/ slave who is between the ages of twenty-five and forty immediately, or
at farthest at the expiration of five years from the date of the said instrument.

" ' And evert/ slave who is between the ages of twenty and twenty-five immediately,
or at farthest when they arrive at the age of thirty.

" ' And every slave under the age of twenty, as soon as they arrive at the age of
twenty-five at farthest.

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 8 of 87)