Hiram Mattison.

The impending crisis of 1860 : or the present connection of the Methodist Episcopal Church with slavery, and our duty in regard to it online

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District of Columbia, Kentucky, ]\[issouri, and Arkansjis, all
"admit of emancii)ation, and alh^w the liberated slave to en-
joy freedom." There were in those States and the District, in
1850, according to the census, no less thau' 170,40U tree people
of color: viz., in the District of Columbia, 10,050; in Delaware,
18,073 ; in Maryland, 74,72?. ; in Virginia, 54,333 ; in Ken-
tucky, 10,011 ; in :\[issouri, 2G11 ; and^iii Arkansas, COS. The
laws of all this ''Border'' do therefore admit of emancipation,
and over all the territory a slaveholder is ineligible to any
ecclesiastical oflice by the long-established law of the Churcli.
But how is this law regarded ?

I. Dk. I. T. Cooper, already referred to, in his defence of
the admim'stration on the Border, admits that a large {)ortion
of the officers of the Church there, leaders, trustees, stewards,
etc., are slaveholders. His excuse is, that there are so few
who do not hold slaves, that they could not get enough of such
to constitute the official boards !

* It should be ilistinetly tiiuler.-^tood, in consiilorin^ tliese cases, aii<l tliosn of tlic
local and travelling preiicliers lliiit follow, tliiit the laws of all tlio States in wliicii wo
have slaveliolding nieiubers, allow of euianciiJation to the fullest extent. Tliuv are
not restrained, therefore, by the laws of the land. l>ut an elfort is beinjf made in
Maryland, we believe, to secure a law fiirbidding all cinancipaliun ; and we have
great reason to fear that our menibersliip there are helping; on the project. \Villi
*uch 11 law, leaders and stewards, local preachers, jireachcrs in char^'c, and jiroi-
ding elders, could all hold slaves without a breach of our present Lower Law
Discipline. We hope, thcrclbre, it will bo keyed up at tlTn point by the next Gen-
eral Coiiurcnce, an. I phicc.l a little above the slave laws of Murylaud.


n. Br. Long repeatedly declares that no attention is paid
to the Discipline upon this point — that stewards, leaders, and
trustees hold slaves with impunity. In a letter to the N. C.
Advocate^ some months since, he says : ' "

"Chftttel slavery still exists in the Methodist Episcopal Church in the
States of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. The practical and adminU-
trative example ami influence of tlie Church in those States is to perpetuate
and extend slavery, as far as the Philadelpiiia Conference of the Methodist
E[)iscopal Church is concerned. I will name some of the circuits within
the slaveholding portion of our Conference: Smyrna, Denton, Talbot,
Easton, Centreville, Kent Island, Sudlersville, Kent, Millington, Seaford,
Federalsburg, Dorcliester, Cluirch Creek, Cambridge, Blackwater, Quan-
tico, Salisbury, Princess Anne, Annamessex, Accomac, Northampton, New
Town, Snow Hill, Berlin, Worcester, Lewis, and Georgetown. I give it as
my opinion that one half the number of all the trustees, class-leaders, ex-
horters, stewards, and local preachers on these circuits are slaveholders."

m.^BR. McCaeter bears testimony upon the same point.

He says :

'■'■Many of the stewards are slaveholders. To a great extent this office
is represented by the moneyed men in the Church — the large holders of
property. One half of the whole number of stewards on those districts are
probably slaveholders. While on the upper portions of Maryland and in
Delaware they are comparatively but as one in five, on the southern por-
tions of both districts the precise reverse may be taken as the ratio. One
half of the trustees of churches are probably connected with slavery.
Exhorters, leaders, and local preachers are slaveholders." — (Page 21.)

lY. Brother Lame, who is also well acquainted with the
facts, so far as the southern part of the Philadelphia Confer-
ence is concerned, and who has been driven from his circuit
in Maryland within a year for writing certain anli-slavery
articles for Z ion's JleroM, fully corroborates the statements of
Brothers Long and McCarter upon this point. Indeed, most
of the stewards who drove him off were slaveholders. Even
one of the lay delegates at the last Philadelphia Conference —
a Mr. Harper, we believe — was a slaveholder and a local
preacher, a very suitable layman to sit with the slaveholding
portion of the ministers.

In regard to slaveholding official members, Br. Lame fiays :

" I have class-leaders, stewards, exhorters, local preachers, white
and black, that hold slaves."— (Page 22.) ' ' '

"Among the number [of slaves owned on his circuit] are twelve belong-
ing to a circuit steward of the Methodist Episcopal Church."— (Page 24.)

"The Discipline certainly declares slaveholders ineligible to official sta-
tion in the Church; but the members of the board of stewards owned at
least thirty slaves, and bought, bred, beat, and sold them ad lihitum. One
member of that board we had frequently lieard make the boastful assertion,


that the moment his sen-ants Avere dissatisfied and wisfied another master,
they were at ])erfect liberty to go. So, taking the good brother at his own
proposal, one night tlie wiioli? /)o.we took French leave; but no sooner was
the fact known tiiat tliey liad gone, than a large reward was oflered for
their apprehension and recovery." — (Tage 7.)

Y. In Xoveniber, 1857, tweiity-ciglit fiin^itive slaves came
up tlirougli Syracuse by the under<^round railroad, and passed
on to Canada. At the same time the following advertisement
appeared in the CamhrkJ'jc (l\[d.) Democrat for Nov. 4, 1857:

**) JL $2,000 REWARD. Kan away from tlic subscriber,
/jjr ^^ "'^ Saturday night, 2kh inst., fourteen head of negroes, viz.: 4
. Vt vn men, 2 women, one boy, and seven children. Kit is about 35
years of age, 5 feet (i or 7 inches high. Joe is about 30 years old, very
black, his teeth are vc'ry white, and is about 5 feet 8 inches high. Henry
is about 22 years old, of dark cliesnut color, and large front teeth. Joe is
about 20 years old, in-avy built, and black. Tom is about 1(5 years olil,
light chesnut color. Susan is about 35 years old, dark chesnnt color, and
rather stout built, speaks rather slow, and lias with her 4 children, varying
from 1 to 7 years old. Leah is about 28 years old, about 5 feet high, dark
chesnut color, with 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl, from 1 to 8 years old. I
will give $1000 if taken in the county, $1500 if taken out of the county
and in the State, and $2000 if taken out of the State; in either case to be
lodged in Cambridge jail, so that I can get them again; or I will give a
fair proportion of the above reward if any part are secured.

"Samuel Pattison,
" Oct. 2G, 1857. Near Cambridge, Md.

''P. S. — Since writing the above, I have discovered that my negro
woman Sarah Jane, 25 years old, stout built, and chesnut color, has also
run off. S. P."

Now this "Brother Pattison" is a member in hi<rli standing:
in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Dorchester county, Md.,
and a steward in the Church. What a gem of a ^Methodist he
must be! IIow closely he has ke])t to the Discipline, and to
the ancient landmarks as laid down by Wesley, and Clarke,
and Watson, and Coke, and Asbury, and Garrettson, and Mc-
Kendri'u! Shame on him, and upon all other such hypocrites
and apostates from God and frotn original ^fethodism! It is
enough to make the body of AVesley turn over in its grave
to call such men Methodists. But we need iu)t multiply
proofs, illustrations, or connnents under this head. The pre-
ceding are so clear and indubitable, that we should be likely
to weaken rather than strengthen the impression by a further
accumulation of testimonv.




According to the general minutes for 1858, there are now in
the six slaveholding Conferences 1012 local preachers, viz. : in

Two Baltimores 390

Philadelphia 338

Western Virginia 176

Kentucky 31

Missouri 86

Arkansaa 29

Total 1012

Allowing two hundred for those portions of the Philadelphia
and Baltimore Conferences that are on free soil, we shall have
812 local preachere in slave territory, a large portion of whom
we have reason to believe are slaveholders.

I. In his reply to the denial of Rev. F. G. Ilibbard, Dr. Lke,
of the Richvumd Christian Advocate^ asserts that " Local
preacliers and ordained ministers in the local ranks in the
Methodist Episcopal Church North, are slaveholders." No-
tice, also, his declarations, copied at length in the next chapter.

II. Dr. M'Ferren, editor of the I^ashviUe Christian Advo-
cate, is equally full and explicit. In his printed letters to
Bishop Morris, which have never been contradicted nor an-
swered, he says :

"You know that in Maryland and Virginia you have hundreds, yea,
thousands of members who hold slaves; that you have ordained deacons
and elders in the ministry of your Church, who are slaveholders. You
yourself have ordained to the office and work of the ministry many a slave-
holder. * * * Bishop Waugh, Bishop Morris, and Bishop Janes, to
my certain knowledge, have each ordained slaveholders to tlie offices of
deacon and elder." — First letter to Bishop Morris.

We suppose most of these cases were local preachers, and
hence introduce the testimony here ; but there are n^atters in
the letter which will make it equally pertinent in the^next
chapter, where we shall introduce it again more at length, and
with additional comments.

in. Tlie celebrated memorial from the Westmoreland. Cir-
cuit, Baltimore Conference, which was sent to the General
Conference of 1840, represented " that local preachers within
the jurisdiction of the Baltimore Conference, but residing in
the commonwealth of Virginia, have, in considerable numbers,
and for a succession of years, been rejected {^ applicants for


deacons' and I'ldc^rs' orders in tlie ininistry, solely on tlio
ground ot" their beini^ slaveholders, or the owners of slaves/'*
From this it is evident that at that time, and "■ for a succession
of veai-8," local preacliei-s " in considerable numbers" were and
had been slaveholders in Yiro;inia. And it is not likely that
it has grown any better since.

lY. Rev. Mr. Clkmm, agent for the iS'ew Baltimore paper,
stated on the floor of the last Philadelphia Conference, that
the Baltimore Conference could not now prevent a slavehold-
ing local preacher from being ordained, even if disposed to do
60 ; and he presumed the Philadelphia Conference could not.
To this statement no exceptions Avei'e taken. AVe understood
tlio remark to iuiply that such was the state of public senti-
ment in that region, and the influence of slavery, that it would
not do to refuse to ordain a man, simply because he was a

V. The following case in point was furnished for the J^oHh-
ern Independent in May last, by Rev. J. D. Long:

" The Rev. Henry Ilutt, a free colored man residing on the Eastern Shore
of Maryhinil, and a local preacher in the Phihxdelpliia Aiinmd Conference
of tlie MethmliMt Episcopal Churchy li:is, hy the force of his t.-dents and in-
dnstry, accninulated considorahle wealth. There is no proof tliat tiie Rev.
llutt is, or h;is ever been an abolitionist. lie is a conservative, no doubt.
It ai)pears tiiat some months ai,'o a slave owned by the Rev. Ilenry^ con-
cluded to take tlie nndert,'round railroad for tlie land of the tree, but failed,
was caught, brought back to this Rev. slaveholder, was sold to the South,
and the money pocketed by said Ihitt. The Quarterly Conference did not
take away his license for this conduct, and he is still a local i)reacher in
our Church. Now, if said Henry hail helped a man of his own color to
run away from worse than Egyi)tian bondage, the Chundi would have
branded liim with disgrace, and "the St;ite sent him to the Penitentiary."

VI. Still another case in point will be found in the follow-
ing advertisement, taken from the Camhrkhje i^id.) Democrat.
Mark its modern date:

fA) fL $300 REWARD. K^*" ^'^'•"'^y ^■■<^'" ^^'^ subscriber, from
^ ^T^ the ncighborhoixl tj^ Town Point, on Saturday night, 2ttii inst.,
~ V> . ^i^S, my negro man, Aaron Cornish, about 35 years old. lie is about
5 feet 10 inches high, black, good looking, rather jdeasant countenance,
and carries himself with a confident manner. lie wetit otf with his wifj
Dafihey, a negro woman belonging to liheuben E. Phili|)s. I will give the
above reward if taken out of the county, and $200 if taken in the county;
in either ca<e, to be lodged in Cambridge (Md.) jail.

Oct. 28, 1857. Levi D. Traveuij.

* Jouriiul of General Conference for 1840, p. 167.


This gentleman, says Brother Long,* is a wealthy local
preacher in our Church, on Taylor's Island, Dorchester county,
Md. Brothers McCartcr and Lame confirm the statement.

Li a letter dated Taylor's Island, Feh. 12, 1858, published

in the Camhridge (Md.) EagU^ and signed " Levi D. Travers,"

we find the following. Speaking of Brother Long's exposure

of his iniquity, he says :

"I now propose to speak in my own defence, before that court which
my Ecclesiastical Judge has been pleased to arraign me. In his cliarge he
has been very careful to state that I am a local preacher of the Methodist
Episcopal Church — a truth I would not disi^uise. I am an humble local
preacher of the said Church, a position I pray God I may never dishonor.
I love the Methodist Episcopal Church ; she is my spiritual mother. She
took me in when I was a helpless infant; I have been rocked in her cra-
dle, nurtured in her lap, educated in her school, and subscribe to her arti-
cles of religion and indorse her discipline, and desire no amendment. I
prefer her to all the various branches of Christ's visible Church, because I
believe her to be the truest resemblance of the Apostolic Church. I will
battle upon her fields, fight under her banner while she holds to her Wes-
leyan discipline. But if she changes her colors I shall throw off all alle-
giance to her before her filibustering sous shall ipew me out, and join my-
self to another division of the family of God. I am also charged with
claiming property in the person of a negro man named Aaron Cornish,
who ran away, and I offered a reward for his apprehension," &c.

Yes, this slaveholding Levite is a great Methodist I His
phylactery is made very broad for his " spiritual mother,",
whose Discipline he dearly loves. But what of that rule, page
212, of this "Wesleyan Discipline :" "No slayeholdee shall


(fee?" Does the Rev. Pharisee " endoi-se" that? Nay, but
impiously tramples it under his feet. And all this time he
dearly loves Methodism and the Discipline ! Like abase par-
ricide, who approaches his " mother" with well-affected blan-
dishments and professions of filial regard, and then stabs her
to the heart. And mark that threat, '' if she changes her col-
ors," &c. Such is the purpose of the Bdrderer generally —
" If you alter the Discipline in the least, in regard to slavery, ^
we will secede." " Look here, Mattison," said the late John
A. Collins, of Baltimore, to us, at the last General Conference
(calling us aside) ; " look here ; what are you going to do at
this General Conference ? " " In respect to what. Brother Col-
lins?" we calmly inquired. " Why, in regard to slavery," ho
answered. " Why," said we, " we intend to do all we can to
put slavery out of the Methodist Episcopal Church." " Well,"
said Le. " if you touch that subject we shall go by ourselves ;"


and turned and walked off. And so from otlier Baltimore
delegates ; it was a common expression from the Border, " If
you do as much as to dot an / or cross a t of the Discipline, in
regard to slavery, we shall go by ourselves." And so ]\[r.
Traverse : " If you do any thing to disturb my slaveholding,
and slave-breeding, and slave-buying, I'll leave you !''

Brother Long says : " If the General Conference should ever
make non-slaveholding and non-slavebreeding a test of mem-
bership, the Eastern iShore of ^[aryland will go to the Church
South." Brother Lame says (page 23) : " I have yet to find
the man or Methodist with whom I have convei-sed, that lias
not expressed the same opinions precisely ; and many contend
that it shonhl have gone with the great Southern secession."
This is no doulit tlie general teeling on the nr>r(h'r; hence, as
the best means <,if keeping them from seceding, Dr. Bond ad-
vised them, in case the General Conference of 185G passed an
extirpatory Rule, to preserve a " masterly inactivity" — that is,
nullify the authority of the General Conference !

What a blessing it would be if all slaveholder Va?^Zd^ leave
the ^lethodist Episcopal Church! the sooner the better. But
if they do n6t leave or forsake their sins, God grant that the
time may soon come when the ^lethodist Episcopal Ciiurch
shall indeed "'■ sjyeio them out of her mouth .^^ Tliey are like
putrid carrion and rottenness in the temple of God.

But w(! ha\c not yet done with this reverend slaveholder's
confessions. Further on in his letter he says:

"I am a slavolioldiT. I liold twenty sl.-ives (riglit or wnMip) under the
sanction of tlie Cnn.-titution of the United States and tlie h-uvs nf Maryhuid.
I hohl tlieni neai-ly all by inheritance; one half as the inheritance of my
^vife; of the other half, a jjortion I inht-rited from my father and son, a
part Were hmii of my slaves, and a part purchased. * * * * These
slaves 1 liave in my own t'amily, and n])on my lands, some of them acting
as ov>.i-.>i.-ei's. Now a.'^ a slaveholder I cannot conceive that as such 1 am
rebelling against the righteous government of God."

i^ow don't be alarmed, my Methodist reader: "Brother
Traverse" does not own but "twenty;" and of these he only
"purchased" "part" of them. And besides, he is a good
Methodist Local Preacher, within the bounds of the Philadel-
phia Conference, and "cannot conceive" that slaveholding is
wrong! Moreover, he loves the Discipline dearly. The Gen-
eral Tiiile against slaver}' forbids the buying [mark] or selling
of /Hc/i^ womc7i, or chiUIren, with an intention to 4ndave them


• (p. 27); and " Brother Traverse" has "purchased" "part" of
liis " gang" of " twenty" to work on his " lands;" but then he
loves the Discipline, and "desires no amendment 1"

Brother Lame's pamphlet furnishes the following additional
specimen of a slaveholding Local Preacher :

" During 1857, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Chnrch, whose lau-
datory obituary appeared in tiie 'great official,' having died intestate, a
black man belonging to the estate of the deceased, a Methodist also, was
put on the block by the executors, and purchased by a colored local preach-
er on the same circuit. A sliort period after his purchase, the same piece
of i)roperty decamped, as rumor says, owing to harsh treatment. He was
apprehended, returned, taken to Baltimore, and offered to the Southern
market, but his sale was spoiled by the constant assertion of the negro
that his family connections, together with himself, was subject to fits; in-
formation that was perfectly correct. As far as we could learn, commiser-
atiou seemed to be felt for the local preacher." (p. 26.)

Now put all these facts together: — that we have near a
thousand Local Preachers in slave territory — the statements
of Dr. Lee and Dr. McFerrin — the admission of the "Westmore-
land memorial — the statement of Mr. Cleram — the case of Mr.
Hutt — that of Mr. Traverse — and the one last above men-
tioned; and judge ye, whether, in all human probability, we
have not this day at least five huitored looal preachers in
THE Methodist Episcopal Church who are slaveholders !"* f

That most of the 812 hold slaves, tliere can be no reason-
able doubt ; and that doing thus, they all trample upon the
Discipline of the Church and the authority of God, is equally
certain. And we have no question that men of this stamp are
being ordained as deacons and elders in the slaveholding Con-
ferences every year, as Mr. Clemm intimated at the Philadel-
phia Conference at Easton. But more of this hereafter.

* At the Annual Meeting of the Local Preachers' Association of New York and
Brooklyn, October 8, 1858, there were, among those who spoke, six from slave terri-
tory ; viz. JIan.van, Cook, Roberts, and Bbady, from Baltimore ; and MoCdlluoh and
RiDDLK, from Delaware. There were doubtless othera who did not speak. Wonder
how many slaveholders there were among them f



"We have thus shown, in the hist tlirce chapters, that tliou-
sands of private members, chiss-leaders, stewards, ti'ustees, and
local preachers in our Church are slaveholders. But leaving
the matter of mere slaveAo/r/ing, Ave propose now to show that
our mcmhers on the Border \\\:y and sell slaves with i/npu-
nity, precisely as do members of otlier Churches there, or
"men of the world." The Discipline, as we have seen, ex-
pressly forbids " the l)nyiii<>: or selling of men, women, or chil-
dren, with the intentiDU to enslave them." We have >ecn,
also, how some of our local })reachers respect these rules. Let
us now inquire how far our private members on the Border
(who, as our bishops inform us, " in respect to intelligence,
piety, and attachment to Methodist discipline and economy,
will compare favorably with other portions of the Church")*
regard these rules.

I. Nearly all the increase of the slave population of Mary-
land and Virginia is sold to go to the more southern States.
Slaves are their great staple export, and their chief source of
revenue. By a report of a special committee of the House of
Representatives of South Carolina, on slavery and the slave-
trade, made in 1S57, it appears that ivom 1840 to 1850, the in-
crease of slaves in jMaryland and Virginia was 30 per cent.
Of these, the proportions exported to otlier States, and the
number kept at home, are as follows :

Jlarvljuid exported 26,270 I Virijinia exported lll,2r>9

Kipt ai lioiiie (j.'H 1 Kept lit home 23, 411

Here we have 137,52!) sold into lifedong bondage on the sugar
and cotton and rice tields of the far South, against 2-1,072 who
remain in slavery at home ; neariv six seventlis of the wlude
sold to go South !

Now when we remeiid)er that thc^ cliicf wcahh <>f the^^e slave-
breeding States consists of tlu'ir shiVL'S ; and that the ]\[utiio-
dists are the most numerous and iiitluential and weaUhy de-
nomination in these States, it foUnws irresistiblv that the !Meth-

• Episcopal Address for 185fi.— Journala, p. 200.


odists must be, even more than otliei*8, engaged in the breed-
in o- and selling of slaves for the Southern market.

n. In regard to the domestic slave-trade, Br. Long says :

"Sihce the publication of the first edition of my book, a friend inquired
of me whetlier I liad ever known one member of the Church to be arrested
for selling a slave to another member of the Church. I answered that I
never had. If one member of the Church wants money, and another mem-
ber of the Church residing in the neighborhood wants a slave, the sale ia
made, and no more attention is paid to the sale than would be paid to the
selling of a horse. It is not considered a violation of the Discipline, for it
is but an exchange from one mercenary slaveholder to another. I know a
recent case in which a member of the highest standing in the Church sold
slaves to another member of equal standing ; and the sale was regarded as
a common business transaction. If n church-member who is a farmer
needs a hand, he buys a slave, if he wishes to do so, either of saint or sin-
ner, or at a public sale, as best suits his purpose, with the intention of reap-
ing the fruits of his involuntary labor. I appeal to the preachers of the
Piiiladelphia Conference if it is not so." — (Pages 400, 401.)

In close connection with the above, the same writer gives
the following account of the kidnapping of the adopted child
of a free colored man by a rich Methodist :

"A free colored man, and cousin of Frederick Douglass, who was liber-
ated by Oapt. Thomas Auld, of Talbot county (and 1 will just here say,
without the knowledge or consent of Capt. Auld, tliat he has manumitted
some six or eight young colored men and women since 1844), married a
woman who was also free. They had no children of their own ; but a free

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Online LibraryHiram MattisonThe impending crisis of 1860 : or the present connection of the Methodist Episcopal Church with slavery, and our duty in regard to it → online text (page 7 of 15)