John Ireland.

A second solemn appeal to the church : containing remarks and strictures on the late violent proceedings of a pretended ecclesiastical court against the author online

. (page 15 of 51)
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this Council, and prudence and respect to himself demanded, that he
should not again put himself in their power. He, however, called
on Mr Hedding for the purpose of explanation, and the statement of
Mrs. Wood on this point, will clearly show " his correctness of
judgment" and discernment, in declining any further communication
with that gentleman. Mr. Crocker also, with perfect fairness, offered
to answer any questions in writing which they might propose to him.
This was precisely the course he pursued in giving his deposition to
be used in the trial at Boston. The persons who took that deposition
called upon him. The questions had been previously proposed to
him in writing and answered in writing, and were taken down by
Justice Aplin from that paper in Mr. C's presence, he having first
been sworn as the law directs. Mr, Crocker, therefore, offered the
same facilities to the Council that he had given to the other party,
and this Mr. Hedding himself knew, and yet he allowed the insinua-
tion against Mr. C's fairness and impartiality to be inserted in the
pamphlet published by the Committee of the Council !

Besides had Mr. C. given his statement to the Council, it must
have been in " the absence of the party implicate d,^^ a thing highly
improper in the estimation of those gentlemen, and of course more
so than in the former case, when the party had been notified to appear.
Truth, however, will out, and a gentleman high in the confidence of
the Council, and who assisted in examining their witnesses, declared
that the Council would not have urged Mr. Crocker's attendance had
they not been assured, he would decline' Had this Council been
really desirous of procuring the statement of Mr. Crocker, it might
have been done with perfect convenience in the way proposed.
Their declining it shows they were glad to avail themselves of a
plausible pretext to get rid of examining him, lest they might be
compelled to exclude his testimony as they did the Rev. Mr. Wil-
son's. The course they pursued with Mr. Prentice shows what was
in reserve for Mr. C. Mr. Prentice was informed a witness was
about to depose against him. He accordingly waited on the Council



28

and made a statement to contradict that witness, and offered other
proofs. The contradicted statement of that witness, containing sev-
eral charges against Mr. P. which he had disproved and declared to
be incorrect, was published and no allusion made to the counter
statement of Mr. P. and the other proofs offered by him. Such
would no doubt have been the treatment of Mr. C had he complied
with their invitation, and in declining to put himself in their power
he acted with a prudence which several of the witnesses who obey-
ed the summons of the Council, now regret they had not imitated.

The Council thus happily rid of Mr. C. proceeded to call their
'^voluntary'" witnesses, all of whom, except Mrs. Chase, they knew
to be favourable to Mr. MafStt. Previous to this, or during the exam-
ination, two honourable judges (one of whom '■'was standing o. his
feef while the other sat down from fatigue) were *' permitted^'' to
appear as counsel for Mr. Maffitt.* The gentleman who sat down,
was some hours in his speech, and used the greatest latitude in abus-
ing the trial in Boston, judge, jury, and especially the principal wit-
ness against Mr. M. So gross did this appear, that a gentleman pres-
ent observed to one of the Council, he thought it extremely improper
and unfair that they should suffer a person who was absent, and had
no one to defend him present, to be so treated in their presence. To
this remonstrance no heed was given.

The advocate of Mr. Maffitt was not only allowed to revile the
witnesses in the trial, but without contradiction, or any counsel to
oppose him, was suff"ered to misrepresent Judge Quincy's charge to
the jury in the grossest manner. He represented the substance of that
charge to be, that if a person were accused in a libel of five specifi-
cations, three of a serious and weighty nature, and two trifling ; the
jury, might acquit the libeller, if they believed the two light charges
proved, without a tittle of evidence to support the two serious and
weighty accusations I Several persons present, perfectly recollect
the peculiar expression of exultation that sat upon the countenances
of several of the Council during this speech, whenever the princi-
ples laid down by Judge Q,uincy were denied to be law, and the wit-
nesses agiinst Mr, M. accused of falsehood. The words of this ora-
tor sank deep into the hearts of the Council, and they spontaneously
requested a copy thereof for their " Report." This, the speaker
prudently declined ; alleging, after all. it was only matter of opinion
and no evidence. Nevertheless some of the Council proceeded to
take a vote, whether the speech should not be furnished for the
press, and were only deterred by one of their number, observing,
that it was disagreeable to the gentlemen, and ought not to be urged.

Such is a specimen of the fair and impartial conduct of these cler-
gymen, who formed a tribunal "■' well and truly to try''^ the character
of'Mr. JohnN. Maffit!"

From Ruch strange judges O ! ye men of power,
Preserve the Slate !



•The counRel were " on the prisoner's side" of course. Who appeared for
the ^*^ protecution ?" who was the ^'' accuser ?^^



29

The preceding factg are all susceptible of ample proof, if required.
Many otoers of a still more serious nature may be found in the
statements thit follow. If these do not convince, it were in vain to
bring " confirmation strong as proof of holy writ."



m

The first statements we meet with in the " Report"
of the Cou'scil, are connected with the song. We
therefore have thought proper to publish Mrs. Chace's
depisiiion, given to be used at the trial in Boston, and
which has not been published.

1, Harriet F. Chace, of Providence, in the county of Providence,
state of Rhode Island, of lawful age and engaged according to law,
testify and say, that one evening at my father's house, I heard Mr.
Maffitt reqnest a e:i.*terof mine, to play and sing a song from Moore,
commencing" Come rest in this bosom my own stricken deer;"
when she was playing the symphony, ;.e told her, that while she was
singing the song, she must look in his face, which she positively and
very properly refused to do ; she however sung a part of the song,
and while doing it, he leaned over the piano, and attempted to look
in her face ; she turned hev head entirely away from him ; my
impression is, that she did not finish the song on account of his conduct.
Her conduct on the occasion was perfectly proper and becoming.
These circumstances made such an impression on my mind at the
time, that I recollect them perfectly, and mentioned to my husband
the particulars the same evening, he not being present at my father's
at the time. I have heard Mr. Maffitt frequently ask my sister to
sing the same song.

Signed, HARRIET F. CHACE.

I certify the above is correct.

JOSEPH H. PIERCE,

Clerk of Municipal Court, Boston.

Here follows a statement of Mrs. Chace, which
shows the unfairness of the Council generally, and
particularly in their mode of examining her, and their
attempt to give a colouring to her statement before
them, different from the obvious meaning of the depo-
sition above.

I, Harriet F. Chace, do solemnly testify, that previous to the as-
sembling of the Council of ministers in this town, Mr. Hedding, one
of the Council, requested me to attend one of their sittings. This I
at first declined doing, but on his assurance that they were in search
of the truth, whatever it might be, and that they wished to question



30

me respecting the deposition I had given to be used in the trial at
Boston, I concluded to go. Previous to my doing this, Mr, Hed-
ding endeavoured to explain many things in Mr. Maffitfs favour. I
inquired of him if he wished to have my brother Alexander Jones
jun. present ; he replied no, that they had got through with him, and
were only acting upon the depositions. The impression made on my
mind by Mr. Hedding's conversation, was clearly that the Council
did not intend to implicate the veracity of my brother- Had I thought
so, I should not have attended. My object in going was to confirm
what my brother had said in relation to the song. While the Coun-
cil was examining me, I was sensible that the course of their ques-
tions was designed to make it appear from my answers, that I lUs fa-
vourable to Mr. Maffitt. My impression was decidedl}'-, that the
questions proposed to myself and some other witnesses, were design-
ed to produce answers favourable to Mr. Maffitt. Some statements
I made to the Council, are omitted in what they have pubhshed.*

1 said, that at the time Mr. Maffitt attempted to look in my sister's
face, she turned her face entirely from him, and that my impression
at the time was, that she did not finish singing the song on account of
Mr. M.'s conduct. I also stated to them that the conduct of Mr.
Maffitt in relation to the song, though it struck me unpleasantly,
did not at that time prevent my hearing him preach or pray. The
words at that time were omitted by the Council. For these and
other reasons, 1 have no hesitation in saying, I consider the conduct
of the Council as imfair and ex parte, and I regret that I complied
with their request to appear before them.

Signed, HARRIET F. CHACE.

Mrs, Wood testifies to the same point.

I, Eliza R. Wood, of Providence, solemnly declare, that in my tes-
timony given before the Ecclesiastical Council, assembled in this
town, on account of Mr. Maffitt, it was not my intention in the
least degree to invalidate the testimony of my brother Alexander
Jones ; on the contrary I have the utmost confidence in his veracity,
and although I did not see the improprieties in Blr. Maffitt's conduct
mentioned by him, yet they all might have happened as my brother
has stated without my knowledge. I further state, that sever-
al of the Council, to induce me to appear before them, and give my
testimony relative to Mr. Maffitt, gave me to understand, that it was
not their intention in the least to irapHcate the veracity of my broth-
er Alexander, and I firmly believed they had no such design. The
Council during my examination, and the examination of some other



* Mrs. Wood also states that in her declaration, as published by the
Council, several words are left out, which in her intention, and to the knowl-
edge of one or two of the Council, had considerable meaniDg in relation to Mr.
M.'s conduct at her house.



31

of the witnesses, did not appear to conduct with impartiality, and Mr.
Smith, who took the depositions, declined at my request to let me
have the one 1 had given, stating that it was sent to Boston ; 1 wish-
ing on retiectien to have it suppressed. For these and other reasons
I have no hesitation in saying that I consider the conduct of the
Council as unfiir and ex parte, and I regret that I complied with their
request in appearing before them.

Signed, ELIZA R. WOOD.

The statement of Miss Jane Jones, is merely a neg-
ative testimony to that of her brother and sister. She
says she did not hear and does not recollect, what
they positively testified to. It should be recollected
that the positive testimony of a witness, that he did see
or hear a thing, is more weighty than the negative tes-
timony of another person that he did not see or hear
it. Miss J. Jones, in her deposition to be used in the
trial at Boston, says she " does not remember^'' what
Mrs. Chace deposed to. We presume it was not her
intention explicitly to contradict her sister before the
Council. The manner of the questions proposed by
them, and her embarrassment at the time, we are sat-
isfied, must have given this colouring to her statement
before the Council, so different from the deposition she
had previously given on the same point.

Miss J. Jones, says in her statement published by
the Council, that Mr. M. " endeavoured'''' to look in her
face while singing. If he endeavoured to do this, she
must in some way have opposed it, or it would have
been done without an endeavour. If she did oppose
that endeavour, was it not from some idea that it was
improper conduct in Mr. MafKtt }

The following statements will show the general
impropriety of Mr. Maffitt's conduct while at Mr.
Alexander Jones' house ; and also that Miss J. Jones
had disclosed to another person a circumstance of pre-
cisely the same nature with what is testified by Mrs.
Chace and Mr. Jones, jun. and which occurred at an-
other.

I, Ann N. Jones, solemnly declare that I was residing in the fami-
ly of my father-in-law Alexander Jones, during the time Mr. Maffitt
visited there, and that I repeatedly witnessed in his conduct impro-



32

prieties unbecoming a gentleman and a christian. On the occasion
alluded toby Mr. Alexander Jones, sen. in his testimony in Boston,
there was an inquiry meeting at his house, and after it had been con-
ducted for sometime, Mr. Maffitt came up stairs into the room where
myself, Caroline F. Shaw, and Jane S. Jones, were sitting, and ask-
ed for a glass of wine ; I do not recollect that he complained of be-
ing unwell, or appeared so in the least. He said he had left Mr,
White, praying below, and after he had laughed and talked with us
for a short time, he went twice to the door to hsttn if he was still
praying, and returned both times saying that /le tiiyas praying like a
good fellow, adding the last time, no matter^ it would take up the time
and save him the trouble. This fact is recollected by those who wit-
nessed it, and can be confirmed by them.

On another occasion, which Miss Jane S. Jones recollects and can
confirm, she told me that Mr. Mafiitt, at Mrs. Wood's, had attempt-
ed to look in her face while playing and singing the song of Moore's,
" Come rest in this bosom, &c." that she .put on her bonnet to pre-
vent him, and that he then went behind her and looked into the
glass which hung over the piano, to see her face ; and that she then
rose from the piano and would not play for him. She told me that
she thought she should not play it for him again. She also told me,
I do not recollect the exact words, but to this amount, that she
thought it was not right, or was improper for him to behave so.

I also certify that I heard Mr. M. say what has been testified he
said respecting Mrs. King, and also speak slightly of the Methodists,
and very disrespectfully of the Rev. Mr. Wilson and his family.

His manners appeared to me always trifling and vain, but more
particularly so when the heads of the family were not present, and I
do not recollect of ever hearing him introduce or converse upon the
subject of religion, excepting it was to tell of the number of his con-
verts and the large congregations he had to hear him.

Signed, ANN S. JONES.

I, Caroline F. Shaw, daughter of Alexander Jones, of Provi-
dence, solemnly declare, that during Mr. Maffit's visits at my father's
I noticed in his behaviour many things highly derogatory to the
character of a gentleman and clergyman. The obvious impropriety
of his conduct in many instances, struck me at the time ; but being
influenced by the extraordinary popular excitement in his favour,
and thinking him to be a man of piety and integrity, I was disposed
to make every allowance for his improprieties, and to attribute them
to his want of consideration and to his natural levity of manners ; al-
though I was always dissatisfied with his conduct in that respect. On
reflection I am satisfied, that his conduct was inconsistent with his
publick profession, and with the character of a well bred gentleman.
My father and mother were generally engaged in their several avo-
cations, and comparatively saw Mr. Maffit but little, and he was ever
more trifling and unbecoming in his manners when with the younger
part of the family, than when roy parents were present.



33

I have also pepeatedly heard Mr. Maffitt call Mr. Wilson and fam-
ily vulgar, and speak slightly of them.

Signed, CAROLINE F. SHAW.

Miss Francis Jones, another daughter of Alexander
Jones, corroborates the above statement ofMrs. Shaw ;
the same facts having come under her observation.

I, Joseph Jones, of Providence, hereby certify, that I have been
acquainted with Mr. J. N. Maffitt since his first visit to this town ; have
been frequently in his company, both at my father's house and else-
where, and have consequently had many opportunities of observing his
manners and general appearance. When I firstmet him I thought him a
cheerful, pleasant man, although I was not an admirer of his preach-
ing. On further intercourse with him, I formed the opinion which
has never been changed, that his manners and conversation were ex-
tremely light and frivolous, and devoid of the serious deportment
expected in a mmister of the gospel. I further state, that during his
visits at my father's house, my parents through the necessary atten-
tion required by their usual avocations, had not so many and so good
opportunities of knowing his lightness of manners as myself, brother
and sisters ; indeed, he appeared much more circumspect in their
presence than in ours.

Signed, JOSEPH JONES.

We come now to a part of the proceedings of this
Council, perhaps the most extraordinary in the whole
affair. They attempt to discredit one part of Rev. Mr.
Crocker's testimony, and to disprove another.

It is with regret we take up this part of the proceed-
ings of the Council. It is marked with traits so unbe-
coming the character of peace-makers, of ministers of
the gospel, that for the honour of the profession, we
would gladly pass over it in silence. Were only
the personal character of the Rev. Mr. Crocker, which
they have so wantonly attacked, concerned, we should
do so. That does not demand a defence ; he has lived
too long and too well to require a formal vindication
against such aspersions. But the publick good is involv-
ed, and it is required at our hands that we should ex-
pose the unfair means resorted to by a Council of min-
isters, for the purpose of injuring the reputation of an
unoffending individual, the weight of whose character
and the " sanctity of whose title" they so fearfully
dread, when thrown into the scale against the man they



34

are so anxious to free from reproach, no matter at
whose expense.

The means to which the Reporting Committee (for we
will not believe the whole Council sanctioned this low
abuse) resort, to injure the feelings and slur the reputa-
tion of Mr. C, are not only contemptible in themselves,
but most degrading to persons who pretend to the
character of gentlemen. No opportunity is lost of re-
ferring to Mr. C. in the most insulting and contemptu-
ous manner. He is called a " swift and voluntary wit-
ness^'''' and, in connexion with two other clergymen of
the Episcopal Church, is sneered at for wearing '''-cleri-
cal robes,''"' a practice common to all the clergy of this
order. Not content with this, he is abused in a stvle
hardly sufficiently dignified for the columns of a parti-
san newspaper, for being under the influence of the
"committee of five," and then a mantle of mock char-
ity is thrown over his pretended faults in a taunting
and " ironical" manner.

It is thus these christian ministers " pervert" the
use of this sweetest and best of all the christian virtues,
and make it the vehicle of sarcasm and abuse. Such
a contempt of moral obligation, such a mockery of di-
vine charity we hope never again to see exhibited, by
the professed disciples of him who has so strikingly en-
joined upon his followers the constant exercise of this
heavenly virtue.

As it regards the kissing the hand ; (which render-
ed Mr. C. so obnoxious to the abuse of these ministers,
that they seem to dehght in slandering him for the
pleasure of kindly extending their '-'•mantle oj" chris-
tian charity''' over his faults ;) it is enough that Mr. C.
testifies most unequivocally, that he saw Mr. Maffitt
kiss his hand to some ladies in the Methodist chapel,
and the weak attempt made to discredit this, by the
testimony of two or three persons, who did not see it, is
not worth notice. Tvlrs. Russell swears too much for
the Council ; she saw " no air of the kind ;" and the
only way the Council explain it, is, by the habit Mr.
Maffitt had of putting his hand to his mouth, Mrs. Rus-



-35

sell did not see even this. She, therefore, did not see
any thing. Mrs. Smith is quite too " confident" of
her powers of observation to produce conviction. A
plain tale does not demand such round assertions of
its truth. We shall presently show this lady was so
situated that with all her '- confidence" and particular
interest in the health of Mr. M. she could not, had she
even been so disposed, have seen this motion of her
favourite preacher.

If there is really any doubt on this matter of kissing
the hand, the following statements must be conclusive.

I was sitting in the same gallery with the Rev. Mr. Crocker, one
evening last summer, at the Methodist meetinghouse in this town ;
when Mr. Maffitt came up the broad aisle, during prayer, and enter-
ed a pew in which Judge Martin was ; and I solemnly testify I saw
him (i^l r. Maffitt) kiss his hand to some person or persons. I had fre-
quently observed the habit Mr. M. had of putting his hand to his
mouth, and remarked the kissing his hand at this time as entirely dif-
ferent from that habit. I think 1 could not have mistaken the one for
the other.

I was further down the gallery, and nearer Mr. M. than was Mr.
Crocker.

Signed, NANCY FLETCHER.

I was sitting in the same pew with Judge Martin and Mr. Maffitt, in
the Methodist chapel, on the same evening to which I suppose Mr.
Crocker alludes in his deposition ; and I solemnly testify, that during
prayer, I saw Mr. Maffitt kiss his hand to some person or persons^
while he was in the pew ; to whom I cannot certainly testifj^ I had
frequently seen Mr. M. put his hand to his mouth as was his habit,
and 1 am satisfied I could not mistake the movement I then saw for
that habit. It was entirely different. I think Mr. Maffitt's back was
so turned toward Mrs. Smith, whom I recollect seeing, that it was
hardly possible for her to have observed the motion of his hand.
Signed, ELEANOR FLETCHER.

One evening last summer, I attended a meeting at the Methodist
Chapel, and while some person was praying at the altar, Mr. Maffitt
came almost halfway up the broad aisle and entered a pew, in tvhich
/ distinctly saw him. kiss his hand to some person. I was sitting directly
©pposite to Mr. Maffitt, in the same gallery with Mr. Crocker.

RACHEL ALLEN.

If the Council still pretend to doubt, we can only
say, that if they will grant us legal process, we can sum-
mon several other persons, and one of their own denomi-



36

nation, who would testify to the same, and similar oc-
currences.

But we have produced more than their own quota
of witnesses, to this point, and the Council are now
constrained to admit that Mr. M. was " guilty of this
indecent transaction''' precisely under all the circum-
stances, as testified by Mr. Crocker. That notwith-
standing their exact admeasurement of the meeting-
house, and the parade of their three witnesses, who,
like, probably, many hundred other persons present,
did not happen to see this transaction, Mr. M was ^'•guilty
of an act indecent any luhere^ and in the house of God abom-
inable !" that " the correctness of the judgment' of
Mr. Crocker, and " the perfection of his pruderjce" in
this affair, remains unaffected, and that Mr. Maffitt,
in spite of the " confidence" of Mrs. Smith to the con-
trary, is really exhibited to the world in (what she pleases
to term) an extremely odious and ridiculous light.'''' We
hope this conduct in Mr. Maffitt will not loose any of
its ENORMITY iu thc estimation of the Council, since it is
so clearly proved.

The Council not satisfied with having, as they con-
gratulate themselves, discredited the testimony re-
specting the kissing the hand, go entirely out of the
record, and take up a part of the Rev. Mr. Crocker's
deposition, which has no relation whatever to Mr. Maf-
fitt, and with which they, as a tribunal sitting upon the
character of John N. Mafiit, had nothing to do. The
reason of Mr. Crocker's giving the statement he did, in
contradiction to the report that he had told Messrs.
Hedding, Merritt and Motley, that he considered Mr.
Maffitt a ggod man and a christian, will fully appear
in the certificate of Justice Aplin, which follows :



Online LibraryJohn IrelandA second solemn appeal to the church : containing remarks and strictures on the late violent proceedings of a pretended ecclesiastical court against the author → online text (page 15 of 51)