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

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I certify that when I called on the Rev. Mr. Crocker, to tate his
deposition to be used in the trial of the Commonwealth of Massachu-
setts, against Joseph T. Buckingham, it was mentioned to Mr. Crock-
er, by the Attorney of Mr. Buckingham, that it was reported Messrs.
Hedding and Merritt had said that in the conversation they had with
Mr. C. he had told them he considered Mr. Maffitt a good man
and a christian. Mr. C. replied it was not true that he had 50
said to those gentlemen. He was then requested so to state in his



37

deposition, with the understanding that this part of the deposition was
only to be used in case Messrs. Hedding and Merritt should at the
trial, attempt to discredit the deposition given by Mr. Crocker, by
stating that Mr. C. had told them, he considered Mr. JMaffitt a good
man, and a christian. I further certify, that the arrangement made
between Mr. B's. attorney and the deponents before me in said trial,
arose from the reluctance of those deponents to state all they knew
against Mr. Maffitt, and that said attorney, in order to get any testi-
mony from the deponents, was compelled to comply with this ar-
rangement, as most of them refused to give their testimony in any
other way. Said attorney having no compulsory process against the
deponents, complied with this arrangement. His wish evidently was,
and he so stated it, to have the deponents state all they knew, wheth-
er for or against Mr. Maffitt.

WILLIAM APLIN, Justice of the Peace.

Is it not a little singular that Messrs. Hedding and
Merritt, who were the parties in this disagreement be-
tween their own assertions and the testimony of Mr.
Crocker, and whose characters this investigation was
designed to clear up, should themselves sit as judges
in their own cause ; first, acting as witnesses for them-
selves and then performing the office o^ impartial judges^
to decide upon a matter affecting nobody but them-
selves ! But such is the adroitness of this Council, that
they perform the character of judges, jury, witnesses
and parties in the same cause, with admirable facility !
However Mr. C. may regret the loss of " influence" or
reputation, which Mr. Hedding may have sustained,
we shall show, in a much more striking light than the
nature of the case would allow any person to expect,
that he is not in the least chargeable with it. Mr. C.
for the purpose stated by Justice Aplin, contradicts in
his deposition the truth of a report which this Com-
mittee were said to have made of his conversation
with them respecting Mr. Maffitt. If they had made
no such report, then the statement of Mr. C. to this point,
does not at all effect the gentlemen. If they had made
such a report, and then persisted in it onMr. C's con-
tradicting the same, how was Mr. C. to disprove it }
They were three to one, and Mr. Crocker had no wit-
nesses of the conversation. But " out of thine own mouth
will I judge ihee.^'^



38

After examining the statements of Messrs. Merritt,
Hedding and Motley, we were surprised at tiie follow-
ing query from the Council, which was undotibtedly
intended to be very significant. " How could Mr. M.
be a good man, and sl perfidious man at the same time !"
Is this the honest inquiry of men who understand not
the language they speak, or is it a contemptible artifice
to impose upon careless readers ? Who, we ask, has
said that Mr. M. ivas a good man ! Surely not Mr. C.
for his deposition denies it. Has Mr. Merritt sworn,
that he said so to him ? No ! only that he hoped he was !
Has Mr. Hedding sworn that he ever heard Mr. C. say
this } Not at all. With all his " agitation" and con-
cern for his reputation in Boston, (as will appear by
the statement of Mrs. Wood) the utmost verge of his
adventuring is, he could not help hoping Mr. M. was a
good man ! Neither does Mr. Motley venture to assert
that Mr. Crocker said he considered Mr. M. a "good
man and a christian," only that he hoped he was a good
man at heart, and that he believed he was an honest man
at heart ! Now all these three witnesses undertake to
give the precise luords used by Mr. Crocker ; conse-
quently Mr. Motley's statement is denied by those of
Messrs. Merritt and Hedding ; they cannot stand to-
gether, and as there is two to one, Mr. Motley is out of
the question. But even admitting all these three gen-
tlemen have testified to, it does not conflict with the
testimony of Mr. C. nor authorize this insidious query.
Finally, does Mr. Fillmore affirm that he heard Mr. C.
allow he told the gentlemen Mr. Mafiitt ivas a christian }
No ! only that Mr. C. allowed he had said he could not
but HOPE Mr. Mafiitt was a christian. Who then, after
all this parade on the part of the Council, has ventured
to contradict Mr. C's testimony.'^ Not one. It must
be unnecessary to inform our readers that there is a
mighty difference between saying that we consider a
person to be a good man and a christian, and merely
saying we charitably hope he is, he possibly may be. There
is no doubt the gentlemen intended by their query, after
finding their depositions had failed them, to leave an



39

impression on the publick mind that Mr. ©. had sworR
falsely. Such is the candour and honesty of men under
the " sanctity of the title" of ministers of the gospel !

Although we are surprised the Rev. Mr. Merritt
should (by neglecting to state what Mr. Crocker dis-
tinctly told him respecting Mr. Maffitt's kissing his
hand to some ladies in meeting, and by merely telling
one half of what he heard, viz. the " bowing,") attempt
to insinuate that Mr. Crocker had told a different story
from the one afterwards deposed to ; yet we acquit
him of any improper motives in his testimony.
We account for the partial and defective statement
he has made of the conversation with Mr. Crocker, by
supposing that the agreeable surprise he enjoyed in
the mild reception he met. with from a person he ex-
pected to find severe against Mr. Maffitt, so engrossed
his thoughts, that he interpreted this christian charity
and politeness into an approbation of Mr. M.'s con-
duct, and did not attend to the hard facts related by
Mr. C. nor recollect the only hard word he used, viz.
his " indiscretions and sins." This appears, from
what Mr. Merritt says he remarked on leaving Mr.
Crocker; he was delighted with his " candour" toward
Mr. Maffitt, which candour he interpreted into a fa-
vourable opinion !

With regard to the other gentleman, Mr. Hedding,
we do not feel under the least obligations to " extenuate
ought." The statement of Mrs. Wood, (who most for-
tunately for Mr. Crocker, was present at the conver-
sation between him and Mr. H. at her house, and who
on every account, and from the circumstances con-
nected with this affair, cannot fail to produce convic-
tion in every candid mind) is explicit as to the con-
duct of that gentleman. The publick, from this, will
be able to form a correct opinion of the merits of the
controversy between this man, and the person he has
so unadvisedly, taken it upon himself, to accuse of in-
consistency and falsehood.

I, Eliza R. Wood certify, that during the sitting of the Council
of Methodist ministers is this town, assembled on account of Mr.



40

Maffitt ; Rev. N. B. Crocker, called at my house, Rer. Messrs.
Hedding and Fillmore being present, and I solemnly testify that the
following conversation and circumstances occurred at that time. Mr.
Crocker observed to Mr. Hedding, that whether he complied with
the request of the Council to appear before them, would in some
measure, depend upon the result of the conversation he wished to
have with him. Mr. Crocker then inquired of Mr. Hedding; did
you at any time after I saw you at my house say to any one that I had
told you nothing against Mr. Maffitt, and that I considered him a
good man or a christian ? Mr. Hedding paused a little and said, no,
I did not say that. Mr. Crocker then observed I do not see where
we are at issue.* Mr. Hedding then proceeded to say in substance,
that he had understood Mr. Crocker to say, that though an indis-
creet or an imprudent man, he could not help hoping that Mr. MaiBtt
might be a good man. Upon which Mr. Crocker said ; you will re-
member Mr. Hedding, that I gave you to understand, Mr. M. was
uvs^ratpful, in as much as while he was enjoying the hospitality of
Mr. Jones, he was speaking lightly of him to Mr. Wilson and others ;
perfidious in betraying confidence reposed in him, when he had
pledged his honour not to do so ; and false, or a false man, in repre-
senting himself as the noble defender of Mr. Jones' family when he
himself had been the assailant. But, said Mr. Hedding, you did not
use these hard words No, replied Mr. C. but I told you the facts
which proved him to be such, and you remember I told you at the
time,/ believed them. Yes, said Mr. Hedding, and it was very natural
you should.

After Mr. C. left the house, Mr. Hedding turned to me and said,
Mrs. Wood did you not understand Mr. Crocker to admit that he
had told us Mr. Maffitt was agood man and a christian ? I answered
no ! Mr. H.,not that he had allowed he -was, but that he had said, it
did not become him to say he was not. I told him that Mr. C's. lan-
guage was very much qualified, and expressed my surprise that he
should have so misunderstood him. After this difference of opinion
between us, Mr. Hedding got up and walked the room with some
apparent agitation, and said, in a manner I thought sarcastick, if
Mr. C. comes to the Council to day, I shall say to him, well Mr. C
you have been a very indiscreet, or a very imprudent man, but
I hope you a good man and a christian ! I remonstrated, and said to
him I thought it very ungenerous to urge Mr. C. against his wishes,
to attend the Council, and then hurt his feehngs in that way. If you
do, I shnll have nothing more to do with ths Council. Well, said
Mr. H., the business OTMS^, or shall be settled in some way. Mr.
C's. deposition is injuring my influence or character in Boston. I
am called (or it is makiag me) a liar there.



* It will liere be recollerteH that this conversation took place before Mr. Hed-
ding had given his st&letnenf as published in the pamphlet, and that Mr.
Crnrker alluded to the report that Vlessrs Heddin? and Merritl bad said that
in Mr. C's. conversdtinn with thenti, he had told them he considered Mr. Maf-
fitt, a good man and a christian. This Mr. Heddiag denied. Of course
there was then no confradiclioQ between Mr. Hedding and what Mr Chad
swora tola his depontion.



41

Mr. Fillmore then said, that Mr. C. had allowed he told the gen-
tlemen, he considered Mr. v^iffitt a good man and a christian. I re-
monstrated with him also, and said in substance, no ! Mr. Fillmore —
he did not allow that. You will not admit the qualifying terms used
by Mr. C. He qualified his expression very much. I told him Mr.
C. had said he had no objections to admit then, Mr. Maffitt was a fal-
len christian. He replied by repeating the words with emphasis and ap-
parent indignation : fallen christian ! a fallen cliiistian is no christian
at all !

Before the rising of the Council, Mr. Fillmore's deposition was
shown me, with a request from the Council that I would give mine,
certifying the same thing, which I declined for the reasons given
above. I did not consider it true. I told the gentlemen who called
on me, to inform the Council that Mr. Fillmore's statement was not
correct. The gentlemen were very urgent in their solicitations to
have me depose with Mr. Fillmore, and one of them, pretty severe in
his remarks on my refusal. [Signed,} ELIZA R. WOOD.

Sometime in November last, Messrs. Hedding, Merritt, and a Mr.
Motley, called at the office of Lamed & Hallett, the undersigned be-
ing present. They stated to us that Messrs. Hedding and Motley,
were a committee from Boston to investigate the conduct of Mr.
Maffitt in this town : On their assurance that their inquiries had no
relation whatever to the prosecution which it was then reported was
about to be oomrnenced against the editor of the Galaxy, we inform-
ed them what we knew in relation to Mr. Maffitt's conduct, and refer-
red them to other sources for positive information on the snbject.
They stated that they had been some days engaged in the inquiry,
»nd had met with nothing but surmises and references to other per-
sons, and that they had met with no one who had any thing to say
against Mr. Maffitt. We then stated some circumstances which we
assured them would be confirmed by the Rev, Mr. Crocker. Mr.
Hedding observed, they had called on that gentleman the day before,
and that^e had told them none of these circumstances, and that he knew
nothing and had not said any thing against Mr. Majitt! But he did
not say Mr. Crocker had told them he thought or hoped Mr. M. was a
good man or a christian. From these declarations we were clearly
impressed with the belief Mr. Crocker had told them nothing, either
that he himself knew, or had heard from others, to the disadvantage of
Mr. ,M. and we observed that it must have arisen from the manner of
their inquiry of Mr. C. and that one of us would then call with them
on Mr. C. whom, we assured them, would confirm what we had stated.
To this proposition, after some hesitation, they consented, and left
the office for that purpose.

The gentlemen, and particularly Mr. Hedding, appeared extreme-
ly anxious to exonerate Mr. Maffitt, determined to believe nothing to
his disadvantage, and was always ready with some apology, for every
charge brought against him. In relation to Walker's sermons he ob-
served, that perhaps Mr. Maffitt had taken his discourse from Hen-
ry's commentaries, and Walker had done the same, which would
saake Mr. Maffitt's sermon precisely like Walker's without his ever
6



.42

liaving read Walker's discourse ! A distinction equally nice, was
set up between the tailor and journeyman. Mr. Rivers mentioned
to Mr. Hedding, he had recited a passage of latm to Mr. iVafntt, (hav-
ing understood he pretended to know the language,) which was,
Veritas fulsit cceliiin, (truth illuminates heaven,) to which Mr. M.
gravely replied, not always ! We contended this was an attempt
to deceive Mr. Rivers into an idea, that, he, iViaffitt, knew the latin.
Mr. Hedding then said, that we read of the angels rebelling in hea-
ven, and wished to know if truth then shune or prevailed in heaven!
aiad observed, Mr. M. in his re^\y probably dWudeQ to that passage in
scripture, which proved that he understood the latin maxim addres-
sed to him, and that his answer was correct !

Signed, THOMAS RIVERS,

GEORGE LARNED,
BENJAMIN F. KALLETT.

1 certify, that I went with the gentlemen aforesaid, to call on Mr.
Crocker, under the impression, that Mr. C. had in no way intimated
to them any thing to the disadvantage of Mr. Maffitt. Mr. Crocker,
on my stating to him the object of our call, related the same circum-
stances which had been mentioned to these gentlemen that he would
confirm, as above, and in the course of conversation, w-hich surprised
me very much, observed, why gentlemen you will recollect I told
you these circumstances and similar ones when you called on me yes-
terday. Mr. Crocker, was decided in his opinion against Mr. M.
though he spoke with christian forbearance, and treated the gentle-
men with politeness. The same attempts, as above stated, were
made by Mr. Hedding to excuse Mr. Maffitt. Mr. Merritt appeared
much more candid, and said these things were different from what he
wished they were, or words to that etfect.

Signed, BENJAMIN F. HALLETT.

From the above facts, it appears that Mr. Hedding
declared to Mr. C. in presence of Mrs. Wood, that he
had not said to any one Mr. C. told him nothing against
Mr. Maffitt ; and yet that he did so state to Messrs.
Rivers, Larned and Hallett, and, as will hereafter ap-
pear, to Mr. Prentice. He also deniedhe had said Mr.
Crocker told him he considered Mr. Maffitt a good man
or a christian, and yet Mr. Joseph S. Martin testifies,
that Messrs. Hedding, Merritt and Motley, immediate-
ly after their conversation v/itli Mr. Crocker, told him
Mr. C. had said to lliera he " thought Mr. Maffitt a good
man." If they told Mr. Martin Mr. Crocker had de-
clared he THOUGHT Mr. Maffitt a good man, how
comes it that afterwards they state so differently, that



43

Mr. Crocker only told them he hoped he was a good
man? Either their statements or that of Mr Martin,
must be incorrect ; they flatly contradict each other.

Again, if iii the conversation at Mrs. Wood's, Mr.
C. alloived what Mr. Fillmore affirms he did, how
comes it that Mr. Hedding, who must have heard it,
had it been so, does not state the same thing in support
of his friend Fillmore ? and why was a committee
sent to threaten and urge Mrs. V/ood into makmg a
declaration which she declared to this committee ivas
not true ! Had Mr. Hedding (when this committee
was sent to urge Mrs. Wood to sign a declaration for
the express purpose of injuring the reputation of her
oivn pastor^ and which she declared to bejalse) forgot-
ten her expressions of surprise, and her remonstrances
with him and with Mr. Fillmore on this subject }

But further, Mr. Redding declares in his deposition
pubhshed in his '* Report," that Mr. C. only " related
(to the committee) a number of stories he had heard,
and one or two trijiing circumstances which he had seen,"
(that " abominable" transaction, kissing the hand, was
one of these trijiing circumstances,^ and yet in presence
of Mrs. Wood he admitted that Mr. C. had told them
facts which he, Mr. C. believed to be true, which facts
Mr. H. said it was very natural Mr. C shoidd believe to be
true, and which if true, proved Mr. Maffitt to be " un-
grateful,^"" " perfidious,^'' and guilty of direct falsehood !

That the " tenour of Mr. Crocker's conversation
went to show," Mr. Maffitt's " manners were light and
corrupting in publick," Mr. Merritt admits (although
he has seen fit to suppress a part of what Mr. C. told
him respecting kissing the hand.) That they were so
" in private" the facts Mr. Hedding admits Mr. C. re-
lated, went direc;t!y to show. Thus " out of their
own mouths," is every particular of the statement of
Mr. Crocker, which they undertook to falsity, com-
pletely proved. We are satisfied enough has been
said, to show beyond all doubt, a deliberate intent, to
cruelly injure the reputation of Mr. Crocker. This,
however, has recoiled upon themselves, and Mr. Hed-
ding, in appealing to Mrs. Wood to confirm a pretend-



44

ed declararion of Mr. Crocker, which he, Hedding, a
moment before had admitted Mr. C. had never made^
appears to have misunderstood the conversation oi Mr.
Crocker in a remarkable manner ; and from this cir-
cumstance it is not difficult to infer, that he also mis-
interpreted in a similar way, another conversatioa
with Mr. C. on a former occasion.

We now proceed to some further statements con-
nected with this Council and its witnesses, with which
we shall conclude, and which need no comment to
show the gross partiality and subterfuge of which this
tribunal of ministers were guilty.

STATEMENT OF MR. JOHN PRENTICE.

I regret that circumstances should have made it necessary for me
to make the following statement ; but from justice to myself and the
cause of truth, I am reluctantly compelled to lay before ■the publick
a relation of facts, in connexion wiih a subject that has alre^jdy occu-
pied too much of the publick attention. I am induced to do this
from having seen a pamphlet published by the authority of a num-
ber of Methodist clergymen, who formed a council for the purpose
of examining certain charges against Mr. John N . Maffitt, in which
pamphlet is a statement made by Mrs. Lydia Turpin, containing sev-
eral allusions to me and making use of'my name.

Before I proceed to the facts which will show the incorrectness
ofMrs. Turpin's statement in several important particulars, it will
be necessary to allude to the circumstances which occasioned my
writing the letter to Mr. Maffitt, of which Mrs. Turpin makes men-
tion. As I was in the habit of frequently visiting at the Rev. Mr.
Wilson's, I had an opportunity of seeing the exertions of the family
to make Mr. ^affitts' stay with them pleasant and agreeable ; no ex-
pense was spared, no means in their power unused, to advance the
happiness of their then esteemed guest. In a short time Mr. Maffitt
went to spend some time in the family of Mr. Alexander Jones.
While there, he had spoken very disrespectfully of Mr. Wilson and
his family. This fact was fully proved at the trial in Boston, and is con-
firmed by Mrs Shaw, Mrs. Jones, and Miss Jones, as appears here-
afttr.

Another circumstance (which I deposed to in the statement I gave
as published in the report of the trial in Boston, respecting the man-
ner I heard Mr. Maffitt speak of William H. Smith Esq. and wife)
had an effect upon my opinion of Mr. Maffitt, and, among other things,
occasioned my writing the letter to which Mrs. Turpin alludes.

Soon after the occurrence respecting William H. Smith. Esq.
Mrs. Turpin told me the substance of a conversation she had
previously had with Mr. Maffitt. Mr. Wilson, had called at Mr.



45

Jones' and invited Mrs. M. to his house ; Mr. M. being considered too
unwell to accompany her : Mrs. Turpin had called at Mr. Jones' for
the purpose of persuading Mrs. M. to go to Mr. Wilson's Upon her
urging this, Vir. Maffitt objected to his wife's going; Mrs. Turpin
continued to urge it, and Mrs, M. was inclined to go; upon which
Mr. M. became angry^ and said she should not go, he had rather send
for his trunk (which was then at Mr. Wilson's, where he had been
recently staying) and leave town, than go there. After relating this
to me, Mrs. Turpin added that she would not have Mr. Wilson's
family know what Mr. Maffitt had said about them, for all the
world !

While under the impressions produced by these circumstances, I
received a letter from Mr. Maffitt, in which he charged certain per-
sons with falsehood, and complained of roy change of opinion in re-
gard to him. I then wrote a letter to Mr. M. giving the reasons for
my change of opinion, and which contained the remark to which Mrs.
Turpin alludes.

The publick will judge whether the fact of Mr. Maffitt's having
ridiculed and spoken disrespectfully of Mr. Wilson and family, and
the circumstances and conversation as related by Mrs. Turpin, would
justify the expression I used in my letter, viz. " that such was your
abhorrence of Mr. W's family, that you had rather leave town than
go there." Perhaps the word abhorrence was a little too strong,
but such was the idea conveyed to me by Mrs, Turpin's conversa-
tion.

On the tirst day of January, I was requested by Wm H. Smith, to
attend a Council of Ministers, who had assembled for the purpose of
examining certain charges against J. N. Maffitt. I at first decUned
going, but afterwards being informed by Mr. Badger that Mrs. '5 ur-
pin had given, or was, about to give, a statement before the Council,
in which my name was frequently mentioned, I determined to go.
On my arriving, the President of the Council observed, that Mrs.
Turpin had given a stat-^ment that she was about to make oath to,
but that before she did this, they had thought proper to send for me.
The statement was then read, and it was there stated by Mrs. Tur-
pin that I had written a letter to Mr. Maffitt charging him with sever-
al things, and that I had taken pains to circulate this letter much to
his prejudice— that having heard Mr. A. Jones, jun. knew some
things against Mr. Maffitt, 1 had gone to Mr. Jones to ascertain what
they were — that Mr. Jones, jun. in a conversation with me after-
wards, said that he was sorry he had told me any "thing about Mr.
Maffitt. These two last circumstances, in relation to my going; to see
Mr. Jones, and what he had said to me respecting his being sorry,
&c. Mrs. Turpin declared I had made a statement of before a Com-
mittee of the Church, to which she and myself belong. After these
declarations of ^Irs. T. were read to me. I ob.served to the Council,
that what BIrs. Turpin said, respecting my circulating the letter I
had written Mr. Maffitt to his prejudice — my going to see ^1r. Jones,
jun. to ascertain what he knew about Mr. M.~and also that Mr, Jones,



46

jun. had told me he was sorry he had said any thing ; together with
my having told these circumstances to a committee of the church were
false. Mrs. T. however, insisted that they were correct. After
some conversation between Mrs. T. and myself, Rev. Mr. Wilson and



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 16 of 51)