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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consider and advise with reference " to them.

In relation to the third question, it is true that the Church has taken
action, and such action as may be inferred from the language used in the
letter of Br. Goss. The action of the Church however by which the disso-
lution of the Howard Street Church, May 4th, 1847, has been- recognized,
was taken with much carefulness and under a constraining sense of duty,
to vindicate and support the fundamental principles and the accredited
usages of the Congregational order, — as affecting the independence of each
Church respectively, and the inalienable rights of majorities in each church.
Until those who now profess to be the original Howard Street Church, as
if no dissolution had ever been voted, shall take a different ground upon
which they will urge their claims to recognition and fellowship as a sister


cbureh, — the Tabernacle Church cannot, with any consistency or propriety,
acknowledge their title to such recognition and fellowship ; so far as known
to the Tabernacle Church, there is no existing occasion to submit its doings, in
respect to this subject, to the revision of a Council ; neither is there any such
occasion apprehended, in the changes of the future. While, therefore, the
Church has none other than the kindest feelings towards Br. Goss, and there
is not the least desire to prevent a removal of his relation of membership to
some sister church, whenever it can be accomplislied in an orderly and
satisfactory manner, the request of our Br. Gross, that the Church should
unite with him in calling a mutual council, must be declined.

Humphrey Cook, Ghurch Clerk.

No. 9.


In October of the year 1847, the Essex South Conference of Churches
met at Swampscot. The Howard Street Church sent Brethren B. A. Gray
and D. Brainard Brooks, as delegates, and at the call of the names of mem-
bers they handed us their names as delegates. Objections were made to
their having a seat by H. P. Waters, Esq., on the ground that there was
no church there. Their claim was referred to a committee of five under the
following vote :

"Voted, that a committee of five be appointed to consider the question
pertaining to the relations to this conference of the brethren claiming to be
the Howard Street Church, Salem. Messrs. Lawrence, Cooke, Field,
Tolman, and Trask, of Beverly, were appointed the Committee."

Danvees, October 8, 1848.

Voted to hear the report of the Committee on the questions pertaining to
the relations of the brethren claiming to be the Howard Street Church, to
this conference.


Whereas, It is an admitted principle that in the action of Congregational
churches laid down in the New Testament, and in the records and symbols
of our churches, that majorities govern : and whereas we find no accredited
precedents in the usages of the church to the contrary, and do not feel
willing to institute one — Therefore, Resolved, That the claim of our
brethren to be the late Howard Street Church, ought not to be allowed and
it is not allowed.

After a protracted discussion (from 9 1-2 A. M., to 4 P. M.) of the
subject, the Report of the Committee was adopted.

A true copy of the records, made by j^^ ^ Wilder.


No. 10.

Salem, Apkil 14, 1847.

It appears that the pastor's request for a dismission arises from embarrass-
ments whicli have rendered, in a great degree, abortive his earnest and
self-denying efforts for a course of years, and which embarrassments have
now come to a crisis, so that we can do no less than accede to his request,
and we hereby declare Ms pastoral relation dissolved.

We tenderly sympathize with the Rev. Mr. !RIann, in his afflictions and
disappointed hopes, and most cordially recommend him to the churches of
Christ, as sound in doctrine, earnest, able andfaithfid in preaclmig ; hind,
amiable and acceptable in the relations of social life, and heartily devoted
to the true ends of the ministry. And we deem it due to him to say, that
his failure of the desired success in extricating this church from its embar-
rassments should not be used in disparagement of his m.inisterial character
in any respect.

And since the embarrassments which have so far frustrated his ministry
still exist, without prospect of change, while the Church retains its present
organization, we would suggest the inquiry whether the best gcod of all
concerned would not be consulted by a dissolution of that organization, and
the members connect themselves with other churches in this city. A step
so uncommon, we think, is made expedient by reasons as peculiar. It is
not that we think that there is not ability and piety enough to sustain the
enterprise in favoring circumstances. There are materials of great value in
this Church, but they stand in such relations as to hinder their efibrts for
good. Nor is it true that our denomination in this city have churches
enough without this. The prospect rather appears to be, that if this is
dissolved, a new one will soon take its place. We would, therefore, advise
that the present organization, if it sees fit, vote a dissolution, and if the
proprietors of the meeting-house see fit, to close it awhile and wait for the
movements of Providence, we feel persuaded that the time will soon come
when the way will be made to open it under better auspices. A new
organization formed for the purpose, would of course stand clear of most of
the embarrassments of the present.

We deem it to be our duty in concluding this Result, to call upon some
of the individuals of the Church to reconsider the manner in which they
have treated their pastor, during the existence of the difficulties which have
given occasion to the calling of this Council. Saying nothing of those who
have been in fault in other matters, there has been a disposition on the part
of these, to push some favorite points to extremes ; — a want of charitable
construction of the pastor's motives and conduct in relation to points on
which there existed a difference of opinion between him and them ; and a
deficiency of that kindness and courtesy which he had a right to claim as a
Christian minister, and particularly as their pastor.

The Council hope that they will see their error, and that in whatever
future ecclesiastical connection they may be placed, they will seek to be


possessed of a spirit of wisdom, and of a sound mind, and will remember,
that charity, kindness and forbearance are as important parts of Christian
character, as zeal in suppressing the errors and vices of society.

Parsons Cooke, Moderator.
E. A. Lawrence, Scribe.

No. 11.

Tuesday evening. May 4, 1847, Church met by adjournment.

Voted to choose R. P. Waters, Moderator, pro tern.

A. T. Brooks withdrew his motion for the previous question.

On the motion of indefinite postponement, Voted in the negative.

A. T. Brooks offered the following amendment to the main question,
which was accepted by the mover, as follows, after adopt, to read thus :

Voted to adopt the remainder of the Result of Council and by and with their
advice, this organization is hereby dissolved — and that Deacons Smith, Foster
and Driver, be a committee to grant letters of dismissions and recommenda-
tions under date of May 4, 1847, to all the remaining members of the
Church, to any Orthodos Congregational Church they may direct.

The yeas and nays being called for, the result was as follows :

Yeas. — A. T. Brooks, Thomas Brooks, Amos Henfield, Aaron Smith,
Jr., John Kimball, Wm. R. Warden, Joseph G. Porter, John H. Grush,
Alexander McClay, Moses T. Upton, George B. Stedman, Gideon B.
Monarch, Charles Goodrich, Elbridge Guilford, E. W. Fabins, Isaac P.
Foster, R. P. Waters —17.

Nays. — Daniel Millet, Joseph Hale, S. Driver, Benj. A. Gray, Thaddeus
Osgood, D. B. Brooks, E. B. Osgood, Benjamin Trask, Eben. Cleaveland,
Wm. P. Fuller.— 10.

No. 12.


Tuesday evening, April 6, 1847. — A communication from the pastor
requesting the Church to unite with him in calling a mutual council to
dissolve the pastoral relation being read, voted unanimously to comply with
his request.

Voted to invite the Crombie Sti-eet Church, Salem, churches in Marble-
head, Lynn, South and North Danvers, and Washington Street Church,
Beverly, to meet in council at the vestry, on Wednesday, April 14th, at
9 o'clock, A.M.


Voted to choose George H. Smith and Isaac P. Foster the committee of
the Church to draft, sign and send the letters missive, and also to appear before
the Council in behalf of the Church.

No. 13.


A meeting for business was held in the vestry on Tuesday evening, May
11th, 1847. The meeting was' organized by the choice of Daniel Millet,
Moderator, and D. B. Brooks, Clerk.

Voted, That we choose a clerk for the Church, our former clerk having
taken a letter of dismission to another church.

Voted, that E. B. Osgood be Clerk.

Voted, to choose a Committee to supply the pulpit.

Voted, that Joseph Hale, Benj. A. Gray and John P. Jewett be this

Voted to choose a Treasurer for the Church, the former one having taken
Ms dismission.

Voted, that Dea, Stephen Driver, Jr., be Treasurer.

Voted, that a Committee bo appointed to wait upon our former Treasurer
to request that the communion service be put into the hands of our present

Voted, that Dea. Driver and Joseph Hale be this Committee.

Voted, that the Clerk be requested to call upon Dea. Foster, our former
Clerk, and request the records belonging to this Church.

Voted, that an Ecclesiastical Council be called to examine the doings of
the last church meeting.

Voted, that the Council be requested to meet on the 26th day of May

At a meeting of the Church held May 17, the vote calling the Council to
meet on the 26th was reconsidered, and it was voted to fix the time to the
28th of May.

The following is a copy of the letter missive :

Rev. and Beloved : — Whereas for a year past difficulties have existed in
this Church which have resulted in the calling of two Ecclesiastical Councils
the second of which dissolves the relation of the pastoral connection with
the Church and Society, and also recommended that the Church take into
consideration the expediency of disbanding its organization, — The result
of the Council having been read to the Church, the former part, which
dismissed the pastor, was unanimously accepted ; a motion was then made
to adopt the closing part of the result, and by its adoption to consider the
Church disbanded. This was strenuously opposed by a large minority of
the members present, and various arguments were presented for the consid-
eration of the Church, tending to prove the impossibility of thus disbanding


a church of Christ without a unanimous vote. But notwithstanding all the
protestations of the minority, the vote was passed, seventeen voting in the
affirmative, and ten in the negative, three of those voting in the affirmative at
previous meetings of the Church, having been dismissed to sister churches,
yet they still persisted in voting on the question, though protests were
made against it. Several members, five at least, would have been 2:)resent
to have voted with the minority, had not Providence prevented. Under
these circumstances the vote was passed and a committee of three persons was
chosen (tv/o of whom had been dismissed at their request from the Church)
to give letters of dismission and recommendation to all the members — ■
whether they asked for them or not. This is a brief statement of facts in the
case. We are deeply grieved, and placed, by this vote of the Church in
peculiar circumstances of trial and affliction, and need judicious Christian
advice in the matter, and therefore ask you 'to meet in Council, by your
pastor and delegate, at the vestry of the Howard Street Church, on Friday,
May 28th, at 10 o'clock, A. M., and review these proceedings, and adjudi-
cate thereon.

Note.— On the day appointed for the meeting of the Council, Friday, May 2Sth, it
was decided that as the number present was not sufficient for a quorum, the time of
meeting be postponed to Tuesday, June l-5th.

At the above meeting Dr. Perry was Moderator.

No. 14.


A copy of the Result of the Council, Salem, June 15th, 1847.

An Ecclesiastical Council convened at the vestry of the Howard Street
Church, pursuant to letters missive from the Howard Street Church, for
tl e purpose of giving advice in regard to certain proceedings purporting to
be a dissolution of said Church against the wishes of a minority.

The Kev. Gardiner B. Perry was chosen Moderator, and Joshua Leavitt,

The churches present were as follows :

Salem Church, Boston. — Br. David Pulsifer, Delegate.

East Bradford Church. — Kev. G. B. Perry, D. D., Pastor; Dea. Ira
Hopkinson, Delegate.

Second Evangelical Congregational Church, Cambridgeport. — Kev.
Joseph C. Lovejoy, Pastor ; Rev. Joshua Leavitt, Delegate.

Hopkinton Church. — Dea. Samuel Nurse, Delegate.

East Abington Church. — Kev. H. D. Walker, Pastor; Dea. Elijah
Shaw, Delegate.

Free Church, Andover. — Rev. E. C. Winchester, Pastor; Br. John
Smith, Delegate.

Third Church, Danvers. — ^Rev. Richard Tolman, Pastor ; Dea. Frederick
Hctwe, Delegate.


Prayer was offered by the Moderator.

The Committee who had issued the letters missive presented the record of
proceedings had subsequent to the vote of dissolution passed by the Church.

The records of the Church prior to the vote of dissolution were read by
Mr. Foster, the late Clerk, in whose hands they remain.

The Committee were fully heard on the subject of the dissolution of the
Church ; and then several of those who had voted with the majority were
heard at length. The people then retired.

Voted, That the members of the Council be called upon to express their
views individually on the case as it stands before the Council.

The members were nearly unanimous in the opinion that it is not com-
petent for a Church to dissolve itself by the vote of a majority, depriving
individuals of their covenant rights and privileges without their consent.
We are of opinion, therefore, that this Church is not disbanded and those
members that remain ought to sustain the rights and responsibilities of the
Church. And they should humble themselves before God, and confess their
faults one to another, and pray one for another, until they come to be of one
mind, so that the Spirit may come down upon them from on high as in
times past. Thus may the Howard Street Church be maintained to the
honor of religion and the salvation of many souls.

Voted unanimously that the above be accepted as the result of this

(Signed) Joshua Leavitt, Scribe.

Note. — The Rev. Mr. Tolman, of Danvers, was the memher alluded to ahove as at first
dissenting. He told a brother in the Church the same afternoon in returning home
from the Council, that previous to the discussions of the Council in private session he
was of the opinion that a majority vote could disband a Church, but after hearing the
discussion of the question by the members, he gave in and voted with them.

At a meeting of the Church held in the vestry on Wednesday evening,
June 16th, after the result of Council was read to the Church, it was

Voted, That the report of the Council be accepted and recorded in the
records of the Church, and also be published.

No. 15.

The following is a list of the churches represented in the Council at the
installation of Kev. M. H. Wilder as pastor of the Howard Street Church
and Society, July 10th, 1849.

Third Congregational Church, Salem. — ^Rev. Dr. Emerson, Pastor.

Church in East Bradford. — Rev. Dr. Perry, Pastor ; Dea. Ira Hopkin-
son, Delegate.

First Church in Braintree. — Ptev. Dr. Storrs, Pastor ; Br. John Wild,

South Church, Ipswich.— Bev. Dlr. Fitx, Pastor; Josiah KimbaU,

Second Evangelical Congregational Church, Cambridgeport. — ^Rev. J. C.
Lovejoy, Pastor ; Alfred H. Orcutt, Delegate.

Park Street Church, Boston. — ^Kev. A. L. Stone, Pastor ; Dea. Edwin
Lamson, Delegate.

Third Congregational Church, Danvers. — ^Rev. James Fletcher, Pastor ;
Br. Nathan Tapley, Delegate.

Dane Street Church, Beverly. — Br. Israel Trask, Delegate.

First Congregational Church, Manchester. — Br. Henry Kitfield, Delegate.

Bethesda Church, Reading. — Br. David Emerson, Delegate.

Church in Hopkinton. — Rev. J. C Webster, Pastor; Br. S.D. Daven-
port, Delegate.

Church in West Medway. — ^Rev. Dr. Ida.

No. 16.

Springfield, Dec. 13, 1849.

Dear Brother: — ^I received your kind letter of the 10th, and I sincerely
regret that it is impracticable for me to be present at the adjourned council.
It would give me great pleasure to meet so noble a Phalanx of Congrega-
tional brethren, as are on that council. I wrote to Mr. Gross at first, stating
the inconvenience under which I should labor, and desired him to make my
excuse to the brethren, intimating, at the same time, that I would have
consented, but for the fact that they had a very large and efficient council
without me. I never have declined a clear course of duty, and would not
in the present instance, but I have made such arrangements that I cannot
be with you without making a sacrifice which I do not deem to be necessary.
My counsel is not needed to strengthen any position, which I presume this
large and respectable and clear-sighted body would probably assun)c. I
fully agree with you, that no church should be crushed, which can sustain
the ministry. A minority have ecclesiastical rights as well as a majority.
If they desire to keep their organization, why should they be compelled, by
stronger bodies, to abandon it '{ I recollect the ease of the church in Kings-
ton, N. H., under the venerable Dr. Thayer, in which I think there was
but one male member and about twelve females ; and when the sacrament
was to be administered, in one instance at least, a deacon of a sister church
was invited to officiate. That church lived, and soon after the death of the
good pastor, the seed he had planted for half a century or less, sprung up in
a glorious revival. I do not understand why the sister churches wish to
cast this church out of the family of our Lord. I have full confidence in
that promise, " if any man lack wisdom, let him ask it of God," &c. I feel
that the great Head of the church will be with his ministers, will lead them
into all truth, and make their decision, whatever it shall be, the means of
promoting the glory of his name, and the good of his Idngdom.

Present my affectionate regards to the brethren, and accept the assurance
of my confidence in yourself and all connected with you.

Rev. Dr. E, Beecher. Saml. Osgood.

6 6 ^' ST6'SS,1^'S 6'l^^'6 l'rS^(^'$'d'l^'n'6TS^ & 6 6 '6 '6 6






DECEMBER 4, 1849.


With Strictures upon a "PLeview by Members of Essex
South Conference."























DECEMBER 4, 1849.








An Ecclesiastical Council was convened at the vestry of Howard
Street Church, December 4th, 1849, by letters missive from Ezek-
iel Goss, stating that he is a member of the Tabernacle Church, in
good and regular standing, and has requested a letter of dismission,
and of recommendation to the Howard Street Church, which re-
quest has been refused, that he has also requested the Tabernacle
Church to unite with him in calling a mutual council, and that this
request has likewise been refused ; and he now calls this council to
examine into the case, so far as to sustain the rights of the churchesj
and afford him the necessary relief.

The following churches wei'e represented:

1. Salem Church, Boston.

Rev. Edward Beecher, D. D., Pastor,
Dr. Ephraim Buck, Delegate.

2. Randolph.

Rev. Calvin Hitchcock, D. D., Pastor,
Dr. Ebenezer Alden, Delegate.

3. JMiddUhoro\

Rev. Israel W. Putnam, Pastor,
Bro. Zechariah Eddy, Delegate.

4. Essex.

Rev. R. Crowell, Pastor,
Dea. David Choate, Delegate.

5. South.) Ipswich.

Rev. Daniel Fitz, Pastor,
Bro. Daniel Cogswell, Delegate.

6. Ilopkinton,

Rev. J. C. Webster, Pastor,
Bro. J. A. Fitch, Delegate.

7. Third, Jibington.

Rev. H. D. Walker, Pastor.

8 Park Street, Boston.

Rev. A. L. Stone, Pastor.
Rev. Louis D wight, Delegate.

Rev. Mr. Putnam was chosen Moderator, and, in his absence,
Dr. Ephraim Buck was chosen Moderator, pro tempore; Rev. A.
L. Stone was chosen Scribe. Prayer was offered by Rev. Dr.

Rev. Mr. Putnam coming in, declined acting as Moderator,
and Rev. Mr. Crowell was chosen Moderator.

Voted that the Council is now ready to proceed to the consid-
eration of the case presented in the letter missive.

Voted to adjourn to 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Council met
agreeably to adjournment at 2 o'clock.

Documents were then submitted showing that Mr. Goss had re-
quested the Tabernacle Church to unite with him in calling a mu-
tual council upon his case, and that this request had been refused.

Documents were also read, showing that Mr. Goss had repeat-
edly asked a letter of dismission from the Tabernacle Church, and
of recommendation to the Howard Street Church, and that these
requests had been refused.

On Motion, Voted, that Council adjourn at half-past 5, to meet
at half-past 6 o'clock.

Voted, That the council hold an adjourned meeting in the vestry
of Howard Street Church, on the 18th of Dec. inst., at half-past
10 o'clock, A.M.

Voted to appoint a committee to wait upon the Pastor of the
Tabernacle Church, and notify him of the organization of the
council, and of the case under consideration, that he may attend
on behalf of the church.

Rev. Dr. Beecher and Dr. Alden were appointed said com-
mittee. The hour of adjournment having arrived, the council ad-
journed, to meet at half-past 6 o'clock.

Evening. — Council met pursuant to adjournment. The com-
mittee appointed to communicate with the Tabernacle Church re-
ported that they had had an interview with the Pastor of that
Church, and that he was understood to decline appearing before
the council, on the ground that no action of council was called for
in the premises.

On motion, Voted, to advise Mr. Goss to enlarge the council,
by inviting other churches at his discretion. Yoted to adjourn.
Attest, A. L. Stone, Scribe.

Salem, December 4th, 1849.


Tuesday, December 18.
The council met pursuant to adjournment, in the vestry of the
Howard Street Church — Rev. Mr. Crowell in the chair. The
following churches were represented:

1. Essex. — Rev. R. Crowell, Pastor ; Dea. David Choate,


2. West Meadway. — Rev. Jacob Ide, D.D., Pastor; Dea.

Daniel Nurse, Delegate.

3. Mount Vernon, Boston. — Rev Edward N. Kirk, Pastor ;

Dea. Daniel Safford, Delegate.

4. Randolph. — Rev. Calvin Hitchcock, D.D., Pastor.

5. South, Ipswich. — Rev. Daniel Fitz, Pastor; Bro. Daniel

Cogswell, Delegate.

6. First, Cambridge. — Rev. John A. Albro, Pastor; Dea.

Charles W. Homer, Delegate.

7. Second Ev., Cambridgeport. — Rev. J. C. Lovejoy, Pas-

tor ; Bro. Francis Hunt, Delegate.

8. East Mington. — Rev. H. D. Walker, Pastor ; Dea.

Elijah Shaw, Delegate.

9. Salem Church, Boston, — Rev. Edward Beecher, D.D.,

Pastor ; Dr. Ephraim Buck, Delegate.

10. First, Ipswich. — Rev. David T. Kimball, Pastor; Bro.

George W. Heard, Delegate.

11. Braintree.—Rev. R. S. Storrs, D.D., Pastor; Dea.

David HoUis, Delegate.

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 23 of 51)