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magazine was continued monthly thereafter for 36 years. The second part of the title, “Gatherings of the West,” was soon dropped, and the magazine was regarded by the public as the "queen of the monthlies” and “the art-journal of America” on account of its engravings, press-work and paper, all of which were unsurpassed. It at one time attained a circulation of nearly 40,000 copies.
A typographical error in Article XVIII of the Articles of Religion in the last edition of the Discipline—the omission of the words “of the love” after "ign” in the first line—was ordered to be corrected. Orange Scott moved that the word “or," in the General Rule on Slavery, should be substituted for "and,” as it originally appeared (in 1792) so that the rule should read: “The buying or selling of men, women or children with an intention to enslave them.” Who made this alteration in the rule is not known, but it was not made by order of the Conference. The editors of the Discipline, however, must be held responsible. Mr. Scott's motion did not prevail, though the error was apparent and acknowledged, but the pro-slavery sentiment was dominant both in Church and state.
Silas Comfort, of the Missouri Conference, appealed from the judgment of that conference in finding him guilty of maladministration. Though passing his character, William Winans moved to affirm the judgment of the conference in finding him guilty, and to reverse their decision, which passed his character without censure. The resolution was discussed in a protracted debate, pending which Mr. Winans withdrew the latter part of his motion. The former part was then put to vote, and lost. So the Conference refused to affirm the decision of the Missouri Conference in the case of Silas Comfort. The maladministration of which he was accused was his admission of testimony from a colored member of the Church against a white brother. The "black laws," as they were called, disgraced the statute books of several free states, especially along the border, as well as of all the slave states. No white man could be convicted of a crime on the testimony of colored persons, in any civil court.
A committee of three was appointed to draw up a pastoral address to our people and friends. The committee consisted of George Peck, William Capers and L. L. Hamline. Suggested by the action of the Conference in the appeal of Silas Comfort, it was on motion of Ignatius A. Few,
“Resolved, That it is inexpedient and unjustifiable for any preacher among us to permit colored persons to give testimony against white persons in any state where they are denied that privilege in trials at law.”
Seventy-four voted in the affirmative and forty-six in the negative. Afterward Daniel Ostrander moved to reconsider the case of Silas Comfort, and the motion being carried, he offered the following preamble and resolution:
"WHEREAS, It appears from the Journal of the General Conference that no censure was fixed upon nor reproof given to Silas Comfort in the vote of said conference, but that he was simply found to have erred in judgment, and his character passed without censure; therefore, after mature deliberation by the General Conference, be it
"Resolved, That the appeal of Silas Comfort be not entertained."
The resolution was adopted, and the appeal thrown out.
Appeals were also made by J. V. Potts, of Philadelphia Conference, remanded for new trial; Job Wilson, of Pittsburgh, reversed; James Smith, of Philadelphia, remanded; and Jonas Scott, of New Hampshire, located, reversed.
The question of electing a bishop for Africa was considered, but not ordered. The Committee on the Address from the British Conference made a report, accompanied with letters to that Conference and the Canada Conference, which report and letters were adopted. It was recommended in the report to send a delegate to the British Wesleyan Conference in 1842, and a delegate to the Canada Conference in 1841, and that their expenses be paid by the Book Concern. It was resolved that Bishop Soule be requested to attend the British Conference as delegate in 1842, and that, if he found it impracticable to comply with the wishes of the Conference, the bishops should appoint some suitable person to go as the representative of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States. Bishop Soule was authorized to nominate a suitable traveling companion for himself, to be elected by the Conference. The bishop nominated Thomas B. Sargent, which nomination was unanimously confirmed by a rising vote. Bishop Hedding was requested to represent the Church at the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in Upper Canada in 1841, and in the event of its being impracticable for him to attend, it was made the duty of the bishops to appoint a suitable person to act as delegate in his place.
A series of resolutions offered by Bishop Soule were adopted, explanatory of and supplementary to the action of the Conference on the appeal of Silas Comfort. They were to the effect that "it is not intended to express or imply that the testimony of colored persons against white persons in Church trials is either expedient or justifiable in any of the slaveholding states or territories where the civil laws prohibit such testimony in trials at law;" that the resolution of Ignatius A. Few is not intended "to prohibit such testimony in any of the states or territories where it is the established usage of the Church to admit it, and where in the judgment of the constitutional judicatories of the Church, such testimony may be admitted with safety to the peace of society and the best interests of all concerned;" and that no reflection is intended upon “the Christian integrity of the numerous body of colored members under our pastoral care."
The Conference voted to adopt the Christian Apologist (Der Christliche Apologete), a German paper established in 1839 by the Western Book Agents, at Cincinnati; to establish depositories at Pittsburgh and at Charleston, S. C.; to accept the Southwestern Christian Advocate and the Pittsburgh Christian Adrocate as official papers; to establish the Richmond Christian Advocate, to enlarge the Methodist Quarterly Review, and to establish a depository at Boston.
Thomas Mason was elected Book Agent in New York, and George Lane assistant book agent; John F. Wright was elected Book Agent at Cincinnati, and Leroy Swormstedt assistant book agent. George Peck was elected editor of the Quarterly Review, general books, and tracts; Thomas E. Bond of the Christian Advocate and Journal, Youth's Magazine, and Sundayschool books, and George Coles assistant editor. Charles Elliott was elected editor of the Western Christian Advocate, and Leon
idas L. Hamline, assistant editor, to take editorial charge of the new magazine for women, when begun; William Nast of the Christian Apologist and German publications; Charles A. Davis of the Southwestern Christian Advocate at Nashville; William M. Wightman of the Southern Christian Advocate at Charleston, and Leroy M. Lee of the Richmond Christian Advocate.
Nathan Bangs was elected general secretary of the Missionary Society at New York, Edward R. Ames general secretary for the West, and William Capers for the south. Joseph S. Tomlinson, Henry B. Bascom, Ignatius A. Few, John P. Durbin, Edmund W. Sehon, John Early, and Nathan Bangs were appointed Commissioners of Education.
John F. Wright, Nathaniel Callender, and William Nast were appointed delegates to convey the Christian salutations of the Conference and Church to the Evangelical Association at their General Conference to meet in May, 1841.
The number of the annual conferences was increased from twenty-nine to thirty-four, and a few changes were made in the Discipline. The principal changes were exempting chaplains to state prisons and military posts from the two years' limit, and allowing the appointment of preachers to be agents for our literary institutions; the introduction of a section on receiving preachers from the Wesleyan Connection and from other denominations; giving the bishops authority to decide questions of law in the annual conferences (subject to revisal by the General Conference), and to unite two or more circuits together, without affecting their separate financial interests or the pastoral duties, recasting the section on the instruction of children, and recommending the formation of Sunday-schools under the supervision of the quarterly conferences; defining more clearly the duties of supernumerary preachers, and omitting the section on the sale and use of spirituous liquors.
The expenses of the delegates were $9,170.20; the deficiency $1,061.72, which was ordered to be paid by the Book Concern.
New York was selected as the place for holding the General Conference of 1844, and on the third day of June the Conference adjourned.
York, and was composed of one hundred and eighty dele- gates, of whom one hundred and fifty-nine were present at
the opening of the session. All the bishops were in attendance, and Bishop Soule took the chair and opened the proceedings in the customary manner. Thomas B. Sargent was elected secretary, and James B. Houghtaling and Wesley Kenney were elected assistants. But Jr. Kenney being called home by sickness in his family, before the end of the session, Valentine Buck, pastor of John Street Church, New York, was appointed in his place. A suitable reporter was by resolution ordered to be employed, that he might prepare for publication a correct record of the proceedings. Robert A. West was engaged to act as official reporter; and in his reports he included the debates which he took down in shorthand.
The address of the bishops was read by the senior general superintendent. Standing committees were appointed on the Book Concern, Education, Expenses of Delegates, Temperance, Sunday-schools, Bible Cause, Episcopacy, Itinerancy, Boundaries, Missions, Slavery, and Revisal. Special committees were also appointed, as occasion arose, on Correspondence, Publication, The Sabbath, Petitions, Memorials, The Church in Canada, Ministerial Support, Course of Study for Licentiates in the Ministry, and on the State of the Church.
The subjects mentioned in the Bishops' Address, requiring attention, were referred to the appropriate committees. The Book Agents, editors, and secretaries of Church societies who were not members of the Conference, and Edmund S. Janes, secretary of the American Bible Society, were invited to occupy seats within the bar, and to speak on matters pertaining to the interests they represented.
The question of slavery in the Church came up early for discussion. Francis A. Harding, of the Baltimore Conference, had been suspended from his ministerial functions by