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which the memorialists (whose memorials were referred to the committee] complain, and the operation of which separated them from connexion with the Methodist Episcopal Church, having been intended to secure peace and harmony in our southern boundary, and having been designed to be dependent upon the occurrence of a specified necessity, upon the concurrence of three-fourths of the members of the annual conferences, and upon the observance of a specified boundary by the distinct ecclesiastical connexion separating from us, should such connexion be formed;-and the said necessity in the opinion of this Conference not having arisen, the annual conferences having refused the necessary concurrence, and said provisions respecting a boundary having been infracted by the highest authorities of said connexion;-therefore, in view of these facts, as well as for the reasons before specified, there exists no obligation on the part of this Conference to observe the provisions of said Plan respecting a boundary, and said Plan is hereby declared null and void."
A further report from the same committee was presented on May 29th, and was adopted, to the effect that the Book Agents might submit the claims of the southern commissioners to arbitration, if eminent legal counsel shall decide that their corporate powers will so warrant; but if not, then they might tender to said commissioners an adjustment of their claims by a legal arbitration under the authority of the court; and if they find that they are not authorized to tender a voluntary arbitration, and suit should be commenced by the commissioners, the annual conferences shall be asked to suspend the sixth restrictive article of the Discipline, to authorize the Book Agents at New York and Cincinnati to submit said claim to arbitration. And the bishops were requested to lay these resolutions before the annual conferences for their concurrence.
The original rule of Mr. Wesley on Temperance having received in the annual conferences a vote of two thousand and eleven in favor, and only twenty-one against, it was by vote of the Conference restored to the General Rules, as follows: “Drunkenness, buying or selling spirituous liquors, or drinking them unless in cases of extreme necessity.”
The resolution of the General Conference of 1840, maintaining that slaveholding is nu bar to offices or orders in the ministry and official membership of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was rescinded.
George Lane and Levi Scott were elected book agents in New York and Leroy Swormstedt and John H. Power in Cincinnati. The editors elected were: Christian Advocate and Journal, George Peck; Western Christian Advocate, Matthew Simpson; Pittsburgh, William Hunter; Northern, William Hosmer; Apologete, William Nast; Ladies' Repository, B. F. Tefft; Quarterly Review, John McClintock; and Sunday School Advocate and books, Daniel P. Kidder. Charles Pitman was elected Missionary Secretary.
Tobias Spicer, John McClintock, George Peck and Jesse T. Peck were appointed to edit the Discipline, with power to make any changes necessary to harmonize any discrepancies that may have escaped the action of the committees.
Bishop Hedding was requested to prepare his biography for publication, with his observations and opinions in relation to Methodism; and also to prepare and publish at our Book Concern his views on the pastorship of the Church in its various grades of class-leaders, preachers in charge, presiding elders and bishops.
It was, by resolution, deemed important that a history of the Methodist Episcopal Church for the last four years should be written by some competent person designated by this Conference; and Charles Elliott was requested to prepare it. [In accordance with this request, Dr. Elliott compiled and wrote his “History of the Great Secession.”]
The Course of Studies for preachers prepared by the bishops was ordered to be printed as an appendix to the Discipline. The edition for 1848 is the first in which it appears.
The Committee on Correspondence reported their replies to the Address of the British Conference and to the Canada Conference, and they were adopted by the Conference and ordered to be officially authenticated and sent. The committee appointed to draft a "Pastoral Address to the Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church,” also reported, and their report was adopted, to be signed by the bishops on behalf of the General Conference and published.
Boston was selected as the place for holding the next General Conference, and on Thursday, June 1st, the Conference adjourned.
twenty-nine conferences represented, and one hundred and seventy-eight delegates were present. Bishop Hedding had died during the quadrennium, and Bishop Hamline on account of persistent ill health was not able to attend. The Conference was organized by the election of J. M. Trimble as secretary. Charles Adams, Benjamin Griffen and W. M. Daily were elected assistant secretaries.
The editors of the Church papers, who were members of the Conference, and the editor of Zion's Herald were appointed a committee to employ two reporters, and to superintend the official publication of the proceedings. The Herald was issued in a daily edition for this purpose, during the session of the Conference. Abel Stevens was the editor, and the paper was filled largely with sketches and notes concerning the leading characters of the Conference. Standing Committees were appointed on Episcopacy, Itinerancy, Missions, Boundaries, Book. Concern, Revisals, Temporal Economy, German Work, Education, Sunday-schools and Tracts, Bible Cause, Expenses of Delegates, Church Suit (against the Book Concern), Temperance. A committee of five was also appointed to prepare a Pastoral Address in behalf of the General Conference to the membership of the Church.
Bishop Waugh read the Address of the Bishops to the General Conference, and the topics named therein were referred to appropriate committees. A special committee of five was appointed to make arrangements for a memorial service on occasion of the death of Bishop Hedding, which occurred on April 9, 1852, and prepare a suitable record to be entered on the journal of the Conference. The brethren at Baltimore having proposed to remove the remains of Bishops Asbury and Emory to the new Cemetery of Mount Olivet near that city, the Conference by vote signified its approval of the proposed reinterment, and directed the secretary so to notify them. The Committee on Arrangements for the Memorial Service reported that
it be held on Thursday afternoon, May 13th, and that Bishop Waugh be respectfully invited to preach a sermon on that occasion. The committee also reported an appropriate record to be entered on the journal, which was adopted.
The Rev. Anson Green, delegate of the Wesleyan Connexion in Canada was introduced to the Conference, and his credentials were read. The bishops presented a communication from Bishop Hamline, tendering his resignation of the episcopal office, which was read; and in connection with it, a letter from his physicians. His parchment of ordination was also presented. These papers were referred to the Committee on Episcopacy, which reported on May 11th. The report expressed sincere sympathy with the bishop, approved of his episcopal administration, and resolved, “That the resignation of Bishop Hamline of his office as a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America, be, and the same hereby is, accepted.” The report was adopted; and it was further, on motion of J. A. Collins,
“Resolved, That the bishops be, and hereby are, respectfully requested to convey to Bishop Hamline, the acceptance of his resignation as a superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Church, by the General Conference, accompanied with a communication expressing the profound regret of this body, that the condition of his health has, in his judgment, rendered it proper for him to relinquish his official position; assuring him also of our continued confidence and affection, and that our fervent prayers will be offered to the throne of grace that his health may be restored, and his life prodonged to the Church."
An interesting and important appeal case was heard, that of John S. Inskip, of the Ohio Conference, who had been censured by his conference for violation of discipline and contumacy. While pastor of the newly erected High Street Church in Springfield, Ohio, Mr. Inskip introduced family sittings in the pews, and allowed men and women to sit together. The old rule of the Discipline, in force from the beginnings of Methodist history, was that they should sit apart in all cases, no exception being allowed. The advanced civilization of the age and the conveniences of Church life were put to shame by the enforcement of the rule, and Mr. Inskip allowed and encouraged it to be broken. On the trial of his appeal, the action of the Ohio Conference was reversed. The effect of this reversal was the rescinding of the rule—thus leaving it optional with individual Churches to allow promiscuous sittings, or to separate the sexes. . By degrees all Churches in Methodism adopted free, promiscuous sittings; nor has the change wrought any damage to the spiritual, social or material prosperity of the several charges.
The Mayor of Boston and other citizens having invited the General Conference as a body to unite in an excursion among the islands of the harbor, and to listen to an address by Daniel Webster in Fanueil Hall, the Conference accepted the invitation, and appointed a committee of three to send the proper response thereto.
N. Bishop, Superintendent of the Public Schools, and Barnas Sears, of the Board of Education, also extended invitations to visit the schools, and the school office in the State House. This excursion was made on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 18th, and the thanks of the Conference were, by resolution, ordered to be returned to the mayor and the city authorities of Boston for their courtesies.
Depositories for the sale of books were ordered to be established by the Book Agents at San Francisco, Auburn, Buffalo, St. Louis and Chicago; and, at the discretion of the agents, at Washington, D. C. The agents were instructed to establish a weekly official paper at San Francisco; and the Conference resolved to accept as such paper the one entitled The California Christian Avdocate, already begun as a private enterprise. New papers were also ordered to be established at Chicago and at St. Louis, the former to be styled "The North-western Christian Advocate.” The paper and depository in San Francisco, and the depositories at Auburn and Buffalo were placed under the charge of the agents in New York, the others under that of the Book Agents in Cincinnati.
The matter of the election of a missionary bishop, or an ordaining superintendent, for our several foreign missions, by inserting the necessary proviso in the Restrictive rule on the subject of the Episcopacy, was discussed, but finally laid on the table. It was resolved to strengthen the episcopacy by electing four additional bishops, and the election was held on Tuesday, May 25th. On the first ballot, Levi Scott, Matthew Simp