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son, Osmon Cleander Baker and Edward Raymond Ames were elected. Their ordination to office took place on May 27th.
The General Conference officials for the quadrennium were elected as follows: Book Agents in New York, Thomas Carlton and Zebulon Phillips; Book Agents in Cincinnati, Leroy Swormstedt and Adam Poe. Editors: Quarterly Review, John McClintock; Christian Advocate and Journal, Thomas E. Bond; Ladies' Repository, William C. Larrabee; Western Christian Advocate, Charles Elliott; Christliche Apologete, William Nast; Northern Christian Advocate, William Hosmer; North-western Christian Advocate, James V. Watson; Pittsburgh Christian Advocate, Homer J. Clark; California Christian Advocate, S. D. Simonds; Sunday-school Advocate and Books, Daniel P. Kidder. John P. Durbin was elected Missionary Secretary.
The General Conference directed the Book Agents in New York to establish a monthly magazine for popular reading in our Church circles, and Abel Stevens was elected editor. The magazine thus ordered was begun in January, 1853, and was entitled "The National Magazine."
It was deemed inexpedient to send a delegate to the British Conference, but George Gary was appointed a representative to visit the Canada Conference sometime during the next four years. A committee of five, John McClintock, George Peck, Alfred Griffith, G. Webber and Lucien W. Berry, were appointed to draft a fraternal letter to the Wesleyan Conference in England.
The appeals of Ezra Sprague, of the Troy Conference; J. M. Pease, of New York; J. N. McAbee, of Pittsburgh; G. Taylor, of Michigan; D. J. Snow, of Illinois; and N. R. Peck, of Black River, were heard. The actions of the conferences in the case of Sprague, affirmed; Pease, reversed; McAbee, remanded for new trial; Taylor, affirmed; D. J. Snow, reversed; and N. R. Peck affirmed.
The Agents of the Book Concern in New York were instructed to publish all the Journals of the General Conference from the beginning, up to and including 1836. Those subsequent to that date had already been printed.
The enterprise of erecting a Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington City was sanctioned, and com
mended to the Church at large. On an appeal of sundry preachers of the North Ohio Conference, it was decided that the censure of any member of the conference for uniting with a secret society is not authorized by the Discipline, unless such society is known to be opposed to or at variance with the rules and order of the Church.
Suit having been brought by commissioners appointed by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, against the Agents of the Methodist Book Concern in New York, for a division of the property belonging to it, Judge Nelson of the United States Circuit Court in New York decided in favor of the plaintiffs. It was a question whether the defendants should appeal to the Supreme Court in bank, or settle the case by arbitration. The General Conference of 1848 submitted this question to the annual conferences, and the vote for concurrence, previous to the commencement of the suit, in twelve conferences that voted, was 727 for and 413 against arbitration. The present General Conference did not rescind the former action, and left it still standing. It may be well to state here that a like suit against the Agents of the Western Methodist Book Concern was decided by Judge Humphrey H. Leavitt of the United States Circuit Court in Ohio in favor of the defendants. John S. Porter and Michael Marlay were elected commissioners to act with the Agents in New York and Cincinnati in settling this Church suit.
The conference boundaries were adjusted, and several new conferences were formed—the Wyoming, Cincinnati, Southeast Indiana, Northwest Indiana, Southern Illinois, California, Arkansas, and North Indiana—making a total of thirty-nine. The German work was distributed among five annual conferences, and Liberia continued as a mission conference.
Various new measures were proposed which were not adopted, among them the admission of lay delegates in the General and Annual Conferences. Sundry changes were made in the Discipline without affecting its integrity, and the editors and agents in New York were appointed by the Conference to edit it. Indianapolis was selected as the place for holding the General Conference of 1856, and on June 1st, the Conference adjourned.
THE General Conference this year assembled in Indianapolis.
. There were thirty-eight conferences represented, and two hundred and six delegates were present at the opening session. Other delegates came in later. The whole number entitled to seats was two hundred and seventeen. William L. Harris was elected secretary, and Benjamin Griffen, John S. Martin, Jefferson Lewis, and James Hill assistant secretaries, Samuel D. Simonds not serving.
The Western Book Agents having undertaken the issue of a daily Conference journal entitled the Daily Western Christian Advocate, the Conference on motion approved the proposed publication, and directed that one copy should be furnished to each delegate gratuitously. The editor was Charles Elliott, and William P. Strickland was engaged as reporter.
The usual standing committees were appointed, and special committees on Temperance, Bible Cause, Temporal Economy, Expenses of Delegates, Pastoral Address, Colored Members, and on other matters as occasion required.
The sessions of the Conference were held in the State Capitol by courtesy of the legislature; and the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Speaker of the House of Representatives were invited to occupy seats within the bar of the Conference. The editors of Zion's HIerald and the official Church papers were appointed a committee on printing, and were instructed to publish in pamphlet form for the use of the members the rules of order as adopted, together with the standing and other principal committees, the names of the delegates, and if possible their boarding-places.
John Hannah and Frederick J. Jobson, representatives from the British Conference, were introduced, and after the reading of the Address from that Conference, both delivered addresses. They were invited to occupy seats on the platform, and to express their opinions or give their counsel on any question which might be under discussion, at their discretion.
The Address of the bishops was read by Bishop Janes, and the subjects spoken of in it referred to the appropriate committees. One thousand copies of the address were ordered to be printed in pamphlet form, and delivered at the secretary's table, to be by him distributed among the delegations pro rata.
The editors of our Church periodicals and Book Agents, not members of the Conference, and representatives of the American Bible Society were invited to occupy seats within the bar of the Conference.
John Ryerson and Richard Jones, representatives of the Wesleyan Conference in Canada, were introduced to the Conference, and Dr. Ryerson presented the Address of the Canada Conference to this body, which was read; after which both himself and Mr. Jones addressed the Conference in relation to the interests of Methodism in Canada.
Robinson Scott and Dr. Cather, of the Irish Wesleyan Conference, were introduced. Dr. Scott presented an address from his Conference which was read; after which the two visiting brethren addressed the Conference, and a cordial greeting was extended to them and to William Arthur, not present, and the connectional interests of Irish Methodism commended to the Church. Committees were appointed to respond to the several addresses sent by the British, Canadian, and Irish Conferences; and at the request of Dr. Hannah it was resolved by the General Conference that two representatives be sent to the British Conference of 1857, to bear the fraternal greetings of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Matthew Simpson and John McClintock were elected.
A communication was received from the Congregational Union of England and Wales, and a committee of five was appointed to prepare an answer to it. At the request of the Conference the two visiting brethren from England preached sermons before the Conference, Dr. Hannah in the afternoon and F. J. Jobson at night, May 14th, and their sermons were requested for publication and ordered to be printed by the Agents of the Western Methodist Book Concern.
John P. Durbin presented an address from the French Methodist Conference in France and Switzerland, which was read and referred to the Committee on Missions for reply. It was voted “that it is inexpedient at this time to extend the term of ministerial service beyond the present assigned limit of two years.”
The Conference by resolution expressed their cordial and undiminished confidence in the American Bible Society, and approved of the intention and effort of the Board of Managers to secure a systematic and thorough canvass and resupply of the whole country; and recommended to all our ministers to preach at least once a year on the Bible cause. Joseph Holdich, one of the financial secretaries of the Bible Society, being present, was invited to address the Conference on this subject, which he did, urging the claims of the society upon the ministry and membership of the Church.
On the petition of Ludwig S. Jacoby and other brethren in Germany, the German missionaries in that country, and in that part of France and Switzerland where the German language is spoken, were organized into a mission annual conference, and the bishops were requested to depute one of their number to hold the mission conference in Germany when it may be deemed necessary by them.
The growing sentiment of the northern states against slavery and the aggressive spirit of the southern slaveholding states in their endeavor to introduce and perpetuate the peculiar institution in the territories of the Union, brought the question of slavery in the Church prominently before the General Conference. Many of the members were in favor of excluding from the Church all who were implicated with slavery, whether by purchase or gift, or inheritance, while others were willing to allow private persons to hold slaves in the states where law and custom sanctioned it. The discussion of this subject occupied several days. The report of the Committee on Slavery was presented on May 21st by Miner Raymond, proposing a change in the General Rule of the Discipline on the subject, forbidding slaveholding; but as this required a vote of twothirds to effect it, that part of the report was not adopted. The remainder of the report was laid on the table. On May 22d, John A. Collins of the same committee presented a minority report. Both the majority and minority reports were ordered to be printed in pamphlet form, in an edition of five thousand