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their necessary traveling expenses. But the motion to instruct the committee to inquire into the subject led to a thoughtful examination of the method of supporting the bishops, so that a subsequent General Conference, when it took up this matter anew, was better prepared to adopt new methods and commend them to the Church at large. The whole subject of the support of the ministry received careful attention from the committee, and they reported a chapter and section which were adopted, and embodied in the Discipline as a substitute for much that had heretofore been in it.
The subject of lay delegation was brought before the Conference, but there was no general desire expressed on the part of the laity, in the form of petitions or memorials; but the Conference still seemed willing to heed the wishes of the Church, and it was resolved that the members of the General Conference approved of lay representation in that body, and directed the preachers in charge throughout the United States and the territories to lay the matter of lay representation before their congregations and to take the vote of the male members above the age of twenty-one years in full connection, upon this point. The form and manner of taking this vote was to be by ballot, with printed or written tickets, containing only the words, "For Lay Representation” and “Against Lay Representation.” The vote was to be taken at any convenient time between the sessions of the annual conferences of 1861 and 1862; and a vote of all the preachers on the same subject was ordered to be taken at their conference sessions in 1862. The preachers were to report the result of the lay vote in their several charges in 1862; and they were also requested to present the summary of the several votes, both clerical and lay, to the General Conference at its next session in 1864.
The Book Agents in New York were authorized to establish as early as possible a depository of Methodist books and tracts in San Francisco, and to purchase a lot on which to erect suitable buildings for this purpose. The action of the agents in discontinuing the publication of the National Magazine at the end of the thirteenth annual volume, was approved. The number of paying subscribers continued to decrease, and the losses overbalanced the gains. - The New York agents were directed to secure an act of incorporation from the state, under the style of "The Methodist Book Concern,” or some similar appropriate designation.
The Committee on the Arrangement of the Discipline reported that they had examined the new order of placing the various subjects therein treated of, by A. M. Osbon of the New York Conference, and recommended that this order, with some revisions made by the committee, be observed in printing the next edition. The report was adopted, and on motion, Dr. Osbon was appointed to act in conjunction with the editor in New York in preparing it.
The vote in the annual conferences on changing the ratio of representation in the General Conference from one for every thirty preachers to one for every forty-five not having been reported, it was resolved that the ratio for the next General Conference be fixed at one for every thirty. The bishops were requested to make a report of the vote, when ascertained, to the editor of the Discipline, so that the alteration of the ratio, if authorized by the several conferences, might be published in the next edition of the Discipline issued subsequently.
The subject of slavery was debated at length by the members of the Conference, and various resolutions and amendments were offered after the report of the Committee on Slavery was presented. The change proposed by the committee in the General Rule on slavery, so that it should read, “The buying, selling or holding of men, women or children with an intention to enslave them," was lost, two-thirds not voting for it—138 for and 74 against. The chapter on slavery in the Discipline was, by resolution, changed so as to read as follows:
"We declare that we are as much as ever convinced of the great evil of slavery. We believe that the buying, selling, or holding of human beings as chattels is contrary to the laws of God and nature, inconsistent with the Golden Rule, and with that rule in our Discipline which requires all who desire to remain among us to 'do no harm and to avoid evil of every kind.' We therefore affectionately admonish all our preachers and people to keep themselves pure from this great evil, and to seek its extirpation by all lawful and Christian means."
The vote on the resolution to make this change was 155 for and 58 against;—7 being absent or not voting.
The Mission Board was authorized to establish a theological institute in Germany, and the bishops were instructed to visit the missions in that country. They were also authorized to form a mission conference in India.
The Book Agents were authorized to issue a journal for teachers in our Sunday-schools, and to publish graduated lesson books for classes.
Arrangements were made for the celebration of the centenary of Methodism in America in 1866, and a Committee of Correspondence was appointed on the matter. A committee from among the German delegates was appointed to compile and edit a collection of hymns for the use of German-speaking members of the Church in this and in other countries.
A number of changes were made in the Discipline by the Committee on Revisals, and adopted by the Conference—some of them being of importance. The number of annual conferences was increased from forty-seven to fifty-one, these including eleven German districts. Nathan Bangs, F. G. Hibbard and Francis Hodgson were appointed delegates to the Canadian Wesleyan Conference; and Gardner Baker and Francis A. Blades to the Methodist Episcopal Church in Canada.
The elections in the General Conference resulted as follows: Book Agents in New York, Thomas Carlton, James Porter; in Cincinnati, Adam Poe, Luke Hitchcock. Missionary Secretary, John P. Durbin; Assistant Missionary Secretary, W. L. Harris. Editors: Methodist Quarterly Review, Daniel D. Whedon; Ladies' Repository, Davis W. Clark; Christian Advocate and Journal, Edward Thomson; Western Christian Advocate, Calvin Kingsley; Northern, Isaac S. Bingham; Pittsburgh, Samuel H. Nesbit; Northwestern, Thomas M. Eddy; Central, Charles Elliott; California, Eleazer Thomas; Pacific, Thomas H. Pearne; Sunday-school Advocate and books, Daniel Wise; Christliche Apologete, William Nast.
William L. Harris was appointed editor of the General Conference Journal, and directed to prepare the copy for printing as soon as practicable. He was also made editor of the Discipline in company with A. M. Osbon and D. D. Whedon.
The Conference adjourned (without a legal quorum of twothirds of the members) on June 2d.
Monday morning, May 2d. Forty-nine conferences were represented, and at the opening exercises one hundred and eighty-nine delegates were present out of two hundred and sixteen. William L. Harris was elected secretary and George W. Woodruff, Henry Brownscombe, Kasimir P. Jervis, James Hill and Richard W. Keeler were appointed assistant secretaries. Standing committees consisting of one delegate from each conference were ordered and appointed on Episcopacy, Itinerancy, Boundaries, Book Concern, Slavery, Missions, Education, Lay Delegation, Sunday-schools and Tract Cause, Revisals, German Work, and the State of the Country. The Committee of Appeals was also classed among the Standing Committees.
Special Committees on the Christian Commission, including the Sanitary Commission, of fifteen members, and on the Bible Cause, Temperance, Temporal Economy, Pastoral Address, Expenses of Delegates, and Freedmen, of seven members each, were ordered and appointed.
Rules of order were adopted, and fast-day services were ordered to be held on Friday, May 6th, which was set apart expressly for this purpose. Granville Moody, D. W. Bartine and S. Y. Monroe were appointed to arrange for these services. No session of the Conference was held on that day, and it was observed as a season of fasting and prayer to Almighty God in behalf of the country in all our Churches in the city, morning, afternoon and evening. It was recommended that our people generally throughout the country observe similar services on that day in their several places of worship. The arrangements made by the committee for this purpose were carried out.
The Episcopal Address was read by Bishop Scott, and the various topics therein referred to distributed among the appropriate committees. The address was ordered to be printed in pamphlet form, and distributed pro rata among the delegates. W. L. Thornton, delegate from the British Conference, and Robinson Scott, delegate from the Irish Conference, were introduced on Tuesday, May 3d, and presented addresses from their several conferences, and Dr. Thornton addressed the Conference. A committee of five was appointed to prepare a reply to the address of the British Conference, to wit, Edward Thomson, Charles Elliott, Joseph Cummings, John M. Reid and Isaac N. Baird. On May 4th, Dr. Robinson Scott addressed the Conference, and the address of the Irish Conference was referred to the same committee to which the address of the British Conference was referred, to draft a reply. Both these visiting brethren were heartily welcomed, and their addresses were listened to with deep interest.
The agents of the Book Concern were directed to furnish to each of the bishops, the delegates from foreign bodies, the members of the Conference, and the Conference reporters one copy of the Daily Advocate, gratuitously.
A committee of seven on the Centenary of American Methodism was appointed, consisting of David Patten, John P. Durbin, Thomas Carlton, Adam Poe, Joseph M. Trimble, Jesse T. Peck, and Joseph B. Wakeley. A committee of seven was also appointed to report a plan of trusteeship in behalf of General Conference, to represent the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America, and by virtue of their corporate powers secure and hold all bequests made to the Church for benevolent purposes. The committee were William Young, Elijah H. Pilcher, Albert Church, Williamson Terrell, James Lawson, John Miley and Kasimir P. Jervis. The plan reported by them was adopted, and included in the Discipline for 1864.
There being only two members of the Committee on the Revision of the Ritual appointed by the last General Conference in the present Conference, viz., Davis W. Clark and F. G. Hibbard, it was resolved that the committee be increased by the addition of five to the original number, and that when so enlarged they give opportunity for the reception of such suggestions as may be made by members of this body. The entire committee thus appointed were Davis W. Clark, F. G. Hibbard, Bestwick Hawley, Wm. A. Davidson, Charles F. Allen, Daniel W. Bristol and George L. Mulfinger.