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(title page) Sketch of the Early History of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church with Jubilee Souvenir and an Appendix
J. W. Hood, D.D., LL. D.
92, 35 p., ill.
Charlotte, N. C.
A. M. E. Zion Publishing House
Call number (T) E185 .S37 (James E. Shepard Memorial Library Treasure Room, North Carolina Central University, Durham, N. C.)
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH
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LC Subject Headings:
BISHOP J. W. HOOD
[Title Page Image]
[Title Page Verso Image]
Ministry and Members
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
Page 28. The Genesee Conference was organized in 1849 (not 1859.)
Page 28. The Southern Conference was organized in 1859 (not 1829.)
Page 30. The second mention of the Oregon Conference should read, reorganized.
Holmes says that "We are omnibuses in which our ancestors ride." Whether this be true or not there will be little doubt as to the interest mankind evinces in the affairs of prior generations. Who our fathers were, what motives actuated them and what heritage they left us, must ever be of much concern.
From the mists and maze of tradition there is evolved the truth and the fact of history. To that mind which gathers and classifies these facts with chronological order and who presents their truths in language so clear and convincing as to make those who acquaint themselves with them wiser and stronger, the world owes no little indebtedness.
The Church of Christ has been especially rich in the yield of stirring and instructive happenings and the hand which sets forth these so as to catch and hold the public attention and thought is deserving of thanks. Religion has always been a fertile and fascinating subject and the world's best authors have deemed it worthy of their chief efforts.
The author of this small volume will scarcely need this word to be presented to his readers. The name of Bishop James Walker Hood is known and honored not only in the denomination his superior administrative talent has helped to establish, but is familiar in ecclesiastical circles throughout America. The lines here published convey the message of a sage of four score years, half a century of these years having been spent in the preaching of the gospel. Bishop Hood has not only been an active participant in many of the epoch-making events of his church and people, but he enjoys the rare distinction of having seen and heard many of the fathers who have long slept. He knew those who knew Varick and Allen and Spencer--the triumvirate who wrought religious independence for the Negro. Having a remarkable memory and a mind of rare discriminatory and analytical power, the author speaks as one having authority.
In the discursive treatment of the Negro in his progenital and racial traits and in the masterful apology for the distinctively Negro church, Bishop Hood merits a careful reading. The history
of the Rise of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church being a resume of the invaluable compendium of Bishop Christopher Rush and the author's own story of much that followed, will prove a precious legacy.
Fitting was the tribute which the friends and fellow laborers of this venerable sire paid to his remarkable career, as missionary, pioneer, organizer, unselfish statesman and honored executive in the Jubilee Year of his ministry. There can be no reasonable objection to the presence of the evidences of this tribute in these pages.
As one whose earliest recollections were inseparable from the lofty personality of our Senior Bishop and with a sense of the obligation which he and all the generation of younger men owe to him who links us to an earlier age and with the wish that the thousands yet to find a place upon the roster of our noble Church, shall know and perpetuate her history, the writer commends this work to the widest and most favorable reading.
GEO. C. CLEMENT.
BY BISHOP J. W. HOOD, D. D., LL. D.,
SENIOR BISHOP OF THE SAID A. M. E. ZION CHURCH.
That all who care to know the truth as it has come down to us, from those who had a personal knowledge of the facts, the writer has taken pains to put them on record. The facts here presented have been gathered from three sources; namely, First: Lost chapters of early Methodism, which gives an account of the colored membership in John Street M. E. church from its beginning. Second: A compilation of the minutes of the Methodist conferences from 1778-1799. These minutes give the statistics of the colored membership in John Street church up to the time that a portion of said colored membership withdrew to form the A. M. E. Zion Church. Third: From Christopher Rush's History of the Rise and Progress of the A. M. E. Zion Church. We have copied largely from this which is the best source of information on this subject. Fourth: Bishop Moore's History. This is largely copied from Rush up to the point where Rush's History ends. It contains a synopsis of minutes of the annual conferences from 1821 down to 1881, with only nine omitted.
The man who dares to dispute the facts recorded in these minutes, is unworthy to be considered. Both Rush and Moore
record the fact that Abraham Thompson and James Varick were the first elders elected and ordained in the A. M. E. Zion Church, and that James Varick was elected General Superintendent in 1822. The following statement by Rush is presented for the benefit of all concerned.
It is presumed that it may be some satisfaction to the reader to know something of the writer. He, therefore, gives the following sketch of his life:
Christopher Rush was born in the State of North Carolina, Craven County, in the year of our Lord 1777; brought from darkness to light in 1793; came to New York in 1798; joined the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1803; licensed to preach in 1815; ordained in 1822, and elected Superintendent of this Connection in 1828, and has so been re-elected every four years until the present date, 1843.
And now, dear friends and brethren, I submit, your humble servant and fellow laborer in the kingdom and patience of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
History does not state the number of members of the A. M. E. Zion Church at its formation in 1796, as a separate body, to be known as the African Methodist Episcopal Church in America. The following named trustees are recorded:
Francis Jacobs, Thomas Sipkins, George Moore, George White, George Collins, Peter Williams, Thomas Cook, William Brown, and David Bias.
There were also four local preachers: namely, Abraham Thompson, James Varick, William Miller, and Levin Smith. These preachers had been holding separate meetings for several years before that, certainly as early as 1780. For in that year the following rule was adopted by the M. E. Conference:
Question 25. Ought not the Assistant (Mr. Asbury) meet with the colored people himself and appoint as helpers, in his absence, proper white persons and not suffer them to stay late and meet alone? Answer, yes.
It must be clear to all who read this rule that it was aimed at the separate meetings held by the colored preachers. And the fact that it was adopted in 1780 shows that these separate meetings began at least this early. And these meetings were the beginning
of the A. M. E. Zion Church, and they were continued and finally culminated in the formation of the A. M. E. Zion Church as a separate organization. For several years after the incorporation of the Zion Church as a separate organization, by Articles of Agreement between the M. E. Church and the Zion Connection, Zion and Asbury Churches were served by ministers of the M. E. Church, but the other churches belonging to Zion Connection were served by their own preachers from their beginning. Some of those on Long Island were established at a very early period.
At the Annual Conference in 1821, twenty-two ministers were enrolled. These represented churches in New York City, Long Island, Pennsylvania, and New Haven. With more than twenty preachers operating in different parts of the country, with no discipline adopted by themselves for their own government, it is easy to see why a general meeting was called in 1820. This general meeting convened on the 1st of September. It was not called a General Conference, nor did it have daily sessions as we now have, but it was, in its purpose and work, a real General Conference. And at its first session it appointed a Committee on Discipline, of which James Varick was chairman. And this made him the presiding officer of all general meetings from that time up to 1828, at which time he presided for the last time, and Bishop Moore informs us that before the close of that year, he died. Varick was not called General Superintendent during the years of 1820 and 1821, but he was mentioned as presiding officer for that period by both Bishop Rush and Bishop Moore and both of them recorded the fact that he was elected General Superintendent in 1822 and served up to 1828. And the minutes of the New York Conference show that he was enrolled as General Superintendent, and presided over the Conference each year from 1822 to 1828. The Committee on Discipline, appointed at the first session to form a Discipline for the government of the Connection, and to regulate our itinerant system was as follows: James Varick, George Collins, Charles Anderson, Christopher Rush and William Miller. The committee held their first meeting at the house of William Miller, on Wednesday night, September 4, 1820. Up to this time the committee had not made much progress. Abraham Thompson, who was the senior preacher, senior deacon and who finally became the senior elder, had been left off of the committee, and also John Dungy, who was a contentious person, had been left off. It was agreed to add these to the committee, and
from that time they had satisfactory progress. George Collins, who had long been the secretary of the trustees of Mother Zion church and of all official meetings, either local or general, was requested to put the discipline in shape. This he did to the satisfaction of all.
George Collins was a layman, and one of the best and most useful men in the church of his day. He was the author and compiler of the first Discipline, which was published by Christopher Rush and himself in 1820. He also assisted Bishop Rush in writing his own history. He was the working member of every committee on which he was appointed. And he with James Varick did the thinking and planning for the Connection in their day. While the Committee on Discipline were preparing it for final adoption, the subject of providing for the ordination of elders came up for consideration. As we have seen, they had more than twenty preachers and four deacons, but no elders.
Friendly elders of other denominations had administered the sacrament for them in some of the churches. But the time had come that it was necessary for them to have elders of their own, and they wanted them ordained in a way that could never be questioned. Rev. William Stillwell, who had long been their friend, and had frequently advised them, was consulted for advice. He, with some other preachers, had seceded from the M.E. Church and had formed and independent body. He expressed his willingness to get two elders to assist him in ordaining elders for Zion. It is generally conceded that three elders are all that is necessary to ordain an elder. Rev. Stillwell advised that as his brethren were few in number and scattered abroad so that it was not convenient for him to get them together at once, they had best assemble the members and elect the elders and let them serve as elders-elect, until he could get together a sufficient number to ordain them, and this course was finally adopted. Here follows what Bishop Rush says was done: Rush's History, pages 44-45.
"The case of our Church being at this time in a very precarious state, in regard, particularly, to the want of elders in the Church, it became essentially necessary that something should be done to relieve her from that religious pressure; whereupon a meeting of all the official members of the Church was held in the Rose Street Academy, on Wednesday night, September 13th, at which time the elder, William M. Stillwell, informed the brethren that he called them together to consult upon the propriety and
necessity of selecting an elder, and read to them several extracts from books written by Methodist preachers, to prove the validity of such proceedings in cases of necessity. He also advised them to pursue or adopt the plan, as it would be a case of real necessity with them, being an African Methodist Church without an elder, and he not having a sufficient number of elders connected with him at present to perform ordination. A vote was then taken in order to know whether the official brethren approved of the measure and were ready to act upon it, which was carried in favor of being ready. They then proceeded to nominate Abraham Thompson and James Varick, to be recommended to the Society as persons to be elected to the office of elders in the Church."
The two elders having been elected and the Discipline Committee having finished their work, the closing session of the general meeting was held on the night of October 25, 1820. Here again we have Bishop Rush's statement of what was done. Rush's History, page 46:
"Sunday afternoon, October 1, 1820, being the time appointed to elect the two brethren who were nominated on the 13th of September last for that purpose, the members of the Society, both male and female, were requested to tarry after the dismissal of the congregation, for special business; and, after the elder, William M. Stillwell, had given a satisfactory explanation of the purpose for which the members of the Society were detained, Abraham Thompson was offered, and all who were in favor of his being elected were requested to hold up their right hand, which was done in a very solemn manner by a large majority (if not the whole body); then James Varick was offered, and was, in the same manner, solemnly elected. These two brethren, being thus elected, were considered as having full power to exercise the peculiar functions of elders in the Church with us, or any Society of colored people in connection with us, until an opportunity offered to ordain them by the hands of proper authority. The whole process was conducted with much apparent solemnity and satisfaction."
To quote further, page 48:
"The official members of Zion Church being now fully determined upon forming connections with such of their colored brethren as were willing to unite with them in the formation of a uniform system of church government, came together on Wednesday night, October 25th, 1820, for the purpose of coming to a
determination about the Discipline, and, after reading and examining the same, they adopted it, and resolved to have it printed, and appointed George Collins and Christopher Rush a committee to attend to the publication thereof, and on the first of November following, the manuscript was put in the hands of John C. Totten, printer, who was ordered to print twelve hundred copies."
On Sunday, November 12, 1820, the Sacrament was administered by the elders-elect. This was the first time our people received the Sacrament from a minister of their own race. Here again we quote from Rush's History, page 55:
"Sunday, November 12, 1820, being the second Sunday in the month, and our Communion day, James Varick, one of our elders-elect for the time being, consecrated the elements for the Lord's Supper, and, together with Abraham Thompson, the other elder-elect, administered the same to the members of the church, and Leven Smith, our ordained deacon, assisted them. We had a comfortable time."
The promise of Rev. W. M. Stillwell to secure the assistance of ministers associated with him was fulfilled on the 17th day of June, 1822. Abraham Thompson and James Varick, who had been previously elected to elder's orders, were ordained by Doctor James Covel, Sylvester Hutchinson and William Stillwell.
Here again we quote Rush's History, page 78:
"The committee thus authorized, promptly went forward, and shortly afterward obtained the consent of of Dr. James Covel, Sylvester Hutchinson and William M. Stilwell, all regularly ordained elders of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and members of the Methodist church lately established in this city (having recently withdrawn from the old Connection, for reasons mentioned in the foregoing part of this work) and on Monday night, June 17, 1822, they attended the appointed meeting in Zion church, and after an appropriate and solemn sermon, delivered by Dr. Covel, they ordained Abraham Thompson, James Varick and Leven Smith, elders in the Church of God, in the presence of a large and respectable audience. Thus after twenty-one months of struggling through a kind of spiritual wilderness, Zion Church obtained three ordained elders."
This last favor bestowed on Zion by her good friend Rev. William M Stillwell, put the struggling Church in good working order. With unquestioned regularity, every ecclesiastical requirement having been fully met, the yearly Conference, as it was then
called, met in Philadelphia in May, 1822. But the business was not finished, therefore an adjourned session was held in New York, July 18, 1822. At this session James Varick was elected General Superintendent, and according to the Discipline. At this session on Sunday, July 23, 1822, Christopher Rush and five others were ordained deacons in the morning, and elders in the afternoon. They were ordained by Superintendent James Varick, associated by Abraham Thompson and Leven Smith. Here again I quote from Rush's History, page 72-79:
"In consequence of the unfinished state of the Second Yearly Conference held at Philadelphia, it became necessary to have an extra meeting or convention of the preachers in order to carry out, or finish the business of that meeting, and the brethren, therefore, fixed upon the 18th of July for that purpose. Accordingly, on Tuesday, July 18, 1822, the extra meeting commenced in the City of New York."
"At the meeting on Sunday morning there were six deacons ordained; viz.: Christopher Rush, James Anderson, William Carman, Edward Johnson and Tilman Cornish, and in the afternoon the same persons were ordained elders. This was done in consequence of the necessity of elders to take charge of a number of societies already formed, and others who were willing to be formed into circuits in connection with Zion Church. There were twelve preachers in attendance at this meeting; eight of New York, two from Philadelphia, one from New Haven, and one from Long Island. James Varick was elected Superintendent of the Connection according to the Discipline. Abraham Thompson was appointed to take the charge of Zion church; Christopher Rush to take the charge of the Newark society, and others on the Jersey side, who might be willing to accept of his service; Leven Smith was appointed as a missionary to go as far as Boston; James Smith, to assist William Carman on Long Island; Edward Johnson, to take the charge of the Wesleyan church at Philadelphia; and James Anderson, left at New Haven."
This gave the Connection nine elders. William Miller, who is recorded as one of the founders, was not stayable. He was sometimes in Zion; sometimes in Bethel and sometimes in the M. E. Church. He was a deacon in Zion Church in 1813 and an elder in Bethel Church in 1822, returned to Zion Church about 1825 and remained the balance of his life. In the Discipline published by Christopher Rush and George Collins in October, 1820,
Abraham Thompson, James Varick and William Miller are recorded as signing the founders' address. To those not acquainted with all the facts it may seem remarkable that Rush is not also recorded as signing that address. But Rush's own statement is a significant explanation. He was not one of the founders. He did not go to New York until two years after the founding of the Church and did not join the A. M. E. Zion Church until five years later, 1803. The fair inference is that he went from Newbern with a certificate of membership in the M. E. Church, that he deposited that certificate in the M. E. Church in New York City and remained in the M. E. Church until 1803 and then withdrew and joined the A. M. E. Zion Church. Like Varick, however, he was firm and faithful from the time he became a member. Some others were shaky at times, but James Varick, George Collins, and Christopher Rush are three faithful ones, whose names deserve to be recorded in letters of gold. They stood as a stone wall against all of the attacks of the enemies of Zion Church in its early days. And these attacks are very fully set forth by both Bishop Moore and Bishop Rush. The limit of this sketch forbids more extended statement. As we have seen by the statement of Bishop Rush, he joined the A. M. E. Zion Church in 1803, was licensed to preach in 1815, was ordained deacon and elder in 1822, and was elected General Superintendent in 1828.
His first official work was as a member of the committee which prepared the Discipline published in 1820, and he and George Collins were appointed to compile and publish the Discipline. In that Discipline they published the founders' address, signed by Abraham Thompson, James Varick and William Miller. And that address thus signed, has been reprinted in every additional issue of the Discipline from 1820-1908, without question; including the additions published during the twelve years that Bishop S. T. Jones was Compiler and Publisher of the Discipline. From the time that Christopher Rush became associated with James Varick and others who prepared the Discipline in 1820 for publication, he was one of the most active and most useful members of Zion's ministry. Varick was the quiet thinker and planner. Rush was the active and energetic operator. He was appointed to the most important charges, including Mother Zion church. He was entrusted with most important mission work. He was appointed as a missionary to New Haven, Philadelphia, and several points in Pennsylvania, and established the A. M. E.
Zion Church in many places. He was especially commended for his work in establishing the Church in Newark, N. J., and his faithful services for six years from the time he was ordained an elder, made him the natural successor of James Varick, when his term ended in 1828.
Rush was elected General Superintendent in 1828 without any recorded opposition. And notwithstanding the Discipline, which he helped to form, provided that the General Superintendent should be elected to serve for four years and no longer, unless he was re-elected, yet he served for twenty-four years. And there is no record of any opposition to his re-election for the sixth time. And he was the only General Superintendent for all that period. He took great interest in young preachers, and the writer has no recollection more pleasant than the favor of this great man.
He retired at seventy-five, having lost his eyesight, but lived until his ninety-sixth year. He has no need of a fake advocate at this day; he had no need to claim credit which belonged to another. He was rich in his own fully recognized honors.
The following are the General Superintendents and their terms of service:
Rt. Rev. James Varick--8 years, 1820-1828. That is, including the two years he filled the office without the title, and his second term ended in 1828. These two years must have been counted to make two full terms of four years. Bishop Moore informs us that his term ended in 1828 and that he died before the end of that year.
The following are some of the things which Bishop Moore says of Varick; "He was one of the nine male members that made the first movement toward establishing the Zion Church in 1796. In 1822 he was elected the first Superintendent in Zion Connection. He was a man of great firmness, patience, perseverance, forethought, caution and uprightness. His memory is one of the revered relics of the history of Zion Connection."
We need to keep in mind the fact that Bishop Moore entered the ministry in the western part of Pennsylvania at the period when Varick's work in establishing Zion Church there was still fresh in the minds of the people. It is also possible that he was personally acquainted with Varick.
Rt. Rev. Christopher Rush--24 years, 1828-1852.
Rt. Rev. William Miller--Assistant Superintendent, 5 years, 1840-1845.
Rt. Rev. George Galbraith--1 year, 1852-1853. But he was Assistant Superintendent from 1848-1852; counting this, gives him five years' service. And as that was the period in which Rush's blindness commenced, Galbraith did more than any other Assistant Superintendent, either before or after his time. He was the natural successor of Rush and bid fair, if he had lived, to make a glorious record.
Rt. Rev. W. H. Bishop--16 years, 1852-1868.
Rt. Rev. G. A. Spywood--4 years, 1852-1856.
Rt. Rev. John Tappan--2 years, 1854-1856.
Rt. Rev. J. J. Clinton--24 years, 1856-1880.
Rt. Rev. James Simmons--4 years, 1856-1860.
Rt. Rev. S. T. Scott--4 years, 1856-1860.
Rt. Rev. Peter Ross--3 years, 1860-1863.
Rt. Rev. Samson D. Talbot--12 years, 1864-1872.
Rt. Rev. John D. Brooks--8 years, 1864-1872.
Rt. Rev. J. J. Moore--25 1-2 years, 1868-1893.
Rt. Rev. S. T. Jones--23 years, 1868-1891.
Rt. Rev. J. W. Loguen--5 years, 1868-1873.
Rt. Rev. J. W. Hood--40 years, 1872-1912. He still lives.
Rt. Rev. T. H. Lomax--32 years, 1876-1908.
Rt. Rev. J. P. Thompson--18 years, 1876-1894. The last two years of the period he was incapable of any service. His colleagues cared for his work, but he still enjoyed the benefit of his office.
Rt. Rev. W. H. Hillery--7 years, 1876-1883.
Rt. Rev. C. C. Pettey--12 1-2 years, 1888-1900.
Rt. Rev. C. R. Harris--24 years, 1888-1912. He still lives.
Rt. Rev. I. C. Chnton--12 1-2 years, 1892-1904.
Rt. Rev. A. Walters--20 years, 1892-1912. He still lives.
Rt. Rev. G. W. Clinton--16 years, 1896-1912. He still lives.
Rt. Rev. Jehu Holliday--1 year, 1896-1897.
Rt. Rev. J. B. Small--8 1-2 years, 1896-1905.
Rt. Rev. J. W. Alstork--12 years, 1900-1912. He still lives.
Rt. Rev. J. W. Smith--5 1-2 years, 1904-1910.
Rt. Rev. J. S. Caldwell--8 years, 1904-1912. He still lives.
Rt. Rev. M. R. Franklin--1 year, 1908-1909.
Rt. Rev. G. L. Blackwell--4 years, 1908-1912. He still lives.
Rt. Rev. A. J. Warner--4 years, 1908-1912. He still lives.
On Monday night, June 17, 1822, the solid foundation was laid in Zion for the successful operation of a religious organization under the Episcopal form of Church government. On that night, Bishop Christopher Rush informs us that Abraham Thompson, James Varick, and Steven Smith were the first three elders ordained in the A. M. E. Zion Church, in the presence of a large audience, by Dr. James Covel, Sylvester Hutchinson and William Stilwell, all regularly ordained Methodist elders. On this result Bishop Rush remarks:
"Thus, after twenty months of struggling through a kind of spiritual wilderness, Zion Church obtained three ordained elders." The good Bishop might have added many more months--even many years to that period of struggle through which the founders of Zion journeyed to reach its highly favored position. It was the goal to which they started, when in 1796 they formed the Zion Church as the first African Methodist Episcopal Church in America--the first offspring of the M. E. Church. The ordination of elders was the third step in the movement. First, the formation of the Church in 1796. Second, the incorporation and the Articles of Agreement with the M. E. Church for service to be rendered by its ministers for a limited period. Third, the ordination of elders, which enabled the Connection to perform all service required of a religious organization with the Episcopal form of government. A Connection having three regularly ordained elders can make three more elders, and so on, to the limit of its needs. And except by those who claim a regular unbroken succession of Bishops from St. Peter down to this time, it is generally agreed that three elders are sufficient to ordain a Bishop when necessity requires it.
In 1864 when the convention of 25 delegates representing the A. M. E. and 25 representing the A. M. E. Zion Church was held in Philadelphia, to consider the subject of organic union, the subject of Episcopacy was discussed by Elder S. T. Jones (afterwards Bishop) and Bishop D. A. Payne. Jones said that if the General Conference of the A. M. E. Zion Church should elect bishops for life, and elect a bench of elders, not less than three in number, to ordain the Bishop-elect, that this would be as legally made as any other Bishop under the sun. Payne admitted the correctness of that position, and said if the General Conference of Zion Church should take that course, he would hold that Bishops thus made
were as legal Bishops as he was. Bishop Payne was one of the best informed churchmen of his day. He was an honest, fairminded man. He knew that his own bishopric rested upon no better foundation than the plan named and he cheerfully admitted the fact. The General Conference at that time submitted the question of ordaining the Bishops for life to the quarterly and annual conferences. It was adopted by three-fourths of the quarterly conferences and by all of the annual conferences, and was finally ratified by the General Conference of 1868 with only two dissenting voices, namely, Peter Ross and Dempsey Canady. This was the way that all organic law was made. And thus the lifetime episcopacy became an article in our organic law, which the General Conference is forbidden to alter.
In 1872 there was a desire to retire two of the Bishops and for that reason some insisted upon re-election, which for harmony sake was agreed to, but it was realized that it was a questionable course, and therefore a committee was appointed to draw up a law governing the Board of Bishops, in which it was made plain that the Bishops had a life term to the episcopal office, and that the re-election only decided whether or not they should be active or retired Bishops. If they failed a re-election, that retired them. But they were still Bishops and liable to be called into active service in case of a vacancy, or on the formation of a new district in the interval of the General Conference, and to place the matter beyond all question, each Bishop was given a certificate on parchment declaring them entitled to hold the office so long as their spirit and practice were such as becomes the gospel. The certificates were signed by the Senior Bishop and General Secretary. Here follows the law, made in 1872, governing the Board of Bishops:
SECTION I. The Board of Bishops shall meet semi-annually to counsel for the general interest of the Connection, and to attend to such duties as are required by law, and shall hold other meetings as may be necessary.
SECTION II. A majority of all the active Bishops shall be necessary to form a quorum for the transaction of business, provided that retired Bishops shall have a seat in the Board as honorary members. Retired Bishops are those who have been elected and installed, but are without an Episcopal charge. Active Bishops are those who are in charge of an Episcopal District.
SECTION III. At each semi-annual meeting the Board shall elect a President and Secretary. Provided, that said President and Secretary shall have no extraordinary powers in the interval, except to call special meetings when in their judgement it may be necessary or at the request of two or more members. They shall also appoint the time and place of holding the semi-annual meeting when not fixed by the Board.
SECTION IV. The Board shall have a general supervision over the entire Connection in the interval of the General Conference, but as individual Bishops they shall not interfere with each others work or charge. They shall make provision for new Episcopal districts when necessary, and shall also provide for any vacancy that may occur in any existing district by death, resignation or otherwise, by appointment from among the retired Bishops, provided there be a retired Bishop able to travel; provided, further, that they shall consult the wishes of the Conferences embraced in the vacant district.
It will thus be seen the law governing the Board of Bishops adopted in 1872 divided them into two classes: Active and Retired. If they failed of re-election, they were retired. Only two Bishops were affected by this law; namely, Bishops John D. Brooks, who was too feeble to serve if he had been re-elected, and Bishop Samson Talbot who died soon after the close of the General Conference in 1876. In 1880, the General Conference decided that there should be no re-election and that the Bishops have active service, as well as a life tenure to the office. And there have been no Bishops retired since that time. Bishop Thompson was incapacitated for every service for two years before his death, but his colleagues cared for his work, and he drew the salary until his life work was ended. We hope that we have made plain, that while our fathers failed to ordain Bishops for life at the beginning, it was not for the lack of authority to do so, but at the beginning the General Superintendent was elected for four years at a time because that was preferred. This may be accounted for to some extent by the fact that congregationalism largely predominated in the East, especially in New England. The ministers in Zion were all abolitionists and they could not extend far South where the Episcopal sentiment was stronger. The idea of larger freedom was associated with an elective superintendency. And it was not until the emancipation and the extension of the Church to the Southland, where the Methodist people had no idea of a
church without a bishop, that many of the early preachers realized the importance that an episcopacy which is free from any display of arrogance or unseemly assumption of power, is capable of the best possible results.
I. The first recorded yearly conference (as they were then called) was the conference which met in Zion church, New York City, on the 21st day of June, 1821. There were 22 preachers enrolled at this Conference. They represented churches in and about New York City, Long Island, New Haven and Philadelphia. This was the New York Conference. Bishop Moore gives a synopsis of the minutes of yearly conferences from 1821 to 1881. The minutes of seven sessions of that period are omitted.
II. The Philadelphia Conference was organized in 1829.
III. The New England Conference was organized in Hartford, Conn., June 21, 1845, Bishop C. Rush, presiding.
IV. The Allegheny Conference was organized in 1849, Bishop Rush, presiding, George Galbraith, Assistant Superintendent.
V. The Genessee (now known as the Western New York Conference) was organized September 13, 1859, by Bishop C. Rush. This was the last Conference organized by him.
VI. The Southern Conference was organized May 2, 1829, in Washington, D. C. This Conference was shortlived. We have no minutes of its sessions. It was represented in General Conference in 1860. Its name was changed to Baltimore Conference. In 1872 it was consolidated with the Philadelphia Conference, and since, we have had the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference.
VII. The North Carolina Conference was organized in Newbern, N. C., December 17, 1864, Bishop J. J. Clinton, presiding.
VIII. The Louisiana Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton, March 13, 1865.
IX. The Kentucky Conference was organized by Bishop Samson D. Talbot, on Wednesday, June 6, 1866, in Center Street church, Louisville, Ky.
X. The Virginia Conference was organized in October, 1866, in Petersburg, Va., by Bishop J. J. Clinton.
XI. The South Carolina Conference was organized in Lancaster, S. C., March 24, 1867, by Bishop J. J. Clinton.
XII. The Alabama Conference was organized in State Street church, Mobile, Ala., April 3, 1867, by Bishop J. J. Clinton.
XIII. The Georgia Conference was organized in Trinity church, Augusta, Ga., June 15, 1867, by Bishop J. J. Clinton.
XIV. The California Conference was organized in San Francisco, Wednesday, January 10, 1868, by Bishop J. J. Clinton.
XV. The Tennessee Conference was organized in Knoxville, Tenn., October 6, 1868, by Bishop J. J. Clinton.
XVI. The Florida Conference was organized in Pensacola, April 22, 1869, by Bishop J. J. Clinton.
XVII. The West Tennessee & Mississippi Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton, in Coffeeville, Miss., in October, 1869. It was represented in the General Conference in 1872 by ministerial delegates.
XVIII. The New Jersey Conference was organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton, in 1874. This was the last conference organized by Bishop J. J. Clinton, the great organizer. He organized eleven conferences in ten years. Bishop Clinton did his own preparatory missionary work. He went to Louisiana alone, where Zion ministers had been seen in an army transport vessel. He followed Elder Hood to Newbern in less than six months after he sent him there. He followed Elder Strong to Alabama soon after he sent him. He also followed Hopkins to Tennessee soon after he sent him. He went to Florida and Georgia to open the way for others. He had 15,000 members in Louisiana, when he left that work. His immediate successor by neglect and mismanagement, lost nearly all of them.
XIX. The Canada and Michigan Conference was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, September 11, 1879.
XX. The Central North Carolina Conference was organized by Bishop J. W. Hood, November 18, 1879.
XXI. The West Alabama Conference was organized December 14, 1880, by Bishop J. P. Thompson.
XXII. The Arkansas Conference was organized by Bishop S. T. Jones, in March, 1882.
XXIII. The Central Alabama Conference was organized in 1881.
XXIV. The Texas Conference was organized in November 1883, by Bishop T. H. Lomax.
XXV. The North Georgia Conference (now known as the Georgia Conference), was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, in 1885.
XXVI. The Missouri Conference was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, September 17, 1890.
XXVII. The North Louisiana Conference was organized by Bishop C. C. Pettey, November 20, 1890.
XXVIII. The South Florida Conference was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, January 14, 1891.
XXIX. The Ohio Conference was organized by Bishop J. W. Hood, September, 1891.
XXX. The Western North Carolina Conference was organized November, 1889, at Statesville, N. C., by Bishop J. J. Moore
XXXI. The South Mississippi Conference was organized at Meridian, Miss., by Bishop C. R. Harris, December, 1891.
XXXII. The Palmetto Conference was organized by Bishop I. C. Clinton, December 1891, at Spartanburg, S. C.
XXXIII. The Blue Ridge Conference was organized by Bishop T. H. Lomax, at Knoxville, Tenn., in October, 1892. This conference was first called the East Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina Conference, but has had for many years the shorter name. (The Oregon Conference was organized in 1892 by Bishop C. C. Pettey.)
XXXIV. The North Arkansas Conference was organized in 1896 by Bishop Jehu Holliday.
XXXV. The West Central N. C. Conference was organized by Bishop J. W. Hood, November 18, 1910.
XXXVI. The Albemarle Conference was organized at Edenton, N. C., by Bishops J. W. Hood and G. W. Clinton, November 30, 1910.
XXXVII. The North Alabama Conference was organized in 1894 at Scranton, Miss., by Bishop C. C. Pettey.
XXXVIII. The Oklahoma Conference was organized in 1897 by Bishop Jehu Holliday.
XXXIX. The Michigan Conference was organized at DuQuoin, Ill., by Bishop G. L. Blackwell.
XL. The Indiana Conference was organized at DuQuoin, Ill., in 1909, by Bishop G. L. Blackwell.
XLI. The Cape Conference was organized November 27, 1911, at Wilmington, N. C., by Bishop A. Walters.
XLII. The Cape Coast Conference was organized in March, 1910, by Bishop A. Walters.
XLIII. The West Gold Coast Conference was organized in March, 1910, by Bishop A. Walters.
XLIV. The Liberia Conference was organized in March 1910, at Brewerville, by Bishop A. Walters.
XLV. The Oregon Conference was organized October 23, 1910, by Bishop J. S. Caldwell.
XLVI. The Southwest Virginia Conference was organized October 15, 1910, at Asheville, N. C., by Bishop C. R. Harris.
XLVII. The South Alabama Conference was organized at Montgomery, Ala., December 2, 1911, by Bishop J. W. Alstork.
XLVIII. The Cahaba Conference was organized at Bessemer, Ala., November 20, 1912, by Bishop J. W. Alstork.
(For what follows the author alone is responsible. Copied from the History of 105 years of the A. M. E. Zion Church.)
Since we have asserted the ancient greatness of the Negro race, and since assertion is lame without proof, a chapter here on this subject may not be out of place. It is the impression with many that the Negro has no history to which he can point with pride. There could be no greater mistake than this. If it had been in the power of modern historians of the Caucasian race to rob him of his history, it would have been done. But the Holy Bible has stood as an everlasting rock in the black man's defense. God himself has determined that the black man shall not be robbed of his record which he has made during the ages. And here again we acknowledge with humility and thanksgiving our great obligation to God for his goodness toward the race. At every step in this investigation we see plainly the hand divine interposed in our behalf; and the more we investigate the subject, the more deeply do we feel the obligation the race is under to love, fear, and serve that God who has so carefully watched over our destiny.
The first and most illustrious of earth's historians has left on record statements which set forth the fact beyond reasonable doubt that an ancestor of the Negro race was the first of earth's great monarchs, and that that race ruled the world for more than a thousand years; and the statements of Moses are confirmed by the testimonies of the earliest secular historians whose writings have come down to our time. Ethiopia and Egypt were first among the early monarchies, and these countries were peopled by the descendants of Ham, through Cush and Mizraim, and were governed by the same for hundreds of years.
Palestine was peopled by Canaan, the younger son of Ham, upon whom the curse was pronounced, and, notwithstanding the
curse, his posterity ruled that land for more than eight hundred years. They were in it when the promise of it was made to Abraham, and four hundred years later, when Israel came out of Egypt, they were still in full possession of it. And although the land was promised to Israel, yet two tribes, the Jebusites and Sidonians,*
* The Sidonians were never driven out by the Israelites.
resisted the attacks of Israel for more than four hundred years after they entered upon their promised possessions. Neither Joshua nor the judges of Israel could drive them out; not until David became king were the Jebusites driven out from the stronghold of Zion. It was from this ancient seat of the Jebusites, also called Salem, the seat of royalty and power, that Melchizedek, the most illustrious king, priest and prophet of the race, came forth to bless Abraham, as seen in Genesis xiv. 18, 19. There have been many wild notions respecting this personage, for which there is no good reason. As Dr. Barnes says:
"The account of this man in Genesis is as simple an historical record as any other in the Bible. In that account there is no difficulty whatever. It is said simply that when Abraham was returning from a successful military expedition, this man, who, it seems, was well known*
* So well known that no particular account of him was deemed necessary.
, and who was respected as a priest of God Most High, came out to express his approbation of what he had done and to refresh him with bread and wine. As a tribute of gratitude to him and a thank offering to God, Abraham gave him a tenth part of the spoils which he had taken.
Such an occurrence was by no means improbable; nor would it have been attended with any special difficulty if it had not been for the use which the apostle makes of it in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Yet on no subject has there been a greater variety of opinions in regard to this man. The bare recital of the opinions would fill a volume. But in a case which seems to be plain from the Scripture narrative, it is not necessary even to enumerate these opinions. They only serve to show how easy it is for men to mystify a clear statement of history, and how fond they are of finding what is mysterious and marvelous in the plainest narrative of facts.
That he was Shem, as the Jews supposed,*
* That is, some of the Jews, not all: for their historian, Josephus, as Dr. Barnes remarks, states that he was a pious Canaanite.
or that he was the Son of God himself, as many Christian expositors have maintained, there is not the slightest evidence. That the latter opinion
is false is perfectly clear; for if he was the Son of God, with what propriety could the Apostle say that he 'was made like the Son of God'--that is, like himself; or that Christ was constituted a priest 'after the order of Melchizedek'--that is, that he was a type of himself. The most simple and probable opinion is that given by Josephus: that he was a pious Canaanitish prince, a person eminently endowed by God, who acted as the priest of his people. That he combined within himself the offices of priest and king, furnished to the Apostle a beautiful illustration of the offices sustained by the Redeemer, as he was, in this respect, perhaps the only one whose history is recorded in the Old Testament who would furnish such an illustration. That his genealogy was not recorded,*
* What Dr. Barnes here mentions is evidently what the Apostle means by his being without father, etc. His genealogy was not recorded.
while that of every other priest mentioned was carefully traced and preserved, furnished another striking illustration. In this respect, like the Son of God, he stood alone; he was not in the line of priests; he was preceded by no one in the sacerdotal office, nor was he followed by any. That he was superior to Abraham and consequently to all who descended from Abraham; that a tribute was rendered to him by the great ancestor of the fraternity of Jewish priests, was also an illustration which suited the purpose of Paul.--Dr. Albert Barnes, "Notes on Hebrews," chap. vii.
We have copied so much from Dr. Barnes' Commentary for two reasons: 1. Because his opinion agrees with what appeared to us to be the natural conclusion when we first read the account of Melchizedek in Josephus, more than thirty years ago. 2. Because we wished to show that in the opinion we have advanced we are supported by one of the ablest Bible expounders of our time. Barnes is a standard author; his commentaries have been adopted by the Presbyterian Board. Those who wish to see what further he has to say can consult his notes on Heb. vii., also his notes on Psalm ex: 4. It seems impossible to reach any other conclusion than that Melchizedek was king of the Jebusites; they took possession of that land when the posterity of Noah was dispersed from Babel. At the time that Abraham met Melchizedek they had been in possession of it for nearly three hundred and fifty years, and they remained in possession of it for eight hundred years more.
Salem, the seat of government, was the same which was also called Jerusalem. Josephus positively states this, and Dr. Barnes
says it is the almost universal opinion. The change, it is generally agreed, comes from the name of the inhabitants--the Jebusites--Jebus being changed to Jerus, and that to Jerusalem. In Psalm lxxvi: 1, 2, Jerusalem is called Salem: "In Judah is God known; His name is great in Israel. In Salem also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place is Zion."
Rahab and Tamar were both Canaanites, and both, also, the ancestors of the world's Redeemer. It is not quite certain that the Canaanites were black; but there can be no doubt that they descended from Ham, the father of the black race; and "Cursed be Canaan" is a favorite text with those who delight in the idea of Negro inferiority. We may remark that some have claimed that the curse upon Canaan extended to the whole of Ham's race; upon what grounds this claim is set up we have never been able to discover, except the desire to have it so. The natural conclusion, it seems to us, if we want to make anything more of it than the simple historical statement that Noah cursed his grandson for his son's misconduct, would be that Noah was led to take this plan, to avoid the idea that the rest of Ham's posterity was affected by the curse. In naming the younger son, we would naturally get the idea that the curse was to fall upon the smaller portion of Ham's race. To our mind this was a prediction which was fulfilled when Joshua led Israel into the promised land. "Servant of servants shall he be." To whatever extent the Canaanites served the Israelites, who themselves had just come from servitude, this prediction was fulfilled, and that was to no very great extent. They were driven out of the land and exterminated to a considerable extent, but they were not made slaves in any considerable numbers.
The promise of God was not that Israel should make slaves of them--He has never sanctioned slavery--but His promise was to drive them out, not all at once, but little by little. "I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beasts of the field multiply against thee. By little and little, I will drive them out from before thee. . . . Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods. They shall not dwell in the land, lest they make thee sin against me; for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee." See Exodus xxiii, 28-33.
And yet Israel did make a covenant with them, and in that the prophecy of Noah was fulfilled. Israel did serve their gods, and they were ensnared, and therefore were never able to drive out all the Canaanites. Respecting the covenant that Israel made with the Canaanites (see Josh. ix), the inhabitants of Gibeon came to Joshua and made him believe that they lived in a country far from him, and he made a covenant with them by which the princes of the Israelites agreed to spare their lives, and they agreed to be hewers of wood and drawers of water for Israel, and thus of their own volition they became the servants of a people who had just come from bondage. And thus was fulfilled the prophecy of Noah, "Servant of servants shall he be," etc.
This, however, was a very small portion of Canaan's race; enough, indeed, to fulfil the prophecy, but not enough to make the noise about, that Negro-haters have been making for the last two or three hundred years.
God promised to drive out the Canaanites, that Israel might inhabit the land free from the snares of idolatry, but God's promise was conditional. To avoid the dangerous increase of wild beasts a portion of the Canaanites were permitted to remain until Israel had sufficiently increased to populate the land. During this period of joint occupancy the Israelites were required to keep themselves from idolatry and from all entangling alliances with the Canaanites. The Israelites failed in both these requirements; they worshipped the idols an married the sons and daughters of the Canaanites. Hence, God did not drive out all of the Canaanites, and Israel could not drive them out. "And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, "Because that his people hath transgressed my covenant, which I commanded their fathers, and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died." (Judg. ii. 20, 21.)
We have already mentioned the fact that the Jebusites held their stronghold till David came to the throne; their dislodgement was then necessary to the accomplishment of the divine purpose; but the Sidonians, descendants of the elder son of Canaan, including the Tyrians, were never driven out by the Israelites. They, with their kindred, the Carthaginians, were the most powerful maritime nations of their time. The Philistines, who gave Israel more trouble than any other of the nations in that land, were the descendants of Ham through Mizriam.
As an evidence of the strength and valor of the nations with which Israel had to contend in the land of Canaan, we have the fact that, during the four hundred years in which the judges ruled, Israel was in bondage more than seventy years to those nations. It was not weakness nor the want of courage on the part of the Canaanites, nor the superiority of the Israelites which gave Israel a habitation in that land; but God had a purpose in the interest of humanity, and the idolatry of the Canaanites rendered them suitable objects upon which to operate upon carrying out of that purpose.
Historians tell a story of the Tyrians and Carthaginians which is most credible to both: "When Alexander was besieging Tyre, the Tyrians took that which they valued most highly, their wives and little children, and sent them to Carthage, and although the Carthaginians were engaged in war, they received them and succored them with parental care." Caucasian civilization can point to nothing that exceeds this gallantry on the one side and generosity on the other. Considering the period at which this occurred, it indicates a marvelous degree of advancement in the knowledge of what is due to the family.
Carthage has contributed to the honor of the Negro race not only in this, but also in producing one of the most renowned warriors that has ever appeared upon a field of battle. Of course we refer to Hannibal; but besides him there was another, less renowned, it is true, but greater in that he was both statesman and warrior. We refer to Hamilcar, the father of Hannibal. He took Hannibal at nine years of age and taught him the art of war. He had the ability to unite the forces for victory; the lack of this was Hannibal's misfortune and the ruin of Carthage. But in boldness, in courage, and in the splendid management of his forces, Hannibal has had no superior and but few equals since man began to fight.
Hannibal also possessed some ability as a statesman. History informs us that upon one occasion by a persuasive speech he brought the Carthaginian senate to a unanimous agreement on an important matter on which there had been a disagreement. He feared that if the senate was not unanimous, there would be dissensions among the people.
Carthage also gave to the world in the person of St. Augustine and St. Cyprian, two of the ablest ministers of which the Christian Church can boast. The simple mention of these names is all that any man at all acquainted with Church history needs. That the Phoenicians, who were the founders of Carthage in union with original Africans, were the descendants of Canaan, there ought
to be no question; but since everything honorable to the Negro race is questioned, we will simply give the testimony of Rollins.*
* Rollins, Book I, p. 160.
He says: "The Canaanites are certainly the same people who are called, almost always, Phoenicians by the Greeks, for which name no reason can be given, any more than the oblivion of the true one." Thus it is seen that up to Rollins' time there was no question as to the fact that the Phoenicians were Canaanites. Rollins did not know why this, instead of the true name, was given; neither do we know, but we may easily conjecture that since it was the Greeks that gave this name instead of the true one, it may have been their purpose to hide the fact that the people to whom they were so greatly indebted were the descendants of the accursed son of Ham. This would be in perfect accord with the conduct of the Caucasian race to-day.
We have also the testimony of Dr. Barnes that the Phoenicians were descended from the Canaanites. In his notes on Matt. xv. 22, of the woman of Canaan who met Jesus on the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he says: "This woman is called also a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth (Mark vii, 26). Anciently the whole land, including Tyre and Sidon, was in possession of the Canaanites, and called Canaan. The Phoenicians were descended from the Canaanites. The country, including Tyre and Sidon, was called Phoenicia or Syrophenicia; that country was taken by the Greeks under Alexander the Great, and these cities in the time of Christ were Greek cities. This woman was therefore a Gentile, living under the Greek government and probably speaking that language. She was by birth a Syrophoenician, born in that country, and descended therefore from the ancient Canaanites."
On the same text Dr. Abbott says: "The term Canaan was the older title of the country, and the inhabitants were successively termed Canaanites and Phoenicians, as the inhabitants of England were successively call Brittons and Englishmen."
Of Carthage we may remark, through all the hundreds of years of its existence as an independent government, it remained a republic. Rollins, speaking of its government, says:
"The government of Carthage was founded upon principles of most consummate wisdom, and it is with reason that Aristotle ranks this republic in the number of those that were held in the greatest esteem by the ancients, and which were fit to serve as a model for others. He grounds his opinion on a reflection which
does great honor to Carthage by remarking that from the foundation of his time (that is, upward of five hundred years) no considerable sedition had disturbed the peace nor any tyrant oppressed the liberty of the State. Indeed, mixed governments, such as that of Carthage, where the power was divided betwixt the nobles and the people, are subject to the inconvenience either of degenerating into an abuse of liberty by the seditions of the populace, as frequently happened in Athens and in all the Grecian republics, or in the oppression of the public liberty by the tyranny of the nobles, as in Athens, Syracuse, Corinth, Thebes, and Rome itself under Sulla, and Cæsar. It is therefore giving Carthage the highest praise to observe that it had found out the art, by the wisdom of its laws and the harmony of the different parts of its government, to shun during so long a series of years two rocks that are so dangerous, and on which others so often split. It were to be wished that some ancient author had left us an accurate and regular description of the customs and laws of the famous republic."
While we agree with Rollins in his lament of the want of a more complete history of that ancient Negro Republic, yet if those Caucasians who are wont to arrogate to themselves all the excellencies of this world, and to deny that the Negro ever has been great, or ever can be, would take time to read what has been written, with sufficient care to understand it, they would add much to their store of knowledge.
Having touched briefly upon the history of the posterity of Ham through his younger son, we shall now take a brief view of the greatness of that posterity as it is seen in his descendants through his second son, Mizraim. That the ancient Egptians were black both the Holy Scriptures and the discoveries of science, as also the most ancient history, most fully attest. But as some profess to have doubts on this point, we shall take some testimony which we think no fair minded man will attempt to dispute.
The psalmisticalls to memory the wonders which God wrought for His people, and celebrates in song His dealings with Israel in Egypt and frequently calls Egypt the land of Ham. How can this be accounted for if Egypt was not peopled by the posterity of Ham? But he goes further than this; he calls their dwellings the tabernacles of Ham. He "smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham." (Psalm lxxviii, 51). "Israel also came into Egypt, and Jacob sojourned
in the land of Ham." (Psalm cv. 23). "He sent Moses His servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen. They set among them his signs and wonders in the land of Ham." (Psalm cv. 26, 27). "They forgat God ther Saviour, which had done great things in Egypt; wondrous works in the land of Ham." (Psalm cvi. 21, 22.)
The man who after reading these pages, can doubt that the Egyptians, to whom Israel was in bondage, were the descendants of Ham is beyond the reach of reason. The repetition seems designed to settle this fact beyond question. We might add, if it were necessary, that the Book of Canticles is an allegory based upon Solomon's affection for his beautiful black wife, the daughter of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.
In the sixty-eighth psalm we have a prophecy which connects Egypt with Ethiopia as follows: "Princes shall come out of Egypt, Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God."
Rollins, in speaking of the fact that all callings in Egypt were honorable, gives this as a probable reason, that "as they all descended from Ham, their common father, the memory of their still recent origin to the minds of all in those first ages, established among them a sort of equality, and stamped in their opinion a nobility on every person descended from the common stock."
Again, treating of the history of the kings of Egypt, Rollins says: "The Ancient history of Egypt comprises two thousand one hundred and and fifty-eight years, and is naturally divided into three periods. The first begins with the establishment of the Egyptian monarchy by Menes or Mizraim, the son of Ham, in the year of the world 1816.
On the next page he says of Ham; "He had four children, Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Canaan." After speaking of the settlement of the other sons, he returns to Mizraim and says: "He is allowed to be the same as Menes, whom all historians declare to be the first king of Egypt."
In speaking of the settlement of the sons of Ham, Rollins says: "Cush settled in Ethiopia, Mizraim in Egypt, which generally is called in Scripture after his name and by that of Cham (Ham), his father; Phut took possession of that part of Africa which lies westward of Egypt, and Canaan of the country which afterward bore his name."
That ancient Egypt was the seat of the arts and sciences, there can be no doubt; the evidences of this still remain. The cities built by the early kings of Egypt have been the wonder of all succeeding ages.
Sesostris stands at the head of the list of the great Egyptian warriors. Rollins says;
"His father, whether by inspiration, caprice or as the Egyptians say, by the authority of an oracle, formed the design of making his son a conqueror. This he set about after the Egyptian manner; that is, in a great and noble way. All the male children born on the same day with Sesostris were by the king ordered brought into the court. Here they were educated as if they had been his own children, with the same care as was bestowed on Sesostris with whom they were brought up. He could not possibly have given him more faithful ministers nor officers who more zealously desired the success of his arms. The chief part of their education was inuring them from infancy to a hard and laborious life, in order that they might one day be capable of sustaining with ease the toils of war.
"Sesostris was taught by Mercury, a native Egyptian whom the Greeks pronounced thrice great. The instruction included politics and the art of government. His first venture in war was against the Arabians, whom he subdued; a nation which had never before been conquered. He next invaded Libya and subdued the greater part of that country. At the death of his father he felt himself capable of undertaking the greatest enterprises.
"He found no less a design than the conquest of the world. But before he left his kingdom he provided for his domestic security in winning the hearts of his subjects by his generosity and justice, and a popular, obliging behavior. He was no less studious to gain the affection of his officers and soldiers, whom he wished to be ever ready to shed the last drop of their blood in his service, persuaded that his enterprises would all be unsuccessful unless his army should be attached to his person by all the ties of esteem, affection and interest. He divided the country into thirty-six governments (called Nomi), and bestowed them on persons of merit and the most approved fidelity. In the meantime he made the requisite preparation, levied forces, and headed them with officers of the greatest bravery and reputation; and these were taken chiefly from among the youths who had been educated with him. He had seventeen hundred of these officers, who were all capable of inspiring his troops with resolution, a love of discipline, and a zeal for the service of their prince. His army consisted of 600,000 foot, and 24,000 horse, besides 27,000 armed chariots.
"He began his expedition by invading Ethiopia, situated on
the south of Egypt. He made it tributary aud obliged the nations to furnish him annually a certain quantity of ebony, ivory and gold.
"He fitted out a fleet of four hundred sail and ordered it to advance to the Red Sea, and made himself master of the isles and cities lying on the coast of the sea. He himself leading the army, he overran and subdued Asia with amazing rapidity, and advanced farther into India than Hercules, Bacchus, and in after times, Alexander himself ever did; for he subdued the countries beyond the Ganges and advanced as far as the ocean. One may judge from hence how unable the more neighboring nations were to resist him. The Scythians, as far as the river Tonais, as well as Armenia and Cappadocia, were conquered. He left a colony in the ancient kingdom of Colchos, situated to the east of the Black Sea, where the Egyptian customs and manners have been ever since retained.
"Herodotus saw in Asia Minor, from one sea to the other, monuments of his victories. In several countries was read the following inscription engraved on pillars: 'Sesostris, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, subdued this country by the power of his arms.' Such pillars were found even in Thrace, and his empire extended from the Ganges to the Danube.
"The scarcity of provision in Thrace stopped the progress of his conquests and prevented his advancing further into Europe. . . . He returned, therefore, laden with the spoils of the vanquished nations, dragging after him a numberless multitude of captives, and covered with greater glory than any of his predecessors; that glory I mean, which employs so many tongues and pens in its praise; which consists in invading a great number of provinces in a hostile way, and is often productive of numberless calamities. He rewarded his officers and soldiers with a truly royal magnificence, in proportion to their rank and merit. He made it both his pleasure and duty to put the companions of his victory in such a condition as might enable them to enjoy during the remainder of their days a calm and easy repose, the just reward of their past toils. With regard to himself, forever careful of his own reputation, and still more of making his power advantageous to his subjects, he employed the repose which peace allowed him in raising works that might contribute more to the enriching of Egypt than the immortalizing of his own name; works in which art and industry of the workmen were more admired than the immense sums which had been expended on them."
In the face of the indisputable facts of history, Mede says: "There never has been a son of Ham who hath shaken a scepter over Japheth; Shem hath subdued Japheth and Japheth subdued Shem, but Ham never subdued either."
Mede's historical researches must have been barren of results, or he must have forgotten many things. It is amazing what an amount of ignorance and stupidity race prejudice, conceit, and arrogance are responsible for.
Gardner says: "It is to the Caucasian race that the history of the world must mainly confine itself, for with that race originated almost all that ennobles and dignifies mankind."
Another outburst of wind. These thoughtless scribes shut their eyes to the fact that the race of Ham dominated the world for nearly, if not quite fifteen hundred years. They shut their eyes to the fact that for fifteen hundred years more, dominion was constantly shifting and no one race held undisputed sway. For the last two thousand years the ascending star of empire has been with the Caucasian races; Japheth, the last, has become first.
The facts recorded by Rollins concerning Sesostris are not at all liable to the suspicion of having been colored by his admiration of that great prince. Rollins indicates very clearly the absence of admiration; he not only questions that kind of glory which historians accorded to Sesostris, but also criticises his vanity as follows:
"Sesostris might have been considered as one of the most illustrious and most boasted heroes of antiquity had not the luster of his warlike actions, as well as pacific virtues, been dimmed by thirst of glory and a blind fondness for his own grandeur which made him forget that he was a man. The kings and chiefs of the conquered nations came at stated times to do homage to their victor and pay him the appointed tribute. On every other occasion he treated them with sufficient humanity and generosity, but when he went to the temple or entered his capital he caused these princes to be harnessed to his car, four abreast, instead of horses, and valued himself upon his being thus drawn by the lords and sovereigns of other nations. What I am most surprised at is that Diodemus should rank this foolish and human vanity among the most shining acts of this prince."
Thus it is seen that Rollins was ready to censure even where others praised Sesostris. As a godly man, Rollins was compelled to condemn this unparalleled exhibition of human vanity. At
the same time his statement of the fact indicates the high esteem in which this prince was held. That the lords of those conquered nations submitted to thus dishonor themselves to do him honor, shows how completely he was master of the situation. It indicates more than this: it indicates the wonderful wisdom and power of that black prince, in that he was able, through a long reign, to hold these chiefs in faithful allegiance without a single revolt.
The record given by Rollins indicates that Sesostris was among the wisest, as well as among the most powerful monarchs of earth. Napoleon was a great warrior, but he died in exile, prisoner of war. Alexander was a great general, but he made a foolish march across a desert country, almost to the dastruction of his army, for the foolish purpose of worshipping at the shrine, and of being called the son of Jupiter Ammon. This so discouraged his forces that he never accomplished the object of his ambition. For this, many of his command despised him.
Sesostris made no such blunders in his campaign. He went forth conquering until he met a providential interposition; his climax of wisdom was displayed in his turning back when he discovered that not merely mortal beings, but the great immortal opposed his further conquest. He returned to his own country to enjoy in peace and prosperity the fruits of his unparalleled victories. His conduct toward those cities which resisted his attacks most stubbornly, was in striking contrast to that of Alexander; as Alexander advanced to invade Egypt he found at Gaza a garrison so strong that he was obliged to besiege it. It held out a long time, during which he received two wounds; this provoked him to such a degree that when he had captured the place, he treated the soldiers and inhabitants most cruelly. He cut ten thousand men to pieces and sold all the rest with their wives and children for slaves. His treatment of Betis, the commandant of the forces, was the most shameful of anything recorded in history.
Sesostris, on the other hand, was pleased with those who defended their possessions most bravely; the degree of resistance which he had to overcome was denoted by him in hieroglyphical figures on monuments. The more stubborn the resistance, the greater the achievement and the more worthy the people to become his subjects. Respecting the foolish march of Alexander which we have mentioned, the following from Rollins will explain:
"At Memphis he formed a design of visiting the temple of Jupiter Ammon; this temple was situated in the midst of the
sandy deserts of Libya, and twelve days' journey from Memphis. Ham, the son of Noah, first peopled Egypt and Libya after the flood; and when idolatry began to gain ground in the world some time after, he was the chief deity of those countries in which his descendants had continued. A temple was built to his honor in the midst of these deserts, upon a spot of pretty good ground, about two leagues broad, which formed a kind of island in a sea of sand. It is he whom the Greeks call Jupiter and the Egyptians Ammon.
"The motive of this journey, which was equally rash and dangerous, was owing to a ridiculous vanity. Alexander having read in Homer and other fabulous authors of antiquity that most of their heroes were represented as the sons of some deity, and as he himself was desirous of passing for a hero, he was determined to have some god for his father. Accordingly he fixed upon Jupiter Ammon for this purpose, and began by bribing the priests and teaching them the part they were to act. Alexander had a journey to go of sixteen hundred stadia, or eighty French leagues, to the temple of Jupiter Ammon, and most of the way through sandy deserts. The soldiers were patient enough for the first two days' march, before they arrived in the extensive, dreadful solitudes; but as soon as they found themselves in vast plains, covered with sands of prodigious depth, they were greatly terrified.
"They were several days in crossing these deserts, and upon arriving near the place where the oracle stood, they perceived a great number of ravens flying before the most advanced standard. These ravens sometimes flew to the ground, when the army marched slowly, and at other times advanced forward, as if it were to serve them as guides, till they at last came to the temple of the god. A surprising circumstance is that, although this oracle is situated in the midst of an almost boundless solitude, it nevertheless is surrounded with a grove so very shady that the sunbeams can scarcely pierce it, not to mention that this grove or wood is watered with several springs of fresh water which preserve it in perpetual verdure.
"It is related that near this grove there is another, in the midst of which is a foundation called the Water of the Sun. At day-break it is lukewarm; at noon cool, but in the evening it grows warmer and at midnight is boiling hot; after this as day approaches it decreases in heat, and continues this vicissitude forever. The god who is worshipped in this temple is not represented
under the form which painters and sculptors generally give to gods, for he is made of emeralds and precious stones, and from head to navel resembles a ram."
The king being come into the temple, the senior priest declared him to be the son of Jupiter, and assured him that God himself bestowed this name upon him. Alexander accepted it with joy and acknowledged Jupiter his father. He afterward asked the priest whether his father Jupiter had not allotted him the empire of the world; to which the priest, who was as much a flatterer as the king was vainglorious, answered that he should be monarch of the universe. At last he inquired whether all of his father's*
murderers had been punished; but the priest replied that he blasphemed, that his father was immortal, but that with regard to the murderers of Philip, they had all been expiated, adding that he should be invincible, and afterward take his seat among the deities. Having ended the sacrifices, he offered magnificent presents to the god, and did not forget the priests who had been so faithful to his interests.
Decorated with the splendid title of the son of Jupiter, and fancying himself raised above the human species, he returned from his journey as from a triumph. From that time, in all his letters, his orders and decrees, he always wrote the following: "Alexander King, Son of Jupiter Ammon."
If the fact that Sesostris had his chiefs to take the place of horses in conveying him to the temple was vain and foolish, what shall be said of the vanity of Alexander in this exploit? But we have transcribed this passage for the purpose of calling attention to the fact, that there could have been no such prejudice against the Negro, Ham, at that day, as his race endures to-day. There could have been no thought that he was inferior to Shem or Japheth, for here we see the most distinguished of the warriors descending from Japheth renouncing his own race and his own father and claiming Ham, deified, for his father.
We can hardly think that Alexander was so ignorant as not to know of whose honor and to whose memory this god was erected. The country in which he was situated, his black priests, and all the circumstances surrounding him rendered it impossible for Alexander to escape knowledge of his identity. This ought to satisfy any reasonable mind that the race of Ham must some time have been uppermost among the sons of men.
Cadmus, who invented letters and took them to Greece, is admitted to have been either Egyptian or Phoenician (both claimed him); it does not matter which, he was a descendant of Ham; and he may have descended from both by intermarriage.
The ancient greatness of Ham's descendants on the line of his elder son, Cush, is most strikingly set forth by Moses in the Book of Genesis. The record is as follows:
"Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord.
"And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and the Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Galah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city."
The sacred historian generally in recording facts on this side of the flood gives only a particular account of the posterity of Shem, and enlarges upon facts respecting other nations only in some relatiom to Shem's posterity. The passage just quoted is a departure from this rule, and the reason for the special prominence given to this distinguished Ethiopian is far to seek unless it was Jehovah's purpose that a despised race, in generations following should thus be able to point to the greatness of its ancestry.
Take his record, found in the tenth chapter of Genesis, and you will notice that nearly one-fourth of the chapter is taken up with the account of this one man. It is the chapter in which Moses gives the settlements of the generations of Noah; all that is said of more than fifty heads of families is contained in this chapter; but as we have noticed, Nimrod gets the lion's share, and is made to appear more distinguished for his greatness and mighty achievements than any other man from the time of Noah to that of Abraham. The historian could not have given him greater prominence, and the fact that Moses wrote by inspiration heightens the significance of the record and adds to the distinction of this ancient black hero. We may remark, however, that Moses, having married a black woman, was not averse to doing justice to her race, a thing which cannot be said of modern historians.
In this record it is seen that Nimrod was the first of earth's great monarchs; the first to erect a great empire, the first to bring other nations under his control. He was the beginning or first of mighty ones among men, and also a mighty hunter before the Lord," or "as Nimrod the mighty one." His might is not
only expressed in this language, but it is seen in the extent of his empire and in the numerous cities he built; it is also seen in the duration of his empire, for the government continued in his posterity for hundreds of years. And his successors were not only some of the mightiest men that ever ruled, but also, a woman who led to victory the largest army ever marshaled by a female. We refer to Semiramis. It was she to whom Alexander referred when he admitted that a woman had performed mightier achievements in a certain land than he had.
This Babylonian or Chaldean empire established by Nimrod and enlarged and embellished by his successors, was the head of gold in the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in his dream, which went from him and was recalled by the prophet Daniel. It had for hundreds of years almost universal dominion. In support of this position we once more turn to Rollins, Book III, Chapter 1:
"The Assyrian empire was undoubtedly one of the most powerful in the world. As to the length of its duration two particular opinions have chiefly prevailed. Some authors, as Clesias, whose opinion is followed by Justor, give it a duration of thirteen hundred years; others reduce it to five hundred and twenty, of which number is Herodotus. The diminution, or rather the interruption of power which happened in this vast empire might possibly give occasion to this difference of opinion, and may, perhaps, serve in some measure to reconcile it.
"The history of those early times is so obscure, the monuments which convey it down to us so contrary to each other, and the systems of the moderns upon that matter so different, that it is difficult to lay down any opinion about it as certain and incontestable. But where certainty is not to be had, I suppose a reasonable person will be satisfied with probability; and in my opinion a man can hardly be deceived if he makes the Assyrian empire equal in antiquity with the city of Babylon, its capital.
"Now we learn from the Holy Scripture that this was built by Nimrod, who certainly was a great conqueror, and in all probability the first and most ancient of all those who have ever aspired after that denomination.
"The Babylonians, as Callisthenes, a philosopher in Alexander's retinue, wrote to Aristotle, reckoned themselves to be at least of nineteen hundred and three years' standing when that prince entered triumphant into Babylon, which makes their origin reach back to the year of the world 1771, that is to say, one hundred
and fifteen years after the deluge. This computation comes within a few years of the time in which we suppose Nimrod to have founded that city. Indeed, this testimony of Callisthenes, as it does not agree with other accounts of that matter, is not esteemed authentic by the learned; but the conformity we find between it and the Holy Scriptures should make us regard it. Upon these grounds we think we may allow Nimrod to have been the founder of the first Assyrian empire, which subsisted with more or less extent and glory upward of fourteen hundred and fifty years, from the time of Nimrod to that of Sardanapalus, the last king, that is to say, from the year of the world 1800 to the year 3257.
"Nimrod: He is the same with Belus, who was afterward worshipped as a god under that appellation. He was the son of Cush, grandson of Ham and great-grandson of Noah. He was, says the Scripture, a 'mighty hunter before the Lord.' In applying himself to this laborious and dangerous exercise he had two things in view: the first was to gain the people's affection by delivering them from the fury and dread of wild beasts; the next was to train up numbers of young people by this exercise of hunting to endure labor and hardship, to form them to the use of arms, to inure them to a kind of discipline and obedience that at a proper time after they had been accustomed to his orders and seasoned to arms he might make use of them for other purposes more serious than hunting. In ancient history we find some footprints remaining of this artifice of Nimrod, whom the writers have confounded with Ninus, his son; for Dodonus has these words: Ninus, the most ancient of the Assyrian kings mentioned in history, performed great actions; being naturally of a warlike disposition and ambitious of the glory that results from valor, he armed a considerable number of young men that were brave and vigorous like himself, trained them up for a long time in laborious exercises and hardships, and by that means accustomed them to bear the fatigue of war patiently and to face danger with courage and intrepidity."
"What the same author adds, that Ninus entered into alliance with the king of the Arabs and joined forces with him, is a piece of ancient tradition which informs us that the sons of Cush, and by consequence the brothers of Nimrod all settled themselves in Arabia, along the Persian Gulf, from Thavila to the ocean, and lived near enough to their brother to lend him succor or
receive succor from him. And what the same historian further says of Ninus, that he was the first king of the Assyrians, agrees exactly with what the Scripture says of Nimrod, that he began to be mighty upon the earth; that is, he procured himself settlement, built cities, subdued his neighbors, united different peoples under one and the same authority by the band of the same polity and the same laws, and formed them into one state, which, for those early times, was of a considerable extent, though bounded by the river Euphrates and Tigris, and which in succeeding ages made new acquisitions by degrees and at length extended its conquests very far.
"The capital city of this kingdom, says the Scripture, was Babylon. Most of profane historians ascribe the founding of Babylon to Semiramis; others to Belus. It is evident that both the one and the other are mistaken, if they speak of the first founding of the city, for it owes its beginning neither to Semiramis nor Ninus, but to the foolish vanity of those persons mentioned in Scripture who desired to build a tower and a city that should render their memory immortal. Josephus relates, upon the testimony of a sibyl (who must have been very ancient and whose fiction cannot be imputed to the indiscreet zeal of any Christians), that the gods threw down the tower by an impetuous wind or a violent hurricane. Had this been the case Nimrod's temerity must have been much greater to rebuild a city and a tower which God himself had thrown down with such marks of His displeasure.
"But the Scripture says no such thing, and it is very probable the building remained in the condition it was when God put an end to the work by the confusion of their languages, and that the tower consecrated to Belus, which is described by Herodotus, was this very tower which the sons of men pretended to raise to the clouds.
"Nimrod was the first who encompassed it afterwards with walls, settled therein his friends and confederates, and subdued those that lived round about it, beginning his empire in that place but not confining it to so narrow a compass. Having possessed himself of the province of Asshur, he did not ravage them like a tyrant, but filled them with cities, and made himself as much loved by his new subjects as he was by his old ones.
Among other cities, he built one more large and magnificent than the rest, which he called Nineveh, from the name of his son Ninus, in order to immortalize his memory. The son in his turn
out of veneration for his father, was willing that they who had served him as their king should adore him as their god, and induce other nations to render him the same worship. For it appears plainly that Nimrod is the famous Belus of the Babylonians, the first king whom the people deified for his great actions."
One difficulty with profane authors respecting Nimrod is, that they have overlooked the fact that he possessed himself of the land of Asshur, or Assyria; and another is that one profane author at some period fell into the mistake of confounding the acts of Ninus with those of his father Nimrod, and others have copied the error. Like Rollins, we plant ourselves upon the Bible; our first knowledge of ancient history was obtained from that source. Where it speaks at all, it is the rule by which all must be squared; where it is silent, other creditable authorities are good; but that which is in direct conflict with it, must err. The Bible, as we have seen, sets forth the greatness of Nimrod so clearly that he who reads*
* Hab. ii:2.
may run. There are some who think he is set forth in contrast to Abraham; that Nimrod, in his lust for power, his vanity, ambition, and aggressiveness, was the representative of those who have their portion in this world, while Abraham was the representative of those who acknowledge themselves strangers and sojourners here on earth and are seeking a better country.
* Hab. ii:2.
The testimony which might be gathered in support of the position we have taken respecting the ancient greatness of Ham's posterity would fill a volume; but the limits of the plan of this book forbid a more extended consideration of the subject. If what is here written shall induce those who come after us, whose better opportunities will enable them to give the subject a more learned consideration to go to the bottom of this matter, our reward will be ample. Those who take issue with us will, we think, be compelled to pay more attention to the subject than historians generally are wont to do. Those who may be inclined to combat our position, will ask: "If the race of Ham was once so great, why is it now so small? Why is it that the race everywhere is so degraded, so ignorant, and so wretched?"
The answer is not far to seek. Ham forsook God and took the world for his position. The language of Abraham addressed to the rich man in torment might well be addressed to Ham: "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things." Ham had his day, and made very bad use of it. For fifteen hundred
years he possessed the earth through his posterity, and what did he do with it? He led the nations into idolatry. He began at Babel, in Nimrod his grandson, to exhibit his daring impiety. God had said: "Go forth, multiply, and replenish the earth." (Gen. viii:16; ix:1). Nimrod said: "No, let us not do that. It is not well for us to get scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly, and let us build us a city (here in Shinar), and let us erect a tower, whose top may reach unto heauen, (that we may see it at any distance, that it may serve as a rallying point, a center of gravity around which all our interests shall cluster); 'and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." (Gen. xi:3, 4.)
Of course in this great empire, of which this city was to be the center, Nimrod was to be sovereign. He was to take the place of the Almighty in the hearts and affections of the people. He was not a tyrant in the ordinary sense of that term; he was a bold, fearless, scheming political boss. He was the more dangerous and the more successful because of his extraordinary sagacity; by his graceful address, his wonderful physical powers, his energy and dash, he won the hearts of the people and swayed them at his will, just as scheming political bosses do now. The purpose of God was to scatter them; the purpose of Nimrod was to hold them together for his own aggrandizement. So God said: "Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth." (Gen. xi:7,8.)
Although Moses does not mention the fact, yet we think it quite probable that the difference in complexion, as well as language, had its origin in connection with this purpose of God to scatter the nations all over the whole earth. It was not to hinder the building of a city that God confounded their languages, but to scatter them. For God said: "Nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do." (Gen. xi:16.) But so long as they are one people and one language they will continue to hang together. Those who could understand remained together. Many remained with Nimrod, who began his kingdom there; notwithstanding the displeasure which God had shown respecting his conduct, he was determined to make himself a name there. He made the name: Baal, Bel, Belus, which in time became Baal-Berith, Baal-gad, Baal-moloch, Baal-peor, Baal-zebub, etc.
This is the name he made, and not only his own race, but all the nations of the earth forsook God and went a whoring after it.
Richard Watson, in his Biblical and Theological Dictionary, page 116, after speaking of the general use of the term Baal among the Babylonians and Assyrians, the Phoenicians, Sidonians, Tyrians, Carthaginians, and other Canaanitish nations, says:
"It is remarkable that we do not find the name Baal so much in popular use east of Babylon; but it was generally west of Babylon and to the very extremity of western Europe, including the British Isles. The worship of Baal, Bel, Belus, and Belenus was general throughout the British Islands, and certain of its rights and observances are still maintained among us, notwithstanding the establishment of Christianity during so many ages. A town in Perthshire, on the borders of the Highlands, is called Tilliebeltane, or Tillebellane; that is, the eminence or rising ground of the fire of Baal. In the neighborhood is a Druidical temple of eight upright stones, where it is supposed the fire was kindled. At some distance from this is another temple of the same kind, but smaller, and near it a well still held in great veneration. On Beltane morning superstitious people go to this well and drink of it, then make a procession round it nine times, so deep rooted is this heathenish superstition in the minds of many who reckon themselves good Protestants."
Thus it is seen that the idolatry established by the posterity of Ham reached the uttermost regions of the Caucasian race. This is the great sin of Ham and his sons; they were originators and promoters of idolatry, the stench in God's nostrils, the thing of all most hateful and most hated by the sovereign God of all. The greatness which we have been ascribing to Ham's race is the earthly sort, that which profane writers of every race have extolled. It is from their standpoint that we have been writing. We claim there is no true greatness outside of godliness. The mass of the ancient descendants of Ham were not godly, and therefore not truly great; they were men who, as the psalmist says, have their portion in this life. Ham's race in early times produced a few exceptions to this rule: Melchizedek, before mentioned, was the most distinguished exception. In honor of his righteousness God blessed the Jebusites beyond other of the doomed nations, in that they were permitted to retain their stronghold of Zion for four hundred years after the entrance of Israel upon their promised possessions. His righteous administration
was long remembered and its influence long felt. Many of those who enjoyed his instructions and his priestly intercessions were probably induced to lead pious lives, and thus the knowledge of the true God was long retained among them.
Rahab, who hid the spies, and became one of the ancestors of the world's Redeemer, was a believer in the one only living and true God. There were, no doubt, many others, but the mass were idolaters, and this is why the race has felt the divine displeasure. But the promise is that princes shall come out of Egypt, and that Ethiopia shall soon stretch forth her hands unto God. Whatever shall become of the two younger sons of Ham, this promise assures us that the two elder sons shall cast aside idolatry and return unto the Lord. That this prophecy is now in the course of fulfilment, the Negro Church stands forth as unquestioned evidence. It is the streak of morning light which betokens the coming day. It is the morning star which precedes the rising sun. It is the harbinger of the rising glory of the sons of Ham. It is the first fruit of the countless millions of that race who shall be found in the army with banners in the millennial glory of the Christian Church.
When I was in England, I was asked: "Are there churches in America composed wholly of colored people?" When I answered in the affirmative, the question quickly followed: "Why is that?"
The necessity that I was under to give an answer, was the origin of this statement. It is hard for people in other lands to understand that Americanism which excludes an entire race, regardless of moral, material or intellectual worth, from the social and religious circle of other races.
We say Americanism, for it is not found elsewhere on the face of the globe.
In England, France or Germany, a Negro of character and intelligence is received into the best society as freely as any other race.
At the great Ecumenical Conference of Methodists in London, in 1881, the black delegates were especially honored. There is nothing in that country to remind a black man that he differs from others, unless it be the extraordinary attentions shown him and the distinguished honors heaped upon him.
If such were the state of feeling in this country, there would be no necessity for the Negro Church; in fact, it could not exist.
The Negro Church is the legitimate offspring of American caste.
American slavery, for its own aggrandizement, attempted to chattelize the whole of one of the three great branches of the human race. To do this effectually, it was necessary to deny, as far as possible, or at least to crush out its manhood.
This effort to brutalize the race was a very early development in American history. It was especially apparent in the closing of the door of every social organization against him.
The door of masonry was so effectually barred that the Negro in this country is wholly indebted to the English army lodges and to the Grand Lodge of England for the rites and benefits of that ancient and honorable fraternity.
It is easy to understand how this feeling would affect the Negro in his Church relation. While there was not the same universal disposition to keep him out of the Church wholly, yet there was a disposition to limit, proscribe and regulate him in the Church.
The difference between his treatment and that of other members was so marked that his condition was intolerable beyond endurance, except when the effort to escape was discouraged by seemingly unsurmountable difficulties.
Near the close of the eighteenth century, there began an unparalleled movement, which has resulted in the establishment of the Negro Church, not one branch merely, but all the branches; not of one denomination, merely, but of all the denominations.
I think we can trace the origin of all the leading branches back to about that period. This is one of the marvelous and most interesting things respecting the movement, that it was simultaneous.
The colored members of the different Christian denominations, of one accord, in all parts of the country, and as nearly as can now be learned, at about the same time, separated from the whites, and formed each for themselves, a church of the same faith and order, as those from which they separated, leaving the white churches almost without a colored membership.
This is the movement which we have pronounced unparalleled. I think it will be generally admitted that it was a most extraordinary movement. It was general, wide-spread, and at least, nearly simultaneous. It occurred at a period when means of travel and of communication were limited and poor, so that there could have been no general understanding through consultation.
The question naturally arises in the mind, what could have provoked, caused or given rise to this wonderful movement of a whole, scattered race of one accord, with one mind and intent and in one direction?
Secessions from the different denominations have generally
resulted from difference of opinion on points of doctrine or church government.
But it was clearly not this which caused the black people to leave the whites; for in nearly every case they adhered to the same doctrine and form of government, as the church from which they separated.
There is but one exception to this rule. That is the St. Thomas P. E. church in Philadelphia. With this single exception, the black people who came out from the white churches adhered to the same doctrine and shades of doctrine and the same form of church government as the churches from which they separated.
It must be evident, therefore, that some extraordinary cause gave rise to the movement. Nothing but the desire for the freedom denied them in the white church, could have produced this general exodus.
Like causes produce like effects, wherever operated. Back seats, sometimes called "Nigger" pews, were provided for them. Galleries which were reached by outsteps, and in some cases, outside sheds were provided without any means of keeping warm, where they could hear the preacher, but could hot see him.
They were denied the privilege of the Lord's table, until all the whites had communed.
The line of proscription was also drawn at the baptismal font. Such were some of the many vexations and indignities to which the colored members were subjected in the white church. Is it any wonder that they came out?
There has been a disposition on the part of several branches of the Negro church to claim priority in this movement. At least five or six different bodies have claimed that they, each were first.
We shall not enter into the controversy on that point; we are looking higher. We have our eye fixed on the general movement; it towers up so grandly that in comparison with it, the consideration of any one branch dwindles into insignificance. Then, again, I have come to the conclusion that each had all may have been first. That is, the movement was one and inseparable. That it was so nearly simultaneous, that there is no unquestionable certainty as to where the beginning was. How else can we account for the many conflicting claims?
No one of these denominations has a complete history. If we
had a complete history of each, we might possibly find that the movement was absolutely one; for as we shall see later, there was more in it than what appears on the surface.
To our mind, this was not an Episcopalian, Presbyterian or Baptist movement. It was not a Bethel, Union, nor Zion movement, but a general, grand, united and simultaneous Negro movement. It was the race that was oppressed, and it was the race that moved.
It was a movement by which a race, hampered, proscribed, regulated and oppressed, gave a grand and united exhibition of its determination to find in its organizations that religious liberty which was denied it in the white church.
The foregoing is what we find on the surface. But digging down, we shall find that what, on the surface of this subject appeared as only the result of a wicked proscription, born of race hate, begotten of that hydra-headed monster, American slavery, is only another of the many instances in which God his made the wrath of men to praise Him. This brings us to the Providential purpose.
"God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform;
He plants his foot-steps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm."
On careful scrutiny, we may see in this forced separation of the blacks from the white church and the formation of churches for themselves, Jehovah's plan for the Negro's development.
If there had been no Negro Church, he would have had no opportunity for the cultivation of his faculties nor a platform for the exhibition of his vast possibilities.
The Negro Church was one of the powerful instrumentalities by which slavery was overthrown. It was an agency of the underground railway, by which communication was kept open between the North and the South. It was a magazine from which anti-slavery missiles were drawn to be hurled against the ramparts of the accursed institution.
It afforded a platform which the anti-slavery agitators cried aloud and spared not. No mortal can tell how much the Negro Church contributed to the emancipation of the slave. But we regard this as simply incidental; the paramount purpose being to give to the Negro that of which he was wholly destitute--a field for development.
Where else was this opportunity? He was shut out from the learned professions; he was shut out from the mechanic arts; he neither had the opportunity to develop nor to exhibit his capacity for development. Like the Israelites at the Red Sea, he was shut in on every side. Behind him was the slave power, blacker in wickedness and more terrible than the hosts of Pharaoh which pursued Israel; on either side were the mountains of caste prejudice, and before them the sea of strife necessarily attendant upon the formation of new organizations. But God said: "Go forward," and forward he went, and on the other bank the daughters of Ethopia sang: "The Lord has triumphed gloriously." The Negro was in the wilderness; but he was free, and untrameled, with an open field for development before him.
Before emancipation, the black man had but few opportunities for development, except what his church gave him.
It was not only the pillar and ground of truth to him but it was all that he could lay any claim to. For development it was to him what all other institutions were to the rest of mankind. It was his common school, his lyceum, his college, his municipal counsel, his legislative hall and his congress. Through it he had to learn everything he did learn respecting the laws and usages of civil society and the art of government.
Hence it was that there were comparatively few distinguished black men except among the ministry. There was no other field to develop men.
The few distinguished men who were not ministers were in some way developed through the instrumentality of the church. If they were professional lecturers, the church brought them forward and gave them the platform and the audience, and, hence, the opportunity for development.
Fred Douglass, frequently called "The Old Man Eloquent," admitted that he was indebted to the little A. M. E. Zion church in New Bedford, Mass., for what he was. As sexton, class-leader, and local preacher in that church, he got his inspiration and the send-off which made him one of the most remarkable men of the age.
It must be evident to all who think on the subject, that without the Negro Church, the race would have been withont intelligent leaders at the period of emancipation.
In the reconstruction period, there was complaint that all the Negro preachers were politicians. The fact is, that the few black
missionaries who went south with those licensed by them to preach, were nearly all the intelligent leaders the people had at that period, because few others had been afforded the opportunity to prepare themselves for the demands of that time. Far better would it have been for the race and for the country as well, if the number of upright and intelligent black leaders had been much larger. But the Negro Church, the divine instrumentality, had done what it could through tha dark period and its work since emancipation, speaks for itself in the vast numbers who have been saved by the labors of its devoted servants. The Negro Church to-day is numbered by millions of souls, while millions more are under its influence. Its institutions are preparing men and women to go forth into the dark parts of the earth, bearing the lamp of gospel light, that the millions now sitting in darkness may behold the light and come to the knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus.
While, therefore, on the surface of this subject, we see the Negro driven out from the white church by a wicked prejudice, underlying this we see the wisdom of a superintending and over-ruling Providence, moulding and fashioning and moving and thus preparing a race for its own development and at the same time making the wrath of man to praise Him.
We see Joseph sold into slavery in Egypt as the result of the envy of his brothers; but that was God's way to exalt Joseph and to preserve the lives of many.
We see Pharaoh binding heavy burdens upon Israel and thus making their lives bitter; but that was God's way to get Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness, where he could form them into a peculiar people for himself.
Likewise, we see the white people making it unpleasant for the blacks in their churches. But in this we see God's way by which he gives the black man an open field for development, untrammeled.
Moses takes the eagle to illustrate God's dealing with Israel, and his illustration is quite as applicable to God's care for the American Negro.
"As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, and taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him and there was no strange God with him." Deut. xxxii, 11.
We must not, therefore, judge too harshly, or feel bitter toward
the white race; they have only been made our crucible, from which we have come forth as gold tried by fire.
"The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower."
In the white church the Negro was denied the privilege of exercising his spiritual gifts, but by coming out, he got his pulpit in which he has developed into a workman of whom none need be ashamed--a divider of truth, who gives to each his portion in due season.
To reach the top, the black man must go up on his own plane--he must climb his own ladder. The white man will never step aside to make way for him. The feeling of superiority is inherent in the white race in this country. We certainly are giving out no secrets now; nor will any white man charge us with slander or feel offended, for he boasts of his superiority. We do not admit it; we deny it, but he claims it.
With such feelings and such a claim, no amount of merit on the black man's part would entitle him to the first place in the white man's estimation; and he would not consistently be a party to the exaltation of the black brother to a position for which in his estimation he is not qualified. But while white men may not feel it their duty to assist in the exaltation of black men to the first positions, yet when the black man on his own merit and on his own ladder has reached the top, there are many who will grasp his hand in recognition and even in congratulation, because they don't have to stoop down to reach his hand. Hence it came to pass, that at the Centennial Conference of the M. E. Church in Baltimore in 1885, Black Bishops presided in common with others.
But if there had been no black bishops, no black man would have presided over that body. And if there had been no Negro church, there would have been no black bishops.
A race is judged by the distinguished men it produces, but where there is no opportunity for distinction, it is impossible to judge by this method. This is the difficulty which the African race in this country has had to overcome. When the black man has had the opportunity, he has made his mark. But his enemies have determined that his opportunity shall be minimized to the last possible degree, and have largely succeeded in staying his progress.
But the Negro church has set before him an open door which no man can shut. It opens for him an avenue which no man can
close. It puts him on a line of march to the front, in which he need not stumble, but may, if he will, push with vigor on till he reaches the acme of human usefulness and greatness.
Dr. Price, without an effort on his part, was offered an appointment as minister to a foreign court, and why? Because his church had raised him up and had given him the opportunity to distinguish himself.
Black Bishops have been invited to fill white pulpits where others of equal ability have not been invited. The difference shown is because of the distinction. When a distinguished black man wins golden words of praise from those who were doubtful of the propriety of taking their families to hear him preach, he does credit to the race. The ability he exhibits is an exhibition of the capacity of the race. We have heard it admitted by white men, that they went to hear a black man for the purpose of criticism. It is fair that the ability of a race should be tested, but where there is no opportunity for development nor for exhibition of capacity, it is impossible to know what the possibilities are. Such was the condition of the black man in this country, and such it would have remained, had God not interposed his own plan of deliverance, namely, through the Negro church.
The failure of the Hood Anniversary Thank Offering was a sore disappointment to the Bishop. He hoped to make that the great effort of his life, in the interest of education and missions. When some one suggested that $25,000 should be raised and a thousand be given to the Bishop, he published that he would not consent to receive a cent of what was raised. He wanted it clearly understood that it was his purpose that every cent raised should be raised in the interest named. If his plan had been exactly followed, Livingstone College would have been benefited to the amount of $7,000; there would have been appropriated by the Board of Education to the several schools $9,000; for Foreign Missions, $2,666.66; distributed by the Mission Board, $2,666.66; for the West and Southwest, $2,666.66.
But instead of $24,000, only a little over $6,000 was raised. Livingstone College got none of it. This was the most disappointing. The purpose was that this should receive the largest benefit. It was in the interest of that institution first of all that the idea of the Thank Offering was planned. As there has been some misunderstanding as to what was done, it is here stated from personal knowledge, that Livingstone College received no permanent benefit from that rally. As the College had come $3,000 short of its appropriation in 1910, when the Board of Bishops met in 1911, it was agreed to borrow $3,000 to help the institution over the hard place it was then in. One thousand was borrowed soon after the Board adjourned, and two thousand in the month of June. So that for several months the College had the benefit of the borrowed money. But when the notes came due, they were paid out of the College appropriation of general fund for the year.
We can easily give an account of what was raised in the First Episcopal District, and how it was disposed of.
|New York Conference raised its full apportionment||$625 00|
|For expenses||131 00|
|The Virginia Conference||297 00|
|The Central and West Central Conferences||1521 00|
|Paid to Dr. J. S. Jackson||$1658 00|
|To Bishop Blackwell for the West||100 00|
|For repairing of church at Raleigh, wrecked by cyclone.||300 00|
|For Mission in the West Central Conference||100 00|
|For Richmond Mission||185 00|
|For expenses||231 00|
Dr. Jackson paid $2,000 to save the church in New Haven. $1,658 of this he received from the First District; to make the two thousand, he had to take $342 from the other districts. This $342 added to the $1,658 make $2,000 which he paid to the New Haven church, and this added to the $2,574 makes $2,916. This accounts for nearly half of what was raised. About $600 was raised in the Second District, of which $200 was paid to Dr. Jackson and the balance was used for the benefit of the Second District.
About $1,200 was raised in the Third District, which included the Foreign Mission and it was used in that district. There was paid to the Educational Secretary for the minor schools, $1,000.
Of the amount raised in the Albemarle Conference, $200 was appropriated to the Elizabeth City church. This accounts for $6,016. Without considering the amount received in the Western and Southwestern Conferences, there is only about $500 to be accounted for. It must be clear to every one that there was nothing paid to Livingstone College. But what has all this to do with the Hood Golden Jubilee which heads this article? It comes in as a kind of prelude.
It was known by those close to Bishop Hood what a sore disappointment the failure of the Thank Offering was to him. Especially so was the failure of Livingstone College to receive any benefit. He had great hope that at least a part of the $28,000 due to College from the Financial Department would be paid out of the amount raised by the Thank Offering Rally. But not a cent of it was paid. Therefore, as a kind of healing balm, the Golden Jubilee was started on the 22nd of June, 1912, at which time his 50 years
as an elder was completed. On this day, June 22nd, the New York Conference being in session, the Jubilee services were begun. This movement was started by a resolution, signed by Dr. J. S. Settle and Rev. W. C. Deberry and adopted by the West Central Conference, which met in Greensboro the second Wednesday in November, 1911. It provided that the delegates elected to represent that Conference in the General Conference should constitute a committee which with a like committee in the other conferences of the First Episcopal District should arrange for the celebration of Bishop Hood's fifty years' service as an elder in the A. M. E. Zion Church, in his personal interest. The other conferences in the District approved of the plan. And thus the delegates from the four conferences became the committee of arrangements for the Golden Jubilee.
The arrangement was planned during the period that the General Conference was in session. The Jubilee services began on the 22nd of June in that day's session of the New York Conference. It was agreed that a special Jubilee service should be held at the Sabbath School, Christian Endeavor and Missionary Convention at Nyack on the 22nd of August. At this Convention each minister delivered an address in which he stated his term of service under Bishop Hood's charge. It is to be regretted that there was not a stenographer present to take down these speeches. They were speeches which came from the hearts of the speakers. They spoke freely and said what they chose to say. And it is remarkable how many of them stated that at first he did not have a favorable opinion of Bishop Hood. The following statement is a sample of the substance of what was said. A minister said:
"I did not like Bishop Hood when he first took charge, and I thought he did not like me. And I made up my mind to transfer to a conference in another District. But when I asked the Bishop for a transfer, he surprised me by saying: 'If you must transfer, why not transfer to another charge in this District?' This changed my opinion and my feeling toward him. That was 28 years ago, and excepting one year, I have been with him ever since."
The speakers were all decidedly interesting, and each minister presented a donation. It was suggested that each pastor should bring not less than $2.50 in gold, and nearly all brought a gold piece of that size, but most of them brought much more than that amount.
In the Virginia, the Central and West Central N. C. Conferences,
there was a special Jubilee Service at the annual conference where speeches were made and a collection taken. Both the Virginia, the Central and West Central Jubilee exercises were held and collections taken in the District Conference, preparatory to the report at the Annual Conference. The final exercises were at the Evans Metropolitan A. M. E. Zion Church at Fayetteville, N. C., commencing on the 20th of December.
The Bishop wishes to express his grateful thanks to all who have contributed in any way to the Jubilee celebration. Nothing in the history of his life was more timely. Nothing ever filled a greater need. There is a notion with some that Bishop Hood is rich. This is a manufactured sentiment. How any intelligent person who knows the situation can think it, is a mystery. It is well known that for 40 years Bishop Hood has given his whole time to the Bishopric to which he is called. He has no considerable income from any other employment. He has had no time for anything else. For twenty years his salary was only $1,500 a year. And for nine years of that period $500 a year of his salary went to Livingtone College as a loan to the Educational Fund. And four years more on a salary of two thousand a year, his back salary increased to four thousand. But by reason of the death of two bishops in 1894, the amount was reduced to $3,365.47. And he has had a certificate of indebtedness for that amount for seventeen years. For the last eight years the Bishops have been allowed a salary of $2,000 a year with $200 for traveling expenses, which does not pay half of the amount it takes to travel. The Bishop had to educate six children at Livingstone College.
For about eight years of the period, he had four children there at once. When the school closed in June, each child brought home a companion and they all remained till October. The Bishop had to board them, furnish medicine, pay the doctor bills and drug bills for the season which were as high as $50. It will thus be seen that Bishop Hood, on a salary of $2,000 a year has had to maintain at his own expense an episcopal residence on the style of the Bishop of the M. E. Church whose residence is furnished with a salary of $5,000 a year. Under such circumstances how any one can think that Bishop Hood is rich, is a mystery. He is rich in the affections of the people he has served as the liberal donations testify, which is a great consolation.
By their generosity he has been able to meet his obligations for the year 1912, which was the most trying year of his life.
Except for this generosity he would have come to the close of the year with a debt of $600 which he would not have been able to pay. And there is nothing more distressing to him than to have an obligation that he cannot meet. His motto is, "Owe no man anything." There is nothing that gives him greater pleasure than to pay his debts. Bishop Hood's wealth is in his homestead. Excepting this, what the Church owes him to-day is more than all else he can lay claim to. This does not worry him, however; for all that concerns him in this world is to be able to meet his obligation to his family and to his church. No man has any business with a family unless he is willing to do the best he can to provide for them. And every man is in duty bound to do all he can for the church. These two things are objects of Bishop Hood's care. His object is to do justice by both--not to do so much for one that he cannot do justice to the other. He has four vacant lots in Fayetteville on which, if he were able to build, they would pay ten per cent. on the investment, and they are not worth much while unimproved. But whenever he has thought of building, some church interest has come in the way.
With the great burden Bishop Hood has had to carry, it may be wondered how he has kept his head above the financial waves. His wonderful wife has been his salvation. She came and took charge of four small children, and raised them with her own children, in such a way that strangers coming to the house never dreamed they were not all her own. No better housekeeper ever went into a house. There is absolutely nothing wasted. No better cook ever graced any man's house. What is left from one meal comes back more palatable than when first served. Everything is so seasoned that it could not be improved. While careful to waste nothing, no one is turned away empty. The aged and afflicted around her are cared for. It is doubtful if she ever cooked a turkey of which a portion was not given to some neighbor. She is never idle unless she is asleep, and her sleeping hours are short. From five o'clock in the morning till twelve or one at night she is on the go. It is marvelous how long she can stay on her feet, and how long she can stay awake using her needle. Long after all beside her were asleep, she spent the time mending children's clothes, darning socks and piecing bed quilts. We can not come anywhere near saying how many quilts she has made. We venture te say as many as 30 went to Livingstone College while the children were in school.
During her husband's long spell of sickness, there were times in which she did not take off her clothes to go to bed for a week at a time. As a rule she has done her own house-work, including washing and ironing. In a word, her economical management has saved her husband thousands of dollars. This accounts for what he has been able to do for the church and yet keep his head above the financial waves. She has not only cared for her own household, but has been a great worker in the church. She has raised as much as a hundred dollars in a rally for the local church. There was a proposition that our ladies furnish the rooms in the Theological Seminary at Livingstone College, $45 each. Mrs. Hood agreed to raise the money to furnish one room. She raised it and paid it to Dr. Goler in a few months' time. She is now engaged in an effort for the girls' building, and is having good success. She gave her service as secretary for the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society without any salary, also for the President for eighteen years without a salary, and traveled in the interest of the society much of her time at her own expense.
The following is the notice.
Whereas, the Hood Thank Offering Rally was wholly for the benefit of the Church, Bishop Hood not only received no personal benefit from it, but contributed more to its success than any other person, and his district raised more than one-third of all that was raised, therefore, some of his friends have thought it well to celebrate his Jubilee in his personal interest. To this end, at the session of the West Central N. C. Conference, at Greensboro in 1911, Rev. W. C. Deberry read a resolution signed by Presiding Elder J. S. Settle and himself, authorizing the ministerial and lay delegates to the General Conference to unite with the delegates from the New York, Virginia and Central N. C. Conferences, to celebrate Bishop Hood's full 50 years' service as an elder in the A. M. E. Zion Church. The delegates from the said conferences met while at Charlotte and organized with Dr. D. T. Mitchell as chairman and Dr. F. M. Jacobs as secretary. It was agreed that the delegates and alternates to the General Conference should constitute the Executive Committee, and all ministers, delegates and alternates to the annual and district conferences in the First Episcopal District, should compose the general committee. It was agreed that the celebration should begin at the New York Conference
on the 22nd day of June, on which day Bishop Hood's 50 years as an elder was completed.
On this day it was agreed that the celebration for the New York Conference should be held at the Sabbath School, Mission and Christian Endeavor Convention at Nyack on the 22nd of August. In the Virginia, Central and West Central N. C. Conferences, both in the district conferences and annual conferences, an hour should be given to Jubilee interest. The final exercises will take place in Evans Metropolitan church, Fayetteville, N. C., beginning at 8 p. m., Friday night, December 29th and closing on Sunday night, December 22nd.
We shall expect every lover of Zion and well-wisher of our distinguished Senior Bishop J. W. Hood, D. D., LL. D., to contribute something by way of appreciation for his long service for the race, and especially our Zion.
Let the committee hear from you on or before the 21st of December, 1912. As far as they can be obtained the names of those contributing to the Jubilee fund, will appear in a Jubilee Souvenir after the closing of the Jubilee exercises at Evans Metropolitan church, December 22nd, 1912.
All contributions may be sent to the treasurer of the local committee.
Rev. W. W. SLADE,
441 Ramsey St.,
Fayetteville, N. C.
Signed for the local committee.
D. T. Mitchell, Chairman, J. W. A. Blake, Secretary,
W. W. Slade, Treasurer, P. J. Jones, H. C. Harrison,
T. M. Stitt, G. W. Richardson.
General Managers of the Jubilee Celebration.
J. S. Settle, D. T. Mitchell, C. W. Winfield,
F. M. Jacobs, W. H. Graham, C. P. S. Harrison,
M. N. Levy, L. G. Mason, W. W. Stade,
R. A. Simmons, M. O. Haynes.
BY DRS. C. W. WINFIELD AND M. N. LEVY, PRESIDING ELDERS.
No man who studies the personnel of the Virginia Annual Conference could but love the venerable and dignified Senior Bishop J. W. Hood, D. D., LL. D., whose work and worth is so well known in Zion. As an able theologian and pulpit orator he is indeed in a class to himself. A great author, ripe and experienced
in books and men, he still holds the reigns of the Church, and has been the means of making and developing more men than any other man in our Church.
His work in the Old North State will never be forgotten. Firm as an executive officer, impartial in his rulings, he endears himself to his brethren. Bishop Hood will never die in Zion. For more than forty years a central figure in the galaxy of episcopal heads, and sixty years storming the castles of sin, thousands have been reclaimed and hundreds have gone to glory through his able ministry. Livingstone College is the one institution that he loves and has ever been since its formation and is now president of the trustee board. His love for education takes definite shape in all his conferences. When the history of the great men who have done the constructive work of the Negro churches in the South is written, we will find J. W. Hood's name among the great and good.
The reconstructive Constitutional Convention in North Carolina, of which he was a member, laid the foundation for the public school system as we have it to-day. He was Assistant Superintendent of Education, which had much to do with the developing of the Negro churches. No man living or dead in all the past history of the Church has made as great sacrifices for education and the spread of our Zion as Bishop Hood. Had he seen fit to use the force of his great mind and money along monetary lines, he might have been rich, or at least in such financial conditions as to make his declining days beyond the reasonable possibility of mental worry. He has earned every honor that the Church has bestowed upon him and every dollar that he has received. His worth to the race and Church cannot be measured by his profound scholastic ability as portrayed in his writings as an author; but it is seen in the school and churches throughout the world. It is also seen in lives of great men and women who with pride attribute to him all that they are and all they hope to be.
REV. C. W. WINFIELD,
Presiding Elder of the Norfolk District of the Va. Conference.
REV. M. N. LEVY, D. D.
Presiding Elder of the Petersburgh District of the Va. Conference.
Please permit us to say a word respecting Bishop Hood's Golden Jubilee. During the sitting of the West Central North Carolina Conference which met in Greensboro, N. C., in November, 1911,
there originated in the fertile brain of the Rev. Dr. J. S. Settle of the Wadesboro District a plan by which we would be able to show in some measure our appreciation for the venerable sage of our great Zion, who has spent the major part of his life for the uplift of his race and the spread of our Zion, experiencing many trying ordeals in order that we might enjoy the privileges we have to-day. It occurred to Dr. Settle that due cognizance had not been taken of the Bishop's faithful service, especially relative to the many financial sacrifices he has made for the perpetuation of the Church of his choice. Further, that through him more largely than any one else, had been raised many thousands of dollars through the Hood Thank Offering plan which he originated especially for the Church. Not having received one cent for his personal benefit, and having in mind his real worth, not only to our Zion, but to the race at large, as a leader indeed and in truth, which has so well been verified from every viewpoint, when we needed some one to march in the front rank of our Zion 18 months before the war closed, it was Bishop Hood who stepped forward and said: "Here am I, send me," and he took up the reins of leadership, and how well he has succeeded is told by the unparalleled success our great Zion has attained. She now stands in the forefront of Colored Methodism in the world, which is due largely to the efforts of this worthy sire.
Our educational status in North Carolina has been largely attained through his influence and his well-spent energies while Assistant Superintendent of Education. All these wonderful works and many others, flashing through the brains of Settle like lightning, he arose to his feet and offered a motion that steps be taken at once looking forward to what was to be known as the Golden Jubilee in honor of Bishop J. W. Hood, D. D., LL.D., and that a committee of the whole First Episcopal District meet in Charlotte, N. C., during the sitting of the General Conference to formulate plans for the entire First Episcopal District, in order that uniform action might be maintained throughout the entire effort; and it was seconded by that scholarly and successful young man, Rev. William C. Deberry. It was carried unanimously.
The brethren began to work at once, and at the appointed time in the palatial home of Dr. F. K. Bird the entire representation of the First Episcopal District met and organized with Dr. D. T. Mitchell as chairman and Dr. F. M. Jacobs, secretary. Plans were laid for successful operation and the entire First Episcopal
District became a veritable bee hive in the interests of their chieftain. The reports were made generally by presiding elder districts. All kinds of money was presented to him in token of the very high esteem in which he is held. Gold, silver, greenbacks, checks, of denominations from $50 down to $1, coming from friends on the First Episcopal District. How well we have done, will be told in detail in Bishop Hood's souvenir.
Reports poured in from May, 1912, finally ending up to December 22, 1912, at Evan's Metropolitan A. M. E. Zion church, Fayetteville, N. C., Rev. Peter Robinson, pastor. All of the presiding elders who could possibly be present were on hand according to appointment. Dr. W. H. Goler, President of Livingstone College, was invited by the presiding elders to preach during the final winding up of the Golden Jubilee. The exercises began on Friday night. The weather was balmy and the silver queen of night showed forth her beautiful rays as the people of Fayetteville and vicinity wended their way to the old historic Evans Chapel to participate in the Golden Jubilee service given in honor of Bishop Hood who is highly revered by both races in Fayetteville, a city in which he has lived for more than forty years, an acceptable citizen and Christian gentleman.
Long before the hour appointed for service, the audience sat patiently waiting, eager to hear every word that fell from the lips of each speaker respecting the Bishop, in whose honor they had met. Promptly at 8 o'clock the meeting was called to order by the chairman, Dr. D. T. Mitchell, Presiding Elder of the Carthage District. Seated upon the rostrum were Presiding Elder D. T. Mitchell, D. D., C. W. Winfield, D. D., M. N. Levy, D. D., W. H. Graham, D. D., C. P. S. Harrison, D. D., W. W. Slade, D. D. and the pastor, Rev. Peter Robinson. After devotional exercises, the opening sermon was preached by Presiding Elder Levy, of the Petersburg District, Virginia Conference. Dr. Levy preached a wonderful sermon from the text, "Look on Us." After which the master of ceremonies introduced each of the visiting brethren, who spoke on some phase of Bishop Hood's life, to the delight of all present; and all did honor to the distinguished prelate.
The choir, which has for its chorister one of the best choristers of the age, in the person of Miss G. C. Hood, furnished some of the most excellent music it has been our pleasure to hear for quite a while. A handsome collection was taken
up by Elders Harrison and Slade. Thus ended one of the most delightful services ever held in Evans Chapel. Doxology. Benediction by Rev. M. N. Levy.
The pastor having provided comfortable homes for all the visitors, they were soon comfortably housed with some of the most hospitable people on the globe. Saturday was spent in sight-seeing. The visitors were shown all the beautiful scenery that characterizes one of the most historic cities in the State. They were carried up on Haymount and shown some of the most beautifully built homes in this country, whose architectural designs are unsurpassed anywhere in the State. They were carried to view the historic Cape Fear River, one of the most beautiful rivers imaginable; from there they were taken to the heart of the city, and there beheld the gigantic structures as they pushed their heads into the very clouds. After viewing the entire city, looking into the running brooks, beholding the many statues, and drinking from its bubbling springs and basking in the beautiful sunshine, they could not help exclaiming: "Bishop Hood lives in one of the most beautiful cities in North Carolina." The visiting brethren were then carried to their several homes after spending a day of happiness and pleasure.
Early Sunday morning as the angels opened the splendid portals of light, Old Sol, the king of day, came forth as a strong man to run a race. Promptly at 11 o'clock, Evan's Metropolitan church was filled to witness the service. The fact had been well established that one of the foremost men of the race would speak at this time, in the person of Rev. W. H. Goler, D. D., LL.D. Dr. Goler is one of the leading educational factors of his race. As an orator, he has few equals. As a theologian, he is second to none, and it is frequently expressed that he is the greatest logician of his day and time.
After devotional exercises Bishop J. W. Hood introduced Dr. Goler, who preached one of the most powerful sermons ever heard in Evans Chapel. He carried his audience by storm, and when he took his seat, some were amazed, some shedding tears, some saying amen, and some shouting for joy. Great is Dr. Goler. In his introductory remarks he spoke in the most commendable terms of Bishop Hood and his worth to the Church and race. The choir furnished excellent music. A large collection was taken by Dr. Goler. Doxology; benediction by Dr. Goler.
At 3 p. m., Dr. W. H. Graham preached an excellent sermon
and paid a high tribute to Bishop Hood in his introductory remarks. A splendid collection. Benediction by Dr. W. H. Graham.
At early evening, as Old Sol went to bed in amber clouds, and his eyes grew red as sleep stole upon him and the dark spirit of the night began to shade his face with her sombre robe, and evoke a thousand beauties to compensate for his absence, hundreds of people could be seen wending their way to witness the public service in honor of one of the brightest lights in the ministerial constellation.
At the hour appointed, Dr. Winfield, of the Norfolk District of the Virginia Conference, ascended the rostrum, accompanied by Dr. Goler, Presiding Elders Graham, Harrison, Levy, the pastor, Rev. Robinson and your humble servant. After the Scripture reading and prayer, Dr. Goler arose and introduced Dr. Winfield, of the Virginia Conference, who in his introductory remarks paid a high tribute to Bishop Hood. Dr. Winfield preached a magnetic and soul-stirring sermon, and took his seat amid hearty amens. The finance committee succeeded admirably in their effort to raise a good collection. Doxology; benediction by Dr. Winfield.
On Monday evening, Dr. Goler and all of the presiding elders were invited to the beautiful home of Bishop and Mrs. J. W. Hood to attend the Golden Jubilee Banquet. All the presiding elders were not able to be present. Presiding Elders Settle and Simmons were indisposed and could not come. The following guests were present: Presiding Elders Mitchell, Harrison, Graham, Levy, Winfield and Slade. We were received by the charming daughter of Bishop and Mrs. J. W. Hood, in the person of Miss Maude E. Hood. We were ushered into the large parlor on the right as you enter the palatial home, which was beautifully decorated for the occasion, then we enjoyed ourselves to the highest in the presence of our distinguished host. Ere long we were ushered into the dining room which was also beautifully decorated with ferns and beautiful roses. The table was heavily laden with all the delicacies of the season. Bishop Hood, presided at the head. It was good to be there. We had waited for a while on Presiding Elders Mitchell and Harrison, and our appetites were in a splendid condition. After the splendid repast, the following distinguished gentlemen were called upon and made remarks respecting the different phases of the remarkable life of Bishop Hood. First to speak was
Dr. Goler. After paying a high tribute to the life and character of Bishop Hood, he surprised the entire guest by stepping forward and presenting Bishop Hood with $50 in gold, as a token of the very high esteem of the faculty and students of Livingstone College; we were simply taken off our feet. We all said: "Fifty dollars in gold?" A vote of thanks was tendered Dr. Goler by the Presiding Elders for his great service.
Bishop Hood arose and in his usual and dignified manner thanked Dr. Goler and the faculty for the generous remembrance; also the presiding elders and ministers and friends for the conspicuous part they played in paying honor to him. The Bishop was at his best.
There was only one thing we regretted and that was the indisposition of Mrs. K. P. Hood, wife of the Bishop. She is one of the best women it has been our good fortune to know. She is an example for her race. She is pious, unassuming, charitable and well deserves emulation. We were sorry she was not able to be out with us. But his children, as the old saying has it, are chips off the old block, and consequently nothing lagged that would tend to make the occasion all it should be.
The presiding elders of the First Episcopal District organized to perpetuate the great work begun here. They proposed to meet once a year somewhere on the First Episcopal District in order to confer with one another concerning the best method to pursue for the advancement of our Zion and the spread of the Master's kingdom. We adjourned to meet in Petersburg at the call of the chairman. Rev. D. T. Mitchell was elected chairman, W. W. Slade, secretary, and Rev. Winfield, vice-president.
The phone rang; some one answered, and the news came that train 82 was on time, and at this juncture all of the out-of-town guests retired to the cloak-room preparatory to their departure; hacks arrived, then bidding adieu by out-of-town guests was in order, and they were off to their several homes. It was declared by the guests that thus ended one of the greatest Jubilees in the history of their lives.
Yours for God and Zion,
W. W. SLADE.
FAYETTEVILLE, N. C., January 6, 1913.
To Rev. W. H. Goler, D. D., and Members of the Faculty of Livingstone College, Greeting:
It is my desire to put on record in this institution an expression of gratitude for the generosity shown by the munificent gift of
one dollar a year in gold, for each year's service as an elder, in the form of five ten dollar gold pieces, presented at the closing exercises of the Golden Jubilee at Fayetteville, N. C. This Jubilee has been specially managed by the Presiding Elders, of the First Episcopal District of the A. M. E. Zion Church. And the contributions would have been limited to the conferences in the First District alone, had not the generosity of Livingstone College made an exception. You may therefore easily judge how highly your generous contribution is appreciated. It came as a surprise too. Dr. Goler was selected by the Presiding elders to preach the Jubilee sermon, because it was known that Bishop Hood regarded him as one of the greatest preachers of the age.
The Doctor was at his best and preached such a sermon as is seldom heard. He held the attention of his audience from the beginning to the end. Many were enraptured much of the time. It was the beginning of a great day in Zion. Presiding Elder Graham, of the Concord District, preached in the afternoon and Presiding Elder Winfield, of the Norfolk District, Virginia Conference, at night.
It was trustees day and the collections were unusually large, but the trustees were so highly pleased that they were willing to give the whole amount, if necessary, to meet the expense of the occasion. We have never seen them in a more accomodating mood. The presence of Dr. Goler and the presiding elders filled them with joy. On Monday evening all the presiding elders who could be present were entertained by Mrs. Hood. A very agreeable evening was spent. It was an occasion not to be forgotten. It was an assembly of the sons of God met to bring cheer to one of their number. They were of one heart and mind. They talked only of things belonging to the kingdom of heaven. And they came as near being in heaven as is possible to mortals on earth. Dr. D. T. Mitchell, who was elected chairman of the Jubilee movement by the delegates of the First Episcopal District to the General Conference, was in the chair on this occasion. But to his surprise as much as to any one else, Dr. Goler without any previous hint of what was to follow, arose and delivered an address touching upon the cause which brought us together.
He expressed his pleasure at being associated with the renowned presiding elders of the First Episcopal District. He spoke of the long period in which Bishop Hood had been connected with Livingstone College, as President of the Trustee
Board from the beginning of the Institution, and concluded by saying that the College had decided to send to the Bishop a dollar in gold for each of the fifty years' service as an elder, and put in the Bishop's hand five ten-dollar gold pieces. The surprise is more imagined than expressed.
The presiding elders have shown an interest in this Jubilee which indicates that their very souls are in it. Some of them have raised or given as much as $25 to make it a success--not for a mere name, but because they loved their Bishop. And because they know, as any body else knows, what a great relief it is to the Bishop at this time to receive generous donations. They therefore enjoyed with the Bishop the gratefulness he felt for this generous gift coming from an unexpected source. Dr. Winfield was called on for a response.
He expressed his genuine pleasure in having the opportunity to tell how greatly he had long admired Dr. Goler and how high the Doctor had stood in his estimation, as a man of great intelligence, great usefulness and great generosity. But on this occasion the Doctor had risen beyond his measure. He said he and the Doctor had been room-mates here at the episcopal residence, and they talked of many things. But he had not received a hint of what the Doctor had in store. Each of the Conferences in the District have given generous contributions. Nevertheless the $50 from an Institution outside of the Episcopal District is especially appreciated by all concerned. Please accept the grateful thanks of Bishop Hood, his family, and the Presiding Elder.
The following were present: (Rev. J. S. Settle and Rev. R. A. Simmons came, but being quite unwell, asked to be excused.) Revs. C. W. Winfield, M. M. Levy, D. T. Mitchell, W. H. Graham, C. P. S. Harrison and W. W. Stade remained till the close.
J. W. HOOD.
Worthy President, Ladies nnd Gentlemen; Sirs:
In proportion that a nation honors, loves and reveres its illustrious men and women, in like proportion will other nations admire and respect that nation.
In view of this unmistakable principle, the nations of the earth have kept in mind their men of character.
In France from the legislative halls, from the palatial homes, from the crowded streets and from the humble peasant, we hear the praise of Napoleon Bonaparte. From the rolling hills of Scotland we hear the praise of Queen Anne. From proud England we hear them singing the praise of Queen Elizabeth and Victoria. And when we turn our eyes to the field of battle, we see a Wellington; Rome boasts of her Cæsars; Africa boasts of a Hannibal, while Greece sings the glory of Demosthenes; but proud America marches to the sound of a Washington, while the world unites with the United States in praising our immortal Lincoln.
The Church has equal numbers of illustrious characters which she raises up and calls blessed.
The Baptist Church rejoices in its Roger Williams; the Presbyterian Church, in her Knox; the Lutheran Church, in her Martin Luther; the Methodist Church, in her John Wesley; the African, in her Allen, and the Zion, in her Bishops Varick, Rush, and J. J. Clinton; and we to-day, our Senior Bishop James Walker Hood. These men and women have rendered to their State and Church invaluable service which obliges them to sing their praises. Napoleon led France to victory in war, Wellington conquered Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo, Hannibal climbed the Alps, Demosthenes made the hills of Greece tremble under his matchless oratory, Washington freed America, Lincoln freed four million slaves, while Bishop Hood led Zion to victory.
In 1863 our Zion was confined solely to a few Northern States. So, early in 1864, Bishop Hood, then Elder Hood, came to Newbern, N. C., as a missionary for the A. M. E. Zion Church from the New England Conference. Elder Hood soon gathered around him some old brethren who were local preachers or exhorters before the war, viz: E. H. Hill, F. B. Moore and William Ryle. They had been captured by another Church, but Elder Hood soon brought to them the light of Negro Methodism, for they were soon marching to victory under the A. M. E. Zion flag; so that in the month of May 1864, he was ready to call Bishop J. J. Clinton to his assistance to ordain deacons for the work. William Ryle and Ellis Lavendar were ordained deacons. Bishop Clinton called the preachers together and organized the N. C. Conference in Newberne, N. C., December 17th, 1864. At this Conference, E. H. Hill and Ellis Lavendar were ordained elders. By the speeches
of Bishop J. J. Clinton and Elder Hood, they were fired up to go forward in the spread of our Zion.
The second annual conference met in Beaufort, N. C., in 1865. Here Brother Amos York, Henry W. Jones, Joseph Green, Sampson Coper, R. B. Hampton and W. J. Moore were ordained elders. From this Conference these men were sent all over N. C., from the seashore to the mountain top. And now in N. C. alone, we have seven annual conferences, all due to the wise leadership of Bishop Hood. And not only in North Carolina, but throughout the length and breadth of our Zion, Bishop Hood's masterful hand has been felt. Thus he led Zion to victory in territory. For Zion, once found in a few Northern States, to-day exists throughout the United States as well as the isles of the sea. And African Zion Church steeples are kissing the clouds, while their belfries peal forth the melodious strains of bell music, calling her thousands to church to listen to the blessed Gospel of the kingdom.
And now Bishop Hood led Zion to victory not only in territory, but in numbers as well. Not only in numbers but in education, liberty, self-reliance, self-government and faith in God. Wherein he taught the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. In that he was like Addison, when he was caught up on his poetical wings when the gods began to talk to him, he broke forth and began to exclaim:
"As soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to a listening earth
Repeats the story of his birth;
And all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence, all
Moved round this dark terrestrial ball;
What though no real voice, nor sound,
Among their radiant orbs be found,
In reason's ear they all rejoice
And utter forth a glorious voice
Forever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine."
And now, beloved Bishop, you have climbed the smoky side of the delectable mountain upon the ladder of your own architect,
and to-day you stand upon the very apex of the mountain of usefulness and fame.
And now in the name of the Supreme Architect of the universe, we the three presiding elders of the West Central North Carolina Conference, and sixty-five pastors representing nearly seven thousand members, present unto you, and your illustrious family, the neat little sum of $286.50, as a feeble expression of appreciation of your valuable service and safe counsel to us, and not to us only, but to the race at large.
J. S. SETTLE, D. D., P. E., Wadesboro District.
R. A. SIMMONS, P. E., Greensboro District.
W. H. GRAHAM, D. D., P. E., Concord District.
|Rev. L. G. Mason by personal effort and by public collection at Sabbath School Convention||$22 35|
|From Harvestraw||2 50|
|Poughkeepsie, Rev. B. Judd, pastor||7 50|
|Expenses for buttons, Judd||15 00|
|Mother Zion, Rev. R. M. Bolden, pastor||10 00|
|For medical service contributed by Rev. R. M. Bolden||15 00|
|Troy, Rev. L. H. Taylor, pastor||10 00|
|Hudson, Rev. W. F. Bowden, pastor||7 50|
|Newburgh, Rev. J. F. Waters, pastor||13 50|
|Middletown, Rev. N. Collins, pastor||4 00|
|Yonkers, Rev. J. J. Smyer, church departments||20 00|
|Rev. and Mrs. F. J. Moultrie||5 00|
|Nyack, Rev. A. L. Lightford, pastor||7 50|
|Total for Hudson River District||$142 65|
|Raised by Rev. Haynes by personal effort||$20 00|
|New Rochelle, C. Van Buren||5 00|
|Port Chester, F. W. Cruse||12 50|
|Mamaroneck, S. S. Boyd||12 50|
|Oyster Bay, H. S. McMillian's church||15 00|
|Personal, H. S. McMillian||5 00|
|Westbury, D. James||7 50|
|Lakeville, M. A. Bradley||2 50|
|Rev.--. Boyd||1 00|
|Mt. Vernon, J. W. H. Johnson||2 50|
|Total from the Long Island District||$99 00|
|Rev. F. M. Jacobs, cash||$1 00|
|Rev. H. W. Allen, Ralph Ave. church, Brooklyn, N. Y||7 50|
|Total for Harlem District||$8 50|
|Norfolk District--Rev. C. W. Winfield, P. E.||$62 00|
|Petersburg District--Rev. M. N. Levy, P. E.||66 30|
|Total from the Virginia Conference||128 30|
|Contributed or raised by Presiding Elder||$25 00|
|Contributed or raised by pastors||91 00|
|Total from Fayetteville District||$116 00|
|Contributed or raised by Presiding Elder||$20 00|
|Contributed or raised by pastors||80 00|
|Total from Carthage District||$100 00|
|Contributed or raised by Presiding Elder||$15 00|
|Contributed or raised by pastors||60 00|
|Total from Raleigh District||$75 00|
|Contributed or raised by the Presiding Elder||$25 00|
|Contributed or raised by the pastors||90 00|
|Total from Wadesboro District||$115 00|
|Contributed or raised by the Presiding Elder||$15 00|
|Contributed or raised by the pastors||68 00|
|Total from the Concord District||$83 00|
|Contributed or raised by the Presiding Elder||$15 00|
|Contributed or raised by the pastors||73 50|
|Total from the Greensboro District||$88 50|
|Total amount from the N. Y. Conference||$242 65|
|Total amount from Virginia Conference||129 30|
|Total amount from C. N. C. Conference||293 00|
|Total amount from W. C. N. C. Conference||286 50|
|Grand total||$951 45|
|The faculty and students of Livingstone College||$50 00|
|Soldier's Memorial church, Rev. W. J. Walls, pastor||11 00|
|Grand total from all sources||$1012 45|
|Net amount received||872 45|
Since the foregoing was put in print, the fiftieth anniversary of the planting of the A. M. E. Zion Church in North Carolina has been held, and the following statement of facts was read on Sabbath morning, January 18, 1914.
To be read at the morning service in St. Peters Church, Newbern, N. C., Jan. 18, 1914.
On Wednesday the 20th day of January 1864, about 12 o'clock in the day, Rev. J. W. Hood arrived in Newbern, as a missionary representing the A. M. E. Zion Church, appointed by Bishop J. J. Clinton, who had charge of the New England Conference, from which Elder Hood came. On the following Sabbath, January 24th, he met the official members of Andrews Chapel in a private school house. The said official members resolved to unite with the A. M. E. Zion Church, and receive Elder Hood as their pastor. This was the beginning of our mission work south of the James River. The small-pox was raging in Newbern, and public service was forbidden. Elder Hood, therefore, went to Beaufort on the fifth Sabbath, and preached for the first time in North Carolina, at Purvis Chapel, Beaufort, and received that church in Zion Connection, and spent several days there, completed the organization of the church, licensed Enoch Wallace to preach, and put him in charge of the church. Returning to Newbern, the smallpox still raging, he found there was nothing that he could do there, and as there was some question as to his right to remain there, as Bishop Baker claimed ecclesiastical authority over that military department with a right to supply all Methodist churches with pastors, regardless of the wish of the people.
Hood consulted the official members, and it was agreed that he should go to Washington and see the Secretary of War, Hon. E. M. Stanton, under whose authority Bishop Baker's claim was set up. After spending two weeks in Washington, going nearly every day to the office of the Secretary of War, Adjutant General
Townsend discovered that Hood's papers, first submitted to the Secretary of War, had been pigeon-holed somewhere in the Department. He made a search for them but could not find them. He suggested that Hood prepare another copy. When Hood presented the second copy, the Adjutant General told him he could return to North Carolina and await the results. He had not waited many days after his return to North Carolina, when an orderly sergeant rode up to his stopping place and presented him a large package, which contained several official documents. Both Bishop Baker's side in the case and Elder Hood's side, who represented the official board of Andrews Chapel, had been considered by General Butler, and with his views had been sent to the Secretary of War.
General Butler's opinion was decidedly in Hood's favor and the Secretary of War wrote under it the following memorable words: "The congregation of the colored Methodists worshipping in Andrews Chapel, Newbern, N. C., shall have the right to decide their own church relations, and select their pastor."
This was all the question that Hood asked the Secretary to decide. This gave him all the authority he needed, for he knew that nearly all the people were with him. The matter was thoroughly discussed about military headquarters, and the interest that General Butler had taken in Hood's behalf, gave Hood a good standing with the military authorities. And notwithstanding some influential persons in military circles, including Chaplain James, the superintendent of Negro affairs, had plotted to have Hood sent out of the Department, yet Captain Denny, Provost Marshal and General Palmer, Commander of the Post, stood like a stone wall in Hood's favor. (A fact of which Hood was ignorant at the time.) He knew nothing of the plot against him at the time of it, nor of the power which prevented the plot. One of the parties in the conspiracy told Hood a year later, of the plot against him, and how its success was prevented.
General Palmer had upon one occasion shown his interest, by taking a lantern and going with Hood down to the steamer on which some of his officers had been put aboard to be sent to the Dutch Gap Canal, which had been under way. General Palmer ordered the men released, and forbade the further procedure of the purpose to cripple Hood's efforts, by sending his church officials away. From this time he had smooth sailing as long as he
remained in Newbern. One Easter Sunday, Elder Hood preached his first sermon in Newbern. It was a great day.
Early in May, 1864, by request of Hood, Bishop Clinton visited the work and ordained some men to the office of deacon. William Rile, in Newbern and Ellis Lavender, who was a refugee from Washington, the last time that town was taken by the Confederates. He ordained Enoch Wallace deacon for Purvis chapel, Beaufort. Just at that time the Confederates made their last attack upon Newbern, and Bishop Clinton having completed all he could do at that time, and there being a steamer going North from Beaufort, took passage thereby.
The General Conference met on the 25th of May that year. Elder J. W. Hood was the ministerial delegate of the North Carolina Mission, and Mr. E. H. Hill was lay delegate. At the close of that General Conference Bishop Clinton was assigned to a district including the whole country south of the James and east of the Mississippi River, and the only organized work he had was that in and around Newbern and Beaufort, N. C.
In December, 1864, he organized the North Carolina Conference at Newbern, with twelve members, including the Bishop. As he could not advance south overland from Newbern (for the Confederate army headquarters was at Kinston, only 28 miles away) he therefore went back North and took a steamer and followed the navy up to New Orleans, and began to work up the Connection from that side. In the Fall of 1865 he held the second session of the North Carolina Conference at Beaufort. From that Conference, Elder Hopkins was appointed as Missionary to the Blue Ridge section and he extended the work down to Tennessee. Bird Hampton was ordained an elder and was appointed to extend the work south ward from Charlotte. He organized the church during that year as far south as Chester, S. C.
In October, 1866, the Virginia Conference was formed. The third session of the North Carolina Conference met in Newbern, in 1866, and provided for the organization of a conference in South Carolina, also the Georgia Conference, both of which were organized in 1867. The Tennessee Conference was organized in 1872. Thus during a period of eight years the North Carolina Conference had been formed; the Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee Conferences had each been set off from the North Carolina Conference. The Central North Carolina Conference, and lastly the Cape Fear Conference were set off in 1913.
From the Central North Carolina Conference, the Western North Carolina Conference and the West Central North Carolina were formed. From the South Carolina Conference, the Palmetto Conference was formed. Of the Georgia Conference, the South West Georgia Conference was formed. From the Tennessee Conference, the Blue Ridge Conference was formed. From the Blue Ridge Conference, the Southwest Virginia Conference was formed, and from the Virginia Conference the Albemarle Conference was formed; making in all, 14 conferences that grew out of the work begun in Newbern, in 1864. These conferences now raise $40,300 of the general claims assessed upon the Connection, only $5,000 less than one-half of the total amount raised in the Connection.
While Bishop Hood has had charge of the New York Conference 27 years, the New England 24 years, the Alabama 4 years, the New Jersey 4 years, the Philadelphia and Baltimore 3 years, Allegheny-Ohio 6 years, Gennessee 1 year, Kentucky 4 years, and the California Conference 3 years, yet he has spent the larger portion of his time in the 14 conferences which grew out of the work he began in Newbern 50 years ago.
Bishop Hood has left his impress upon the people wherever he has labored. But nowhere has the good effect of his labors been more fully seen than in the region of these 14 conferences.
[Appendix Title Page Image]
Beloved Fathers and Brethren:--
By the goodness and grace of our heavenly Father I am spared to bring my tenth quadrennial report to this the 24th quadrennial session of the great church which He has given us to labor in for the benefit of mankind. An acknowledgment of His Divine favor, with thanksgiving and praise, is a delightful service.
On former occasions I have spoken of each man's work. This report will tend to show what has been accomplished by all. I shall speak of individuals only by way of illustrations. A text has been furnished me by the statement that some have remained too long in one place. I have been the longest stayer; it seems to be up to me to give what light I can on this subject. I have made it the rule of my life to be careful never to stay till my room is more desired than my presence. The last time that I called upon the President of the United States (because there were others waiting to see him) I got up to leave, but he ordered me to be seated again. Being a loyal subject I, obeyed the order, but remained only a few minutes longer.
The first important, and most pleasant pastoral charge I ever had, was Bridgeport, Conn., to which I was appointed in 1863. But by the order of the Bishop I left that pleasant charge at the end of six months and came to Newbern, N. C., when the headquarters of the Confederate Army was at Kinston, only 28 miles away. Two battles were fought at Newbern after I arrived there. I was a civilan at the very front of the Federal Army.
I was sitting in my room writing while the battle was raging. Cannon-balls from the Federal gun-boats were fired over the town into the enemy's camp almost in sight of the town. I can not understand to-day why, but I felt no more disturbed than I now feel. At the end of three years Bishop J. J. Clinton held conference in Newbern; for the second time, at the close of the conference, when he was ready to make the appointments, he said, "Well, I shall have to appoint you to this charge again." Then for the first time in my life I said no to Bishop Clinton. I
had great faith in his judgement, but I thought I knew the situation better than he did. He looked surprised and asked my reason. I answered, I am the only Northern man down here, representing our church; if you continue to appoint me to this $800 charge, it will create a prejudice against both of us, which will weaken our influence. No man ever caught on to an idea quicker than Bishop Clinton. He then asked whom he could appoint. I told him that Elder Ellis Lavendar would make it all right. He then asked where he should send me. As there had been an attempt to take the church at Fayetteville out of the Connection, I said I thought he had better send me there. It was a matter of leaving $800.00 to take $300.00. But I know now that the Lord was in it; by my going to Fayetteville, which is in Coumberland County, I was elected to the Reconstruction Constitutional Convention. My humble efforts in that body, gave me a good reputation throughout the State. And when the Convention had completed its work, I was employed by the Reconstruction Committee to canvas fourteen Counties; and I carried them all. The counties canvassed include most of those which now compose the Albemarle Conference. It was that campaign made at the expense of the committee that gave me the influence, with both white and colored people, which I still have in that section, and which enabled me, when I was set apart to the Bishopric, to establish our church as the leading church in that section.
At the end of my second year in Fayetteville, a man who wanted that charge, got Bishop Moore to move me from there to Charlotte, which was then a $200.00 appointment. That also was the Lord's doing. "He maketh the wrath of men to praise him." That enabled me to do around Charlotte, what I had done around Newbern and Fayetteville, (where there are 40 Zion Churches within 40 miles of the city). During my two years stay there, besides my reconstruction work, I organized the church in seven counties. By these Providential appointments, Newbern, Fayetteville and Charlotte, are the great centers of Zion Methodism in this State. My first work as a Bishop was around this center, including the North Carolina, South Carolina and the Virginia Conferences. The work I then had, now has nine conferences, presided over by five Bishops. The Bishop who preceeded me said he only got $500.00 a year. The last year that I had it (the Virginia Conference had been given to Bishop Hillery, from which he received $1000.00 a year) from the balance I received the full
$1500.00 salary and $500.00 traveling expense. Besides this I gave to Bishop Lomax (who had a Mission District $225.00) making a tota amount of $3,225.00. This work now pays annual assessments of1 $37,800.
In accordance with a resolution adopted by the General Conference in 1880 the Bishops were required to meet and plan a change of Districts in 1882. It was then that we planned to break up the old sectionalizing, localizing, mischief-breeding, contiguous districts, and establish a genuine general superintendence, and general fund system, to pay all the Bishops an equal salary. This was accomplished the first year after the change, notwithstanding there had been a shortage of more than seven thousand, for the two preceding years.
The advantage of our present form of districts is so obvious that it seems strange that the thoughtful Mind, with honest purpose can fail to see it. Those who are acquainted with the history of the split in the Evangelical Methodist Church, certainly ought to know that contiguous districts was the cause of the split. There were three contiguous districts presided over by three Bishops. The Bishops got into a fight and each district sided with its Bishop and the split was the natural result. Nothing has contributed so much to the harmony of our Bishops as the present form of districts. And there are no other Bishops in this country in such complete harmony as our Bishops are. There are Bishops in some churches who do not speak to each other. With our Bishops there is no strife, but that commendable strife, as to who can best work and best agree.
The Bishops have been criticised because as many as three have been at one conference. I suppose the objection to this is it shows that we have plenty of them. There were four of us at one conference, and four at the dedication of the New Haven Church.
It is an old adage, that in union there is strength. United we stand; divided we fall.
In view of the effort to go back to an old, dangerous and destructive system, we may well repeat the language of the poet:
1. "Jesus Great Shepherd of the sheep,
To Thee for help we fly,
Thy little flock in safety keep
For oh, the wolf is nigh.
He comes with hellish matters fu
To scatter, tear and slay,
He seizes every straggling soul
As his own lawful prey.
Us into Thy protection take,
And gather with thine arm,
Unless the fold we first forsake
The wolf can never harm.
We laugh to scorn his cruel power
While by our shepherd's side.
The sheep he never can devour
Unless he first divide.
O do not suffer him to part,
The souls that here agree,
But make us of one mind and heart
And keep us one in thee.
Together let us sweetly live,
Together let us die;
And each a starry crown receive;
And reign above the sky."
By the arrangement made in 1882 I traveled from sea to sea. I traveled in what now constitutes 34 States. At the end of that period by rotation I landed in the New York Conference, of which I now have had charge for twenty-six years. I shall endeavor to give some data by which you may be able to judge whether or not I have remained too long. I learned an adage in youth which has largely governed my course through life. It ran thus:
"Call upon a business man in the hour of business, at his place of business, transact your business with the business man, and go about your business."
When I took charge of the New York Conference, there were only fourteen churches which had pastors in charge; there were twelve other churches, but they claimed that they were not able to support a pastor. One had declared its independence, would not receive a pastor, nor pay any connectional claims. That was 1886. In 1911 I appointed pastors to 37 churches and 6 Missions. The year before I took charge the conference raised $440.00 general fund, and less than $600.00 for all connectional claims. In
1911 it raised its total assessment of $2,500.00. Thank Offering including expense $756.00, Varick Monument $200.00, Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Societies $197.65: Total $3,653.65.
This shows that for 26 years the financial increase has been continual from $600, in 1886 to more than $3,653.65 in 1911, and the increase on every line has been equal.
When I took charge I seldom staid more than a day in a place, because it was difficult to get a comfortable stopping place. But in 1911 my wife being with me, I spent a week at a time in several places, and fared sumptuously every day. Taxicabs, automobiles and fine carriages were at our command without charge. Dr. Jacobs and Dr. Smyer have favored us frequently in that way. Mrs. Hood was taken on pleasure trips when I did not care to go.
Last July a church was dedicated at Englewood, N. J. Bishop Clinton was down in Alabama. He asked the Presiding Elder to get Bishop Walters to dedicate the church, but he was down in North Carolina. As I was in that neighborhood the Presiding elder asked me to go and dedicate that church, which made it necessary for me to make a round trip of 24 miles between the morning and night services at Sparkhill. Rev. R. Lawson (who is a lay delegate in this General Conference,) keeps a livery stable, and put at my disposal the finest and easiest riding carriage that he had, with a span of fine horses. They made the 12 miles in an hour an a half, and put us in Englewood before the congregation had assembled for the afternoon services. I dedicated the church and returned to Sparkill in time for night service, without much fatigue. Thus it will be seen that my long service on the district enables me to do whatever duty requires, and to get all accommodations needed.
Thus for ten years I have spent a week at the time with the Levi family at Westbury, where a congregation with their church property came to us from another denomination, nearly 20 years ago, and we have no stronger Zionites than they are. And they plan to make us happy as long as they can prevail upon us to stay.
We spend a week or more with Rev. and Mrs. F. J. Moultrie every year, and it would be impossible for any one to show greater kindness than they have shown to us. Rev. Moultrie is rated at $100,000, and is able to live up to his unlimited generosity. He makes ice cream for millionaires, and has the reputation of making the purest and best that is made. Some people have ice cream
Sundays, but at the Moultrie mansion they have it every day, twice a day, and up to three times a day; Mrs. Moultrie is a queen hostess; she studies how to make her guest happy.
I would tire you, if I should attempt to tell you of all who have shown their appreciation of our service during the last quadrennium. One remarkable incident showing the change which has taken place since I first took charge, will suffice as an example. On my first visit to Kingston, N. Y., I was not met by any one at the station. I found my way as best I could to the house of an aged sister; I did not see the pastor till I met him at church that night. After the sermon the pastor arose to take a collection for the Bishop. I arose and said; "The pastor is right in proposing to take a collection to pay the Bishop's traveling expense, but we cannot do that to-night. I understand that the pastor is about to be turned out of doors because his rent has not been paid. We will therefore take a collection to pay his rent. We raised $7.50, which was given to the pastor. As I came out of the church the president of the trustee board said, "We have not seen it on this fashion before. We supposed when the Bishop came, he came to get his money." That man at that time had not much confidence in either pastor or Bishop, he did not profess religion, he was a trustee as a matter of accommodation. But many years later, while Judd was in charge, he embraced religion, and he has been working hard ever since to make up for lost time. Therefore, when I visited the church last June, he with the pastor and others arranged to give us a grand reception. I arrived there in poor health. I was not in a condition to attend service, but was not willing to disappoint them. When I went to the church I asked the hackman to remain, in case I should need him before the service closed.
Before the first number of the programme was finished I fainted. When I regained consciousness, only the doctor, who had been called in, and a few had remained in the audience room. The congregation had retired to the basement to continue the programme. I was taken back to my stopping place. Eight persons had been appointed to deliver addresses of welcome and each was to present a donation. When the reception was over the pastor brought me $25 as the result. Every possible attention was paid to us. A sister came every day from three miles in the country and brought milk and eggs. When the doctor called the last time I asked for his bill, and he said it had been paid. They intended
to send the pastor to accompany us to New York in a parlor car, but Presiding Elder Mason came along and took the pastor's place and staid with us until he saw us safely landed at the residence of the pastor of Mother Zion church.
Some time ago when something was said of my extraordinary work, a Bishop remarked, that when other Bishops had staid as long in one conference as I had, they could also show good results; and he never spoke a truer word. Give other bishops the same chance you have given me and you will see good results elsewhere.
There is room in the territory of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference for a half dozen conferences the size of the New York Conference; half of Pennsylvania, all of Delaware, all of Maryland, all of Virginia north of the James River, and the District of Columbia.
And when you let a bishop stay there long enough to get the conference in hand, you will see something there that will make your hearts glad. It is impossible to estimate what might be accomplished in that territory, if a bishop could remain there long enough to get the conference in line for progressive work according to its great possibilites.
I had charge of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference three years--1883, 1884 and 1885. The year before I took it $822 general fund was raised. The last year I had it, $1,100 was raised. On that year (1885) the New York Conference raised $440, a little over one-third of what the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference raised. But now the New York has moved up from a little over one-third to fully one-half. If the Philadelphia and Baltimore Conference had increased at the same ratio it would now be raising $6,000 instead of $5,000. That Conference has had seven bishops since I left it. But neither of them staid long enough to accomplish the best results.
The New York Conference is a narrow strip, on each bank of the Hudson river, with Long Island added. (Staten Island is in the New Jersey Conference). And when you cross the Hudson river at New York City you land in Jersey, and go up the Hudson more than twenty miles before you can land in New York on the west shore. And when you do land, you might well repeat the language of the poet, a little changed.
"Lo, on a narrow neck of land
'Twixt river and States' bounds I stand."
The New York Conference is composed of a very small portion of the State, but that portion is well worked. About the time
that I took charge of that conference Bishop Payne wrote the history of his own Church, which he said was the largest and most progressive Church of the race in that State. I believe his statement at the time it was made, was absolutely true. But it is not the case to-day. That Church has to-day only one conference (composing two small presiding elder districts in the whole State). We have two conferences. The Western New York Conference, and the New York Conference, which has three presiding elder districts, and is equal to all that other Church has in that State. They have had a half dozen bishops there during my administration.
When I first took charge of this work, if I got through the session of the conference with less than $100 of my personal funds spent in the interest of the work, I thought I was getting off easy. It has cost myself and the men with me many hundreds of dollars to bring that conference to what it is to-day. But our task is much lighter now. I still give, because I love to give. But what I have given in the past is bearing fruit to-day. I have said to the ministers that neither they nor the churches could afford to make donations to the bishop, unless they had paid their Connectional claims. The church at Kingston had paid every connectional claim before it made a donation to me, even the Thank Offering, which Rev. J. W. Waters, the pastor, had sent me early in the Spring. He had also sent the money for the Varick monument. To be just before generous is the motto they have been taught, and they have learned the lesson well.
Something has been said against long pastorates. On this subject the New York Conference furnishes food for thought. In that Conference they have longer pastorates, and more of them than elsewhere. Port Chester, New York, was one of the points which I found without a pastor. Not able to support a pastor, was the reason given at that time. I visited the church and received $6 general fund, which was all they contributed for the year. The following year I appointed Rev. M. A. Bradley to that charge. The church was an old dilapidated building, down in a hollow six feet below the sidewalk. While Bradley was teaching the children one Sunday afternoon, a wealthy lady, Mrs. Quintard, with her daughter, Mrs. Palmer, passed by, and seeing how uncomfortable they looked, she said to her daughter, these people ought to have a better church. The next morning the Lord sent Bradley to that lady, she told him what she had said to her daughter.
She gave him $500 to start a new building, and when the corner-stone was laid she handed him another check, which he showed me and said, another hundrded: she said to him, you had better look again. He then saw that it was a thousand dollar check, and she continued to give until the finest colored church in West Chester county was completed. And her daughter continues to give for any improvement needed. She has spent nearly $500 on the church during the past four years. Bradley remained there eleven years and also built a fine parsonage. He found the property worth less than $1,000, and left it worth $20,000. His long stay there gave him such credit, that he was able to go to Mamaroneck, not more than six miles distant, and build a fine parsonage and pay for it in one year's time. The credit he gained in Port Chester has enabled him to do whatever he has been called to do elsewhere.
Two years ago I gave him a hard job. Rev. Ottley who had remained the full six years at Hempstead, had purchased a fine property adjoining the church lot. It included a fine parsonage, and other buildings which bring $600 a year rent, but the rent had been used to improve the property, and not much had been paid on the debt, which was about $2,700. To find a man equal to the task of continuing the work which Rev. Ottley had started was the thing that gave me most concern at that Conference. On the morning of the day on which the appointments were to be read, the Lord awoke me at 4 o'clock, and impressed me that Bradly was the man needed. I could sleep no more, but remained awake till day-light studying over the matter. I finally concluded that Bradley was the man. But I had him down for a quiet, pleasant station, where he could get the rest which his long and faithful services deserved. The people wanted him, and he was delighted with the idea of going. To ask him to forego that pleasure, and go down to hard work, was a hard thing for me to do. But as early as I could get a messenger I sent for Bradley. I laid the case before him. He said he had been trusting my judgment for a long time, and should continue to do so. The relief I felt can be more easily imagined than expressed. I can never forget the consolation it gave me.
The credit which Dr. Bradley gained by his long stay in Port Chester, was again brought into requisition. It enabled him, together with his own funds to take up a second mortgage of $700, which was the pressing claim. This relieved the strain and the
people are now paying it back to him. He has improved the parsonage, built a lecture room in the rear of the church, at a cost of $400, all of which has been paid, and all other claims are being met. He says it is now the pleasantest work he has ever had.
Just before I took charge of that Conference, the Fleet Street church in Brooklyn had been organized with eleven members. During the period of about ten years I had appointed seven pastors to that charge. But the congregation had fluctuated, ebbed and flowed, without the desirable substantial progress. I finally appointed Mr. Jacobs to that work about sixteen years ago, and he had charge as pastor eleven years. It took him about seven years to learn the exact condition of that property. He found the title was not clear, but his long stay in that city gave him a financial standing that enabled him to clear up that title, and dispose of the property to advantage, and to secure the present Fleet Memorial A. M. E. Zion church on Bridge Street. No church in the city is better located. The church, including the audience room and two halls in the rear, will hold, I think, more people at one time than any other church in the Connection. $50,000 is a very low estimate for the value of the propery.
They have been paying off the debt at the rate of $1,000 a year and it is now reduced to about $14,000. Dr. Jacobs is now presiding elder, and Dr. Dancy, who was present at the thousand dollar rally last fall, informed me that Jacobs was a very important factor on that occasion. The year before he took charge as pastor $70 was the total amount or general claims received. In 1911 the amount paid by Rev. A. A. Crook, the present pastor, for general assessment was $380. Thank offering $95. Varick Monument $31: Total $506. Dr. Crook, I think has a financial record equal to the best: Three years at Providence, one thousand dollars a year paid on the church debt. Four years at Hartford, one thousand the first two; twelve hundred the second two. Three years in Brooklyn, one thousand the first two, and fifteen hundred the third year. Total for ten years. $10,900.
This was the only church in which I had any question about the thank offering. Their large debt on the church, with a request for $90, the thank offering, and the Varick monument assessment staggered them. But the pastor (Rev. A. A. Crook) requested me to meet the official board and explain the matter. The result was they raised $95, five dollars more than the apportionment, and came up to conference shouting for the return of their pastor.
When a bishop stays on a district till he can aid both presiding elder and pastor in their work, he has it in pretty good shape. And when a pastor has confidence in his bishop, and is not too proud to ask his assistance when needed, the relation between them is ideal.
The church at New Burgh, in the earliest period of my ministry was the best appointment to which I thought I should ever aspire. It was the best appointment in the conference, outside of New York City at that time. And yet the first twelve years that I had charge of that Conference, there had been no substantial progress in New Burgh. One of the prime causes for this, I shall not mention; it belongs to the dead and buried past, and I shall not dig it up. But among the causes I think was the frequent change of ministers. Two years was supposed to be the limit that any man could stay on that charge. The controlling influence there was against a longer stay. And there were men who only staid there one year, and the church was at a standstill. Even as late as 1899, when Rev. D. C. Covington, who is now the progressive presiding elder in the Palmetto Conference, had charge, only forty taxable members were reported, and the general fund was $18.
The improvement in that church commenced when Rev. L. D. Williams was appointed. He died in the fifth year of his pastorate there. When he took charge, the property was not worth $2,000. When he died, he left a brick church worth $20,000, with only $5,000 debt and a parsonage worth $6,000 with a $2,000 debt. When he had served the church three years, those who had hindered the progress of the church began to clamor for a change; they said it would never do to so far change the record as to appoint a man there for the fourth year. Brother Williams had laid the solid foundation by a strong moral character, a faithful and efficient service, and untiring work. He was associated with the white ministers of the city, and preached in their pulpits; and when the talk of a change commenced, they got busy, and the wealth of the city was behind him. A petition was sent to the Conference assuring that body that if Williams was returned we should have a new church. I knew the source from which the petitition came. There is no other place in all this land where I receive the same notice by that class of people. There is no bishop who goes to that city, whose coming is more fully published than the Bishop of the A. M. E. Zion Church. My sermons are published in full,
and favorably commented upon. The leading political papers in that city vie with each other in saying good things for Zion. I therefore had no hesitation in sending Williams back, and the results have certainly justified that action.
The present pastor, who is closing his third year, has paid off the $5,000 debt on the church, and reduced the debt on the parsonage to $1,200. There is not a large number of colored people in New Burgh, and thefore we may not expect to have a very large congregation; but we have what is there. Two or three other congregations that were struggling there, have about given it up during the administration of the present pastor. The general connectional assessments are now fully paid annually, $100. We have there now a live membership who are paying $800 salary and a parsonage.
About 1892 a mission was formed at Sparkill, with a few members who belonged to the church at Nyack, about five miles distant. In 1896 a wealthy lady, Mrs. Taylor, became interested in that mission and offered her assistance in building a church for them. Of course I encouraged her to do all that she had in mind to do. As a result, a splendid stone church capable of holding about two hundred people was completed. A little later she built them a parsonage. But up to 1903 there had not been satisfactory progress. I therefore appointed Rev. L. G. Mason, who had never failed. It was asking much to have him take this mission, with a wife and three children, all daughters, being of the school age. Nevertheless, he took it cheerfully as he does everything. He could not have a large congregation because there are not many colored people in the village; but at the end of five years he had made it a desirable station, which paid him his salary promptly at the end of every month. He had about twenty members and therefore in the Price Memorial rally the portion he was asked to raise was $5, but he raised $50, and this gave the church a connectional-wide notice. I know of no other church of its strength, equal to it in good works. It pays every connectional claim promptly, and thus being just has a right to be generous. No church in the Conference has entertained the Sabbath School convention, Christian Endeavor and Missionary convention together more generously than this church has. At my first visit after Mason took charge he gave me a very pleasant surprise, by way of a reception. I do not think there were more than fifty people present; there was no admission fee at the door, everybody
was fed with substantial food, ice cream and cake. A plate was passed for an offering and I was presented with $17. I should have regarded $5 a very generous gift from those present at that time. When Brother Mason was made presiding elder, on his first visit to that church, they volunteered to increase the presiding elder's salary.
The present pastor is now closing his fourth year and they pay him at the end of the mouth with a check at the bank. In the thank offering rally this church and pastor have made the best record. He was not only the first to send in the full amount (which was in the hand of the treasurer on the day the thank offering rally was appointed to begin, namely 30th day of May 1910) but he also sent nearly three times the amount he was asked to raise. If this doesn't indicate the utility of the long pastorates, then I shall give up the idea of vindicating anything by facts.
I am sure you have heard of the great success of Rev. B. Judd at Poughkeepsie, where by the generosity of Mr. Smith he has been able to dedicate a $30,000 church without a debt. Judd is a remarkable man. A man of much more than ordinary good common sense. But does anybody think that he could have accomplished what he has in Poughkeepsie, in three years, if no preparation for that work had been made before he took charge of that church? The foundation for his success there was laid in 1896. I had appointed a man to that charge who came from another denomination. Not having the suceess he expected, he wanted to return to his first love. He thought it might facilitate his return if he could take that church with him. As the word Zion was not in the deed he thought if the people would agree to go with him, he would have no difficulty in taking it. He therefore had a conference with Messrs. Smith and Pratt about it, and arranged for a further conference to take place at his house. On the day and near the hour of this second appointment, the Lord sent me there to look after Zion's interest. It was too late for him to locate me elsewhere, and so the gentlemen came and found me there. They said they were glad to meet me there; that they had come for a conference with the pastor on a matter I might be able to advise them. I listened quietly to their story until it was completed; they told me that the pastor had told them that the burden of the care of the colored church in Poughkeepsie might be taken off the people of that city by its being taken under the care of the denomination to which he wanted to return.
I then stated to them what the Negro church was to the race that it was all they had as a means of development, and that the stronger the Negro church became, the better it would be prepared to perform its work. I gave them such illustrations of this as I was able to present; and told them it was my opinion, the best thing they could do for my people, was to help them to help themselves; this ended the interview. I went from there to Hudson, and while there I received a telegram from Poughkeepsie that the pastor had suddenly died.
Three years ago, while at Poughkeepsie with Mrs. Hood, I went to Mr. Pratt's store to do some shopping. Brother Judd went with us, and in order that we might get preacher's discount, he brought Mr. Pratt to introduce him to me. Mr. Pratt said: "Oh, I know Bishop Hood, he converted me," and then went on to state what I had said to him at the time of that interview in 1896. I think he quoted my statement as correctly as I could have done it myself at that time. He said from that time he had been trying to help our people to help themselves, and there is certainly no doubt about that. There are a very few men who have shown a better disposition to work in that direction than Mr. Pratt. Mr. Smith has never said to me in words what he thought of the advice I gave at the time of the conference with them, but actions, we are told, speak louder than words, and certainly Mr. Smith has done enough for the people in Poughkeepsie to show beyond all question that his purpose is to help them, and encourage them as much as possible to help themselves. Here again we see the benefit of a long pastorate. Brother Fairfax had charge of Poughkeepsie seven years; during that period Mr. Smith gave the church a parsonage, and put $2,000 in the bank, the interest of which to be used in keeping the parsonage in repair, and that money has not been touched, but has been accumulating by compound interest, for while Mr. Smith lives he seems disposed to make all necessary improvements on the parsonage himself. I think these things went far in preparing the way for Judd in Poughkeepsie. But he was also under preparation for that work during thirteen preceding years.
During a period of about ten years I had appointed a half dozen different preachers to the charge at Hudson, with the hope of improving conditions there; the latest of whom was an elder who had had considerable experience. But each and all failed to improve conditions. I went there once and preached to five
women. The church was large enough to hold five hundred people. The man last appointed had given it up as a bad job and left. Brother Judd was a local preacher in Mother Zion church. I took him up to supply the church at Hudson, in the interval.
Miss Limbrick, a wealthy lady in Hudson, whose housekeeper, business manager and companion was a colored lady, whose husband (Mr. Benjamin) had been a leading member in Zion church although an Episcopalian herself--she took interest in her husband's church. These ladies had shown interest in our work there, by their contributions, and the special interest taken in me. The good lady (Miss Limbrick) built a house for her butler, in which she furnished a room for my accommodation. I was also frequently entertained at the great-house. These ladies took an interest in Judd, soon after his appointment. They thought at first they had better send him to Livingstone College, to better prepare him for the work. But Judd got busy, pulled down the old church and started to build a new one. Of course he could not go to Livingstone College till that was done. At the end of five years he he had completed a beautiful brick church. By his great common sense and very good judgment he secured the assistance of these good ladies till the work there was finished. And they have since given us a splendid parsonage and finished it.
I then appointed Judd to Nyack where he had a chance for a two year's study in a Divinity school. At the end of that period I appointed him to Kingston where there had been a debt of $1,700, on the church for more than fifteen years. At least a half dozen pastors, one after another had been appointed to that charge, but the debt had not been reduced. The condition of the church had not been improved. But at the end of five years Judd had paid off the last cent of that debt. In the effort to that end he had the aid of a gentleman of wealth who was a special friend of Messrs. Smith and Pratt. When Judd went to Poughkeepsie this gentleman communicated with them, and told them what manner of man Judd was, and requested them to give what aid he needed. Thus it may be seen that not only had the way been prepared for Judd's success, before he went to Poughkeepsie, but he also had been in course of preparation for that work, for thirteen years before he went there; and thus by Divine arrangement a prepared man came to a prepared place at the opportune time, to accomplish a God blessed work. Surely the good Lord has shown his favor toward our Zion.
For a period of twelve years only three pastors were appointed to Mother Zion church: Walters, Caldwell and Franklin. During that whole period the church was in splendid condition. At the end of Walter's first year, the presiding elder made the following report:
"The New York church, Rev. A. Walters, pastor, has had unparalleled success. During his brief pastorate, there has been a decided improvement of his work. The numerical strength has increased greatly, both in average attendance at all his services, and by accessions to his church. God blessed him with a revival. 302 added to the church. The financial condition of the church is rapidly increasing."
This state of things continued through the whole period of twelve years. At the end of twelve years, for the first time I appointed a man who did not remain four years. He was removed by death and I was compelled to make two appointments during the quadrennium. It was during that period that the church was moved up town, either too far up or not far enough.
This was a most unfortunate period for the change in location. It was in the middle of the quadrennium, when a new pastor had not been in charge long enough to get the needed control. If it had been in either of the preceding four year pastorates, the action would have been different, and the necessity for another removal would have been avoided. I was on the ground several times during that period. But the bishop's control in such a case, to be orderly, harmonious and effective must be exercised through the preacher in charge.
In 1904, I appointed Rev. J. H. McMullen to that charge, and he remained five years, the longest period I think that any pastor has served that church. The present pastor, Rev. R. M. Bolden, is serving his third year with good results. Mother Zion church and her pastor are to be congratulated on the fact of having contributed the largest amount of the Thank offering, of any church in the Connection, namely, $150. Counting able bodied adults, that is equal to an average of 50 cents a member.
Mother Zion has the un que record of having raised every cent of her general assessment since 1888, and was the first church assessed. Up to that time $150 was the highest amount raised. But when I appointed pastor Walters (now bishop) to that charge, I told him I wanted $200 general fund from that church, and the record shows that he raised it the first year. That was the beginning
of the assessment plan. It started at the fountain head of the Connection, which has given the example worthy to be followed by all. There are no members anywhere found more loyal than the majority in Mother Zion church. They are especially loyal to their pastor and the Connection. Any order from the General Conference or the Board of Bishops is respected by that church.
When I first took charge of the New York Conference, I learned there was some question about the title of Little Zion church in Harlem. I found the deed of the church was taken without Zion in it. I was anxious to have a strong second Zion church in New York city, but it was impossible to do anything with the Harlem church until we could have the title cleared. When Rev. McMullen's fifth year was out, he expressed a willingness to take Little Zion, and try to build up a strong second church in New York city. As I had been working to that end for more than twenty years, my gratification at this proposal can be easily imagined. I believed it was a Divine impulse, and therefore gave him the appointment. What he has done in clearing the title of the Harlem church has been in accord with my wish, and I have given him what aid I could and am hoping for best results.
Yonkers has had three long pastorates in the last twenty years. C. H. Tennycke five years, W. H. Newby five years, and J. J. Smyer is closing his tenth year. The following is the presiding elders report for 1889.
"C. H. Tennycke pastor: This church at this place has made wonderful progress during the year. A oneness of purpose and action has prevailed throughout the church. Harmony is established, the spiritual condition good. Internally the edifice has been greatly improved in appearance. Sunday School well attended; general fund, $19.40."
You will notice that the general fund at that time was only $19.40, and at that time the general fund was nearly all that was raised. But in 1911, the general connectional claims raised, $240; Thank offering, $60; Varick Monument, 0; total for 1911, $300.
At New Rochelle, where the last conference was held, Rev. M. O. Haynes at the end of three years' service, was able to entertain the Conference, in what is now the largest colored church in West Chester county, with parsonage on same lot. The Conference was regarded by all as the best session ever held. There were many distinguished visitors present who came to attend the Conference Thank offering rally. This was planned to raise a sufficient
amount to to pay the treasurer the full amount of $625, or 50 per cent. of general fund assessment.
Rev. Haynes is now the presiding elder of the Long Island district, and is having splendid success. He succeeded Rev. C. H. Tennycke who died in the third year of his presiding eldership. After his five years' pastorate at Yonkers, he went to Long Island, built up nearly all we have there; when he went there as pastor he had a circuit of two churches. At the time of his death he was presiding over five pastors in the same territory in which he had labored as pastor for fifteen years.
Elder Haynes, who is a hustler, has started off with splendid prospects. His work as pastor in New Rochelle has not been surpassed by any one. In building the church he gave the architect some important points which added much to the strength of the church and were readily adopted.
In superintending the work in this building he has saved the church hundreds of dollars. A minister who is a good carpenter, with great energy, as Elder Haynes has, is a valuable asset to the church. This church is a great credit to Elder Haynes. With parsonage included it is worth $40,000.
|Number of churches||37|
|Number of missions||5|
|Number of parsonages||20|
|Probable value of churches and parsonages||$750,000 00|
|Churches built during the last four years||3|
|Parsonage lots not built on||2|
|Value of new churches||$105,000 00|
|Value of new parsonages||5,700 00|
|Value of other improvements||14,000 00|
|Total paid on improvements||90,000 00|
|Paid on general assessments||10,000 00|
|Special collection--thank offering, Varick Monument and Rush windows||2,150 06|
|Support of Conference||1,400 41|
|Support of ministers including presiding elders||47,061 14|
|For local missions||1,068 25|
|Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society||1,183 46|
|For Sundry local purposes||41,393 34|
|For all purposes||193,256 60|
Can any man show an equal record of progress in a territory not larger than that embraced in the New York Conference?
This work is the result of the long persistent effort of one mind. And this would have been impossible, but for the fact that I had in connection with the conference a strong Southern Conference, in which in the early period, I raised the means on which I lived and paid my traveling expenses when it could not be raised in the New York Conference.
I have tried to imitate the Apostle Paul, who said: "He became all things to all men, that by all means he might gain some."
The two Episcopalian ladies who did so much for us in Hudson, wanted to form a cradle roll. I encouraged them to do so. They arranged to have the anniversary celebrations at the time of my annual visits. I think as Bishops we are justified in accomodating ourselves to people's notions, when no principle is sacrificed. I think that nothing else in my administration has contributed more to my success than taking this course.
While the New York Conference has increased the value of its church property to the amount of about $500,000 during my administration it has not been a burden to the connection. When the Church Extension Society was formed, the General Fund assessment on the New York Conference was $1,000.00. It contributed to the Extension Society one-fourth or $250.00 the first year, and has continued to contribute one-fourth every year since. Yet I have never asked that society for a gift for any work in that conference but once. When Rev. Judd began to raise money to pay off the long-standing debt on the church at Kinston, I asked for $250.00 for a nest egg, which was put in the bank and remained there until the whole amount was raised. Thus it will be seen that the Conference has received from the Extension Society, as a gift just the amount it paid in the first year.
Whatever may be said of the wisdom of the pastor of the Harlem Church, in his effort to erect a Memorial Church, in honor of our second Bishop, I think all will concede that his purpose is one deserving commendation.
Whatever reason could be given for a second church in Philadelphia, has equal force in favor of a second large church in New York, and the place selected is in the center of thousands of our people. And there is no place in which an investment promises larger returns. For forty years or more, our title to the Harlem
property had been questioned; on that account the church has been at a standstill; while nothing else in the Conference has increased at less than one hundred per cent it was at a standstill. After an expensive legal contest, and finally a more expensive compromise, Dr. McMullen succeeded in clearing the title and sold the property. After all expense was paid he had $11,000.00. With this he purchased a lot on which he has built a church in which they are now worshiping.
There are those who think that Father Rush is entitled to greater honor than the first Bishop. I take no part in this controversy. But I take great pleasure in saying that Bishop Rush deserves all the honor that the Church can possibly bestow upon him. His home was in New York City the larger part of his life; from this center he extended the church East to Boston, North to Rochester, West to Pittsburg, and South as far as conditions permitted him to go. He was our faithful leader for 24 years. He was a man of eminent piety, good and great energy. Was respected by all who knew him. He was a lover of pious young men. I had the great privilege to be numbered among his favorite boys when I entered the ministry. When I was appointed a Missionary to Newbern, his native town, as a Missionary in the interest of which he had given his life, he was greatly pleased. He gave me his blessing and prayed for my success.
Bishop Walters, whose home is in New York City, united with Dr. McMullen, in urging the Board of Bishops to give their encouragement to this undertaking. I am sure that Bishop Walters will be able to give good reasons for this course pursued.
The West Central North Carolina Conference was set off in 1910, but the boundary line was not finally fixed until the conference held last November. A division as nearly equal as possible was made. Each has three Presiding Elder's Districts, each an assessment for connectional claims of $4,000.00 a total of $8000.00. The improvements of this work have exceeded anything in my experience. It has been indicated in two or three different ways. In 1896 it was represented by seven ministerial delegates in General Conference, based on sixty-seven ministerial appointments. In 1900 there were eighty-eight ministerial appointments and nine delegates; in 1904 there were one hundred and seven ministerial
appointments and eleven delegates; 1908 one hundred and twenty-seven ministerial appointments and thirteen delegates. If there had been no change in the ratio of representation, there would have been exactly the same increase of ministerial representation, or fifteen ministerial delegates in this General Conference. By the change in the ratio we lose three ministerial delegates; and by the division of the conference we gain two lay delegates. The increase is shown in another way. In 1896 the conference raised $2,400.00 General Fund. There was something raised for Missions and Education; the total about $3,000.00. In 1911 the amount for general connectional claims was $8000.00, without counting any of the special claims, which will be considered later. In 1896 the total amount raised for all purposes was $28,000.00; in 1911 $105,000.00. The increase in membership in the spiritual, intellectual and the material improvement of our people in this territory have been quite equal to what the foregoing indicates.
I have said so much about long pastorates and the good effects thereof in the New York Conference, that I shall not add much here on that particular line. The one thing above all others that has enabled this Conference to hold the first rank in the South is the utility of our Presiding Elders. It will be impossible to say too much respecting their good work, and their ability to remain a long time on one District.
Presiding Elder J. W. Thomas was conspicuous for his ability to build up the work and remain on one district until it had to be divided. When he took the Concord District, it included Carrabus, Union, Anson, Richmond, Montgomery and Stanley Counties, and what is now Scotland County; seven counties in all. At his death his district was composed of two Counties only--Carrabus and Union, and yet it was paying as much general claims as the whole work did when he took it. Besides this, there had been formed out of his district one other whole district, and two parts of a district; nearly three districts out of one, and he still retained the original Concord District. Out of that district the Wadesboro District was wholly formed. This was presided over by Dr. Bird until nearly every church on the District was painted white. Dr. J. S. Settle has now charge of that District, and no other district in the Connection excels it. Dr. Settle is equal to the best we have had there, and in one respect I think excels all; that is in loving and being loved. All who know Settle well are in love
with him, because of his lovely disposition. The ministers with him do whatever he asks them to do. Last year he took an obligation upon himself to pay $400.00 for the Mission at Peachland. That is a Railroad Station which is building up, and he wanted to plant Zion there. A gentleman there who knew Settle well accepted his word for payment and put up a church. At the District Conference, following, Settle brought the matter before that body, and in a few minutes time the ministers present contributed $105.00 toward the $400.00 account; on the following day Presiding Elder asked for a contribution from the ministers toward the traveling expense of the Bishop; in a few minutes they contributed $28.00. Every connectional claim is met and therefore they have a right to be generous.
|Churches built on this district during the quadrennium||11|
|Amount paid||$ 21,000.00|
|Amount paid||$ 3,015.00|
At the Annual Conference at Greensboro I brought before them the request of Rev. J. H. McMullen for $500.00 to place a First Episcopal District Memorial window in the Rush A. M. E. Zion Church in New York City. The Ministers of the Conference agreed to raise one-fourth $125.00 or $41.50 from each Presiding Elder's District. Dr. Settle called his men together and in a few minutes paid the full amount. I may add that the ministers in the other districts paid their portion, but not quite so quickly as the Wadesboro District. They are all strong men in the First District, and do not need to be contiguous to do things for any part of the work.
A small part of Thomas' original District is now in the Fayetteville District, but a very much larger part of it is in the Greensboro District; what is left of the original Concord District is now in charge of Dr. W. H. Graham, who was pastor in Concord four years, had charge of the Carthage District five years, the Greensboro District (which was formed partly out of the Carthage District) for four years and is now serving a second year on the Concord District, and is proving to be a worthy successor of Dr. Thomas. He is a painstaking, quiet, persistent, systematic leader and his men all love him.
Dr. C. T. Mitchell has served in the Central N. C. Conference longer than any other Presiding Elder now living in it. He has accomplished a wonderful work as Presiding Elder during the last twelve years. He is possessed of a missionary spirit, and has accomplished a Missionary work beyond that of any other man of whom I have knowledge. I regard him as the best Missionary the Connection has produced, during the term of his service. He can fire an audience with Missionary zeal beyond any other man to whom I have listened in the last forty years; a born Missionary. When he took charge of the Raleigh District about twelve years ago, it included ten counties. The work he then had included the larger part of what now constitutes three Presiding Elder's Districts. When he took it, it paid him not more than $500.00 a year; and he was compelled to take long walks in the discharge of his duties. The last year before it was divided it paid him $1,000.00 and traveling expense. The size of his district has been reduced two or three times. Out of his original district about half of the Greensboro District was formed, the whole of the present Raleigh District, and a large portion of the Carthage District which he now has. And both ministers and people are as much in love with him today as during any other period in his service. His territory though now reduced to less than three Counties (by reason of his efficient effort in working up the District) it is producing as much as the whole ten counties produced when he first took it.
Dr. Mitchell and myself have had the burden of a mortgage debt on the church at Dunn, of eleven hundred dollars during the greater part of the quadrennium. The pastor of that church built a church at a cost beyond what the congregation was able to pay. We were informed when all three of the notes given were due, and the bank which held them demanded settlement. This compelled us to borrow a sufficient amount from the bank in Fayetteville to quiet the matter for twelve months. The District Conference and Annual Conference helped us to pay the Fayetteville bank when the note came due. Then we borrowed again and made settlement with the bank at Dunn. In Nov. 1910 we got from the Conference a sufficient amount, with what the church and District raised to pay all but $149.00 of the remaining debt.
I advanced the $149.00 to settle the last note in the bank. By special rallies at the church in Dunn, in which both Dr. Mitchell and myself united with the pastor, we raised the $149.00 and now the church at Dunn is out of debt. We should not have been able to meet the demands at Raleigh and Dunn if we had not had that portion of the connectional claims which is retained in, or returned to the Annual Conference. With the assurance of getting the money when the conference meets, the Presiding Elder and Bishop can afford to borrow money to meet emergencies. This has enabled us to secure and save many churches.
|Amount paid||$ 9,700.00|
The Raleigh District is composed wholly of the original territory. It includes nine Counties, only one of which is thoroughly worked. The District has a large Mission field. In three of the Counties we have not a single organization. They are occupied almost wholly by the Baptist. This District has been in charge of Presiding Elder C. P. S. Harrison for the last four years. He is an exceedingly efficient Presiding Elder, and is doing good Work. The Raleigh Station has been the hardest point to build up that I have ever had charge of. We got an unfavorable start in that place; the ministers who had charge for a number of years had not the character needed to give the work a good start. Their manner of life in that place was not calculated to give Zion a good name, and for a number of years I had to select men of the class who were best suited to build up a good reputation for the church. We have men of that kind who are not brilliant, not able to build up a congregation or make much progress, but able to maintain a good character and hold their own. I was compelled to appoint that class of men to Raleigh for several years until I could restore the confidence of the people. Four years ago I appointed the present pastor, Rev. J. M. Gould. He has maintained a good character and has otherwise the elements of success, but he has faced difficulties that have been exceedingly discouraging. He tore down the old church and built a new one. He had it so far complete that it was dedicated more than a year ago. But it was
discovered that the rear wall was giving away. The City Inspector ordered it to be torn down and rebuilt. Only two weeks were allowed to begin the work. The wall was torn down and a cement wall eight feet deep was put down for the foundation. The roof had to be taken off for this purpose, and just as they were getting ready to put it on again there came a cyclone and blew in the front gable, smashing the ceiling and floor and damaging the church to the amount of $500.00. They therefore had to begin again. And now we are hoping that the congregation may be able, soon, to occupy the church. When the church is finished, if we have no further mishap, I am expecting a prosperity and success that we have never known in Raleigh. The Central N. C. Conference is expecting to meet in that church the coming session. The pastor has the assurance of the Colored Preacher's Association of their united effort to give the Conference a royal entertainment. The trouble the pastor has had there has created sympathy for him, aud I am hoping for great things for our church in Raleigh. There has been much improvement on the district which the Presiding Elder's report will show.
|Churches built on this district during the quadrennium||10|
|Amount paid||$ 10,500.00|
The Greensboro District, also partly formed out of the original Raleigh district, is in charge or Rev. R. A. Simmons, who is serving his second year no that district, and his third year as a Presiding Elder. He had the Concord District one year but a little re-arrangements of the Districts when the Conference was divided caused a change. There is no more promising district than the Greensboro District. Like the Raleigh District there is a large amount of vacant territory in its bounds, hence a large Mission field. Bro. Simmons is young, strong and progressive, When he has a District long enough to show what he can do, you may expect a report worthy of the highest commendation.
|Amount paid||$ 3,300.00|
The Fayetteville District is in charge of Rev. W. W. Slade. There hasn't been much change in the territory embracd in this District. It is composed of less than half of Cumberland County, about half of Robinson, one church in Bladen, and half of Scotland County. Extends about fifty miles South of Fayetteville, a strip of territory averaging about ten miles wide. It is very compact and has very little outlet. It can be strengthened only by working the territory it has, for all it is worth. It has had some of the best presiding elders in charge. Rev. J. M. Hill, Rev. J. H. Mattocks, Rev. J. S. Settles, and now Rev. W. W. Slade.
This district is in a most flourishing condition. Twenty years ago, there was a circuit near the central part of the district, known as the Prospect circuit; it included the village of Red Springs. At that time the whole of it paid for the pastor $200 a year. The churches in that circuit have been so strengthened, and new churches formed, that we have in the same territory, one station and three circuits. The station is paying $600 and a parsonage, and one circuit is paying $600 and a parsonage, and the other two $400 each, making $2,000 pastors' salary now paid, where only $200 was paid twenty years ago, and the general fund in the station alone, is more than was paid in the whole territory before. I have visited three sessions of the Fayetteville district conference. The presiding eider and pastors in this district have been vieing with those in the Wadesboro district, in the effort to reimburse the Bishop for the large amount of his salary, he has been obliged to pay on traveling expense during the four years. And the difference between them is not worth mentioning. In fact all of the district conferences I have attended, have met the expense of the occasion. The Wadesboro and Fayetteville districts are now in different conferences. Fayetteville in the Central and Wadesboro in the West Central. We may expect a pleasant rivalry between them on all lines. And possibly Carthage and Concord may each try to excel the other; also Raleigh and Greensboro. And the Connection will get the benefit of the division of the Conference.
The increase of membership is the source from which all the other increases come. The improvements for the four years on this district is shown by the presiding elder's report.
|Churches built on this district during the quadrennium||7|
|Amount paid||$5,000 00|
|Churches improved, 17--amount paid||2,500 00|
The last four years have been the most successful years of the work, greater substantial progress has been made than ever before. Notwithstanding the exodus of our people much complained of elsewhere, this section not being an exception to the rule, yet our membership has been on the increase throughout the Conference. By reason of the increase of members we have been able to do more substantial work than ever before. Our material losses have been few, and these mainly sustained by fire and wind. Two churches near Fayetteville were lost by fire. One has been rebuilt and the other is being built.
|Total connectional assesment raised during the four years||$32,000 00|
|Special interests, including W. H. & F. M. Society|
|Varick Monument Window for Rush church, and Thank offering||3,507 30|
|Total amount for improvements||66,109 00|
|Total raised for all purposes||395,000 00|
|Probable value of church property||600,000 00|
This work has done more for the Connection than any other. When the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society, asked for an amount of missions equal to one-fourth of the general fund assessment, the Central N. C. Conference responded the first year; the full amount--$900. Its general fund assessment was then $3,600. The General Conference following, $200 more was added to the assessment; therefore making $4,000; $1,000 a year has been raised each year of the quadrennium just closed. Besides this, during the last eight years it has sent to the Woman's Home and Foreign Missionary Society an average of $125 a year. Including the amount raised for local missions it has raised $1,500 during the last ten years. It was mainly by this means that twenty ministerial appointments have been added every four years since 1896. The mission fund from the Central N. C. Conference has enabled the Mission Board to make appropriations which would have been impossible without the large amount which came from that Conference. Some years ago we needed $250 from the Mission Board to save the Jefferson City church. A large amount from the Central N. C. Conference enabled us to appropriate that amount from the Mission fund. In some conferences, more than what was raised in the Conference has been appropriated for missions in them. While the Central N. C. Conference has sent the Department more missionary money than any other, yet it has
seldom asked for much aid from that fund. In the Price Memorial rally it raised a larger amount than was raised in any other conference, and the same was true in the rally for the Theological Building. This Conference is a home-made conference. We have given much to other conferences, in the way of strong men, but have received very little in that way. Five of our Bishops have been the products of this Conference. We have sent out many strong men. We have not had to look elsewhere for men for this Conference; but have been making them as we needed them, and preparing men for work elsewhere at the same time.
I might, if it were well for me to take the time to do so, say a good word for every man in the Conference, but when all have done well, I think it sufficient to say so. When you look in the face of a man from this work, you may not doubt that you are looking in the face of a man who is a success. The work that has been accomplished, would have been impossible if there had been many men who were failures.
By a dispensation of Providence, after an absence of fourteen years, I was jointly with Bishop Clinton, called to preside over this Conference on the 30th day of November, 1910. I think this was the first time in the history of the Church that two bishops presided over one Conference with equal authority. I am pleased to say that this was accomplished in perfect harmony.
Bishop Smith, a few months before his death, invited me to associate him in that Conference, to aid him in dividing it into two conferences. He thought he would have no difficu ty in doing so, if I was with him. In accordance with his expressed desire the Albemarle Conference was set off, and it fell to my lot to take charge of the other part of the Virginia Conference. The 46th session of which assembled in Petersburg on the 29th of November, 1911.
The Virginia Conference was the first one that I held after I was set apart to the bishopric forty years ago. I presided over it eight years the first term, ten years the second; this therefore is the twentieth year altogether of my administration there.
The Virginia Conference has always had a good record. I have had knowledge of it from its beginning. I was present with Bishop S. J. Clinton when it was formed, in October, 1866. At
the period of my first administration there, it made the best financial record of any conference I then had. And through the whole period of eight years the Virginia Conference kept the lead. At a later period I had the Conference again for ten years. It was then equal to the best I had. On returning to it after an absence of fourteen years, I find it still a progressive Conference. At the Conference in 1910, special delegates from two or three charges, came to Conference asking for a reduction of general fund; the largest reduction asked was from the church at Petersburg, which it was said had not been able to pay its general claims for several years; that the whole amount had been reported to Conference, but the money had been borrowed to pay it, and that there was a considerable debt on the church on that account. The reduction asked for seemed imperative, and therefore was granted. The effort was made so to divide the Conference that each Conference could have an assessment of $1,500 general fund, or $3,000 each, for all connectional claims. By reason of the reduction we had to make in the Virginia Conference in 1910, it took considerable contribution from the ministers to bring up the full amount in 1911. But the appointment of Rev. B. J. Bolding at Petersburg, gave new life to that church. He raised enough in a few months to pay off the money that had been borrowed during the preceding years, and raised the full amount of his assessment.
A revival at Sunbury, Mt. Hope, and Piney Grove, so increased the membership, that we were able to make an additional assessment on those churches sufficient to make up the amount of general fund from which the reduction was made in 1910. So we shall have no difficulty hereafter in raising the full assessment of $3,000.
This Conference has had a long struggle in the effort to establish a church at Newport News. Eighteen months ago it looked as if we should lose out there entirely. During 1911, the property was sold; but Presiding Elder Levy and the pastor, Rev. Perry, got a man to buy it in, who gave us a much better chance to pay for it than the original agreement provided; and the prospect for the establishment of a prosperous church is now very bright.
A promising mission has been started in the city of Richmond. There are many of our people there who have gone from other places. If we can secure a church, we can easily gather a large congregation. We had the offer of a splendid church, and by the generosity of some of the bishops and others, I secured
the amount necessary to bind the bargain. I went to Richmond for that purpose. I saw the real estate agent and he thought he would be able to send me the agreement in ten days; but when it was learned that it was a colored congregation for which the church was to be bought, there was objection raised which has held the matter up until this time. If it were possible to succeed in getting that church, we should have no difficulty in getting a congregation of 500 at once, almost at the opening.
We have a splendid body of ministers in the Virginia Conference. Every minister is expected to raise every cent of his general claims. If one fails, he hears a groan from his companions that makes him feel uncomfortable. Those who do specially well, receive a cheer that makes them happy. It is certainly a pleasure to preside over the Virginia Conference. No where is a bishop more appreciated or respected than in that Conference.
I have not been able to get as full a report for the four years for this Conference as I desired, but present the following:
|Number of churches 56; missions 14; Total||70|
|Probable value of church property||$200,000 00|
|Raised on assessment||12,000 00|
|For Free Will Thank offering and other claims||11,000 00|
|Raised for improvements||25,009 28|
|Raised for all purposes||129,009 28|
Now, Beloved Fathers and Brethren: I have presented this report as an indication of what may be accomplished by long, persistent effort and faithful service, under Divine impulse. It is not frequent change, for the sake of change, nor any iron clad rule governing the same, that is needed to build up a strong, useful and progressive church. But an honest purpose, governed by Divine influence. I have regretted much to see an idea inculcated by the organ of our Church, during the last sixteen years, which I think is very wicked--I might say bordering on blasphemy. The Pharisees were charged by the Son of God with blasphemy, because they denied the power of the Holy Ghost, in working miracles.
We have heard through the columns of our Church organ, that there is no such thing as a Divine call to the bishopric. That the thing to do is to blow your own horn, hustle and get there. Now I know that it is the work of the Holy Ghost to call and qualify a man for the office and work of a bishop. Neither can any continued godly work be accomplished, without a godly judgment, a continual influence of the Holy Ghost. Now to put
the Holy Ghost aside, and give credit to human effort (hustle and get there), is not very different from the spirit of the Pharisees, who ascribed to the devil the work of the Holy Ghost.
I think you will admit that the work I have reported is a marvelous work. Yet, in the language of the Apostle Paul, respecting the preaching of the gospel. I am impelled to say that though I have been permitted to accomplish the work, I have nothing whereof to glory. Necessity is laid upon me. Yea, woe is me if I do not make every effort in my power to faithfully fulfil the duties of my high calling. The work accomplished is not mine, it is God's work. I had nothing to do with getting into this office. I never even hinted to a mortal being that I desired the office. I remember, that only twice that matter was mentioned to me. In both cases I said, that is a matter in which I can take no part. I should have been ashamed of myself if the idea of "hustle and get there" had come into my mind. I am not a self-made man, nor a school-made man. I am just what the good Lord has made me. I had not more than sixteen weeks in school, and yet the Lord has enabled me to meet every obligation that my position has required of me. He has enabled me to be where I was specially needed in the interest of the Church.
I have mentioned the fact that He sent me to Poughkeepsie at an imporant moment; I could state many instances of a similar kind.
When our title to this property was being tested in court, I had an appointment at Concord. My purpose was to go to Concord Sunday morning and return on Monday morning. I awoke early Sunday morning. There was a clock in the room. I was looking straight at that clock, yet I made a mistake of one hour, and failed to reach the train. On the following morning I was early called to come to testify. I then learned why the Lord prevented me from going to Concord. I could not have returned in time to answer to the call, and my testimony on that day saved this church to the Connection.
We have a fine church on Winter Street, Providence, R. I. But we could not have had the lot on which the church stands, if I had not arrived in Providence the day before the deal was made. My testimony satisfied the lawyers, and the bargain was closed. I could stay here for an hour with such statements, but I presume I have said enough.
The harmony of your Episcopal Board is as nearly perfect as
you may expect to find anything on earth. My earnest prayer is that my colleagues may have the same opportunity to demonstrate what they can accomplish by remaining on one district as long as the Board of Bishops may judge well.
With contiguous districts, a long stay might prove disastrous, but with our form of districts, the best results are assured beyond peradventure.
Having occupied the position as President for thirty-five years, it may interest the General Conference to have a word from me respecting the Institution.
In the minutes of the 14th session of the North Carolina Conference of the A. M. E. Zion Church, which convened in Salisbury, N. C., November 28th, 1877, I find the following, page 22:
"C. R. Harris presented a paper signed by Thurber, Harris and Rives, on the establishment of a Theological Seminary in this State. Adopted."
The plan, substantially, is this:
1. Provides for the election of trustees, who, after the incorporation of the Seminary, are to devise the form, and have charge of the printing and distribution of the building stock.
2. Shares to be $10 each, minimum limit to be sold, 500; each church to be allowed at least one share.
3. Each share entitles its representative to a year's tuition in the Seminary, and may be purchased by individuals.
4. Provides for the final returns of elders, and the time and place of trustees' annual meeting, to frame and present the annual conference, a report of the progress of the work.
Trustees were then elected, viz: C. R. Harris, W. H. Thurber, Wm. J. Moore, Bishop J. W. Hood, R. H. Simmons, Bishop T. H. Lomax, Z. T. Pearsall, A. York and A. B. Smyer.
Bishop J. W. Hood, E. H. Hill and H. C. Phillips were selected to attend to the incorporation of the Seminary.
This record marks the beginning of the institution, of which we all have reason to be proud. The names of Harris, Thurber and Rives should be remembered as those who started this important movement.
When the institution was first incorporated it was in the
name of Zion Wesley Institute, first located at Concord, N. C. C. R. Harris was the first principal, and continued as senior professor until he was set apart to the bishopric in 1888. In 1881, I was authorized to select a minister from the Third Episcopal District, as a delegate to the Ecumenical Conference, which sat in London that year. With a view of advancing the interest of Zion Wesley Institution, I selected Rev. J. C. Price.
I learned that for an agent to accomplish anything in England, it was necessary for him to have a board of Englishmen to manage his campaign. I therefore appointed Revs.Bowden, and Penman chairman and secretary, and Mr. Pocock, treasurer. Nearly all the time I was in London I spent in arranging with these gentlemen to conduct the campaign. They started to raise $25,000. I fully believe they would have raised every cent of it, if Price could have remained as much as eighteen months in that country. But affairs at home caused him to return in about nine months. It was his purpose to go back and complete the task.
When he returned to this country, he decided to connect himself permanently with the school, and to labor in its interest in whatever way his service could be most useful. In view of this, when the Bishops met in Chester, S. C., in September, 1882, they decided to appoint Price President of the Institute. It was thought that it would be an advantage to him in his effort to raise the money, here, or in England if he should go back to complete the effort there. He suggested that the name of the institution be changed to Livingstone College. David Livingstone had died in Africa. It was believed that the use of his name would attract attention to the institution. And thus we have our Livingstone.
When the Bishops met in Petersburg in February, 1883, Rev. Price came and asked the Board to give to the College one-fourth of the general fund. This was asking very much of the Bishops, for at the close of the preceding year, the Bishops for the first time in the history of the Church, had each received his full fifteen hundred dollars salary. The calculation was that if one-fourth was given to the school, they could not get more than two-thirds of their salary. Nevertheless the Bishops agreed to the proposition. Just as was anticipated at the end of five years, the Bishops had each received exactly two-thirds of their salary, and $2,500 was due each. And this with considerable addition is still due to three of your Bishops.
There is nothing in the history of my life that I contemplate with greater delight than the sacrifice made at that time. Without that, Livingstone College could not have been what it is to-day.
The certificate of indebtedness which I hold on that account, I have confidence the Connection will honor when I am gone. By reason of this arrangement the College received one-fourth of all the general fund raised for thirteen years; in the last two years it received $6,000 a year. 1894 and 1895 were the most favored years the College has had. The Children's Day money had reached about $3,000 a year, making $9,000 a year the College received. Back salaries of the teachers were reduced to the amount of more than $3,000; and there was a most cheering prospect. These two years were the brightest in the history of the Church in every respect. The back salaries of four of the Bishops had gone up beyond $4,000 in the early part of 1894, but by the end of the year 1895, their back salaries had been reduced to $3,365.47.
As one-fourth of the general fund had given the College $6,000 a year, the General Conference in 1896, voted to give that amount annually. But for the first year it received a little less than $2,000 not quite one-third the amount promised.
In 1897 the Board was reduced to eight, and on that account the College received for the whole quadrennium one-half of the appropriation, or $12,000.
It was provided that the Children's Day money should be used to pay the back salaries of the teachers. But at a little later period it began to be taken for other schools. Finally in 1904, the Educational fund from the New York, New England, the Central N. C., and Western N. C. Conferences was all that was left to Livingstone College. This amounted to $2,450. In 1908, this was taken from the College, and in lieu of it, $2,000 was promised to continue the payments on the Theological building, and $2,000 for the Theological Department. Of this, up to December 1911, according to the Financial Secretary's report there was $7,698.96 still due.
From this it will be seen that the Theological Department got only a little over one-half of the amount promised.
When it was stated that we owed the College $28,000, some one remarked that it was our College, and we were not obliged to pay it, for it was a debt owed to ourselves. But it was stated at the same time that the College was $21,000 in debt, so there was only $7,000 that we could do as we pleased about. The other $21,000 is a debt that must be paid.