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Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
(title page) Scraps of African Methodist Episcopal History
Handy, James A., Rt. Rev.
xiv, 421 p., ill.
A. M. E. Book Concern
Call number MH 9 A H236 (William Smith Morton Library, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia)
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Rt. Rev. James A. Handy
|Bishop J. A. Handy, D. D. . . . . .||Frontispiece|
|Rev. Daniel Coker . . . . .||XV|
|Rt. Rev. Richard Allen . . . . .||11|
|Rev. Charles Dunn . . . . .||43|
|Rev. Walter Proctor . . . . .||61|
|Rt. Rev. Morris Brown . . . . .||79|
|Rev. Richard Robinson . . . . .||89|
|Rev. Levin Lee . . . . .||107|
|Rev. Joseph M. Corr . . . . .||117|
|Rev. William Moore . . . . .||125|
|Rt. Rev. Edward Waters . . . . .||133|
|Rev. Geo. W. Johnson . . . . .||139|
|Rev. Henry J. Johnson . . . . .||147|
|Rev. Chas. H. Peters . . . . .||157|
|Rt Rev. Paul Quinn . . . . .||167|
|Rev. Henry Davis . . . . .||171|
|Rev. Deaton Dorrell . . . . .||177|
|Rev. W. D. W. Schureman . . . . .||185|
|Rev. J. R. V Morgan . . . . .||187|
|Rt. Rev. Willis Nazery . . . . .||191|
|Rt. Rev D. A. Payne . . . . .||191|
|Rev. Thomas Kennard . . . . .||195|
|Rt. Rev. T. M. D. Ward . . . . .||199|
|Rev. Elisha Weaver . . . . .||203|
|Rev. J. R. V. Thomas . . . . .||207|
|Rev. Henry Braddock . . . . .||223|
|Rev. William McFarlin . . . . .||229|
|Rev. Emanuel Wilhite . . . . .||239|
|Rev. Henry J. Rhodes . . . . .||243|
|Rev. G. H. Washington . . . . .||249|
|Rev. R. H. Hall . . . . .||255|
|Rev. Daniel Owens . . . . .||265|
|Rev. R. H. Gibbs . . . . .||277|
|Financial Building . . . . .||281|
|Rev. Henry J. Johnson . . . . .||319|
|Rev. Arthur Jones . . . . .||329|
|Mr. Moses Small . . . . .||357|
|Metropolitan Church . . . . .||361|
|Metropolitan Church . . . . .||361|
Rev. Daniel Coker.
THE AUTHOR, in this volume, makes no attempt to collect all the Scraps, or say the last word. But simply presents to you a few facts that have attracted his attention.
The Fathers of our local Church met twenty years before the organization of the Convention of 1816. They met in Caleb Hyland's boot-blacking cellar, and adjourned after singing, praying and talking over their condition. They met again at the house of Nicholas Gilliard, held a religious service and adjourned. They went from house to house holding prayer and praise services. They were led on by Henry Harden, Nicholas Gilliard, Stephen Hill, Monday Janney, Caleb Hyland, and Nickolas Gilley.
In presenting to the Church and the general reader, the rise and progress of African Methodism in Baltimore; it does not profess to be a book of original investigation, nor does it contain any prolonged discussion. Its simple aim is to collect, condense, and render easy of access important information which has been scattered through years. Twenty years before the formal organic union of 1816, in Philadelphia.
Under appropriate heads will be found the chief facts, dates, and incidents connected with the rise, and growth of African Methodism. In Baltimore, Bethel Church organized and located on Fish street, 1797, Bro. Henry Harden at the head of it; a Mission Chapel at Bear Hill, in 1800, Southey Hammond, leader; a Mission, with a class, prayer meeting, and preaching on Sunday.
The idea of giving to the Church, and community, some of the things I have heard and seen during the many years I have spent in the A. M. E. Church, has occupied my attention for years; and in answer to the solicitations of many of my Brethren, in and out of the Church, I sat about the work. Bishops Payne, Arnett and others to come, will write the Church History.
Hoping it may prove interesting, useful, and find favor in the eyes of the Church and community.
I am, yours truly,
WHEN the Syro-Phoenician woman came to our Lord, pleading her daughter's cause, she asked that, only that which was left, or passed by with indifference, the "scraps" or crumbs, be used in her case. Yet, oh! how valuable those scraps proved to be. Scraps of History, covering a period of more than a century of Church life, and experience, cannot fail to interest. Even though there be no connected thought followed from the beginning; still the fragments act as side lights, which make luminous the path.
The author is a connecting link between the Fathers and the Church of to-day. Having lived over three score years and ten, and for three score years being active in the life of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, aiding in its development, and emphasizing its purpose.
Bishop Allen died in 1831, and James A. Handy began this life in 1826. Bishop Allen frequented the home of the Handy's when James was a little lad, and thus it is, he can boast of having seen every Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Intimately associated with most of the chief movements of the Church's advance; familiar with all its legislation, and the cause leading thereto; having filled almost every office in the gift of the Church; personally acquainted with all the men, who in the earlier years composed its active laity, and ministry; he is fully competent to speak out of full knowledge and remarkable memory.
Born in Baltimore, he is tenacious of claim for whatever honor can be possessed by her, especially in connection with the A. M. E. Church. It will not be surprising, therefore, to most of our readers, that emphasis is given to the fact, that the First Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church, was held in Baltimore; that therefore the Baltimore Conference is the "mother." Notwithstanding the author passed with the Church, through some bitter, and humiliating experiences, during all these years, yet one looks in vain for evidence "of any root of bitterness remaining," but on the contrary, a fine Christian spirit is manifest in all the utterances.
We trust that as the more consecrated and cultivated of our young men read these "scraps" they will be moved to greater activity for the coming of the Kingdom of our Lord.
JOHN W. BECKETT
I was born in Baltimore, Maryland, Friday, December 22, 1826. I am the first son of Ishmael and Nancy Handy. My father was a slave and my mother was free. When she died I was about 6 years old. She left five children, which was too much of a burden for my grandmother, so I was put with my uncle, who reared me. He conferred upon me the privilege of going to day school three months in the winter of 1833, and these three months, excepting Sunday School, was the only schooling I ever had. I was carried to Sunday School by my grandmother when I was 5 years old, and I have been a member of Bethel Sunday School ever since, even up to this time.
In my early life, I lived in the neighborhood of Edward Waters, afterwards Bishop Waters. He and Rev. Peter Schureman (the father of the late W. D. Schureman), were among the first preachers that I remember seeing. Afterwards, I saw Richard Allen, then Morris Brown, William Paul Quinn, the first Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
At a Conference held in Baltimore, in 1829, Bishop Allen put his hand on my head and said: "Maria take good care of this boy; he will be one of my successors." I do not remember that incident, but my grandmother told me. Whether this was prophetic or not, I know not, but nevertheless, God be praised, I am one of his successors.
Living in the neighborhood of Edward Waters brought
me in contact with all the preachers. The preachers then, who were circuit riders, frequently came to Conference on horseback, and we boys in the neighborhood used to attend to their horses, such as watering them, etc. The preparation made in those days, by the pastor of the church entertaining the Conference, was not only board and lodging for the preachers, but stabling for their horses also. There was a stable in the rear of the present Bethel Church, where the ministers' horses were kept. I have seen all the Bishops from Allen to Coppin. I was baptized by Rev. Peter Schureman, in April, 1833. He was a figurative preacher. I remember a passage of Scripture he frequently took for his text: "For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it."--Habakkuk, ii:11. He said not the stones, but the stone, not the beams, but the beam. His son William was a "chip off of the old block," as regards his ability to preach, He very frequently had the stone crying out of the wall and the beam and timber answering it.
While I was regular in my attendance at the Sunday School, I regret now that I had not the opportunity of attending the common schools. I occupied every position in the Sunday School, from scholar to superintendent. I connected myself with the Church as a member in 1852, and occupied every official position in it except one, and that was, I was never a licensed exhorter. Aside from this, I have filled every other position, from sexton to Bishop. God be praised, in all I have striven to be faithful and true. I was licensed as a local preacher by the late John M. Brown, in August, 1860, while he was pastor of Bethel A. M. E. Church, Baltimore. In 1861, Elder Wayman (afterwards Bishop), took me up, and sent me to Baltimore County Circuit, to fill a vacancy caused by the illness of its pastor, Rev. Dennis Davis. I had five preaching
points on that circuit, Mt. Zion, Quaker Bottom, Union, Camphane and Skulltown. I was not a "circuit rider." The longest distance to any point in the county on my circuit was fifteen miles from Baltimore. I walked out to it on Saturday, preached Sunday, attended to my duties as pastor, and returned to Baltimore Tuesday. It took me five weeks to get around, or in other words, each point was reached every five Sundays.
One of the rules laid down by Elder Wayman was, as I was only a supply local preacher, I could not draw any salary, and all the money I collected on the circuit was to go to the sick pastor. This I cheerfully and faithfully did, supporting myself and family by working in my cabinet making shop.
About a month before the Conference of 1862, Bishop Payne came to Baltimore, and as I subsequently learned, he said to Elder Wayman:
"I learn you have young Handy preaching."
Elder Wayman replied in the affirmative. Bishop Payne then said: "I want to hear him preach, appoint him to preach Sunday morning at Bethel so I can hear him."
Elder Wayman appointed me to preach at Bethel Church Sunday morning. I think it was the second Sunday in March, 1862. Upon reaching the church, I noticed Bishop Payne in the pulpit. He said to me, "Young man, if you are going to preach, it is time you were at it." I lined a hymn, and saw him take from his pocket a piece of paper and commenced to take notes. I did not know what he was writing. The next day he sent for me, and I went to his stopping place. Upon reaching him, he said: "I went to hear you preach. You did not preach, you don't know how to preach, and you will never be fit to preach in a church like Bethel. You commenced in an error, you continued in an error and ended in an error."
"How old are you?" he asked; and I told him my age.
"How old is your mother?"
"She is dead."
"How old was she when she died?"
"Twenty-eight years old."
"How old is your father?"
"He is dead."
"How old was he when he died?"
"Fifty-eight years old."
"You will not live very long; you will not live to be an old man. You come from a short-lived family. Make good use of your time. God only gave you one talent, and a very small one at that. If you are satisfied that God has called you to the ministry be faithful to Him." He gave me a list of books, and told me to go to Kurtz's, on Pratt street, and get them and study them. "If you study those books seven years," he said, "you may be able to preach in the country; you will never be able to preach in a church like Bethel. Now, you may go."
I did go, and I got the books, and studied them, and I am studying books until this day. Elder Wayman told me to make out a report for the seven months' work in Baltimore County and bring it to Conference, which met in Washington City, at Israel A. M. E. Church. I made out the report, and read it in Conference. At the close of the Conference, when the Bishop made his assignments, he read me to Union Bethel, Washington City. Many remarks were made after I entered upon my pastoral duties at Union Bethel. This conversation was heard between two of the members:
"Were you out to hear the new pastor Sunday?
"No; did you hear him?"
"How did you like him?"
"Don't know what Bishop Payne sent that green-horn
down here for. He is no preacher, and if my Tom Cat should die he couldn't bury it." I stayed there two years, contrary to expectations. I was then sent to Emanuel Church, Portsmouth, Va., and remained there one year; from there I was sent St. Stephens A. M. E. Church, Wilmington, N. C., and stayed in that charge one year, and was removed and sent back to Union Bethel, and stayed there two years, and was then sent to Israel Church, Washington, and remained in that charge only twenty-four days. When I took charge of Israel Church in 1868, it was just two weeks prior to the meeting of the General Conference in the same church. During its deliberations I was elected Missionary Secretary, and at the rise of the General Conference I entered upon the duties of that office. I held the office four years. In the year 1871, while Missionary Secretary, I served as pastor of Ebenezer, Baltimore, filling the unexpired term of J. R. V. Thomas. The General Conference of 1872 elected as my successor Rev. W. J. Gaines (now Bishop), and I was sent back to Ebenezer Church, Baltimore, as the regular pastor, where I remained two years, and in 1873 was sent to St. James Church, New Orleans, La., where I remained two years. In 1875 I was transferred back to the Baltimore Conference and stationed at Bethel, Baltimore, where I remained three years, and was appointed Presiding Elder of the Baltimore District, in 1878, in which capacity I served four years, and was then sent to Union Bethel, Washington, D. C., which is now known as the Metropolitan Church. I was sent there as successor to Rev. John W. Stevenson, who had started to build a new church, with instructions to complete it. When the edifice was nearing completion, I was appointed presiding elder over the Potomac District, serving as such until the General Conference of 1888, when I was elected Financial Secretary of the Connection, and served in that capacity four years.
During my incumbency of that office I purchased the Financial Department Building, on Fourteenth street, N. W., Washington, D. C., and furnished it, and made it the headquarters for the Financial Department of the Connection. At the General Conference of 1892, I reported the department out of debt, and a surplus in real estate and cash of $17,000.
In 1892, I was elected, in company with Benjamin F. Lee and Moses B. Salter, one of the Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and assigned to the Fifth Episcopal District, comprising Missouri, North Missouri, Kansas and Colorado Conferences. (For boundary of above Conferences see Discipline.)
The General Conference of 1896 met at Wilmington, N. C., and from there I was assigned to the Second Episcopal District, which comprised the Baltimore, Virginia, North Carolina, Western North Carolina, Hayti and Santo Domingo Conferences. (For boundary see book of Discipline.)
The General Conference of 1900, met at Columbus, Ohio, and from there I was appointed to the Eleventh District, which comprises the Florida, East Florida, South Florida and Central Florida and Bahama Islands Conferences. (Boundary see Discipline.)
1784 to 1820--General Conferences--Election of Bishops--Changing from the Superintendency to the Episcopal Form of Government--Presiding Elders--Book Concern Organized--Restrictive Rule Adopted--Monthly Methodist Magazine Established--Fraternal Delegates--Chartered Fund Instituted--Improved Edition of Hymn of Book Ordered.
THE African Methodist Episcopal Church--the child of many trials--was born in a hurricane, and cradled in a storm, in the year of our Lord, 1786. It was formally organized in April, 1816.
The history of early Methodism, as it came to us from the Rev. Mr. Robert Strawbridge, a local preacher from Ireland, who arrived in Maryland about the year 1760, the same year that Richard Allen was born in Philadelphia, knew no man by race or color, but all were one in the sight of God and man, worshipping in the same meeting house, and communing at the same altar. This continued until some difficulty arose concerning the white and black members sitting in the same pews, and kneeling at the same altar. On account of these difficulties at Lovely Lane and Strawberry Alley, the blacks were ordered to the gallery to wait until their white brethren had communed. This order resulted in the blacks discontinuing their frequent visits to, and worship in, the Lovely Lane and Strawberry Alley Meeting Houses in 1786 and 1787. For some time after
they worshipped in private houses. This was kept up until 1797, when a lot and an old building on Fish street (now Saratoga), near Gay street, were purchased of Mr. Jacob Carman, Sr., and the building was set apart as a house of worship, consecrated to God, and named "Bethel," by Henry Harden, Jacob Fortie, Don Carlos Hall, Stephen Hill and Charles Hackett.
At a subsequent assembling of the people at Bethel, Fish street, the following resolutions were passed:
"The many inconveniences arising from the white and colored people assembling in public meeting--especially in public worship of Almighty God; we have thought it best to procure for ourselves a separate place in which to assemble; therefore, we invite all our colored Methodist brethren, who think as we do to worship with us."
They continued to hold class meetings and prayer meetings from the time of the purchase of the property on Fish street until after the meeting of the General Convention in Philadelphia, April 9, 1816, when they became a part of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was then organized. The General Convention which assembled at the time and place mentioned above was composed of delegates from Philadelphia and Baltimore. In June, 1816, Daniel Coker, who was their pastor, called a general church meeting for the purpose of hearing a report from the delegates, and ratifying the work of the General Convention. Daniel Coker presided over the meeting as pastor. He opened it with singing and prayer, and Scripture reading. Mr. Stephen Hill, on the part of the delegates from Baltimore, then made the following report:
"The convention assembled April 9th, 1816. Rev. Richard Allen, called the meeting to order, and stated the object of assembling, which was to organize a connection, a denomination, a church, to be known as ----
church (this was done), and the ---- was filled.
"Secondly, Rev. Richard Allen was elected and ordained Bishop.
"The following was offered by Stephen Hill, and seconded by Rev. Daniel Coker:
" 'RESOLVED, That the people of Baltimore and Philadelphia and other places who may unite with them shall become one body under the name and style of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States of North America, and that the Book of Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church be adopted as our Discipline until further orders, excepting that portion relating to presiding elders.'
"Thus the convention finished its work in great peace, and commends it to you, through us, for your favorable consideration and reception."
On motion the report was adopted, and the entire assembly arose and sang "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." Benediction by the pastor.
As is here clearly shown, Methodism in the United States, had its birth in Maryland, and from this point it has spread all over the continent. From the Strawberry Alley Meeting House, and the Lovely Lane Meeting House has sprung all the branches of the Methodist Church in America, and by careful study of history you will find that
the African M. E. Church is the oldest offspring. The congregation of the Strawberry Alley Meeting House exists to-day as the Centennial M. E. Church, which now stands at the corner of Caroline and Bank streets, and the former meeting house in Strawberry alley was purchased by the late-Frederick Douglas and turned into dwelling houses, and is now known as Douglass' place. This was the first church in which Douglass held membership. It was in the old Strawberry Alley Meeting House, where the writer spent a part of his early boyhood days in Sunday School.
We find, that the early fathers on both sides made the same mistakes as are being made by leaders in many churches to-day, by selling valuable and historic property.
Perhaps there is not a more valuable piece of property in Baltimore to-day than the site where stood the old Lovely Lane Meeting House; the place where Robert Strawbridge planted the first Methodist Church, where men and women of all races could meet as one and truthfully say, "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." Then, too, we have an account of Strawbridge preaching in the streets of Baltimore, where he was furnished with a table for a pulpit, by one of our race, Caleb Highland, who kept a boot-black establishment, at what is now known as Baltimore and Calvert streets. He subsequently became a member of our first organization and one of the Trustees of our first meeting house. He went to Liberia, Africa, in the company formed by the Rev. Daniel Coker, who now sleeps in the soil of his ancestors, and where he was also mobbed. This site is marked by the large building at the corner of Baltimore and Calvert streets, occupied by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as General Offices.
Upon the spot where once stood the Lovely Lane Meeting
House stands the Merchants' Club House, which is a fine building. Lovely Lane Meeting House passed from the hands of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and recently they paid $300 for the privilege of placing a bronze plate on the building to mark the historic spot. Upon the plate is to be found the following legend:
UPON THIS SITE STOOD FROM
1774 TO 1784
LOVELY LANE MEETING HOUSE
IN WHICH WAS ORGANIZED,
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
U. S. A.
As has already been shown, Methodism in the United States in its early history was one compact organization, and the hardships and difficulties experienced in establishing the church were shared alike by the white and colored people. Out of the church planted by Robert Strawbride has grown the many branches of Methodism in the United States.
In order to show the experience of the Methodist Episcopal Church and more fully set before the readers of this history, the organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and its Annual and General Conferences, the following historical facts are taken from the Methodist Year Book:
"1784. The Methodist Episcopal Church, was formally organized at a conference of Methodist ministers called by Thomas Coke, LL. D., an assistant of Mr. Wesley in England, and sent over by the latter for the purpose of consummating such organization. The first Bishops, Coke and Asbury, were elected. This Conference (called the
'Christmas Conference'), met in Baltimore, December 25, and continued in session until January 2, 1785.
"1787. A General Conference was called at Baltimore in May, by Dr. Coke, at the request of Mr. Wesley; but as the Annual Conference had not been consulted, and had not authorized it, many of the ministers did not attend, and no official record of the doings was preserved. Some additions, however, were made to the Discipline, and the word 'Bishop' was substituted for 'Superintendent,' as applied to Bishops Coke and Asbury. It is believed also that the term 'presiding elder' was then first applied to superintendents of districts.
"1789. In order to supply a central authority, long felt To be needed, the several Annual Conferences concurred in the formation of a 'Council,' to be composed of the Bishops and presiding elders, who should recommend such changes as they should unanimously agree upon, but which, before becoming binding upon the Church, should be adopted by the several Annual Conferences.
"1790. The 'Council,' referred to in the preceding paragraph, was composed of the Bishop and the elders from each district. This had been done in order to meet objections made to their appointments by the Bishops. The Council, however, being without power, except as advisory, was unpopular, and was substituted by a General Conference of the preachers of all the Conferences.
"1792. First General Conference, held in Baltiore, November 1. This Conference directed that the next General Conference should meet after an interval of four years. Though embodying, as its members believed, the full ecclesiastical authority of the Church, the Conference bound itself by special enactment, not to change any recognized rule of Methodism, except by two-thirds vote. The presiding elder's term of office in any district was limited to
four years. The Book Concern (previously opened at Philadelphia by authority of the 'Council') was formally established by General Conference action.
"1796. Second General Conference, held in Baltimore, commencing October 20, composed of one hundred and twenty members. Bishop Asbury presided; 'Chartered Fund instituted and incorporated by the Legislature of Pennsylvania. The Annual Conference boundaries first determined by General Conference action. Number then designated, six, but the Bishops were authorized to add a seventh.
"1800. Third General Conference, held in Baltimore, May 6-20. The previous one had been held in the fall, but owing to the prevalence of yellow fever in 1799, the Annual Conferences had authorized Bishop Asbury to change the time to May. Richard Whatcoat was elected Bishop. His competitor for the office was Jesse Lee. The second ballot was a tie, but on the next Whatcoat was elected. The Concern was removed to New York. (John Dickins, the Book Agent, had died of yellow fever the year previous.) Bishop Asbury, in consequence of his physical debility, sought to resign his episcopal office, but was induced by the earnest request of the Conference to continue in office. The Bishops were authorized to ordain colored preachers. (Richard Allen, of Philadelphia, was the first colored preacher ordained under the rule.)
"1804. The Fourth General Conference, held in Baltimore, May 7-23. Members, one hundred and seven. The pastoral term was limited to two consecutive years on any one charge. Previously there had been no limit to the episcopal prerogative, except in the case of presiding elder. A motion to change the General Conference into a delegated body was voted down, but the matter was left for the Bishops to consult the Annual Conferences during the quadrennium.
"1808. Fifth General Conference, held in Baltimore, May 6-26. Members, one hundred and twenty-nine. William McKendree elected Bishop. Bishop Coke was granted permission to reside in England, but not to exercise, while there, the episcopal functions. Delegated General Conference first provided for, the ratio of representation to be one member for each five of the traveling ministers. The 'Restrictive Rule' first adopted. Not one of these rules was to be changed without the concurrence of a majority of all the members of the Annual Conferences (present and voting in the Annual Conference sessions), with a two-thirds vote of the General Conference. The requirement continued until 1828, when the word 'majority' was substituted for the word 'three-fourths.'
"1812. Sixth General Conference, held in New York City, May 1-22. This was the first Delegated Conference. Members, eighty-eight. Bishop McKendree presented a written Episcopal Address, the first presented to a General Conference. Local deacons made eligible to elders' orders. Ordered that stewards' nominations be referred by preacher to Quarterly Conference for confirmation or rejection; preachers had hitherto appointed the stewards.
"1816. Seventh General Conference, held in Baltimore, May 1-24. One hundred and three members. Revs. Messrs. Black and Bennett were present as fraternal delegates from British Conference. 'Course of Study' for ministers provided for. Enoch George and Robert Richford Roberts elected Bishops. Number of Conferences increased to eleven, and Bishops authorized to organize another. Monthly Methodist Magazine. Ratio of Annual Conference representation changed from 'five to seven.'
"1820. Eighth General Conference, held at Baltimore, May 1-27. Members, eighty-nine. John Emory appointed delegate to British Conference. Improved edition of
Hymn-book ordered. Missionary society, previously organized in New York City, was approved. Bishop McKendree was relieved from effective labor. Bishop Soule was elected Bishop, but declined to be ordained, and resigned the office because the Conference had adopted, as a compromise measure, a resolution authorizing the Annual Conferences to elect presiding elders. The application of the resolution was suspended for four years, until the question should be submitted to the Annual Conferences."
This brings us to the organization and meeting of the General Convention, out of which grew the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which had withdrawn from the Methodist Episcopal Church and was spreading throughout the civilized world. From the above you will see that no reference was made to the colored members of the Conference and church until the General Conference held in Baltimore, May, 1800, when a resolution passed authorizing the Bishop to ordain colored preachers, and Richard Allen was the first to be ordained under the rule, and later became the first Bishop of a great Church Organization.
First Started in Maryland--What Grew Out of It--Strawbridge Comes to Baltimore--Preaches on the Street and is Mobbed--The Organization of The African Methodist Episcopal Church--Some of Its Troubles--Its Foreign Mission and Missionaries.
THE first Methodist Society in America was organized about the year 1764, at Sam's Creek, Frederick County, Maryland, by Robert Strawbridge. He settled on the banks of Sam's Creek, in Frederick County. In a short time thereafter he organized a class meeting, and subsequently built the "Log Meeting House," which stood for a number of years on the banks of that historic stream. Among the earnest Christians that worshipped there, was a woman known as "Aunt Annie." She was a servant in the Switzer family, and with a few others was the first colored person in America to embrace Methodism.
In the early days of the society, the white and colored members worshipped in the same meeting house, in the same congregation, sat on the same seats, and when they died, they were buried in the same church yard or burial ground. The "Log Meeting House" on Sam's Creek, Lovely Lane Meeting House, (the first meeting house in Baltimore) and Old Strawberry Alley, had scores of colored members. Among them figured conspicuously Caleb Hyland, Thomas Clare, Henry Harden, Stephen Hill, Munday Janey, Pippin Hill, Richard Williams, Nicholas Gilliard,
Solomon Sharper, Don Carlos Hall, Caleb Guilly, Edward Williamson. These are also the names of the men who led in planting the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore.
Strawbridge soon came to Baltimore; for he preached in this city, Sunday, June --, 1765. His first pulpit was a block in front of a blacksmith shop at or near what is now known as the corner of Bath and Front streets. The next Sunday, he preached from a little table, which belonged to a colored man named Caleb Hyland, at the corner of what is now known as Baltimore and Calvert streets; at which time Mr. Strawbridge was mobbed. He soon after organized a society, and built a church on Lovely lane, now called German street. This was the first Methodist meeting house in Baltimore. The second meeting house, until very recently, stood on Dallas street, then Strawberry alley, and later belonged to the Centennial Church congregation. Among the members of these two societies there was a goodly number of colored persons.
Francis Asbury came to America in 1771; and in 1784, the first General Conference of the Methodists was held in Baltimore, and is now known as the Christmas Conference. At this General Conference session, the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America was formally organized. Dr. Thomas Coke, Richard Whatcoat, Francis Asbury, Thomas Vasey, Richard Allen and Harry Hosier (the last two colored), were present. Francis Asbury was elected and ordained Bishop. This session plainly shadowed the position of the colored members in the church; it failed to order the ordination of its colored preachers; as did every subsequent General Conference up to 1800, when a special resolution, under certain regulations, allowed the Bishop to ordain colored preachers.
In the year of 1786 or 1787 there appeared a restlessness
among the colored members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The men would meet and discuss the situation, and in 1787 an independent prayer meeting, led by Jacob Fortie, was held in a house near the Belair market. This prayer meeting culminated in the formation of a Colored Methodist Society, which was organized in the boot-black cellar of Caleb Hyland. This society continued to grow as they held prayer meetings from house to house, and about the year 1797, they received a great addition in the person of Mr. Stephen Hill, who, by his ability and piety, gave strength to the little band. Very soon after this period, the present lot of ground, together with the old building, where Bethel Church now stands on Saratoga street, was rented for church purposes from Mr. Jacob Carman, Sr. Those renting were Henry Harden, Thomas Clare, Munday Janey, Caleb Hyland, Jacob Gilliard, George Douglass, Daniel Brister, Caleb Guilly.
Here they held meetings for several months, when, failing to pay rent, and through the influence of those who opposed the independent action of these poor Christians, Mr. Jacob Carman closed the house against them; they then worshipped from house to house wherever an opening was offered. In the year 1801, Mr. Daniel Coker, of Carroll County, came to Baltimore, having been empowered by Strawbridge to preach, and joined this new organization; up to this time Caleb Hyland, being the class leader, and Mr. Jacob Fortie being the prayer meeting leader, Mr. Nicholas Gilliard furnished a permanent room for church purposes. Mr. Jacob Fortie, about this time ceased to cooperate with them, and returned to Lovely lane.
At this juncture, a meeting was called, and Daniel Coker was elected preacher in charge, and so remained until 1817; when he was succeeded by Henry Harden, who was appointed by Bishop Allen at the first Annual Conference.
This conference was held at the house of Nicholas Gilliard, on Low street. Ministers present, Bishop Richard Allen and Revs. Daniel Coker, David Smith, James Towson, Edward Waters, Joseph Clare, Henry Harden and Mr. Don Carlos Hall, steward. At the close of the Conference the following appointments were made: Henry Harden, Baltimore, Md.; David Smith, Prince George County, Md., and Hercules Schureman, Frederick Road, Md. Daniel Coker, the secretary of the conference, was left without an appointment at this first conference on account of some unpleasant rumors, which were brought to a head at the Annual Conference of 1818. (See Bishop Payne's History. Chapter V.)
The Baltimore Annual Conference of 1818 met in Baltimore, April 7, 1818, in the house of Mr. Samuel Williams. Present, Bishop Richard Allen, Revs. Henry Harden, Jacob Mathews, David Smith, Edw. Waters, Abner Coker, Jacob Richardson, Joseph Clare, Charles Pearce; Revs. Jacob Tapsico and William Cousins being visitors from Philadelphia.
In the year 1799, or thereabout, Bishop Asbury, after he had ordained Richard Allen, on his way through Baltimore, stopped over and preached for the white Methodists. Brother Hill waited upon him and requested him to preach to the colored Methodists on Fish street, but the ordination of Allen had raised quite a discussion, and the good Bishop had to pass them by; but a few years thereafter, he did preach at the Fish Street Meeting House. In 1810 they organized a class meeting at Bear Hill, Baltimore County, and also one on the Frederick Road, and at each of these places there was had preaching twice a month.
The war of 1812 was rapidly approaching, and we were neither in nor out of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Stephen Hill, was very anxious to locate us, for we numbered
about 633 persons; and he advised that we take steps to purchase the property, then occupied by us, for church purposes. Pursuant thereto, a meeting was called, at the residence of Henry Harden, at the corner of Raybourg street and New alley, those present were Daniel Coker, preacher, Jacob Gilliard, Don Carlos Hall, Stephen Hill, George Douglass, Daniel Brister, Caleb Guilly, Nicholas Gilliard, trustees. These seven trustees and the preacher, resolved to purchase the property of Mr. Carman, on Fish street. At this juncture the news that a church for colored people had been organized, where every man could worship God unmolested, spread over the city and country. Early in the year of 1816 an invitation was received from Brother Allen and his friends in Philadelphia, to meet them in General Society. In April, 1816, they met, and the subsequent history is known. This was the convention that organized the
The first Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church met in Baltimore, Md., April 12th, 1817. This session was held in the home of Mr. Samuel Williams (a fine two-story building), on High street. Members present were Bishop Richard Allen, who presided; Revs. Daniel Coker, Richard Williams, Edward Waters, Henry Harden, Don Carlos Hall; Revs. Jacob Tapsico and James Champion were visitors from Philadelphia. At this session, Henry Harden, Edward Waters and Charles Pierce were recommended for and ordained Deacons. Some progress had been made financially, in securing additional church property at Sculltown and Mt. Gilboa, in Baltimore County.
The appointments made by Bishop Allen were:
Rev. Henry Harden, Bethel Church, Baltimore, with oversight of Bearhill, Frederick Road, Mt. Gilboa, Sculltown and Fells' Point.
Assistants to Rev. H. Harden--Richard Williams and Edward Waters.
Richard Allen, Jr., Secretary.
The second session of the Baltimore Annual Conference met in Baltimore, Saturday, April 14, 1818, Rt. Rev. Richard Allen presiding. Richard Allen, Jr., Secretary. After devotional exercises, the roll was called, and seven members answered to their names: Bishop Richard Allen, Daniel Coker, Richard Williams, Edward Waters, Henry Harden, Charles Pierce, David Smith and Don Carlos Hall (in whose house the Conference was being held). At this Conference the first Connexional Book Steward was appointed, in the person of Don Carlos Hall. Says Bishop Payne, in his History: "Possibly no man in the Conference had any conception of what he was doing to promote the influence and power of the Church when he voted for that simple resolution to appoint a Book Steward for the Conference." At the same time Rev. Henry Harden was appointed book steward for the circuit. Henry Harden, Edward Waters and Richard Williams were elected and ordained elders.
Appointments made by Bishop Allen:
Bethel Church, Baltimore, Rev. Henry Harden.
Union, Bear Hill, Rev. Edward Waters.
Washington, D. C. (as Missionary), Rev. David Smith.
Cecil County, Md. (as Missionary), Rev. Jeremiah Miller.
Oxenhill, Md. (as Missionary), Rev. Peter Schureman.
The third session of the Baltomore Conference met in Bethel Church, Baltimore, April 16th, 1819. Bishop Richard Allen presided. After religious exercises, Rev. Jacob Mathews called the roll, the following members answered to their names:
Rt. Rev. Richard Allen, Rev. Henry Harden, Rev. David
Smith, Rev. Charles Mathews, Rev. Edward Waters, Rev. Charles Pierce, Rev. Abner Coker, Rev. Shadrack Basset, Rev. John Foulks, Rev. James Chase, Rev. Jeremiah Miller.
Two persons were admitted on trial at this session: Joseph Chanie and John White. David Smith and Edward Waters and Charles Pierce were ordained elders. This Conference licensed seven brethren to the office of exhorters in the Conference. Rev. Shadrack Bassett was appointed to the Eastern Shore.
The Annual Conferences met in the following order: One in Baltimore, in April, 1817, and one in Philadelphia, in May, 1817.
He organized churches at Easton, Denton and Ivory town, and extended the church to French Town, and the Rev. Jeremiah Miller organized churches at Cecilton, Port Deposit and Octorara. These pioneers of our church in Maryland spread the work from the Choptank, on the Eastern Shore, to the Susquehanna River. They were assisted in this work by Joseph Clare, Samuel Todd, Richard Boon, Stephen Standford, Henry Brown and Graves Holland.
In 1820 we find Rev. David Smith pastor in charge at Washington, D. C.; Peter Schureman at Piscataway, in Prince George County, Md.; Jacob Richardson and J. P. B. Eddy, Frederick County, Md. These men were operating in the interest of the Church, but a permanent organization was not effected until two years later, 1824.
The Baltimore Conference up to 1820, 1821, 1822, had not laid off its work regularly in stations and circuits. The first General Conference meeting in 1820 paid very little attention to this order of things. But in 1821, the Eastern Shore of Maryland was considered, by common consent, a part of the Baltimore Conference. At this
session, the Rev. Jacob Mathews placed it, by motion, under the charge of the Elder in Baltimore; in fact, this Conference session largely transacted the business that should have been transacted by the General Conference. The local preachers were formally admitted to seats in the Annual Conference. This was brought about by motion of Brothers Harden and Webster. By motion of Rev. David Smith, they were deprived of a voice in the Conference against any one of the traveling preachers, except in case of a trial, and then only as witnesses. A "General Rule" was adopted for the government of churches. This rule, it seems, had been drawn up in the city of Philadelphia in July, while the first General Conference was in session; but to this fact no allusion was made, and it was first ratified by the Baltimore Conference for the government of all the churches. This fact indicates the mistaken view which the members of the General Conference entertained concerning their power as a general body.
This Baltimore Annual Conference, had not only fixed the rules and regulations, but also named the place of meeting of the next General Conference in 1824, in Baltimore. The Annual Conference of 1823, met April 10, and at the opening a very few were present, but all the members answered to their names before the close of the session. Don Carlos Hall, having died during the year, the announcement of his death, together with the memorial services, caused a gloom of sadness over the whole conference. By a unanimous vote Brother Charles Hackett, a layman, was elected steward in his place.
Henry Harden and Jacob Richardson were the movers in agreement which was reached, that the Annual Conference have the selection of delegates from the district of Baltimore to the General Conference.
And here we have the precedent, for what the General
Conference of 1868 did by making our General Conference an elective body. The Baltimore Conference of 1823 elected six delegates to the General Conference of 1824, viz.: Baltimore, the pastor in charge and Abner Coker; Washington City, the pastor in charge and George Bell; Frederick Circuit, the pastor in charge and Samuel Todd; Columbia Circuit, the pastor in charge and George Linenberger. Such was the manner of electing members of the General Conference of 1824 by the Baltimore Annual Conference of 1823. The Annual Conference of 1824, left Bethel Church to be supplied, and subsequently filled the vacancy by Moses Freeman, of Cincinnati, Ohio; Harrisburg Circuit, Richard Williams and Peter Schureman; Easton Circuit, Jeremiah Bulah and William Richardson; Washington City and Piscataway, Jacob Mathews.
The Baltimore Annual Conference of 1825 opened its session in April, with most of its members present. Nathaniel Peck was received on trial for three months and Adam Hercules was received into full connection; Peter Schureman applied for deacon's orders, but failed to pass his examination; Rev. Moses Freeman and Charles Hackett were appointed a committee to raise money to have a Discipline printed; one hundred and fifteen dollars were raised for contingent expenses, out of which the secretary was paid for his services.
One of the preachers was arraigned for improper language used in his sermon. The Bishop charged him not to use these words again, handing the secretary a piece of paper from which he read the following, "Wake snakes, de Juen bugs ahr Arisin."
It is worthy of remark that Bethel Church, Baltimore, at this Conference, the first time in its history, had paid its pastor, Rev. Moses Freeman, one hundred and twenty-eight dollars and twenty-five cents as support.
In many respects the transactions of the Conference were most imposing, and the most interesting of any previous one; it opened its doors to the officials of the church, who were in good standing, giving them a seat without a voice or vote.
Up to this time they had a conference steward; for after the death of the lamented Don Carlos Hall, Charles Hackett succeeded to the office. At this session the office was abolished.
In 1824, a mission having been organized in Hayti by emigrants from Baltimore, Richard Robinson was sent to take charge of it, as the first missionary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to a foreign country, subsequently Rev. Scipio Bean offered himself as a missionary in Hayti. A committee consisting of Revs. Morris Brown, Jacob Mathews and William Cornish were appointed to inquire into his qualifications, and after deliberation and examination, made their report, which was accepted, and he was elected missionary to Hayti and sent as the second missionary to a foreign land.
Another significant fact occurring at this Annual Conference session is, that Samuel Dickson having been a licensed preacher for two years, was received as a member of this Conference. This action stands out against the assertion that the action of recommendation of Quarterly Conferences is always necessary to admission.
In 1829, Rev. Scipio Bean was back again in the United States, and is found in a local capacity, what he accomplished was planting the seed of the tree which is still bearing fruit. At the Conference of 1829, both Bishops were present, it was the last session that Bishop Allen attended in Baltimore. At this session appeared the Rev. Isaac Miller, who came from Santo Domingo seeking connection with the African Methodist Episcopal Church, bearing papers certifying to his standing.
Names of Those Participating in the First Convention--Resolutions Under Which the Present Form of Organization Was Adopted--First Bishop Elected--Daniel Coker Expelled--Conference Records in Bad Shape--Good Secretaries Were Scarce--Improvement Noted--An Intelligent Layman.
IN the early formation of the church, many difficulties were experienced, and it was not until 1820, that the first General Conference was held. In 1816 an Ecclesiastical Compact was formed by a General Convention. This Convention was attended by delegates from Baltimore, Md., Philadelphia, Pa., Wilmington, Del.,* Attleborough, Pa., and Salem, N. J. The best record obtainable shows the names of sixteen who participated in this Convention. These names were handed down by Bishop William Paul Quinn and Jonathan Tudor, who were present but did not take part in the deliberations.
From Baltimore.--Revs. Daniel Coker, Richard Williams, Henry Harden, Messrs. Edward Williamson, Stephen Hill, Nicholas Gilliard.
From Wilmington, Del.--*Rev. Peter Spencer (who afterwards withdrew).
From Attleborough, Pa.--Revs. Jacob Marsh, William Anderson, Edward Jackson.
From Salem, N. J.--Reuben Cuff.
Richard Allen and Daniel Coker, Stephen Hill distinguished themselves, and it is to the counsels and wisdom
of Stephen Hill, more than to any other man, that the church is indebted for the form it took. While the speeches, addresses and suggestions made at this convention are lost to the Connection, still we have the following resolution which was adopted and under which the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized:
"Resolved, That the people of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and all other places, who shall unite with them, shall become one body under the name and style of the 'African Methodist Episcopal Church.' "
It was at this Convention that another important step was taken, namely, the selection of a Bishop. April 9, 1816, Daniel Coker was declared the Bishop-elect, but on the following day, he declined the office, or rather resigned it, and Richard Allen was chosen in his stead. April 11, Richard Allen was consecrated the first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. In this new organization, a constitutional provision was made so as to allow ministers coming from other denominations to be received in the same official standing which he formerly held in the church or denomination from which he came. In this manner the African Methodist Episcopal Church was launched; poor and lowly, without money or buildings; an outcast and despised of men, it thus feebly entered into being, but with a manifest destiny of greatness, which has been unmistakably developing, for nearly a century.
The records of the Conference, dated April 7, 1818, show some strange proceedings. A resolution was adopted, and the reason for its passage, perhaps, will never be explained. The Conference was held in the house of Mr. Samuel Williams, a two-story building which was standing in Baltimore as late as 1843, and Bishop Richard Allen presided. The minutes of this Conference show that the attendance was very small. The first business transacted
was the consideration of a charge made by James Cole against Rev. Daniel Coker; but before the committee was appointed to investigate the charge the following resolution was adopted:
"Resolved, That no business of a secret nature, referred to a committee, shall be taken out of the Conference, and if reported out of the Conference by any member, they shall forfeit all their official functions for one year, and shall not obtain their license until they give proper satisfaction to the Annual Conference."
A trial committee, consisting of Jacob Tapsico, Richard Williams and Edward Williamson, was appointed. The committee held its sessions at the home of Don Carlos Hall, April 8, and on the 10th reported to the Conference that it had found the charge proven and Rev. Daniel Coker guilty. In the meantime another committee had been appointed to examine the work of the trial committee, and after due examination, concurred in the verdict, and Daniel Coker was expelled from the connection. Bishop Payne in his History, Chapter IV, in discussing this trial, says: "Whatever may have been the sin with which he was charged, and whatever the evidence produced against him, the whole Conference appears to have been satisfied of the justness of the sentence."
"Daniel Coker had shown himself to be eminently useful, and to his talents and activity the infant Connection was largely indebted for the progress it had made. On that account, the two non-participants deeply sympathized with him, although there is no record of this sympathy having been in any way expressed. In view of his former usefulness to the Connection, and the disadvantage under which it might have to labor from his absence from its work and councils, one cannot but admire the stern resolve of this body, which dispensed with all the advantages
it might otherwise receive, and in order to keep itself pure and free from everything which might militate against its advancement in its chosen cause; and which cut off every one, who, by any course of conduct, might retard that work, or give rise to offense, no matter what the cost might be. It would be well if this course were followed more at the present day and less attention paid to expediency than to right."
BY DANIEL A. PAYNE.
This remarkable man was born in a state of slavery, in Frederick county, Maryland. His mother, Susan Coker, was a white English woman, who, having emigrated to America in a condition of extreme poverty, was sold for her passage money to a Maryland planter. His father, Edward Wright, was an African slave, and belonged to the same master. Being fellow-servants, Susan and Edward associated together as man and wife. The result of this union was a noble boy who was named Isaac, and who retained this name till he grew up to manhood, when he fled from slavery, and covered his flight by changing his name from Isaac Wright to Daniel Coker.
Daniel's master had a son, who by excessive indulgence, became so stubborn that he would never go to school, unless Daniel was sent with him, to bear his satchel of books, and to minister to his sports. In this humble capacity, Daniel was allowed a place in the school-room by the side of his young master. Let us see what personal benefit he derived from the circumstance. While the little master was trying to learn A. B. C., so was Daniel, and by the day and the hour he had learned them, Daniel
knew them. When his boyish master was learning b-a ba, so was the boyish slave, and thus, by the time that the one knew how to spell in two syllables, the other knew also. The little slave thus progressed with his young master, till they both were able to read, write and cipher.
As Daniel's years multiplied his knowledge increased, and with this latter was his love of liberty. The light which the school-room and the instructions of his young master had given him, did not only enlarge his soul, but also made his feet like those of the deer, and as there was no need of fighting for his liberty, he ran for it, and found an asylum in the State of New York.
The time, place and manner of his conversion to God we know not; but this we are certain, that he was ordained a local deacon in the M. E. Church, in the City of New York, by the good Bishop Asbury.
Some time after this event, he returned to Maryland, and concealed himself among his friends; till by purchase, they had secured his freedom. After this he became one of the most active and efficient members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore.
The most intelligent and eloquent of all the colored officials in that place, as a necessary consequence, he became the master-spirit of all the religious and literary movements.
In the difficulties growing out of the existence of slavery and complexional distinctions, he was their counsellor and guide. And when they resolved to withdraw from the M. E. Church, he became their leader, and organized them into a separate and independent society, and ministered as their pastor for several years. In 1816 he served the Convention as secretary, blended his flock with that of Rev. Richard Allen, and by these acts became one of the founders of the A. M. E. Church.
For several years he was the most popular, if not the only school-master among the colored people in the Monumental City, and has been the honored instrument of preparing some of the most gifted among the youth of that day, for usefulness on earth, and glory in heaven.
Among those now living is Mr. -- Clark, the poet, of Little York, Pa., and the Rev. William Douglas, of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. When he opened his school, it was with seventeen pupils, but when he left it, it contained one hundred and fifty.
Equally successful was he as a financier. When a leading man in Sharp Street Church, he planned a system of finances which improved the original property to the amount of three thousand dollars.
He was also a writer of respectable attainments, when we take into consideration the limited advantages he enjoyed. He is the first colored anti-slavery writer whose productions have reached us. As early as 1810, he published a pamphlet entitled "A Dialogue between a Virginian and an African Minister, written by the Rev. Daniel Coker, a descendant of Africa, minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, humbly dedicated to the people of color, in the United States of America." A copy of this pamphlet is now in my possession. It contains about forty-three pages, and may be considered a literary curiosity. After the Dialogue is finished, Mr. Coker gives us, first, "A List of Names of the Descendants of the African Race, who have Given Proof of Talents." Second, "A List of African Churches." Third, "A List of the Names of African Ministers in Holy Orders." Fourth, "A List of the Names of African Local Preachers."
Reverend Daniel Coker was also a man of a heroic spirit, and well adapted to meet great emergencies. This feature
of his character is exhibited in bold relief by the following statement, taken from a little work on Liberia, entitled "The New Republic." Before I give the statement, it is proper to inform our readers that the Rev. Mr. Coker left this land in the first company of emigrants, who sailed for Africa, to find a home and unfettered freedom, in that deeply interesting country.
The fatal fever of that country having laid the agents of the American Colonization Society in their graves, the author of New Republic describes the effects upon the minds of the emigrants in these words: "What a pall hangs upon the prospects of the feeble remnant. Their leaders fallen, without a guide, or counsellor--without protection; they were like sheep without a shepherd in the howling wilderness. But, He who led His people like a flock by the hands of Moses and Aaron, gave power to the faint, and to them that had no might He increased strength. Before his death, Croker (the white gentleman who led out the expedition to Liberia), committed his agency into the hands of one of the leading emigrants, Rev. Daniel Coker, a colored clergyman.
Finding himself at the head of affairs in a most perilous crisis, and feeling the need of advice, he determined upon going to Sierra Leone, as soon as conditions among the sick would allow. At that hour, with the sick, the dying, and the dead about him, entrusted with new responsibilities, connected with the welfare of a large body of people, and the preservation of a large amount of property, with no one to counsel or befriend him, how does this new workman, on the foundations of a new Republic, stand out to light? Does he flag, or flinch, or fear? Alone, he stands with a dark present, and a darker future; but does he draw fearfully and timidly back? His language on that night of toil is truly sublime:--
"We have met trials; we are but a handful; our provisions are running low; we are in a strange and heathen land; we have not heard from America, and know not whether more provisions or people will be sent out; yet, thank the Lord, my confidence is strong in the veracity of His promises. Tell my brethren to come--fear not--this land is good; it only wants men to possess it. I have opened a little Sabbath School for native children. Oh, it would do your heart good to see the little naked sons of Africa around me. Tell the colored people to come up to the help of the Lord. Let nothing discourage the Society, or the colored people." Herein do we read the words of a stout-hearted Christian hero! He daunted! He fearful! He dismayed! No! The work must be done though hundreds fall in the outset. He sees that Africa must be Christianized and civilized, and stands boldly, relying upon the promises of God that it will be done.
Such is the interesting light in which Daniel Coker is placed by the hand of history. The historian quotes his own words, for they were addressed to the friends of benighted Africa by Coker himself. And it is to this worth of Coker in Africa, this gathering "of the little sons of Africa" into Sabbath School around him, that Bishop Allen alludes, when in the first revised edition of the Discipline he tells us that "God has spread the work through our instrumentality, upon the barren shores of Africa."
And yet, some have meanly refused to purchase the likeness of such a man! A man whose heroic labors have shed additional lustre upon our ecclesiastical history, and through whom alone, we dare to say that "God has spread the work, through our instrumentality, upon the barren shores of Africa."
The time, place and manner of Mr. Croker's death we know not. Some of his descendants are still living in the
British province of Sierra Leone. Some ten or twelve years ago we wrote to one of his sons for information on the subject, but have never received a reply. Though not without fault--and who is?--I say, though not faultless, he was one of the most intelligent, active and heroic spirits that opened the glorious career of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The oldest circuits in the Baltimore District were cut out, and the churches planted by him. "Peace to his ashes!" Honor to his memory! God grant that we may meet him in that better and brighter land, where the redeemed of our Lord are made perfect through the blood of the Lamb.
There is still some discussion as to whether a conference was held during the year 1817 or not, as no record is given of it; but it is believed by many of the older men of the church that there was a conference held; but if so the records were misplaced. The Conference of 1816 had a secretary, whose services were recognized by the Conference paying him $5.00. It has been already noted of the great loss to the Connection, by the General Convention of 1816 not preserving its record.
The secretaryship seemed to be the most difficult position in these Conferences, and why? Simply because there were so few men of color who could write sufficiently well to keep correct minutes. They were often compelled to select persons as secretaries of the Conference irrespective of their religious condition. Richard Allen, Jr., was the first secretary; he was not a religious man, but he was an excellent scribe, and filled the position of secretary for several Conference years. His office was so important that he would leave Philadelphia with Bishop Allen and come to Baltimore to act as secretary of the Baltimore Conference. Richard Allen, Jr., remained secretary until the Rev. Jacob Mathews joined the A. M. E. Church, and he
became Richard Allen, Jr.'s, successor in this position. The Rev. Jacob Matthews was an M. E. preacher from the city of New York. He moved to Philadelphia, joined the A. M. E. Church, and was stationed at Bethel A. M. E. Church as the successor to Bishop Allen. After serving his time with this congregation, Bishop Allen appointed him to Bethel Church, Baltimore, Md. Rev. Mathews was a fair scribe and an excellent man, very much beloved by the people. He filled the office of secretary for a considerable while.
The Conference of 1818 took an advanced step, for here are found the minutes, replete with details of every transaction entered into; and these give the best idea of how the fathers carried on the business of the different things committed to their charge. These minutes were written in a careful, clear hand, and although the work of a mere lad, they show a striking adaptability for the work. Richard Allen, Jr., was the writer. We are informed that he was neither a member of the Annual Conference, or church, but was employed as secretary because he was the best scholar the Conference could obtain. He was about fifteen years old and served the Baltimore Annual Conferences of 1818 and 1819.
The Baltimore Annual Conference of 1818 opened with ten members, some of them were from the Philadelphia District, but in 1820 it opened with 21 members present. The names of the members present are:
|Rev. Richard Allen,||Rev. John Foulks,|
|Rev. Jacob Mathews,||Rev. James Cole,|
|Rev. Jacob Richardson,||Rev. Jacob Pierceson,|
|Rev. David Smith,||Rev. James Carr,|
|Rev. Edward Waters,||Rev. William Tilman,|
|Rev. Charles Pierce,||Rev. John White,|
|Rev. James Towson,||Rev. James Chace,|
|Rev. Abner Coker,||Rev. Shadrack Bassett,|
|Rev. Jacob Roberts,||Rev. Joseph Chane,|
|Mr. Don C. Hall, Steward.|
Rev. Jacob Mathews acted as secretary.
Don C. Hall, who has figured so conspicuously in the organization of the Church and who is mentioned as steward, it must be remembered, was not a clergyman, but yet he so distinguished himself that he was permitted to participate in all the business of the Conferences, moving resolutions, voting on them--in a word, leading in the affairs of the Church, and giving character to them.
Two persons were admitted on trial, John White and Joseph Chane; James Cole was ordained a deacon, David Smith, Charles Pierce and Edward Waters were ordained Elders.
Rev. Charles Dunn The Singing Evangelist of Early Days.
Organization of the First General Conference--Bishop Richard Allen Delivers an Address and Makes Some Pointed Suggestions--The Conference Acts on the Suggestions and Proceeds to Formulate a Discipline for the Future Government of the Church.
THE First General Conference was held in Philadelphia, July 9, 1820, and while the prerogatives of a General Conference were not fully understood by the delegates, yet there was a large amount of business transacted, and the work of the body fully understood and defined.
Bishop Richard Allen called the General Conference to order at 9 o'clock Monday morning, July 9, and conducted religious services by Scripture reading, singing and prayer. After the General Conference was duly opened, the first thing in order was the election of a secretary. Rev. Jacob Mathews was elected secretary. At this point Bishop Allen delivered an address, in which he referred to the importance of the meeting and called attention to some of the important things to be considered during the Conference session.
"We have before us," he said, "to-day, larger questions than we had when we met in 1816, four years ago, and these questions must be settled; we must give our attention to the affairs which God, in His Providence, has committed to our care.
"The amendments and re-arranging of our Discipline so as to meet the wants and demands of our Yearly Conferences,
thus giving strength, permanency and uniformity to the rules, regulation and government of Yearly Conferences. Another very important matter, brethren, that comes under our consideration, is the powers and prerogatives of this general body. We ought to make this meeting permanent and I don't know a better rule than the one adopted by the Methodist Episcopal Church, that we meet in the month of May, the first Monday of that month, and I would recommend that we fix that meeting once every four years, in such place or places, as shall be fixed by this and each succeeding General Conference.
"The General Superintendent, or acting Bishop, by advice and consent of the General Conference, shall have power to call a general session of the General Conference, if they deem it necessary, at any time.
"It shall be the duty of one of the Bishops to preside over all our Annual Conferences and in his absence, the Annual Conference shall choose a president pro tem. These questions demand your serious consideration, and others that we shall be pleased to lay before you as our session shall progress.
"Before taking my seat, I would call the General Conference's attention to a rule in the Discipline of the M. E. Church, which says 'the General Conference shall not revoke, alter or change our rticles of religion, or establish any new standard or rule of doctrine, contrary to our present existing and established standards of doctrines.' This you will remember, brethren, was adopted at the convention that organized our church in 1816."
Motion of Rev. D. Smith, that the recommendation, explained by the Bishop, be referred to the Committee on Discipline. Carried.
David Smith, Jacob Richardson, Shadrack Bassett composed the Committee on Discipline.
During the morning session the following question arose:--
"What shall be done, if by death, expulsion, or otherwise, there be no General Superintendent?" After considerable debate it was decided that the General Conference should assemble and elect a General Superintendent or Bishop.
The following question was asked by the Committee on Discipline:
"What are the duties of the General Superintendent or acting Bishop?"
"To preside over all our Conferences, to affix all the appointments of the traveling ministers, in conjunction with his assistants, at the Yearly Conference, but in the interval of the Conference he shall exercise his judgment, in conjunction with one or more of the preachers having the charge of the neighboring circuit or stations, and the Quarterly Conference where he wishes the preacher removed from. Nevertheless, that no pracher remain on one circuit or station longer than two years, unless the Bishop, in his godly judgment, sees fit otherwise. He is to travel through the connection. He is to ordain Bishops, Elders and Deacons."
On motion the General Conference took a recess until 9 o'clock to-morrow morning.
At 9 o'clock, Bishop Allen called the Conference to order and after song and prayer service, and the reading of the journal, proceeded to business, taking up where they left off the previous day.
To whom is a Bishop amenable for his conduct?
To the General Conference, which has power to expel him for immoral conduct.
How is an Elder constituted?
By the election of a majority of the Yearly Conference, and by the laying on of the hands of the General Superintendent and some Elders, present.
What are the duties of the Elder having charge?
In the absence of the General Superintendent, to take charge of all the Elders and Deacons, traveling and local preachers, and exhorters in his charge; to recommend everywhere decency and cleanliness; to be present at all Quarterly Meetings; to preside in the Quarterly Conferences; to hear complaints and try appeals. To attend the General Superintendent when present in his charge and to give him, when absent, all necessary information by letter, of the state of his charge, and leave his successor a clear statement of the state of the circuit he is leaving. He shall travel and labor through his charge; administering baptism and the Lord's Supper, perform the office of matrimony, hold Love Feast and Watch Night Meeting.
These reports of the Committee on Circuits and Sta-Conference took a recess.
The General Conference assembled at 9 o'clock with Bishop Allen presiding. After an interesting song and prayer service and the reading of the Scripture Lesson, the tions, after several hours' debate, were approved and the journal was read and approved.
How shall we try those who feel that they are moved by the Holy Ghost to preach?
Let them be asked the following questions, viz.: Do they know God as a pardoning God? Have they the love of God abiding in them? Do they desire and seek nothing but God? Are they holy in all manner of conversation? Have they gifts as well as grace, for the work? Have they--in some tolerable degree--a clear, sound understanding, a right judgment in the things of God? A just conception
of salvation by faith? And has God given them any degree of utterance? Do they speak readily, justly, clearly?
Are there any smaller advices that might be of use to them?
Perhaps these: 1. Be sure never to disappoint a congregation. 2. Begin at the time appointed. 3. Let your whole deportment be serious, solemn, and weighty. 4. Always suit your subject to your audience. 5. Choose the plainest text you can. 6. Take care not to ramble, but keep to your text, and make out what you take in hand. 7. Take care of anything awkward, either in your gesture, phrase, or pronunciation. 8. Do not usually pray extempore above eight or ten minutes. 9. Frequently read and enlarge upon a portion of the Scripture. Walk closely with God and have His work greatly at heart by understanding and loving discipline--ours in particular.
What shall we do for the rising generation?
Let him who is zealous for God and the souls of men begin now.
Where there are ten children, whose parents will allow it, meet them once a week; but where this is impracticable, meet them once in two weks. Organize Sunday Schools, instruct the children.
Can anything be done in order to make class meetings lively and profitable?
Change improper leaders. Let the leaders frequently meet each other's classes. Let us observe which leaders are most useful; and let these meet the other classes as often as possible. See that all the leaders be men of sound judgment, and truly devoted to God.
On motion the Conference adjourned.
After religious exercises this morning, the important subject of marriage was brought up. The Bishop called the attention of the General Conference to that subject; that many of our members have married with unawakened persons. This had produced bad effects. They have been either hindered for life, or turned back to perdition. He asked the question, What can be done to discourage this? After the exchange of opinion of many of the brethren present, the Conference reached this conclusion:
Let every preacher publicly enforce the apostle's caution: "Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers."
Let all be exhorted not to enter so weighty a matter without advising with the most serious of their brethren.
The Conference then adjourned.
Bishop Allen called the Conference to order this morning at 9 o'clock, and after religious exercises, the question of the day, the boundaries of the Conferences, was taken up by the Bishop asking the question, What are the boundaries of an Annual Conference?
Answer 1. The Baltimore Conference shall include Baltimore City, Eastern Shore of Maryland, Harrisburg, Chambersburg, Lewistown Circuits, Washington City and Piscataway, and all places that may hereafter be brought into the Connection south of that latitude.
2. The Philadelphia Conference will include Philadelphia City, Bucks County, Delaware State, West and East Jersey as far as Rahway, Elizabethtown and Morristown.
3. The New York Conference shall extend from the northern extremity of the Philadelphia District, and as far North and East as the Canadas, including the whole of the New York State.
4. The Ohio Conference shall include all that part of
Pennsylvania west of the Allegheny mountains, the States of Ohio and Michigan.
5. The Indiana Conference shall include Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
6. The Canada Conference shall include all the Canadas.
The next important subject brought before the General Conference was the Qualification, Appointment, and Duty of the Stewards of Circuits and Stations in the A. M. E. Church.
Let them be men of solid piety, who both know and love the Methodist doctrine and discipline, and of good natural and acquired abilities, to transact the temporal business.
How are stewards to be appointed?
The preacher having the charge of the circuit or station shall have the right of nomination; but the Quarterly Meeting Conference shall confirm or reject such nomination.
What are the duties of the stewards?
To take an exact account of all the money or other provision collected for the support of the preacher in the circuit or station; to make an accurate return of every expenditure of money whether to the preacher, sick or poor; to seek the needy and distressed, in order to relieve and comfort them; to inform the preacher of any sick or disorderly persons; to tell the preacher that they, the stewards, think wrong of them to attend the quarterly meeting of their circuit or station; to give advice, if asked, if planning the circuit or station.
To whom are the stewards accountable for the faithful performance of their duties
To the Quarterly Meeting Conference of the circuit or station.
The General Conference also passed resolutions refusing
to receive into fellowship any slaveholder. After a very profitable session and transacting much business, the General Conference closed.
Baltimore Annual Conference Preceded the Philadelphia Annual Conference More Than a Month--Records of the Former Better Kept Than the Latter--Members of the Conference--Philadelphia and Charleston the Leaders--Daniel Coker Makes Application for Reinstatement--Is Formally Reinstated--The Business of the Conference.--Earlier Work But Little Known of the Philadelphia Annual Conference.--Commencement of Record Work.--Missionary to Africa Selected and Ordained--The Work Commences to Grow--Annual Conferences Doing the Work of the General Conferences.
THAT the Baltimore Conference preceded the Philadelphia Conference by a little more than a month, there can be no question, and the fact that the brethren in Baltimore were careful in preserving their records makes it easy to connect the doings of the church in Baltimore from its beginning to the present time, but in the case of both the Baltimore and Philadelphia Conferences, there can be but little ascertained about the session of 1817, although many say that the session was held in Baltimore. The records must have been misplaced.
The Philadelphia Annual Conference met at the home of Richard Allen, May 9, 1818. It was opened promptly at 11 o'clock A. M. with singing and prayer. At this session, five preachers were admitted on trial, and six were admitted into full connection, among them was Morris Brown, who afterwards became a Bishop. At this meeting three of the founders, Henry Drayton, Edward Jackson and
Reuben Cuff, were elected to deacon's orders, while Morris Brown, with two others of the founders, Jas. Champion and Jacob Tapsico, were elected and ordained elders. Joseph Lea, was the only death recorded. He was a pioneer, having labored many years in the cause. He was a Christian, as well as a faithful minister, a kind and loving husband and a tender father. The records show but very little business of any importance as being transacted at this meeting. Thomas Banks, a trustee of the Snow Hill Church appeared before the Conference, on the third day of the session, and appealed to the Bishop and Conference to take charge of the spiritual concerns of their church and congregation; which request was unanimously granted, and the promise to supply them with preaching as often as they could make it convenient.
The first detailed report of the members in the Society was given at this meeting, and we find sixteen places represented: Philadelphia, 3,311 members; Baltimore, 1,066; Salem, N. J., 110; Trenton, 73; Princeton, 33; Snow Hill, 56; Woodbury, 29; Attleborough, 41; New Hope, 33; Frankfort, 28; Westchester, 46; Plymouth, 8; Whitemarsh, 29; Bridgeport, 6; Brunswick, 40; Charleston, S. C., 1,848; making a total of 6,748. The stronghold of African Methodism was in Philadelphia with Charleston next in order. May 20, the Conference adjourned to meet again in Philadelphia, but the date was not set. There is no other record shown for the meeting of the Philadelphia Conference from this time until 1822. "Not until that date," says Bishop Payne, "did we have any Church records to run parallell with those of the Baltimore Conference which were continued yearly from 1818."
April 19th, 1819, the Baltimore Annual Conference opened in the A. M. E. Church, on Saratoga street. The members present were from Philadelphia, Baltimore, and
Charleston, S. C. The following were present at the opening of the session: Rev. Richard Allen, Rev. Richard Williams, Rev. William Cousin, Rev. James Towsen, Rev. Henry Harden, Rev. Morris Brown, Rev. Jerry Miller, Rev. Joseph Cox, Rev. Jacob Richardson, Mr. Don Carlos Hall, Rev. Charles Pierce, Rev. Edward Waters, Rev. James Cole, Rev. David Smith, Rev. Thomas Hall, Rev. Abner Coker, Rev. William Quinn.
After the Conference had opened with religious services, the first thing was to appoint a door keeper, who was instructed to admit no one without the consent of the presiding Bishop. A resolution was also passed that no member of the Conference should leave the room without permission of the chair; while still another resolution, tending toward the secrecy and safety of the proceedings of the Conference, was one by Don C. Hall, to the effect that the steward shall not present or show the books or papers of the Annual Conference to any person or persons without the permission of the superintendent. Some confusion was caused in this conference by some letters which seemed to have been addressed to some official members in Philadelphia, and were detained by the secretary for unknown reasons, and handed to the Bishop upon his arrival in Baltimore. While the record shows that there was a motion made to have the letters read in open Conference, still it stops and fails to show whether they were read, hence there is no record of their contents. It is thought that the contents of the letters, caused Henry Harden to place his resolution before the Conference, "that no minister or preacher belonging to the African Methodist Episcopal Conference, or any member, local or traveling, shall write any letter or letters, or communicate verbally, or by any other means whatsoever, that will have the appearance of raising discord or hardness in the Connection," as well as another to the effect "that ways
and means shall be entered into by the Conference to prevent any member or members of the Annual Conference from taking a part with any person or persons, evading the Disicpline of the said African Methodist Episcopal Church or Churches; or shall be found guilty of sowing discord, or raising schisms, tattling or tale-bearing, so that the Church or Society may suffer injury by the strife of such person or persons; the Elder shall call him or them to trial; if found guilty, the Elder shall silence him or them until the setting of the Annual Conference, then the Elder shall deliver the charge to the Conference, in writing, and the Conference shall deal with the said offender according to Discipline."
At this Conference, Daniel Coker, who had been expelled in the year of 1818, made application to be reinstated to the position which he had formally held. A committee having been appointed to take into consideration the reinstating of Daniel Coker, reported as follows:
"We, the Committee appointed by the Annual Conference on 22nd inst., to take into consideration the case of Brother Daniel Coker, deem it necessary to receive him into the Society, and be in subjection to the Elder stationed at the District, and when they see proper, shall be admitted to the pulpit at their discretion; but he shall not fulfill the office of deacon until the Annual Conference restores him to fill those offices.
REV. MORRIS BROWN,
REV. RICHARD WILLIAMS,
RICHARD ALLEN, JR., Secretary.
Only two members were admitted at this session, Henry Fox and Jacob Roberts and they together with David Smith were ordained deacons. The business transacted in this session of the Baltimore conference worthy of note is summed up in the following paragraphs:
We have now reached the period where we can trace the work of the Philadelphia Annual Conference, along with
the Baltimore Annual Conference. From 1818 up to 1822 there seems to be no record of the Philadelphia Conference, and if there is any extant, none of the writers of the Connection have been able to locate it; hence, much time and space have been devoted to the discussion of the work of the Baltimore Conference and the pioneers of the work in Maryland. There are many reasons for belief that the Philadelphia Conference held sessions between the years named, as resolutions passed in the Baltimore Conference during that time make mention of these meetings, but what eventually became of the journal, minutes or other documents is not known.
It was in the year 1822 that the Philadelphia Conference began to run along parallel lines with that of the Baltimore Conference, and for this year we have both the manuscript journal and printed minutes of the session which opened in Philadelphia, on May 9th. Bishop Allen presided over this session. The business transacted, in most cases was unimportant, and but few resolutions were adopted. Joshua P. B. Eddy, George Bowler, and Noah Cannon were admitted on trial. Charles Butler, having been selected as a missionary to Africa was ordained a deacon and elder at this session. A number of applications were filed for license to preach, Thomas Robinson, Adam Clincher, Samuel Collins, George Bowler, Joshua P. B. Eddy, Henry C. Mervin, Solomon Walsh, James Scott, and David Crosby were licensed, and William Cornish and Walter Proctor were set apart for the office of deacon, with the understanding that they travel.
The law which provided that a minister could only be stationed at one point more than two consecutive years was repealed. The following licensed preachers were ordained deacons: Thomas Robinson, Adam Clincher, Samuel Collins and Noah Cannon.
The question of Bishop's compensation was settled by an agreement being entered into that the Bishop should receive twenty-five dollars from each Annual Conference over which he presided, and in addition to this, the Conference was to pay his traveling expenses. There were at this time three Annual Conferences, viz.: Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York.
A long discussion took place in this session over Conference finances, resulting in a resolution being passed requiring each member to pay the expenses of his own horse himself. The contingent funds of the Conference collected at this session amounted to eighty-six dollars and was disbursed as follows: To Bishop as allowance, $25; for circulars, $17.25; for preachers' horses $33.37½.
It has been previously stated that the Baltimore Conference transacted the business of the General Conference, and here we find the same thing prevalent in the Philadelphia Conference, for it decreed that there should be three Annual Conferences, and even went beyond this, by electing an assistant Bishop. The record shows that Jacob Mathews was elected. This conference also abolished the limitation of two years service of a station or circuit preacher, as had been previously done by the Baltimore conference.
Rev. Charles Butler's African mission did not get beyond paper.
Brother William Lambert Commissioned by Bishop Allen to Do Missionary Work in New York--His Successful Efforts--The First House of Worship Established in Mott Street--Moving the Order of the Day--Finally Located--Establishment of the Church in Brooklyn--The New York Conference Organized.
LET us now note the rise and progress of African Methodism in New York City and vicinity. Up to this time, there was but little or no work done in New York, but already the African Methodist Episcopal Church had begun to spread, to prevent this spread was utterly impossible. The fathers had heard the voice of God and were obeying it, and with God in front of them there was nothing to prevent their going to the front. Brother William Lambert, a licentiate of the Philadelphia Annual Conference was commissioned by Bishop Richard Allen in the fall of 1819, to go and labor in New York City, for the purpose of planting a branch of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in that city. He was emphatically a missionary from that Conference. Under God's blessing he succeeded in procuring a school-room in Mott street, and had it fitted up for a house of worship. The success of his efforts was shown in the fact that in the summer of the following year this house was consecrated to the service of Almighty God, the third Sunday in July, 1820, the year the first General Conference met. In the same year, Rev. Henry Harden,
Rev. Walter Proctor
who had been previously appointed at the Baltimore Conference to the Harrisburg Circuit, was sent from the Philadelphia Conference to take pastoral charge of this church in New York. There were twenty souls who made up the Church membership, the majority of whom were women. He was able to overcome opposition, and added to the membership of the Church, weekly. The Society used the Mott street church for seven years, at the end of which time the lease expired and the house was torn down. A house was secured on Allen street, which was only used for a short period, and then they moved to the Mutual Relief Hall, No. 42 Orange street. Moving seemed to be in order, for they moved from the last named place to the basement of the organ factory, Centre street, and later moved to Second, thence to a factory in Elizabeth street, and later moved to Second street, between B and C, where a house was erected in the year 1835 or 1836. Here the Society worshippd until 1860, when the house was sold, because the Society was literally dying out. This gradual decay was the result of two important facts, which in all places, it would be well to study, and from this study become wiser, through the lesson which is taught:
The facts just mentioned, led up to the selling of the
property of Bethel, and it was followed by the purchase of a property on Sullivan street for twenty-five thousand dollars, which we occupied for the past twenty-seven years and finally purchased the present property on Twenty-fifth street.
It was after an interview with Rev. Henry Harden, then pastor of the church in New York City, that they became incorporated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America, by a joint meeting of the officers of the Church in Brooklyn and those of the Church in New York. The meeting was held in Bethel Church which was then located on Mott street. The members of the church in Brooklyn numbered one hundred, chiefly women. These were divided into four classes, two male and two female. Four exhorters were among them, but no preachers. Rev. Benjamin Croger, and his brother Peter, were two of these exhorters. They entered the ministry after they had joined the Connection. The property of the church in Brooklyn consisted of two lots, which had been purchased as early as 1817 at a cost of $165.50 for each lot. The original house of worship was built at a cost of $900.
The work continued to grow and societies were organized beyond the limits of the city of New York, and formed into a Circuit called the White Plains Circuit. One was also established in the City of New Bedford, Mass., then under the care of Brother Charles Spicer, a deacon, subordinate to Rev. H. Harden. The work of organizing societies in New York was pushed rapidly, and now we approach the organization and session of the New York Conference.
From what has been gleaned from the forgoing it will be discovered that the basis for organizing the New York Conference was weak, but then devotion, time and energy, and an abiding Faith in God, made it strong. Tradition says
that there was an Annual Conference held in New York as early as 1821, but there is no record of such a meeting. There is no record of the New York Conference earlier than 1822, although the organization may have taken place in 1821.
June 8, 1822. The New York Conference was opened by Bishop Richard Allen. Members present: Bishop Richard Allen, Henry Harden, Thomas Webster, George White, Richard Williams, Samuel Ridley, Charles Corr, Henry Drayton, Joseph Cox, Stephen Dutton, Jeremiah Miller, Jacob Mathews, Thos. Miller, Issac Cropper, Jos. Harvey, Edmund Crosby, Peter Croker, Benj. Croger, Jas. Thompson, Charles Spicer, Titus Rosarett, Henry Davis, Michael Parker, Thomas Jones, Charles Butler, James Scott and John Morris.
The importance of union among the brethren was impressed upon the conference in the most pathetic manner by Bishop Allen in his opening address. They were urged to stand steadfast in the cause, trusting only in God. This address had its desired effect as each minister going out from the Conference at its close resolved to do more in the future than ever before for God and the Church.
James Thompson, Thomas Miller, George White, Peter Croger, Edmund Crosby, Benjamin Croger, Charles Spicer, Titus Rosarett, Henry Davis, Thomas Jones, and William P. Williams were admitted on trial.
George White and Stephen Dutton, were admitted into full connection.
Charles Spicer, Edmund Crosby, Peter Croger, Benjamin Croger, and Thomas Miller, were ordained deacons.
Stephen Dutton was ordained an elder.
Brother William Lambert, the founder died during the year.
At the close of the Conference the following appointments
were made: New York, Henry Harden; Long Island, Stephen Dutton; White Plains Circuit, George White; New Bedford, Charles Spicer.
Conference in session 6 days.
Brief Records of the Several Annual Conference Meetings from 1823 to 1824--South Carolina Work Lost and a New Work Gained in Ohio--Why the Work in South Carolina Was Lost to the Connection--The Second General Conference.
BALTIMORE Conference met April 10, 1823, in the city of Baltimore, in Bethel Church. Number of members present at the opening, 6; number of members present before the conference closed 26. Those present at the opening: Bishop Richard Allen, David Smith, John Boggs, Charles Corr, Jeremiah Miller, Jacob Mathews.
Deaths during the year, 1; Don Carlos Hall. Charles Hackett, a layman, was appointed at this session of the Conference as steward, to succeed Don Carlos Hall. Henry Harden and Jacob Richardson, led a movement, by which the right to select delegates to the General Conference from the Baltimore Conference was delegated to the Baltimore Conference.
Jacob Pierson, Abner Coker and Jeremiah Beulah, were ordained deacons Sunday morning during the session of the Conference.
Amount of money raised for the Annual Conference $46.00. Expended as follows:
|For the annual service of the Bishop||$12.00|
|For his passage from Phila. to Balto. and return||9.00|
|Received for letters at this Conference||12.00|
|For feeding the preachers' horses||8.05|
April 24, 1824, Baltimore Annual Conference opened in Baltimore, Richard Allen presiding with Rev. Morris Brown assistant. Jacob Mathews elected Secretary.
Reports.--Jacob Richardson's charge in better condition than ever before. Jeremiah Beulah reported that he had added another church to his circuit. Edward Waters was not fully prepared to report.
Resolution adopted. "Any member of the Conference carrying out any of the secrets by letter or word, should forfeit his seat in the Conference."
Number of members: Baltimore City and vicinity, 715; Frederickstown Circuit, including Frederickstown, Hagerstown, Greencastle, Shippensburg, Carlisle, Harrisburg, Chambersburg, 317; Eastern Shore, Maryland, including Easton, Concord, Pekin's Island, Denton, Hole-in-the-Wall, Ivorytown, Miles River, Hillsborough, 543; Washington City, Piscataway, respectively 112 and 166; Hartford Circuit, including Havre de Grace, Swamp, Presburgs and Deer Creek, 175, making a total of 2,028.
Appointments.--Baltimore, Rev. Moses Freeman; Harrisburg Circuit, Richard Williams Elder, and Peter Schurman, preacher; Easton Circuit, Rev. Jeremiah Beulah and William Richardson; Washington City and Piscataway, Rev. Jacob Methews.
May 22, 1824, Philadelphia Annual Conference called to order by Bishop Richard Allen, eleven days after the close of the General Conference. Joseph M. Corr as elected secretary. The youngest man in the Conference, the best educated, and it is said the most gifted preacher.
Shadrack Bassett, William Cornish and Marcus Brown, received into full connection, and Joshua P. B. Eddy was located.
Collected for contingent expenses, $148.92. Expenses, $139.79.
Appointments.--Chillicothe, Ohio, Rev. Jeremiah Miller; Cincinnati, Ohio, Philip Brodie; Steubenville, Ohio, Rev. Noah C. W. Cannon; Redstone, George W. Bowler; these two points were under the care of T. Webster; Fredericktown, Richard Williams; Frederick Circuit, Peter Schurman; Bristol Circuit, Rev. Joseph Harper and Morris Brown; Philadelphia, William Cornish; Trenton Circuit, Rev. Samuel Ridley; Salem Circuit, Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey; Smyrna Circuit, Rev. John Boggs.
In 1822 the Connection lost South Carolina and gained Ohio, but the loss was greater than the gain. The loss in South Carolina was caused by a terrible civil excitement, which was produced by the discovery of a contemplated insurrection on the part of certain slaves for the overthrow of slavery in the State. Bishop Payne in speaking of this says:
"The ring-leaders, six in number, were arrested, tried and convicted, and hung on a single gallows at a single blow. Chief of these were Denmark Vesey and Gullak Jack. Subsequently twenty-two of the conspirators were convicted of the same offense, to wit: a combination to overthrow the most villainous system of oppression beneath the sun. They, too, were, hung on the same gallows, and at the same moment. They had not shed a drop of their so-called master's blood, nor had they taken up arms or committed an act of violence, but they had conspired against the infernal system, and that was a crime in itself sufficiently heinous to be punished with death.
"But slavery is a system based upon injustice, born of violence and blood, hence it knows not what is mercy or justice. But how terribly has the blood of these helpless victims been avenged by the punitive visitation of Heaven during the Civil War and Rebellion against the American Union! How differently has the spirit of
Liberty dealt with the blood-stained leaders of the Rebellion of 1860-'65! Their conspiracy against Liberty and the American Union resulted in the death of about two hundred and seventy-nine thousand three hundred and seventy-six men, and a national debt of ten billions three hundred and sixty-one millions, nine hundred and twenty-nine thousand nine hundred and nine dollars, yet they are allowed to go unpunished.
"The slaveholders of South Carolina were not satisfied with punishing with death the conspiracy against slavery in that State; they did not stop their proceedings till our Church in that State was entirely suppressed. Being an independent ecclesiastical organization, it gave the idea and produced the sentiment of personal freedom and responsibility in the Negro."
Nothing was looked forward to with more interest than the second session of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which assembled in Baltimore, Monday morning, May --, 1824. The meeting was called to order in Bethel Church, at 10 o'clock, by Bishop Richard Allen, who was assisted by Revs. Morris Brown and Jacob Mathews. Religious services were conducted by Bishop Allen, the delegates taking part. This service was impressive, and the presence of the Holy Ghost was felt. The Following delegates were present and answered to roll call:
Bishop Richard Allen, Rev. Morris Brown, Rev. Jacob Mathews, Rev. Henry Harden, Rev. Stephen Dutton, Rev. Charles Pierce, Rev. Reuben Cuff, Rev. Thomas Webster, Rev. Edward Waters, Rev. W. P. Quinn, Rev. Walter Proctor, Rev. Shadrack Bassett, Rev. Clayton Durham, Rev. Levin Lee, Rev. Peter Schureman, Rev. David Smith, Rev. Jeremiah Beulah, Rev. Samson Peters, Rev. Jeremiah Miller, Rev. Jacob Richardson, Rev. John Boggs, Rev.
Abner Coker, Rev. Joseph Chane, Rev. Richard Robinson, Rev. Joseph Cox, Rev. Joseph M. Corr.
Some time was spent in general discussion, and reviewing the work of the church. Plans were laid to prosecute the work already begun. After spending some time transacting the business of the Connection, the General Conference closed.
The financial report of the General Conference showed the collection to be $104.14. The expenses of the General Conference were paid. Bishop's salary, $25.00; Bishop's traveling expenses, $9.00; stationery, $8.33; letters, $12.12; feed of horses, $8.44. The membership increased from 1820 to 1824 more than 40 per cent. The loss of South Carolina already referred to, and the gaining of new territory, Ohio, was reported to the General Conference, and caused some discussion. We find that the General Conference closed and the minutes are signed by Bishop Richard Allen as Presiding Bishop, and Jacob Mathews, as Secretary.
You have, perhaps, noted that on several occasions horse feed is reported. Holding Conferences then was not like it is to-day, for the preachers were not only cared for, but their horses had to be looked after also. Travel was slow, and members of Annual Conference or General Conference in order to reach the seat of Conference had to go horse back or walk, and when horses were used it was necessary to care for the horses.
The writer recalls, when a boy, when Conferences were held at Bethel Church, Baltimore, the horses were hitched in the church-yard, and the boys were allowed to ride the horses to water daily. This was a pleasure performed by the boys free of charge in order to get to ride horse back.
A Maladministration Case and Its Punishment--Laymen Deprived of Privilege Heretofore Held--Impeachment Proceedings--Some Interesting Letters to the Conference--A Record of the Work in the Philadelphia Conference--Delegates Elected to the General Conference--The General Conference Meets and Adjourns, Meets Again and Elects the Second Bishop.
WE shall now follow the growth of the Connection step by step, through the Annual Conferences, and note what had been accomplished by each Annual Conference, up to the meeting of the third General Conference. We have just closed the second General Conference at Baltimore, in 1824, and now come to the session of the Baltimore Annual Conference, in 1825. Bishop Allen presided over this meeting, and, after the usual religious exercises, proceeded to business. Perhaps the most important thing to claim the attention of this session of the Conference, and the cause a long discussion, was a case of maladministration, and from it, we find that the order of punishment, in this case, at least, was the reverse of the order which now obtains.
The case was brought before the Conference, and a thorough investigation had, and the party charged, found guilty. The punishment meted out was silence for six months, after which, he was sharply reproved before the Annual Conference, and then restored to his functions as a traveling preacher.
At this session of the Conference Nathaniel Peck was received on trial for three months.
Adam Hercules was received on a full course as an itinerant preacher.
Peter Schureman applied for deacon's orders, and was rejected.
Moses Freeman asked for permission to go to Hayti, but was refused.
The question of printing Discipline was brought up at this session of the Conference, and Charles Hackett and Moses Freeman were appointed a committee to raise money with which to print the Discipline.
The amount of money raised for Ministers' salaries during the year amounted to $472.04, and was distributed among the ministers as follows:
Rev. Moses Freeman, pastor of Bethel, Baltimore, received $198.25; Rev. Jacob Mathews, Washington City, $80.00; J. Beulah, Easton Circuit, $17.50; W. Richardson, Easton Circuit, $14.50; Rev. R. Williams, Harrisburg Circuit, $67.89, and Rev. P. Schureman, same Circuit, $93.90.
The amount of contingent money raised in the Conference was $115. The Secretary of the Conference was paid $6.00. This is the second time in the history of the Conference that the Secretary had received pay for his services.
Monday, April 10, 1826, the Baltimore Conference opened the most prosperous session in its history up to this time. Bishop Richard Allen called the Conference to order, and after religious services and roll call, Joseph M. Corr was elected secretary.
Up to this time two classes of men always had a voice and vote in the Conference--ministers and laymen. The Conference steward most assuredly, who, from the formation of the Connection, had always been Don Carlos Hall,
and after his lamented death, Charles Hackett. It seemed good in the sight of the clergy at this tenth Conference to deprive them of these privileges. The reasons for their action do not appear on the face of the minutes.
At the opening of the Conference several of the most letters sent to the several churches, who were interested letters sent for to the several churches, who were interested in the impeachments, will show the piety of those who controlled the affairs of the Conference and its churches:
Baltimore, April 13, 1826.
"Dear Brethren of the Church in Christ, in the Borough of Chambersburgh, under the African Methodist Episcopal Bishop and Conference:
"We have taken up our pen to inform you that our Conference commenced in this city on Monday last, and the case of Brother -- came before us, and, after a thorough investigation of the subject, the Conference thought it no breach of discipline in his calling in the white elder to administer the Lord's Supper; and as it respects his debt on the circuit, which caused his horse to be sold, we are of the opinion that, had Brother -- received his full quarterages on the circuit, he would have been able to discharge his debts honorably; but having examined his returns, we found he has come short of receiving his quarterages by eighty dollars. We found he was totally unable to discharge his debts. By this we are sorry that so small a circumstance should cause such great interruptions on the circuit. When the preacher errs the official members have no right to shut the doors of the church against him, except the crime is of such magnitude as totally unfits a man for the Kingdom of Heaven, and even then, the superintendent should be first informed of it, and the case laid before the Annual Conference.
"The Conference is of the opinion that the official members of the circuit should act according to rule and order as well as the preacher. We hope in future that peace and tranquility will abound among you, and that preachers and people will pull together for the glory of God and the prosperity of the Church. The Conference does not wish to screen a preacher in his wrongs; but it wishes to have justice done him. The impeachments you sent on the Conference found not sufficient to exclude a preacher. Dear brethren, we ought to be exceedingly careful how we let such small evils get into our churches, as they do a great harm to the souls of our brethren; but as Methodists, leaders and stewards that love discipline, we should endeavor to eye the glory of God, and do all things in order for the tranquility and peace of the Church of God. We have at present a great prospect in the City of Baltimore of this being the greatest Conference ever held in this place. Great harmony prevails among our preachers, and the slain of the Lord are many. Our congregations are very numerous, and our meetings continue the whole night, which caused our hearts to rejoice at the display of the Lord among us.
"We remain, your affectionate brethren in Christ and in the bonds of peace.
"REV. RICHARD ALLEN, President."
JOSEPH M. CORR, Secretary.
"Signed by Order of the Conference."
Several other letters were ordered written. One to the Churches of the Columbia Circuit, and another to the church at Easton.
Joseph M. Corr was recommended for Secretary of each Annual Conference, his services to be paid for by the Conferences he served. The session then closed with benediction by the Bishop.
May 1, 1826. The Philadelphia Conference met on Monday morning, with Bishop Allen presiding.
William Shats, Austin Jones and Lewis Cork were received into the traveling connection on trial; James Wilson as a local preacher.
Here again we find the Phila. Conference doing the work of the General Conference by passing a resolution to the effect, that, "All African preachers coming to join us from the Methodist Connection, and who are in good standing and well recommended, shall be received into our Conferences, as our own preachers are, by the recommendation of our Quarterly Meeting Conference."
During the year, Brother Peter Woods, a local preacher, who had been in the work two years, died in Washington, Pa., December 22, 1825.
The salaries of the ministers of the ten Circuits and Stations for the year amounted to $614.14 3/4.
1827. The first Conference held this year was the Baltimore Annual Conference. We have already given, in part, the action of this Conference, for it is here where Scipio Bean offered himself as a missionary to go to Hayti, and after a committee had examined into his fitness and qualification, he was appointed, and was ordained a deacon and elder.
Edward Waters and George Hicks were elected delegates to represent the Baltimore Conference in the General Conference of 1828, which was to convene May 5, in Philadelphia. The usual routine business was transacted, and the Conference adjourned.
May 19, 1827. The Philadelphia Conference met with Bishop Allen presiding. A petition from the western part of New York and Canada was received, praying for a preacher. This was referred to the New York Conference, which had jurisdiction.
Samuel George, William Allen, Nathan Tarman and Isaac Scott were received on trial.
Austin Jones was elected to the order of elder.
Samuel George and Walter Proctor were elected to deacon's orders.
Delegates to the General Conference were elected as follows: James Byrd, from Cincinnati; Samuel Johnson, from Pittsburg, two from the West; Samson Peters, of Trenton; Thomas Banks, of Salem, two from New Jersey; Peter Lewis, of Lewiston, Del.; Edward Jackson, of Bucks County; Clayton Durham and Joseph Cox, from Philadelphia.
For the first time in the History of the Church appeared the "Daughters of Conference." They contributed to the Conference $18.75, which helped to run the receipts of the Conference up to $153.75.
We now reach the meeting of the Third General Conference, and in this we find that the General Conference was appointed to meet May 5, and the Philadelphia Conference May 6, both in 1828.
The Third General Conference convened on May 5, in Bethel Church, Philadelphia, Bishop Richard Allen presiding. It was a strange coincidence that the General Conference should be appointed to meet on one date, and the Philadelphia Conference one day later in the same city and in the same church.
Bishop Payne in speaking of this, writes that the General Conference was postponed, which was in violation of the Disciplinary rules. It appears that after the Philadelphia Conference had been in session six days it adjourned until a later period. Then after an adjournment of fourteen days they met, finished up the business and again adjourned. Funny! Isn't it?
The General Conference resumed its business some time
after, on the 11th of the month. Elder Morris Brown was elected Bishop, and ordained at this session. The number of delegates present at this session was 27.
The reports were made, and the General Conference closed.
Rev. Morris Brown, the second Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Charleston, South Carolina. Soon after his conversion he entered the M. E. Church, and was licensed to preach. He remained there until the organization of the A. M. E. Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was delegated by the colored members of the M. E. Church to visit Philadelphia to see Bishop Allen, and if approved of by the Conference, he wished to be ordained, and return to Charleston and organize an A. M. E. Church. Upon his arrival in Philadelphia, he was gladly received by Bishop Allen, and the Conference elected and ordained him deacon and elder. When he returned to Charleston, S. C., he organized the A. M. E. Church, and in a short time had fifteen hundred members. About this time an insurrection broke out in South Carolina, headed by a man named Denmark Vesey. The ministers of Morris Brown's church were suspected of being particeps criminis. The white friends of Morris Brown advised him to leave Charleston. He was therefore placed on board of a ship and sent to Philadelphia, Pa., and engaged in the business of boot and shoe making. In 1828 he was elected and ordained Bishop. He used to cross over the Alleghany Mountains on horse back to attend the Western Conferences. While attending the Annual Conference in Canada, in 1844, he was paralyzed, and was brought home by his old friend and brother, Rev. N. C. W. Cannon. He died in May, 1850.
Rt. Rev. Morris Brown.
Bishop Morris Brown Presides Over the Baltimore Conference--Bishop Allen Absent--Philadelphia Conference in Session--Both Bishops Present--Good Resolutions Passed--Death of Rev. Philip Brodie--His Work and Worth--A Touching Letter From Santo Domingo--Bishop Allen Presides Over the Baltimore Conference For the Last Time--Death of Bishop Allen--Delegates Elected to the Third General Conference.
THE Baltimore Conference opened April 18, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding. This is the first time since the organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the seat of Bishop Allen is vacant, and Bishop Morris Brown presided alone over the deliberations. The Bishop conducted religious exercises at the opening of the Conference.
Samuel Ente and Jacob Williams were admitted on trial. Scipio Bean and Levin Lee were received into full connection; Nathaniel Peck was ordained a local deacon. Bishop Brown delivered an inspiring address to the Conference during its session. At the announcement of the fact that the ranks of the ministry had not been invaded by death during the year, the body stood, and led by the Bishop, sang, "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow," and after a harmonous and profitable session, the Conference closed.
May 11, 1829. The Philadelphia Conference opened with Bishops Allen and Brown present. This is the first time we have a record of two Bishops being present at an annual conference. As to their manner of presiding there is no record. At this session of the Philadelphia Conference a large amount of business was transacted and some important resolutions passed. These resolutions would be the result of much practical good if carried out to-day.
"If any preacher should turn out any member from Society without trial by a committee agreeable to Discipline, he should be answerable to the Annual Conference, and dealt with as the nature of the case might require, according to the judgment of the Conference."
The Conference also decreed, "That no preacher succeeding another on a circuit, shall, under any circumstances, take up any case that had been legally decided by his predecessor, except upon appeal."
Bishop Morris Brown at this Conference delivered a timely address to the traveling preachers, in which he exhorted them to keep "good rule and order in their circuits," also urged them to pay particular attention to the directions of their predecessors.
Another decree was, "that no preacher should be sent out of its authority who was in any way involved in debt."
Wiley Reynolds was admitted into the traveling connection on trial, and was ordained a deacon.
William Richardson was ordained an elder.
Died during the year, Samuel Ridley, May 7, 1828, at Rocky Hill, N. J. Thomas Webster, October 28, 1828, at Philadelphia; Philip Brodie, March 9, 1829, at Cincinnati, Ohio. Suitable memorial services were held by the Conference.
Concerning the life and work of Philip Brodie, Owen T. B. Nickens, a local preacher of the Ohio Conference, furnished the following:
"Rev. Philip Brodie, the first preacher having charge of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the city of Cincinnati, O., was a native of the State of Virginia, but when quite young he was taken by his parents to East Tennessee, near Knoxville, where he grew up to manhood, and lived for many years afterwards.
"He experienced a change of heart, and made a profession of religion, and united with the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he continued an upright exemplary member for many years. At length, feeling it his duty, by the moving of the Holy Ghost, to call sinners to repentance, he applied for and obtained license, first as an exhorter, and then as a local preacher.
"After laboring extensively, and with abundant success, in that part of the vineyard of the Lord, he left that country, visited and preached in many places in West Tennessee and the State of Kentucky, and at length landed in Cincinnati. Here the African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by the lamented Rev. Moses Freeman, February 4, 1824, a few days before Brother Brodie's arrival. He immediately united with it, and began his labors.
"Thus for some time he labored, until disease had so wasted and worn him down that he could preach no longer, it was his great delight to call the young members together at his house to instruct and counsel them. The nearer his life drew to a close the more fervent he grew in his advice to the young, more fervent he grew in prayer that God would raise up fit and properly qualified young men to labor in His vineyard. Thus lived, prayed and labored the pious Philip Brodie, the first pastor of the African
Methodist Episcopal Church in Cincinnati; his life-- a living proof of his firm belief in the Gospel which he preached; his death--peaceful and calm, yet triumphant, a striking demonstration of the glorious victory of a dying Christian.'
1830. The most important business considered by the Baltimore Conference at this session was two letters from Santo Domingo, one of which related to Rev. Isaac Miller. Perhaps at this point it would be of interest to the readers to have these letters reproduced:
Samana, December 19, 1829.
"We, the undersigned Board of Trustees, members of Bethel Church, at Samana, do send unto you our brother in the Lord and deacon in the Ministry. We recommend him unto you as a worthy member of our Society and partner in tribulations, and as our Redeemer saith, 'Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you.'
Therefore, as our Saviour Himself was evil spoken of, we cannot expect that this follower will not share the same fate. Our pastor, we hope you will receive as a guardian angel over the flock of Christ, and while we have seen other shepherds desert the flock, our Brother Isaac Miller in the Holy War stood the storm, and appears until the end as a good soldier as such. We claim him as our worthy, affectionate and respectable pastor in charge."
"SAMUEL TACHER, Exhorter.
CHARLES IRWIN, Class Leader.
SAMUEL KETLER, Trustee.
ELIJAH JOHNSON, Trustee.
SAMUEL HOLMES, Trustee.
SOLOMON THOMAS, Trustee."
The second letter relates to the general condition of the church. The reading of the letter touched many of the brethren, and Samuel Ente offered himself up to be sent as a missionary to Santo Domingo.
Jacob Roberts and Isaac Miller were received into the Connection, and they were urged to return to their field of labor as soon as they could arrange their business in America.
Jacob Roberts was ordained deacon, and Isaac Miller was ordained elder. Rev. Scipio Bean who was elected missionary to Hayti, in 1827 returned to America in about a year's time, and at this time, we find him in the Baltimore Conference located. Both the Bishops were present at this session, which turned out to be the last time Bishop Allen ever attended the Baltimore Annual Conference. Bishop Brown, Samuel Todd and Edward Waters formed a committee, appointed by the Bishop, to assist in arranging the appointments.
1830. The Philadelphia Conference met May 22, with Bishops Allen and Morris Brown present. After religious service, Revs. Joseph M. Corr and Levin Lee were elected secretaries, and here we note an advanced step in the election of two secretaries. Both were from Baltimore.
John Cornish, Stephen Standford, Robert Brady, Robert Evans, Isaac Miller, Henry Allen and Richard Robinson were received into the traveling connection. Richard Robinson was from Port-au-Prince. A petition was sent from that place asking that he be set apart for Holy Orders. In compliance with this petition, the Conference ordained Brother Robinson deacon, and then elder. John Cornish was also ordained deacon. Israel Scott, Nathan Turman and Isaac Miller were ordained elders. Isaac Miller was
formerly a member of the Baltimore Conference, and is the same one referred to in the Baltimore Annual Conference of the same year. He was first licensed to preach by Jacob Roberts, the deacon who had charge of the church at Santo Domingo and, through a vote of the Convention the Church in Samana. This license he bore to the Baltimore Annual Conference, and it was recorded upon the journal as follows:
SANTO DOMINGO, January the 4th, 1829.
"This is to certify that the bearer, Isaac Miller, is licensed to be a preacher in charge of Samana, over the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Signed in behalf of the Convention of said Church, so long as his life corresponds with the Gospel, to be renewed once a year, and he submits to the rules of the Discipline of said Church, given under my hand the 4th of January, of the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine.
"This given under my hand the 23d day of February, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty.
"JACOB ROBERTS, Minister."
After hearing reports from committees and transacting some minor business the Annual Conference closed.
1831. Bishop Morris Brown called the Baltimore Annual Conference to order. The record shows that three local preachers were admitted on trial. Stephen Smith was one of the number, and he was also voted to be ordained deacon in compliance with a petition from Harrisburg Circuit.
Deaths during the year: George Hicks, September 8, 1830; Ignatius Currey, September 28, 1830. Both local preachers.
A gloom was cast over this Conference by the sad and the solemn announcement of the death of the greatest man of race, the founder and first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Richard Allen. There was but little business transacted at this session of the Conference owing to the death of Bishop Allen.
The intelligence, conveying to the world, the death of Bishop Allen was soon in the homes of all the colored people, and the Baltimore Conference held appropriate services in Bethel Church, Thursday afternoon, May 5, at 3 o'clock. The church was draped in mourning, and long before the hour appointed for the services the church was crowded.
Bishop Morris Brown preached the funeral sermon, in which he discussed all phases of the life of the departed Bishop, holding him up as the greatest man of the race. This can be truly said of him to-day, and his memory will live as long as time shall last.
At the conclusion of the sermon appropriate resolutions of condolence were passed, and the Conference out of respect adjourned without transacting any further business.
The Philadelphia Conference assembled May 21, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding. After religious exercises the death of Bishop Richard Allen was officially announced by the Presiding Bishop, and the following resolution was passed:
"Resolved, That the funeral sermon of Bishop Allen, deceased, be preached on Thursday afternoon, at 3 o'clock, in Bethel Church, and at the Union, on Sunday, May 29th."
After an extended notice of the work, life and death of the lamented Bishop Richard Allen, we have the following deaths recorded: Henry Fox and Stephen Stanford. The
last named died on the Easton Circuit, in September, 1830. He was a man truly devoted to God; aged 50 years. Henry Fox died August 9, 1830, in the nintieth year of his age, an acceptable local deacon in Frenchtown at the time of his death. He is described as a venerable patriarch, who went down to his grave crowned with glory and surrounded by a large posterity--a man who labored almost to the last for the vindication of the Gospel of Peace, and went down to Jordan's stream rejoicing.
At this Conference Wardell Parker and Aaron Wilson were admitted on trial, and William Henry was ordained a deacon. Samuel Ente, who had offered himself as a missionary to Hayti did not go for some reason, but located in this year.
We find the following item also recorded on the journal: "William Richardson was received on trial," and from this we glean that he must have been dropped at some point in the history of the conference.
The Conference elected delegates to the General Conference as follows: Joseph Cox and Clayton Durham from Philadelphia; Moses Robinson, from Lewiston; Aaron Wilson, from Smyrna; Thomas Banks, from Salem, N. J.; Samson Peters, from Trenton, N. J., and Joseph Corr, from Bucks County, Pa.
June 18. The New York Conference held its session in the City of New York, Bishop Morris Brown presiding. Benjamin Croger was elected secretary.
The Conference took note of the death of Richard Allen, the first Bishop, and suitable resolutions were passed. Edward Waters appeared on the journal as the assistant to the Bishop.
Delegates to the General Conference from the New York Conference were elected as follows: Revs. London Turpin, Edmund Crosby, George Hogarth and Abram Marks.
Rev. Richard Robinson
Manuscript Found in an Old Chest by Bishop Daniel A. Payne--Born a Slave in the State of Pennsylvania--His Conversion--Religion Makes Better Servants--Invites a Preacher to Visit His Master's Home and Preach--Freeborn Garrettson Preaches--Allen and His Brother Buy Their Freedom.
WE now come to present to you the life of Richard Allen. I know of nothing that will supply this more than that which was taken from an original manuscript by Bishop Richard Allen, found by Bishop Payne in a chest belonging to Richard Allen, which, seemingly, was used for the same purpose that we use waste baskets to-day. His own words are:
"I was born in the year of our Lord, 1760, on February 14, a slave to Benjamin Chew, of Philadelphia. My mother and father and four children of us were sold into Delaware State, near Dover; and I was a child and lived with him until I was upwards of twenty years of age, during which time I was awakened and brought to see myself poor, wretched and undone, and without the mercy of God, must be lost. Shortly after I obtained mercy through the blood of Christ, and was constrained to exhort my old companions to seek the Lord. I went rejoicing for several days, and was happy in the Lord in conversing with many old experienced Christians. I was brought under doubts and was tempted to believe I was deceived, and was constrained to seek the Lood afresh. I went with my head
bowed for many days. My sins were a heavy burden. I was tempted to believe there was no mercy for me. I cried to the Lord both night and day. One night I thought hell would be my portion. I cried unto Him who delighteth to hear the prayers of a poor sinner; and, all of a sudden, my dungeon shook, my chains flew off, and 'Glory to God' I cried.
"My soul was filled. I cried 'Enough! for me the Saviour died!' Now, my confidence was strengthened that the Lord, for Christ's sake, had heard my prayers and pardoned all my sins. I was constrained to go from house to house, exhorting my old companions, and telling to all around what a dear Saviour I had found. I joined the Methodist Society, and met in class at Benjamin Wells', in the forest, Delaware State. John Greg was class leader; I met in his class for several years.
"My master was an unconverted man, and all the family, but he was what the world called a good master. He was more like a father to his slaves than anything else. He was a very tender, humane man. My mother and father lived with him for many years. He was brought into difficulty, not being able to pay for us. My mother, who had several children after he had bought us, was sold with three of her children. She sought the Lord and found favor with Him, and became a very pious woman. There were three children of us, who remained with our old master. My oldest brother any my sister embraced religion. Our neighbors, seeing that our master indulged us with the privilege of attending meeting once in two weeks, said that Stockley's negroes would soon ruin him; and so my brother and myself held a council together, and decided that we would attend more faithfully to our master's business, so that it could not be said that religion made us worse servants; we would work night and day to get our crops
forward, so that they should be disappointed. We frequently went to meeting on every other Thursday; but if we were likely to be backward with our crops we would refrain from going to meeting. When our master found that we were making no provisions to go to meeting, he would frequently ask us if it was not our meeting day, and if we were not going. We would frequently tell him, 'No, sir; we would rather stay at home and get our work done.' He would tell us, 'Boys, I would rather that you go to your meeting; if I am not good myself, I like to see you striving yourselves to be good.' Our reply would be, 'Thank you, sir; but we would rather stay and get our crops forward.' So we always continued to keep our crops more forward than our neighbors, and we would attend public preaching once in two weeks. At length our master said he was convinced that religion made slaves better and not worse, and often boasted of his slaves for their industry and honesty. Some time after, I asked him if I might ask the preacher to come and preach at his house. He being old and infirm, my master and mistress cheerfully agreed for me to ask some of the Methodist preachers to come and preach at the house. I asked him for a note. He replied, 'If my word is not sufficient, I will send no note.' I accordingly asked the preacher. He seemed somewhat backward at first, as my master did not send a written request; but the class leader, John Greg, observed that my word was sufficient; so he preached at my old master's house on the next Wednesday.
"Preaching continued for some months. At length Free-born Garrettson preached from these words: 'Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting.' In pointing out the weighing of the different characters, and among the rest he weighed the slave-holder. My master believed himself to one of the number, and after that he
could not be satisfied to hold slaves, believing it to be wrong. After that he proposed to me and my brother buying our time, to pay him sixty pounds in gold and silver, or two thousand dollars Continental money, which we complied with in the year 17--.
"We left our master's house, and I may truly say that it was like leaving our father's house; for he was a kind, affectionate and tender-hearted master, and told us to make his house our home when we were out of place or sick. While living with him, we had family prayers in the kitchen, to which he would frequently come out himself at the time of prayers, and my mistress with him. At length he invited us from the kitchen to the parlor to hold family prayers, which we attended to. We had our stated times to hold our prayer meetings, and give exhortations in the neighborhood.
"It had often been impressed upon my mind that I should one day enjoy freedom, for slavery is a bitter pill, notwithstanding we had a good master. But when we would think our day's work was never done; we often thought that after our master's death we were liable to be sold to the highest bidder, as he was much in debt, and thus my troubles were increased, and I was often brought to weep between the porch and altar. But I have had reason to bless my dear Lord that a door was opened unexpectedly, for me to buy time and enjoy my liberty. When I left my master's house I knew not what to do, not being used to hard work--what business I should follow to pay my master and get my living. I went to cutting cord wood. The first day my hands were so blistered and sore that it was with difficulty I could open and shut them. I kneeled down upon my knees, and prayed that the Lord would open some way for me to get a living. In a few days my hands recovered, and became accustomed to cutting
wood and other hardships; so I soon became able to cut my cord and a half a day, and sometimes two cords. After I was done cutting, I was employed in a brick yard by one Robert Register at fifty dollars a month, Continental money. After I was done with the brick yard I went to day's work, but did not forget to serve my dear Lord. I used to often pray sitting, or standing, or laying; and while my hands were employed to earn my bread, my heart was devoted to my Redeemer. Sometimes I would awaken from my sleep preaching and praying. I was after this employed in driving a wagon, in time of the Continental War--drawing salt from Rhobar, Sussex County, in Delaware. I had my regular stops, and preaching places on the road. I enjoyed many happy seasons in prayer and meditation while in this employment.
"After peace was proclaimed I then traveled extensively, striving to preach the Gospel. My lot was cast in Wilmington. Shortly after I was taken sick with fall fever, and then the pleurisy. September 3d, 1783, I left my native place. After leaving Wilmington I went into Jersey, and there traveled and strove to preach the Gospel until the spring of 1784. I then became acquainted with Benjamin Abbott, that great and good apostle. He was one of the greatest men that ever I was acquainted with. He seldom preached but what there were souls added to his labor. He was a man of as great faith as any that I ever saw. The Lord was with him, and blessed his labors abundantly.
"He was as a friend and father to me. I was sorry when I had to leave West Jersey, knowing that I had to leave a father. I was employed in cutting wood for Captain Cruenkleton, although I preached the Gospel at night and on Sundays. My dear Lord was with me, and blessed my labors--Glory to God!--and gave me souls for my hire.
I then visited East Jersey, and labored for my dear Lord, and became acquainted with Joseph Budd, and made my home with him near the New Mills--a family, I trust, who loved and served the Lord. I labored some time there, but being much afflicted in body with inflammatory rheumatism was not as successful as in some other places. I went from there to Jonathan Bunn's, near Bennington, East Jersey. There I labored in that neighborhood for some time. I found him and his family kind and affectionate, and he and his dear wife were a father and mother in Israel. In the year 1784 I left East Jersey and labored in Pennsylvania. I walked until my feet became so sore and blistered, the first day, that I scarcely could bear them to the ground. I found the people very humane and kind in Pennsylvania. I, having but little money, stopped at Cæsar Waters', at Radford Township, twelve miles from Philadelphia. I found him and his wife very kind and affectionate to me. In the evening they asked me if I would come and take tea with them. I told them I would accept of their kind invitation, but my feet pained me so I could not come to the table. They brought the table to me. Never was I more kindly received, by strangers, that I had never before seen, then by them. They bathed my feet with warm water and bran; the next morning my feet were better, and free from pain. They asked me if I would preach for them the next evening. We had a glorious meeting. They invited me to stay till Sabbath day and preach for them. I agreed to do so, and preached on Sabbath day to a large congregation, of different persuasions, and my dear Lord was with me, and I believe there were many souls cut to the heart, and were added to the ministry. They insisted on me to stay longer with them. I was frequently called upon by many, inquiring what they should do to be saved. I pointed them to prayer
and supplication at the throne of grace, and to make use of all manner of prayer, and pointed them to the invitation of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who has said, 'Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest! Glory to God! and now I know that he was a God at hand and not far off. I preached my farewell sermon, and left these dear people. It was a time of visitation from above. Many were the slain of the Lord. Seldom did I experience such a time of mourning and lamentation among the people. There were but few colored people in the neighborhood--the most of my congregation was white. Some said, 'This man must be a man of God. I never heard such preaching before.' We spent a greater part of the night in singing and praying with the mourners. I expected that I should have had to walk as I did before; but Mr. Davis had a creature that he made a present to me, and I intended to pay him for his horse, if I ever got able. My dear Lord was kind and gracious to me. Some years after I got into business and thought myself able to pay for the horse. The horse was too light and small for me to travel on far. I traded it away with John Huftman for a blind horse, but large. I found my friend Huftman very kind and affectionate to me and his family also. I preached several times at Huftman's meeting house to a large and numerous congregation.
I proceeded to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I found the people in general, dead to religion, and scarcely a form of Godliness. I went to Little York, and stopped with George Tess, a saddler, and I believed him to be a man that loved and feared God. I had comfortable meetings with the Germans. I left Little York and proceeded to the State of Maryland, and stopped at Benjamin Givens and I believed him to be a man that loved and served God. I had many happy seasons with my dear friends. His wife was
a very pious woman, but their dear children were strangers to vital religion. I preached in the neighborhood for sometime, and traveled Harford Circuit with Mr. Potter, who traveled that Circuit. I found him very useful to me. I also traveled with Jonathan Forest and Levi Coal.
"December, 1784, General Conference met in Baltimore, first General Conference ever held in America. The English preachers just arrived from Europe, Dr. Coke, Richard Whatcoat and Thomas Vassey. This was the beginning of the Episcopal Church among Methodists. Many of the ministers were set apart in holy orders at this Conference, and were said to be entitled to the gown; and I have thought that religion has been declining in the Church ever since.
"In 1785 the Rev. Richard Whatcoat was appointed on the Baltimore Circuit. He was, I believe, a man of God. I found great strength in traveling with him, a father in Israel. In his advice he was fatherly and friendly. He was of a mild, serene disposition.
"My lot was cast in Baltimore in a small meeting house called the Methodist Alley. I stopped at Richard Mould's, and was sent to my lodging, and lodged at Mr. McCannon's. I had some happy meetings in Baltimore. I was introduced to Richard Russell, who was very kind and affectionate to me, and attended several meetings.
"Rev. Bishop Asbury sent for me to meet him at Henry Gaff's. I did so. He told me he wished me to travel with him. He told me that in the slave countries, Carolina and other places, I must not intermix with the slaves, and I would frequently have to sleep in his carriage, and he would allow me victuals and clothes. I told him that I would not travel with him on those conditions. He asked me my reasons. I told him if I was taken sick who was to support me? and that I thought my people ought
to lay up something while they were able, to support themselves in time of sickness and old age. He said that was as much as he got, his victuals and clothes. I told him he could be taken care of; let his afflictions be as they were, or let him be taken sick where he would, he could be taken care of; but I doubted whether it would be the case with myself. He smiled, and told me he would give me from then until he returned from the eastward, to make up my mind, which would be about three months. But I made up my mind that I would not accept his proposals. Shortly after I left Harford Circuit, and came to Pennsylvania, on Lancaster Circuit, with the Rev. Peter Moratte and Jerie Ellis. They were kind and affectionate to me in building me up, for I had many trials to pass through, and I received nothing from the Methodist Connection. My usual method was, when I would get bare of clothes, to stop traveling and go to work, so that no man could say I was chargeable to the Connection. My hands administered to my necessities. The autumn of 1785 I returned again to Radnor. His family were all kind and affectionate to me. I killed seven beeves, and supplied the neighbors with meat; got myself pretty well clad through my own industry--thank God--and preached occasionally. The elder in charge in Philadelphia frequently sent for me to come to the city. February, 1786, I came to Philadelphia. Preaching was given out for me in the morning, at five o'clock, in St. George's Church. I strove to preach as well as I could, but it was a great cross for me, but the Lord was with me. We had a good time, and several souls were awakened, and were earnestly seeking redemption in the blood of Christ. I thought I would stop in Philadelphia a week or two. I preached at different places in the city. My labor was much blessed. I soon saw a large field in seeking and instructing my African brethren, who had
been a long forgotten people, and few of them attended public worship. I preached on the commons in Southwark, Northern Liberties, and wherever I could find an opening. I frequently preached twice a day, at five o'clock in the morning and in the evening, and it was not uncommon for me to preach from four to five times a day. I established prayer meetings; I raised a Society in 1786 of forty-two members.
"I saw the necessity of erecting a place of worship for the colored people. I proposed it to the most respectable people of color in this city; but here I met with opposition. I had but three colored brethren who united with me in erecting a place of worship--Rev. Absalom Jones, William White and Darius Jinnings. These united with me, as soon as it became public and known, by the elder, who was stationed in the city. The Rev. C. B. opposed the plan, and would not submit to any argument we might raise; but he was shortly removed from the charge. The Rev. Mr. W. -- took the charge and the Rev. L. G. -- Mr. W. -- was much opposed to the African Church, and used very degrading and insulting language to try to prevent us from going on. We all belonged to St. George's Church--Rev. Absalom Jones, William White and Darius Jinnings. We felt ourselves much cramped; but my dear Lord was with us, and we believed if it was His will the work would go on, and that we would be able to go on in building the house of the Lord. We established prayer meetings and meetings of exhortation, and the Lord blessed our endeavors, and many souls were awakened; but the elder soon forbid us holding any such meetings. We viewed the forlorn state of our colored brethren, and saw that they were destitute of a place of worship. They were considered a nuisance.
"A number of us usually sat on seats placed around the
wall, and on Sabbath morning we went to church, and the sexton stood at the door and told us to go to the gallery. He told us to go, and we would see where to sit. We expected to take the seats over the ones we formerly occupied below, not knowing any better. We took those seats; meeting had begun, and they were nearly done singing, and just as we got to the seats, the Elder said 'Let us pray.' We had not been long upon our knees before I heard considerable scuffling and loud talking. I raised my head up and saw one of the trustees, H-- M--, having hold of the Rev. Absalem Jones, pulling him off his knees, and saying, 'You must get up, you must not kneel here.' Mr. Jones replied, 'Wait until prayer is over, and I will get up, and trouble you no more.' With that he beckoned to one of the other trustees, Mr. L-- S--, to come to his assistance. He came, and went to William White to pull him up. By this time prayer was over, and we all went out of the church in a body, and they were no more plagued by us in the church. This raised a great excitement, and inquiry among the citizens, insomuch that I believe they were ashamed of their conduct. But my dear Lord was with us, and we were filled with fresh vigor to get a house erected to worship God in. Seeing our forlorn and wretched condition, many of the hearts of our citizens were moved to urge us onward; notwithstanding we had subscribed largely toward furnishing St. George's Church, in building the gallery and laying new floors; and just as the house was made comfortable, we were turned out from enjoying the comforts of worshipping therein. We then hired a storeroom, and held worship by ourselves. Here we were pursued with threats of being disowned and read publicly out of meeting, if we did contrive to worship in the place we had hired; but we believed the Lord would be our friend. We got subscription
papers out to raise money to build the house of the Lord. By this time we had waited on Dr. Rush and Mr. Robert Ralston, and told them of our distressing situation. We considered it a blessing that the Lord had put it into our hearts to wait upon these gentlemen. They pitied our situation, and subscribed largely toward the church, and were very friendly toward us, and advised us how to go on. We appointed Mr. Ralston our treasurer. Dr. Rush did much for us in public by his influence. I hope the name of Dr. Benjamin Rush and Mr. Robert Ralston will never be forgotten among us. They were the two first gentlemen who espoused the cause of the oppressed, and aided us in building the house to worship in. Here was the beginning and rise of the first African Church in America. But the elder of the Methodist Church still pursued us. Mr. I-- M-- called upon us, and told us if we did not erase our names from the subscription paper, and give up the paper, we would be publicly turned out of meeting. We asked him if we had violated any rules of discipline by so doing. He replied, 'I have the charge given me by the Conference, and unless you submit, I will read you publicly out of meeting.' We told him we were willing to abide by the discipline of the Methodist Church, 'And if you will show us where we have violated any law of discipline of the Methodist Church, we will submit, and if there is no rule violated in the discipline, we will proceed on.' He replied, 'We will read you out.' We told him if he turned us out contrary to the discipline we would seek further redress. We told him we were dragged off our knees in St. George's Church, and treated worse than heathens, and we were determined to seek out for ourselves, the Lord being our helper. He told us, we were not Methodists, and left us. Finding we would go on in raising money to build a church, he called upon us again, and
wished to see us all together. We met him. He told us that he wished us well, and that he was a friend to us, and used many arguments to convince us that we were wrong in building a church. We told him that we had no place of worship, and we did not mean to go to St. George's Church any more, as we were treated so scandalously in the presence of all the congregation present, 'And if you deny us your name, you cannot seal up the Scripture from us, and deny us a name in heaven. We believe heaven is free for all who worship in spirit and in truth.' And he said, 'So you are determined to go on.' We told him, 'Yes, God being our helper.' He replied, 'We will disown you from all the Methodist Connection.'
"We believed that if we put our trust in the Lord, He would stand by us. This was a trial that I never had to pass through before. I was confident that the great head of the church would support us. My dear Lord was with us. We went out with our subscription paper, and met with great success. We had no reason to complain of the pointed a committee to look out for a lot--Rev. Absalom Jones and myself went out, we collected $360. This was the greatest day's collection that we met with. We appointed a committee to look out for a lot--Rev. Absalem Jones, William Gray, William Wicher and myself. We fixed upon a lot, corner Lombard and Sixth streets. They authorized me to go and agree for it. I did accordingly. The lot belonged to Mr. Morris Wilcox. We entered into articles of agreement for the lot, afterwards the committee found a lot on Fifth street, in a more commodious part of the city, which we bought; and the first lot they threw upon my hands, and wished me to give it up. I told them they had authorized me to agree for the lot, and they were all satisfied with the agreement I had made, and I thought that it was hard that they should throw it upon my hands.
I told them that I would sooner keep it myself than forfeit the agreement I had made. And so I did. We bore much persecution from many of the Methodist Connection, but we have reasons to be thankful to Almighty God, who was our deliverer. The day was appointed to go and dig the cellar. I arose early in the morning, and addressed the throne of grace, praying that the Lord would bless our endeavors.
"Having by this time two or three teams of my own--as I was the first proposer of the African Church, I put the first spade into the ground to dig the cellar for the same. This was the first African Church, or meeting house to be erected in the United States of America. We intended it for the African preaching house or church, but finding that the elder stationed in the city was such an opposer to our proceedings of erecting a place of worship, though the principal part of the directors of this church belonged to the Methodist Connection, and that he would neither be for us nor have anything to do with us, we held an election to know what religious denomination we should unite with. At the election it was determined. There were two in favor of the Methodist, the Rev. Absalom Jones and myself, and a large majority in favor of the Church of England, this majority carried. Notwithstanding we had been violently persecuted by the elder, we were in favor of being attached to the Methodist Connection, for I was confident that there was no religious sect or denomination that would suit the capacity of the colored people as well as the Methodist, for the plain and simple Gospel suits best for any people, for the unlearned can understand, and the learned are sure to understand; and the reason that the Methodist is so successful in converting and awakening the colored people, is the plain doctrine and having a good discipline. But in many cases the preachers would act
to please their own fancy, without discipline, till some of them became tyrants, and more especially to the colored people. They would turn them out of Society, giving them no trial, for the smallest offense, perhaps only hearsay. They would frequently in meeting the class impeach some of the members of whom they had heard ill report, and turn them out, saying, 'I have heard thus and thus about you, and you are no more a member of Society,' without witnesses on either side. This had been frequently done, notwithstanding in the first rise and progress in Delaware State and elsewhere, the colored people were their greatest support, but there were but few of us free. The slaves would toil in their little patches many a night until midnight to raise their little truck to sell to get something to support them, more than their white masters gave them, and we used often to divide our little support among the white preachers of the Gospel. This was once a quarter. It was in the time of the Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the United States. The Methodists were the first people that brought glad tidings to the colored people. I feel thankful that I ever heard a Methodist preacher. We are beholden to the Methodists, under God, for the light of the Gospel we enjoy; for all other denominations preached so high-flown that we were not able to comprehend their doctrine. Sure am I that reading sermons will never prove so beneficial to the colored people as spiritual extempore preaching. I am well convinced that the Methodists have proved beneficial to thousands and tens of thousands. It is to be awfully feared that the simplicity of the Gospel, that was among them fifty years ago, is not apparent, and if they conform to the world and the fashion thereof, they would fare very little better than the people of the world. The discipline is altered considerably from what it was. We would ask for the good old way, and desire to walk therein.
"In 1793 a committee was appointed from the African Church to solicit me to be their minister, for there was no colored minister in Philadelphia but myself. I told them I could not accept their offer, for I was a Methodist. I was indebted to the Methodists, under God, for the little religion I had, being convinced that they were the people of God. I informed them that I could not be anything else but a Methodist, as I was born and awakened under them, and I could go no further with them, for I was a Methodist, and would leave them in peace and in love. I would do nothing to retard them in building a church, as it was an extensive building; neither would I go out with a subscription paper until they were done with their subscription. I bought an old frame that had been formally occupied as a blacksmith shop, from Mr. Suns, and hauled it on the lot on Sixth, near Lombard street, that had formerly been taken for the Church of England. I employed carpenters to repair the old frame, and fit it for a place of worship. In July, 1794, Bishop Asbury being in town, I solicited him to open the church for us, which he accepted. The Rev. John Dickens sung and prayed, and Bishop Asbury preached. The house was called 'Bethel,' agreeable to the prayer that was mde. Mr. Dickens prayed that it might be a 'Bethel' to the gathering in of thousands of souls. My dear Lord was with us, so that there were many hearty amens echoed through the house. This house of worship has been favored with the awakening of many souls, both white and colored, and I trust they are in the Kingdom."
Bishop Allen was the father of six children--four sons and two daughters--namely, Richard, Peter, John, Sarah Ann and James. He educated them as well as circumstances allowed.
Rev. Levin Lee.
Rev. William Paul Quinn Re-admitted to the Conference--Ministers From Non-slave Holding States Prevented From Going into Delaware--Organization of the Ohio Conference Reported to the General Conference by Bishop Morris Brown--Strenuous Rules Adopted by the New York Conference.
THE Baltimore Conference opened April 21st with Bishop Morris Brown presiding, and Rev. Edward Waters, acting as assistant to the Bishop. Rev. Levin Lee was elected secretary. Abner Coker, who had been elected delegate to the General Conference the year previous, desired to be relieved. This was granted, and Charles Dunn was elected in his stead. There was not much business of importance transacted at this Conference, so, with this passing notice, we take up the
The Philadelphia Conference met May 8th, and was only in session two days, when it adjourned to give way to the meeting of the General Conference. Bishop Morris Brown presided, and selected Rev. Edward Waters as his assistant. It may be well here to notice that it was customary for a Bishop to appoint an elder to act as his assistant, but such assistants were not vested with the power and authority of a Bishop. Walter Proctor was
elected a delegate to the General Conference. There is no reason given in the proceedings why this additional delegate was elected, as the session of 1831 had already elected the delegates.
Samuel Ente, who located at the previous session (1831) was readmitted. The Daughters of Conference presented the Conference with $57.99.
The Fourth General Conference of the A. M. E. Church convened in Philadelphia, May 10, 1832, Bisop Morris Brown presided. The most important business before the General Conference was the re-admission of Rev. William Paul Quinn to membership in the A. M. E. Church, he having withdrawn, and organized an Independent Methodist Church in New York City. He applied to the Philadelphia Conference for re-admission, and the matter was referred to the New York Conference. The Philadelphia Conference in referring the case to the New York Confrence passed the following resolution:
Resolved, That we proceed no further in Brother William Paul Quinn's case, that he return to New York and consult the people whom he now serves, and amongst whom he now belongs, and hear what they say on the subject, and get their consent for him or them to join the Connection one way or the other.
The case eventually reached the General Conference at this session, and Rev. William Paul Quinn was re-admitted.
Another matter, which gave the Conference considerable trouble, was the action of the Delaware authorities, preventing our ministers from the non-slave holding States from going into the State of Delaware to take charge of churches. Hence, all the appointments going into Delaware were changed.
The Book Steward made his report. One thousand
copies of the Discipline of 1828 had been published and bound, one-half of them had not yet been sold, in consequence of which there was a considerable falling off in the receipts of the Book Steward. The Salem Circuit, in New Jersey, was divided, the upper part was made to extend from Woodbury upward, and was called Burlington Circuit.
Bishop Morris Brown reported that he had organized the Ohio, or Western Conference, at Pittsburg, and that it remained in session several days. Bishop Brown delivered an interesting and instructive address to the General Conference. He thought that harmony and good Christian feeling should actuate the motives of the ministers composing the Church, and that in order to accomplish anything they would have to stand together. The Bishop also spoke in the highest terms of the public school system, and temperance societies, and recommended both of them to the people, "for," said the speaker, "in order to develop a people into a great nation, it is necessary for them to get the Grace of God in their hearts, education in their heads, and they should also be strict followers of the principles of temperance in all things.
After the address the Conference adopted the following resolution:
"Resolved, That it is the duty of each member, of this General Conference, and each and all of our preachers, to do all in their power, to promote and establish these useful institutions among our people."
Notice was taken of the death of Rev. Abner Coker, one of the founders of the Church, and suitable Memorial Services were held.
A book, which had been written and published by Rev. N. C. W. Cannon, a man of very eccentric habits, was brought before the Conference and discussed. The title
of the book was "Rock of Wisdom," and on examination, the General Conference decided that it contained too many errors, and even went so far as to say, an error could be found on every page. It also contained many erroneous principles, repugnant to the articles of faith, believed and taught by the A. M. E. Church. The General Conference, having finished its business, closed after ten days session.
1832. The New York Annual Conference met in the City of Brooklyn, June 9th. Bishop Morris Brown presided, and Rev. John Cornish acted as assistant to the Bishop. Benjamin Croger and George Hogarth, were elected secretaries. Here we have the first record of an Annual Conference adopting rules, which subjected its members to fines, ranging from twelve and a half to fifty cents for violating them. These rules included absence, tardiness, refusal to come to order, and neglect to vote upon important measures.
Cuffee Spence and Eli N. Hall were admitted on trial. Jeremiah Miller was elected missionary to Canada.
Samuel George was reported as having died during the year. This concluded the business of the New York Annual Conference.
1833. The Baltimore Conference held its meeting in April this year, and was presided over by Bishop Morris Brown. Several legal questions confronted the brethren at the opening of this Conference, and a committee, consisting of three, was appointed to wait on the judge of the city court, and ascertain of him, whether it was contrary to law to appoint a preacher in Baltimore, who was a resident of another State.
Brother William Moore was admitted on trial.
June 8, 1833, the New York Annual Conference opened with Bishop Morris Brown presiding. London Turpin was was elected postoffice messenger.
William Paul Quinn was re-admitted into the traveling connection, and was immediately transferred to the Western field of labor--to the Ohio Conference, which was organized in 1830.
Enos Adams was reported as having died from smallpox during the year.
Here we have the first account of the Ohio, or Western Conference, which was organized by Bishop Morris Brown in 1830, and reported the same to the General Conference of 1832. The year (1833) finds it meeting at Pittsburg, where it was in session nine days. Bishop Morris Brown presided. Rev. Lewis Woodson was elected secretary. Fifteen members were present at roll call, seven of which were itinerate.
Jeremiah Thomas and Pleasant Underwood were ordained deacons.
Samuel Madison, a licentiate, was reported as having died during the year.
April 19. Bishop Morris Brown called the Baltimore Conference to order in Washington, D. C., and Rev. Levin Lee was elected secretary. The fact of a colored Conference being held in Washington City attracted considerable attention, and was the occasion of much comment. This is the first convention of any kind that had ever met in the National Capital. White and colored people crowded the church during the session, and this was especially true of the sessions on Sunday, when the church was crowded all day to hear the ministers of the Conference preach.
The Conference visited President Andrew Jackson, in a
body, and the President expressed his high appreciation of the work being done by the Colored Ministers for the salvation of their own people.
The death of Rev. Abner Coker, one of the founders of the Church, was reported, and suitable memorial services were held in his respect.
Reports also showed that traveling preachers were in great demand.
William A. Nichols was admitted into full connection, and Jeffrey Goulden was admitted on trial.
The Philadelphia Conference opened Saturday, May 24, Bishop Morris Brown presiding. A resolution favoring temperance was passed by the Conference.
A resolution was passed at this session of the Conference depriving exhorters of a seat in the Conference. Up to this time they had been allowed a seat in the Conference, but no voice.
The death of Rev. Joseph Chane was reported. After the several committees had reported the Conference adjourned.
On June 14 the New York Annual Conference met in Brooklyn, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding, assisted by Rev. William Paul Quinn.
By special resolution, Willis Jones, Joshua Jenkins and Cæsar Springfield, licentiates of New York, and Daniel Petterson, of Philadelphia, were given seats in the Conference, but not voice.
Francis P. Graham was ordained an elder.
A resolution passed pledging the Conference and each minister to use every possible effort to have the parents send their children to Sabbath School.
The temperance question was brought before the Conference by the Bishop and fully discussed.
Bishop Morris Brown, from this Conference took the
pastoral charge of Bethel, the mother church, in Philadelphia, and took Rev. John Cornish as his assistant.
The Baltimore Conference opened, as usual, in April of this year, with a large attendance, and Bishop Morris Brown presiding. Rev. Stephen Smith, who was admitted as a local preacher in 1831, made his appearance in Conference for the first time since that date.
Delegates selected to the General Conference to convene in 1836: Nathaniel Peck, Levin Lee, Basil Simms and Stephen Smith.
At this Conference it was reported that Rev. Scipio Bean's spirit had returned to the God who gave it, and his body consigned to mother earth. He had fallen asleep in Port-au-Prince, where he was laboring as a missionary.
Scipio Bean was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, some time in the year 1793. He was just about twenty years of age when he moved to the city of Washington. While he was a slave, yet he was successful in obtaining permission from his owner, to attend school in Prince George's County, where he obtained the elementary principles of an English education. He was made a present of his freedom in 1818, and the next year he married Miss Harriet Bell, of Washington City, daughter of one of the most influential members of the A. M. E. Church.
He was converted, and joined Little Bethel Church, under Rev. Jacob Mathews, in 1824.
He was called to the ministry in 1825, and was commissioned by Bishop Allen to visit the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1826. He labored in Hayti from 1826 to 1828, when he returned to this country and located, on account of bad health. He was a delegate to the General Conference in 1832, and was also present at the Baltimore
Annual Conference in 1832, after which nothing else was heard of him, until his death was reported at this Conference.
Philadelphia Conference met also in this year in Philadelphia, Pa., Bishop Morris Brown presiding.
Delegates were elected to the General Conference as follows: Sampson Peters, J. P. B. Eddy, Jeremiah Durham, William Henry, Clayton Durham and Walter Proctor.
Elder Cornish was transferred to the Baltimore Conference, and Elder Scott to the New York Conference.
The death of Rev. Joseph M. Corr, which occurred October, 1835, was reported.
New York Conference met in Brooklyn, June 13th of the same year. The session was devoted largely to regular routine work. Bishop Morris Brown presided. The death of Rev. Fortune Mathias was reported to the Conference.
Rev. Joseph M. Corr
Events of Importance Leading up to the Session Briefly Described--An Excellent Report From the General Book Steward--Another Bishop Required and Rev. Edward Waters Elected Assistant or Junior Bishop--Why Bishop Waters Never Presided Over An Annual Conference--Conference Resolutions on Education.
EIGHTEEN hundred and thirty-six brings us up to the session of the Fifth General Conference, but before entering into the details of that body, let us briefly notice the Baltimore Conference, which met one month before the General Conference, and was presided over by Bishop Morris Brown.
The death of Brother James High, steward of the Annual Conference, was reported. He died April 9, a few days before the meeting of the Conference. He was a layman, and successor to Charles Hackett, who succeeded Don Carlos Hall, also a layman, who took such an important part in the early history of the Church.
Jeffrey Goulden and Basil Simms were ordained as deacons, the former an itinerant, and the latter local. There was not much business of general interest transacted at this Conference.
The fifth General Conference opened its sessions in Philadelphia, May, 1836, Bishop Morris Brown presiding. Religious exercises were conducted by the Bishop. At this Conference the Rev. Joseph M. Corr, general Book Steward,
made a report of the state of the Book Concern. He reported that 1,000 copies of the Discipline, 1,000 Hymn Books, and 2,000 minutes of the General Conference had been printed at a cost of $600, including the transportation of the books to different parts. There was still in the Book Concern several hundred copies of books not disposed of. The receipts for sale of books amounted to $300. He concluded his report by expressing a hope that his health and strength would permit him to make a better report the next time. He also reported that he had paid off all the indebtedness of the Book Concern. This was the first report ever made to the General Conference from the Book Concern.
The Conference devoted much time to a revision of the Book of Discipline.
George Hogarth, of Brooklyn, was elected General Book Steward of the Connection for the ensuing four years. He was to publish such religious tracts and pamphlets as was deemed best for the interest of the Connection, the profits from the same to go into the general book treasury.
This General Conference closed the second decade of the work of the A. M. E. Church, as an organization, and the increase was so large and gratifying and the Church was spreading to such an extent, that it was deemed necessary to elect an assistant, or junior Bishop. This was agreed upon by the General Conference and Rev. Edward Waters was elected. He was ordained May 8, 1836, by Bishop Morris, Brown, who was assisted by several of the elders present. Bishop Payne in speaking of his election (Chapter XIII, page 112, history of the A. M. E. Church) says:
"The same year of his election, Bishop Brown took him with him, to all the Conferences except the Western Conference, thus giving him some idea of the field of labor. After this tour, he never left the regions of Baltimore, only
to attend the Philadelphia and New York Conferences, which was once a year. He never presided in an Annual Conference, only as a silent looker-on, assistant of Bishop Brown, and though he sat in the Episcopal chair from 1836 to 1844, he never ordained a single minister, not even a deacon. The second year after his election, he requested the Baltimore Annual Conference to locate him. Indeed, ever after his ordination he held the charge of Ellicott Mills Circuit, and sometimes of Bethel, in Baltimore. In the eight year of his episcopate he resigned his episcopal authority, although he was able to travel as a Bishop, and returned to the ranks of the effective elders until his death."
It is true that Bishop Waters was elected Bishop and never presided over a Conference and there was a reason for it. It will be remembered that a Bishop was paid $25.00 for every Annual Conference he held, hence Bishop Brown made it convenient to open and preside over all the Annual Conferences meeting during the life of Bishop Waters. As he was present, and presided and drew the pay, there was nothing for Bishop Waters to do, but as described by Bishop Payne. The same would be true today, if there were only three or four Conferences and the Bishop's salary dpended on the Conferences he held, there would be a few Bishops who would be like Edward Waters, be elected to the office and only be figure-heads.
George Hogarth presented to the General Conference the first magazine for the Connection, which was discussed at length. The business of the General Conference having been duly transacted the General Conference closed.
May 10, immediately after the close of the General Conference, the Philadelphia Conference met, with Bishop
Morris Brown presiding. At this Conference the work in general was freely discussed, and an increase in the Philadelphia District was shown by the reports.
Henry C. Turner was admitted into the itineracy; David Ware, William Moore, Thomas Pierce, Jacob Adams, Robert S. Holcom, and Andrew Radder in a local capacity.
The Conference was called upon to mourn the death of Rev. Joseph M. Corr, who died October 18, 1835. He was a brave soldier for Jesus, and an ardent worker in the cause. Thus another link was taken from the chain of the early pioneers.
From the time Joseph M. Corr entered the Philadelphia Conference in a local capacity, up to the time of his death, he served as Secretary, and was also Secretary of the Baltimore Conference from 1826 to 1828. He had the full confidence of his brethren, who respected his ability as a man, and his integrity as an officer. In 1826, the Philadelphia Conference expressed its appreciation for him, by electing him Secretary-General. In this capacity he was to act as Secretary to all the Conferences. He was the first Book Steward who gave a report of the condition of the Book Concern, and the first time the Church had any record of a hymn book of its own, was when he reported the publication of one thousand, in 1835. This concludes the work of the Philadelphia Conference of 1836.
June 4, same year, the New York Annual Conference met, and Bishop Morris Brown presided. Bishop Edward Waters was also present at this session, and rendered valuable assistance to the presiding Bishop. Bishop Waters was introduced to the Conference and delivered a short address.
Sampson Peters was received on trial. The several committees reported and the Conference adjourned.
The Pittsburg or Western Conference met this year in
the month of August, and after the religious exercises conducted by Bishop Brown, proceeded to business. A report on the condition of the work in the West was made, showing a membership of 1,131; 2 stations, 5 circuits, 7 preachers. Contingent expenses collected at this session, $116.00, out of which the Conference paid the Bishop's salary and traveling expenses.
The Baltimore Conference met this year on the first Monday in May. Bishop Brown presided, and Bishop Waters was present as his assistant. This was the first session of the Baltimore Conference Bishop Edward Waters met, as a Bishop, and he was extended a cordial welcome by the members. A resolution was offered at this session providing for the Conference to assist in the raising of a general fund of relief for worn-out preachers. This resolution, after being discussed at length, passed. The session of the Conference was short. The reports of the pastors showed an increase in membership and interest, and those who were present felt encouraged over the work in the Baltimore District.
May 20th, the Philadelphia Conference met in Bethel Church, Philadelphia, and Bishop Morris Brown presided. Bishop Waters was present. The following ministers were ordained: Clayton Durham, Jeremiah Beulah and William Moore, Elders; John C. Spence, Deacon.
Abram Bell and James Jackson were reported as having died during the year.
The New York Conference met June 10th, 1837, Bishops Brown and Waters presiding. Owen T. B. Nickens elected
Secretary. Members reported, 810. Rev. James Thompson reported dead, aged 70 years. Cæsar Springfield and Willis Jones admitted on trial as local preachers, and Joshua Jenkin was received into full connection. Sampson Peters was ordained Elder, and Samuel Edwards ordained a Deacon. The Book Concern was looked after. Benjamin Croger, Samuel Edwards and H. C. Thompson were appointed a commission to aid the General Book Steward in the publication of a quarterly magazine.
The Conference was favored with some distinguished visitors who delivered inspiring addresses. William Yates, a lawyer from Troy, New York, agent of the American Anti-Slavery Society, and Rev. Joshua Leavitt*
* Rev. Joshua Leavitt was editor of the Evangelical at that time, which was merged into the paper now known as the New York Independent.
were distinguished visitors. The addresses were on Education and Temperance. After the address of Lawyer Yates the following resolutions were adopted by the Conference:
* Rev. Joshua Leavitt was editor of the Evangelical at that time, which was merged into the paper now known as the New York Independent.
"We, the elders and preachers of this Conference, who, according to our ability and the grace that hath been given us, have in our day preached the Gospel to our scattered and rejected brethren, sensible, that like those who have gone before us, the time of our departure will come also when we must give an account of our stewardship, would enter upon the minutes of this Conference an expression of grief at the withering effects of prejudice against color, and in connection with it the deep solicitude we feel that those who will hereafter rise to fill our places should possess the means of securing every qualification for the ministry, that they may be 'workmen that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.' Upon this, it is evident
Rev. William Moore
that the salvation of souls and the right instruction of the Church of Christ among the people of color, their advances in knowledge and mutual cultivation, render it necessary; therefore,
"Resolved, That our Rt. Rev. Father and Bishop, with such person or persons, as he may associate with him, be a committee to prepare, or cause to be prepared, an appeal or statement of the condition and wants of the Church of Christ among the people of color in regard to the ministry, and the obstacles which embarrass candidates for that office in obtaining suitable preparation, and often hinder access even to the ordinary means of education.
That the committee lay the same before the Presidents and officers of colleges and Theological seminaries in the free States, with a respectful entreaty that the advantages of education which their respective institutions afford may be extended to all persons alike, without distinction of color.
And further that the Bishop or committee, by correspondence with brethren throughout the United States, with Christian philanthropists, by appeals from the pulpit and press, and by all suitable means, endeavor to awaken a general interest amongst ourselves and friends on this important subject, viz.: a suitable preparation for the pulpit or ministry.
Resolved, That as education is the only sure means of creating in the mind those noble feelings which prompt us to the practice of piety, virtue and temperance, and elevate us above the condition of brutes, by assimilating us to the image of our Maker; we, therefore, recommend all our preachers to enjoin undeviating attention to its promotion, and earnestly request all our people to neglect no opportunity
of advancing it, pledging ourselves to assist them so far as it is in our power.
Resolved, That our elders and preachers, in their labors to promote the cause of temperance, hold up the principal of total abstinence from the use, as a beverage, of all intoxicating drinks, as the true and safe rule for all consistent friends of temperance to go by, and in accordance with our Discipline and the resolutions of our former Conferences."
The remainder of the report was upon two topics of such importance that we append it also:--
Resolved, That the elders and ministers of our Connection do see that the rules of our Discipline be duly observed in regard to the prompt and punctual attendance, at the times and places appointed for worship, because a habit of loitering on the way to meeting, coming in after the regular hours, or after the exercises have begun, is extremely hurtful and injurious.
Resolved, That the elders and ministers of our Church warn the people, not only in regard to extravagance and useless ornaments and dress, as our Discipline enjoins, but against a slovenly and ragged appearance, which some unhappily, and we believe unconsciously, are not careful to avoid, than which nothing perhaps does more to perpetuate the prevailing aversion and prejudice against color. The malignity of prejudice, we believe, would be much abated if our people were more careful, in their person and dress, to appear neat and cleanly.
This report was followed up by another resolution, which said:--
That the members of this Conference, from a sense of duty to ourselves, our people, and our friends, would express feelings of affection and gratitude for those noble men who have extended their privileges of education in their institutions of learning to all alike, without distinction of color, and trust the time will soon come when over the doorway of every school of science and literature in the country will be inscribed the Gospel principle, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come."
After transacting some other business the Conference adjourned.
Here we have a record of the Ohio Conference which met this year in Columbus, Ohio, August 27, 1837. There were present thirteen in all, consisting of nine elders, one deacon, two licensed preachers and Bishop Brown, who presided. Owen T. Burton Nickens was elected secretary.
Admitted on trial: John Caves, Claiborne Yaney and Turner Roberts.
Received into full connection: Fayette Davis, Samuel G. Clingman.
Withdrew from the Church: Job Dundy.
Died during the year: Elijah Brown.
This closed the work of the African Methodist Episcopal Church for 1837.
April 22d. The Baltimore Conference for the second time in its history held its session in Washington. D. C. Bishop Morris Brown presided. At this session there were only ten present. Bishop Waters was present and rendered valuable assistance. John F. Cook was elected secretary.
Bishop Brown in his opening address spoke of the importance of the ministers encouraging education among themselves and their people. In support of the views expressed by the Bishop, the Conference passed a resolution requiring each minister to preach a sermon on education in their respective charges once a quarter. Samuel Todd and Joshua Gilbert were reported as having died during the year, and memorial services were held as a mark of respect.
Rev. Stephen Smith was ordained a local elder, and Brother John Jordan a deacon.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia. Present, 11 ministers. Bishop Brown presided. But little business was transacted.
The New York Conference met in New York City, June 9, 1838. Bishop Morris Brown presided, assisted by Bishop Edward Waters. Present, 14 ministers, local and traveling.
Rev. Richard Williams, who was sent out from the previous Conference as missionary to Western New York and Canada, reported that he had established a Society at Rochester, with 26 members; licensed a local preacher and stationed him in charge. One in Buffalo, with 31 members; licensed 2 local preachers; 1 at Niagara, with 22 members; 1 at St. Davids, Canada, 29 members; St. Catherines, 40 members and 2 local preachers.
Rev. Edmund Crosby was received into the traveling connection for missionary work in the West and was ordained elder.
The Ohio Conference for this year was presided over by Bishop Morris Brown.
Withdrew from the Connection: Rev. Wiley Reynolds.
Returned to the Connection: Rev. David Smith.
Died: Job Case and Squire Ford. Memorial services were held as a mark of respect.
This closed the work for 1838.
The Baltimore Annual Conference met in Baltimore, April 27.
Ordained Elders: Jeffrey Goulden and Thomas Henry.
Ordained Deacon: John Voizart.
Delegates elected to the General Conference of 1840: Nathaniel Peck, Levin Lee, John Butler, Stephen Smith, John Jordan. This concluded the work of the Baltimore Annual Conference.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia, May, 1839, Bishop Morris Brown-presiding.
Present, 14 elders, 4 deacons and 15 local preachers.
For the first time the Conference doors were thrown open to the public.
Resolutions of sympathy with the enslaved brethren were passed.
Delegates to the General Conference of 1840 were elected as follows: William Henry, Thomas Banks, Benjamin Wilkens, Jeremiah Durham, David Ware, Walter Proctor and Shadrack Bassett.
Received on trial: Isaac Parker, itinerant; Alexander Davis, Robert Colling, Berry W. Wilkens; Henry Brightman, local.
Died: Thomas Bowser.
New York Conference met in Brooklyn, June 15. Bishop Brown presided, assisted by Bishop Waters.
New churches reported organized: Lockport, N. Y.; Toronto, Canada; Malden, Canada; Hamilton, Canada; Brantford, Canada; Boston, Mass., and Providence, R. I.
Ordained deacon: Asa Jeffry.
Died: Abram Marks, in 1838.
Delegates to the General Conference of 1840: Eli N. Hall, Benjamin Croger, George Hogarth, Samuel Edwards, N. C. W. Cannon.
Bishop Edward Waters.
General Conference Appoints a Committee Having in View the Intellectual Elevation of the Ministry--Willis Nazery Received Into the Connection--Organization of the Upper Canada Conference, Also the Indiana Conference--Willis R. Revels Admitted Into the Connection--Jabez P. Campbell Becomes a Member of the New York Conference--Daniel A. Payne Admitted Into Full Connection in the Philadelphia Conference 1842--Alexander Wayman mitted on Trial, 1843.
THIS year, as before, finds the Baltimore Conference holding its session before the General Conference. It opened April 16 in Baltimore, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding.
Received on trial: Henry Brightman and Isaac Parker, who made application and were referred to the Philadelphia Conference.
A change was made in delegates to General Conference by Rev. William A. Nichols being elected to fill that office in place of Rev. John Butler, who was transferred to Philadelphia Conference.
A resolution was passed requesting the ministers to solicit one cent a month, from each member in their charge, to assist in raising a General Conference Fund.
Education and temperance were the subjects mostly discussed at this session.
The General Conference met this year in Baltimore, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding, assisted by Bishop Edward Waters. After religious exercises conducted by Bishop Waters, the General Conference took up the business before it.
A resolution was passed ordering the organization of two more Annual Conferences, viz.: Upper Canada and Indiana.
Bishop Morris Brown addressed the General Conference referring to the institution of slavery. Resolutions expressing sympathy with the unfortunate brethren were passed. The work in South Carolina was touchingly referred to by the Bishop, who said: "As God is with us, He will in His own time make all things right." He admonished the brethren to trust in God and continue to work, leaving the results entirely with Him.
The Discipline was spoken of, but no action was taken at this session.
George Hogarth, Benjamin Wilkens and Nathaniel Peck were appointed a committee to bring before the General Conference some plan of literary society, looking forward to the elevation of the ministry from an intellectual stand-point.
The most important matter brought before the General Conference and fully discussed was the loss of the Haytian work, through the lack of zeal, tact and missionary enterprise of our three missionaries, Brothers Scipio Bean, Richard Robinson and Isaac Miller. While there was no action, aside from discussion, in the General Conference, the New York Conference, in 1841, took advanced steps in this direction.
The session of the General Conference, this year, was
short, as there was much opposition waged against the work by slave-holders. What work they had before them having been completed, the General Conference adjourned to meet in Pittsburg, Pa., 1844.
The Philadelphia Conference met May 23, this year, in Philadelphia, Bishop Morris Brown presiding. Education and temperance were discussed by the members of the Conference. The discussion being opened by Bishop Brown.
Brother Simon Murray, aged 68 years, and Rev. Jeremiah Miller having died during the year, memorial services were held in their honor. At this Conference Rev. David Ware was ordained a deacon.
June 13, of this year, the New York Conference convened in New York City, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding.
Willis Nazery was received into the Connection on probation. He was examined and passed a fair examination. He proved to be a man of power. Twelve years after his admission into the Conference he was elected and ordained a Bishop.
N. C. W. Cannon was elected missionary for all the New England States. A resolution was passed at this Conference requiring the ministers to preach four sermons a year on "Education," and to take a collection for Sunday Schools.
Shepherd Holcomb and E. N. Hall were admitted on trial at this Conference, and Joshua Jenkins and George Ware were admitted into full Connection.
Asa Jeffrey died during the Conference year.
Attention has been called to the fact that the General Conference in its sessions of this year ordered two new
Conferences to be organized, and now we come to the date of the organization of the Upper Canada and the Indiana Conferences, the Upper Canada being the first to be organized.
It was in the City of Toronto that Bishop Morris Brown called together the ministers and representatives of Methodism in Upper Canada, July 21, 1840. The Conference was composed of twelve members. Bishop Brown was assisted in the organization by Rev. Edmund Crosby, missionary for Canada, and Deacon George Ware, of Rochester, N. Y., and the following ministers, residents of Canada: Wm. Edwards, Samuel H. Brown, James Harper, Alexander Hemsley, Jeremiah Taylor, Daniel D. Thompson, Peter O'Banyon, Jacob Dorsey and Henry Bullard. Brother Weir was chosen secretary, and was also ordained an elder.
Daniel D. Thompson and Peter O'Banyon were admitted on trial. Samuel H. Brown was admitted into full Connection, and Alexander Hemsley was ordained deacon. This completed the organization.
The Indiana Conference was organized at a place called Blue River, October 2d. Bishop Brown presided, and Henry Addinson, in the absence of Bishop Waters, was selected as his assistant. Major J. Wilkerson was elected secretary. The elders present were: William P. Quinn, Henry Addinson, Thomas Lawrence, Fayette Davis and Jeremiah Thomas; deacons, Henry George, W. Johnson, Claiborne Yaney, Robert Johnson and M. J. Wilkerson; preachers, Robert Jones, Nathan Ward, Daniel Winslow, Shadrack Stewart, Henry Tyson, Mathew T. Newsom, Benjamin Hill, Willis R. Revels, Mathew Sawyers, Thomas
Rev. George W. Johnson.
Winslow and Benjamin Scipworth. M. T. Newsom was transferred to the Ohio Conference.
Claiborne Yaney was ordained an elder.
The Western Conference (the Ohio, or Pittsburg, as it was sometimes called), met in Pittsburg, September 5, with Bishop Brown presiding. Mr. George B. Vashon, a layman, was elected secretary.
The following anti-slavery resolution was passed:
We, the members of this Conference, are fully satisfied that the principles of the Gospel are arrayed against all sin, and that it is the duty of all Christians to use their influence and energies against all systems that rudely trample under foot the claims of justice and the sacred principles of revelation. And
WHEREAS. Slavery pollutes the character of the Church of God, and makes the Bible a sealed book to thousands of immortal beings, therefore,
"Resolved, That we will aid by our prayers, those pious persons whom God has raised up to plead the cause of the dumb, until every fetter shall be broken, and all men enjoy the liberty which the Gospel proclaims."
The business of the Conference being finished, the Conference adjourned.
The Philadelphia Conference met this year in Philadelphia, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding. The Conference was called to order April 10, 1841, and it was the first time it had met prior to the Baltimore Conference. The Conference was at this time composed of sixty members.
The Conference admitted on trial Thomas W. Jackson, John Butler, Samuel Murray, George Greely, Lewis J. Conover and Waddy W. Parker. Brother Adam Clincher was reported as having died.
The Baltimore Conference met May 8th, 1841, with Bishops Morris Brown and Edward Waters present. Bishop Brown presided.
The Conference admitted on trial Benjamin Boyes, John L. Armstrong, Thomas Hall, Darius Stockes and William G. Brown, and ordained Willis Nazery and John L. Armstrong deacons, and Levin Lee elder.
Brother Phaeton Blake, Jacob Howard and Southey Hammond were reported to the Conference as having died during the year.
The churches of Washington petitioned the Baltimore Conference to detach them from that body and attach them to the Philadelphia Conference. This request was refused.
The male officers of the churches were admitted to the Conference without voice or vote.
The New York Conference met May 29, 1841, in Brooklyn. The Bishops were not present, the cause of the delay of the Presiding Bishop, Morris Brown, was due to the fact that he had to take part in the laying of the cornerstone of Bethel Church, in Philadelphia, June 2nd. Upon his recommendation, Rev. John Boggs was elected the chairman, to proceed with the business until the arrival of the Bishop. Rev. George Hogarth was elected secretary. Jabez P. Campbell and Charles Burch made application for admission as local preachers; Jabez P. Campbell applied for membership in the itinerancy, but was refused on account of his feeble condition. The Conference recommended
that he be ordained a local deacon at the discretion of the Bishop.
John C. Spence was located.
George Weir, the Canadian Missionary, sent a report to the Conference.
Rev. Charles Spicer, at the examination of characters, was impeached by the secretary, for having accepted an invitation at the Annual Conference of 1839, to become part of a delegation from this Connection to a Convention of Methodists which was to meet in the month of December last, in the city of Port-au-Prince, capital of the Republic of Hayti, for the purpose of organizing themselves into a religious body of that denomination in that Republic; and Bishop Brown, as he understood, had received an invitation from that country, to send such a delegation to that Convention, that the A. M. E. Connection might be represented in the formation of that body of Christians in that country. But Brother Spicer, instead of going to Port-au-Prince, as he offered himself, went to Europe, contrary to the expectation of the Bishop and Conference, and thereby deprived the Connection from being represented in that Convention, which gave another denomination of Methodists to this country, in opposition to the A. M. E. Connection, the ascendency in the hearts and feelings of that body of Christians, they having been represented there. The matter was thoroughly discussed by the Conference before action was taken. This completed the work of the Conference.
The Indiana Conference met in Rush County, on Blue River, August 27, 1841, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding. Turner Roberts was elected secretary.
Thomas Elsworth, Allen Graham, Benjamin Coals and William Douglas were admitted on trial.
Thomas Elsworth and William Douglas were ordained deacons, and Robert Jones ordained an elder.
Benjamin Hill was located.
Elder William P. Quinn was appointed presiding elder of Illinois, Indiana and Missouri; and William Davidson was elected District Book Steward.
The Western Conference met in Cincinnati, September 11,1841, with Bishop Brown presiding.
W. T. Newsum, W. C. Yancy, John Gibbons were admitted on trial; George Coleman ordained elder, and Daniel Winslow, M. M. Clark, J. Gibbons were ordained deacons. Austin Jones and Isaac Delaney were reported as having died during the year.
The second annual session of the Canadian Conference met in St. Catherines, October 2, 1841, with both Bishops absent; Rev. Edmund Crosby was chosen president, S. H. Brown his assistant, and George Weir secretary.
George Wilkerson was admitted on trial, and Jacob Dorsey, Edward Gant, Jeremiah Taylor and Josiah Henson*
* The Josiah Henson spoken of as being received into full connection was said to be the original "Uncle Tom," a character in Mrs. Harriett Beecher Stowe's novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
were received into full connection.
* The Josiah Henson spoken of as being received into full connection was said to be the original "Uncle Tom," a character in Mrs. Harriett Beecher Stowe's novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin."
The Baltimore Conference met April 23, with Bishops Brown and Waters, nine elders, nine deacons and four preachers present. Bishop Brown presided.
Willis Nazery was admitted into full connection; Henry Waters and William Gaines on probation. Aaron Wilson died during the year.
The Philadelphia Conference met May 21, 1842, in Philadelphia, with both Bishops present, and Bishop Brown presiding. David Weir was elected secretary.
William Webb, C. P. Gibson and Daniel A. Payne were admitted on trial; Adam Driver, Abram Coursey and Stephen Holcomb admitted into full connection, and Isaac Parker, at his own request, was located. Died during the year: Robert Holcomb, John Hight and Henry Brown. The first named died at the age of 97 years.
A resolution was passed recommending that all deacons, elders, local preachers and exhorters pursue the following branches of study: English Grammar, Geography, Arithmetic, Rollin's Ancient History, Modern History, Ecclesiastical History, Natural and Revealed Theology. The resolutions were offered by Rev. D. A. Payne, and was a strong entering wedge against ignorance in the pulpit. There was also something tangible done in the way of education. Rev. Daniel A. Payne had under his charge one seminary for both sexes, in Philadelphia, with forty scholars; one literary society, with twenty members; one Sunday School, having sixty scholars and nine teachers; and one temperance society, with 800 members. In this year we find that Bishop Morris Brown held the pastorate of Bethel Church, and accomplished good work, and this had been done many years before.
The New York Conference met June 11, 1842, at Bethel Church, New York City. Bishop Morris Brown presided over this Conference, and Bishop Edward Waters was present and assisted him. Rev. George Hogarth was elected secretary.
Admitted on trial: Henry Johnson and J. P. Campbell, itinerant; Goldsbury Warner and John Scott, local preachers.
The report on education showed that there was taught in the basement of Bethel Church, New York City, one day school, containing 121 scholars of both sexes; one Sunday School, containing thirty males and thirty-five females, managed by eleven teachers.
The Canadian Conference met July 2, 1842,, in the City of Hamilton, with Bishop Brown presiding, assisted by Samuel H. Brown. Henry Ballard, a layman, acted as Conference Book Steward.
Peter Smith, Zachariah Estee, Austin Steward and James Walker were admitted on probation, and Josiah Henson ordained deacon; Austin Steward, an exhorter, was received into itinerant service.
Jeremiah Taylor, Jacob Dorsey and Edward Gant were received into full connection.
James Harper and Alexander Hemsley were ordained elders. The territory of the Conference was enlarged by adding Detroit, Michigan, and Queensbush, in the township of Peel, Canada West.
The Indiana Conference met August 25, 1842, in Vincennes, Ind., and devoted eight days in discussing the condition
Rev. Henry J. Johnson.
and prospect of the work committed to their care by God. Bishop Brown presided, and Elder Quinn was selected to assist Bishop Brown. Aenos McIntosh was elected secretary. There were present at the opening five elders, five deacons, ten licentiates.
Put on probation, as itinerants: James Curtis, Israel Cole, Joshua B. Dunlap, Boyd Parker, Aenos McIntosh and Willis R. Revels. Turner Roberts was transferred from the Ohio Conference to this.
Ordained elders: George W. Johnson and William Douglass.
Located: Major J. Wilkerson and Robert Jones.
Appointed District Book Steward: Rev. David Smith for the State of Indiana, and Rev. W. P. Quinn, for Illinois and Missouri.
The Ohio Conference met September 17, 1842. Bishop Brown presided over this Conference. Nine elders, three deacons and two licentiates were present. Henry Adcusson was selected as assistant to Bishop Brown.
Received on Trial: William Newsum, Thomas Woodson and Watkin Lee.
Received into full connection: Augustus R. Green, David Canyon and M. M. Clark.
Ordained Elders: M. M. Clark and Augustus R. Green.
Ordained Deacons: Thomas Woodson and Simon Ratcliff.
Died: Benjamin Roberts.
The work of William Paul Quinn was highly commended at this point in our history, and he is designated as being entitled to the honors which belong to a man of his ability and push. It is reported he planted the Western Missions in 1840 and in 1842, including eight circuits and stations,
and a membership of 900, embracing a colored community of 12,000 or 14,000 souls.
April 22 the Baltimore Conference met in Baltimore, with Bishops Morris Brown and Edward Waters present. Bishop Brown presided, and Bishop Waters assisted. Rev. Levin Lee was elected secretary. At this Conference a resolution was passed giving a seat, but not a voice, to all the official members of the stations and circuits making up the Conference.
Admitted on trial: Benjamin Lynch and Perry Stanton, local preachers.
Admitted into full connection: Benjamin Boyer, John L. Armstrong, Thomas Hall, Darius Stokes, William H. G. Brown and Savage Hammond.
The Philadelphia Conference met on May 20, 1843, with Bishop Brown presiding. There were fifty-eight members present at the opening.
Aaron Johnson, Henderson Davis, Henry Davis, Abraham Crippen, Alexander Wayman, were admitted on trial; Samuel Murray, Daniel A. Payne, George Greely, Lewis S. Conover, John Butler, Wardell W. Parker, Levin Bond were admitted into full connection; and Willis Nazery was ordained an elder. Lewis Conover was located, and Richard Williams placed on the supernumary list.
Joseph P. Cox, Daniel A. Payne, David Ware, Stephen Smith, Levin Tillman, Shadrack Bassett, Aaron Johnson, Robert Collins and Jeremiah Miller were elected delegates to the General Conference.
A resolution was passed making it obligatory upon each
minister to take a collection to defray the expenses of the delegates to the General Conference.
The New York Conference met in the City of New York, June 10, 1843, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding. The Conference was thrown open to the public.
J. P. Campbell, Charles Burch, Thomas W. Jackson were admitted into full connection; Charles Burch was ordained deacon, and Samuel Edwards, Edmund Crosby, Cæsar Springfield, Benjamin Croger, George Hogarth and Charles Burch were elected delegates to the General Conference.
The General Book Steward was present, and laid before the Conference the claims of that department.
The Canadian Conference met July 1, 1843, in Toronto, Canada. Rev. N. C. W. Cannon, in the absence of both of the Bishops, presided. Owing to this fact, the record shows there was but little business transacted.
The Indiana Conference met in Indianapolis, August 31, 1843. Bishop Morris Brown presided, and Rev. Robert Jones was made assistant to the Bishop, and Brother Aenos McIntosh was elected secretary.
Henry Cole and Isaac Knight were received on trial; Thomas Elsworth was admitted into full connection; and Byrd Parker, Willis R. Revels, Robert Johnson and Major Wilkerson ordained elders. Joseph P. Dunlap was located.
The following were elected delegates to the General Conference: Thomas Elsworth, Dennis Ezra, Benjamin Scipworth, Peter Smith, Nathaniel Newton.
William P. Quinn was elected District Book Steward.
The Ohio Conference met in September 15, 1843, in Hillsboro, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding. Thomas Woodson and A. R. Green were elected secretaries.
Solomon H. Thompson, Carey S. Hargrave and Joseph Fowler were admitted on trial, and John Gibbons and Daniel Winslow were ordained elders.
Died during the year: James Byrd, November 7, 1842; Samuel Ente, April 7, 1843; Frederick Rives, June 15, 1843.
Thomas Roberts was transferred from the Indiana Conference to this Conference.
Abram D. Lewis, Samuel Johnson, John Peck and Samuel Collins, of Pittsburg; and Joseph Fowler, of Cincinnati; were elected delegates to the General Conference.
This concluded the work of 1843, and now we come to consider the work of the General Conference of 1844, and that of the Annual Conferences during the same year.
On to the Seventh General Conference--Scenes and Incidents by the Way--Meeting of Long Lost Brothers--An Affecting Scene--Committee on Revision of the Discipline Appointed--Lay Members First Admitted--William Paul Quinn Elected Bishop--Daniel Payne Elected General Book Steward, but Declines the Position--Parent Home and Foreign Missionary Society Organized--Resume of Annual Conference--Bishop Payne on the Personal of the General Conference.
WE now come to the General Conference of 1844, which was the Seventh General Conference. It was in Pittsburg, Pa., and the most interesting one held up to this time in the history of our Church. Perhaps a manner of reaching the seat of the General Conference would prove of interest to the readers, and we will furnish you with the same, before entering into the business transacted by the body.
Wednesday morning, May 1, 1844, at 7 o'clock, the majority of the Eastern delegates left Philadelphia in the cars for Harrisburg, under a bright sky, and in a bracing atmosphere. Nothing of peculiar interest occurred between the city of "Brotherly Love" and the Capital. The latter place was reached about 3 o'clock P. M., and the cars were exchanged for the packet boat, "Delaware," Captain Morton. At this point, several white passengers joined us,
among whom were two clergymen of the Congregational Church, of New England. About 4 o'clock the boat left Harrisburg for Hollidaysburg, which was reached about 7 o'clock on Friday morning. Again changing the boat for the cars, Johnstown was reached, where we dined about 1 o'clock P. M. Here we took the packet boat, John Adams, for Pittsburg, and between 7 and 8 o'clock Saturday evening we sailed into the smoky city of Western Pennsylvania. It took 84 hours to accomplish the journey from Philadelphia to Pittsburg, which was full of thrilling incidents, some of which are worth mentioning:
With but little exception the weather was clear and delightful; the company, consisting of about fifty persons, engaged in conversation of the most interesting character, embracing topics natural, political, moral and religious. Every evening as soon as the tea-table was removed, the company assembled in the cabin, and one of the clergy was appointed to conduct the religious services, which consisted in reading and expounding the Holy Scriptures, prayer and singing the sweet songs of Zion.
The scenery through which we passed was indescribably beautiful. Well cultivated gardens, ornamented with tulips, snowballs and other flowers of the season--deep valleys, towering mountains, overspead with green drapery of nature; crystal springs gushing out of the rocky hills, rivulets, creeks and rivers, flowing in graceful meandering through the vales, producing musical murmurings among the shrubbery and rocks, over which they passed; the artificial waterfalls produced by the dams, contrasting the deep bass with the shrill accents of the birds 'twere well adapted to inspire the mind with emotions of wonder, love and praise; causing the soul"To look through Nature, up to Nature's God."
These rivers, valleys and mountains seem to have been made to test the genius of man. And he has gloriously evinced its God-like power in the structure of canals, those mimic rivers; the formation of railroads, and the application of steam power to the latter. He will not be overcome by difficulties, for if river intersect the progress of his canals, he will glide over them by means of aqueducts, if hills oppose him he will pierce their rugged bosom, and run his liquid pathway through their stony hearts; and if the lofty mountains dispute the passage of his roads, he will climb their towering summits and descend their precipitate sides upon incline planes, so that neither length nor breadth, nor heighth, nor depth, nor distance, nor time can hinder his locomotion; but swift as the mountain eagle, he flies from point to point, and unites the most distant places of the rolling earth.
The following incident is also worthy of record. One of our clergy had been separated from his brother when only two months old, and sold into grievous bondage; more than thirty-two years had elapsed, and he had never seen him, consequently knew not his person. That brother was now on board the John Adams as its steward. He saw him; passed him again and again, and spoke to him, but knew him not, until one of the ministers, who knew both, introduced them to each other! But who can describe the sublimity of this scene, or utter the rapture of their hearts! They embraced, they kissed, they rejoiced and wept! "I cannot express the emotion of my soul," said one, "but I feel all over." And joyful surprise went like electricity from soul to soul, and excited the whole company.
On the evening before we reached Pittsburg, our venerable Bishop, Morris Brown, was called to the chair, and an invitation extended through a committee, to one of the passengers (an aged gentleman, and high in civil office),
to address us. He complied with the request, and in the midst of his interesting remarks, urged us, with great emphasis, to establish a college for the education of our children and young men, as one of the most powerful and successful means of attaining the rights and dignity of American citizens. The good and wholesome advice, coming from one so high in office, so experienced in age, so far-reaching in knowledge, and so virtuous in character, made a deep and lasting impression on our minds. Upon invitation, he was followed by one of the Congregational clergymen, whose eloquent speech, flowing from a generous soul, kindled in our bosom such a flame of Christian affection and fraternal sympathy, as made us feel that we were indeed the children of one Father, the heirs of the same heavenly inheritance, and that neither complexional distinctions, nor sectarian predilection could sever those who had been washed in the blood of the same Saviour, and whose hopes are in the same Gospel. At Harrisburg we met in peace, at Pittsburg we parted in love, hoping that in the morning of the resurrection we shall all be united in the same heaven to join in the same songs of peace to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
"On Monday, the 20th, the General Conference closed its seventh session in the hospitable city of Pittsburg whose generous inhabitants deserve the highest praise for their unceasing efforts to please and render us comfortable, for both necessaries and luxuries were lavished upon us, so that their tables and our stomachs were made to groan with the weight of nourishing and luscious viands. Thanks to you, noble citizens of Pittsburg! A thousand thanks for your brotherly kindness, the remembrance of which we will bear upon our grateful hearts, even to the very gates of death.
"On the evening of the 20th we took an affectionate farewell
Rev. Chas. H. Peters
of the Pittsburgers, and made for Philadelphia. After a detention of about ten hours, twelve miles east of Pittsburg, occasioned by a breach in the canal, we moved as rapidly as possible toward Johnstown, and reached it about 3 o'clock P. M., and took the cars over the Alleghany Mountains, and reached Hollidaysburg about 8 o'clock at night; then took the packet "Juniata," the captain of which treated us--as did all the captains--with every possible kindness. Inasmuch as we had lost ten hours, and would have reached Harrisburg too late to take the first cars on Friday morning, the captain made extraordinary exertions, causing the drivers to move at the rate of between five and six miles per hour, so that we chased down the time, and reached the latter place fifteen minutes after 7 o'clock on Friday morning; took the cars, and were in the city of Philadelphia by 3 o'clock P. M.
"We cannot close these remarks without briefly noticing the spirit of Christian union which was manifested toward us by our white brethren in Pittsburg. Their churches were kindly opened for the preaching of our clergy, and many of them daily attended the deliberations of the Conference, evincing a liberality of feeling that puts to the blush that narrow-heartedness which distinguishes some professing Christians. But the General Conference is over, and may the blessing of God crown its deliberations, through Christ our Redeemer. Amen."
After the long and tiresome travel above described, we reached the seat of the seventh General Conference in time to take part in the opening in Pittsburg, May 6, 1844. There were two Bishops present at the opening, and both took active part in the proceedings. Bishop Morris Brown presided, and he was assisted by Bishop Edward Waters. The General Conference opened with thirty-nine traveling preachers, and the twenty-seven local delegates were from
the following districts: Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Ohio and Indiana Conferences.
The General Conference was called to order at 9 o'clock by Bishop Morris Brown, who, assisted by Bishop Waters, conducted religious services. During the opening the Spirit of God was felt. Roll call showed sixty-eight delegates present. The General Conference was duly organized by electing M. M. Clark, George Hogarth and David Ware secretaries.
The first day of the session Bishop Brown called attention to the Book of Discipline, saying that there were many needed changes to be made, and thought they should claim the attention of the General Conference. A motion prevailed authorizing the appointment of a special committee to go through the Discipline and recommend such changes as deemed necessary. The Bishop appointed the following committee on revision of Discipline: Daniel A. Payne, George Weir, Benjamin Croger, A. R. Green and Willis R. Revels.
Some of the delegates were in favor of leaving out the preface of the Discipline in the future, saying that it would tend to perpetuate malignant feelings against our white brethren of the M. E. Church. Others believed no such assertion, and, therefore, the majority voted to retain the preface without alteration or amendment. The Discipline was amended in the following particulars:
The phrases "junior" and "senior" Bishop were altered to "joint Bishops." The basis of election of delegates to the General Conference was changed as to the number of traveling preachers in each Annual Conference so as to read: "The General Conference shall consist of one delegate for every four hundred lay members returned at the previous Annual Conference," and the power to limit the bounds of each elective department was lodged in the several
Annual Conferences. Here the admission of lay delegates to membership of the General Conference did really commence, but the itinerant minister having so much faith in their power and authority to lead, allowed only lay preachers to membership in the General Conference to represent the laity.
It was also provided that in the absence of the Bishops, the Conference should choose a president pro tem to preside over the deliberations.
On the fourth day the Discipline was amended in five points: 1. The regulation of the proceeds of the Book Concern. 2. The elements to constitute the Annual Conferences. 3. Regulation of the contingent expenses. 4. Limiting the number of Annual Conferences. 5. Whereas, the General Conference, prior to this period, could expel a Bishop for improper conduct. That phrase was stricken out, and the phrase of immoral conduct inserted in its place.
Rev. Daniel Payne introduced a resolution to institute a course of studies for the education of the ministry. It was voted down by an overwhelming majority, and the General Conference adjourned in great excitment.
The next morning, which was the fifth day's session, Bishop Morris Brown called the General Conference to order, and immediately after the reading of the journal, Rev. A. D. Lewis moved the reconsideration of the resolution offered by Rev. D. A. Payne the day previous, which was voted down. A motion finally prevailed, and the resolution of D. A. Payne was adopted with as much enthusiasm as it was defeated the day previous.
Rev. John Peck introduced a resolution providing for a committee of seven to select a course of study for the young preachers. The committee consisted of Revs. Daniel A. Payne, H. C. Turner, David Ware, Richard Robinson,
Abram D. Lewis, W. R. Revels and George Weir.
The committee on revision of the Discipline reported, and the same received the attention of the General Conference, and resulted in ten amendments being made. They related to the trial of traveling preachers; the admission of initerants into Conference; licensing local preachers; licensing exhorters; distilling and retailing spiritous liquors; the catechetical instruction of children; public worship and the trial of laymen.
Bishop Morris Brown called the General Conference to order on the sixth day, at 9 o'clock, and after song and prayer service, the journal was read and approved. The committee appointed to arrange the course of study, made a report recommending the following:
Exhorters, first year--The Bible, Smith's English Grammar, Mitchell's Geography, Book of Discipline and Wesley's notes.
Second year--Original Church of Christ, History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Watson's Life of Wesley.
II. Preachers, first year--Smith's English Grammar, Mitchell's Geography, Paley's Evidences of Divine Revalation, History of the Bible, and Horn's Introduction.
Second year--Schmucker's Mental Philosophy, Paley's Natural Theology, Schmucker's Popular Theology, and Watson's Institutes.
Third year--Ecclesiastical History, Goodrich's Church History, Porter's Homiletics, and D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation.
Fourth year--Geography and Chrononology of the Bible, with a Review of the above studies. The report was signed by the committee. It was adopted, and ordered printed in the back of the Discipline as an appendix.
The Book of Discipline was again brought before the body, and after considering a number of recommendations
and changes offered by the committee, the General Conference adjourned until Monday morning, May 13.
The General Conference met, with Bishop Morris Brown presiding, and after song and prayer, the roll was called, and the minutes read and approved. The report of the committee on revision of the Discipline was considered in this day's session. We will not further enter into details of the daily proceedings of the General Conference, but give the following important business which was transacted during the remainder of the session:
Elder William Paul Quinn, the Western Missionary, who was appointed by the General Conference of 1840, made his report.
He had traveled from Pittsburg to the West, 300 miles beyond the Missouri line. His report was read amid a great deal of enthusiasm, and brought forth many expressions from the delegates in the General Conference, who declared that he should be a Bishop. The question of electing another Bishop was then brought before the General Conference, and after thoroughly canvassing the matter and discussing it with Bishops Brown and Waters, it was decided to elect another Bishop.
Saturday, May 18, a motion passed in the General Conference that the body go into the election of another Bishop. Elder William Paul Quinn was elected, and on Sunday, May 19, was ordained by Bishop Morris Brown.
The General Conference created the office of General Book Steward during this session, and Daniel A. Payne was elected to the position. It was his duty to travel through the connection and solicit and collect for the Book Concern, to make arrangement with the District Book Stewards so that the whole church might be supplied with books.
Thanking the General Conference for the honor, Daniel
A. Payne respectfully declined the position thus offered him by election.
The Parent Home and Foreign Missionary Society was organized by the General Conference. M. M. Clark was elected General Book Steward of the A. M. E. Church. The total amount of money raised for the expense of the General Conference, $298.98, of which amount the city of Pittsburg gave $168.82.
In speaking of the General Conference which was held, Bishop D. A. Payne has the following to say:
"The General Conference was opened Monday morning, May 6th, at 10 o'clock, Rev. Morris Brown in the chair. Inasmuch as the minutes of the Conference will be laid before the public, we will content ourselves with simply making some general remarks on its character. And we believe that we speak the sentiments of every intelligent and reflecting mind, when we say, that there never was such an amount of talent and general information concentrated in any ecclesiastical assembly among us, since the memorable convention of 1816, and when we consider the difficult and important questions that were discussed, we believe we hazard nothing in saying that there was as much unanimity and order as generally prevails in such large and exciting meetings. The various amendments that were made to the Discipline, and the new enactments that were ratified, if faithfully executed by the different officers of the church, will doubtless confer great and increasing benefits upon ourselves as a church in particular, and the church in general. The East was made personally acquainted with the West, and the West with the East, and thereby friendships have been formed, which, we trust, will not only prove beneficial to the individuals concerned, but also serve to
strengthen those cords of union which we hope and pray will forever bind our growing connection together, and keep us one until the church militant shall be assembled with the church triumphant in the Paradise of God.
The blessings of God were invoked after nineteen days session, and the General Conference adjourned sine die.
William Paul Quinn, the fourth Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was supposed to have been born in 1788. There are contradictory statements as to the place of his birth. He entered the A. M. E. Church when a young man, after spending several years in New York and Pennsylvania. In 1832 he went over the Alleghany Mountains and organized churches in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri and Iowa. In 1844 he was elected Bishop, afterward he traveled very extensively, East, West, North, South. At the General Conference held in Nashville, May, 1872, he was relieved from active work. He afterwards visited several Conferences, and in February, 1873, he died at his residence in Richmond, Indiana.
The Baltimore Conference met this year June 8, in Washington, D. C., with Bishops Morris Brown, Edward Waters and William P. Quinn present. Bishop Morris Brown opened the Conference with an address, which was impressive and instructive. He referred to the work of the General Conference.
Received on probation: Samuel Watts itinerant; Samuel Wilmore, local.
Received into full connection: Henry Waters, William Gaines and Adam S. Driver.
Ordained Elder: John L. Armstrong.
Ordained Deacon: William Gaines.
H. C. Turner was authorized to establish a high school in Baltimore.
Died: William A. Nichols, September 20, 1843; Samuel Dickerson also departed this life during the year.
Rev. William Nichols, who is reported among the dead in the Conference this year, was a remarkable man. During his ministerial career in Washington, D. C., it became a rumor that he was connected with Mr. Torry (a martyr) in the employ of the Underground Railroad Company. He had arranged for the escape of a number of slaves in the District of Columbia, and had them on board of a boat, going down the Potomac River, when they were captured, and returned to Washington. Rev. Nichols learning that his name was being associated with the affair, feared arrest, conviction and imprisonment. It was this fear which is supposed to have been the cause of his death, which was sudden, from heart trouble.
Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia, June 22, 1844, Bishop Morris Brown presiding.
Admitted on trial: Alexander Davis, local; Henry Davis, itinerant.
David Ware was authorized to establish a high school in Philadelphia.
Died: Richard Williams and Joseph Cox.
Missionaries appointed: Walter Proctor, home; Stephen Smith, foreign.*
Bishop William Paul Quinn was present at this Conference, and at its close, left for the West to hold the Conferences. He was to preside over the Indiana Conference,
Rt. Rev. Paul Quinn
which was to convene in Terre Haute, August 29. The following interesting incident is connected with his trip:
"After the rise of the Philadelphia Conference, Bishop Quinn proceeded to the West, with a view to hold the Conferences in those regions. He set out in his own private carriage for Terre Haute, at which place the Annual Conference of that district was to convene on the 29th of August. When about twenty miles distant, some part of the harness broke, and the horse, naturally fiery, took fright and ran away. The Bishop held him until the reins gave way, and the front of the carrige being already broken, he fell out, and as he still clung to the broken rein, the horse dragged him some two hundred yards, when the animal freed himself from the Bishop's control and fled, breaking the carriage to pieces. The Bishop was severely bruised on the left side and breast, and one of his arms was fractured. Though almost insensible when raised from the ground, his powerful and vigorous constitution, as an auxiliary to the best medical skill, enabled him to open the Conference two days later.
This year the Canada Conference met at Toronto, and was presided over by Bishop Morris Brown, who was stricken with paralysis during the session, and Rev. Noah C. W. Cannon was elected chairman pro tem.
The Ohio Conference met at Columbus, and was presided over by Bishop William Paul Quinn.
The Indiana Conference met at Indianapolis, Bishop Quinn presided.
Alexander Wayman Ordained Deacon and Elder--Elected Secretary of the Baltimore Conference--Book Concern in a Bad Condition--Ministers Keeping the Book Concern's Money in Their Pockets--John M. Brown Ordained Deacon--T. M. D. Ward Admitted on Trial 1847--John M. Brown Received Into Full Connection and Elected Delegate to the General Conference.
THE Baltimore Conference met in Baltimore, May 26, with Bishops Morris Brown, Edward Waters and William Paul Quinn present. The following secretaries were elected: Levin Lee and Samuel Watts.
Admitted on trial: Christopher Jones, Aquila Scott and Samuel Wilmore.
The Philadelphia Conference of this year met in Philadelphia, and was presided over by Bishop William Paul Quinn.
Admitted on trial: I. Holland, J. P. B. Eddy, Shadrack Blackstone, J. W. Stokes and William Jones.
Received into full connection: Alexander Wayman, Aaron Johnson, Henderson Davis and A. C. Crippen.
Ordained Deacons: Alexander Wayman and H. Davis.
Rev. Henry Davis.
New York Conference met June 25, in New York City. Bishop Morris Brown, although in a feeble condition, presided. Bishop Quinn arrived during the last days of the Conference and presided.
Revs. M. M. Clark and George Hogarth were elected secretaries.
E. C. Africanus, James Hyate, N. C. B. Thomas and L. Tillman were ordained deacons.
Hercules Schureman and Charles Spicer were reported as having died during the year.
The Indiana Conference met at Indianapolis, with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding. Brother McIntosh was elected secretary.
Baker Brown, General Footle and Ishman Thurman were received on trial, and Henry Code was received into full connection.
Revs. Byrd Parker and Benjamin Hill were located.
The Canada Conference met at St. Catherines, September 13, and remained in session until 17th. Rev. N. C. W. Cannon was elected president in the absence of all the Bishops. Revs. George Weir and C. T. Williamson were elected secretaries.
The Ohio Conference met in Columbus, Ohio, October 18th. John P. Woodson, Edward Davis, William Heron and Henderson Gillispie were admitted on trial.
James Turpin and Campbell Maxwell, local; Edward Davis, Jr., traveling, were ordained deacons, and S. H. P. Thompson and William Newman were ordained elders.
The Book Concern was in a deplorable condition in 1845, as was shown by the financial report of the Book Steward, and the first annual report of the Book Agent. The balance sheet, which was placed before the members of the Conferences and Connection, showed in the hands of the brethren due the department $1,626.42. Twenty years after this, Rev. M. M. Clark reported that there was in the preachers' pockets $16,500 due the Book Concern. It is this carelessness that has put the Book Concern in its present condition. If the money due the department, from the brethren, could only be collected, the Concern would soon be out of debt, and on a good financial foundation.
The Baltimore Conference met in Baltimore, and was presided over by Bishop William Paul Quinn.
They declared themselves favorable to a union with the Zion Wesley Connection, and adopted the following resolution:
"WHEREAS, It is a fact greatly to be lamented--on account of the disunion in Christian fellowship, on account of the division of means to do good and bless mankind, on account of the towering prejudices thrown up as high as the heavens, reaching like the tops of Alpine Mountains between the two Connections, on account of the sacred cause of schools, day and Sabbath, the cause of general education, and on account of the present, future and eternal welfare of immortal souls--that the two religious denominations of Christians in these United States, occupying nearly co-extensively the same territory, are in the present positions a heavy weight, the one to the other, in the mission of the church militant in the spread of the
knowledge of the Lord among us, that is to say, the A. M. Episcopal and the A. M. Zion; therefore,
Resolved, That if, in the providence of the Great Head of the Church, any plan or system of means can be devised and matured by which the two bodies can be amicably brought together into one consolidated body, and in which they could both consistently agree upon terms of Christian fellowship, we, the members of this Baltimore Annual Conference, entertain no objection to the same.
The Baltimore Annual Conference convened in Union Bethel A. M. E. Church, Washington, D. C., in April, 1846. Bishops present were Morris Brown, Edward Waters and William P. Quinn. Bishop Quinn presided. Levin Lee was elected secretary. Revs. H. C. Turner and William Gaines died during the year. James A. Shorter and John H. Thomas were admitted on trial. Rev. D. A. Payne preached a sermon on the life and work of Rev. Henry C. Turner.
This was a great year in Baltimore. Rev. D. A. Payne was pastor of Bethel Church, Saratoga street. He and the good people of Bethel were preparing to build a new church.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia, with Bishops Morris Brown, Edward Waters and William Paul Quinn present. David Ware and Alexander Wayman were elected secretaries.
The New York Conference met in New York City, June 5, with Bishop Quinn presiding. M. M. Clark and E. Africanus were elected secretaries.
Received on trial: R. Smith, William M. G. Thomas, William Harman, Peter Schuler, James P. Thompson, Voss Neal, Thomas Demus and Reuben Leonard.
Admitted into full connection: John Williams, Stephen Amos, James Hyatt.
The Canada Conference met July 31 in "Queen's Bush," with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding. Henry Hicks was elected secretary.
Admitted on trial: Thomas Keith and Henry Smith.
Admitted into full connection: David Thompson, Jeremiah Taylor and Nelson Countee.
Died: Charles Williamson.
The Ohio Conference met in Cincinnati, with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding. O. T. B. Nickens and M. T. Newsum were elected secretaries.
Ordained Deacons: David Conger, John Peck, William Herrin and J. M. Brown.
The Baltimore Conference met in Baltimore, April 17, presided over by Bishop William Paul Quinn; Bishop Brown being too feeble to leave his room in Philadelphia, and Bishop Winters confined to his bed as the result of being run over by a reckless carriage driver, and seriously injured; he died shortly after.
Admitted on trial: Daniel W. Moore, Thomas Williams, Samuel Thorne, Daniel Pollard, E. B. Hazzard, Simon Brown, Perry Dobson.
Received into full connection: Samuel Wilmore, Christopher Jones, Aquila Scott and William H. Jones.
Rev. Deaton Dorrell
Ordained Deacons: William H. Jones and P. E. B. Hazzard.
The Philadelphia Conference met in May, with Bishops Morris Brown and W. P. Quinn present.
Received on trial: Patrick Hambleton.
Received into full connection: J. P. B. Eddy, J. Hollond, Shadrack Blackstone, J. W. Stokes, W. H. Jones and Perry Gibson.
Ordained Elders: A. W. Wayman and H. Davis.
Ordained Deacon: John Butler.
W. Proctor, R. Collins, J. Woodland, J. Hollond, S. Smith, D. Ware, T. Holcomb, T. Blackstone, Thomas Gibbs, J. P. B. Eddy, J. J. G. Bias, G. McMillen and H. J. Young were elected delegates to the General Conference.
The New York Conference met in New York City, June 25, and was presided over by Bishop William Paul Quinn.
Admitted on trial: T. M. D. Ward, G. H. Washington and W. Harman.
Admitted into full connection: J. P. Turner, Edward Johnson, J. L. Smith, L. Tillman, D. Dorrell, John Elsemore and J. Standford.
Delegates to General Conference were elected as follows: S. Edwards, R. Parker, J. Jenkins, G. Weir and B. Croger.
The Canadian Conference met in "Queen's Bush," in Peel township, July 30, with Bishop W. P. Quinn presiding.
Received on trial: Thomas Keeth and Henry Smith.
Received into full connection: David D. Thompson, Nelson Countee and Jeremiah Taylor.
The Ohio Conference met in Zanesville, October 16, with Bishop W. P. Quinn presiding.
Received on trial: Peter Gardner, Levin Gross, Robert Johnson and David Wheelbanks.
Received into full connection: William Morgan.
Ordained Elders: Levin Gross, E. Davis, John M. Brown and William Morgan.
Died: Thomas Woodson and Fayette Davis.
O. T. B. Nickens, Wesley Roberts, John Peck, Xenophon Lee, Jerret Jenkins, David Smith, William Morgan and John M. Brown were elected delegates to the General Conference.
Bishop William Paul Quinn Delivers an Episcopal Address--He Also Recommends the Presiding Elder System, but the General Conference Refuses to Adopt the Recommendation--Alexander Wayman One of the Secretaries--New Church Organ Authorized and Elder A. R. Green Elected Editor--Conferences Set Apart a Day For Fasting and Prayer for the Abolition of Slavery.
THE eight General Conference, which convened in Philadelphia, is full of interesting incidents from the opening to the hour of closing. It opened Monday morning, May 1, with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding. Revs. M. M. Clark, A. W. Wayman and Edward Davis were elected secretaries. Rev. Byrd Parker preached a sermon.
There was a new departure at this session of the General Conference, for Bishop William Paul Quinn delivered an episcopal address which was written, and this was the first time in the history of the church that a written address had been presented to the General Conference. Prior to this time the address had been referred to by the secretaries in their records, but this time the address is presented in full. After carefully reviewing the work of the Connection, he made important recommendations. Among other things he recommended that Conferences or Connections having presiding elders, owing to the fact that there were many difficulties occurring on circuits and in stations, which could not be satisfactorily settled without the agency of the presiding elders. A number of other reasons were shown why
there should be presiding elders. This caused an animated debate, and resulted in the proposition to have presiding elders being lost by a vote of 48 to 33.
Owing to the increase of the work, the number of members, circuits and stations that were added to the work, there was a strong desire, and even a recommendation from the committee on episcopacy that there be another Bishop elected. This was agreed upon by the General Conference, and Wednesday morning, May 3, was set apart as the time for the election. This was to take place immediately after roll call, but by some hocus pocus, the election did not take place. The Christian Herald was started, and Rev. A. R. Green was elected editor of the new church organ.
The Philadelphia Conference met June 3, at Trenton, N. J., Bishop Quinn presided.
Ordained Deacons: William Catto, A. C. Crippen, T. C. Oliver, J. J. G. Bias and H. C. Young.
The Baltimore Conference met this year in Baltimore, and was presided over by Bishop William Paul Quinn.
The session was rather an interesting one. A local elder and a number of official and lay members had seceded from Bethel Church and formed a new organization. Rev. Adam Driver was suspended for conduct unbecoming a Christian minister. Rev. William Moore was appointed to Union Bethel, and A. W. Wayman to Israel Church, Washington, D. C.
Ordained Elder: W. H. Jones.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia, with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding.
In the Baltimore Conference and Philadelphia Conference this year was exhibited a spirit of rebellion. Rev. J. J. G. Bias brought it to an end by a timely resolution which he offered.
The death of Bishop Morris Brown, and David Ware this year was the occasion for solemn memorial services.
The Ohio Conference met in Columbus, with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding.
Died: Samuel Collins.
The Indiana Conference met in Indianapolis, with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding.
Died: Robert Johnson and Benjamin Cole.
Bishop William Paul Quinn presided over the Baltimore Conference, in Washington, D. C. The session was short, and but little business was transacted.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia, with Bishop Quinn presiding.
The several Conferences set apart the last Friday in June as a day of fasting and prayer for the abolition of slavery.
The Baltimore Conference was presided over this year by Bishop Quinn.
Wm. D. W. Schureman, Samuel Watts, J. R. V. Morgan and Ed. I. Hawkins were ordained elders, and Revs. Savage L. Hammond, John Jordan, Robert M. Smith, John Gaines, Caleb Hall, Thomas Williams, William Webb, Christopher Jones, James Read, Robert Boston, Charles Sawyer were elected delegates to the General Conference
The Philadelphia Conference held an interesting session this year.
Died: Jeremiah Biddle.
The New York Conference met in Brooklyn, and was presided over by Bishop Quinn. Special funeral service in respect to Rev. George Hogarth was held at the opening of the Conference.
William Harmon was ordained deacon, and James M. Williams was ordained elder.
The Indiana Conference met at Indianapolis, with Bishop W. P. Quinn presiding.
Ordained Deacon: John A. Warren.
Ordained Elder: R. M. Johnson.
Delegates to General Conference were elected as follows: John Garrow, William Douglas, James Dubois, Abram T. Hall, Frederick Meyers, William H. Rice, J. L. Johnson and Jacob Green.
Israel Cole and William H. Jones died during the year.
Rev. W. D. W. Schureman,
Rev. J. R. V. Morgan
The Ninth General Conference Refuses to License Women to Preach--Bishops Elected and Name of Church Organ Changed to Christian Recorder--Dividing the Work Into Districts--Resume of Conferences--New Conference Organized.
THE General Conference opened May 3, in Bethel Church, New York City. It was called to order by Bishop William Paul Quinn.
M. M. Clark, A. W. Wayman and Edward C. Africanus were elected secretaries. The General Conference opened at 10 o'clock A. M., and Rev. D. A. Payne preached the opening sermon, selecting as his text: "Who is sufficient for these things?" 2 Cor. ii:16.
The episcopal address, delivered by Bishop William Paul Quinn, was the next feature of the opening exercises. In this masterly address, the Bishop called attention to the fact that there should be other Bishops elected during the session. He also thought that the office of presiding elder should be created. He spoke of the condition of the Book Concern, saying that it continued in an embarrassed condition on account of the want of adequate support, as the organ of the church. The question of licensing women to preach was brought before the body in the address, the Bishop informing the Conference that it would come before the body in some shape during the session, and said it should be disposed of. After calling attention to several
other important features of the work, he concluded his address.
Friday evening, May 7, the question of licensing women to preach was brought before the General Conference. It was discussed at length. Rev. Thomas Lawrence sought to bring it to a close by making a motion that women should be licensed to preach. This motion was lost by a large majority.
Immediately after the question of licensing women to preach was disposed of, the General Conference went into the election of Bishops, which had been ordered on the Wednesday previous. Revs. Stephen Smith, J. M. Brown and E. N. Hall were appointed judges.
The election was preceded with singing and prayer, in which the guidance of the Great Head of the Church was sought in the important business to come before the body, especially in the selection of the men to fill the holy office. The election then resulted in Rev. Willis Nazrey, of Philadelphia, a native of Virginia, and Rev. D. A. Payne, of Baltimore, a native of South Carolina, being elected. They were consecrated the Thursday following.
Bishop Nazrey having received the largest number of votes, and being elected first, was the senior, and Bishop Payne, while he was ordained first, yet was the junior, and this has been the rule governing our General Conferences ever since. The ordination sermon was preached by Rev. Molison M. Clark.
The name of the official organ of the church was changed to the Christian Recorder.
The following Bishops and general officers had charge of the affairs of the church at the close of this General Conference: Bishops W. P. Quinn, W. Nazrey and D. A. Payne; Rev. W. T. Catto, general book steward; Rev. M. M. Clark, editor; Rev. W. H. Jones, general traveling book agent.
Bishop Willis Nezery. Bishop D. A. Payne, D.D.
The work was divided into districts as follows:
First District, embracing the Philadelphia and New England Conferences and their territory, Bishop D. A. Payne.
Second District, embracing the Baltimore and New York with their territory, Bishop Willis Nazrey.
Third District, embracing Indiana and Canada Conferences with their territory, Bishop William P. Quinn.
Willis Nazery, the fifth Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Virginia, where he spent his youth. When he reached manhood, he took a notion to follow the sea, which he did for several years. He was converted in New York and joined Old Bethel Church in that city. He was admitted into the New York Conference, 1840, and transferred to the Baltimore Conference and appointed to the Lewistown Circuit, in Pennsylvania. He remained in the Baltimore Conference until 1842, when he was transferred to the Philadelphia Conference, and was pastor of some of the most important charges in that Conference. In 1852 he was elected Bishop. Soon afterward he took up his residence in Canada. When the British M. E. Church of Canada was organized, he was elected their Bishop. He continued to travel extensively until August of 1875, when he finished his course in Nova Scotia and was brought home to Chatham, and buried from the church in that city.
Daniel Alexander Payne, the sixth Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Charleston, S. C., February, 1811. He learned the carpenter's trade, but he felt that the school house was his place, and he established a high school for colored children, which flourished for some years. The attention of the city authorities was called to what he (Payne) was doing--educating colored people. He then
left his native city for New York, and on reaching there called upon several distinguished ministers, to whom he bore letters of recommendation from other ministers of Charleston, S. C. Among them was a minister of the Lutheran Church, who said to him that the ministers of his church had been considering the propriety of educating some colored man to preach the Gospel among the colored people in this country, and requested him to go to Gettysburg, Pa., and take a regular course. He accepted the offer and went. When he got through there he was ordained and went to Philadelphia to enter the A. M. E. Annual Conference. He was persuaded by some friends not to do so then, and so he established a high school in Philadelphia, which he taught for some years. In 1842 he joined Bethel Church, Philadelphia, and in 1843 he was admitted into the Conference and stationed at Israel Church, Washington, D. C. From Washington he went to Baltimore City, and during his term there the large Bethel Church was built. The General Conference of 1848 appointed him to write the history of the A. M. E. Church. In 1852 he was elected Bishop. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by Wilberforce University. He subsequently became its president. In 1867 he visited Europe. On his return home, he engaged actively in the work. While attending the great Ecumenical Council in London in 1881, he presided one day over the deliberations to the satisfaction of all present.
The Baltimore Annual Conference met in Union Bethel Church, Washington, D. C. Bishop Quinn presided, assisted by Rev. Willis Nazrey. Rev. John L. Armstrong was reported dead.
Dr. Thomas Kennard, Prominent in the Canadian Work with Bishop Nazrey. Went to England and collected money with which to extend the work.
During the session a lawyer came from Baltimore and had an interview wish Bishop Quinn and Rev. Nazrey, with a petition for the return of Rev. William H. Jones to Bethel Church, Baltimore. There were other influences at work against his return. The result was the Rev. Jones was returned to Bethel Church for four months. After the four months had passed, Rev. Jones was succeeded in the pastorate at Bethel Church by the Rev. John R. V. Morgan.
There were several Deacons and Elders ordained at this Conference.
The Philadelphia Conference was presided over this year, 1852, by Bishop D. A. Payne. A number of visitors were present from all the other Conferences, except Canada, but were not allowed to take part in the proceedings as heretofore. This introduced a new feature in the Annual Conference, as prior to this time a minister could visit any Conference he desired to be allowed both a voice and vote, but this procedure ends now, and each minister was allowed to vote only in his own Conference.
At this Conference John Cornish was superannuated; James J. G. Bias, ordained elder, and George McMullen and Thomas Kennard were ordained deacons.
Died during the year: J. L. Armstrong and Ishmael Berry.
The New York Conference met in Buffalo, with Bishop Willis Nazrey presiding.
Ordained deacons: Thomas Doremus, John Elsemore, William H. Ross and J. W. Jackson.
Died: John Williams, of Albany, N. Y.
The work of the Union Seminary claimed the attention of the Ohio Conference during its session this year.
Ordained deacons: I. M. Williams and G. Andrews. Died: Allen Brown and Thomas D. Lawrence.
The Indiana Conference held an interesting session this year.
Ordained elders: John A. Warren, Horace B. Smith, Lewis Johnson and Turner Roberts.
Ordained deacons: I. W. Early, William Davidson, John Curtis, William Jackson, L. W. Bass, Willis Miles, R. Bridges and William I. Davis.
This year the New England Conference was organized by Bishop D. A. Payne. The Conference met in Bethel A. M. E. Church, Kempton street, New Bedford, Mass., June 10, 1852. Rev. Thomas Myer Decatur Ward was elected secretary. Bishop Payne delivered a timely address to the members constituting the new Conference.
Received into full connection: William J. Fuller.
Ordained deacon: James D. S. Hall.*
* This year at the General Conference, the church work had been laid off into three Episcopal Districts for the first time, the first Bishop's Council being held at its close. These three districts were laid off thus: First, embracing the Philadelphia and New England Conferences and their territory, to which Bishop D. A. Payne was assigned; second, embracing the Baltimore and New York Conferences with their territory, under Bishop Willis Nazrey; the third, embracing the Indiana and Canada Conferences with their territory, under Bishop William Paul Quinn.
* This year at the General Conference, the church work had been laid off into three Episcopal Districts for the first time, the first Bishop's Council being held at its close. These three districts were laid off thus: First, embracing the Philadelphia and New England Conferences and their territory, to which Bishop D. A. Payne was assigned; second, embracing the Baltimore and New York Conferences with their territory, under Bishop Willis Nazrey; the third, embracing the Indiana and Canada Conferences with their territory, under Bishop William Paul Quinn.
The Baltimore Conference was presided over this year
Bishop T. M. D. Ward, D D.
by Bishop Willis Nazrey, who delivered an able address to the body.
Bishop Nazrey introduced a change in its disciplinary transactions, which has proved itself as beneficial as it then appeared strange and unreasonable to many who can see nothing good, right or proper only in what has been done by the fathers and rendered sacred by a number of years--that is, by custom. It was an examination into the financial affairs of the Conference before the investigation of character.
Simon Brown and Thomas Williamson died during the year.
At the meeting of the Philadelphia Conference, Bishops Payne and Nazrey presided, sometimes jointly and sometimes alternately.
The following were ordained elders: J. Holland, C. Sawyer and C. Woodyard.
The New York Conference of this year was held in New York City.
William Harmon and John Elsemore were located, and Thomas Legg, Edward B. Davis and Leonard Patterson were ordained deacons.
William H. Ross was ordained elder.
The Conference met in the New Bedford, Mass. Rev. Ransom Parker was admitted on trial as a local preacher. Rev. J. D. S. Hall was ordained elder. Rev. E. J. Adams dissolved his connection with the A. M. E. Church to become the pastor of one of the Presbyterian churches in Philadelphia, Pa. Number of members in the Conference was 517, of which New Bedford had the largest share, 220.
Bishop William Paul Quinn presided over the Indiana Conference. Rev. I. A. Warren and William Jay Greenly were elected secretaries.
Admitted on trial: Benjamin Cruden, Bryant Smith and William A. Dove.
Ordained deacons: Basil L. Brooks, John Turner, Salem Campbell and Elisha Weaver.
Ordained elders: William Jackson, William J. Davis and Bryant Smith.
The Ohio Conference met at Washington, Pa., September 17th. Bishop Quinn presided. A. R. Green and Hiram Revels were elected secretaries. M. J. Wilkerson was located. Jeremiah Lewis, Jeremiah Bowman, Nelson Carter, and Samuel T. Wells were ordained elders. John Tibbs and Nelson Handfield were admitted on trial, and E. Epps and John Tibbs were ordained deacons.
September 22nd, the Rev. Lewis Woodson, a local elder, was admitted into full connection by taking our vows.
Bishop Nazrey presided over the Baltimore Conference this year. Five young men were admitted on trial and one into full connection.
Savage L. Hammond, Samuel Watts, Jacob Brooks, William H. Hopkins, John H. Gaines and Michael F. Sluby were admitted into full connection. Isaac Brown, Wm. H. Russell, William Cook and John Martin were ordained deacons, and Pompey Tenney an elder; the latter's recommendation being that he was "aged and venerable." This year witnessed the close of the labors of Bishop Nazrey as the presiding officer of the Baltimore churches.
Rev. Elisha Weaver.
The New England Conference met in Providence, R. I. and was presided over by Bishop Payne, who was assisted by Bishop Nazrey.
The Ohio Conference met in Detroit, Mich., August of this year and was presided over by Bishop William Paul Quinn. Revs. Green and Davis were elected secretaries.
The Indiana Conference met in Indianapolis. Bishop William Paul Quinn was not present at the opening session, but arrived in time to take up the business. William J. Greenly and E. McIntosh were elected secretaries.
W. Trevan, D. Rush, G. Nelson, E. Wilkerson and J. M. Garrow were received on trial.
J. W. Early, William Davidson, J. Bass and John Curtis were received into full connection; and John Turner, Elisha Weaver, L. W. Bass, F. Myers, C. Doughty, Richard Bridges and W. Miles were ordained elders.
Died during the year: John Morgan, Abraham Burtch and Benjamin Crider.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia, with Bishop Payne presiding. Bishops Nazrey and Quinn were present during the session of the Conference.
Received on trial: Ephraim Wilson, Robert Gibson, William H. Jackson.
Ordained elders: Richard Burney, Andrew Till.
Died: Marcus Brown and William Henry.
The Baltimore Conference met in the city of Baltimore
with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding. Rev. A. W. Wayman was elected secretary.
Admitted on trial: Leonard C. Speaks, W. W. Grimes, Ordained deacons: Michael Sluby and Jacob Brooks.
Delegates to General Conference: C. Dunn, D. W. Moore, W. H. G. Brown, C. Hicks, J. W. Brown, J. L. Brister, S. William H. Russell and John H. Gaines.
Received into full connection: James Sterrett.
S. Carr and C. Dobson.
The Philadelphia Conference met this year in Philadelphia with Bishop Nazrey presiding, assisted by Bishop Quinn. Rev. Joshua Woodlin was elected secretary.
Admitted on trial: Joshua Woodlin, Robert Gibson, John T. Jackson and Jeremiah Young.
Delegates to General Conference: Dr. J. J. G. Bias, S. Smith, J. P. B. Eddy, J. M. Brown, Robert Collins, A. Johnson, L. J. Cornover and H. Dickerson.
The New York Conference met on the 19th of May with Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding. Rev. Leonard Patterson was elected secretary.
Admitted on trial: Edward Thompson, Richard J. Cliff, Jeremiah R. V. Thomas and E. Sparrow.
Ordained elders: Leonard Patterson and Edward Thompson.
Died: Brother Thomas Legg.
The New England Conference met in Providence, R. I., in the month of June, with Bishop Nazrey presiding. Rev. William Watson was elected secretary.
Admitted on trial: Thomas Sunrise and George A. Rue.
Rev. J. R. V. Thomas.
Admitted into full connection: Ransom Parker.
Ordained elder: Jacob Mitchell.
Ordained deacons: Charles H. Pierce and William M. Watson.
Six hundred and one members were in communion.
The Ohio Annual Conference met in the month of August at Columbus with all the Bishops present. J. P. Underwood and Edward Davis were elected secretaries.
Admitted on trial: James H. Payne.
Ordained deacon: Richard C. Gardener.
Ordained elders: John Ridgeway, L. T. Jones and John Tibbs.
Died: Rev. James F. Copeland.
The Indiana Conference met this year at Lost Creek, September 1st, with Bishop Payne presiding.
Received into full connection: W. A. Dove.
This year we have the organization of a new Conference known as the Missouri Conference. Rev. John M. Brown, of New Orleans, was elected secretary.
Total number of communicants, 3503. The total sum of monies raised, $2,655.20.
Tenth General Conference Meets in Cincinnati, Ohio--A Retrospect--What the Fathers Did--Committee Appointed to Draft Rules for the Government of the General Conference--Question of Divorce, Bishop's Salary, Episcopal Seal, Bishop Nazrey's Relation to Canada--The Convention of 1856 in Canada--The Organization of the British M. E. Church--Report of Book Steward--Rev. A. S. Driver's Return to the Fold.
FORTY years ago, the first General Conference or General Convention of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, met in Philadelphia, and at this time, Richard Allen was elected the first Bishop. We have noted the progress of the church each year since, showing the hardships under which our fathers had to labor in handing down to us this legacy, in the shape of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Up to this year the Church has had six Bishops and three of them are found active at the meeting of the Tenth General Conference, and we find their names signed to the Quadrennial address. Bishop Richard Allen, Bishop Morris Brown and Bishop Edward Waters have been called to their eternal rest. They performed their work well, and handed their labors down to the three Bishops who were still laboring in the vineyard. These were preparing for a great church, making it possible for us to lift up our people, to represent our manhood future in America and do the work which God hath assigned us to do.
You have doubtless noted the difficulty under which the pioneers labored. Slavery prevented the growth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in other than free States. Our banner had been planted in South Carolina, but we were forced to abandon the field, and could not return with any degree of safety until after the emancipation, but God blessed us, and our noble ministers are today laboring in that State, and those who opposed us then have been willing to help us since.
The tenth General Conference met in Cincinnati, Ohio, May 5, 1856, and was called to order by Bishop William Paul Quinn, who led in singing:
"Come let us use the Grace Divine,"
and then led in the opening prayer. Bishop Daniel A. Payne read as Scripture lesson, St. John, 17th.
Revs. A. W. Wayman, James and George Brodie were elected secretaries. At this point a committee was appointed to draft rules for the government of the General Conference. The committee was composed of one from each Annual Conference. The Quadrennial address was then read. It was signed by Bishops William Paul Quinn, Willis Nazrey and Daniel A. Payne.
Much time was spent in discussing slavery. Some eloquent speeches were made on the subject. During the discussion the A. M. E. Church went on record as being an anti-slavery institution, and would not even tolerate a slaveholder in its fold.
A number of important resolutions were discussed at this session of the General Conference, which closed one of the most prosperous and successful sessions ever held in its history.
The divorce question also came up for discussion. The
rule of the Discipline, as found in section 28, page 139, from 1848 to 1852, touching this subject, says:
"If any minister, preacher, exhorter, or member of our society who has been married, and shall separate and marry again while the former companion is living, he or she shall be expelled, and shall never be admitted during the life-time of the parties. And any minister who shall marry such knowingly, shall forfeit his standing in the Connection."
Upon that high ground the church stands to-day. Notwithstanding a vigorous debate was had over this important question, it was not thought wise to revise it in 1856.
The Bishop's salary was fixed at $200 per year, with board for himself, wife, and children under twelve years of age, also house rent, fuel and traveling expenses. Another important resolution related to the Hymn-book; "that a committee of three be appointed by the chair, to revise the present hymn-book, and present the same to the Bishops to be reviewed by them, and then to the book committee in Philadelphia, with instructions to publish it as soon as practicable."
An Episcopal seal was also ordered, which was manufactured under the supervision of Bishop Payne. Its face is embellished with an open Bible, from which divine light is radiating; the heavenly cross lying upon the book; the Eternal Spirit, in the form of a dove, hovering over it; the title of the denomination below the Bible. Upon the border of the seal is the motto: "God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, Man our Brother."
In this year of 1856, at the last Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church in Canada, one of the early pioneers and an elder in the church, Rev. Alexander Hemsley, was numbered among the dead of the year. He was born in Queen Anne County, Md., 1790. He removed to the State
of New Jersey in the course of time, and married there in 1821. In 1823 he was converted, and licensed to exhort in 1827 by Richard Williams, an elder in the A. M. E. Church, and shortly after that he was licensed to preach by Rev. Israel Scott, also an elder. He was arrested finally by his pursuers, and lay in prison six months, when Paul Brown, a lawyer, brought his case before the Supreme Court of the State of New Jersey, which liberated him. He removed to Canada in 1836, and was ordained a deacon by Bishop Morris Brown in Toronto, in 1840. In 1842 he was made an elder. He travelled until February 29th, 1854, when he was taken ill with dropsy, and died November 15th, 1855. His last words were the memorable ones of Bishop McKendree--"All is well; all is well."
Another and very important event occurred in this year; the last Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church in Canada, assembled in the town of Chatham, Ontario, on the 23rd of September, 1856. It dissolved on September 29th. At 4 o'clock P. M. of the same day (September 29th, 1856), a convention was organized to consider the question of separation from the A. M. E. Church. On the fifth day of its sessions the Rev. George W. Brodie presented the following resolution:--
"WHEREAS, We have, by a unanimous vote, elected to the office of Bishop the Rev. Willis Nazrey, one of the Bishops of the A. M. E. Church in the United States, to preside over the new organization in Canada known as the B. M. E. Church; and
"WHEREAS, We believe that we have fully contemplated the idea and spirit advanced by the General Conference; therefore,
"Resolved, That, in view of the same, we most earnestly solicit the Bench of Bishops, and the brethren whom they may select to sit in council with them, to grant us our request."
This document was adopted without debate.
In compliance with the request, the following document was read by Bishop Payne as the "report of the Bishops and elders appointed by resolution of the General Conference of 1856, to determine which of the Bishops shall preside over the B. M. E. Church":
"WHEREAS, The representatives of the Canadian churches did at the last General Conference of the A. M. E. Church, most respectfully request and petition the said General Conference to allow or grant Rev. Willis Nazrey if it be his pleasure to withdraw from it, to superintend the church in Canada; and
"WHEREAS, The said representatives did receive in reply the following answer:
" 'This General Conference does not feel authorized to give one of its Bishops to that portion of the Connection unsolicited; therefore,
" 'Resolved, That when we shall be solicited for one (if before the next General Conference), all our Bishops shall meet, with three elders selected by them, and decide which of the Bishops shall serve in Canada, in accordance with the wishes of the Canadian Church.'
"We say, in obedience to the above resolution and decree of the General Conference, and also the resolution of the B. M. E. Church, passed by a unanimous vote on Tuesday morning, the 3rd of October, 1856, that we, the undersigned, met in the church at Chatham. Having duly considered the important question submitted to us, we have concluded to "decide" that the Rev. Willis Nazrey, of the Bishops of the A. M. E. Church, shall serve in Canada, in accordance with the wishes of the Canadian Church.
DANIEL A. PAYNE.
ELISHA WEAVER, (under protest).
The Sabbath which intervened between the fifth day's session and the last day of the Convention was the day upon which Rt. Rev. Willis Nazrey delivered the organization sermon of the new British Methodist Episcopal Church. A crowded house was present to hear him, and a vast number jammed the doors and windows outside and lent their voices to the choral of the whole assembly as it sang that glorious hymn of Charles Wesley:--
"Jesus, the name high over all,
In hell, or earth, or sky!
Angels and men before it fall,
And devils fear and fly."
After this opening the Bishop offered a very solemn and appropriate prayer, and took his text from the whole of the first chapter of the Epistle to the Church of Ephesus, dwelling particularly on the ninth verse. It was a running comment on this interesting portion of the Word of God, full of practical thoughts, very suggestive, breathing throughout a deeply pious and evangelical spirit. The concluding prayer was made by Bishop Payne, after which, on motion of Dr. M. R. Delaney, the vast and delighted multitude requested Bishop Nazrey to publish his discourse, and to place a copy in the archives of the B. M. E. Church.
October 6th was the closing day of the Convention, which opened a little later than usual. The different committees reported. That on the course of studies for the young ministers reported progress. The next committee to report was that on fraternal relations which the B. M. E. Church may wish to sustain to the A. M. E. Church, and the participation they formally desire to have in the book concern of the latter. They reported as follows:--
WHEREAS, The delegates from the A. M. E. Church in
the United States withdrew from the Convention before the B. M. E. Church was organized, to learn in person what connection our church may desire with the A. M. E. Church in the United States, and what participation we may wish in the book concern of that Church;
We, your committee, whose duty it was to show what connection the B. M. E. Church in Canada wishes to hold with the A. M. E. Church in the United States, beg leave to report that, in order to keep up a friendly feeling and interest between the two Connections, delegates should be appointed by the B. M. E. Church to meet the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church to fully participate in all their deliberations, but not to vote; and that the same privileges should be extended to our members who may meet in Annual Conference; that all such delegates shall be elected at the Canadian Annual Conference at the session previous to the meeting of the General Conference of the said A. M. E. Church. Should any of our members or ministers wish to remove from the B. M. E. Church to the A. M. E. Church, they may be received by certificate, with all the privileges and standing they had in the B. M. E. Church. On our part we pledge ourselves to keep inviolable all the above propositions.
We further suggest that neither the mother A. M. E. Church nor the B. M. E. Church receive any circuit or station belonging to each other's respective Connections.
We relinquish all claims to the book concern of the A. M. E. Church, in lieu of which we hereby agree to return all the monies due the said concern in our hands.
C. C. PIERCE.
W. H. JONES.
H. J. YOUNG.
T. W. STRINGER.
The first General Conference of the B. M. E. Church was appointed to meet in the city of Toronto, on the first day of September, 1860. The closing business was quickly despatched. A comittee was appointed, on Bishop Payne's suggestion, to draft a constitution to govern a literary and historical society. It consisted of Bishops Payne and Nazrey and Brother Harper. The following rule was incorporated in the Discipline: "Any preacher or exhorter having received license to preach or exhort, or coming before the Quarterly Conference for renewal of his license, if, on examination, it is found that he is not useful, or that he has not attended the Sabbath School, nor made proficiency in the course of studies laid down for local preachers in said Book of Discipline, the said Quarterly Conference shall have power to suspend the renewal of the license till he shall have complied with the said requirements. Finally all the minutes on Discipline were adopted, and the Convention joined in singing the hymn,
"Together let us sweetly live," etc.
After which the benediction was pronounced, and the Convention adjourned sine die.
Thus terminated one of the most interesting and important Conventions ever held by the descendents of Africa on the American continent. Its historic value can only be realized a century hence.
The cause of missions was thus referred to by the Bishops in their address: "The subject of missions demands our serious and careful consideration. But whether we are able to cultivate the foreign as well as the home field is a grave and important question. Some think we ought cultivate both. One thing, however, is certain, for it is a fact of history that we have made two attempts to occupy
foreign fields, but have never maintained ourselves in them. More than thirty years ago, in Africa and Hayti, we unfurled the blood-stained banner of the cross. Did many rally beneath it? If so, where are they now? If there were fruits to the labors of those venerable pioneers, one of whom now sits in our midst, whose gray hairs are now an ornament to this imposing assembly, where are those fruits? Do others enjoy them? Then the cause is a subject that challenges the inquiry of your august body. Twelve years ago we established a parent missionary society, and formed several auxiliaries to collect funds for missionary purposes, but their existence was like the flying cloud. O! that the Head of the Church would awaken in our hearts a deep, lively and abiding interest in the cause of missions!"
The Book Steward showed by his report that the value of the stock and its claims upon others make the Concern worth $768.40; the stock being worth $500. The analysis of the report of the chief officer (Rev. J. P. Campbell), exhibits several other facts: 1. That the stereotyped plates, introduced in the days and service of Rev. G. Hogarth, had been repaired, and rendered capable of clear and distinct printing.
2. That in two entire years they had been able to publish only nineteen numbers of the Christian Recorder.
3. That they were free from debt.
They recommended that the General Book Steward and Editor be combined in one person.
That the office of general traveling agent be abolished, and that both the present incumbents be put out of office.
Bishop Payne in his history says: "The Almighty Father of humanity guides all His movements by unerring laws, or principles, originating within Himself, and which He has ordained, that every generation shall dovetail itself
into the past and the future. Thus Adam and Seth, Enos and Enoch, Methuselah and Lamech and Noah are linked together. In the days of Noah came the deluge, which swept all the wicked from the face of the earth. This terrible catastrophe produced a deep and wide chasm in human history, but it was bridged over by righteous Noah and his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth. By these four persons and their wives the generations of the antedeluge have been dovetailed into the generations post-diluvian, and through the Noachian family has posterity received the traditions of the primitive ages. The following table, presented to Dr. Adam Clark for his Commentary, was prepared by William Blair, Esq. (See the volume on Genesis, end of eleventh chapter):
|ADAM was contemporary with||NOAH was contemparary with||SHEM was contemporary with|
|Lamech||50 Years||Lamech||505 Years||Lamech||93 Years|
|Methuselah||24 Years||Methuselah||600 Years||Methuselah||98 Years|
|Jared||276 Years||Jared||266 Years||Noah||448 Years|
|Mahalaleel||535 Years||Mahalaleel||234 Years||After Flood:|
|Cainan||605 Years||Cainan||179 Years||Abraham||150 Years|
|Enos||695 Years||Enos||84 Years||Isaac||50 Years|
"In like manner has the Head of the Church militant and triumphant joined the first generation of African Methodists to the present, and will link it to the near future. Bishop Morris Brown was the colleague of Bishop Allen; Bishops Waters, Brown and Quinn were colleagues. These three were conversant with Allen. Payne, Nazrey, Brown and Quinn contemporaries. Payne was the colleague of Quinn for about twenty years, and Nazrey for about twenty-three years. Bishops Wayman, Campbell and Payne were co-laborers from 1864 to 1872. From 1868 to 1880 Bishops Wayman, Campbell, Shorter, Ward, Brown and Payne were co-laborers. From 1880 to 1884 Bishops Payne, Wayman, Campbell, Shorter, Ward, John M. Brown, Disney Turner, Dickerson and Cain were colleagues. From 1884 to 1888 Bishops Payne, Wayman, Campbell, Ward, John M. Brown, Disney, Turner and Cain
were colleagues. From 1888 to 1892 Payne, Wayman, Campbell, Ward, J. M. Brown and Turner were colleagues. From 1892 to 1896 in part, Payne, Wayman, Ward, J. M. Brown, Turner, Gaines, B. W. Arnett, B. T. Tanner and A. Grant, B. F. Lee, M. B. Salter and J. A. Handy were colleagues. From 1896 to 1900 Bishops Turner, Gaines, Arnett, Tanner, Grant, Lee, Salter, Handy, Derrick were colleagues. From 1900, to this writing, Bishops Turner, Gaines, Arnett, Tanner, Grant, Lee, Salter, Handy, Derrick, Tyree, Smith, Shaffer and Coppin are colleagues. It would be well to state here that Bishops Armstrong and Embry were elected in 1896, Bishop Armstrong died March 23, 1898, and Bishop Embry died August 16, 1897; Bishop M. M. Moore was elected in May, 1900, and died November 23, 1900.
At the close of the first decade we had three Annual Conferences; circuits, 10; stations, 2; pastors, 17, and had raised $1,151.75. At the end of the fourth decade, we have seven Conferences; circuits, 63; stations, 64; pastors, 110, and had raised $18,271.40; total number of members, 19,437.
At the close of the fourth decade we find the condition of the seven Annual Conferences to be: Baltimore District, circuits, 15; stations, 11; pastors, 23; places of worship, 76; membership, 5,279; amount of money raised, $577.91.
Philadelphia District--Circuits, 14; stations, 5; pastors, 19; places of worship, 70; membership, 5,022; amount of money raised, $3,959.50.
New York District--Circuits, 10; stations, 7; pastors, 17; places of worship, 38; membership, 1,906.
New England District--Stations, 8; pastors, 8; places of worship, 11; membership, 661; amount raised, $1,049.92.
Ohio District--Circuits, 12; stations, 11; pastors, 22; houses of worship, 24; membership, 3,221; amount of money raised, $2,909.57.
Indiana District--Circuits, 8; stations, 12; pastors, 15; places of worship, 49; membership, 1,369; amount of money raised, $3,963.11.
Missouri District--Circuits, 4; stations, 10; pastors, 6; places of worship, 13; membership, 1,975; amount of money raised, $2,769.05.
The Connection had reached California, and a mission established with 134 members and 8 preachers.
At the session of the Philadelphia Conference this year Rev. Adam S. Driver made application to be readmitted into the Connection, he having withdrawn and connected himself with the U. M. P. Church. The Convention of the U. M. P. Church, of which he was president, was in session in Philadelphia at the same time. The application was brought duly before the Conference, and upon a vote, Rev. Driver was readmitted, and a committee was appointed to notify him of the action of the Conference. When the information reached him through the committee, he immediately turned over the gavel to another member of the Convention, and accompanied the committee to the Conference, where he was given a cordial welcome. So cordial and brotherly was the welcome given him by the members of the Conference that it caused him to weep bitterly. He never returned to the U. M. P. Convention to resume the executive chair. He remained a member of the A. M. E. Connection until his death, in 1858. Memorial services were held in the Philadelphia Conference this year and Rev. A. W. Wayman, in his memorial address said: "Rev. A. S. Driver, in my humble opinion, would not have died in peace had he not returned to the A. M. E. Church."
Bishop Payne Presides Over the Baltimore Conference for the First Time--Baltimore Conference, 1858--Philadelphia Conference--General Conference of 1860--Prize Essay Contest Won by Alexander Wayman--Objection Raised to the Meeting of the Baltimore Conference by the Police Authorities--B. T Tanner admitted into the Connection--James A. Handy Becomes a Member of the Baltimore Conference--Henry M. Turner Ordained an Elder--Threatening Invasion of the Confederate Army--Incidents Related thereto--Hon. Joshua R. Giddings--Organization of the A. M. E. Church in the Southern States.
THE Baltimore Conference met in April, at Ebenezer A. M. E. Church, and was presided over by Bishop Daniel A. Payne. This was the first time that Bishop Payne had presided over the Baltimore Conference, and a large number were present to extend him a cordial welcome. After the Conference was duly opened, Bishop Payne was officially introduced to the Conference. Rev. M. F. Sluby was elected secretary. Rev. J. P. Campbell was introduced to the Conference; also Rev. David Smith, the latter being the oldest living African Methodist preacher in the country.
Rev. J. A. Shorter transferred to the Ohio Conference from the Baltimore Conference. Several addresses were delivered during the session by Bishop Payne in favor of ministerial education.
Rev. Henry Braddocks, For 40 years clerk of Bethel Church, Baltimore, Md.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Columbia, Pa., and was presided over by Bishop William P. Quinn. A large amount of business was transacted at this session.
The Baltimore Conference met in April, at the Israel A. M. E. Church, Washington, D. C. Bishop D. A. Payne presided. Rev. Samuel Watts was elected secretary.
Hon. James Pike, M. C., visited the Conference, and delivered an address. He was formerly a minister of the M. E. Church.
The illness of Bishop Quinn was announced, he having been assaulted by some ruffians, the winter previous, he was unable therefore, to discharge his official duties. Bishop D. A. Payne was requested to hold the Philadelphia Conference on account of the illness of Bishop Quinn. During this year Rev. A. W. Wayman, at the request of Bishop D. A. Payne, dedicated the new Ebenezer Church, in Georgetown, D. C.
The Philadelphia Conference met in Philadelphia, in May, and was presided over by Bishop Payne. Bishop Quinn arrived shortly after the Conference had begun its sessions, but on account of ill health did not take any active part in its proceedings. He was accompanied by Rev. Elisha Weaver.
The Baltimore Conference met in April, in Baltimore, with Bishop D. A. Payne presiding. Rev. J. M. Brown was elected secretary. The annual sermon was preached
by Rev. A. W. Wayman. While the Conference was in session Rev. Stephen Clark died.
Rev. Daniel W. Moore was admitted on trial. One of the features of the Conference was a prize essay contest, in which a number of ministers entered. The first prize was won by Rev. Alexander W. Wayman.
Rev. Wayman relates the following incident as having happened during the Conference year just closing:
"One day during this year a hack drove up to my door. I saw a young-looking man, who had the appearance of a South Carolinian, get out and walk upon the front porch. I went to meet him. He asked if my name was Wayman? I said 'yes, sir; come in.' Then he said he was from Missouri, and was on his way to Baltimore, where he had been appointed. He had his wife with him. I invited them in, and made them welcome, remembering the advice of the good apostle, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers." That young South Carolinian was H. M. Turner, now Bishop Turner. He spent several days with me, and on Sunday night he preached a consoling sermon to a very large congregation. The impression made was lasting.
"I suggested that he had better leave Mrs. Turner with us until he should go to his charge in Baltimore. He did, and in a few days he sent for her.
"I gave him the name of "Plutarch," and he is known throughout the country by that name. As a historian he is worthy of it."
The General Conference met on Monday, May 7, at 7 o'clock A. M., in Wiley Street Church, Pittsburg, Pa., with Bishops William Paul Quinn, Willis Nazery and Daniel A. Payne presiding. Revs. Alexander W. Wayman and A. McIntosh were elected secretaries.
The Bishops' Quadrennial address attracted much attention, and contained many practical suggestion on the work. Resolutions touching the work in Africa were introduced and discussed, and resulted in a committee consisting of Revs. J. P. Campbell, M. T. Staley, T. M. D. Ward, J. A. Warren, W. J. Fuller, E. N. Hill and Richard Bridges, being appointed to draft a missionary constitution for the Connection. The following were the officers elected under the new constitution: Bishop W. P. Quinn, president; Bishops Willis Nazery, D. A. Payne, vice presidents; A. W. Wayman, recording secretary; A. McIntosh and T. M. D. Ward, corresponding secretaries; Henry Gordon, treasurer; E. Weaver, S. Smith, J. P. Campbell, P. Gardener, R. Barney, J. Woodlin, Jos. H. Smith, W. H. Waters, Wm. Moore and G. A. Rice, members of Executive Committee.
Rev. Elisha Weaver was appointed General Book Steward. The Bishops were requested to appoint an editor for the Christian Recorder. They appointed the Rev. James Lyunch.
The General Conference adjourned on the 25th of May, after a harmonious session.
For the first time in the history of the Baltimore Conference an objection was raised to its assembling. The Annual Conference had been appointed to meet in Baltimore in April, just before the time of meeting they were notified by the police authorities that they could not meet in Baltimore. Revs. A. W. Wayman and J. M. Brown waited on the Police Commissioner to ascertain the objection to holding an Annual Conference.
"Your Bishop lives in Ohio," came the reply, "and you cannot meet here."
He was informed that the Conference would be held
without the Bishop being present, and with this assurance, permission was given to hold the Annual Conference.
The Conference met, and Rev. A. W. Wayman was elected president. The meeting had attracted much attention, and large crowds gathered around Bethel Church, but the session opened in Water's Chapel. Rev. John J. Herbert was appointed reporter to the Baltimore Sun, and this was the first time in the history of the Church that the daily papers had published an account of its Conference proceedings.
The Baltimore Conference met in April, this year, in Israel Church, Washington, D. C. Rev. James Lynch was elected secretary. The annual sermon was preached by Rev. John J. Herbert. The organization of an A. M. E. Church in Annapolis, Md., was reported. by Rev. John F. Lane.
Rev. B. T. Tanner (who, at the suggestion of Bishop Payne, had entered the Presbyterian Church and been ordained), was received as an elder; James A. Handy, of Bethel Church, Baltimore, was also admitted, as were Revs. R. A. Hall and Jacob Nicholson from the M. E. Church.
H. M. Turner, George E. Boyer and Richard P. Gibbs were ordained elders.
The Conference was honored with a visit from Hon. Owen Lovejoy, M. C., from Illinois. He had delivered a lecture to the people in Israel Church, a short time prior to the meeting of the Conference. The trustees had secured a permit from the Mayor for the lecture, but when they showed the document to Mr. Lovejoy, he destroyed it, saying that he was a citizen of the United States, and did not need a permit to lecture.
This year two warriors fell on the field of battle in the persons of Rev. Charles Dunn and Richard Robinson.
Rev. William McFarlin An Itinerant Missionary. An Early Pioneer.
Baltimore Conference met in April, Baltimore City. Bishop Payne presiding. Wilberforce University had just come into our possession.
This year Baltimore was threatened by an invasion of the Confederate Army. Every able bodied colored man was arrested by the police and carried to the outskirts of the city to assist the United States Government in throwing up breast-works. Rev. A. W. Wayman, who was pastor of Bethel Church at the time, was among those arrested, but when carried before the Captain, he was turned loose. He delivered a short address, in which he said: "Gentlemen, there is no need of the police officers arresting us; for all that is necessary is to let us know that you want us, and you will have five thousand of us before sundown. All I want is somebody to preach for my people to-morrow morning, and here I am."
The writer recalls visiting the church on Sunday, and found it deserted, so far as men were concerned. The churches were all deserted. Rev. W. H. Hunter, who is still one of the active members in the Baltimore Conference, was among those arrested. Our men worked hard day after day. Those in authority seeing the earnestness with which the colored men worked, allowed them to go home at night and return to work each morning. They were frequently molested by white boys, who would throw stones at them at every opportunity. This was reported to the officials, who furnished them with an American flag. They did not give them guns, but told them to use their picks and shovels, if necessary, for their protection. They were working for the government, under the flag, and an assault on them would be an assault on the flag, and this put an end to the assaults.
An opportunity was given the colored men, later, to
protect their flag, and help to save the Union; and instead of arming them with picks and shovels this time, they were given guns, and they clearly demonstrated the fact that a Negro was willing to die for his country.
Slave-holders became alarmed, and put their slaves in slave-pens for safe keeping, but the recruiting officer hearing of it, sent one of his deputies down to the pen with orders to open it, and take all the able-bodied men out to the camp, and put them in the army. Upon reaching the place, the officer was admitted into the pen, and was informed that the owner was out. He informed the man in charge that information had reached him that he had some able-bodied men in the pen, and the government wanted them for soldiers, and demanded that he turn them out.
"I cannot do this," came the reply. "Here is the key, you may do it." The door was thrown wide open, and the officer said: "Boys, don't you want to be free, and be soldiers?"
"We do," came the earnest reply.
"Then follow me."
They were glad of the opportunity, and rushed out like men, to die, if need be, for their country, for their liberty, for their manhood.
We have already told you that Rev. W. H. Hunter was among the number arrested, and he was at this point elected Chaplain of the First Maryland Colored troops. He received his commission, and was soon out upon its duties.
Hon. Joshua R. Giddings, had proven his friendship to the race and church during his stay in Washington. He was a member of Congress, from the State of Ohio, and a ailed himself of every opportunity to help us in our
struggle, and in order to show our appreciation, the members, friends and the official board of Israel A. M. E. Church, in February, 1859, presented him with a beautiful silver-headed cane. A committee, consisting of James Reed, Charles Hicks, Benjamin Newton, John T. Coston and Richard Middleton, was appointed to make the selection, and have engraved the proper inscription and arrange for presentation. This being accomplished, the time for the presentation was set. The committee, headed by the pastor, Rev. A. W. Wayman, appeared at the home of Mr. Giddings, where he was surrounded by a number of his friends, and made the presentation. The presentation speech was made by Rev. Wayman, and was appropriate to the occasion. In it Mr. Giddings was asked to accept of the cane, coming from those whom he had tried to befriend, and was asked to use it to steady his steps as he went down the hill of time, and at last when life's pendulum should cease to swing, that his sun might set without a cloud. In his response, Mr. Giddings, told the committee that he appreciated the token coming from them, and said that the time would come when every slave on the American soil would be free.
"In some of our conferences," says Bishop Wayman, "we had often been discussing the propriety of sending missionaries to Hayti and Africa. I said, never would I consent to go, or assist in sending any one there, until I could go all over the South to see my brethren. I had for some years selected the text to preach from when I went there, "I seek my brethren," Gen. xxxvii, 16. In the autumn of 1863 I received information that the colored people, members of the Bute Street M. E. Church, South, in Norfolk, Va., were left as sheep without a shepherd, and they desired to unite with the Baltimore Conference of the A. M. E. Church, if I would come down and see them. I
said "Here is an opportunity to preach my text: I seek my brethren! I went to the provost marshal for a pass to Norfolk. He said that military affairs never interfered with religious affairs, and therefore I would have to write to Norfolk what I wanted. I told him that the military had us hemmed in on every side; we could not go or come without their permission. He finally said to his clerk: 'Give this man a pass to Norfolk, Va.' "
Saturday afternoon came. I was off to old Virginia. The night was very pleasant, indeed, and I was treated very kindly, indeed, by the steward and waiters; for some of them were members of our church. Brother Peter Shepherd, now a member of the Virginia Conference, met me at the boat, and took me to the church to see Sunday School in operation. In the afternoon Rev. Mr. Greely, who had been temporarily serving them, administered the Lord's Supper. At night I was permitted to take my text, 'I seek my brethren!' They announced preaching for Monday afternoon, and a meeting of all the official members for Monday night. Monday afternoon I addressed the congregation from the text, 'We are journeying to the place or which the Lord said I will give it thee; come thou with us and we will do thee good! Num. x, 29. At night the Board met. I had prepared an instrument in writing for them to sign if they agreed to unite with us. After it was read, one man said, 'I move we adopt it,' and while they were discussing, another brother said, 'Let us vote, for I am all on fire for it.' The vote was taken, and carried unanimously. I spoke again on Wednesday night, text: 'We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.' Zach. viii, 23."
The secretary read to the congregation what the Official Board had done, and they took a vote, and endorsed it. I returned to Baltimore rejoicing that I had preached my
text in old Virginia, "I seek my brethren," and had taken a church of eight hundred members and the following named ministers: R. H. Parker, James Tynes, Peter Shepherd, Americus Woodhouse and Amos Wilson. The two first have gone on to the better land.
After I had succeeded at Norfolk, Va., I promised the people when I returned I would bring Bishop Payne with me. Accordingly I wrote to Bishop Payne, and he came to Baltimore, and we arranged to take a trip down the bay to see Norfolk. In company with Bishop Payne and Rev. John M. Brown, I started for Norfolk, Va. The kind steward, Mr. Brice, gave us very comfortable quarters during the night. About the rising of the sun we were near Fortress Monroe, and then on to Norfolk, where we were met by the Official Board of the church, headed by Rev. R. H. Parker, and as we were marching up one of the principal streets, one man said, "Here comes the Bishop and his staff." We visited the Sunday School in the morning. Bishop Payne preached at three o'clock P. M., and Rev. J. M. Brown at night. I went over to Portsmouth to "seek my brethren" there.
A few days afterward Rev. John M. Brown and I left for Baltimore, while Bishop Payne remained to meet the official members at Portsmouth, Va. He met them, and they agreed to unite with the A. M. E. Church. Bishop Payne thought it wise to send to Norfolk a good disciplinarian as well as a sound theologian, and therefore, he made choice of Rev. John M. Brown, Rev. J. P. Campbell, who had been appointed to Waters Chapel, Baltimore, to succeed Rev. W. H. Hunter, was also appointed to Ebenezer Church, as the successor of Rev. J. M. Brown.
"Early in May, 1865," says Bishop Payne, "I visited the rooms of the American Missionary Association, and consummated my arrangements for the partial support of our
missionaries in South Carolina, and two days later I sailed on board the government steamer "Arago," accompanied by Elder James A. Handy and Licentiates James H. A. Johnson and T. G. Steward--missionaries to the freedmen of the South. At Hilton Head the steamer was lashed to the wharf, and all were obliged to go to the provost marshall for passes, and to take the oath of allegiance before obtaining further transportation. Crowds of civilians hastened to the steamer to look for friends, and whatever news the "Arago" might bring. At Hilton Head we visited the rude sanctuary first erected by our missionary to South Carolina. We soon left for Charleston. About six o'clock we were in sight of Folly Island; gradually Morris Island came in sight; then James; then Sullivan. Now we neared Fort Wagner; then Fort Sumter--places that shall be immortal in American history.
Monday, May 16, 1865, at 9 o'clock A. M., Bishop D. A. Payne organized, at Charleston, S. C., in the colored Presbyterian Church, the South Carolina Conference of the A. M. E. Church, assisted by Elders James Lynch and James A. Handy; two Itinerant Licentiates, Theophilis G. Steward and James H. A. Johnson, who were subsequently ordained Deacons, and one local preacher named William Bentley; they were the only persons at the organization and opening of this Conference, subsequently--several days after the opening--Elders R. H. Cain, A. L. Stanford, of New York and Philadelphia; and George Rue, of the New England Conference, joined us, as did also the following native Southern preachers: Charles L. Bradwell, N. Murphy, Robert Taylor, Richard Vanderhost (subsequently one of the Bishops of the C. M. E. Church), the whole number of persons who united with our Connection, at this organization were about four thousand. The Conference included North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
One year after, May 9, 1866, Bishop D. A. Payne and Elder James A. Handy, at the head of twelve preachers--the Apostolic number--left Wilmington, N. C., bound for Savannah, Ga., to hold the first Annual Session of the South Carolina Conference.
At which place forty Itinerant preachers were ordained, of whom fourteen were elders; seven superintendents were appointed to oversee the work.
Elders H. M. Turner and A. L. Stanford, for Georgia.
Elders R. H. Cain and A. T. Carr, for South Carolina.
Elders G. W. Brodie and S. B. Williams, for North Carolina.
Elders Charles H. Pierce, for Florida.
Thus the A. M. E. Church extended her borders from Washington, D. C., on the Atlantic coast, Norfolk and Portsmouth on Elizabeth River, to Tampa on the continent, and Key West, in the Gulf of Mexico.
An important fact connected with the laboring classes of the two races came to my notice at that time as significant in 1865 as it was important. At that time about one hundred and forty colored men were engaged in the scavenger's employment. ninety of whom were able to sign their names in the receipt book. There were also one hundred and seventy white men employed in the same business. Of these only three could sign their names.
Savannah, the first field in this county of the missionary labors of the great founder of Methodism. He and his brother, Charles Wesley, landed here in 1730, and he preached his first sermon on the 7th of March of the same year. They were not successful here. In May, 1738, George Whitefield, the most eloquent preacher of that time, landed in Savannah. He counted his converts in England and America by the thousands; and yet he was a slave-holder!
We visited the schools of Savannah, and on our return those of Hilton Head Island held on Drayton's, Elliot's and Seabrook's plantations, and then left for Beaufort; thence to Edisto and other islands on the coast, on nearly all of which were schools with teachers from the North. While contemplating the scene of gradual destruction and desolation on some of these deserted plantations, I was reminded of the prophetic utterance of a distinguished New Englander on the floor of the American Congress, in 1832, concerning these slave-holding States: "The fox shall burrow in their wine vaults, the rattlesnake repose among the rubbish of the green house and bats take possession of the ball room. It is the will of Heaven, and just."
For the first time since we entered the department of the South I was insulted, as we were leaving Charleston, on my return passage, by a captain of one of the government transports, being ordered to the forward deck. I submitted rather than lose the opportunity of sailing for New York the next day, and of reaching home in time for the annual meeting at Wilberforce.
Alas! alas! what a scene of sadness was presented to my gaze on my return--that beautiful building in ashes, its numerous students gone to their respective homes. What changes are produced in a few hours! and what terrible injuries inflicted on a community by one mischievous-person!
Rev. Emanuel Wilhite, One of the pioneers, and one of the first Presiding Elders of our Church work in Texas.
General Conference of 1864 Meets in Philadelphia Pa,--Robert Small Introduced to the Conference--Alexander W. Wayman and Jabez P. Campbell Elected Bishops--Emancipation Proclamation Issued--Resolutions Offered Looking to the Union of the A. M. E. and A. M. E. Zion Churches--Death of President Lincoln Announced in the Baltimore Conference--The Conference Attends the Funeral in a Body--Wilberforce Destroyed by Fire.
THE Baltimore Annual Conference met in April this year in Union Bethel Church, Washington, D. C., with Bishop D. A. Payne presiding. Rev. B. T. Tanner was elected secretary. An able annual sermon was preached by Rev. J. P. Campbell, which was, by request, published.
The following transfers were announced: Revs. J. P. Campbell, from Philadelphia Conference; J. R. V. Thomas and J. D. S. Hall, from the New York Conference.
R. A. Hall, Jacob Nicholson, J. R. V. Thomas and G. T. Watkins were ordained elders, and James A. Handy was ordained a deacon. Rev. B. T. Tanner preached the ordination sermon. At the close of this Conference the members received their appointments.
The General Conference convened in the City of Philadelphia, May 2, and continued in session until May 26, Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding, assisted by Bishops D. A. Payne and Willis Nazery. Rev. A. W. Wayman was elected secretary, and A. McIntosh, assistant secretary.
The Quadrennial address was read by Bishop D. A. Payne. In the address the election of two additional Bishops was recommended, and this recommendation was referred to the Episcopal Committee.
Fraternal delegates were exchanged between the M. E. Church and the A. M. E. Church for the first time. The M. E. Church was represented by Revs. J. M. Armstrong, Nicholas Van Zant, James Cunningham, Daniel Wise and D. Hill. They brought to the General Conference words of fraternal greeting.
The A. M. E. Church sent to the M. E. Church General Conference Rev. M. M. Clark, W. R. Revels, J. P. Campbell, John M. Brown and A. W. Wayman. Revs. Clark and Revels delivered addresses. They were introduced to the General Conference by Bishop Morris, who was presiding.
Captain Robert Small was introduced to the body, and made an address.
On the 9th of May, the news of the victory of the Army of the Potomac was received. The Conference arose, and led by the Bishop sung "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." Bishop Payne at this point offered a prayer for the continued success of the Union Army.
On the 16th of May, Revs. A. W. Wayman and J. P. Campbell were elected Bishops, and on Monday, May 23, at 11 A. M., they were ordained by the imposition of the hands of Bishops Quinn, Payne and Nazery, and five regularly ordained elders of the A. M. E. Church.
Rev. John M. Brown was elected secretary to succeed Rev. A. W. Wayman, who had been elevated to the Episcopacy. He had served as secretary for four General Conferences.
May 21 the General Conference, in a body, visited the United States Mint, in response to an invitation extended by the superintendent.
Rev. Henry J. Rhoades
The Emancipation Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln received the attention of the General Conference, such as its importance demanded, and many were the glad hearts in the Conference.
Rev. H. M. Turner offered resolutions looking to the union of the A. M. E. and A. M. E. Z. Churches. The following committee was appointed: H. M. Turner, John Peck, W. D. W. Schureman, J. M. Williams, W. A. Dove, E. T. Williams and Charles Burch.
The General Conference adjourned May 27.
The Baltimore Conference met in Baltimore. Rev. B. T. Tanner was elected secretary. Saturday morning the sad news reached the Conference that President Lincoln had been shot the night before, in the threatre at Washington, D. C. This was to all a sad day. The city was in mourning. The Conference convened at 9 o'clock. After the opening exercises, Bishop Payne announced to the Conference the death of President Lincoln. The only business transacted was the appointment of a committee to draft suitable resolutions, after which the Conference adjourned. The Conference went to Washington in a body and attended the funeral, returning to Baltimore in time to join the procession there, and be among the thousands who viewed his mortal remains.
While in session, the news reached the Conference that Wilberforce University, near Xenia, Ohio, had been destroyed by fire, and this was another sad blow to the Conference.
General Conference of 1868 Meeting in Washington, D. C., Discusses Organic Union--The Matter Ended--James A. Shorter, Thomas M. D. Ward, John M. Brown Elected and Ordained Bishops--General Conference of 1872 Meets for the First Time in the South--Adoption of the Dollar Money System--Salaries Raised--Fraternal Delegates from the British M. E. Church--Report of Committee on Metropolitan Church--Report of Committee on Union of British and A. M. E. Church--Continued Report on Episcopacy--Report of Committee on Hymn Book--Report of Itinerancy--Reply of Committee of Church in Canada.
The General Conference met in Israel Church, Washington, D. C., Rev. James A. Handy pastor. Bishops Quinn, Wayman and Campbell were present and conducted the religious exercises. Bishop Payne had not at this time returned from England. Rev. John M. Brown, secretary of the last General Conference, called the roll. Revs. B. T. Tanner, W. S. Lankford and A. McIntosh were elected secretaries. A. McIntosh declined to serve, and Rev. J. Woodlin was elected. The Quadrennial address was read by Bishop Alexander W. Wayman. The question of organic union between the A. M. E. Church and the A. M. E. Zion Church was brought up through the address which stated that according to the platform laid down in the convention held in Philadelphia, June, 1864, a majority of the Quarterly and Annual Conferences had not voted in favor of the proposed union.
A committee from the Zion General Conference visited the A. M. E. General Conference, conveying the information that a majority of their Quarterly and Annual Conferences had voted for the union. As it was not mutual, our Conferences failing to vote in favor of the plan, Rev. R. H. Cain offered a resolution providing for another convention so that a new basis of union could be agreed upon. The Zion General Conference refused to accede to this, and the matter was brought to a close.
The following were elected Bishops at this session: James A. Shorter, Thomas M. D. Ward and John M. Brown.
Rev. James A. Handy was elected secretary of the missionary society; Rev. Joshua Woodlin, General Book Steward, and B. T. Tanner, editor of the Christian Recorder.
The ordination sermon was preached Monday morning, by Bishop Payne, who had returned from England. The Bishops elected were presented for the ordination, James A. Shorter, by John Turner; Thomas M. D. Ward, by Joshua Woodlin; John M. Brown, by W. D. W. Schureman. They were then ordained by the Bishops jointly, and several regularly ordained elders. The number of Bishops were thus increased to seven. In 1868 a committee to compile a hymn book was appointed, and Rev. H. M. Turner, chairman.
There was a very large number of ministers brought into the church during the past two or three years. They were from South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Alabama and Texas. These Conference elected a certain number of ministers, and sent them up as representatives to the General Conference. A motion prevailed that the rule be suspended; and they be admitted as members of the Conference. They were called to the altar, and introduced to the Conference as the representatives of the work in the South.
At this General Conference it was resolved to erect a Metropolitan Church in Washington, D. C.
The General Conference met in St. Paul's A. M. E. Church, Nashville, Tenn., May 6, at 10 o'clock A. M., Bishop William Paul Quinn presiding and conducting regular religious services. He was assisted by Bishops Daniel A. Payne, Alexander W. Wayman, Jabez P. Campbell, James A. Shorter, Thomas M. D. Ward and John M. Brown. Rev. James H. A. Johnson was elected secretary; Benjamin W. Arnett, assistant secretary; J. F. A. Sisson, recording secretary; John A. Clark and Thomas W. Henderson, reading clerks.
The Dollar Money System was adopted at this session of the General Conference.
Rev. W. H. Hunter was elected General Business Manager; Rev. B. T. Tanner, editor of the Christian Recorder; Rev. John W. Burley, Financial Secretary; Rev. W. J. Gaines, Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society.
The Bishops' salaries were raised to $2,000 per annum each, exclusive of traveling expenses, and General Officers to $1,500 per annum.
Rev. James A. Handy, Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society, reported $9,354.16 for that department.
The General Conference visited Fisk University and Central Tennessee College.
The General Conference of the British M. E. Church presented a Fraternal Address, signed by Rev. R. R. Disney, chairman of the delegation, which was received and ordered to be printed in the minutes, to which the A. M. E. made the following reply:
Rev G. H. Washington A pioneer worker in Baltimore, Md., and in the A. M. E. Z. Church in New England.
At this General Conference the name was changed from Book Concern to Publication Department.
Rev. W. H. Hunter, of the committee on the proposed Metropolitan Church, of Washington, D. C., submitted the following report:
We, your committee, recommend the building of a Metropolitan Church in the City of Washing, D. C., as per request of the Official Board of Israel Church of said city; and that each Annual Conference shall be requested to give at least One Hundred Dollars for the purpose; and that after the said sum shall have been paid, the Conference giving the largest amount of money in proportion to its membership, shall have pew number one named after it. The Conference giving the second largest sum shall have pew number two named after it, and so on, until all are named; also the same privilege shall be allowed individuals on the same principle.
Provided, That the pews in said Metropolitan Church shall be forever free.
The Committee on "Church Union" submitted a report on the subject of "Fraternal Union with other religious bodies," among other things, they said:
We are now more than ever convinced that the African M. E. Church has yet a mission to perform, not only in the elevation and religious training of our long-neglected people in the United States, but in the perfect evangelization of Africa and the Isles of the seas. When we consider the past, we can but adopt the language of the returning Jews about the close of the Babylonian captivity: "The Lord hath done great things for us whereof we are glad."
We believe the good time is coming, and ought to be now, when all the members of the great Methodistic family shall be one, forming one grand invincible army that shall move
forward in the glorious work of publishing the "glad tidings" of the Gospel to a lost and ruined world. When prejudice, on account of color, shall be swept away from the Church, and shall disappear like dew before the morning sun, then, and not until then, will the grand mission of the A. M. E. Church, as a separate organization, be at an end.
Therefore we cordially welcome to our ranks the friends of Jesus every where, and of all nationalities; but especially would we say to our colored brethren: "Come thou with us and we will do thee good, for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel."
The physical condition of Bishop William Paul Quinn was such that he could no longer do effective work. The Committee on Episcopacy submitted the following:
Resolved, That Bishop Quinn, our senior Bishop, be allowed to take the general oversight of all the work, to go where he feels disposed, and that his traveling expenses be paid, and that each Episcopal District be taxed an amount sufficient to give him reasonable support.
Resolved, That each of the other Bishops shall see that the amount taxed on their Districts be raised and paid over to some brother who may be appointed to receive it for and forward it to Bishop Quinn.
The following report was rendered by the committee on Turner's compilation of the hymn book:
Your Committee on Revision of the Hymn Book beg to report that they have examined the manuscript of Rev. H. M. Turner, who was appointed by the last General Conference to revise our present Hymn Book, and is of the opinion that the work up to page 181 is well arranged, and that the hymns therein contained are of an excellent character. We highly approve of the selection of subjects, and as he requests an extension of six months time to complete
the arrangement, we respectfully favor the granting of it.
An important report was made also by the Committee on Itinerancy:
"So far as we have been able to ascertain, our itinerant plan of the ministerial and Episcopal labor has been very generally observed; and has thus through another four years of our history demonstrated its wisdom and utility.
"We therefore advise the continuance of the system as it is in all its parts.
"We would furthermore call your attention to the fact that there is a considerable number of our preachers who, as itinerants, receive appointments from the conferences and still employ the greater part of their time in schools, legislatures and other pursuits to the detriment of the system.
"We would therefore recommend the immediate insertion, after Question 2, Section 3, on Page 108, of the following amendment:
"He shall abstain from all secular employments which will diminish his usefulness, or hinder him in his labors as a regular itinerant minister."
The following was presented as a reply to the Committee of the Church in Canada:
REV. R. R. DISNEY AND BRETHREN: The General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church gratefully receives the kind fraternal greetings of the British Methodist Episcopal Church, and cordially reciprocates every kind expression therein contained.
It is scarcely needful to say that we rejoice in your success, and sympathize with you in your struggles. The very nature of our relationship makes this a necessity on our part, and most cordially does the whole Church respond to these obligations. We have also read with pleasure your
glowing hopes. Our prayer is that they may be more than realized.
Of ourselves, we can say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." Our prospects never were brighter than at present. Our territory is greatly enlarged, our numbers augmented, and we rejoice in a united and vigorous denomination, spreading its potent influence through every department of our national government. In surveying the present, and in retrospecting the past, we find great reasons for gratitude, and for the indulgence of bright hopes for the future of our Church and people.
Again thanking you for your kind greetings, and wishing you continued peace and prosperity, we have the happiness of being your fellow-laborers in Christ Jesus.
W. R. REVELS, Chairman.
T. G. STEWARD.
R. H. CAIN.
C. H. BURCH.
Rev. R. H. Hall
The General Conference Meets in Atlanta, Georgia--Memorial Services in Honor of Bishop William Paul Quinn--Metropolitan Church -- Stewardesses' Boards Authorized--Bishop Payne's Resignation--Report of Mite Missionary Society--Report of Financial Secretary--General Conference 1880--Fraternal Delegates Received--Henry M. Turner, William F. Dickerson and Richard H. Cain Elected Bishops--Fraternal Delegates From British M. E. Church Received--Delegates Elected to the Ecumenical Conference in London, England--Bishop Payne Presides Over the Ecumenical Conference.
THE General Conference met in the Wheat Street A. M. E. Church, Atlanta, Georgia, May 1 to 18, 1876. Bishop Daniel A. Payne presided, assisted by Bishops Alexander W. Wayman, Jabez P. Campbell, James A. Shorter, Thomas M. D. Ward and John M. Brown.
Rev. Benjamin W. Arnett, of the Ohio Conference, was elected secretary, with Revs. James H. A. Johnson, of the Baltimore Conference; James M. Townsend, of the Indiana Conference, and W. C. Banton, of the Philadelphia Conference, assistants. Rev. William F. Dickerson, of the New England Conference, was elected reading clerk, and Revs. Thomas W. Henderson, of the Missouri Conference; Amos A. Williams, of the Arkansas Conference; J. F. A. Sisson, of the Arkansas Conference, statistical secretaries.
The following General Officers were elected: Rev. Henry M. Turner, General Book Manager; Rev. John H. W. Burley,
Financial Secretary; Rev. B. T. Tanner, editor of the Christian Recorder; Rev. J. C. Embry, Commissioner of Education; Rev. R. H. Cain, Secretary of Missionary Society; Rev. C. L. Bradwell, Traveling Agent.
Memorial services in honor of Bishop William Paul Quinn, were held in the church, May 5, 1876, as follows:
Hymn, "'Tis Promised, 'Tis Done! the Spirit is Fled," by Bishop J. A. Shorter; prayer by Bishop A. W. Wayman; "Why Do We Mourn Departed Friends," was chanted by the choir, and Rev. Charles Burch lined hymn: "And Is My Loving Brother Fled?" which was sung by the Conference. Addresses were delivered by Bishops D. A. Payne, A. W. Wayman, J. P. Campbell, T. M. D. Ward, J. M. Brown; Revs. Charles Burch, William Davis, J. P. Shreeves, Henry Brown, H. M. Turner, J. Turner, Moses Dickson, R. H. Cain, J. W. Early.
Bishop Ward concluded his address with the following poem:
"Thus pass away the men of might,
Whose noiseless footprints stamped the age;
Their thoughts that filled the earth with light
Still glow and blaze on memory's page.
To-day we bow with reverent head,
To Heaven's divine and stern behest;
We weep not for the sainted dead,
We know they are forever blest.
Marked with a thousand battle scars,
Gained, each and all, in desperate fight;
They shine more brilliant than the stars,
That crowned the ebon brow of night.
Throned far above the seraphim
They sit entranced in glory bright;
They chant redemption's glorious hymn,
In world's of cloudless, shimmering light.
Press on, ye messengers of grace,
Speak words of hope, of faith, of love;
Faint not, for you shall win the race,
And reign with Christ in worlds above.
With harp, and robe, and victor palm,
All swell the antiphonal song;
And hail with joy the illustrious band,
Who dying overcame the wrong."
The tenure of the pastorate was changed by the General Conference from three to four years. This General Conference also authorized a Metropolitan Church to be built in Washington, D. C.
The office of Stewardess was authorized by the Conference in those churches that voted for them.
At this Conference Bishop Payne tendered his resignation as President of Wilberforce, in the following terms:
a). In 1848 the General Conference made me its historiographer, I have written out in manuscript form forty years history of the A. M. E. Church; there are twenty years more of it to be written. To do such a work, I shall have to gather the materials, arrange them and reduce them to historic form. Such a work demands the fresh, early hours of the morning, the very hours which require my attention in the recitation room. Again, to prepare and run through the press the forty years already written, require the same fresh hours of the morning which the recitation room demands.
b). I have written out the "Germ of an Educational Work," which I desire (D. V.) to develop, and leave behind me as a solid contribution to the cause of Christian education. This also demands the early bracing hours of
the morning, the very time which calls me to the recitation room.
c). To administer the external government as well as its internal there is need of a species of omnipresence which I cannot exercise, living at the distance of about a quarter of a mile from the college gate. And yet the moral purity, order and uniformity of the college government demands this kind of vigilance, added to the best knowledge of human nature which an educator can attain, the most fervent prayers which he may daily offer, and the unwavering faith which he ought always to exercise in the loving Father of all.
Now, what shall I say of the future of Wilberforce? That is known only to the infinite. But this I am warranted in saying, if we be true and liberal to Wilberforce, God will never leave it without friends to work for its success. If we be wise in the management of this institution, which He has so signally blessed every year by His converting power, if we, by a living faith, will commit Wilberforce to His care and consecrate it wholly to His service, He will make it an instrument of increasing usefulness unto a thousand generations.
Venerable Fathers and Brethren,
I am your obedient servant,
DANIEL A. PAYNE.
The Bishops of the Church having organized "The Mite Missionary Society," two years before, the President, Mrs. Bishop Campbell, submitted the following:
PHILADELPHIA, Pa., May 1, 1876.
To the Bishops and Members of the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church, assembled in Atlanta, Ga., May 1, 1876,
DEAR FATHERS AND BRETHREN:I beg leave on behalf of the Women's Parent, Foreign Mite Missionary Society to
submit to you the report of our Treasurer, Mrs. Bishop Wayman.
As you will see by this report, over six hundred dollars have been realized from "Mites" since the organization of our Society in August, 1874. That amount is now in bank, and we are ready to appropriate it as soon as a missionary is appointed to the Island of Hayti.
Some of the women of our Church have become discouraged, because no one has yet been sent; but a few are still working, hoping and praying that your honorable body will take some decisive action in this matter, and we are ready and willing to renew our efforts and assist you as much as in our power lieth. We believe that if a missionary is sent to Hayti, as much more will be raised by our Society before the close of 1880.
We, the women of the Church, feel anxious to do something in behalf of our brethren and sisters across the water; we only wait for you, the heads of our Church, to get the matter thoroughly started that we may be the better able to work.
Yours in Christ,
MARY A. CAMPBELL.
President Women's Parent Foreign Mite Missionary Society of the A. M. E. Church.
After the report of the Mite Society was read Rev. James H. A. Johnson offered the following, which was adopted:
WHEREAS, We the members of the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church, having heard with pleasure the minute report of the good women of our Church, who compose the Mite Missionary Society; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we accept the report, and go into ways and means by the appointment of a committee to facilitate the operations of said Society during the ensuing quadrennial term.
Resolved, That this report be published in the Daily Recorder.
|The report of the Financial Secretary for four years was||$95,553.93|
|Balance in hand||$1,081.91|
Rev. G. W. Brodie, Corresponding Secretary of the Missionary Society, made his report, which was approved. He filled the vacancy caused by the removal of Rev. R. H. Cain.
Revs. D. Sherman, D. D., and J. C. Tate, Fraternal Delegates from the M. E. Church, were received May 12 by the General Conference. Revs. B. T. Tanner, J. H. A. Johnson and W. F. Dickerson were appointed to bear fraternal greeting of A. M. E. General Conference to M. E. General Conference, in Baltimore.
The General Conference convened in St. Paul A. M. E. Church, St. Louis, May 3, and continued in session until May 25. Bishops Daniel A. Payne, Alexander W. Wayman, Jabez P. Campbell, James A. Shorter, Thomas M. D. Ward and John M. Brown were present and took part in the opening exercises. Rev. B. W. Arnett, of the Ohio Conference, was elected secretary, with Revs. James H. A. Johnson, of Baltimore Conference; Cornelius Asbury, of Pittsburg Conference, assistants. Mr. B. B. Goins, of North Carolina Conference, was elected reading clerk.
Financial Secretary Burley having died in 1879, causing a vacancy in that department, Rev. J. C. Embry was appointed to fill out the unexpired term, and at the General Conference in 1880 reported:
|Balance||$ 5,475 00|
The report was approved by the General Conference.
Rev. Marshall W. Taylor, Fraternal Delegate from the M. E. Church, was received May 6, at 11 o'clock A. M. Revs. J. T. Jenifer, B. T. Tanner, H. M. Turner and Bishop J. M. Brown responded to the address.
The General Conference was addressed by Rev. J. O. A. Clark, agent of the Wesley Monumental Church of Savannah, Ga.
By resolution the General Conference pledged $1,000 for a memorial window in the church.
Rev. J. T. Mason, Fraternal Delegate from A. M. E. Zion Church, addressed the General Conference. Revs. William Arthur, A. M., and F. W. McDonald, of the Wesleyan Methodists of England, brought fraternal greeting to the A. M. E. Church. Revs. B. T. Tanner and T. H. Jackson responded.
May 15th, the time set for the election of Bishops, the General Conference proceeded to carry out that order which resulted in the following persons being elected: Bishops Henry McNeal Turner, William Fisher Dickerson and Richard Harvey Cain. They were ordained May 20th at 4 o'clock P. M. by Bishops Payne, Wayman, Campbell, Shorter, Ward, Brown and a number of elders of the General Conference.
Rev. Wallace McMullen, of the Irish Wesleyan Church of Ireland, was introduced and delivered an address to the General Conference. Revs. J. C. Embry and W. H. Hunter responded.
Bishop R. R. Disney and Rev. S. D. W. Smith, Fraternal Delegates from the British M. E. Church, were received and delivered addresses.
The following General Officers were elected:
Rev. Theodore Gould, General Manager of the Book Concern.
Rev. Benjaimn T. Tanner, Editor of the Christian Recorder.
Rev. Benjamin W. Arnett, Financial Secretary.
Rev. Benjamin F. Watson, Commissioner of Education
Rev. James M. Townsend, Missionary Secretary.
Rev. B. F. Lee was appointed Fraternal Delegate to the M. E. General Conference in session in Cincinnati, Ohio.
WHEREAS, The General Conference has listened with much delight to Rev. S. D. W. Smith, Fraternal Delegate from the British M. E. Church, and also the Rt. Rev. R. R. Disney, Bishop of said church, planted by Rt. Rev. Richard Allen.
Resolved, That we will, in the future, as in the past, labor together in concert for the upbuilding of the Church of Christ.
Rev. A. Green, who seconded the resolutions, also made a speech, at the close of which the resolutions were unanimously approved. Bishop Payne then said:
"Brethren, in all the speeches, I have but one objection, and that is, your referring to the B. M. E. Church as the eldest daughter of the A. M. E. Church. We have no eldest daughter. When a mother has three daughters her affections are divided between them, but the B. M. E. Church is our only legitimate daughter, and all our affections are centered upon her." (Long continued applause.)
Bishop Payne: "I was there when she was born."
The following amended resolution was submitted by Bishop H. M. Turner: "That a committee of three, five or seven be appointed to meet the General Conference of the B. M. E. Church, to arrange and effect a modus operandi of co-operation in the missionary work in the West India Islands and British Guiana, and that such a co-operation be known as the re-union of the A. M. E. and B. M. E. Churches in America."
Rev. David Owens, The first preacher in our Church at Portsmouth, Va. A man of sterling character, and rare Christian virtues.
A rising vote was taken and carried unanimously, amid long continued and tremenduous applause.
In accordance with the above resolution, the following were appointed on the Commission to confer with the B. M. E. Church:--
Revs. J. G. Mitchell, D. D., and Robert A. Johnson were appointed members of the Ecumenical Committee of American Methodism in Cincinnati, May, 1880.
The Bishop's Council appointed the following delegates to attend the Ecumenical Conference, held in London, England, from September 7th to September 20th:
Bishops D. A. Payne, D. D., LL. D., Wilberforce, Ohio; J. A. Shorter, Wilberforce, Ohio; J. M. Brown, D. D., D. C. L., Washington, D. C.; W. F. Dickerson, Columbia, S. C.; Revs. James M. Townsend, D. D., Richmond, Ind.; A. T. Carr, Georgetown, S. C.; James C. Embry, Leavenworth, Kan.; Benjamin F. Lee, Wilberforce, Ohio.
Laymen--Alexander Clark, Muscatine, Iowa; Prof. Joseph P. Shorter, A. M., Wilberforce, Ohio; Prof. Joseph H. Morris, A. M., Columbia, S. C.; N. T. Gant, Zanesville, O.
The General Conference adjourned May 25th.*
General Officers Elected--Rev. Theodore Gould General Manager of the Publication Department Submits and Elaborate Report--Short History of the Publications--Report of the Missionary Secretary--Report of Committee on Metropolitan Church--One Thousand Dollars to Wesley Chapel, Savannah, Ga.
THE General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church assembled in Bethel Church, Saratoga street, in the city of Baltimore, Monday, May 5th, at 10 o'clock A. M.
The following Bishops were present: Daniel A. Payne, D. D., LL. D., Alexander Wayman, D. D., Jabez Pitt Campbell, D. D., LL. D., James A. Shorter, Thomas M. D. Ward, D. D., John M. Brown, D. D., D. C. L., Henry M. Turner, D. D., LL. D., William F. Dickerson, D. D., and Richard H. Cain.
The General Conference was called to order by Rt. Rev. Daniel A. Payne, Senior Bishop, who conducted devotional services, and the opening prayer was made by Bishop T. M. D. Ward. Rev. B. W. Arnett, secretary of last General Conference, called the roll.
Rev. M. E. Bryant, of Alabama Conference, was elected secretary; Revs. Cornelius Asbury, Pittsburg Conference, G. W. Gaines, North Missouri Conference, and Richard Harper, Tennessee Conference, assistant secretaries; William D. Johnson, D. D., North Georgia Conference, Engrossing
Clerk; C. Pierce Nelson, Columbia Conference, Recording Secretary; B. B. Goins, Reading Clerk; John C. Brock and James F. A. Sisson, Statistical Secretaries.
Revs. B. W. Roberts, Texas; William Bradwell, Alabama, and N. Davenport, marshals.
The report of the General Manager of the Book Concern, Rev. Theodore Gould, received the attention of the General Conference, as did also the report of the Secretary of the Missionary Society, Rev. J. M. Townsend. The following General Officers were elected:
Rev. James C. Embry, General Business Manager.
Rev. Benjamin F. Lee, D. D., Editor of the Christian Recorder.
Rev. Benjamin W. Arnett, D. D., Financial Secretary.
Rev. James M. Townsend, D. D., Missionary Secretary.
Rev. Charles S. Smith, M. D., Sunday School Secretary.
Rev. Benjamin T. Tanner, D. D., Editor of the Review.
Rev. William D. Johnson, D. D., Secretary of Education.
The following sketch of the Publication Department was furnished by Dr. Theodore Gould:--
"In the midst of great oppression resulting from prejudice and class legislation, this part of our church work, which was organized in 1818, and chartered April 24th, 1855, struggled, with but little progress, for many years. Lack of progress was due to the fact that where the great masses of the colored people lived, we were not allowed to read or write; no school advantages were allowed to persons of African descent in most of the slave States. It was a penal offense to know how to read God's word, or to write one's name, and if found being able to do either, although free, we were liable to be sold into slavery. In many of the free States where the free school system was established, the colored children were debarred from the privileges of entering said schools, and in but few cases
were there separate provisions made. So that in no Christian land was there a class of people so cruelly, utterly neglected, but prohibited from reading God's word, while thousands of dollars were sent to heathen lands to enlighten the heathen. Thousands more were spent in legislation against the enlightment of the colored people of a so-called Christian country.
"In the midst of clanking of chains, the auction block, the slave-pen, the chain-gang, overseer's lash, with all the horrors of a barbarous slave system, the spirit of self-respect and manhood burst out through the thick darkness, and this church said we will start a publishing interest that shall tell the story of the oppressed, seeing that the spirit of caste, which is the fruit of slavery, had so permeated American society that almost everywhere public sentiment closed the doors of schools, colleges, seminaries, business places, and everything that tended to elevate the Negro was debarred him. He was ostracized from society; Church and State combined to grind him to dust, and prevent him from becoming a part of the body politic. Hence the General Conference of 1820 decreed that books, free of the spirit of caste, and containing the doctrines of the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man, should be published.
"The first book of Discipline was published in 1817, by Richard Allen and Jacob Tapsico, in advance of action of the General Conference, and contained the articles of religion, government of the church, ritual, &c. In 1829, Joseph Cox and Joseph M. Corr published an appendix to the Discipline of 1817. A hymn-book for the use of the church was complied and published. Aside from this and the publishing of the Conference Minutes, but little was accomplished until the year 1841, when in the New York Conference, a resolution was made that a magazine be published
monthly; but it, for want of proper funds, could only be published quarterly. This gave promise of some considerable success for nearly eight years. Out of this grew a small weekly, known as the Christian Herald, which was published for four years, at Pittsburg, Pa., but with some irregularity. These small items of literature so greatly encouraged the ministry and members of this small body of despised Christians, that it was resolved in 1852, by the General Conference, to enlarge the size of the paper and change its name to the Christian Recorder, and the Publication Department was removed to Philadelphia, Pa., where it has remained.
"This paper was looked upon by the slave-holders of the South, and the pro-slavery people of the North, as a very dangerous document or sheet, and was watched with a critical eye. It could not be circulated in slaveholding States by either our ministers or members. Hence its circulation was proscribed until the breaking out of the war in 1861, when through the aid of the Christian Commission it did valuable service to the freedmen throughout the South. It followed the army, went into the hovels of the freedmen and also the hospitals; placed in the hands of soldiers, speaking cheer and comfort to the law-abiding and liberty-loving slave, whose manacles were about to fall off; pointing him to Christ who was all love and forgiveness, and thereby became one of the means of reflecting light into the minds of those who had been so long oppressed, that they were enabled to surmount their difficulties in a spirit more grand and sublime than their oppressors; so that while carnage and bloodshed surrounded them on every side, and some of the most cruel outrages were perpetrated against them that were ever known in civil warfare, this people waited as patiently for the salvation of the Lord as did Israel; and it is recorded of them, that no one single act of
inhumanity or outrage was perpetrated upon helpless ones by them. Since which time, this paper has been published weekly, and with but few intervals."
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1872 did order the erection of a Metropolitan Church at Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1880, at St. Louis, Mo., did appropriate twenty thousand dollars to aid and assist in the erection of said Metropolitan Church;
Therefore, we recommend that Union Bethel Church Society be, and are hereby authorized to build and erect said Church.
We further recommend that 25 per cent. of the appropriation be paid during the year ending April 1885, and that 25 per cent. be paid every year until the whole amount is paid.
We further recommend that a 5 per cent. collection be lifted in all our churches this Conference year to aid said church, and the money so collected to be forwarded to the pastor of said church at Washington, D. C., 1300 Sixteenth street.
S. H. JEFFERSON,
B. W. ARNETT,
J. A. HANDY.
This General Conference endorsed the scheme to erect a memorial chapel to Wesley at Savannah, Georgia, pledging $1000.00. I am glad to say the amount was all paid. The following is the resolution authorizing the donation:--
Rev. W. D. Johnson offered the following resolutions on Wesley Monumental Church:--
WHEREAS, Universal Methodism, including the Board of Bishops and the several Conferences of the M. E. Church,
South, in erecting at Savannah, Georgia, the seat of his important labors, a memorial chapel to the Rev. John Wesley, A. M., the common founder; and,
WHEREAS, The various Methodist organizations have contributed, through their foremost ministers, among them our own venerable senior Bishop, Rev. Daniel A. Payne, D. D., and Rev. B. F. Lee, President of the Wilberforce University; and,
WHEREAS, We have just listened with great pleasure to the earnest remarks of the beloved brother the Rev. J. O. A. Clark, D. D., LL. D., to whom this grand work was especially committed by the late General Conference of the M. E. Church, convened at Atlanta, Georgia, and who is duly accredited to this General Conference now convened; therefore,
Resolved, That we heartily endorse the said Wesleyan Monumental Church, and Memorial Volumes dedicated to the memory of that eminent servant of God whose labors are embodied in Methodism, and have so powerfully contributed to the acknowledgment of the glory of God and the establishment of peace and good will among the nations of the earth.
Resolved, further, That the General Conference cordially embraces the invitation to participate in common with other Methodists in the erection of said Wesley Monumental Church, and we hereby express satisfaction with the honorable part offered us, viz.: "A Memorial Window to African Methodism," and that we cheerfully recommend the contribution by our ministers and members of $1,000 as a free will offering to the same.
During the quadrennium, the Bishops had organized the Sunday School work of the church, and launched the Sunday School Union; the Department being put in the hands of Rev. C. S. Smith. At the General Conference of 1884 he made the following statement:--
"Dear Fathers and Brethren: On the 11th day of August, 1882, by appointment of the Council of Bishops, I assumed the general oversight of the Sunday School work of the A. M. E. Church and entered upon the discharge of my duties as the corresponding secretary of the organization known as 'The Connectional Sunday School Union of the A. M. E. Church.' Having been intrusted with grave responsibilities; and having handled all the monies contributed to the support of said Union, I desire to present for your information the result of my labors, and expenditures, with certain statements and suggestions."
|From Children's Day, October, 1882||$ 737 77|
|From Children's Day, June, 1883||1579 90|
|From S. S. Conventions, per Isaac H. White||40 50|
|Balance in hand||16 55|
The record of the work done by this consecrated band of noble women is more largely in heaven than on earth. It is exceeding difficult to properly estimate the value of the service done to the Kingdom of God, by the fidelity of this organization of the A. M. E. Church.
Of the financial affairs, the worthy Treasurer has the following to say of the last quadrennium, i. e., May, 1880, to May, 1884:--
"As Treasurer of your Society, I have the honor of submitting the following statement, containing an account of our receipts and expenditures from May 10, 1880, to May 6, 1884:--
|Mite Missionary Society collections||$2480 21|
|Special collections for Mrs. Mossell||261 42|
|Special collections for Iron Church for Hayti||353 00|
|Total for quadrennium from all sources||$3094 63|
|To Rev. C. W. Mossell||$2075 98|
|To Mrs. Mossell, for school purposes||261 42|
|To special collections for Iron Church||353 00|
|Total expended||$2934 47|
|Balance in hands of Treasurer||$ 160 16|
"This report is most respectfully submitted to the Bishops and General Conference of the A. M. E. Church.
"MARY A. CAMPBELL, Treasurer."
Rev. J. T. Jenifer read the report of the Committee on Organic Union with the B. M. E. Church.
Rev. J. T. Jenifer moved that the report be made the special for Friday morning at 11 o'clock.
To the Bishops and Members of the General Conference.
Dear Fathers and Brethren:--We, your Committee on the State of the Church, to which the special subject of reunion between the B. M. E. Church and the A. M. E. Church was referred, have had that subject under consideration and recommend the following:--
That having met as a Committee on the State of the Church, and heard the representation of the B. M. E. Church, given to us by Bishop Disney, and being fully convinced that all proper steps except delivering the seal,
have been taken toward the consummation of the union of the A. M. E. and B. M. E. Churches, and the only step now being necessary is the proclamation of the Bishops declaring the union consummated; we therefore recommend that the Bishops be, and are hereby instructed, to issue their proclamations at once, announcing the union as perfected, and that upon the issuing of the proclamations the union shall be acknowledged by all.
J. T. JENIFER, Chairman.
J. G. FRY, Secretary.
The resolutions were adopted: yeas, 106; nays, 5.
Rev. R. H. Gibbs, Who died in our work in Savannah, Ga. One of our pioneers in Georgia.
A Question Thought to Have Been Settled by a Previous General Conference Again Settled--Resolutions Offered Concerning the Same--Wesley J. Gaines, Benjamin W. Arnett, Benjamin T. Tanner and Abram Grant Elected Bishops--Financial Department Makes an Investment.
THE General Conference was held at Bethel A. M. E. Church, Indianapolis, Ind., commencing May 7th, and continuing in session until May 28th. In the absence of the Senior Bishop, D. A. Payne, the General Conference was called to order by Bishop A. W. Wayman.
The roll was called by Rev. M. E. Bryant, Secretary of the previous General Conference. After roll call, Bishop Wayman introduced Bishop J. P. Campbell, presiding Bishop of the District in which the General Conference was held, who delivered an address of welcome. He was followed by Rev. J. W. Gazaway, pastor of Bethel Church, who also delivered an address of welcome to the General Conference. Bishop Wayman suggested that Dr. Tanner, but the General Conference called for Dr. Handy. Rev. James A. Handy responded to the addresses in an eloquent manner. Dr. B. T. Tanner also delivered a short address in response.
Rev. M. E. Bryant, of the North Alabama Conference, was elected secretary, and empowered to appoint such assistants as he deemed necessary.
The question of union between the B. M. E. Church and the A. M. E. Church was brought up, and evoked much discussion. Rev. T. G. Steward offered the following resolutions:
"WHEREAS, Since the last General Conference final proclamation has been made of the accomplishment of the union between the African Methodist Episcopal Church of the United States and the British M. E. Church of Canada and the West Indies, and
WHEREAS, Delegates from the Conferences lately composing the British M. E. Church appear here duly accredited to this body, and
WHEREAS, Bishop Disney, formerly Bishop of that Church, has been freely and fully recognized by the Bishops of A. M. E. Church, and has been associated with them in Conferences in the United States, and Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church have been recognized in Conferences formerly belonging to the British M. E. Church, therefore, be it
Resolved, By this Nineteenth General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and first General Conference after the union thus referred to.
The resolutions after being discussed were referred to a special committee composed of one from each Conference represented.
Bishop D. A. Payne, having gained sufficient strength from an attack of sickness, preached the Quadrennial sermon on the fourth day of the General Conference. His theme was:
"THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD--ITS PRIESTHOOD AND MINISTRY IDENTICAL IN ALL AGES.
On the fifth day of the General Conference the committee appointed to consider the resolutions offered by Rev. T. G. Steward, reported as follows:
Committee Room, May 11, 1888.
"To the Bishops and Members of the General Conference in session in Bethel Church, Indianapolis, Ind.,
DEAR FATHERS AND BRETHREN:We, your committee, to which was referred the resolutions of Dr. T. G. Steward relative to the union of the A. M. E. Church and B. M. E. Church, after several vain attempts to satisfy ourselves upon the subject matter referred to us, submit the following resolution:
"Resolved, That it is the sense of this committee that there appears to be something existing which gave rise to the resolutions offered by Dr. Steward, which should claim the attention of the General Conference, and we therefore recommend that the matter be investigated by this General Conference.
"Signed in behalf of the committee,
"I. N. FITZPATRICK, Chairman.
"RICHARD HARPER, Secretary,"
The report was adopted.
On the seventh day of the General Conference the resolution offered by Dr. T. G. Steward was adopted.
Thus the question which was supposed to have been settled by a previous Conference was again settled. The union was perfected at the General Conference in 1884, although a question was raised by several members who claimed that the agreement had not been complied with by the churches in Canada. A committee, consisting of Bishop J. P. Campbell and Rev. J. T. Jenifer, was appointed, and sent to Canada to investigate the rumor, and if they found everything satisfactory, the committee was authorized to issue a proclamation declaring the union. This was carried out by the committee, and the proclamation issued.
The thirteenth day of the General Conference Bishop Wayman presided, and four Bishops were elected. Before going into the election of Bishops, Bishop Wayman delivered a short address. The following were elected: Wesley J. Gaines, of Georgia; Benjamin W. Arnett, of Ohio; Benjamin T. Tanner, of Pennsylvania; Abram Grant, of Texas.
The following General Officers were elected:
The Business Manager of our Publication Department, in speaking of the first quadrennial existence of the Review, has this to say:
"Our great Quarterly Review has kept us cordial and pleasant company during the term. While it has not shared our burdens, it has been so pleasant, so amiable as to make us really happy in its company. But since it has not supped at our table, we merely refer to it as a very respectable and enjoyable member of the household. We suggest that the Church Review be published hereafter by the Book Concern, and its business placed with the business branch of our work. This is our united view at the Concern."
The Episcopal Committee did an unusual amount of work at this Conference, making daily sessions necessary, recommending changes in administration; suggesting new methods; and interviewing the Bishops from time to time As chairman of that committee, I found it necessary to make supplementary reports to Conference, in order to prevent any lock to legislation; as, for instance:
"We recommend that the Bishops presiding over the several Distrists be and are hereby required to travel throughout their work as per Discipline."
We further recommend that in case of temporary disability, sickness or death, of any of the Bishops during the Quadrennium, the work shall not be divided, but shall remain as arranged by the General Conference. Nevertheless the Council of Bishops shall designate one of their number to visit the work in said District, and hold the several Annual Conferences until the ensuing General Conference.
We further recommend that the Annual Conference be only required to pay the traveling expenses of their Presiding Bishop, and of the Bishop especially invited to assist him in holding his Conference." Report adopted.
The General Conference of the M. E. Church met in New York this year. They sent Fraternal greetings to
us by the hands of Rev. Joshua E. Wilson, couched in the following language:
To the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, now in session in Indianapolis, Ind.:
REVEREND AND DEAR FATHERS AND BRETHREN:
Acting under authority given by the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church at its session in Philadelphia, Pa., in May, 1884, the Bishops of said Church have appointed and do hereby accredit the Reverend Joshua E. Wilson, of Charleston, S. C., as a fraternal messenger to your reverend body.
We hold him in high esteem as an able and faithful minister of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and do therefore most heartily commend him to your confidence and Christian courtesy.
He will assure you of the sincere respect and affection which our Church bears to your own, and of our lively interest in the labors, trials and successes which are a part of your history and of your glory. He will also inform you concerning our own work in this and other lands.
We trust that his presence among you may be pleasant and profitable, and tend to confirm the ties of fraternal affection which subsist between our respective Churches.
With sentiments of respect and love.
By order and in behalf of the Board of Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
EDWARD G. ANDREWS,
When we had listened with delight and profit to the message of Brother Wilson, Rev. Levi J. Coppin submitted the following resolution, which was unanimously adopted:
Resolved, That we, the members of the General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, do extend
to the Methodist Episcopal Church our fraternal hand; that we receive her representative, the Rev. Joshua W. Wilson, as a brother beloved; and that we, through him, say to the brethren of the Methodist Episcopal Church, "We are yours for Christ and the reign of righteousness through the united efforts of the Christian world."
Benjamin F. Lee, Moses B. Salter, and James A. Handy Elected Bishops.
IN their Quadrennial Address to the General Conference of 1892, at Philadelphia, the Bishops said:
The Department of Missions necessarily lies at the foundation of all church extension and propagation, and no ecclesiastical denomination is entitled to any respect which is devoid of a fully-equipped missionary machinery. In the language of a distinguished colleague: "The subject of Missions is of fundamental importance. The advance and spread of the Redeemer's Kingdom, the reaching out of the Gospel to take in and embrace the world, is of far more importance than the parceling out of that work which is already firmly established." The demands of this department deserve the best thought, the most skillful and thorough analysis, that can be given to it. The nature, proportions and scope of the enterprise are but imperfectly apprehended by our ministry, and understood by our people. If the greatness of the numbers and the depth and urgency of the need of those in foreign lands to whom, in the providence of God, our Church is called to minister the Gospel, were fully known, our apathy would surely give place to the compassion with which the Lord looked down upon the multitude, "scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd."
The time has fully come when broader and more vigorous
measures should be devised to satisfy this great and growing demand. Evasive pleas of ignorance, poverty and home wants will no longer relieve us of responsibility. God holds men as much responsible for what they might have known as for what they do not know. It is a standing reflection of our Lord and Saviour--a reflection, too, that we as a church should profit by--that the children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light. At this active and progressive day in the history of the Church, when the world is busy with secular affairs, it is more than a censure; in the face of the demands and opportunities of our times, missionary apathy assumes the proportions of a crime.
Africa and the Islands of the Sea, where the people of our race are found in large numbers, are not the only places requiring our attention and interest; but wherever there is a heart unregenerated and a soil pedestrianized by a heathen, a field is found for our prayers, sympathies and operations.
The General Conference having decided to elect three more Bishops, the order of the day was called. Bishop A. W. Wayman, presiding, announced the hymn:
"Draw Near, O Son of God, Draw Near!
Us With Thy Flaming Eye Behold."
Bishop T. M. D. Ward fervently prayed that God would control and direct the votes and choice of the Church, of the men for the responsible and high office of Bishop.
When the balloting was over, Benjamin F. Lee, Moses B. Salter and James A. Handy were declared duly elected. At the announcement of the result the Conference sang:
"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow."
During the nineteenth session of the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church, at Philadelphia, Pa., on May 13,
1892, the fortieth anniversary of Bishop Daniel A. Payne in the Episcopacy was celebrated. Bishop B. W. Arnett presided. Several admirable addresses were delivered, among them, one by Bishop T. M. D. Ward, which we reproduce, together with Bishop Payne's reply:
Bishop Ward said: "For half a century Bishop Payne has contended for a high grade of intellectual excellence in the pulpit. During that time the colored Americans have regarded him as the exponent of whatever improved the condition of our race. He himself had felt the blighting influence of slavery, and with superhuman energy rose above all environments that tended to drag down to degradation and ruin.
In 1852 when it was decided to elect two additional Bishops, there were a few men of advanced thought who determined to make Daniel A. Payne their standard bearer; they said we need a man upon the Bench whose trumpet will give no uncertain sound touching mental as well as moral culture.
They knew the hour would come when the millions of our brethren, bound, would be made free. The duty of preparing our pulpit for the crisis was apparent. We needed a leader to sound the tocsin. He was elected and the taunts that we had so often heard that African Methodism was the abettor of ignorance was forever silenced.
His compeer (Willis Nazery) who was elected at the same time, moved up and down the lines amid the smoke and roar of battle and shouted, Forward!
In 1852 a new era dawned upon the Church. The Christian Recorder, with its electric beams, threw its light everywhere. He was not only the champion of intellectual excellence; he not only believed in the acquisition of learning and the disemination of such ideas as would snap the fetters of ignorance, but he believed in a holy life. He
believed in chastity, probity and purity. Men denounced him because he was the uncompromising enemy of all forms and grades of immorality. He demanded of others what he himself wore--a robe unspotted. The young man saw in him an example of industry, integrity and neatness.
The summer found him at his devotions and ablutions at the opening dawn. He observed and obeyed the laws of life. His work as an educator is known to all. To him, we as a Church, are largely indebted for the splendid array of high grade schools in our connection. We all know he as the primordial influence that brought to us Wilberforce Almost alone and single-handed he managed this great institution in its incipiency and beginning, now what is Wilberforce--the crowning glory of the Church.
The monument perpetuating through all coming time, the name and memory of its heroic founder. The children of Wilberforce, Allen, Paul Quinn, Morris Brown, Western University, Bethel Institute, all render homage to its noble founder.
He has lived to see his Church move from fifteen thousand members to a round half million. He has lived to see the General Conference from forty men to over three hundred.
He has lived to see the political disenthralment of millions of bond men. He has lived to see the colleges of the land throwing open their gates to white and black. He has lived to see the South give forty millions to educate its black children. He has lived to see the banner of our Church float in the islands of the sea, and is permitted to listen to the tramp of our itinerant on the mountains and in the valleys of the Dark Continent. He has done that which few men have done--built one of the finest churches in the Connection--Bethel in Baltimore--and yet there are men who sneeringly ask, what have the Fathers done?
The answer will come from wherever the banner of African Methodism kisses the breeze. He has given the only history ever written of our Church. Both on the continent and in America, he has nobly and ably represented us. No word that I can say will describe the victories achieved by this great Chief.
We hold him up as a model worthy of your emulation. We would urge you to imitate great virtues, such as Chastity, Temperance, Courage, Industry, and a lofty purpose to lead men to a higher and nobler destiny. He has lived to see stately houses of worship erected, the pride and glory of our race; and now we who have followed thee for two score years as a Bishop, crown thee as our leader, and place fresh laurels upon thy brow.
At the end of four-score and one, the golden sunset throws its radiance around thee. Thou need not fear, for thou shalt see that sunset rise amid the blaze and glory of the city of God.
We stand on life's receding sands,
To lay our tribute at the feet
Of brothers, who, in brighter lands,
We humbly hope to clasp and greet:
Whose sons stand up in distant climes,
And lay their honors at their feet;
The churches, with their thousand chimes,
Ring out their praises, rich and sweet.
And millions on that blissful shore
Await the coming of our sires,
To meet when all life's toil is o'er
And stand amid the judgment fires.
Redeemed, they stand true to their Lord--
A saintly train, bright, strong and fair--
Let all the land with one accord,
With songs of triumph fill the air.
And distant Afric, from thy main,
With sea-girt islands, join the song,
And wild Atlantic swell the strain,
And tell of love than death more strong.
Soon shall their pilgrim days be o'er;
Then may they pass the gates of light,
And dwell with Christ forevermore,
Where all is pure, and fair, and bright.
The fathers who have won the day,
A great and strong triumphant throng,
Shall stand in heaven in full array,
And gladly chant redemption's song.
They stand as warriors marked with scars--
The scars once gained in many a fight--
But brighter than the glittering stars,
The chosen sons of truth and light.
From North and South, from East and West,
Let glad hosanas fill the air;
Where Shaster lifts her snowy crest,
And Hood and Baker stand so fair,
The ransomed South, with tearful eyes,
Shall swell the glad triumphal strain;
With joyful voices shake the skies,
And bury deep each rusted chain.
When darkness hovered o'er our way,
And haughty tyrants ruled the land,
They prayed for freedom's coming day,
To break the captive's iron band,
Now, God be praised, His chariot wheels
Roll onward through Columbia's land,
While grim oppression faints and reels
Beneath th' Almighty's vengeful hand.
The gladsome shouts of freemen rose,
When 'neath a storm of blood and tears,
They saw the fiercest of their foes,
His death groans ringing in their ears.
Our Afric Zion yet shall stand
Amid the plain once stained with blood;
Her ensign wave o'er every land,
And teach mankind to trust our God.
We preach the truth of liberty,
Th' eternal, faithful, living word--
The truth which sets the captive free,
And leads the wandering feet to God.
Soon may the nations humbly bow,
In adoration at his feet,
With reverend heart and holy awe,
Our Lord and Saviour's message greet.
Fair as the moon, bright as the sun,
O, may our Bethel ever be,
Her people near unto the Lord,
Noble, and grand, and strong, and free.
Now with a ringing shout,
May we resolve to do or die,
And o'er our foes within, without,
March on to signal victory.
Forever like a beacon light,
May mother Bethel ever stand,
To guide the wayward feet aright,
And bless and brighten all the land.
"The Committee are solemnly determined in humble dependence upon divine strength to give the society's support only to mission agencies and mission agents, whether English or African, that are in their judgment "vessels meet for the Master's use.' 'Earthern vessels'; they may be; we do not look for perfection in human instruments or instrumentalities; but we do deeply feel that true missionary work is the setting forth of the Lord Jesus Christ both as Saviour and as King, and that this work must be done by those who, however feeble in themselves, do know him as their Saviour and obey Him as their King, and who seek by the power of the Holy Ghost to be examples in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Missionaries and teachers employed by the Church Missionary Society must not be merely men who can rebut particular charges of open sin, still less those of whom it can only be said that such charges are not proven. They must be men who in word and heart and life are the true and
faithful servants of Christ. If the society in Africa or anywhere else has ever seemed to tolerate a lower standard than this, it has been either from ignorance of the facts or from a generous desire not to form harsh judgments. But now we feel it more necessary than ever to emphasize and to maintain the true standard of missionary character." In my cars this announcement of the Committee sounds like the voice of the Saviour of the world. If any person who does not know, but desires to know, who is this Committee, I will tell you; it is a body of Christian gentlemen, representing the truly great Church of England in its missionary operations, to help in evangelizing the heathen world. The Church Missionary Society which the Committee represents, is composed of one hundred Bishops, four Arch-Bishops, many Deans, Arch-Deacons, Earls, Barons, and Clergymen. They have the experience of ninety-three years, which has imparted to them the soundest varied knowledge of the heathen world, and the most practical methods which can be used in securing success, both in planting and maintaining Missions. It is the richest missionary association in Christendom, for its annual income is over a million and a quarter of dollars, and its sphere of operations embraces all the races like a chain of gold; its stations, principal and subordinate, stretch from the rising to the setting of the sun. With the experience of 93 years, such advices and such examples are not to be despised; cannot be rejected with impunity. Emphasis is given to their advice and example, because it is in harmony with the instructions of all the Apostles, every one of whom was inspired by the Holy Ghost to write as they have written. These instructions were given to the first Bishops and Deacons and Elders in order that they might know how they ought to behave themselves in "The house of God,
which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." And these Apostolic instructions were not only to govern their personal conduct, but also that they and that we might know whom we ought to admit into the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was sinless from His birth in the manger until He died upon the Cross. Now, inasmuch as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings was sinless, every one of His ambassadors ought to be blameless before they are elected as well as after they have been ordained. Now, if the Committee of the Church Missionary Society does require blamelessness in the life of the candidates for their Missionaries and mission agents, shall this General Conference require less in those who are candidates for the office of a Secretary? And still more shall we require less in those who aspire to the Episcopate? These interrogations are rendered the more important, in view of the fact that candidates are pushed to the front by their admirers, who are well known in their localities, to be spotted back and front! at the same time, men of middle age who have been successful pastors, successful financiers, and of spotless reputation are overlooked as though they were mere ciphers. I tell you, dear brethren, the time is come when the African Methodist Episcopal Church cannot afford to put incompetent men into the Secretaryship, and the still more important and high office of the Episcopate. Every intelligent and inquiring mind in Christendom will be watching our movements. Of all Negro organizations, none are so scrupulously watched and severely criticised as that of the A. M. E. Church. Therefore she ought to be careful whom she makes Secretaries, Editors and Bishops. Not for his eloquence, not for his rhetoric should any man be elected to shoulder such great responsibilities.
The time has come, I tell you, beloved brethren, the hour is at hand when the spirit of sectionalism ought to be trampled under foot. Not because he is in the South, nor in the North, nor in the West, nor in the East; but because he is competent, possessed of natural endowments, acquired ability, and he has given evidence of incorruptible Christian character. We have many such Elders among us. Terrible will be the ultimate consequences if we ignore them. And moreover, the A. M. E. Church is in need of officers and Secretaries in all of her departments, whose character, intellectual, moral and spiritual, can command the respect and confidence of all Christian denominations. Let me tell you what was said to me by one of the editors of one of the leading weekly journals of Christendom: "We cannot understand the A. M. E. Church; her General Conference will convict a man to-day of malfeasance in office, and to-morrow put him in the highest office within her gift." Similar criticisms were made by leading private gentlemen of different denominations. On another occasion a leading educator of our race met me on Lombard street, Philadelphia, and said. "By the election of such a man to the Bishopric, your General Conference has disgraced your Church." What I am now about to call your attention to, is copied from the Christian Advocate of April 7th: "Bismarck's seventy-seventh birthday has been celebrated. Five thousand congratulatory telegrams and seven hundred registered letters and parcels arrived. Five thousand men were in procession, in his honor Ten thousand miners sent a deputation to him. Floral gifts arrived from all parts of the Empire. Deputations were coming and going all day. At the close he made a speech, in which was one sentence that can be applied by every true man, wherever he lives, who receives any manifestations of the confidence of those
who know him best. It was this: "That the good wishes of neighborly fellow citizens were more in his eyes than were the many orders that had been conferred upon him." Some men sneer at this utterance of the ex-Premier of the German Empire; but such men may also sneer at the word of God, which says, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor than silver and gold."--Prov. 22:1. So, also, as your senior, permit me to say, I am jealous of the dignity of the ministry of the A. M. E. Church. I desire to see it so spotless, so noble, so holy, and so discriminating as to wield an influence, so enlightening and gracious as to be a benediction to all the races; to all the coming generations. I conclude my remarks in this paper by a warning and advice. First the warning. There are few things which threaten the purity, the unity and perpetuity of the A. M. E. Church, viz.: (a) Free Masonry. (b) Polities. (c) The vaulting ambition of aspirants for Secretaryships and Bishops. (d) For honors in the form of titles--D. D., LL. D., and per se. Such are the elements of my warning, to which I invite the attention of thinkers in our Connection, both male and female. Second, the advice. The advice which I want to give is, first, to our young men in the Christian ministry. Do not seek office. If you possess qualifications the office will seek you. Second, do not desire honors; if you be worthy, honors will seek you, will find you, and will fasten themselves upon you. At best they are like a wreath of flowers, that soon fade away and become displaced for a crown of thorns. Third, desire not titles. They have no virtue in themselves, no power to make you wiser, nor better, not more useful than before you might receive them. Should you appear in the presence of men with a D. D., a Ph. D.,
or an LL. D. suffixed to your name and come not up to the ideal of these titles, they will hold you in supreme contempt, turn their backs upon you with ridicule if not with scorn. Should you be worthy of them, institutions of learning will voluntarily bestow without money and without price. "A man's gift maketh for him room, and bringeth him before great men." So says the inspired Solomon, Chapter 18:16. By which is meant inherent gifts created in him, with a tendency to all that is good and ennobling. Such a gifted person will not seek to be known, his gift will bring him before great men--will make room for him among the wise and godly. Fourth, be modest; for modesty is beautiful, attractive and commendable. Fifth, be humble. Be clothed with humility as with a garment. But do not confound it with servility, which is a mean thing; it is the badge of a slave or a sycophant. Humility is more than beautiful in its nature, it is divine and exalting. Humility distinguished the Son of God. Righteousness was "the girdle of His loins," faithfulness the girdle of His reigns, and humility the graceful flowing robes that covered His body. "Therefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name." Far above all principalities and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world which is to come, and hath put all things under His feet. It was with this divine virtue, not with silk and satin robes glittering with tinsel, or adorned with embroidered purple and scarlet mantels--but with unfeigned humility, did Jesus clothe Himself for the sublime work of salvation. Permit me to warn you against the argument that we are great, because we are increasing in numbers. It is a fallacy. Numbers are to be dreaded when they are ignorant; because an adept in politics can easily lead the ignorant
multitude into disloyalty, treason and rebellion. To say the least, it is not strength; it is weakness, but weakness is not greatness. As the strength of an army does not consist in its numbers, but in the excellent training and discipline; so, also, the Church of the living God does not consist in its numbers, but in its moral purity and righteousness. St. Paul in every one of his thirteen epistles teaches these truths; and it is the glory and burden of all his prayers. In his epistle to the Philippians he says, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment: that ye may approve the things which are excellent, that we may be sincere and without offence, till the day of Christ: being filled with fruits of righteousness." And to the Church of Ephesus he says: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Not in wealth and riches; not in science and literature, but in knowledge that discriminates; in holy love that purifies the heart. In righteousness must be the strength and power of every twig and branch of the Christian Church. May God grant them to us seven-fold degree. Addresses of Welcome and Responses Thereto--William B. Derrick, Josiah H. Armstrong and James C. Embry Elected Bishops--Two Laymen Elected to Fill General Offices, Viz.: H. T. Kealing, Editor Quarterly Review and John R. Hawkins, Secretary of Education.
Our rising Pulpit, School and Press,
A triple, shall ever shine,
To guide, to comfort, and to bless,
Thro' all the years of coming time.
RESPONSE OF BISHOP DANIEL A. PAYNE.
General Conference Meets In Wilmington, N. C.
"The Committee are solemnly determined in humble dependence upon divine strength to give the society's support only to mission agencies and mission agents, whether English or African, that are in their judgment "vessels meet for the Master's use.' 'Earthern vessels'; they may be; we do not look for perfection in human instruments or instrumentalities; but we do deeply feel that true missionary work is the setting forth of the Lord Jesus Christ both as Saviour and as King, and that this work must be done by those who, however feeble in themselves, do know him as their Saviour and obey Him as their King, and who seek by the power of the Holy Ghost to be examples in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Missionaries and teachers employed by the Church Missionary Society must not be merely men who can rebut particular charges of open sin, still less those of whom it can only be said that such charges are not proven. They must be men who in word and heart and life are the true and
faithful servants of Christ. If the society in Africa or anywhere else has ever seemed to tolerate a lower standard than this, it has been either from ignorance of the facts or from a generous desire not to form harsh judgments. But now we feel it more necessary than ever to emphasize and to maintain the true standard of missionary character."
In my cars this announcement of the Committee sounds like the voice of the Saviour of the world. If any person who does not know, but desires to know, who is this Committee, I will tell you; it is a body of Christian gentlemen, representing the truly great Church of England in its missionary operations, to help in evangelizing the heathen world. The Church Missionary Society which the Committee represents, is composed of one hundred Bishops, four Arch-Bishops, many Deans, Arch-Deacons, Earls, Barons, and Clergymen. They have the experience of ninety-three years, which has imparted to them the soundest varied knowledge of the heathen world, and the most practical methods which can be used in securing success, both in planting and maintaining Missions. It is the richest missionary association in Christendom, for its annual income is over a million and a quarter of dollars, and its sphere of operations embraces all the races like a chain of gold; its stations, principal and subordinate, stretch from the rising to the setting of the sun.
With the experience of 93 years, such advices and such examples are not to be despised; cannot be rejected with impunity. Emphasis is given to their advice and example, because it is in harmony with the instructions of all the Apostles, every one of whom was inspired by the Holy Ghost to write as they have written.
These instructions were given to the first Bishops and Deacons and Elders in order that they might know how they ought to behave themselves in "The house of God,
which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
And these Apostolic instructions were not only to govern their personal conduct, but also that they and that we might know whom we ought to admit into the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was sinless from His birth in the manger until He died upon the Cross.
Now, inasmuch as the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings was sinless, every one of His ambassadors ought to be blameless before they are elected as well as after they have been ordained. Now, if the Committee of the Church Missionary Society does require blamelessness in the life of the candidates for their Missionaries and mission agents, shall this General Conference require less in those who are candidates for the office of a Secretary? And still more shall we require less in those who aspire to the Episcopate?
These interrogations are rendered the more important, in view of the fact that candidates are pushed to the front by their admirers, who are well known in their localities, to be spotted back and front! at the same time, men of middle age who have been successful pastors, successful financiers, and of spotless reputation are overlooked as though they were mere ciphers.
I tell you, dear brethren, the time is come when the African Methodist Episcopal Church cannot afford to put incompetent men into the Secretaryship, and the still more important and high office of the Episcopate.
Every intelligent and inquiring mind in Christendom will be watching our movements. Of all Negro organizations, none are so scrupulously watched and severely criticised as that of the A. M. E. Church. Therefore she ought to be careful whom she makes Secretaries, Editors and Bishops. Not for his eloquence, not for his rhetoric should any man be elected to shoulder such great responsibilities.
The time has come, I tell you, beloved brethren, the hour is at hand when the spirit of sectionalism ought to be trampled under foot. Not because he is in the South, nor in the North, nor in the West, nor in the East; but because he is competent, possessed of natural endowments, acquired ability, and he has given evidence of incorruptible Christian character. We have many such Elders among us. Terrible will be the ultimate consequences if we ignore them. And moreover, the A. M. E. Church is in need of officers and Secretaries in all of her departments, whose character, intellectual, moral and spiritual, can command the respect and confidence of all Christian denominations. Let me tell you what was said to me by one of the editors of one of the leading weekly journals of Christendom: "We cannot understand the A. M. E. Church; her General Conference will convict a man to-day of malfeasance in office, and to-morrow put him in the highest office within her gift." Similar criticisms were made by leading private gentlemen of different denominations.
On another occasion a leading educator of our race met me on Lombard street, Philadelphia, and said. "By the election of such a man to the Bishopric, your General Conference has disgraced your Church."
What I am now about to call your attention to, is copied from the Christian Advocate of April 7th: "Bismarck's seventy-seventh birthday has been celebrated. Five thousand congratulatory telegrams and seven hundred registered letters and parcels arrived. Five thousand men were in procession, in his honor Ten thousand miners sent a deputation to him. Floral gifts arrived from all parts of the Empire. Deputations were coming and going all day. At the close he made a speech, in which was one sentence that can be applied by every true man, wherever he lives, who receives any manifestations of the confidence of those
who know him best. It was this: "That the good wishes of neighborly fellow citizens were more in his eyes than were the many orders that had been conferred upon him." Some men sneer at this utterance of the ex-Premier of the German Empire; but such men may also sneer at the word of God, which says, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor than silver and gold."--Prov. 22:1. So, also, as your senior, permit me to say, I am jealous of the dignity of the ministry of the A. M. E. Church. I desire to see it so spotless, so noble, so holy, and so discriminating as to wield an influence, so enlightening and gracious as to be a benediction to all the races; to all the coming generations.
I conclude my remarks in this paper by a warning and advice.
First the warning. There are few things which threaten the purity, the unity and perpetuity of the A. M. E. Church, viz.: (a) Free Masonry. (b) Polities. (c) The vaulting ambition of aspirants for Secretaryships and Bishops. (d) For honors in the form of titles--D. D., LL. D., and per se. Such are the elements of my warning, to which I invite the attention of thinkers in our Connection, both male and female.
Second, the advice. The advice which I want to give is, first, to our young men in the Christian ministry. Do not seek office. If you possess qualifications the office will seek you. Second, do not desire honors; if you be worthy, honors will seek you, will find you, and will fasten themselves upon you. At best they are like a wreath of flowers, that soon fade away and become displaced for a crown of thorns. Third, desire not titles. They have no virtue in themselves, no power to make you wiser, nor better, not more useful than before you might receive them. Should you appear in the presence of men with a D. D., a Ph. D.,
or an LL. D. suffixed to your name and come not up to the ideal of these titles, they will hold you in supreme contempt, turn their backs upon you with ridicule if not with scorn. Should you be worthy of them, institutions of learning will voluntarily bestow without money and without price. "A man's gift maketh for him room, and bringeth him before great men." So says the inspired Solomon, Chapter 18:16. By which is meant inherent gifts created in him, with a tendency to all that is good and ennobling. Such a gifted person will not seek to be known, his gift will bring him before great men--will make room for him among the wise and godly. Fourth, be modest; for modesty is beautiful, attractive and commendable. Fifth, be humble. Be clothed with humility as with a garment. But do not confound it with servility, which is a mean thing; it is the badge of a slave or a sycophant. Humility is more than beautiful in its nature, it is divine and exalting. Humility distinguished the Son of God. Righteousness was "the girdle of His loins," faithfulness the girdle of His reigns, and humility the graceful flowing robes that covered His body. "Therefore God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name." Far above all principalities and powers, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world which is to come, and hath put all things under His feet. It was with this divine virtue, not with silk and satin robes glittering with tinsel, or adorned with embroidered purple and scarlet mantels--but with unfeigned humility, did Jesus clothe Himself for the sublime work of salvation.
Permit me to warn you against the argument that we are great, because we are increasing in numbers. It is a fallacy. Numbers are to be dreaded when they are ignorant; because an adept in politics can easily lead the ignorant
multitude into disloyalty, treason and rebellion. To say the least, it is not strength; it is weakness, but weakness is not greatness.
As the strength of an army does not consist in its numbers, but in the excellent training and discipline; so, also, the Church of the living God does not consist in its numbers, but in its moral purity and righteousness. St. Paul in every one of his thirteen epistles teaches these truths; and it is the glory and burden of all his prayers. In his epistle to the Philippians he says, "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment: that ye may approve the things which are excellent, that we may be sincere and without offence, till the day of Christ: being filled with fruits of righteousness." And to the Church of Ephesus he says: "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God." Not in wealth and riches; not in science and literature, but in knowledge that discriminates; in holy love that purifies the heart. In righteousness must be the strength and power of every twig and branch of the Christian Church. May God grant them to us seven-fold degree.
Addresses of Welcome and Responses Thereto--William B. Derrick, Josiah H. Armstrong and James C. Embry Elected Bishops--Two Laymen Elected to Fill General Offices, Viz.: H. T. Kealing, Editor Quarterly Review and John R. Hawkins, Secretary of Education.
THE General Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church met in St. Stephen's A. M. E. Church, Wilmington, N. C. Bishop Henry M. Turner called the General Conference to order at 10 o'clock and announced the first hymn:
"Come let us use the grace divine,
And all with one accord."
Bishop A. Grant led in a fervent prayer, and Bishop B. F. Lee read Scripture lesson, and Bishop Moses B. Salter led in the liturgic service. Rev. William Decker Johnson read a selection and the General Conference joined in singing:
"And are we yet alive
To see each other's face."
Rev. W. H. Hunter led in prayer and the Litany was read while the Conference continued kneeling in supplication, the Senior Bishop, Henry McNeal Turner, leading in the service.
Bishop Benjamin T. Tanner preached the quadrennial
sermon, taking as his theme, "The Church, the Right Hand of God." At the conclusion of the sermon Bishop James A. Handy administered the holy communion.
The following officers were elected in the afternoon session: Chief Secretary, Rev. L. H. Reynolds, Texas Conference; First Assistant Secretary, Rev. R. C. Holbrook, North Mississippi Conference; Second Assistant Secretary, Rev. J. M. Murchison; Statistical Secretary, Rev. F. Jesse Peck, North Missouri Conference; Assistant, D. Timothy McDaniel, A. M., Columbia Conference; Reading Clerk, Rev. B. A. J. Nixon, B. D., Tennessee Conference; Engrossing Clerk, P. E. Spratling, M. D., Colorado Conference; Assistant, Rev. C. Asbury.
Marshals--Rev. A. W. Haywood, N. E. South Carolina Conference; Mr. L. R. Johnson, Virginia Conference; Mr. W. H. Wells, Georgia Conference; Mr. J. A. Greene, North Ohio Conference; Mr. W. J. Miller, Philadelphia Conference.
Pages--Rev. A. A. Fleming, Florida Conference; Mr. H. M. Cox, N. E. Texas Conference.
Messenger to the Bishops--Rev. L. W. W. Manaway, Mississippi Conference.
The second day's session was spent in hearing welcome addresses and responses. A letter was read from Governor Elias Carr, expressing his regrets that he would be unable to be present and welcome the General Conference to the State; also one from Mayor W. N. Harris, of Wilmington, the latter sending Hon. D. L. Russell to represent him. Bishop Turner introduced Mr. Russell, who said in part:
"Reverend Bishops and Members: I am not pretending, or claiming to be, or specially posing as the friend to the Negro, or the Caucasian, or of the Malay, or of the Mongolian. I do believe, however, that I am a friend to humanity. The letter which has been read indicates too well
why I am here. I am here to welcome your important, useful, and intelligent body to the hospitalities of this city. You are representatives of the African Methodist Episcopal Church--not of the United States, but of the world. The African Methodist Episcopal General Conference is assembled here. For reasons which you cannot control, your organization is founded upon a racial basis, because doubtless you recognize the great fact that you are dealing with the conditions as they are and not as the best thinkers and lovers of men would have them to be. 'He hath made of one blood all nations of men.' Whether this is to be recognized as a fact, accepted by all men and acted upon in all the relations of life, and if so by what means it is to be brought about--these are problems which time, the exhaustless mocker, the relentless sphinx, is ever propounding to short-sighted and struggling humanity.
"We are only recovering from a civil conflict in which our fair fields were dyed with the best blood of the land and from the consequences of the restless period of reconstruction and reaction which followed it. It seems that in the fullness of God's own appointed time we are passing out of the wilderness where we have cried aloud and had no answer but the echo of our wailing cry. The narrow walls of intolerance and prejudice are crumbling away. The clouds of hatred are lifting. The shadows are changing to gray. There is heard a widening and increasing symphony. It is the martial music of marching humanity. The long night is changing into morn. Its bursting splendors are breaking on the mountain tops of Southern thought and Southern patriotism. The minds of men are widening with the processes of the same."
Bishop Wesley J. Gaines, on behalf of the Second Episcopal District, spoke in part as follows:--
"It has fortunately fallen to my lot to have the privilege,
the pleasure and the honor, of uttering the words which shall welcome this, the Twentieth General Conference of the A. M. E. Church, to the Second Episcopal District, to the old North State of the Carolinas, and to its metropolis, the city of Wilmington.
"Thirty years ago this, our church, through its General Conference, decided to reach out its arms and embrace its brethren in the South, and twenty-nine years ago this Church, established in the South, held in this same city, for the first time, a Conference of our Church--the South Carolina Annual Conference of 1867, at that time embraced South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama and North Carolina. The appointments for the Conference, held then, numbered one hundred and two. What an increase throughout the Connection in every direction since then; North, South, East and West, over land and over sea. Surely God has prospered mightily the undertakings of 1816 and 1865.
"Bishops and colleagues, to you I extend a most hearty welcome, from the senior whose years of service on the Episcopal bench have numbered sixteen, to the three whom the church honored by elevation in 1892, I welcome you because of the dignity of your position, because you are the chief pastors of the church and ambassadors of God; because you are the representatives of the power that has done so much to place the church where the world finds it to-day, a power that has not waned since the days of Allen and Nazery, and Quinn, but instead, has gone on increasing in strength and determination, passing its mantle down through an illustrious line of prelates, even as the mantle of Brown, of Payne, of Ward, of Wayman has been laid upon our shoulders.
"To the ministers and delegates I turn with a warm welcome to those who come from the North, from the East,
from the South and from the West. To those who represent our own country and to those who come from the islands of the sea, from the tropical climes of Bermuda and Hayti and San Domingo, from Demarara's coast and from the northern limit of America, Nova Scotia, and lastly, I welcome the representatives from the continent of our forefathers, from the Dark Continent of Africa, the land to which the A. M. E. Church is turning with the light of the Bible, the light of truth and the light of civilization.
"Since the last General Conference in 1892 many changes have taken place. Death's hand has ravaged the ranks of the Episcopacy, clergy and laity. Some of our brightest lights, our most indefatigable workers, our most earnest thinkers have passed over the river. Four of our colleagues upon the Episcopal bench have fallen beneath the Reaper's blade like ripened grain, within the quadrennium.
"With deep humility, we thank God that He has spared our lives for the work in His vineyard, while we bow in submission to the divine decree that has so bereaved us. With all this in mind, we face life and its responsibilities with solemnity, not knowing whom the Almighty, in his mysterious providence, may next call hence, yet we rest secure in the knowledge that the righteous need not fear--God doeth all things well. Still we have much for which to thank God. Wars have threatened our country, yet there have been no outbreaks in our borders, riots and strikes have jeopardized lives and business interests in many places, yet the Christian world may be encouraged at the growing tendency to peaceable settlement of all troubles. Murders and lynchings have disgraced our land both North and South, nor have foreign lands escaped atrocities, yet we feel to accept the assertion and the evidence that the best sentiment all over the world condemns unsparingly
these deeds of violence and lawlessness, and we are thankful for every hand and every voice, be it upon platform or through press, that is raised in protest against such shameful outrages and we hail every legal step taken to put an end to them, as a harbinger of better days, when the passions and prejudices of men, will give away to reason and the love of Christ in the heart for all people, irrespective of religion, race or color."
Rev. J. W. Telfair, presiding elder, said:
"Standing to-day amid this great gathering of venerable and eminent men, composing this General Conference, and contemplating the present vastness of the boundary of the A. M. E. Church, stretching from East to West, and from the great inland seas of the North to the tropical seas of the South, bathed by the balmy breezes of the great Mexican Gulf; from the untrodden confines of Africa, and from the isles of the sea; then scanning the dim outlines of future possibilities yet to be accomplished by the sons of Allen, we adopt the language of a Bible character and ask: 'What hath God wrought?'
"We turn our faces back to the period which gave birth to the A. M. E. Church--that memorable November, 1787, was the turning point in the religious slavery of the Negroes of America. They so thoroughly agitated the question of religions independence that the A. M. E. Church was the direct result, and to-day the A. M. E. Church again is gathering its leaders for a grand council of needed legislation. We admire the grand, heroic spirit of the departed, sainted, leaders, Richard Allen and his companions, in the hard labors and desperate struggles of their day; they recognized the fact, 'That he who would be free must himself first strike the blow,' and after desperate struggles which tried their souls, victory came to them, and God crowned their labors of suffering with independence.
"We are pleased to see your faces and to form your acquaintance as ministers of the Lord Jesus, and as laborers in the cause of fallen humanity, and for the uplifting of the race. We are glad to have you see us as we are in our State, in our city, in our churches and in our homes."
Rev. E. J. Gregg, pastor of St. Stephen's Church, spoke as follows:--
"Honored Bishops and Members of the General Conference: We welcome you to St. Stephens' Church for several reasons; among them that you represent the intelligence, the refinement, the respectability of the citizens of the United States, and particularly the intelligence and respectability of the Negroes who worship God in the beauty of holiness.
"We welcome you, my dear brethren, from all the points of the compass. From the Lakes on the North to the Gulf on the South, from the broad Atlantic on the East to the golden shores of California, where the peaceful Pacific sweeps onward, but sweeps on peacefully, that will so grandly describe the beauty and unanimity of action that will distinguish this General Conference.
"We welcome our brethren from our fatherland and from the shores of the St. Paul and from whatever source you may come. We are exceedingly glad to welcome our brethren from the fatherland--the land of hope--the home of the Negro; a land in which God hath broken the shackles from the Negro. God will continue to raise that land, make it to prove the future land of the Negro, where he will show his highest possibilities, where he will cease from being chased by the murderers, where he will be recognized as a man for all that." We welcome you, brethren from the isles of the sea, from our beloved Hayti, from our Bermuda, from all parts of the Caribbean,--we welcome you this morning from Demarara. We welcome you as our brethren."
Bishop Abram Grant responded to the address. He said:
"In behalf of the Bishops of the A. M. E. Church, I desire to express my thanks for these expressions of welcome from His Honor, the Mayor, and all others.
"Before I get too far from Judge Russell, I would say, the A. M. E. Church is not established on racial lines. It is true there was a time when we would not have white men as pastors, but, as the Government of the United States has removed the disabilities of the Southern soldiers, we have removed our restrictions and have white preachers among us. We have left that place and now we know no color line and are thankful to receive all who come. We have built our altar to welcome all races.
"On this line we are fighting the battle of manhood, and we propose to continue that battle until every denomination and every man will go with us and stand on Mars Hill with the Apostle Paul and declare that of one blood God made all nations of the earth. I do not mean that in letter, but in practice. I know we talk these things in our country; I would have you understand that we represent a church that has been brought to the front, forgetting those things of the past, reaching forward to those things of the future.
"We belong to a class of people who are going to do well what we do; anywhere he goes he will prove it. We have also learned that if the home is right, and wife, husband and children are under proper government and control; that it will be no trouble for us to establish this boon in the church we represent. Michael Angelo has said: 'I see an angel in that stone. I am going to take him out.' We have seen the sons of Ham at the plough-handle and have seen how they have deported themselves; we want to know what kind of work they will do for the virtue of their
homes. No compromise can be made in battle, no second place in church or State.
"When Lincoln found that they were in sight of defeat he said: 'Let the sons of Ham come forth as the reserve force,' and they called Turner and Hunter from the A. M. E. Church as our first Chaplains--these two men and these two only enjoy this distinction.
"We are looking forward to the higher civilization, we are making progress and we cannot go back. Go down and stop the Mississippi River, stop the tide of its ebbing and flowing twice in twenty-four hours; stop the world from moving; then and not until then will I believe that you can stop the progress of the Christian Church of which we are a part. Brethren, let us be one in the church, one in the State, one in society, and one grand boon of harmony, one aim and at last we will reach one heaven."
Rev. J. C. Embry, D. D., Rev. O. P. Ross, D. D., and Hon. T. McCant Stewart made short addresses.
The following Bishops were elected:
William Benjamin Derrick, D. D., Josiah Haines Armstrong, D. D., James Crawford Embry, D. D.
The following General Officers were elected:
Rev. T. W. Henderson, D. D., General Business Manager.
Rev. H. T. Johnson, Ph. D., Editor of the Christian Recorder.
Rev. M. M. Moore, D. D., Secretary of the Financial Department.
Rev. H. B. Parks, D. D., Missionary Secretary.
Prof. H. T. Kealing, A. M., Editor of A. M. E. Quarterly Review.
Rev. C. S. Smith, M. D., Secretary Sunday School Union.
Prof. John R. Hawkins, Secretary of Education.
Rev. R. M. Cheeks, D. D., Editor Southern Christian Recorder.
Rev. C. T. Shaffer, M. D., Secretary Church Extension.
The business of the General Conference having been completed on the 20th day, the General Conference adjourned.
Election of Evans, Tyree, Marcellus M. Moore, Charles Spencer Smith, Cornelius T. Shaffer and Levi Jenkins Coppin as Bishops--Delegates Present From South and West Africa.
THE Twenty-first General Conference met in the Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio, and was called to order by Bishop Henry M. Turner, Senior Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The following Bishops were present: Bishops Henry McNeal Turner, D. D., D. C. L., Wesley J. Gaines, D. D., Benjamin T. Tanner, D. D., LL. D., Abram Grant, D. D., Benjamin F. Lee, D. D., LL. D., Moses B. Salter, D. D., James A. Handy, D. D., and William B. Derrick, D. D.
After the opening exercises Bishop Abram Grant, D. D., preached the Quadrennial sermon, which was both inspiring and instructive. The following officers were elected: Rev. L. H. Reynolds, of the Louisiana Conference, Secretary; Rev. R. B. Brooks, Alabama Conference, First Assistant Secretary; Rev. W. D. Johnson, Jr., Southwest Georgia Conference, Second Assistant Secretary; Rev. D. T. McDaniel, D. D., South Carolina Conference, Third Assistant Secretary; Rev. Sandy Simmons, Michigan Conference, Fourth Assistant Secretary; Rev. W. B. Brooks, Kansas Conference, Fifth Assistant Secretary; Rev. H. H. Pinkney, New Jersey Conference, Sixth Assistant Secretary;
Mr. P. A. Richardson, North Carolina Conference, First Recording Clerk; Rev. R. B. Brooks, East Florida Conference, Second Recording Clerk; Rev. B. A. J. Nixon, Tennessee Conference, Reading Clerk; Prof. H. D. Winn, West Texas Conference, Second Reading Clerk.
Prof. Charles S. Smith, Illinois Conference, Official Stenographer.
Prof. Charles Stewart, Chicago, Official Newspaper Reporter.
Messenger to Bishops--Rev. L. W. W. Manaway, Mississippi Conference.
Marshals--Mr. D. B. Allen, New England Conference; A. B. Campbell, Virginia Conference; R. H. Baker, Pittsburg Conference; John L. Turnbo, Illinois Conference; J. A. Simpson, Kansas Conference; W. E. Terry, Southwest Georgia Conference; L. D. Chavis, Northeast South Carolina Conference; S. E. Johnson, Arkansas Conference; Lee Mitchell, West Tennessee Conference; J. D. Haynes, Louisiana Conference; Jas. F. Morris, Indian Territory Conference.
Rev. Thomas H. Jackson offered the following resolutions, which were adopted:--
"WHEREAS, The African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, Canada, Africa, South America and the West Indies, has existed as a distinct ecclesiastical body since 1816, having its own Bishops, elders, deacons, stewards, class leaders, trustees and Sunday Schools, &c.
"WHEREAS, The said African Methodist Episcopal Church has been, and now is, recognized in the ecclesiastical world as a factor in the helping to evangelize the world and bring it to the feet of Jesus Christ, the world's Redeemer, in keeping with the great commission, 'Go ye into all the world and preach my gospel to every creature;' and,
"WHEREAS, The Ethiopian Church sent to the United
States, Commissioners to the African Methodist Episcopal Church, seeking admission to membership in the same; and,
"WHEREAS, Said Commissioners were received into membership, June, 1896, by Rev. J. S. Flipper, D. D., and the whole Ethiopian Church, the act of reception being recognized as having been done in a legal manner by the House of Bishops, and the Missionary Board of the A. M. E. Church; and,
"WHEREAS, Bishop H. M. Turner, D. D., LL. D., went to South Africa and organized two Annual Conferences in South Africa, and appointed a General Superintendent over the same; and,
"WHEREAS, The Conferences in South Africa, under the laws of the A. M. E. Church, of which they are legal members, elected delegates to this, the twenty-first General Conference; therefore, be it
"Resolved, That this General Conference hails with delight the extension of our work in South Africa, and, that we welcome with all our hearts the delegates therefrom to a seat in this General Conference.
"Resolved, Second, That this General Conference indorse the action of Bishop Turner in organizing the work of South Africa and in appointing a Superintendent in that work."
This concluded the work of the first day of the General Conference over which Bishop H. M. Turner presided.
Bishop W. J. Gaines presided over the second day's session. Committees were announced by Bishop Arnett.
Bishop Arnett presided over the third day's session. Memorial services were held in honor of Bishops Josiah H. Armstrong and James C. Embry. Addresses were delivered by Bishops B. T. Tanner, J. A. Handy, W. B. Derrick and Revs. R. E. Walls, G. E. Taylor, A. M. Green.
Bishop H. M. Turner presided over the General Conference
the tenth day of its session. In the morning the committees on General Officers' Reports submitted their reports, and in the afternoon the General Conference went into the election of Bishops. The following were elected: Evans Tyree, Marcellus M. Moore, Charles S. Smith, Cornelius T. Shaffer and Levi J. Coppin.
The eleventh day was presided over by Bishop Turner. The following General Officers were elected: Rev. R. H. W. Leak, General Manager of the Book Concern; Rev. H. T. Johnson, Editor of the Christian Recorder; Rev. H. B. Parks, Missionary Secretary; Prof. John R. Hawkins, Secretary of Education; Prof. H. T. Kealing, Editor of the A. M. E. Church Review; Rev. P. A. Hubbard Financial Secretary.
Twelfth Day, Bishop Turner presiding. The General Conference proceeded with the election of General Officers which resulted as follows: Rev. W. D. Chappelle, Secretary of A. M. E. Sunday School Union; Rev. B. F. Watson, Secretary of Church Extension; Rev. J. T. Jenifer, Secretary of Connectional Preachers' Aid Association.
During the session of the General Conference Dr. R. M. Cheeks, who had been unanimously elected Editor of the Southern Christian Recorder, died. His death was officially announced on the twelfth day of the session by Bishop W. J. Gaines.
On the thirteenth day, the Committees reported on Christian Endeavor and Institutional Church, both being recommended. The funeral services of Dr. Cheeks were held in the General Conference, and the General Conference accompanied his remains to the depot.
On the sixteenth day, Rev. G. E. Taylor was elected Editor of the Southern Christian Recorder. The matter of electing Secretary of Christian Endeavor Society was referred to Bishops' Council.
The Bishops elected were ordained on the fifteenth day of the General Conference with appropriate ceremonies. After transacting a large amount of business, revising the Discipline, the General Conference adjourned at noon on the seventeenth day.
Number of Churches--Their Valuation--Number of Ministers and Members--Sunday Schools and Conferences--General Departments--The Work in Foreign Fields.
WE now come to show the growth of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, since its organization as a Church or Connection. At the General Conference which met in 1816, we find 1 Bishop, 2 Conferences, 14 preachers; 3,000 members. In 1901 we have the following:--
Bishops, 13; General Officers, 12; Church Conference Roll, 6,079; Presiding Elders, 240; Presiding Elders (foreign), 24; total, 6,368.
Local preachers, 9,749; exhorters, 6,477; probationers, 58,000; members, 688,354. Total, 762,580.
Stewards, 26,672; stewardess, 29,486; class leaders, 25,742; trustees, 24,852. Total, 106,752.
Trustee Boards, 5,671; sextons, 5,671.
|Number of Churches||5,715|
|Number of Parsonages||2,075|
|Number of Schools||41|
|Annual Income||$ 125,650|
|Number of Annual Conferences per year||67|
|Number of Annual Conferences per quadrennium||268|
|Number of District Conferences per year||210|
|Number of District Conferences per quadrennium||960|
|Number of Quarterly Conferences per quarter||3,890|
|Number of Quarterly Conferences per year||15,860|
|Number of Quarterly Conferences per quadrennium||63,110|
|Trustee Board Meetings.|
|Number of Trustee Board Meetings per month||5,610|
|Number of Trustee Board Meetings per year||67,680|
|Number of Trustee Board Meetings per quadrennium||270,720|
|Official Board Meetings.|
|Number of Official Board Meetings per week||5,610|
|Number of Official Board Meetings per year||293,280|
|Number of Official Board Meetings per quadrennium||1,173,120|
|Sunday School Conventions.|
|Number of Sunday School Conventions for each Annual Conference||67|
|Number of Sunday School Conventions per quadrennium||268|
|Recapitulation of Conferences in the A. M. E. Church in one year.|
|Number of Annual Conferences||67|
|Number of District Conferences per year||240|
Rev. Henry James Johnson
Of New England Conference. The oldest living Itinerent in the A. M. E. Church. See cut on page 147, as he appeared in earlier years.
|Number of Quarterly Conferences per year||15,860|
|Number of Trustee Board Meetings per year||67,680|
|Number of Official Meetings per year||293,280|
|Number of Sunday School Conventions per year.||67|
|Number of Official Meetings per year||377,194|
|Number of Official Meetings per quadrennium||1,508,776|
Recapitulation of the Financial Department of the A. M. E. Church per Quadrennium.
|Publication Department||$ 65,811 27|
|Financial Department||403,401 62|
|Church Extension Society||64,474 00|
|Southern Christian Recorder||5,502 56|
|Educational Department||270,988 54|
|A. M. E. Sunday School Union||77,159 46|
|Connectional Preachers' Aid Society||2,605 25|
|Woman's Parent Mite Missionary Society||5,959 58|
|Parent Home and Foreign Missionary Society||58,876 81|
|Grand total raised by all the Departments for the quadrennium||$594,779 09|
|Average amount raised per year||$236,194 79|
|Average amount raised per month||19,682 89|
|Average amount raised per day||656 09|
|Average amount raised per hour||27 33|
|Average amount raised per minute||45|
Missionary Board, 61 Bible House, New York.
Bishop James A. Handy, D. D. President.
Rev. H. B. Parks, D. D., Secretary.
|J. M. Brown, 1864-68||$ 5,425 65|
|J. A. Handy, 1868-72||9,317 32|
|G. W. Brodie, 1872-76||6,536 42|
|R. H. Cain, 1876-80||5,947 80|
|J. M. Townsend, 1880-84||34,811 83|
|J. M. Townsend, 1884-88||19,001 09|
|W. B. Derrick, 1888-92||25,675 47|
|W. B. Derrick, 1892-96||36,535 31|
|H. B. Parks, 1896-1900||58,876 86|
We add to the above report the amount of monies collected and reported in the annual report of 1901. The total amount collected was $26,768.39, added to $58,876.86, makes a grand total of $85,645.25.
Bishop H. M. Turner organized the A. M. E. Church in South Africa. He formed two Annual Conferences, the Transvaal Annual Conference, March 9th, 1898, at Pretoria, with a membership of 7,175, and the South African
Annual Conference, April 12th, 1898, at Queenstown, with a membership of 3,625. He ordained 31 elders and 29 deacons.
The General Conference of 1900 elected Bishop Levi J. Coppin, D. D., and appointed him to the South African wor. The church has 21 students from Southwest Africa at Wilberforce University, preparing them to return to educate their race. Two have returned, Miss Charlotte Makhomo Manye, of Petersburg, Transvaal, and Mr. Henry Colbourne Msikinya, of Cape Colony.
"A comprehensive view of the rise and progress of the Liberia Mission would necessarily include much of the history of American slavery and of the slave trade on the Western Coast of Africa. The colony itself was in part born of that missionary spirit which, like a rising tide, came in upon the churches during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Some contemplated it as a Christian nucleus on the border of a vast continent of corruption, from which the Gospel might spread into the interior. Others derided it as a wall against the slave trade, which then surged upon every part of the coast. The interest felt by many in establishing a colony on the West Coast of Africa arose, doubtless, chiefly from apprehensions of danger to our own country from the rapidly multiplying millions of slaves and freedmen among us. Each of these had its advocates in various parts of the country, and the American Colonization Society was the resultant of these various moral forces. It was organized in the city of Washington, in December, 1816.
Individual efforts at African colonization had previously been made. One of the most remarkable was in the year immediately preceding this organization. It was conducted by Paul Cuffee, who was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, of an African father and Indian mother. He had risen from abject poverty to wealth and respectability, and was largely engaged in navigation. He believed that only in Africa could his people find civil and religious liberty. At a cost to himself of four thousand dollars, and in his own vessel, he took out from Boston a colony of thirty-eight persons, which landed at Sierra Leone, and might have resulted in something permanent and valuable but for the death of Cuffee in the following year, and the exclusion of American vessels from British colonies.
Rev. Arthur Jones A faithful member of the Baltimore Conference,
The first important movement of the Colonization Society was to send out, on borrowed money, Samuel J. Mills and Ebenezer Burgess to select a suitable site for a colony. They sailed November 16, 1817, and arrived on the 22d of the following March. They passed down the coast some 120 miles, to the Island Sherbro, at the mouth of a river of the same name. Here they found a small, but prosperous colony under the direction of John Kizzel, who had built a church on the island and was preaching to the people. Kizzel had been carried from Africa when a child, and sold as a slave in South Carolina, but had joined the British during the Revolutionary War, and at its close, had sailed from Nova Scotia with a company of colored persons to reside in Africa.
Mills and Burgess were so deceived by Kizzel and his people as to report, on their return that at this point suitable place could be found for the projected colony. It was an island about ten leagues in length, consisting wholly of alluvial ground, and, like the whole adjacent coast, rises but a few feet above the level of the sea. It was often extensively inundated, and was in reality, most unfit for a settlement.
Mr. Monroe, President of the United States, in March, 1819, approved an act of Congress by which all Africans recaptured from slavers should be restored to the coast of Africa and committed to the care of agents of the Government of the United States. It was at once naturally suggested that the depot of the United States for this purpose should be also the location of the colony of the American Colonization Society. Rev. Samuel Bacon and John P. Bankson were appointed by President Monroe, on the part of the Government, and Dr. Samuel A. Crozer, by the Colonization Society as agents.
Under the direction of the Colonization Society, on
February 6, 1820, the "Elizabeth" sailed from New York with such emigrants as were accepted, and, guided by the report of Mills and Burgess, landed at Campelar, on the east side of Sherbro, the site chosen for the colony.
Ten days after their departure from New York, Rev. Daniel Coker, one of the emigrants, formed on shipboard a Society, according to the Discipline of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and this church and its pastor were landed with the expedition at Sherbro. This godly man, during the disasters that befell the ill-fated company, was most faithful in his devotion, and acted by turns in the capacity of pastor, physician, nurse and governor. Years after Mr. Ashmun speaks of him as the same true and excellent man. He is worthy to be known as the father of our Church in Liberia.
The utter unfitness of Sherbro for the purpose of settlement became apparent in a very few days, in the general prostration by fever, and the speedy death of numbers, embracing two of the agents. One calamity followed another, till the colony was broken up, and the fragment which remained alive returned disheartened to Sierra Leone.
Early in 1821, this remnant was reinforced under new agents, but remained at Sierra Leone till a proper location could be selected for settlement. In November, 1821, Dr. Eli Ayres was intructed to visit the survivors of the disastrous expedition, and proceed down the coast in search of a place to make a new attempt. Captain Stockton, in command of the United States schooner "Alligator," was ordered to the coast to co-operate with him.
These gentlemen proceeded down the coast about 250 miles, till they came to a high point of land called Cape Montserrado, which seemed to them admirably adapted to their purpose. With great address and firmness they secured
the purchase of a valuable tract including the cape, consisting of thirty-six miles along the seashore, with an average breadth of two miles. They paid for it goods of about $300 in value.
This effected, Dr. Ayres sought to remove the emigrants to the chosen spot, but encountered hostility from the natives, who had repented of their bargain. After various negotiations, and some collisions with arms, and especially through the intervention of King Boatswain, who was a kind of dictator among the savages, the agents obtained possession of the land purchased. On the 28th of April, with great enthusiasm, the emigrants passed over and occupied the cape. So began the home of the freedmen on the African coast.
It is not within the scope of our purpose to speak of the arrival, or the achievements of Mr. Ashmun, who entered the colony the following August, nor of the wise manner in which he organized and defended the colony, nor of any of the remarkable events of his administration. Suffice it to say, he became the instrument, under God, of giving form and permanence to Liberian institutions; he established a civil polity; purchased additional land; and, in fact, founded Monrovia. Others entered into his labors, and we now have as the result, the Republic of Liberia.
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, organized under Daniel Coker, in mid-ocean, landed at Campelar, and, driven by calamities back to Sierra Leone, had now at last found a resting place. Rude houses of worship were hastily thrown up, and the work of God went on for many years under the ministrations of colonists, guided by the help afforded by pious agents.
Memorial Tablet to the Sainted Founders, Fathers, Matrons and Bishops of the A. M. E. Church.
THE spirit of the African Methodist Episcopal Church is to carry the Gospel to a dying world; to seek mankind everywhere, and to hold up, as an example to men the life of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are not simply bounded by the United States, but by the world. Our fathers were given the commission from our Maker, and, as already stated, you will find that they in the early period of their existence sent the Gospel to foreign fields.
When Hayti shook off the yoke of bondage, and established a free and independent government, where every man could be considered a man, and where slavery was blotted out forever, under the leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture, our fathers sent the Gospel there through Scipio Beans, who was one of the early pioneers in the Baltimore Conference. That he was a success, there was no doubt. He organized several societies in the French part of the island. This was our first missionary field. Brother Beans returned to the United States, after several years hard labor, and made his report to the Baltimore Annual Conference, and then returned to his field of labor, where he then remained until the Lord approved of his labors and called him home to rest.
Rev. Richard Robinson was appointed to succeed Brother
Beans. He did not remain on the field, but for reasons not reported, he returned to this country and worked, sometimes in the Baltimore Conference and sometimes in the Philadelphia Conference, until his career was ended.
From this you will see that our early missionary work suffered, for the societies planted by Scipio Beans were left in the hands of untrained local preachers, who worked as well as they knew. Finding their inability to do the work before them, they appealed to Bishop Morris Brown for help. The appeal received the earnest and prayerful attention of the Bishop, who had neither men nor money with which to respond to their cry, hence you find the interest waning. Appeal after appeal came to our Bishops, and efforts were put forth from time to time to help our brethren in Hayti, but failed in a sense. Under Bishop James A. Shorter and Missionary Secretary Rev. J. M. Townsend, Rev. Charles W. Mossell was sent to the field, and did good work. Rev. Morsell remained until the breaking out of the Civil War on the island, when he returned to this country. He was succeeded by Deacon S. G. Dorce, who remained but one year, and was succeeded by Rev. John Hurst, B. D., a graduate from Wilberforce. Rev. Alphonso H. Mevs, H. C. C. Astwood, Joseph Day, George Cadanche and others assisted in the work of missions.
We then took up mission work in Africa, where other organizations were found already at work. A new Connection had been formed on the continent, which came with proposals to the A. M. E. Church, through the trustees. Brother Frederick acted as our missionary, and superintended the transfer of the Church and School House to the A. M. E. Church, which was accomplished January 12, 1887, and ratified March 12, 1887, by a unanimous vote.
We have seen the struggle through which our fathers passed in planting missionary work at home and abroad,
and especially the latter. Let us not abandon any of the fields which God has opened up to us. He has paved the way, ripened the field and told us to go and gather the harvest. Will we do it? Are we going to do our duty? There may be reasons assigned to us why we should abandon some of the work which we are striving to do, but take courage from the life of our blessed Saviour, who was rejected, who was scorned, and at last crucified. He came into the world for a specific purpose, and did not leave until it had been accomplished. As His followers, we cannot afford to give up the great work we are striving to do, because the way may seem a little dark, or we cannot see the results of our labors each day.
We need men, strong men, and brave, to go into the islands, into Africa and preach Christ to a dying world; men with Christ in their hearts, who will give up their lives, if need be, for the Cause. Such are the men needed to labor in our Master's vineyard. The African Methodist Episcopal Church, sailing under the banner of "GOD OUR FATHER, CHRIST OUR REDEEMER, MAN OUR BROTHER," cannot afford to take a backward step, but with unfailing trust in God, ever go forward, onward and upward. The work must be carried out.
The custom of honoring the dead is as old, almost as the race. It was shown by processes which demanded such oils and spices as would preserve the body through the course of ages. It was not subjected to the barbarous practice of cremation, or incineration.
Joseph commanded the doctors to embalm his father. In the same manner was respect paid to the body of Joseph and to Sarah. This was the solemn custom of that time,
and it seemed to have been instituted by the Egyptians. The other nations had imposing methods of paying tribute to their dead. Hebrew, Greek and Romans regarded it as a sacred duty to place them in conspicuous resting places. The Jews gave them tombs in towns, and in gardens, and upon mountains. The Greeks put their remains into their temples, and the ancient Christians placed them into the porticos and porches of their churches. In all of this, the highest regard was paid to moral and Christian principles. As well as to men of talents; such men having gifts and graces which grew up and immortalized them in some particular sphere.
Talented men have innate power which qualifies them to do more for humanity then ordinary men can do. It is genius that makes them energetic, active and inspiring. It is this that directs them in all their accomplishments and makes them leaders of men. Men of this class compose the list herein presented. They stand up above the rank and file (leaders). In this number as leaders we note Stephen Hill, Rev. Daniel Coker, Bishop Richard Allen, the organizer. Bishop Allen stands out as the great Bishop and manager of the infant Connection, and Bishop Daniel A. Payne as the great apostle of an educated ministry in the A. M. E. Church pulpit.
These are they whom we want to pay our grateful rememberance and gratitude to, for this grand and magnificent establishment, the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Who can measure the depth from which these men have lifted up? Who can fathom the extent of the blessings that still linger in the organization and awaiting the arrival of the generations yet to come? Who! Who? my readers, can estimate the joy of the redeemed thousands, standing blood-washed, glory-crowned, through ceaseless, wasteless, round eternity. The A. M. E. Church, is God's chosen instrumentality.
The matchless men and women and their coadjutors of later years are:
Caleb Highland, Thomas Clare, Nicholas Gilliard, Henry harden, Richard Williams, Don Carlos Hall, Stephen Hill, Daniel Coker, Monday Janney, Caleb Gilley, Phaton Blake, Southey Hammond, Harry Housier, James Towson, John Mingo, John Foulks, James Cole, Joseph Chane, Shadrack Bassett, Jacob Mathews, Clayton Durham, Dorathy Hill, Annie Dickerson, Mary Ann Prout, Mrs. Priscilla Baltimore, Jeremiah Bulah, David Smith, John Boggs, Charles Dunn, Sarah E. Earley, Rachel Evans, Moses Freeman, Peter Gardner, Joshua P. B. Eddy, A. R. Green, Charles Hackett, Richard Robertson, Henry James Johnson, Thomas W. Henry, Joseph Corr, Adam Clincher, Jeremiah Miller, Jacob Richardson, Peter Schureman, Samuel Todd, Richard Allen, Jacob Tapsico, James Champion, Thomas Webster, William Anderson, Edward Jackson, Reuben Cuff.
Revs. Richard Allen, Clayton Durham, Jacob Tapsico, James Champion, Mr. Thomas Webster, Revs. Daniel Coker, Richard Williams, Henry Harden, Edward Williamson, Nicholas Gilliard, Jacob Marsh, William Anderson, Edward Jackson, Mr. Reuben Cuff and Mr. Stephen Hill.
Richard Allen, Morris Brown, Edward Waters, William Paul Quinn, Willis, Nazrey, Daniel A. Payne, Alexander W. Wayman, Jabez P. Campbell, James A. Shorter, Thomas M. D. Ward, John M. Brown, Henry M. Turner, William F. Dickerson, Richard H. Cain, Richard R. Disney, Wesley J. Gaines, Benjamin W. Arnett, Benjamin T. Tanner, Abram Grant, Benjamin F. Lee, Moses B. Salter, James A. Handy, William B. Derrick, Josiah H. Armstrong, James
C. Embry, Evans Tyree, Marcellus M. Moore, Charles S. Smith, Cornelius T. Shaffer, Levi J. Coppin.
"Richard Allen, the first Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born a slave in Delaware, and raised in Pennsylvania; was licensed to preach in the M. E. Church in 1799, and was therefore the first colored man ordained by Mr. Asbury. He was elected Bishop in 1816, and died in Philadelphia, Pa., March 26, 1831. The first Conference he attended after he was elected Bishop, was in Baltimore, Maryland. It had been announced in the papers that the Bishop of the A. M. E. Church would preach on Sunday morning. When the time came, the church was crowded. Perhaps the largest colored congregation that had ever assembled in Baltimore turned out to hear him. It was said by some who were present on this occasion that he fell a little below the expectation of many of his hearers. At the close of the sermon, Rev. Daniel Coker rose up and said: 'While Bishop Allen was not such a great preacher, he was a very useful man, and calculated to do a great deal of good.' After the close of the sermon at night, Bishop Allen rose up and took another text--Rev. 20:12: "And I saw the dead small and great stand before God"--and preached with power. When he closed, he descended from the pulpit and dropped upon his knees in the altar. It was said by an eye witness that 'the scepter departed from Rev. Daniel Coker that night.' "
Edward Waters, third Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born a slave at West River, Maryland. He came to Baltimore when a young man and joined the A. M. E. Church. He was subsequently ordained deacon and elder. He was selected by Bishop Morris Brown as his assistant. At the General Conference, which met in Philadelphia, 1836, he was elected Bishop. In the spring of 1847 he was
on his way to an appointment a few miles from Baltimore City, when some reckless young man drove his carriage into him, knocked him to the ground and injured him to such an extent that he never recovered. He died in great peace at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Margaret Steward.
Rev. Dr. Daniel A. Payne was appointed to the pastoral charge of Israel Church, in Washington, D. C., in 1843, and while he only remained there two years, he experienced much, and was forced to comply with a barbarous municipal law in the District of Columbia, by giving a bond of one thousand dollars, as a guarantee of good behavior on his part, during his pastorate. He had to do this before he was allowed to enter upon the discharge of his duties as pastor of Christian Church. After two years service, he was appointed to Bethel Church, Baltimore, Md., where he remained five years, during which time the present church building, Bethel (Saratoga street) was erected.
It was while stationed at Washington and Baltimore that Rev. Payne began to make his appeal for an educated ministry in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. His views on this subject were published in the A. M. E. Church Magazine, Rev. George Hogarth, editor. His views thus expressed gave much offense to the ministry, and produced excitement among the laity. Such preachers of blessed memory as Revs. James G. Bias, H. C. Turner, Abram Lewis, J. M. Brown, Mr. John Vashon, D. W. Moore, Henry Gordon, Martin R. Delaney, James Reed and a Sunday School teacher of Bethel, Baltimore, and many others approved of Dr. Payne's epistle on an educated ministry. His standing out as a great tower of strength, caused Bishop Morris Brown to exclaim: "Dr. Payne is right."
It was while Dr. Payne was pastor of Bethel Church,
Baltimore, that he delivered a lecture on the "Life and Work of Benjamin Banneker," that extraordinary self-taught astronomer and almanac-maker for Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania, from 1701 to 1802. It was through the kindness of the Hon. John H. B. Latrobe, of blessed memory, that the design for a monument in respect to that genius of the black race, was designed and drafted by the celebrated architect, R. Carey Long, Esq. The African race owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. J. H. B. Latrobe for rescuing from oblivion the memory of this black astronomer.
John Mifflin Brown, the eleventh Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Delaware, September, 1817. He left his native State when but a youth and went to Philadelphia, and learned the barber trade with the late Frederick A. Hinton. After his conversion he united with the A. M. E. Church, in Philadelphia, and was licensed to preach. In 1840 he left Philadelphia and went to Oberlin College, in Ohio, where he spent several years. After leaving college, he was engaged as a teacher in Detroit, Michigan. Subsequently he was admitted into the Ohio Conference, and appointed principal of the "Union Seminary." There was a call for a minister to go to New Orleans, Louisiana. The lot fell to him, and he was sent there by Bishop Quinn, and he had the pleasure like Paul, Silas and Peter, to rest in prison many a night in the Crescent City for preaching the Gospel. In 1858 he was transferred to the Baltimore Conference, in which he filled several important stations. In 1864 he was elected by the General Conference corresponding secretary of the Missionary Society. In 1868 he was elected Bishop, and traveled very etxensively up to the time of his death. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by the Avery College, Alleghany City, Pa.
Alexander W. Wayman, the seventh Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Caroline County, Maryland, September, 1821. He was brought up on the farm of his father, who put him to ploughing when he was quite a little boy. His father had to saw the handles of the plow off so that he could manage it. With this outfit he went to the field. He was once asked by some one after he had grown to be a man, what made him grow so large. His answer was: "My father put me to ploughing when I was young and made my muscles expand, and therefore I grew large." He was taught his letters by his father, and then he began to spell and read. It was not long before he got the idea in his head that he must write. The sand in the roads, and the sides of the old farm houses were his copy books. Soon he was writing letters to his young friends. In August, 1835, he obtained hope in Christ. In 1837 he joined the M. E. Church. In 1840 he united with the A. M. E. Church. In 1843 he was admitted into the Philadelphia Conference. After filling stations in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D. C., he was elected Bishop.
Jabez P. Campbell, the eighth Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Delaware about 1815. When he was quite small his father gave a gentleman a mortgage upon him and went away. When the money was due the mortgage was foreclosed, and an attempt was made to sell him, but he got wind of it, and left the State of Delaware for Philadelphia, where his mother resided. He soon became an active member of the A. M. E. Church. After he was licensed to preach, he was appointed by Bishop Morris Brown to supply a vacancy on the Bucks County Circuit, Pennsylvania. From there he was sent as a missionary to
the New England States. He subsequently filled Albany and New York City Stations. He was then transferred to the Philadelphia Conference. In 1856 he was elected editor of the Christian Recorder, which position he resigned, and afterward filled the Trenton (N. J.) Station and Bethel Church, Philadelphia. In 1863 he was transferred to the Baltiore Conference.
In May, 1864, he was elected Bishop. He was the first Bishop to visit California, where he organized the California Conference. In 1876 the General Conference sent him as a delegate to the Wesleyan Conference in England. On his arrival he was received and treated with great Christian civility. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred to the Baltimore Conference.
James Alexander Shorter, the ninth Bishop of the A. M. E. Church, was born in Washington, D. C., February, 1817. He learned his trade as barber in Philadelphia, being placed by his parents under the charge of Rev. Walter Proctor, who looked after him during his apprenticeship. After he finished his trade, he left for the West, and went as far as Galena, Illinois, and while out in those Western wilds, was converted and joined the church. He subsequently returned to Philadelphia, and was taken into Bethel by Bishop Morris Brown. After his marriage, he returned to Washington, D. C., and was received into Israel Church. He was soon licensed to exhort and preach. In April, 1846, he was admitted on trial in the Baltimore Conference He filled prominent stations in that Conference, such as Israel Church, Washington, D. C., and two in Baltimore. In 1857 he was transferred to the Ohio Conference, where he filled important stations. One year he was the agent for Wilberforce University, and succeeded admirably.
In 1868 he was elected Bishop, and organized all the Conferences in the Southwest.
Thomas M. D. Ward, tenth Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Pennsylvania, 1823. His father and mother crossed over the Maryland line only a few months previous to his birth, and therefore he claimed to be a Pennsylvanian. At an early age he was converted, and admitted into the A. M. E. Church, and soon after moved to Philadelphia, where he was licensed to preach. Subsequently he was admitted into the New England Conference. After being ordained an elder, he was appointed missionary to the Pacific coast, where he remained for several years and organized churches along the coast. In 1868 he was elected Bishop, and returned to the Pacific coast, where he remained for four years. Afterward he was assigned to Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, where he distinguished himself as an orator of the first class. The degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by Wilberforce University.
It is claimed that William Paul Quinn was the first itinerant preacher in the A. M. E. Church, but to say the least of it, like a goodly number of other things, it is doubtful, for David Smith was a traveling preacher in Maryland and in Pennsylvania, organizing the work and laying out circuits long before William Paul Quinn joined the Connection. In 1817 the Annual Conference sat the first time in Baltimore, in the month of April. At this session Bishop Allen ordained several preachers: Revs. Shradrack Bassett, David Smith and Henry Harden. Rev. David Smith had charge of Harrisburg Circuit, consisting of Harrisburg, Carlisle, Chambersburg, Shippensburg and
Fredericktown. The circuit was laid out by Rev. Daniel Coker, and Bishop Allen appointed Revs. David Smith and Shadrack Bassett. The circuit was traveled by two preachers.
Rev. David Smith says: "We traveled this circuit on foot." William Paul Quinn was then quite a young man. He was licensed to preach, and was sent to Western Pennsylvania, and he rode horseback. Possibly he was the first "circuit rider," but not the first itinerant preacher, to travel a circuit. Daniel Coker, David Smith and Shadrack Bassett were at work in Maryland and Pennsylvania before Rev. William Paul Quinn. Rev. Joseph Chaine and David Smith organized a band of young men to assist in prayer meetings, and Nathaniel Peek, Alexander Murray, Levin Lee and David Cornish were faithful and were doing good work. This was before Daniel Coker came back to Baltimore as a school teacher. Then again, there was John Mingo and Joseph Towson, all helping in the good work. It was through Daniel Coker that they heard of the contemplated movement of Richard Allen.
Sarah Allen, the wife of Bishop Richard Allen, was a remarkable woman, and was a valuable help to the Bishop in his early work in the church. After the Bishop had sent out his first preachers they returned in a "seedy" condition at the close of their first Conference period of six months. Their condition was so revolting to the good Bishop that he refused to adjourn them for dinner. When he did adjourn them at night, and went home, his wife wanted an explanation as to why he had failed to bring the brethren to dinner. He stated to her their condition, she gave them supper. After supper she seated them in the parlor, while she visited the sisters. In describing their condition she said they had ventilators in their elbows, ventilators at their knees and ventilators in the seat of
their trousers. She and the sisters bought a bolt of homespun cloth, and spent the night sewing. The next morning they had pants and jackets for the preachers, thereby making them presentable to go out and discharge their ministerial duties. She was faithful, and frequently helped the bishop out of many straights in which he found himself. She died at a good old age, having served her day and generation well.
Annie Dickerson was one of the pillars of Bethel Church, in Baltimore. She took under her care and instruction all of the new female converts and indoctrinated them in the duties they owed to their God and to their church. She could be seen every Sabbath at her place in the church, the amen corner, before the hour for public worship, with a large number of young women around her, she exhorting, and her assistant, Miss Mary Ann Prout, who was the teacher of small children in the day school, read the Bible and Sister Dickerson explained the Scriptures to them. She also had a beneficial society, in which the children paid a small stipend per month, and when they died she headed the procession to the grave yard. In the absence of the pastor, she read the burial services of the church over their remains.
Doritha Hill, the wife of Stephen Hill, was of great assistance to the infant organization in Baltimore. She was a remarkably good singer, and frequently, in the absence of her husband, led class meeting. She held at her house prayer meeting, once each week, and a band of sisters every fortnight, in which she catechised, exhorted and assisted them in their religious duties. She was often called upon to make an exhortation before and after preaching, on the Sabbath. There was no woman in the early organization of the church who was of more service than Mother Hill. When the hour of her demise came, she triumphantly
exclaimed: "Have fought a good fight, the chariot has come for me and I am going home." She crossed her arms over her breast, closed her eyes and was gone.
Sarah Jane Woodson--teacher, lecturer, temperance advocate--was born in the State of Ohio. Early in life she mastered whatever of learning came within her reach; and as the years came, she longed--Alexander-like--for more books to conquer. She attended Oberlin University, and graduated therefrom with honor.
She was the first principal teacher of the Public School of Zanesville, Ohio. She was called to Wiberforce among the first set of teachers to that institution. She was, at one time also, principal of the Public School, of Xenia, Ohio. Subsequently she married Rev. J. W. Early, of the A. M. E. Church, and for years she has labored with great acceptability in the work of that church.
Rachel Evans, the wife of Robert Evans, was a preacher of no ordinary ability. She expounded the Scriptures clearly and distinctly, and congregations generally said of her that she was better versed in the Bible than her distinguished husband. There were but few of the preachrs of that day who were her equal in elucidating the Scripture, and none who were her superior. Bishop Quinn often remarked that she had not a superior in the Western reserve.
Priscilla Baltimore, of St. Louis, Mo., was one of the first members of St. Paul Church. It was she who gave shelter to William Paul Quinn when he first crossed the Mississippi River from East St. Louis to St. Louis. From that time up to the time of her death, he always found a resting place at her home. She frequently ferried him across the Mississippi in the early hours of the night when the municipal authorities of St. Louis did not allow him to stay all night. She had great love for the organization,
and it was in her house where St. Paul Church was organized. She lived on the Illinois side of the river and was known in many parts of Illinois and Missouri as "Mother Baltimore." She originally came from Maryland and settled in that part of the country. She died at a ripe old age.
Mary Dunn, the wife of Rev. Charles Dunn, was a woman of much piety who greatly assisted her husband in his ministry. She would rise in her seat, walk up and down the aisle and not utter a word, but like a spark in dry stubble she would set the church on fire. She died suddenly and went home to rest.
Miss Mary Ann Prout, who died at the age of eighty-three years, for more than thirty years kept a day school in which she taught little children the alphabet, reading, spelling and writing.
She organized a beneficial society called the St. Luke's Society, which is still in existence and has a large number of members in Maryland and Virginia.
She was president of Daughters of Conference of Bethel A. M. E. Church. Bishop Payne says: "She was born in the year of 1800. For seventy-two years she was a communicant member of Bethel A. M. E. Church. She died in great peace in the year 1884."
Dr. James Joshua Gould Bias was the most remarkable local preacher of his day in Bethel Church, Philadelphia, Pa. Born in a state of slavery, in Maryland, he was at one time the servant of a physician, whose carriage he drove, and from whom he obtained some knowledge of the medical art and practice. Soon after he obtained his freedom he removed to Philadelphia. He was now a husband, and obtained his living by whitewashing, leeching, bleeding, and extracting decayed teeth, which was always considered the surest remedy for toothache. After he had made his skill
in such kind of work known to the people of Philadelphia, called "The Eclectic," from which he graduated and obtained quite an extensive and lucrative practice. Dr. Bias was also a zealous and heroic member of the "Underground Railroad Association," and many times periled his life in aiding the escape of fugitives from the South. In his humanitarian work he was zealously and actively aided by his noble wife, Mrs. Eliza Bias, who possessed a generous heart. Gladly did she second all the movements of her husband in hiding and forwarding in her home and from her home troops of flying slaves, conducted to her home by the martyred Torry. Dr. Bias never hesitated to oppose a manifest wrong within the church or without; therefore his opponents and enemies were perhaps as numerous as his admirers and friends.
Here is a woman that we find it difficult to place in her proper position, among the great women of this age in which we live. Amanda Smith stands alone. She is an evangelist of almost super-Christian power. Her triumphs and activities, at home and in foreign lands, is the fulfillment of the fond hopes of those great church leaders--Bishops D. A. Payne and Jabez P. Campbell--and a score of other heroes, who have ever stood as champions of heroines in the great work of uplifting soul, body and mind, of down-trodden and oppressed, to usefulness on earth, and to glory in Heaven.
THE Convention of April 9th, 1816, was not a mere society or congregation, but a church governed and superintended by Bishops, who were elected and ordained to the work of the episcopacy.
Mr. Wesley authorized the establishment of the Methodist Episcopal Church. For that purpose he selected Mr. Coke and Mr. Asbury and sent them to America. He ordained Mr. Coke Bishop or Superintendent. The preachers assembled on the 25th day of December, 1784, and organized the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Coke was received and Mr. Asbury was elected Bishop, thus Coke and Asbury were the Bishops. The work was placed in the hands of Bishop Asbury, who carried it forward, ordaining and setting apart ministers to superintend and manage this new organization. Among them were at least two or three colored men, Richard Allen, Harry Hosier, and possibly Daniel Coker, but very soon it was apparent, after this had been done that the colored people were a society in the Methodist Episcopal Church and not a part and parcel of it. The organization in Philadelphia, in 1816, followed and completely settled this question and the organization of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was not an Episcopal, nor Congregational, nor Presbyterian Church, but a church governed and superintended by Bishops who are elected and ordained to the work of the episcopacy. The presbyters, or elders, of the New Testament exercised
the power of ordination. Timothy was ordained by the laying on of hands of the presbytery or body of elders. I Tim. 4:14: "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." To deny that the elders have the right to ordain is to run directly against the expressed declaration of the Bible. Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon, as well as Mr. Wesley, believed in the validity of the presbyterial ordination.
There are two ordinations, a divine and a human. The divine is the call of God to preach the Gospel. The Savior called and sent the apostles out to preach. Their ordination was the unction of the Holy Ghost. Human ordination recognizes the essential one of the Holy Ghost. When you can get the two, well and good; but if not, give us the divine, let who will have the human. The chief and essential ordination is of God, and wherever this exists it matters but little what the human ordination is. Mr. Wesley called of God, and eminently qualified by intellectual and spiritual endowment, had, by reason of these endowments, and as being the founder of a great church, as much right to ordain a minister as any pope, patriarch, archbishop or bishop, that ever performed that function. The true validity of the Methodist ministry is derived from Mr. Wesley, who was not only a presbyter in the English Church, but under God became an illustrious founder of a great evangelical Church of Christ. Now, if this ordination was true and pure, so was Allen's true and pure. Accordingly, the Protestant Churches of Scotland, France, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, Denmark, etc., have no episcopal ordination; for Luther, Calvin, Bucer, Melanchthon, and all the first reformers and founders of these churches who ordained ministers among them, were themselves presbyters. Thus it appears that all these
churches had no other ministry than such as were ordained by the presbytery.
Mr. Watson goes on to say: "In opposition to episcopal ordination, they (Protestants) urge that Timothy was ordained 'by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery;' that Paul and Barnabas were ordained by certain prophets and teachers in the Church of Antioch, and not by Bishops presiding in that city. The validity of the ordination in the African Methodist Episcopal Church is no longer a question of doubt."
"Methodism," says Bishop McTyeire, "recognizes but two orders in the ministry--the deacon and presbyter. It also recognizes a third office--that of Bishop--which is presbyterial in order, but episcopal in office. Methodism occupies medium ground between prelacy on one hand and parity of the ministry on the other. Roman Catholics and Episcopalians believe in three orders--those of Bishop, presbyter and deacon. Presbyterians, Baptists and Congregationalists maintain one order only--that of the presbyter. We believe that two orders are recognized in the Bible.
"The deaconship is a subordinate grade, an order of the ministry. Deacons among Presbyterians and Baptists are simply lay-officers, but among Methodists they are a subordinate order of ministers. Methodism here is on Scriptural ground. Stephen was a deacon, one of the first seven. He was a powerful preacher, 'being full of the Holy Ghost.' When the Jews heard his sermon which is recorded in Acts 7, 'they were cut to the heart.' He was duly ordained by the apostles. Philip was another deacon, and a preacher. 'Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached
Christ unto them.' (Acts 8:5.) He had a great revival at that place. 'But when they believed Philip, preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.' 'And there was a great joy in that city.' Philip expounded the Scriptures to the Ethiopian eunuch, and administered to him the rite of baptism. The point we make is that deacons are ministers, which is clearly proved by the above citations of Scripture. A Methodist deacon can perform all the ministerial functions of an elder, except that of consecrating the elements of the Lord's Supper.
"Presbyter, or elder, is a higher order and office of the ministry. It designates an order of men whose duties are to preach, to administer the ordinances and watch over the church. 'The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof.' (I Pet. 5:1, 2.)
"Elders have authority of governing the churches. 'Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor.' (I Tim. 5:17.) The people are exhorted to 'obey them that have the rule over them, and submit themselves.' (Heb. 13:17.)
"Elders have the power of ordination. Timothy was ordained by the 'laying on of the hands of the presbytery,' or body of elders. (I Tim. 4:14.) They were associates of ecclesiastical authority with the apostles. The decrees passed at Jerusalem to regulate the churches 'were ordained of the apostles and elders.' (See Acts 15:2-6, 22, 23; 16: 4; I Tim. 5:17.) As all churches agree that the eldership is an ecclesiastical order, it is not necessary to dwell longer on the subject."
"Bishops," says Bishop McTyeire, "are not a distinct
order, but officers, elected by the body of elders for general superintendency, and for greater convenience in regard to ordination and to secure unity and greater efficiency in administration; and this was unquestioned for hundreds of years. Now, Methodism conforms to this primitive arrangement. Bishops and presbyters, or elders, were originally the same, but as Jerome says, one of the elders as a president, and called bishop by way of distinction, and some of the functions pertaining to the whole body of the presbyters--as ordination, for example--were committed to him. Thus he became primus inter pares, first among equals."
We enter upon a subject of the greatest importance to the pastor. The pastoral office is instituted to guard and promote the moral and religious character of the community. In the discharge of its functions, counsel, admonition, and reproof must frequently be administered, to establish the wavering and to reclaim the erring. It cannot be anticipated that those duties which call in question the rectitude of moral character can be discharged, with true Christian fidelity, without occasionally inflaming the bad passions of men, and, perhaps, subjecting one's self to a legal prosecution; and hence it is important to inquire how far the civil law recognizes the right of the full discharge of the pastorate.
It is a principle clearly recognized by the Discipline of our church, that no member, in full connection, can be dropped or expelled by the preacher in charge until the select committee, or the society of which he is a member, declare, in due form, that he is guilty of the violation of some Scriptural or moral principle, or some requisition of church covenant. The restrictive rules guarantee, both to our ministers and members, the privilege of trial and of
appeal; and the General Conference has explicitly declared that "it is the right of every member of the African Methodist Episcopal Church to remain in said church, unless guilty of the violation of its rules; and there exists no power in the ministry, either individually or collectively, to deprive any member of said rights."
The mode of removing unworthy members, in former times, was very different from the one now practiced. At every quarterly visitation Mr. Wesley gave a ticket to each member, bearing the member's name upon it. This ticket was a symbol of tessera, as the ancient termed such, denoting that the person holding it was recognized as a member of the society.
"These," says Mr. Wesley, "also supplied us with a quiet and inoffensive method of removing any disorderly member. He has no new ticket at the quarterly visitation,--for so often the tickets are changed,--and hereby it is immediately known that he is no longer of the community."
The privilege of appeal is allowed both to preacher and member by the constitution of our church, under certain limitations. The General Conference shall not do away with the privileges of our ministers and preachers of trial by a committee, and of an appeal. It is required, however, in order that the appeal may be entertained, that the condemned person signify his intention to appeal within a given time.
The court appealed to, and not the court appealed from, is to judge whether or not the party has a right to appeal. As the right of appeal is not treated in the Restrictive Rules as a conditional right to be regulated by express enactments, great license should be given to this right. No appeal should be rejected unless there are very manifest reasons for it. It has never been considered, however, that
the appellate court can exercise no discretion in any case of appeal,--that it must entertain every appeal that is made to it.
If an accused person evades a trial by absenting himself after sufficient notice has been given him, and the committee judge that the circumstances of the accusation afford strong presumption of guilt, he may be esteemed as guilty, and be accordingly excluded. And a person who absents himself from trial can claim no right to an appeal. But mere absence from the place of trial does not show that the accused person evaded a trial, by absenting himself, in the sense of the Discipline. He should be allowed to show to the Quarterly Conference that his absence from the trial was not designed, and a fault on his part. If a majority of the Quarterly Conference are convinced that he did not designedly evade a trial, the appeal should be entertained.
No appeal can be entertained when a charge of maladministration has been sustained against a traveling preacher, provided that the motives of the administrator are not impeached. But when any punishment has been awarded, such as censure,, suspension, or explusion, the appeal may be entertained.
In the incipiency of our work toward African organization, as a church--as a local church--the preacher, the local preacher impressed himself upon the church, yes, upon the whole organized church, as a potent factor in the work; the great work of organization, and the uplift of the crude mass of our people, into what you see to-day--the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The church-- the local church--existed as a church, with a local ministry, twenty years before it took on the form of a connectional church, with a connectional ministry; which it did on the tenth day of April, 1816, at Philadelphia, Pa.
Permit us to name some of these heroes of great work, and blessed memory, who in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Trenton, N. J., Wilmington, Del., Eastern Shore, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, did the work, and held together the struggling church for twenty years. Preachers, i. e., pastors without circuit, station, or mission, did the work of holding the church together until Bishop Richard Allen, with a regularly authorized, organized body of Christians, made their appearance in the religious world, in April of the year of grace, 1816.
I subjoin a list of the names of local preachers and exhorters found in the churches of Baltimore, Philadelphia and elsewhere from 1794 up to these later years:
Caleb Highland, Henry Harden, David Smith, Daniel Coker, James Towson, Jacob Fortie, Joseph Chaine, Shadrack Bassett, Jacob Mathews, Mondy Janney, Southey Hammond, Nathaniel Peck, Darius Stokes, John Jordan, Phaton Blake, John Foulks, Levin Lee, Richard Williams, Jacob Richardson, Charles Pierce, Joshua P. B. Eddy, Dr. James J. Gould Bias. These matchless men, tireless in work, were always at the prayer meeting, class meeting, public meeting, Sunday School sessions. They had influence and power for good. In all our churches they were leaders, as also in our Annual and General Conferences.
Says Bishop Payne in his history, "to this class of men Coker and a few others, and to the counsel and wisdom, as well as to the zeal and faithful work of her local preacher that so effectively manned the new craft--Bethel--during her first score of years on life's restless ocean, we owe much, but for them we might have foundered on some rock or sand bar. But the Captain her first score of years on life's restless ocean, we might have foundered on some rock or sand bar. But the Captain was on board, and good seamen, the local preacher." We
need the local preacher to-day. The present hour demands his presence, and service in the church work. The weekly service, the class meeting, the Sunday School, all need the service of the local preacher. And my dear brother, if you would be a useful, wise man, give heed to the words of Daniel: "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars forever and ever." Then my brother, exemplify the local preacher of fifty years ago.
Mr. Moses Small The first carrier of the "Baltimore American," which flourished about 70 years ago, in Baltimore, Md.
The Report of the General Trustees of the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church to the Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, May, 1900, Columbus, O.
THE question has been asked by what authority the Financial Board assumed any responsibility in relation to the finishing of the Metropolitan Church. The following report of the Trustees and the action of the General Conference, 1884, will answer that question. Dr. J. A. Handy read the following report on the Metropolitan Church:
To the General Conference of the A. M. E. Church, United States of America, in session at Baltimore, Md., May, 1884, Union Bethel, Washington, D. C., sends greeting:
REVEREND FATHER IN GOD:
WHEREAS, The General Conference, at its session in the year 1872, at Nashville, Tenn., did ordain that a Connectional Metropolitan Church should be erected in Washington City, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1876, at its session in Atlanta, Georgia, did affirm said order to have built a Metropolitan Church in the said City of Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The General Conference at its session in 1880, at St. Louis, Mo., did re-affirm said order to build a Metropolitan Church in said City of Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The said General Conference of 1880 did order the appropriation of Twenty Thousand Dollars to assist in the erection of said Metropolitan Church at Washington City, D. C.
We, the members and friends of Union Bethel A. M. E. Church, Washington, D. C., being the oldest organized body of Christian men and women in the District of Columbia of the A. M. E. Connection, beg leave most respectfully to inform your most reverend body that we have projected and commenced to build a Connectional Metropolitan Church upon a piece or lot of ground fronting north on the south side of M street North, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets West. The brick and stone work is completed, the slate roof is on the building. The work so far has cost $30,000, which has been paid. This does not include the cost of ground, the assessed value of which is $25,000. The church building is 80 by 120 feet, with sub-basement for domestic purposes, a basement story above grade containing Lecture, Sunday School, Library and Class-rooms. Seating capacity 3,000. The building contains all the modern improvements--ventilation, heat, light and water. The cost, ground not included, $70,000, $30,000 of which has been paid, leaving a balance of $40,000, $15,000 of which must be raised, per contract, to complete the building.
We most respectfully submit for your inspection the accompanying photograph, a fac simile of the building as it now stands.
We, your petitioners, most humbly pray your reverend body to take such action as your Godly judgment may suggest for our aid and assistance in the prosecution and completion of this, our good, and we trust, praiseworthy undertaking.
And for which we will ever pray.
Signed on behalf of Union Bethel A. M. E. Church, Washington D. C., May 12, 1884.
GEORGE C. BROWN,
WALTER F. HYSON,
GEORGE R. DOLLEY,
J. T. HARRIS.
JAS. A. HANDY, Pastor.
JOHN A. SIMMS, Secretary.
The General Conference appointed a special committee, and they went to Washington, examined the church and financial condition, and made the following report, which was unanimously adopted:
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1872 did order the erection of a Metropolitan Church at Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1880, at St. Louis, Mo., did appropriate twenty thousand dollars to aid and assist in the erection of said Metropolitan Church; therefore,
We recommend that Union Bethel A. M. E. Church Society be, and are hereby authorized to build and erect said church.
We further recommend that 25 per cent. of the appropriation to be paid during the year ending April, 1885, and that 35 per cent. be paid every year until the whole amount is paid.
We further recommend that a 5-cent collection be lifted in all our churches this conference year to aid said church,
the money so collected to be forwarded to the pastor of said church at Washington, D. C., 1308 Sixteenth street.
S. H. JEFFERSON,
B. W. ARNETT,
J. A. HANDY.
At a meeting of the Financial Board held April, 1885, Nashville, Tenn., after some discussion as to what was best to do with the appropriation by the General Conference for the Metropolitan Church, as the Board had no money to apply on said appropriation, a resolution was passed, authorizing the Financial Secretary, B. W. Arnett and J. A. Handy, to use their utmost endeavors to finish the church, and if need be, to pledge the Financial Board to the amount of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.)
I visited Washington, D. C., May 29, 1885, to look over the field and see what could be done. I met and conversed with the Trustees, who informed me that they had gone as far as they could until they receive some aid from the church. They were hopeful, though they saw no way out. The members, many of them were despondent and anxious as to the fate of their enterprise. The outside friends of the church were as solicitous and anxious as the members, and expressed their willingness to assist in the work of completion; but the enemies of the enterprise were jubilant and happy because they thought that it would fail. One of them asked me when the church was to be sold. I told him that it would not be sold at all, for the A. M. E. Church was at the back of the members, and would not see them fail, at least she has never failed in any undertaking for the good of the Race, or the advancement of the cause of Christ. He said, "Well, we will see." After consulting with Dr. Handy, we concluded to call on John A. Simms, the Secretary of the Trustee Board, and find out the financial standing of the church. He gave us a satisfactory account
of the whole matter. We appointed a meeting for Mr. G. T. Dearing, the contractor and builder. On Saturday morning, May 30th, we met in the parlor of J. A. Simms. We found that the whole contract price of the building was due, which was $------, and three thousand five hundred dollars for extra work, besides he was security for ten thousand dollars borrowed money, all overdue. Under these circumstances he was not willing to do anything toward the completion of the church; unless the ten thousand dollars were paid and the three thousand five hundred for extras were also paid, and a guarantee on all future payments. He thought it would be impossible to raise the money on the church in its unfinished condition. Dr. G. T. Watkins was with us. We parted with the understanding that we would meet again.
I called to see Bishop Brown, President of the Board, informed him of Mr. Dearing's ultimatum. He thought he could find some money. He took me to see a friend of his, who gave us encouragement, saying that he could get the money for us to finish the church, and told us to meet him Monday morning in his office. Monday morning Bishop Brown and I were on hand at 10 o'clock. After some consultation he said that he would let us have twenty thousand dollars as long as we wanted it. We agreed to meet him at 7 o'clock P. M. with the contractor and others interested.
Promptly at 7 o'clock, Tuesday, Bishop Brown, Drs. Handy, Watkins and I met in the office of Smith & Son, where the proposition to lend twenty thousand dollars was renewed as follows:
The ten thousand dollar mortgage was to be lifted; the contractor was then to finish the church, and when completed, was to receive ten thousand dollars, but he was not satisfied with this proposition. Then it was proposed to
pay him five thousand down, with satisfactory guarantee, and ten thousand when completed. They informed him that they were willing to lend twenty-five thousand dollars on the church, but that the contractor would have to give security for the faithful performance of his duty. This he was not willing to do, so we adjourned to meet the next day.
June 2. In the interim Dr. Handy and I prepared a proposition to give ten notes, two thousand five hundred each, one note payable annually at six per cent. interest, to be signed by the Financial Secretary and Trustees of the church, the Financial Department to pay interest on twenty thousand dollars, or its proportion until the whole was paid. The proposition was accepted, and notes prepared and signed. Work was resumed on the church, and on Sunday, the 8th of November, 1885, the basement was opened and dedicated by Bishop A. W. Wayman, Dr. J. A. Handy, Dr. G. T. Watkins and B. W. Arnett.
The contractors continued the work, and arrangements were made for the memorial windows. It became my duty to select the designs, to arrange the inscription and to superintend that branch of the work.
The windows were to be paid for independent of the amount subscribed by the General Conference.
On May 22 I went to Washington to assist in arranging for the dedication.
The dedicatory exercises began Sunday, May 30, 1885.
The following persons participated:
BISHOPS--D. A. Payne, A. W. Wayman, J. P. Campbell, J. A. Shorter, T. M. D. Ward, J. M. Brown, H. M. Turner, R. H. Cain.
GENERAL OFFICERS--J. C. Embry, B. F. Lee, B. T. Tanner, J. M. Townsend, G. W. Arnett, W. D. Johnson.
MINISTERS--W. J. Gaines, I. H. Welsh, W. B. Derrick,
A. H. Newton, C. H. Greene, L. J. Coppin, D. Draper, J. Strange, J. P. Shorter.
|10.30 A. M.|
|Consecration Sermon||Rt. Rev. D. A. Payne, D. D.|
|Dedicatory Poem||Rt. Rev. T. M. D. Ward, D. D.|
|Benediction||Rt. Rev. Jas. A. Shorter.|
|3.00 P. M.|
|Sermon||Bishop S. T. Jones, A. M. E. Zion Church|
|Benediction||Bishop H. M. Turner, D. D.|
|7.30 P. M.|
|Sermon||Bishop J. P. Campbell, D. D.|
|Benediction||Bishop John M. Brown, D. D.|
These Dedicatory Services will continue throughout the week, and the following talented divines have been invited:
Bishop S. T. Jones, D. D., A. M. E. Zion Church; Rev. Dr. Henry R. Naylor, of the Foundry M. E. Church; Rev. Dr. J. G. Butler, Lutheran Memorial Church; the Hon. Frederick Douglas, F. L. Cardoza, D. A. Straker, Esq., Revs. B. W. Arnett, B. T. Tanner, W. H. Hunter, W. J. Gaines, J. M. Townsend, B. F. Lee, J. C. Embry, C. S. Smith and W. D. Johnson.
The Sunday and Public Schools of the District were invited, together with the Trustees and Teachers of Public Schools. The M. W. G. Lodge of A. A. Masons of the District of Columbia, and her subordinate; Grand Commandery, G. R. A. Chapter, and her subordinate Commanderies and Chapters; District Lodge and G. M. Council, and subordinate Lodges; Grand United Order of Odd
Fellows are invited, and will each be present on the evening designated.
For further particulars see small bills on each evening as the dedication progresses.
BISHOP A. W. WAYMAN,
REV. B. W. ARNETT,
REV. JAS. A. HANDY,
JNO. A. SIMMS,
After the dedication, arrangements were made to meet the demands of the creditors, the Annual Conference having failed to send money to pay for the windows, we gave three notes of six, nine and twelve months, and sent to each Annual Conference the following circular:
Office of Financial Secretary A. M. E. Church.
WILBERFORCE, Ohio 1886.
To the Bishop and Members of the Annual Conference of the A. M. E. Church, Greeting:
The Metropolitan A. M. E. Church, ordered by the General Conference of 1876, 1880 and 1884, has been completed, and was on the 30th of May, 1886, dedicated to the service of Almighty God by the Bishops, General Officers, Ministers and Members of the connection.
The new church building is Gothic in style, inside and out. The front is an excellent combination of red brick, trimmed with granite. The auditorium is beautifully finished in ash, with walnut reed molding in shellac finish. The galleries and choir are provided with four rows of seats, accommodating 500 persons. The auditorium has seventy-six semi-circle seats, four aisles; entire seating capacity, 2,500. The design and plan is by Mr. Samuel G. T. Morsell, a practical builder and architect, who has faithfully superintended the erection of the church in a most
thorough and business-like manner. The materials used in the building have all been of the very best, and the work, by Mr. Dearing, the contractor and builder, has been done to the entire satisfaction of the church.
The windows are memorial, and contain the names of the several Annual Conferences. One of them is dedicated to the episcopacy. One to each of the departments of the church. So anyone can have an opportunity to observe the rise and progress of the church by reading the windows. The plan was that each Annual Conference contribute $100.00 to pay for the windows and provide them with wire screens, etc.
The work has been done, and well done, by the contractor. He was somewhat disappointed at the response at the dedication from the conferences. But we gave him three notes, one for six months, one for nine months and one for one year. They are in the bank. We hope that the Bishops and Ministers of the several Annual Conferences will not see us go to the wall.
We did what we have in good faith, believing that each conference will do the best it could to help us. It is the largest church in the connection. It is worthy of the great church that we represent--the largest organized body of Negroes in the world.
The building is a monument to the love of the race, for the church of God, and for the good of man.
Brethren, do your duty in this matter. Help us to meet the obligations of the committee. Send the money to J. A. Handy, 1214 N. W. Sixteenth street, Washington, D. C.
The Financial Department is paying the interest on $20,000 of indebtedness of the church as per order of the General Conference.
A. W. WAYMAN, Presiding Bishop.
J. A. HANDY, Presidin Elder.
T. G. STEWARD, Pastor.
B. W. ARNETT, Financial Department.
JOHN A. SIMMS, S c'y Trustee Board.
In May, 1886, Rev. T. G. Steward was appointed pastor at the conclusion of the dedicatory exercises, which continued one week. He went to work with a determination to succeed. He has succeeded in bringing the church and congregation to a status in the community hitherto unknown, and he is recognized as one of the finest scholars and the most eloquent pulpit orator in the city. People no longer shake their heads at Bethel, or the Metropolitan, but it is now the centre of culture, refinement and Christian zeal. The most intelligent of all denominations meet at her altars, while Bethel Literary Society, presided over by J. W. Cromwell, furnishes a field for the marshaling of the intellectual forces of the Race centered in the capital.
We are under obligations to Dr. Steward for his labor in securing the annexed deed of trust for the moneys paid by the connection on the said church property.
The following is the deed as prepared, signed and sealed between the Trustees of the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church of Washington, D. C., and the Financial Board:
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:
THAT WHEREAS, The General Conference, at its session in the year 1872, at Nashville, Tennessee, did ordain that a Connectional Metropolitan Church should be erected in Washington City, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1876, at its session in Atlanta, Georgia, did affirm said order to have built a Metropolitan Church in said City of Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The General Conference at its session in 1880, at St. Louis, Missouri, did reaffirm said order to build a Metropolitan Church in said City of Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The said General Conference of 1880 did order the appropriation of twenty thousand dollars to assist in the erection of said Metropolitan Church at Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The members and friends of Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Washington, D. C., which is the oldest organized body of Christian men and women in the District of Columbia, of the African Methodist Episcopal Connection, did at the session of the General Conference of 1884, at Baltimore, Maryland, cite the foregoing premises and make the following statement by the persons whose names are thereunto attached:
"We have projected and commenced to build a Connectional Metropolitan Church upon a piece or lot of ground fronting north on the south side of M street north, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets west, in the City of Washington, D. C.
The brick and stone work is completed; the slate roof is on the building. The work so far has cost ($30,000) thirty thousand dollars, which has been paid. This does not include the cost of ground, the assessed value of which is ($25,000) twenty-five thousand dollars. The church building is 80 by 120 feet, with sub-basement for domestic purposes; a basement story above grade containing Lecture, Sunday School, Library and Class-rooms. Seating capacity (3,000) three thousand.
The building contains all the modern improvements--ventilation, heating, light and water. The cost, ground not included ($70,000) seventy thousand dollars, ($30,000) thirty thousand dollars of which has been paid, leaving
a balance of ($40,000) forty thousand dollars, ($15,000) fifteen thousand dollars of which must be raised, per contract, to complete the building.
We submit for your inspection the accompanying photograph, a fac simile of the building as it now stands.
And we, your petitioners, most humbly pray your reverend body to take such action as your Godly judgment may suggest for our aid and assistance in the prosecution and completion of this, our good and we trust, praiseworthy undertaking.
And for which we will every pray.
Signed on behalf of Union Bethel A. M. E. Church, Washington, D. C., May 12, 1884.
GEORGE C. BROWN,
WALTER F. HYSON,
GEORGE R. DOLLEY,
J. T. HARRIS.
John A. Simms, Secretary.
Jas. A. Handy, Pastor.
AND WHEREAS, Pursuant to and in consideration of the foregoing facts and citations, the General Conference of 1884, at its session aforesaid, did adopt the following propositions and recommendations presented by the committee whose names are thereunto attached:
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1872 did order the erection of a Metropolitan Church at Washington, D. C.; and
WHEREAS, The General Conference of 1880, at St. Louis, Mo., did appropriate ($20,000) twenty thousand dollars to aid and assist in the erection of said Metropolitan Church;
Therefore, we recommend that Union Bethel A. M. E.
Church Society be, and are hereby authorized to build and erect said church.
We further recommend that (25) twenty-five per cent. of the appropriation be paid during the year ending April, 1885; and that (25) twenty-five per cent. every year thereafter until the whole amount is paid.
We further recommend that a (5) five-cent per capita collection be lifted in all our churches this conference year, to aid said church, the money so collected to be forwarded to the pastor of said church at Washington, D. C., 1308 Sixteenth street.
S. H. JEFFERSON,
B. W. ARNETT,
J. A. HANDY.
AND WHEREAS, Acting pursuant to and within the spirit and intention of the aforesaid premises and action of the General Conference, Rev. B. W. Arnett, D. D., Financial Secretary of the African Methodist Episcopal Church on behalf of the Connection, has agreed, per contract, to pay five annual promissory notes of ($2,500) two thousand and five hundred dollars each, of the present indebtedness of the Union Bethel Church; and
WHEREAS, The said Rev. B. W. Arnett, D. D., has also agreed to pay certain promissory notes of the amount due on account of the windows of said church;
THEREFORE, THIS INDENTURE, Made this thirty-first day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighty-six . . ., between the undersigned Trustees of Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church of Washington, D. C., residing in said city, parties of the first part, and Rev. Benjamin W. Arnett, D. D., Secretary of the Financial Board of the African Methodist Episcopal Church Connection, residing in Wilberforce, Ohio, party of the second part.
WITNESSETH, That it is hereby agreed by the parties of the first part, that all the money that has been, and will hereafter, be paid by the party of the second part, on the promissory notes of $2,500 each, mentioned in the foregoing recitals and the interest thereon, shall be credited to the account of the ($20,000) twenty thousand dollars appropriated by the General Conference aforesaid;
AND WHEREAS, The several Annual Conferences of the aforesaid Connection have promised to pay to the parties of the first part, certain sums of money to defray the expenses on the windows of Union Bethel Church;
THEREFORE, THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH, That it is further agreed by the parties of the first part, that all the money received by them, from the several Annual Conferences aforesaid, on account of said windows, shall be paid over to the said party of the second part until a sufficient sum shall be paid to reimburse the said party for all that he has paid or may hereafter pay on account of said windows;
PROVIDED, That if the amount paid to the parties of the first part by the Annual Conference aforesaid, is not sufficient to reimburse the party of the second part in this behalf, the balance due said party of the second part, shall be credited to the account of the ($20,000) twenty thousand dollars appropriated by the General Conference aforesaid.
And in consideration of the relation that exists between Union Bethel A. M. E. Church, as the Metropolitan Church aforesaid, and the African Methodist Episcopal Church Connection, it is further agreed that all the money paid hereunder by the party of the second part, shall be held by Union Bethel A. M. E. Church as a loan without interest for ten years; and afterwards at such rate of interest as may be agreed upon by the parties of the first and second part, or their successors.
And also for the aforesaid consideration, it is agreed that the payment of the principal of said loan shall never be demanded so long as the property located as described in the foregoing recitals, and now known as the place of worship of Union Bethel A. M. E. Church, shall remain in the lawful possession of members of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Society itself submit to the discipline and government of the said church. But if the property aforesaid shall pass out of the possession and ownership of the persons aforesaid, it is agreed by the parties of the first part that the aforesaid ($20,000) twenty thousand dollars, with interest at six per cent. per annum from and after May first, one thousand eight hundred and ninety-six, shall be refunded to the aforesaid Financial Board, or to such agents as the General Conference or Board of Bishops may appoint; said money to be expended in the educational work of the Connection under the direction of the Board governing the same.
NOW THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH, That the said parties of the first part, for the better securing the payment of the said sum of money mentioned in the aforesaid condition, with interest thereon, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, and also in consideration of the sum of one dollar, to them in hand paid, by the said party of the second part, at or before the unsealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, have granted, bargained, assigned, transferred and pledged, and by these presents do grant, bargain, assign, transfer and pledge unto the party of second part, the estate or premises fronting north on the south side of M street north, between Fifteenth and Sixteenth streets west, constituting the present place of worship of Union Bethel Church, together with all and singular, the edifices, buildings, rights privileges and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in any way appertaining.
To have and to hold the said premises to his own proper use, benefit and behalf. Provided always, and these presents are made upon this express condition, that if the said parties of the first part shall well and truly pay unto the said party of the second part, or his successors, the said sum of money mentioned in the condition aforesaid, and the interest thereon, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, that then and from thenceforth these presents, and the estate hereby granted and pledged, shall cease, determine and be null and void: anything hereinbefore contained to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.
And if default shall be made in payment of the said sum of money above mentioned, or in the interest which may accrue thereon from and after the date aforesaid, or of any part of either, that then and from thenceforth it shall be lawful for the said party of the second part, or his successors, to enter upon, take possession of, and hold the said property, with all the right, title, and interest in and to the same of the said parties of the first part, which entrance upon and taking possession of said property, so to be made, shall be a perpetual bar, both in law and equity, against the said parties of the first part and their successors, and against all persons claiming, or that may claim the premises, or any part thereof until the said $20,000 shall have been paid.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, The said parties of the first part to these presents have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year first above written.
WILLIAM BECKETT, [Seal],
THOMAS H. WRIGHT, [Seal],
JAMES WASHINGTON, [Seal],
JEREMIAH JOHNSON, [Seal],
JAMES DEAN, [Seal],
JAMES E. SMITH, [Seal],
HENRY WOOD, [Seal],
GEO. R. DOLLEY, [Seal],
W. H. S. EASE, [Seal],
Trustees of Union Bethel A. M. E. Church
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of
J. W. CROMWELL.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
I, James H. Smith, a Notary Public in and from the District aforesaid, do hereby certify that William Beckett, Thomas H. Wright, James Washington, Jeremiah Johnson, James E. Smith, George R. Dolley, Henry Wood, W. H. S. Ease and James Dean, Trustees of the Union Bethel A. M. E. Church, parties to a certain deed bearing date on the 31st day of December A. D., 1886, and hereunto annexed, personally appeared before me in the District aforesaid, the said William Beckett, Thomas H. Wright, James Washington, Jeremiah Johnson, James E. Smith, George R. Dolley, Henry Wood, W. H. S. Ease and James Dean, being personally well known to me to be the persons who executed the said deed and acknowledged the same to be their act and deed.
Given under my hand and notorial seal this 2d day of April A. D., 1887.
JAMES H. SMITH, Notary Public, [Seal.]
I have the pleasure of presenting the amounts of money contributed by Annual Conferences for the windows in the Metropolitan Church, Washington, D. C.:
|Philadelphia Conference||$ 100 00|
|New Jersey Conference||77 00|
|New Jersey Conference, by Rev. C. H. Green||23 00|
|Arkansas Conference, by T. M. D. Ward||50 00|
|Virginia Conference, by W. G. Alexander||34 00|
|Baltimore Conference||200 00|
|$ 484 00|
|North Missouri Conference, by P. C. Crews||$ 25 00|
|North Georgia Conference, by W. J. Gaines||100 00|
|Iowa Conference, by C. S. Jacobs||50 00|
|Missouri Conference, by G. W. Guy||50 00|
|Kansas Conference, by J. M. Wilkerson||50 00|
|South Kansas Conference, by P. A. Hubbard||50 00|
|Macon, Ga., Conference, by E. P. Holmes||100 00|
|Columbia, S. C., Conference, by Hiram Young||100 00|
|Geogia Conference, by M. B. Saulter||100 00|
|Arkansas Conference, by T. M. D. Ward,||100 00|
|Texas Conference, by A. W. Wayman||25 00|
|North East Texas Conference, by A. W. Wayman||25 00|
|West Texas Conference, by A. W. Wayman||25 00|
|$ 800 00|
|North Alabama Conference, by D. A. Payne||$ 100 00|
|Iowa Conference, by J. M. Brown||50 00|
|Illinois Conference, by P. C. Cooper||50 00|
|Indiana & Mich. Conf'ence, by J. M. Townsend||100 00|
|Ohio North Conference, by W. T. Maxwell||50 00|
|Missouri Conference, by C. W. Preston||50 00|
|Alabama Conference, by D. A. Payne||100 00|
|Arkansas Conference, by T. M. D. Ward||50 00|
|South Arkansas Conference, by T. D. M. Ward||50 00|
|South Carolina Conference, by T. M. D. Ward||100 00|
|Mississippi Conference, by T. M. D. Ward||25 00|
|North Mississippi Conference, by T. M. D. Ward||50 00|
|West Arkansas Conference, by T. M. D. Ward||50 00|
|East Florida Conference, by D. A. Payne||100 00|
|Ohio Conference, by J. P. Campbell||100 00|
|Florida Conference, by D. A. Payne||100 00|
|Personal Donation by D. A. Payne||16 00|
|December, 1886, H. T. Gernheardt||$ 515 25|
|May 12, 1887, H. T. Gernhardt||696 49|
|December 15, 1887, H. T. Gernheardt||515 25|
|March 13, 1888, H. T. Gernhardt||523 08|
|June 13, 1887, H. T. Gernheardt, Interest||60 00|
|Total paid on windows||$2,310 07|
|December 3, 1885, J. A. Handy||$ 600 00|
|January 12, 1886, J. A. Handy||600 00|
|January, 1887, James Dean||2,100 00|
|April 30, 1887, James Dean||1,025 00|
|December 26, 1887, J. A. Handy||525 00|
|Total paid Metropolitan Church||$4,850 00|
|Paid to Trustees on Window Money||$ 484 00|
|Paid to B. W. Arnett, 1886-7||800 00|
|Paid to B. W. Arnett, 1887-8||1,141 00|
Total amount paid Metropolitan Church from all sources . . . . . $7,775 71
|1888-1889||$ 1,050 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing||2,500 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing, Interest||525 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing||2,500 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing, Interest||525 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing, Interest||525 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing, Interest||250 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing, Interest||25 00|
|1891-1892, George T. Dearing, Interest||525 00|
|May, 1894||$ 1,000 00|
|January, 1895||1,500 00|
|December, 1896||2,720 00|
|$ 5,220 00|
|B. W. Arnett||$ 7,775 71|
|J. A. Handy||10,950 00|
|J. H. Armstrong||5,220 00|
|M. M. Moore||6,946 97|
|Grand total||$30,892 68|
The following statement of John A. Sims as to the amount paid on the Metropolitan A. M. E. Church of Washington, D. C., as per amounts and dates herein stated:
|U. B. Church, credited by amount paid on||$25,000 00|
|Contract for building church||50,000 00|
|December 9, 1885, Interest||$ 750 00|
|June 5, 1886||250 00|
|August 14||300 00|
|November 13, 1886||$ 226 50|
|January 1, 1886||600 00|
|April 12||50 00|
|June 16, 1887||$ 100 00|
|October 14||260 00|
|November 17||200 00|
|December, 12, 1887||$132 50|
|January 8, 1888||525 00|
|July 9||234 00|
|August 13, 1888||$ 48 50|
|March 11, 1889||181 50|
|October 15, 1889||200 00|
|November 11, 1889||$ 300 00|
|January 13, 1890||100 00|
|January 14, 1890||525 00|
|March 14, 1890||$ 450 00|
|June 9, 1890||793 50|
|December 20||525 00|
|December, 22, 1890||$ 665 00|
|July 23, 1891||100 00|
|September 16, 1891||300 00|
|October 23, 1891||$ 125 00|
|March 14, 1892||300 00|
|April 16, 1892||200 00|
|May 10, 1892||$ 50 00|
|July 16, 1892||250 00|
|October 17, 1892||200 00|
|November 18, 1892||$450 00|
|From Dec. 2, 1892, to April, 1893||$ 417 45|
|Year ending April, 1894||1,920 00|
|Year ending April, 1895||672 33|
|Year ending April, 1896||1,080 00|
|Year ending April, 1897||1,670 00|
|Year ending April, 1898||1,030 00|
|Year ending April, 1899||2,020 00|
|From April, 1899, to January, 1900||$1,004 30|
|Six years' interest on $10,000||$3,600 00|
|The accrued interest on the Morsell note has
been curtailed to the amount of
|$ 124 30|
|Grand total||$73,109 38|
The present bonded indebtedness on the main property is $18,000. The architect, Mr. S. T. Morsell, also holds a non-negotiable note for $2,000 with accrued interest amounting to about $500.00.
E. H. HUNTER.Washington, D. C.
|B. W. Arnett, 1884-1888||$ 7,775 71|
|J. A. Handy, 1888-1892||10,950 00|
|J. H. Armstrong, 1892-1896||5,220 00|
|M. M. Moore, 1896-1900||6,946 97|
|Grand total by Financial Secretaries||$ 30,892 68|
|Grand total by the Trustees of the Church||73,109 38|
|Great grand total||$104,002 06|
The amount of interest due from May, 1896, to May, 1900, according to the mortgage, which provided that the interest might be charged on the amount paid by the Financial Department from that date at five per cent. per annum is as follows:
|1896-1897, $23,945 71 at 5 per cent||$1,197 28|
|1897-1898, $27,220 71 at 5 per cent||1,361 03|
|1898-1900, $30,182 35 at 5 per cent||1,509 11|
December 14 to December 20th, 1899. Bishop James A. Handy, Presiding.
Port-au-Prince, Hayti, Dec. 14, 1899.
The Third Session of the Haytien Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church convened in the city of Port-au-Prince, Republic of Hayti, in St. Paul's A. M. E. Church, on the 14th day of December, 1899.
Presiding Bishop . . . . . . Bishop James A. Handy.
The Bishop opened the devotional exercises by announcing hymn 606, "Blest Be the Tie that Binds," etc., which was sung with earnestness by the members of the Conference and congregation.
Prayer was offered by Brother R., Dobson, a local preacher from church in British Guinea, now visiting in the city.
The Scripture lesson, selected from I Cor., xiii chapter, was read by the Bishop, who made expository remarks upon the chapter, dwelling at length upon "Spiritual Gifts." He brought forth with great effectiveness the duties inherent to the ministerial call, and the graces that should be exemplified in the ministerial life; he then proceeded to explain the ordinances of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, after which he outlined the privileges enjoyed by and the duties enjoined upon the various officers known in
the Church, and showed that a deep appreciative sense of the one and the proper observance of the other were calculated to bring out the real beauties of the Christian spirit in the man, and lead him as a minister of Jesus Christ to a state of true fellowship with the brethren.
In conclusion, the speaker unfolded the power that may be imparted to the believer in the exercise of the great virtues catalogued by the apostle in the lesson, namely: Faith, Hope and Charity, and exhorted the members of the Conference to the practice of them in all the bonds that unite them with the world without.
The Conference and congregation united in singing hymn 295, "And Are We Yet Alive to See Each Other's Face," which was followed by the ritual service, conducted by the Rev. John Hurst.
By motion, Rev. Hurst was elected Secretary of the Conference, and on taking his seat was requested to call the Conference roll, which resulted as follows:
|Right Rev. James A. Handy||Present.|
|Elder S. G. Dorce||Present.|
|Elder J. P. James||Absent.|
|Deacon George Cadouche||Present.|
|Deacon T. O. Astwood||Present.|
|Deacon Zacharie Harris||Present.|
By motion of Elder S. G. Dorce the Conference bar was set to the four front seats from the chancel.
By motion of Brother T. O. Astwood the hours of session were fixed from 10 A. M. to 12 M. and from 2 P. M. to 4 P. M., unless otherwise ordered. The time having expired, Conference adjourned, with the benediction by the Bishop.
Conference convened at 2 o'clock P. M., and opened with singing hymn, "O for a Heart to Praise My God," etc.
The Rev. S. G. Dorce was called upon by the Bishop to make his report as pastor in charge of St. Paul's A. M. E. Church and as Presiding Elder. After the report had been read for St. Paul's Church, the Chair called Rev. Dorce's attention to several items therein which he thought were incorrect and misleading, among them the indebtedness of the church amounting to Two Hundred Dollars, which sum the Bishop himself had paid off yesterday. He also reminded the pastor of St. Paul's Church of the importance of the Dollar Money Law, and the imperative duty enjoined upon every pastor in the Church to observe it. Elder Dorce then proceeded to make certain remarks explaining the cause of the failure on his part and on the part of his people in not raising the Dollar Money according to the Discipline. The elder was called upon to make his report as Presiding Elder. The report was read, and greatly interested the Bishop and those present on account of many novel features brought forth in connection with mission work.
Brother T. O. Astwood was next called up, and he read his statistical report, showed a most promising condition of affairs on his charge in Port de Paix.
The Bishop, after all the reports had been read, entertained the Conference on some important matters, laying before the brethren the vital features of African Methodism, and stirring them to greater activity. The hour being far spent, Conference adjourned, with the benediction by Rev. John Hurst.
Conference assembled at 7.30 P. M. in Divine service to hear Brother T. O. Astwood, who announced hymn 16, "Praise to Thee, Thou Great Creator," etc. The Bishop introduced to the Conference and congregation Brother Astwood, who, after reading as his Scripture lesson, Amos
iv chapter, took for his text the 12th verse of that chapter, "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." The speaker made a touching plea for a change of life, while pointing the happiness and peace to be enjoyed here and in the life to come by those who accept the Lord Jesus Christ.
Doxology, and benediction by Brother T. O. Astwood.
Conference convened at 10 o'clock A. M., with Bishop James A. Handy, D. D., in the chair.
The devotional exercises were conducted by the Bishop, who announced hymn 481, "There Is a Land of Pure Delight," and offered prayer, which was followed by the reading of the Scripture lesson, consisting of the First Psalm. The roll was called, and the proceedings of the previous session were read; and on motion were approved with necessary corrections. The following committees were appointed by the Chair, with the consent of the Conference:
Committee on Admission--S. George Dorce, Zacharie Harris and John Hurst.
Committee on First, Second, Third and Fourth-Year Classes--John Hurst, S. George Dorce and Zacherie Harris.
Committee on Temperance--T. O. Astwood, George Cadouche and John Hurst.
Committee on Missions and Education--John Hurst, S. George Dorce and George Cadouche.
Brother R. Dodson, of Georgetown, British Guinea, having manifested through Elder Dorce, the desire to take work in the Haytien Conference as a licentiate, was allowed to appear at the bar of the Conference and make a statement of his case, that his present church relation might be established, if possible, to the satisfaction of the Bishop and Conference. Brother Dodson forthwith submitted certain documents, which, though commendable as to his individual
character, such papers purporting to have been written by friends among whom he had labored in British Guinea in various capacities, but they nevertheless indicated nothing of a churchly character, nor was there the least imprint upon them calculated to accord them worth or standing in any Christian denomination. This being the case, the brother was advised by the Bishop to qualify himself in a becoming manner before applying for the privileges of the Christian ministry. Brother T. O. Astwood, who had intimated that the difficult situation at his charge, due to failure on the part of the Missionary Department to meet its obligations toward him, would preclude the possibility of his returning to his old field of labor, was recognized by the Chair, in explanation of his condition, and made a plain and seemingly justifiable statement, and at the same time gave assurance to the Bishop and Conference that he would return to Port de Paix, if appointed, and trust God for the outcome.
Rev. Paoli Audige, a deacon in the Conference, whose life for the past year had not been in accord with his calling, nor his office, was summoned at the bar of the Conference, after the Bishop had received a communication from him acknowledging his misbehavior.
On being questioned on the tenor of his communication, he maintained his guilt, and pleaded for mercy and acceptance. But the case being of a grave character, calculated, if the brother should be reinstated, to impair the future of our work in the island, the Bishop applied the law relative to it as provided in the Book of Discipline, and exhorted the brother to perseverance in the new way upon which he had entered.
Upon motion of Brother Astwood, Saturday, 11 o'clock A. M., was fixed as the time for the election of delegate to represent this Annual Conference at the coming General Conference in May next.
Conference adjourned at 4.50 o'clock P. M., to meet at 7.30 o'clock P. M., and hold Conference Love Feast.
Benediction by Brother T. O. Astwood.
Conference assembled in the evening, at 7.30 o'clock, to hold Conference Love Feast. The service was conducted by Rev. John Hurst, both in French and in English. Scripture lesson, Romans, viii chapter.
The elder based his exhortation on the ninth verse of that chapter, and spoke in French, which he translated in English for the benefit of those who did not understand French.
The meeting was full of spiritual fervor, the congregation freely assisting in the singing, interspersing the experiences given in the two languages, both by the members of the Conference and by the people.
Benediction by Bishop James A. Handy.
Saturday, Dec. 16, 1899.
Conference convened at 10 o'clock A. M., with Bishop James A. Handy, D. D., in the chair. Rev. S. George Dorce conducted the devotional exercises, and announced hymn 8, "Before Jehovah's Awful Throne," etc., after which he offered prayer.
The roll was called, and the proceedings of the previous session were read, and on motion by Brother T. O. Astwood they were approved.
The report of the Committee on Admission was read by Rev. S. George Dorce, and on motion of Rev. George Cadouche it was adopted. (See report). The Bishop then called to the altar the brethren that had been recommended in the report, and catechised them on the duties relative to the itinerant ministry, and thoroughly indoctrinated
them in the things generally required of African Methodist preachers.
The report of the Committee on the examination of the First Year's Class was read by Rev. Dorce, and on motion of Rev. George Cadouche it was adopted. (See report).
The hour fixed on yesterday (11 o'clock A. M.) for the election of delegates to the General Conference having arrived, a motion was made by Elder S. George Dorce that the Conference proceed at once to the election of delegates. Carried.
On account of the small membership of the Conference, in order to organize the electoral bureau, the Bishop appointed Brother Clarke Bode, a member in good standing in the Church, a teller, and Rev. John Hurst as secretary. The roll was called, and four votes were cast.
Elder Dorce received three votes, and the other vote was blank.
Rev. Dorce having received the majority of the votes cast, was declared elected. Motion that the churches within the jurisdiction of this Conference be requested, through their pastors respectively, to raise fifty cents per member, to help in defraying the expenses of the delegate to the seat of the General Conference and back. Carried.
The hour of adjournment having arrived, doxology was sung and the benediction was pronounced by Rev. T. O. Astwood.
Sabbath Day Services, Dec. 17, 1899.
Early Sunday morning, 4.30 o'clock, the members of the Haytien Mission Conference assembled in St. Paul's A. M. E. Church filled with an intelligent congregation, to enjoy the blessings of the divine service of the hour.
The Rev. John Hurst conducted the exercises in French and preached in French from Proverbs 18:10, "The name
of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous flee with it and is safe."
The speaker drew helpful lessons and precepts from the text, and the congregation and the Conference left the service greatly edified.
After certain announcements had been made by the pastor of the church, Doxology was sung and the benediction pronounced by Rev. John Hurst.
At 9 o'clock A. M. Sunday School exercises were held in St. Paul's A. M. E. Church, and the members of the Conference attended.
After the hearing of the lesson, etc., the Bishop was introduced by the Superintendent and he addressed the audience on the line of Sunday School work, stirring up their minds to greater diligence in the study of God's word and laying out such rules of duty that should be observed by those who manage the various interests of the church in order to achieve success.
At 2.30 o'clock P. M. the ordination services were held, at which time also the Bishop preached from Leviticus 25:9, "Then shall thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land." The speaker drew a similitude between the Jewish atonement and the atonement made of himself by the Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of the world, and after bringing forth their relations and bearing upon the two dispensations, he riveted to the minds of the candidates for ordination the fact that their first and last duty always was to preach a crucified Christ.
Rev. John Hurst presented T. O. Astwood and Zacherie Harris for ordination in the Diaconate.
Bishop Handy obligated and ordained the aforesaid brethren deacons.
The Bishop consecrated the elements of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and administered the same to the newly-ordained brethren.
A large congregation was present and those in good church standing participated at the table of the Lord.
Doxology and benediction by Bishop James A. Handy.
The evening service was held at 7.30 o'clock P. M. The services were conducted by Rev. John Hurst, who announced Hymn 261 of the French Hymnal. Rev. T. O. Astwood offered prayer. Rev. Hurst preached from the I John, Chapter III, verse 2, "Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is."
Hymn 325 of the French Hymnal was sung and benediction was pronounced by Rev. John Hurst.
Conference convened at 10 o'clock A. M., Bishop James A. Handy in the chair. The Bishop conducted himself the devotional exercises, after which the Secretary called the roll and read the proceedings of the third and fourth days sessions, which were on motion approved with necessary corrections. The report of the Committee on Contingent was read by Rev. S. George Dorce, and on motion was adopted. (See Report.)
The report of the Committee on Education was read by Rev. S. George Dorce, and on motion was adopted. (See Report.)
The report of the Committee on Missions was read by Rev. John Hurst, and on motion was adopted. (See Report.)
The Committee on Temperance was read by Rev. T. O. Astwood, and after some discussion, it was adopted on motion.
Examination of Character.--The character of the members of the Conference was examined and all passed.
Congratulatory resolutions were offered by Rev. S. George Dorce to the Bishop for his manner of presiding and care bestowed upon the work during the term he had it in charge.
Resolutions setting forth the needs of the church in Hayti and the West Indies were also offered. After the assignments had been made for the ensuing year, the proceedings of the day were read and after the singing of Hymn 296, "And let our bodies part to different climes repair," Conference adjourned sine die. Benediction by Bishop James A. Handy.
JAMES A. HANDY.
LOYALTY to one's own church is an obligation binding upon every African Methodist. The fact that you are a member of the Methodist Church implies that you prefer its doctrines, government and usages to any other Church. In the bosom of the church you get your spiritual food, and within her borders lie the field of your usefulness; she is your spiritual mother and claims you as a loyal and dutiful son.
By voluntary vows you have obligated yourself to be faithful to all her interests. In her communion, your family and kindred live; in her communion perhaps a mother or father died and passed away to the better world. Your church has a splendid history in the past, and a present influential promise among other Gospel Churches, and golden prospects for future usefulness. Let the following beautiful lines express your love and devotion:--
"Beyond my highest joys,
I prize her heavenly ways;
Her sweet communion solemn vows,
Her hymns of love and praise,
For her my tears shall fall,
For her my prayers ascend,
For her my care and toil be given
Till toil and care shall end."
This membership entitles you to the sacred ordinances of Christ's Church, to the spiritual benefits of pastoral care, and all the means of grace to fit and prepare you for
heaven. You see then, that it is an exalted privilege to be associated with the people of the Lord. You are hereby introduced into the loyal family of God, a family composed of patriarchs and prophets, "all of whom resemble the children of a king." Being a member of this royal family, it is expected that you walk and be worthy of this high vocation, that you seek in all laudable ways to promote the prosperity of the church, cheerfully sharing her burdens and co-operating harmoniously with all her movements.
If a church has the right at all to live, it has the right of living on the highest plane of prosperity. The faith that carries us into a church, ought to lead us to consecrate our lives to promote its welfare. The highest stamp of Christianity, therefore, is all together consistent with the warmest denominational zeal and activity. If Methodism is Christianity in earnest, then to be devoted to Methodism is to be consecrated to Christianity.
Supreme loyalty to one's church does not imply by any means sectarian narrowness. A decided preference for your own home, is not to be construed to mean any dislike towards your neighbor's home.
Loyalty to the African Methodist Episcopal Church requires that her members send their children to the school of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Allen says: "It is the duty of the church to maintain schools, which are Christian in their character and influence," and if it is the duty of the church to maintain such schools, it is the duty of the members to send their children to these schools for their proper training.
Loyalty to our church requires all members to send their children to the Sunday Schools of their own church, and not allow them to go to other schools. Methodist children should be trained in Methodist Sunday Schools. It is a lamentable fact that many Methodists are allowing their
children to go to Sunday Schools of other churches. This ought not to be.
EVERY country has its great men, such as sages, scholars and warriors. So highly were they appreciated while living, that surviving friends, in order to perpetuate their memories, have erected monuments of marble. Africa, Greece, Rome and others, had their great men.
America has had her great men; every State in the Union has had their great men--Massachusetts had her Adams, Webster and Summer; New York her Van Burens and Sewards; Pennsylvania her Dallas and Stevens; Delaware, Claytons; Maryland, Reverdy Johnson and Henry Winter Davis; Virginia, Jefferson, Monroe and Randolph; South Carolina, Calhoun and Rhett; Georgia, Cobbs and Stevens; Kentucky, Clay and Crittenton; Tennessee, Jackson and Polk; Ohio, Gidding and Chase; Indiana, Morton and Colfax; Illinois, Lovejoy and Lincoln; Michigan, Cass and Chanler; Missouri, Benton, and others. These were all white men.
The first great colored man that I shall speak of is that remarkable astronomer, Benjamin Banneker. He was born in good old Maryland, A. D. 1732, of the simon-pure African parentage. His father was a slave, and of course, could do nothing toward the education of his child. The mother, however, being free, succeeded in purchasing the freedom of her husband, and they with their son settled on a few acres of land, where little Benjamin remained during the lifetime of his parents.
His entire schooling was gained in an obscure country
school, established for the education of the children of the free colored people, and these advantages were poor, for the boy appears to have finished studying before he arrived at his fifteenth year. Although out of school, little Benjamin was still a student, and read with great care and attention such books as he could get. George Ellicot, Esq., a gentleman of fortune and considerable literary taste, who resided near Benjamin, became interested in him and loaned him books from his large library. Among these books were Mayer's Fables, Ferguson's Astronomy, and Leadbeater's Lunar Fables. A few old and imperfect astronomical instruments found their way into the boy's hands, all of which he said he used with great benefit to his own mind.
Banneker took delight in the study of the languages, and soon mastered the Latin, Greek and German. He was also proficient in the French; the classics were not neglected by him, and the general literary knowledge which he possessed caused Mr. Ellicot to regard him as the most learned man in the town, and he never failed to introduce him to his most distinguished guests.
About this time Banneker turned his attention particularly to astronomy, and determined on making calculations for an almanac, and he completed a set for the whole year. Encouraged by this attempt, he entered upon calculations for subsequent years, which as well as the former, he began and finished without the least assistance from any person or books, except those already mentioned. So that whatever merit is attached to his performance, is exclusively his own.
He published an almanac in Philadelphia for the years 1792-3-4-5, which contained his calculation, exhibiting the different aspects of the planets, a table of the motions of the sun and moon, their rising and setting, and the courses
of the bodies of the planetary system. A copy of his first production was sent to Mr. Thomas Jefferson, together with a letter intended to interest the great statesman in the cause of slave emancipation, and the elevation of the race.
Maryland, Baltimore County,
Near Ellicot's Lower Mills, August 19, 1791.
To Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State, Philadelphia.
Sir--I am fully sensible of the greatness of that freedom which I take on the present occasion, a liberty, which to me scarcely allowable, when I reflected on that distinguished and honorable station in which you stand; and the almost general prejudice and prepossession which is prevalent in the world against those of my complexion.
I suppose it is a truth too well attested to you to need a proof here, that we are a race of beings who have long labored under the abuse and censure of the world, that we have long been considered rather brutish, than as human, and scarcely capable of mental endowments.
Sir, I hope I may with safety admit, in consequence of that report which hath reached me, that you are a man far less inflexible in sentiments of this nature than many others; that you are measurably friendly, and ready to lend your aid and assistance to our relief, from the many distresses and numerous calamities to which we are reduced. Now, Sir, if this is founded in truth, I apprehend you will embrace every opportunity to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions, which so generally prevail with respect to us; and that your sentiments are concurrent with mine, which are--that one Universal Father hath given being to us all, and that He hath not only made us all of one flesh, but that He hath also, without partiality, afforded us all the same sensations, and that, however variable we may be in society and religion, however
diversified in situation and color, we are all of the same family, and stand in the same relation to Him.
Sir, if these sentiments, of which you have long been persuaded, fully, I hope you cannot but acknowledge that it is the indispensable duty of those who maintain for themselves the rights of human nature, and who profess the obligations of Christianity, to extend their power and influence to the relief of every part of the human race, from whatever burden or oppression they unjustly labor under; and this I apprehend, a full conviction of the truth and obligation of these principles should lead us all to.
Sir, I have long been convinced that if your love for yourselves and for those inestimable laws which preserve to you the rights of human nature, was founded on sincerity, you could not but be solicitous that every individual, of whatever distinction, might enjoy equally with you the blessings thereof; neither could you rest satisfied short of the most active diffusion of your exertions, in order to their promotion from any state of degradation to which the unjustifiable cruelty and barbarism of men may have reduced them.
Sir, I freely and cheerfully acknowledge that I am of the African race; and, in that color which is natural to them, of the deepest dye; and it is under a sense of the most profound gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe that I now confess to you that I am not under that state of tyrannical thraldom and inhuman captivity to which too many of my brethren are doomed; but that I have abundantly tasted of the fruition of those blessings, which proceed from that free and unequal liberty with which you are favored, and which I hope you will willingly allow you have received from the immediate Hand of that Being from whom proceedeth "every good and perfect gift."
Sir, suffer me to call to your mind that time in which
the arms and tyranny of the British Crown were exerted with every powerful effort, in order to reduce you to a state of servitude. Look back, I entreat you, to the variety of dangers to which you were exposed; reflect on that time in which every human aid appeared unavailable, and in which even hope and fortitude wore the aspect of inability to the conflict, and you cannot but be led to a serious and grateful sense of your miraculous and providential preservation.
You cannot but acknowledge that the present freedom and tranquility which you enjoy you have mercifully received, and that it is the peculiar blessing of Heaven.
This, Sir, was a time in which you clearly saw into the injustice of a state of slavery and in which you had just apprehensions of the horrors of its condition; it was now, Sir, that your abhorrence thereof was so excited that you publicly held forth this true and invaluable doctrine, which is worthy to be recorded and remembered in all succeeding ages: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that amongst these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Here, Sir, was a time in which your tender feelings for yours engaged you thus to declare; you were then impressed with a proper idea of the just valuation of liberty, and the free possession of those blessings to which you were entitled by nature, but, Sir, how pitiable it is to reflect, that although you were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of His equal and impartial distribution of those rights and privileges which He had conferred upon them, that you should, at the same time, counteract His mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and oppression; that you should, at the same time, be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly
detested in others with respect to yourselves.
Sir, I suppose that your knowledge of the situation of my brethren is too extensive to need a recital here; neither shall I presume to prescribe methods by which they may be relieved, otherwise than by recommending to you, and to all others, to wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which you have imbibed with respect to them, and as Job proposed to his friends, "Put your souls in their souls' stead." Thus shall your hearts be enlarged with kindness and benevolence toward them, and thus shall you need neither the direction of myself nor others in what manner to proceed therein.
And now, Sir, although my sympathy and affection for my brethren hath caused my enlargement thus far, I ardently hope that your candor and generosity will plead with you in my behalf, when I make known to you that it was not originally my design, but that having taken up my pen in order to direct to you, as a present, a copy of an Almanac which I have calculated for the ensuing year, I was unexpectedly led thereto.
This calculation, Sir, is the production of my arduous study in this, my advanced stage of my life; for having long had unbounded desires to become acquainted with the secrets of nature, I have had to gratify my curiosity therein, through my own assiduous application to astronomical study, in which I need not recount to you the many difficulties and disadvantages I have had to encounter.
And though I had almost declined to make my calculations for the ensuing year, in consequence of the time which I had alloted thereto being taken up at the Federal Territory, by the request of Mr. Andrew Ellicott; yet finding myself under several engagements to printers of this State, to whom I had communicated my design, on my return to my place of residence, I industriously applied myself
thereto, which I hope I have accomplished with correctness and accuracy, a copy of which I have taken the liberty to address to you, and which I hope you will favorably receive and although you may have the opportunity of perusing it after its publication, yet I choose to send it to you in manuscript previous thereto, that thereby you might not only have an earlier inspection, but that you might also view it in my own hand-writing.
And now, Sir, I shall conclude, and subscribe myself with the most profound respect,
Your most obedient, humble servant.
To Mr. Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State.
Mr. Jefferson at once replied and said: "Sir: I thank you sincerely for your letter and the almanac it contained. Nobody wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit that Nature has given to our black brethren talent equal to those of the other colors of men, and that the appearance of the want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence both in Africa and America."
At the setting off of the District of Columbia for the Capital of the Federal Government, Banneker was invited by the Maryland Commission, and took an honorable part in the settlement of the territory.
In 1803 he was invited by Mr. Jefferson, then President of the United States, to visit him at Monticello, where he had gone to recuperate, but he was too infirm to undertake the journey. He died the following year, aged seventy-two years. His remains still rest in the soil of old Maryland.
Maryland has to-day some grand men, that are doing respectable business. I might name G. W. Perkins, Joseph
Thomas, John W. L. Leeks, Simon Smith, who came to Baltimore some years ago.
Samuel Ringold Ward, who went to Jamaica, practiced law and was subsequently appointed a Queen's Counseller, was a native of Maryland.
Dr. Lewis G. Wells, an eminent physician, was born in Baltimore City; studied medicine at one of the colleges of the city. Dr. Wells was one of the most skillful physicians of his day. During the rage of the cholera in 1832, he could be seen riding up one street and down another, administering to the sick and dying. He had a presentiment that he would die with that disease, and sure enough he was overtaken by it, and finally died. No man was more respected than Dr. Wells, as an evidence of it, in nearly all of the older families, his picture may be seen hanging against the walls, with here and there the photograph of a son bearing the name of this eminent man--Dr. Lewis G. Wells.
James W. C. Pennington, D. D., was born a slave, on the farm of Colonel Gordon, in Maryland; he was a blacksmith by trade. He had no educational advantages in his youth; but as soon as he reached the free States, he began to apply himself to study. Turning his attention to theology, he soon became an able minister of the Presbyterian Church. He visited Europe several times, and attracted a great deal of attention because of his great eloquence. While in Germany the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred upon him by the University of Heidleberg. The first colored man of America that ever had that degree conferred upon him was a Marylander, and son of Eastern Shore. He went South a few years ago seeking his brethren, and died.
Henry Highland Garnett, D. D., was born in Kent county, Maryland. His father and mother took him away in
their arms in 1822. In 1835 he became a member of Canaan Academy, N. H. Three months after entering the school it was broken up by a mob, who destroyed the building. He afterward entered Oneida Institute, New York, under the charge of that noble-hearted friend of mankind, Beriah Green. His first appearance as a public speaker was in 1837, in the city of New York, where his speech secured for him a standing among the first-class orators. Dr. Garnett visited England in 1850, where he spent several months. He spent two or three years as the honored President of Avery College, Allegheny City, Pa. He was also a son of Eastern Shore.
Frederick Douglass was born in Talbot county, Md., on the banks of the Tuckahoe Creek. Leaving Eastern Shore when a boy he came to Baltimore City, and began to learn to read and write. It was not long before he began to get uneasy and dislike his native State. Sitting down once on the banks of the great Chesapeake Bay he saw the sails of the different ships that were passing up and down. He said, "Oh! you wite-winged angels, you are free, but I am a slave; oh! that I had wings like a dove, I would fly and light on your mast, and be borne beyond the soil of old Maryland. After leaving Maryland he took up his residence in New Bedford, where he continued the different branches of education. His career as lecturer was a remarkable one. Few men of color have attracted more attention in Europe and America than Douglass. He returned to Maryland after an absence of thirty years; his arrival was hailed by his friends as a wonderful event--going away a poor slave and returning as the recognized leading orator of his race; and what was most remarkable then, was that he was Marshal of the District of Columbia.
Isaiah C. Wears, Esq., was born in Maryland. When quite young was taken to Philadelphia, where for twenty
years he was a leading man. As a debater Mr. Wears had few equals. He stumped the State of Pennsylvania several times, for his favorite candidate, and always carried the crowd with him.
Among the orators of his day, Rev. S. W. Chase stood number one. Few men could carry an audience like he. Riding in the stage coach once, at night, the passengers were discussing the question whether the colored man could ever reach the height of the white man in literature. Mr. Chase contended they could if they had an equal chance. His argument was so eloquent that the lady passengers gave it as their opinion that Mr. Chase had the better of it. Imagine their surprise, when, at daylight, they discovered that the eloquent man was a negro.
Maryland has some great colored men as farmers. Rexom Webb was born in Caroline county, had early opportunities for education, by industry he accumulated quite a fortune, and when he died he left $25,000; he left each of his children a farm.
Speech of Rev. James A. Handy, D. D., of Washington, D. C., Financial Secretary, Before the Florida Annual Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church at Quincy, December 21st, 1889--Sojourner Truth--Francis Ellen Watkins Harper--Phillis Wheatley--Early Days of Methodism--The Connectional Preachers Aid and Mutual Relief Association of the A. M. E. Church.
BISHOP AND MEMBERS OF THE FLORIDA CONFERENCE.--LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: God moves, says the poet, in mysterious ways. In 1864 I was within the lines of the army in Virginia. I had been sent there to look after the interests of our people by Bishop Payne. I had organized in Virginia a society, and I was affectionately bound to it because of my devotion to the work. I had also suffered afflictions in that year. I had lost a wife and my youngest and oldest child. Three had died from my family in less than six months, and I was sorely afflicted. I had sympathizing friends among the Christians whom I had gathered together in Virginia, and I was loath to leave them. I went to the seat of the Conference, in April, 1865, where I made my report; and when the Conference work was over and the appointments were announced, I was left there sitting on the bench without an appointment. Bishop Payne announced that he had transferred me to South Carolina. He gave out the closing hymn, which was sung. I sat still with astonishment--thinking deeply over the threatened disarrangements of all my plans. After the benediction was pronounced, I said, Bishop, I cannot go to South
Carolina. What am I to do with my children? "Take them with you," he replied. I cannot take my children to South Carolina, was my response. "Then leave them behind," was his retort. His reply put me in a fix. If I could not take them with me, I certainly could leave them behind. I said again, I cannot go to South Carolina. He replied, "You will go there, or you will go back to your shop and do just what you used to do." I was a cabinet maker, at which I had been working before I went into the ministry. The Bishop said to me: "You have just taken a solemn vow here to go where you are sent, and will you violate that vow and perjure yourself before the ink is dry on the paper that certifies you to be an elder?" I said, Bishop, all right, I will go. "Meet me in New York on Thursday next," said Bishop Payne, "and we will take the steamer for South Carolina." I went to New York, and we sailed for Hilton Head, where we in due time landed; and from there we took a small steamer for Port Royal. There I met a gentleman, who is now presiding elder in the Florida Conference. I also met a lady of blessed memory, Sister Still. She was from Philadelphia. She had gone down South to work before me as a teacher. I inquired for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The Baltimore Conference had sent two missionaries before that period to the State of South Carolina, just as I had been sent to Virginia. They had failed to organize the African Methodist Episcopal Church. We found a church organized at Hilton Head, but it was not the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I went into that church, and inquired in reference to its organization. The gentleman who organized it was not there. I asked those who were present if they were Methodists, and if they would like to be organized into the African Methodist Episcopal Church. They responded, "Yes," all over the house. I went back to
Bishop Payne, and said I think if you will appoint me pastor for Beaufort, I can organize a church there; but I want authority from you. I was appointed pastor without a member. I went back and had the bell rung for church at night. I entered, sang, prayed and preached. I opened the doors of the church for any one who would connect himself or herself with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. William G. Steward came forward as the first person and joined the church. I received him that night with others. I examined him on that night and licensed him to preach. I took him to Charleston and had him ordained a deacon the next day. We did work a little faster then than Bishop Arnett does it now. Captain Robert Small, of blessed memory, who ran the Confederate steamer Planter out of the Charleston harbor, was then commanding that boat under the Stars and Stripes. We got, through the instrumentality of Gen. Saxton, who was provost marshal under Gen. Gilmore at Beaufort, permission to send Deacon Steward to Beaufort; and there we found a little steamer that was in the government employ, on which we put Brother Steward with his credentials, as pastor of the African Methodism in Florida. There was no church organized in Florida. We had not been to Florida when we sent him up St. John's River. He was the first African Methodist member, or pastor, or preacher, that entered the State of Florida. That was in May, 1865; but in the same year Elder Charles Pierce, who had been ordered to South Carolina, subsequently came into the State of Florida; but the first African Methodist who entered the State of Florida was William G. Steward, who was the father, the founder and organizer of African Methodism in the Land of Flowers.
In saying that I take nothing from Elder Pierce, of blessed memory. Charles Pierce was afterwards presiding
elder, and was superintendent of the whole State; but Elder Steward was the founder. I commenced by saying, "God moves in a mysterious way." Had I had my way about it, I would not have gone to South Carolina, and I would not have met William G. Steward; I would not have organized the church at Beaufort; and as I look back to several circumstances, I can see the hand of God in them. I was but an instrument in the hand of God in being a preacher--in having me ordained, and in Bishop Payne's sending me to Virginia. I never came to Florida until recently, and yet I was the instrument in opening the church here. I tried my best not to go to Charleston; and while I did not go very willingly, I saw that I had either to go to Nineveh or perish. I did come to South Carolina, and there I devoted myself to the work. Look at our beginning and at our results. No man on the earth could possibly count the numbers between then and now that have been brought to Christ through the instrumentality of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I speak not of those who are members of the church militant; but I speak of those also who are brought to Christ through the instrumentality of the African Methodist Church in Florida. They who have finished their labors and made their way to the realms of bliss; and to-day they crowd the battlements of that upper and better sanctuary, from which they look out upon the conference here congregated, carrying on the glorious work. No man can count those numbers that have gone over by the thousands. They have gone up from all parts of the State. Elder Coleman said to-day that we have nearly 12,000 members under the banner of African Methodism in Florida; but that twelve thousand can be multiplied, by five, which indicates that some sixty thousand are being indoctrinated and fitted for usefulness upon earth and for glory in heaven. But who shall count the
numbers when God says come? When the trump of the archangel shall be sounded along the coming ages? Who shall count the thousands of unborn that will be brought in by your instrumentality? Who shall count the numbers that will go up with the redeemed to help to crown the Lord of all that have been brought to Christ in Florida alone? Through the instrumentality of the African Methodist Episcopal Church they have been brought to Christ in this State. You are connected with the whole two million persons in the United States who are under the influence and are being trained by the African Methodist Episcopal Church. There are millions of others among whom we are operating in the isles of the sea and in the land of our ancestors--a work in which we find grand and glorious employment--a work of lifting up a people who have been scattered, torn and peeled--a work of being co-laborers with Christ in pushing forward the victories of the Cross. Grand as has been your work in the past--much as has been accomplished since the day that Steward stepped from the little boat on the soil of Florida--glorious as have been the results; they pale when compared with the work that is to be performed in the future. You are to carry the African Methodism, not alone to Florida, this Gospel of Christ, this salvation, you are to carry--this organization into every nook and corner of your State. You are to plant African Methodism, which is self-government, Negro manhood and Negro development, all over your State; and rest not brethren of the Florida Conference till you have unfurled the banner of the Lord from every hill top and planted the flag all over the Land of Flowers. This is our work and your work, and by the grace of God we will accomplish this work, and hand down to our children a church, grand in its proportions, strong in its faith and united in its purpose.
A champion and defender of her Race. Sojourner Truth was a grand and noble woman. It was she, standing amidst five thousand persons, when the great Frederick Douglas was addressing them; as his heart seemed to fail him, as he looked on his people, he exclaimed: "We are doomed to go down--doomed to extinction." Sojourner Truth, forgot for the moment her rheumatism, as she hobbled up the aisle shouting: "Hold on! hold on! Frederick, God still lives; we are safe. All are not lost that are in peril." She has gone to her rest, but is not forgotten.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, was born in Baltimore, Md., in the year 1825. Her education was of a meagre kind; she being compelled to leave school before her fifteenth birthday arrived. She is strictly a self-made woman. She stands to-day as one of the best lecturers, and a writer of few equals, and fewer superiors. Her prose and poetical writings are extensively read by the people of the country. She has furnished inspiration and hope; and strated on the upward grade many a girl and boy, too, to useful womanhood and manhood. These later days, she is found at work in the ranks, with the women and men, in their grand uplift of the race to a higher plane.
The greatness of soul possessed by Phillis Wheatley is admitted to-day wherever her name is heralded. Born one hundred and forty-nine years ago in Africa. Mr. Benson J. Lossing informs us that Mrs. Wheatley, of Boston, possessed herself of her at the slave market in Boston, Mass., about the year 1761. She was supposed to be seven years old. She named her Phillis, and she became one of Mrs. Wheatley's family. She exhibited traits of high moral character, together with remarkable intelligence.
She was a great lover of books, and devoured them with avidity. Piety, modesty and love were her ruling sentiments. At the age of sixteen she connected herself with "Old South Church." It was shortly after that she wrote her memorable poem to General Washington. These lines we record:
" 'Twas mercy brought me from my pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God--that there's a Saviour, too;
Once, I redemption neither sought, nor knew."
American Methodist Historical Society of Maryland Has Many Mementoes and Curios of Early Methodists and Places Noted in the History of the Church--Collection Newly Arranged at Wesley Hall and Well Worth a Thorough Inspection.
THE recent reassortment of the very large and excellent collection of historical relies and curios of early Methodism in this country preserved by the American Methodist Historical Society of Maryland, at Wesley Hall, over the Book Depository, 113 East Baltimore street, offers to Baltimore Methodists opportunity to pass a very delightful afternoon of inspection. The fact that Baltimore formed practically the hub of the church in the days of its organization in America made the territory thereabout particularly rich in mementoes of great men and famous places in those days. Collection of these has gone on for years until to-day there is a wide assortment of paintings and articles of a great many kinds, all possessing a particular interest and significance.
The society is especially rich in portraits of early ministers of the church, and the effort has been made to continue this feature of the collection as nearly to the present time as possible. To Rev. Dr. John Lanahan, Nestor of the Baltimore Conference, has fallen the unusual honor of having his portrait added to the "fathers," while still a very vigorous and eminent leader of his denomination.
This oil portrait, as others of the collection, is the work of Rev. G. W. Hobbs, pastor of the Woodberry Methodist Episcopal Church, the preacher-painter of the Conference.
The collection is far too large for more than a note here and there as to the most interesting articles. There are famous documents written by the early fathers of the church; old spectacles once worn by great men who years ago eloquently preached the simple story of the Cross; locks of hair that once no doubt, adorned the heads of men who traveled in the primeval forests carrying religious consolation to dying men and women; pictures of men who in life bore the brunt of the fight, the fruits of which the children of to-day are enjoying, and other interesting objects.
Bishop Asbury's old tea canister occupies a prominent place in the glass case of curiosities. It is a simple, old-fashioned concern, and would not attract much respectful attention at a camp meeting nowadays; yet, this old canister was once the traveling companion of one of the purest and best men of Methodism. What a tale that old piece of tin could tell, were it an animate thing! It could tell how many miles it had traveled with the Bishop; it could tell how many cups of tea the old clergyman used to drink at a meal; it could tell, too, of the wonderful self-denial of the venerable man, as, amid peril and deprivation, he went about laying the foundations of a great religious denomination; it could tell how the good Bishop would rebuke sin and sinners without fear and trembling; in fact, it could tell those noble things in the Bishop's life that only a traveling companion could know. The tea canister is well preserved, and might still do, on a pinch, for a Bishop's
traveling companion. It bears the following inscription: "Asbury's tea canister--the traveling tea canister of Bishop Asbury." It was presented to the Historical Society by Mrs. Rachel Phelps, widow of Rev. Elisha Phelps, of Frederick county, and the mother of Mrs. Mary E. Morgan, wife of Rev. N. J. B. Morgan, of the Baltimore Annual Conference.
There is a little piece of wood, in reality a splinter, from the "Orphans' Home" of Rev. George Whitfield, near Savannah, Ga. Mr. Whitfield was one of the greatest preachers of the day, and thousands were attracted from far and near by his eloquence. His name is held in high esteem in the Methodist Church.
Bishop Asbury's pouch is a relic of interest. It is a simple piece of muslin canvas tied up with an ordinary cotton string. It is a forcible reminder of the Bishop's simplicity. The Bishop's spectacles lie beside the pouch. They are the old-time "specks." Their frames look as solid as the prow of a steamer. There is no delicate workmanship to be seen--nothing but simple, rugged strength. When Bishop Asbury died the spectacles passed into the possession of Bishop McKendree.
Rev. Dr. G. C. M. Roberts' razor case is an old-timer. It is about the size of a small valise, and looks capable of holding a half-dozen razors. The case, though antiquated in looks and decidedly out of style, is in an excellent state of preservation, and could be used by some successor of Dr. Roberts.
There is also an old razor case, once the property of Rev. Jacob Gruber.
There is a piece of wood from the old Strawbridge Church, Carroll county, Md., the memory of which is dear to Methodists because of interesting events surrounding it,
It was presented to the society by Mr. Charles A. Warfield in 1866.
Bishop McKendree's clothes brush is an oddity. It looks more like a paint brush than anything else. It is made of the ordinary straw, but the top part is wrapped heavily with cord. This brush descended from Bishop McKendree to Dr. William Wilkens, and then to Rev. Thomas Sewell, by whom it was presented to the Historical Society.
There are a number of interesting canes in the antique collection. Some are curiosities in shape and design; others but mute witnesses of the severe simplicity of their owners. The following are among them: Sunday cane of Rev. Henry Smith; it was made from the timber of the first Methodist Church among the Indians at Sandusky. A cane from the timber of Strawbridge Church at Pipe Creek; one cut from Mount Lebanon by a party of Baltimoreans, among whom was Mr. William Cotian; another from the rigging loft in New York City in which the Methodists first worshipped before the building of Wesley Chapel, in John street; a cane from Mount Olivet, once used by Bishop Beverly Waugh. It was cut and presented to Bishop Waugh by Rev. Dr. John P. Durbin, and the former carried it for sixteen years. It later came into the possession of Rev. Thomas Myers, and was presented by him to the society. There is a cane made from wood of the Eutaw Street Methodist Episcopal Church original pulpit, and carried by Rev. G. C. M. Roberts; a cane that was once used by Rev. Paul Hitt; another that was used by Bishop Francis Burns, of Africa; one cut from a cherry tree under which Strawbridge preached, and one from Wesley Grove, City Road Chapel, London, England, and another from the birthplace of Rev. Dr. G. C. M. Roberts. The most curious
cane in the whole collection is one of white oak. The inscription upon it is: "Relic from the White Oak Tree, Carroll county, formerly Frederick, under which Strawbridge and Evans preached and held their first meeting in that county. The farm belongs to Israel Norris, and was owned by his grandfather when the meeting was held." This cane was presented to the society by Rev. Isaac P. Cook.
Perhaps the most touching and tender memento of the past is a little paper box that contains locks of the hair of Bishop Asbury, his mother, Bishop McKendree, Bishop Emory and Father Smith. Scores of years have passed since these great men lived and worked for the glory of God and their church, and locks of hair from their heads are treasures of great value.
There are also in the possession of the society many pictures greatly prized by Methodists. Among them is one representing the deathbed scene of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. The picture is a grand one, and well calculated to inspire his followers with steadfast hope in the gospel he preached. Wesley is lying full length upon the bed, while around him are gathered a few faithful friends. The hands of the dying man are slightly clasped in an attitude of prayer, while the eyes are lifted toward heaven. The face wears a smile full of calm resignation. Around the bed, according to the picture, were Miss Sarah Wesley, Rev. John Bradford, Rev. P. Dickinson, and others,
Approved and recommended by the Council of Bishops, at Wilberforce, Ohio, June 18th and 19th, 1897.
Numerous cases where men had spent long and faithful years of service in the Itinerant Ministry of the A. M. E. Church, and have died leaving their families in poverty, have for some time caused the ministers of the several Conferences to see the painful need of some easy and practical method by which the Itinerant Preachers might secure their wives and children from abject poverty when they had gone. Hence after several attempts in this direction, a Constitution and By-Laws having been prepared; pursuant to a call of Bishop A. Grant, D. D., a joint meeting of members of the Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey Conferences was held at 631 Pine street, Philadelphia, Pa., January 6, 1897.
Rev. J. M. Palmer was elected secretary.
A proposition which had been considered by the Philadelphia Conference, June, 1896, as to the needs of a Connectional Preachers' Aid and Mutual Relief Society, was taken under advisement.
The Constitution was read by Rev. W. D. Cook, of Brooklyn, N. Y., revised and adopted by a unanimous vote of the New York, New England and Philadelphia Conferences, and a committee of Elders representing the New Jersey Conference.
It was then decided that the Constitution, signed by all present, be submitted to the meeting of the Council of Bishops for their approval, which was done.
It was also resolved that, upon the approval of the Constitution by the Bishops' Council, each and all of the Conferences of the Connection be solicited to adopt the same Constitution, and unite with the Association, and each and every itinerant Minister in full connection is requested to send his name and address to the secretary for enrollment, as per Art. III.
The following was enacted by the Council of Bishops at their meeting held at Wilberforce University, June 18th and 19th, 1897, viz.:
WHEREAS, We, the Bishops of the A. M. E. Church in Council assembled, have carefully read and considered the plan and purposes of the Constitution of the Connectional Preachers' Aid and Mutual Relief Association, submitted by the Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey and New England Conferences for our approval. We most heartily approve the same, and recommend its adoption by each and all of our Annual Conferences, and that each and all of our Itinerant Preachers in full connection become a member of the Association.
HENRY M. TURNER, Chairman.
WESLEY J. GAINES,
BENJAMIN W. ARNETT,
BENJAMIN T. TANNER,
BENJAMIN F. LEE,
MOSES B. SALTER,
JAMES A. HANDY,
WILLIAM B. DERRICK,
JOSIAH H. ARMSTRONG,
JAMES C. EMBRY,
We do also in accordance with Art. 3rd of this Constitution appoint Bishop James A. Handy, D. D., President of the General Board, and the Rev. John T. Jenifer, of the Baltimore Conference, the General Secretary and Treasurer of the Association.
The following are the directors appointed in pursuance of Art. III of the Constitution, viz.:
|1st District||--Rev. J. M. Palmer.|
|2nd District||--Rev. John W. Beckett.|
|3rd District||--Rev. D. F. Caliman.|
|4th District||--Rev. R. C. Ransom.|
|5th District||--Rev. J. O. W. Scott.|
|6th District||--W. F. F. Flagg.|
|7th District||--Rev. A. J. Carey.|
|8th District||--Rev. H. C. Holbrook.|
|9th District||--Rev. J. N. Abby.|
|10th District||--Rev. P. C. Hurst.|
The same to serve until their successors are appointed at the ensuing General Conference.
HENRY M. TURNER,
BENJAMIN W. ARNETT,
Secretary of the Bishops' Council.
The first meeting of the Board of Directors was called by the President (Bishop Handy) in St. John's A. M. E. Church Lexington street, Baltimore, Md., Wednesday, October 27th, 1897, at noon, for the purpose of organization and the transaction of any other business that may be brought before the Board.
Thus came into existence another important and beneficent institution, which has gone on since doing a good and needed work, which in time will be fully appreciated, not only by the ministry of our own church, but by all who shall know of it.