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we deem it probable that few of them would have ventured to make their appearance, yet we say it with all sincerity-the more of them the better ****. There is a party of injudicious 'abolitionists in America who have greatly distempered and retarded the cause of emancipation; and let us not give way to the fanatic outcry that they are attempting to excite throughout the misled and deluded multitudes of our own land.'—pp. 38–40.
We come now to the assembling of the great conference in London, in the month of August, which was attended by between sixty and seventy delegates from the United States. We have before us the authorised Minutes of the Proceedings of the Conference. On examining these, we find the question of slavery first mooted on Thursday, the 27th August, being the twelfth session of the conference, At a previous session, it had been moved by the Rev. J. A. James, that correct information should be obtained on such subjects as 'the growth of popery ;' 'the state of infidelity;' the public observance of the Lord's day,' and 'the amount of the existing means of Christian education ;' with a view to the stimulating of Christians to such efforts as the exigencies of the case may demand, by giving forth its views in regard to them, rather than carrying those views out by an organization of its own.' -(Minutes of Proceedings, p. 23.)
On the 27th, Rev. W. Patterson moved, Rev. James Pringle seconded, that the following article be added, “Facts relating to slavery, and the condition of our brethren in bonds in every part of the world. This amendment appears to have found no favour with the conference, as it was, by consent, withdrawn. On the 28th, Rev. Dr. Steane introduced the third portion of the paper prepared by the select sub-committee, concerning General Organization. On which, Rev. Dr. Schmucker moved, Rev. Dr. Bunting seconded, “That the Alliance shall consist of those persons in all parts of the world, who shall concur in the principles and objects adopted by the conference,' &c; upon which, Rev. J. H. Hinton moved, Rev. Joshua V. Himes, of Boston, United States, seconded, "That in the first clause, after the words 'those persons,' the words 'not being slaveholders,' be inserted. The subject of slavery, and of the admissibility of slaveholders to the Evangelical Alliance was now fairly introduced. The Minutes of Proceedings do not inform us who took part in the discussion of this amendment; but from other sources we gather, both the substance of the remarks offered by the mover and seconder, and of those who followed in the debate. Mr. Hinton did not consider himself responsible for the introduction of the amendment, or for the calamitous results which might follow. Those were responsible who were connected with the abominable system of slavery, and had nevertheless been
which had from Bang be an a
admitted as members of the Alliance. The resolution passed at Birmingham,—the pledged position of British Christians, and the attitude of slaveholders themselves, required the adoption of the amendment. It would be monstrous, indeed, to admit a man-stealer, and at the same time exclude a man because he did not believe in water baptism. Mr. Himes showed the corrupting influence of slavery amongst all denominations of Christians in the United States, and, in earnest and emphatic tones, conjured the Conference to preserve its purity, and to bring the whole weight of its influence to bear against the dreadful system of slavery at present sustained and perpetuated by the church. At the conclusion of these addresses, the chairman, Sir Culling E. Smith 'called the attention of the audience to the silence and calmness manifested by the American brethren, and expressed his admiration of the grace of God in enabling them to listen to remarks which must have cut them to the heart's core, with so much Christian meekness.'
Let us glance at the subsequent debate. The Rev. T. Brainerd, a Presbyterian from the United States, expressed his sorrow that the subject had been introduced to disturb the delightful harmony which they had enjoyed. The Rev. Dr. Samuel Hanson Cox, of Brooklyn, New York, shared the regret which had been expressed by the preceding speaker. Rev. L. Pomeroy, from Bangor, in the state of Maine, a Congregationalist, claimed to be an abolitionist; but insisted that a distinction should be made between the system of slavery, and the individuals included in it. He would not offer an apology for slavery, but he was deeply anxious that the subject should be kept in abeyance, and not be suffered to resist the Alliance. Rev. T. Smyth, D.D., of Charleston, South Carolina, rose. This gentleman is an Irishman, but for sixteen or seventeen years has been a minister in the slave states of America. He obtained admission into the Allianee by stating, that the slaves in his house at Charleston were not his but his wife's! This plea, however, did not avail him in Belfast, where he was sojourning during the sittings of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. He attended that assembly, but was never recognised by it, or introduced to it. In his speech before the Alliance Conference he opposed the introduction of the question of slavery. It ought not to be thrust upon them. The existence of the Alliance was hazarded by so doing. The question was essentially political, and its discussion would awaken all the low, vulgar feelings of political animosity. It was an invasion of the right and duty of private judgment in the interpretation of Scripture! Rev. William Patten, D.D., of New York, Presbyterian, referred to the Birmingham resolution, and assured his brethren
that, if it had been received in the United States earlier, it would have prevented the attendance of numbers who were then present. Before he left home, he had been told that the Alliance would be a great Anti-slavery Society; but he had said, no. Letters might be written to slaveholders, urging and arguing; but never let slaveholding be the test of admission. Rev. R. Wardlaw, D.D., of Glasgow, suggested an amendment, which would express the abhorrence in which the Alliance held slavery; but which would not make it a test of membership. Rev. Alexander Munro, of Manchester, Presbyterian, hoped that the Alliance would follow the spirit of the New Testament, which would lead them to remain silent. At this stage of the proceedings the assembly broke up for dinner. An eye-witness, writing to the Patriot' newspaper, thus describes the appearance of Freemasons' Hall at the time of the adjournment.
• The scene at this time is most exciting. The combatants have laid aside their armour, they have risen from the conflict, but it is only for a time. Groups are collected together; knots of disputants are talking loudly and decidedly; the hard words and not softer blows in Conference seem to have created the desire for keeping up the skirmish, and the words our laws,' 'freedom,' 'colonization, • colour,’ ‘public opinion,' are heard on every hand.'
We must now claim the serious attention of our readers, to something which took place during the interval between the adjournment for dinner, and the re-assembling of the Conference at five o'clock. The American members of the Conference ab. sented themselves from the dinner-table. They gathered together in another part of the building, to decide upon the course they should adopt, in consequence of the introduction of Mr. Hinton's amendment. The result of their deliberations was, the preparation and signing of an explanatory statement.' In this document they set forth, that they attended the Alliance Conference on the invitation sent out by the Liverpool committee, in which invitation there was no allusion to the subject of slavery. They then proceeded to state, that on their arrival in London, their attention was directed to two resolutions passed by the London provisional committee, calling the special notice of the American brethren, to the resolution on the subject of slavery, adopted at the meeting of the aggregate committee at Birmingham.
". These resolutions,' say they, were on a separate paper, to which the attention of most of us was directed, but we were not re. quired to subscribe them, or to approve them. We could not approve them. Most of us made our verbal protest against them. We regarded them as highly objectionable, and particularly for the following
reasons: 1. They were irrelevant to the matter in hand; 2. The resolutions came too la'e ; 3. The first of the London resolutions is offensive to us as Americans ; 4. The Birmingham resolution is calculated to wound the feelings of unoffending Christian brethren in the slave-holding states, and to retard the abolition of slavery.'
We deem it our duty to put on record the precise words in which this fourth and final reason is supported :S
If Christian brethren, placed (in the terms of the resolution) by no fault of their own,' in an unhappy position,' involving strong temptations and severe trials, nevertheless conduct themselves worthily, they merit on that account, in our view, the sympathy of their tellow. Christians; and, especially, of those who are sincerely seeking the removal of the great evil from which their temptations and trials urise. This is not the time to inquire whether the American churches have, or have not, all done their duty in regard to this subject; but there seems to us to be a singular impropriety in singling out such brethren for the stigma of exclusion from Christian fellowship. In their difficult circumstances,' they need the encouragement and support of the counsels and prayers of their fellow. Christians ; and, if slavery is ever to be abolished in the southern States of America, we need such men to take the lead in the movement! There is in these circumstances, in our view, weighty reason, not for non-intercourse, but for closer Christian union. It is well known to us, that many Christian slave-holders are, in their principles and feelings, entirely opposed to slavery; and are prepared to make all the efforts and sacrifices in their power for the removal of the evil, as soon as practicable. But it ought to be known to our European brethren, that slavery cannot at once be abolished in any State of the American Union, except by the legislature of that State ; that the citizens of non slave-holding States can only act on the subject by moral influence, and that this influence is to be exerted chiefly on and through Christians in the slave-holding community. It is because we have great confidence in the piety and intelligence, and in the constantly increasing number of godly men in the slave-holding States ! that we look with increasing hope for the entire removal of American slavery. We deeply sympathise with these brethren under the heavy responsibilities they are called to bear. OUR duty, no less than our Christian affection, IMPELS US TO MAINTAIN INTIMATE RELATIONS WITH THEM; and we could not, without a grievous offence against the best hopes of religion and humanity in the south, as well as against our own consciences, consent to any action which would imply a want of CHRIs. TIAN CONFIDENCE in them, or which might ENDANGER our amicable and fraternal relations with this portion of the American church.'
This statement bears the signature of thirty-two of the American members of the Conference, and is dated Friday the 28th of August, the day on which Mr. Hinton brought forward his amendments.
The Conference re-assembled at five o'clock on this day, and we are told that the American members returned with a firmer step and more cheerful countenance. The debate on Mr. Hinton's amendment was resumed. Rev. W. W. Ewbank, of Liverpool, Episcopalian, was decidedly in favour of the admission of slaveholders. The Rev. James Pringle, Rev. Dr. Urwick, Dr. Patton, President Emory of the United States, and others, addressed the Conference. The excitement grew intense. There were evidently two parties in the meeting, resolutely determined to maintain their ground, respectively. In these circumstances Mr. Hinton consented to withdraw his amendment, pro tem., and late in the evening a committee of forty-five was appointed to take the whole subject into mature consideration, and report the result of their deliberations to the general body.
This committee assembled as early as eight o'clock, on Saturday morning the 29th. On the coming together of the Conference at ten, special prayer was offered on behalf of the committee then sitting in another room, that the Holy Spirit might guide them to an barmonious and satisfactory issue.' In the course of the morning it was reported that the committee had not arrived at a conclusion, and that they advised an adjournment of the Conference to Monday. The Conference, however, proceeded with other business, and sent a message to the committee, to take ample time for the mature consideration of the question before them.' It was not till late in the evening, that the committee made its report, which was presented to the Conference by Dr. F. A. Cox, of London, and read by Dr. S. H. Cox, of New York. It was as follows :
• That, the Committee recommend that the amendment of the Rev. J. H. Hinton should be withdrawn, and that the following resolution be recommended for adoption to the Conference :
• That in respect to the necessity of personal holiness, the Alliance are of opinion that it is recognised in the Article of the Basis, -On the work of the Spirit; and in reference to various social evils existing in countries within the circle of this Alliance, such as the profanation of the Lord's-day, intemperance, duelling, and the sin of slavery, they commend these and similar evils to the consideration of the branches; trusting that they will study to promote the general purity and the Christian honour of this confederation by all proper means. And in respect especially to the system of slavery, and every other form of oppression in any country, the Alliance are unanimous in deploring them, as in many ways obstructing the progress of the gospel; and express their confidence, that no branch will admit to membership slaveholders, who, by their own fault, continue in that position, retaining their fellow-men in slavery, from regard to their own interests.