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* Rev. J. H. Hinton finally withdrew his amendment, and moved, Rev. A. T. Hopkins seconded, That the report now received be adopted. Rev. Isaac Nelson moved, James Stanfield, Esq. seconded, That whereas it is impossible for this Conference to legislate for particular cases or exceptions, no slaveholder be admitted to any branch of the Alliance.
• The amendment was negatived. The motion was carried.Minutes of Proceedings, p. 36.
Such was the decision of the Alliance Conference, on Saturday night, the 29th of August. It will be seen that by this proceeding the Conference did not absolutely exclude any slaveholder, while it made special provision for a particular class of slaveholders. In fact, it refused to pass any law upon the question-save to open the door to men living in the practice of slavery in every part of the world, simply expressing, its confidence that no branch would admit to membership slaveholders who were such by their own fault, and from regard to their own interest. It should be remembered, too, that at the time this report was adopted, it was the settled resolve of the Conference to form an (Ecumenical Alliance, and that this resolution was adopted as a part of the general organization of that Alliance: so that, in effect, it was a deliberate decision in favour of the admission of slaveholders ; containing no prohibition against the admission to membership of any slaveholder whatever, provided he could sign the doctrinal basis. This report was recommended and passed, in the face of the explanatory statement laid before the Conference by thirty-two of the American menubers, declaring their unalterable intention to maintain · intimate relations' with the slaveholding churches of the United States, and to 'consent to no action that implied a want of Christian confidence in those churches,' 'or, which might endanger their amicable and fraternal relations with them. Such was the state of things on the 29th. The Sabbath ensued, and the Conference re-assembled on Monday, the 31st. The effect of what had taken place, we will describe in the words of a member of the Alliance, in a letter to the 'Patriot, Sept. 24th. This gentleman, who writes under the signature of Pacificator,' (but whose identity is no secret to us,) and whose letter is a defence of the Alliance, says :
• Whatever grounds of objection may be taken by warm antislavery men in this country to this resolution, the fact was, that still stronger objections were raised by the Americans themselves. No sooner had they time to look deliberately at the terms in which it was expressed, than they convened private meetings of their own countrymen (between Saturday night and Sunday morning), and on Monday morning delivered the most earnest expressions of disappro
bation against the entire article. They represented that they could not face their countrymen and churches with such a resolution staring them in the face; and many of them would rather retire from the Alliance than attempt it. In stating their objections to it, the fact came out most glaringly, that it was not the unwilling and reluctant, but the entire mass of professing slaveholders with whom they sympathized : and nothing would satisfy them but an entire dropping of all reference to the subject of slavery.'
Such is the language of one whose Christian integrity and truthfulness are above suspicion amongst those who have the privilege of knowing him. We have derived information froin many other sources, confirmatory of the truth of this statement, which, it is enough to say, has never been contradicted. Another member of the Alliance, and an eye witness, thus describes the scene presented by the Conference on Monday morning.
• Care rests on every countenance. Depressed looks, and anxious faces, are seen on every hand. It is quite evident, that the settlement of Saturday night was not the decision of calm and cool reflection, so much as a hasty compliance-for union's sake, under intense excitement-with that which involved compromise and concession. Sir Culling is pale and restless, the secretaries grave and full of foreboding; while the leaders of the three sections are all earnest in conversation upon the evident course affairs must take during this sitting. Nothing could be more unfortunate than the present posi. tion of affairs. It is thought that the Alliance must be broken up; and the protest shows the strong feelings of the main body of the foreign delegates. These all deplore the introduction of the ques. tion at all; and though the resolution was adopted almost unani. mously, it is now the determination of the Americans to reopen the subject. They say, most positively, that though they voted in favour of it (the resolution) on Saturday, they must oppose it with all their force to-day; for there can be no American branch which will exclude the slaveholder. * * * Dr. Cox (of new York), who spoke for tbe Americans, remarked, that with one exception, (the Rev. J. V. Himes), they were all agreed; they thought upon mature reflection, that the question of slavery must be kept in abeyance. The ques. tion might be asked, does not this break up the general organization ? He (Dr. Cox), thought not. Their doctrinal basis was decided ; their objects were fixed. The test of membership must be left open, and in the mean time, local organizations must be carried out, at the discretion of their respective supporters, and in accordance with circumstances. If the American branch should admit the slaveholder, and the British branch will not, when they next meet, they must determine to go on separately. It must be an open question.'
These remarks of Dr. Cox, it will be seen in the sequel, determined the course of the Conference. We return to the
“Minutes of Proceedings. They show, that on the confirmation of the minutes of the previous sitting, Dr. Bunting moved that the report adopted on Saturday night should be placed among the miscellaneous resolutions, and not under the head of general organization. The Hon. Justice Crampton moved
that the concluding clause, commencing, ‘And in respect especially to the system of slavery,' &c., be rescinded.' The Hon. and Rev. Baptist W. Noel moved, “That the whole matter involved in the motion (of Dr. Bunting), with the amendment proposed by Mr. Justice Crampton, be referred to the consideration of a committee, and that the committee consist of,' &c., whereupon, the amendment of the Hon. and Rev. Mr. Noel was carried, and a committee of fifty-two [comprising all the more influential members of the Conference) was nominated, and the meeting adjourned to the next day. Among the proceedings of Monday, and bearing date that day, we find a protest by the Rev. Alex. King, Congregationalist of Cork, from which we make the following extract :
· With all due deference to the wisdom of this Conference, and with the most earnest and prayerful solicitude for the great object which its members are endeavouring to promote, I am constrained, by a clear and deep conviction of my duty to God and to my fellowmen, to record my dissent from the resolution adopted at the close of the session on Saturday evening last, respecting slaveholders.
'I respectfully enter my protest against that resolution,
1. Because it was adopted amidst great excitement, when several members of the Conference were unable to make such inquiries concerning its practical bearings as they felt necessary to make before voting for its affirmation.
2. Because it excludes personal holiness' from the rules of admission to the Evangelical Alliance, and decides the right of membership by matters of opinion.
'5. Because, taken in connexion with other propositions already adopted by this Conference, it constitutes the Evangelical Alliance, so as, practically, to exclude conscientious and godly men, who have been living martyrs to the cause of freedom, and actually to admit slaveholders, who may choose to affirm, that their sin in holding their fellow men in bondage is not their own fault, or for their own advantage.'
Also the following, signed by twelve of the American members, and dated, like the former, August 31:
“To the Conference now sitting in Freemasons' Hall, The undersigned request that their names may be entered upon the minutes of the Conference, as dissenting from the minute upon the subject of slavery, adopted by the Conference on Saturday evening last :
· Thomas Smyth, Erskine Mason, Edward P. Humpherey, R. T. Haines, Thomas Dewitt, John B. Adger, Sidney E. Morse, Ebenezer Mason, Robert Carter, M. B. Hope, Gorham D. Abbott, Robert Emory.
The committee appointed on Monday morning, spent many anxious hours in deliberation on the matter submitted to them, and on Tuesday morning, September 1, were prepared with the following report, which was brought up by Sir Culling Eardley Smith, and presented to the Conference. We extract it without abridgement, as deserving, we will not for the present say on what account, the most serious consideration :
That on mature consideration of the entire subject remitted to them, the Committee recommend to the Conference :
1. That the amendment of the Hon. Justice Crampton be finally withdrawn.
2. That the resolution adopted on Saturday evening be rescinded.
3. That the resolution submitted to the Conference by the Rev. Dr. Schmucker, and seconded by the Rev. Dr. Bunting, on the subject of • General Organization,' be withdrawn, and the following submitted to the Conference in its stead :
That whereas brethren from the continents of Europe and America, as well as in this country, are unable, without consultation with their countrymen, to settle the detailed arrangements for their respective countries, it is expedient to defer the final and complete organization of the General Alliance, of which the foundation has now been laid, till another General Conference.
• That the members of the Alliance be recommended to adopt such organization in their several countries, as in their judgment may be most in accordance with their PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES, without involving the responsibility of one part of the Alliance for another; on the understanding that brethren from each country now present shall act collectively in originating their respective national plans. That, in furtherance of the above plan, it be recommended, for the present, that an Organization be formed in each of the following districts, viz. :
1. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, exclusive of the North American British Colonies.
2. The United States of America. *3. The North American Colonies of Great Britain. * 4. The Kingdoms of France, Belgium, and French Switzerland. •5. The North of Germany.
6. The South of Germany; and German Switzerland. . That an official correspondence be maintained between the several Organizations, and that Reports of their proceedings be mutually interchanged, with a view to co-operation and encouragement in their common object.
• That the next General Conference be held at such time and place as, by correspondence between the members of the Alliance in different VOL. XX.
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countries, and by the leadings of Divine Providence, shall hereafter be settled.
Sir Culling Eardley Smith moved, Rev. J. H. Hinton seconded, . That the Report now presented be received - Carried.'
From the future minutes of the Conference we learn that the suggestions contained in the above report were literally adopted. Thus ended the proceedings of the Conference on the subject of slavery. On a review of these proceedings, we find,
1. A resolution passed in the aggregate committee at Birmingham, that slaveholders shall not be invited to the Conference; yet calling them, nevertheless, ‘Christian brethren,' and assuming on their behalf, that they might be in the unhappy position of holding their fellow-men as slaves, without any fault of their own.'
2. Two resolutions passed by the London provisional committee, directing the special attention of the American brethren to the decision of the Birmingham committee.
'3. An uncontradicted statement of thirty-two American members, that 'these resolutions were on a separate paperthat they were not required, either to subscribe or approve them —that they did not approve them—and that most of them entered their verbal protest against them, as highly objectionable.
64. That on the 27th August, the Conference refused to include the subject of slavery among the topics on which the Alliance should seek to obtain correct information; though it had previously resolved to collect facts on the subject of popery, infidelity, the observance of the Lord's day, and the state and prospects of Protestant missions.
5. That on the 28th of August, the Conference refused to adopt an amendment, declaring the inadmissibility of slaveholders to menibership in the Alliance.
6. That on the same day, thirty-two of the American members of the Conference declared, that they were 'impelled by Christian duty and Christian affection, to maintain intimate relations with slaveholders, and would consent to no action' on the part of the Conference, which would imply a want of Christian confidence' in those slaveholders, or which might endanger their own amicable and fraternal relations with them.
67. That on the 29th of August, the Conference adopted nem. con. a resolution, classing slavery with the profanation of the Lord's day, intemperance and duelling; and restricting the action of the Alliance to the expression of its confidence, that the branches to be hereafter formed, would not admit to membership slaveholders, who by their own fault, or otherwise continued in that position from regard to their own interest;' -thereby establishing the doctrine, that a man may be an