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The members of the Legislature denounced him as a tyrant worse than Andrew Jackson, who had gone beyond the limits of reason. Even his political friends, alarmed at the storm which had been raised, urged him to recede from his position and to rescind his order to the Treasurer. He absolutely refused. As a result, the necessary bill was finally passed, and at the next session he was able to report an improved condition of the finances and a revival of confidence in the Central Bank. It was without doubt a most fortunate thing for Georgia at this critical period in the history of the State that a man of Governor McDonald's firmness, prudence, and business sagacity was at the head of affairs."'
In 1840 a new judicial circuit was created, called the Southwestern, of which William Taylor was the first judge elected.
Episcopacy was at a low ebb in Georgia at the close of the Revolution, due to the surviving animosities of a protracted war with England. Nor was it until sixty years had elapsed that the Episcopal Church in Georgia, though identified with the colony's infant struggles, became sufficiently strong to form a separate and independent jurisdiction. But in 1841 the Episcopal diocese of Georgia was organized with Dr. Stephen Elliott, a native of South Carolina, as its first bishop. This beloved prelate came of a family renowned for its contributions to scientific thought. Possessing rare gifts as an organizer, he grounded the activities of the church upon a firm basis and by his magnetic personality, eloquence and holiness of life made converts of thousands. He retained his oversight of the diocese for twenty-five years.
One of the tall landmarks of Georgia Methodism at this time was Bishop James 0. Andrew, whose ownership of slave property was a bone of contention in the famous General Conference of 1844 at Baltimore. Here occurred the unfortunate schism which split the great Methodist Church in twain, sixteen years in advance of the Civil war. Dr. George G. Smith, in his excellent life of Bishop Andrew, narrates the story as follows:
“Before Bishop Andrew went to the West, he had made an engagement to marry Mrs. Leonora Greenwood, of Greensboro, Ga. The condition of his family, and his long absences from home, made this a necessary act; so, without undue haste, and, with great discretion, he had selected a second companion. She was very attractive in person, beautiful in manners, gentle in spirit, and deeply though undemonstratively pious. After the marriage, he conveyed to his wife, in due form of law, all the rights in her property which the fact of marriage had given him as her husband. When Mrs. Andrew died, in 1854, the law reinvested him with rights in this same property, but he promptly dispossessed himself the second time, and turned it all over to her children. Bishop Andrew did not expect trouble from this marriage, and there were good reasons why he did not; for he himself had been a slaveholder for several years prior to this, in the very same way that he was now-through his wife.
"Dr. Olin, who was highly esteemed at the North and even in New England, had owned slaves and, having sold them, had the proceeds of the sales still in his possession. The General Conference appointed slave
holders, such men as Dr. Capers, to positions of distinction and trust; and only eight years before had strongly condemned the societies of Abolitionism; and many of the extreme men of New England had actually left the Church and formed another connection. Neither the spirit nor the letter of the law of the Church had been broken. On what ground, then, could he suppose that this marriage with an elegant and pious lady, who happened to own a few slaves, would call forth a tempest of such violence as to destroy the unity of the Church?
“The fact is, he did not dream of such a result. Nor was he aware of any excitement on the subject until he reached Baltimore in April, when on his way to the General Conference in New York in May. Here he learned of the intense excitement caused by the news that one of the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church owned slaves, and received the first intimation that it would be a matter for investigation. He possessed a woman's delicacy of feeling, and to have his private affairs discussed by the General Conference was abhorrent to his very soul. He resolved to resign, and so expressed himself, both in Baltimore and in New York. This resolution, however, he did not execute, for the reason that the Southern delegates demurred in formal resolutions and urged him not to do so, on the ground that it would inflict an incurable wound on the whole South, and inevitably lead to division.
“Resignation now became almost an impossibility; and when it was intimated that he had broken faith and must either resign or be deposed, then resignation was entirely out of the question. The issue had to come. The mass of the Northern preachers were opposed to slavery, but they were not abolitionists. They found themselves hard put to defend themselves; and when it was known that a Bishop was a slaveholder they felt that they were in a sad predicament. Accordingly, Alfred Griffith and John Davis, two members of the Baltimore Conference, were put forward to lead the attack. They introduced a resolution declaring, among other things, that Bishop Andrew was nominated by the slave-holding States in the Conference because he was not a slaveholder; and that, having become one,* Therefore be it Resolved, That James 0. Andrew be affectionately requested to resign.'
“This precipitated the issue. The discussion was Christian in spirit and courteous in language, to which, however, there were some exceptions. To ask him to resign was so painful to many who did not wish a slaveholder in office that Mr. Finley, of Ohio, introduced his famous substitute, declaring that it was the sense of the General Conference that he desist from the exercise of the office of Bishop so long as the impediment remained. Mr. Finley was Bishop Andrew's personal friend and offered the substitute, believing it to be less offensive to the Southern delegates than the original resolution. But it was really more offensive, because, since it could not consistently remove the impediment, it amounted to permanent deposition. No man in the Conference was more strongly attached to Bishop Andrew, perhaps, than Dr. Olin. The night before he was to speak he visited the Bishop and told him the course
* Several years previous an old lady of Augusta bequeathed to Bishop Andrew a mulatto girl in trust until she was nineteen, when, with her consent, she was to be deported to Liberia. But the girl refused to go or to accept freedom.
he intended to take, and why he would take it. He would advocate the substitute; for if it were not passed New England would withdraw, and there would be division and disintegration everywhere in the North. But, if it were passed, the South would depart, and there would be union and peace throughout her borders.
“The debate continued for several days. Among the Southern delegates who participated in the discussion were Dr. Winans, of Mississippi, Dr. Pierce and Judge Longstreet, of Georgia, and Dr. William Capers, of South Carolina. Others took part, but these were the giants. On the opposite side were also arrayed men of strong intellect, including Dr. Olin. Strong efforts were made to stay the tide, but all in vain. On the first of June the vote was taken on the substitute of Mr. Finley, and 111 were for, while only 69 were against it. This was virtual deposition. Grieved, but not surprised, Bishop Andrew left for his home in Georgia. One man from the North, who was a tower of strength, stood by him shoulder to shoulder in all this conflict. It was Joshua Soule, the senior Bishop of the Church. Born and reared in Maine, living in Ohio, never a slave-holder, nor a pro-slavery man, with every interest to bind him to the section in which he lived, he yet came to the South, because he believed the South was right.
“Before the General Conference adjourned the question of division was virtually settled; and with great unanimity the Annual Conference at the South appointed delegates to meet in convention at Louisville the following May. The South did not really desire division, but after the course of the General Conference it was evident that separate organization was the only way of preserving Methodism in this sectionthe only way of holding the Master to the Church and of carrying the Gospel to the slave. It was division or death. At the appointed time the convention met. Bishops Andrew, Soule, and Morris were all there; action was unanimous; and a call was issued to elect delegates to a General Conference to meet in Petersburg, Va., the following May. No doctrine was changed, no policy altered, no usages, rites, or customs modified; and after this convention the Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church resolved to withdraw from the South and leave the whole territory to the new organization. Thus the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, came into existence; and the General Conference at Petersburg did but little more than adjust itself to the changed condition of affairs, elect an agent for its publishing interests, editors for its papers, and two additional Bishops, Robert Paine and William
Thus the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, arose in 1844, placing first on its long honor roll of dignitaries the name of its martyr-bishop, James Osgood Andrew.
Georgia was well represented in the Twenty-fifth Congress (18371839). Her delegation at this time was composed of the following strong men : Jesse F. Cleveland, Wm. C. Dawson, Thomas Glascock, Seaton Grantland, Charles E. Haynes, Hopkins Holsey, Jabez Jackson, George
* Condensed from Dr. George G. Smith's “Life of James Osgood Andrew."
W. Owens and George W. Towns.* All of these were democrats except William C. Dawson, who was a whig. Mr. Cleveland had served in the Twenty-fourth Congress. At the close of his second term he left Georgia to engage in mercantile pursuits at Charleston, South Carolina, where he died in 1841. He was a native of DeKalb County, Georgia. Messrs. Glascock, Grantland, Haynes, Holsey, Jackson, Owens and Towns were also members of the preceding Congress; but each of these representatives, at the close of his term, in 1839, withdrew from the national councils. General Glascock was thrown from his horse in 1841, sustaining injuries from which he died at his home in Decatur, Georgia. His remains were taken to Augusta for final interment. He was an officer of note in the state militia, a lawyer of distinguished attainments, and a son of Gen. Thomas Glascock, of the Revolution. Seaton Grantland continued to wield a powerful influence in his district, chiefly as an editor of one of the famous old Milledgeville papers, and in 1840 supporting the whig candidates became a presidential elector on the whig ticket; but he did not re-enter national politics. Mr. Haynes had first taken his seat as a member of Congress in 1825. Ill health led to his retirement in 1839; and he died at his home in Sparta, Georgia, two years later. Mr. Holsey was a native of Virginia. He practiced law for a number of years, at Hamilton, Georgia, where he was living when elected to Congress. He afterwards removed to Athens, where he engaged in journalistic work; then removed to Columbus, where he died in 1859. Jabez Jackson came of the well-known Savannah family of this name but was a resident of Clarksville when elected to Congress. He took no further part in public affairs, after 1839. Mr. Owens was educated in England and read law under an eminent London barrister, Mr. Chitty. On retiring from Congress, he resumed the practice of law in Savannah. Mr. Towns afterwards became governor of the state, and more will be told of him later.
Before the Twenty-sixth Congress met there were sweeping changes (1839-1841).** William C. Dawson, of Greensboro, a whig, was the only one of the old members returned to the national House of Representatives. The others were: Julius C. Alford, of Lagrange, a whig; Edward J. Black, of Jacksonboro, a whig; Walter T. Colquitt, of Columbus, a whig; Mark A. Cooper, of Eatonton, a democrat; Richard W. Habersham, Clarksville, a democrat; Thomas Butler King, of Waynesville, a whig; and Lott Warren, of Palmyra, a whig.f The growing power of the whig party in Georgia is reflected in the foregoing list of congressmen, only two of whom were democrats. Judge Colquitt, though a whig, declined to support the whig candidates in the presidential contest of 1840; and resigning his seat in Congress was succeeded by Hon. Hines Holt, of Columbus. I
* "Biog. Cong. Dir.,'' 1774-1911, p. 145.
result of his convictions, he, with E. J. Black and Walter T. Colquitt, became involved in a controversy with the other six members from Georgia, and there was a very bitter split, as a result of which Messrs. Black, Colquitt and Cooper, who had previously been elected as State Right Whigs, were next time elected as State Right Democrats. Major Cooper was
The Legislature of 1840 elected John MacPherson Berrien, a whig, to succeed Wilson Lumpkin, a democrat. Judge Berrien had already worn the toga from 1825 to 1829 and had been a member of President Jackson's cabinet as attorney-general of the United States.
Under the census of 1840, Georgia was allotted only eight members, 'due to a slight change in the basis of representation; but the new apportionment did not become effective until 1843. To the Twenty-Seventh Congress (1841-1843), Messrs. Alford, Dawson, Habersham, King, and Warren were all re-elected. Thomas F. Foster, Roger L. Gamble, James A. Meriwether and Eugenius A. Nisbet were the new members.* Messrs. Foster and Gamble, however, had served in Congress before, the former from 1829 to 1835; the latter from 1833 to 1835. Only one of the new members was a democrat. Messrs. Gamble, Meriwether and Nisbet were all elected as whigs. On December 2, 1842, Richard W. Habersham died and was succeeded by George W. Crawford, a whig. Mr. Habersham was a democrat. This same year three members resigned, Messrs. Alford, Dawson and Nisbet; and to succeed them Walter T. Colquitt, Mark A. Cooper, and Edward J. Black were elected.
then nominated for governor against Hon. George W. Crawford, but was defeated and after that took no part in political affairs except as a private citizen.”—Walter G. Cooper, in “Men of Mark in Georgia,'' Vol. II, p. 212. W. J. Northen.
* Ibid., p. 157.