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sue a liberal course. At one time four of the leading men in the town sought and obtained an interview with him just before he received his call to settle, for the purpose of ascertaining decisively what his conduct would be, in case he should become their minister, in relation to exchanges. One of their number asked him frankly, whether, if he was settled, he should exchange with all regularly settled ministers of the vicinity or not? Mr. Sandford replied directly that he should. After all this the society felt prepared to vote on the question of giving Mr. Sanford a call. The liberal party voted for, the Calvinists opposed his settlement. The former of course prevail. Mr. Sandford concludes to settle. A committee of the church wait on him, to confer with him in appointing the ordaining council. He mentions three unitarians first, and then two Calvinists ; but apologizes for naming the latter by saying that one was the minister of his native parish, and the other a particular friend of his, a professor in a college. He requests one of the neighbouring unitarian ministers to give him the right hand of fellowship, which the unitarian minister did. The other unitarian ministers mentioned by Mr. Sanford were on the council, and took part in the ordination. Soon after his settlement, Mr. Sanford joins the unitarian association of Bristol county. Thus Mr. Sanford represented himself to be a liberal man, and as such was settled.
"3. After his settlement he gradually assumed Calvinistic ground, and became an exclusionist. About six months after his ordination, Mr. Sanford exchanged with the unitarian clergyman who gave him the right hand of fellowship. Mr. Sanford was then heard to say, that he should not erchange with that minister again. In a few months the same clergyman applied for another exchange, and was refused in a manner and under circumstances, which, if Mr. Sanford can recall without pain, we shall not envy his heart. The reason assigned for refusing to exchange was, that his orthodox friends would not exchange with him, if he exchanged with unitarians. He was told by the clergyman alluded to, that the Raynham people were not prepared for this; that they would not consent to have their pulpit in the keeping of orthodox ministers; that he (Mr. Sanford) was settled not a year before, with the express understanding that he should exchange with all neighbouring ministers. Mr. Sanford replied, that he did not preach to please men'; laymen he must have meant, since he avowed his subserviency to the will of the orthodox clergy. This refusal created much astonishment and excitement in Raynham. It appeared evident that Mr. Sanford was becoming more exclusive and Calvinistic. His prayers began to be addressed to a Triune God. His exchanges with liberal ministers became less and less frequent. With some he had positively refused to exchange. Affairs continued in this posture some time. Mr. Sans ford was asked why he did not exchange with liberal men as often as he had done formerly. He replied that he had endeavoured to obtain
exchanges with the unitarian ministers of two adjoining towns, but that they both had sent back word, that it was not convenient for them to exchange. Inquiry was immediately made of both those clergymen, who affirmed, that they had received no application from Mr. Sunford for an exchange! The excitement in Raynham increased. Mr. Sanford had recourse to his old stories, and solemnly declared in the presence of three of his liberal parishioners, that he was no Calvinist, and as much Arminian as the individual whom he then addressed. But the time had gone by when the people could be deceived by such declarations. In the fall of 1827, measures were taken by the liberal party to withdraw from the old society. One of the three individuals just alluded to, a gentleman of wealth and influence, and one whom any society would be glad to retain, told Mr. Sanford that if he would make his conduct appear consistent, he should not withdraw. He also observed, that although in his presence he had declared he was no Calvinist, some orthodox members of the society affirmed, that in their presence he had avowed he was a Calvinist. Upon this Mr. Sanford denied that he ever said he was not a Calvinist, and persisted in asserting that he had always been a Calvinist! The gentleman told him, that he had said he was an Arminian, and that he could not be mistaken on this point. Mr. Sanford persisted in his denial of having ever said that he was an Arminian, but finally allowed that if he did pronounce himself an Arminian, he meant no more than this, that whereas Arminius believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, he, quoad hoc, in relation to this point, was an Arminian! The gentleman, as may be easily imagined, was far from being satisfied with such reasoning as this. He withdrew. Mr. Sanford, now perceiving that a loss of the best part of his parish was unavoidable, no longer endeavoured to conceal those Calvinistic sentiments, which, from his conversation, his prayers, his preaching, and from his exchanges, it was evident he had long entertained, and which in a meeting of the church he avowed he had always believed. It was thus that he gradually assumed Calvinistic ground, and became an exclusionist.
I have thus stated the facts which, I think, prove the three positions asserted. To the truth of every assertion which I have made, I have the names of weighty and honorable men,' who are ready and willing to testify.
Yours sincerely, 5. Rev. John A. Albro. I related some of the circumstances which induced me to believe this orthodox minister had practised a most unrighteous concealment. I had a large number of very clear, strong, and indisputable cases of this nature; but I preferred mentioning the one at East Chelmsford for several reasons. It was an instance of late occurrence; it was in our own neighbourhood ; it was perpetrated by an Andover student; he had denied his guilt in conversation, and I knew it could be proved to the satisfaction of any jury on earth. When he was about to exchange with my brother, he asked Cyrus Baldwin, Esq., then a liberal man, what sermons he had best preach in Billerica. The answer contained these sentiments. “Any sermon you have preached here during your six months' ministry will be liberal enough for Mr. Whitman's society." Had not his religious sentiments been thus far concealed ? He was also frequently speaking of “our third independent party," with the Rev. Mr. Withington at its head, who had preached his ordination sermon, and who has had the independence to withstand thus far the overbearing influence of the exclusionists. He likewise stated that he should be considered a heretic by Mr. Todd and his society at Groton. I can assure the Reverend gentleman that his conversation with Cyrus Baldwin and others of the society, with the Rev. Mr. Allen and my brother, and especially at the tea-table of the Hon. Joseph Locke, are well and accurately remembered; and full certificates of the same can be furnished, when necessary, to prove the truth of my assertions. Had he declared an alteration of his views respecting exchanges, and doctrinal preaching, he would have preserved the appearance of honesty ; but by boldly denying what can be proved by the most conclusive evidence and the most unexceptionable witness, he has forfeited the confidence of all but thorough-going zealots.
I will now present you sufficient testimony to establish my original positions, and refute the assertions of the Reverend gentleman from East Chelmsford. The first is a letter from my brother, who took a part in his ordination. The second is from the Hon. Joseph Locke, who was a member of the ordaining council. The third is from the committee of the society, and is simply designed as a very mild refutation of Mr. Albro's statements. In conclusion I will give the Rev. Mr. Allen's statement respecting the three church members to whom Mr. Albro alluded.
“ Billerica, April 4, 1831. “My dear Brother, “I have read, not without astonishment, Mr. Albro's statement of what occurred, relative to ministerial exchanges, before the council at the time of his ordination. He observes, . Before any business was transacted, Mr. Whitman of Billerica desired me to state what course I intended to pursue relative to ministerial intercourse after my ordination. The fact, however, was this. In declining to act as the scribe of the council, I assigned as my reason for so doing, that my acting as a member of the ordaining council would depend on the answer which the candidate should return to a question that I should propose to him at the proper time; and that consequently it would, in my view, be inconsistent for me to act as scribe. When the proper time arrived, that is, after, not before, the transaction of the usual business of such occasions, I proposed my question. I asked for no pledge ; but simply requested Mr. Albro to state honestly his present views and feelings relative to a friendly ministerial intercourse with myself, including pulpit exchanges. My object in proposing this question was, to obtain light to guide me in a consistent course in the part I should act in relation to his ordination. Mr. Albro affects to understand my object to be a very different one from this, for he says, “They,' meaning Mr. Allen and myself,' were not willing to have me free to do what I should judge best. They wished to bind me with the fetters of a solemn and public pledge to exchange with them, whether I could conscientiously do it or not. This is the freedom these worthy champions of religious liberty offered me. You are free to follow our conscience, but not to judge for yourself.' Mr. Albro, fully understanding my question, hesitated as to answering it. His particular friend, the Rev. Mr. Clement, then stated, that he “felt’or was authorized to say, that Mr. Albro's course would be satisfactory to all the members of the council, and that Mr. Albro being present, would express his dissent, if he thought proper. Mr. Albro expressed no dissent; but, by his silence, confirmed the truth of Mr. Clement's declaration. The purport or meaning of that declaration was, that Mr. Albro was at that time honestly disposed to hold a friendly intercourse, including pulpit exchanges, with the unitarian ministers of the council. By giving satisfaction to Mr. Allen and myself, nothing less than this could honestly be meant, because this and this only was the point in debate. The matter was so understood, unquestionably, at the time, by Mr. Albro, as he expressed no dissent when appealed to by the Hon. J. Locke, and as he permitted Mr. Allen and myself to aid in his ordination under the influence of such an understanding, without intimating that we had received an erroneous impression respecting his views and feelings concerning exchanges.
On the groundwork of such an understanding of the matter it was, that Mr. Albro, some months after his ordination, solicited an exchange with me, which took place accordingly. At this time the following remarks were addressed to me by Cyrus Baldwin, Esq., who was as well acquainted as any gentleman in the society with Mr. Albro's views and feelings relative to this subject, and will now affirm that he expected Mr. Albro would continue to exchange with unitarians. Speaking of the condition and prospects of the society, he observed, Our fears arise from one quarter only; we fear that the liberal clergy around us may stand aloof from Mr. Albro, and compel him to enter into the exclusive system; if they will be free to exchange with him, we shall be in harmony and shall do well; for he is willing to exchange with them. And,' continued he, I hope you will be always ready to exchange with him, whenver he shall desire it.' In view of facts and circumstances like these, Mr. Albro came before the public and says, “I exchanged once with Mr. Whitman, which was all I intended and more than I promised. On this painful subject I shall say no more, although very much more might be said ; all concurring to prove, that Mr. Albro understood my question, and that he knew in what sense I understood
his answer, without intimating that I was mistaken. I leave it to an impartial public to decide whether the Reverend gentleman, in this important transaction, has provided things honest in the sight of all men,' or whether he has attempted to practise a'cunning craftiness. My apology for saying thus much is, that transactions like this have a deep connexion with the liberties, the order, the peace, and the prosperity of our churches. " Rev. L. WHITMAN.
Yours, N. Whitman."
- Rev. and Dear Sir,
“ Billerica, March 24, 1831. “Upon looking over the Review of your Letters to Professor Stuart, I was rather surprised at the statement of the Rev. Mr. Albro respecting what took place in the council at his ordination in relation to ministerial exchanges. There were reasons which impressed the circumstances of that transaction very strongly upon my mind, and I think I cannot be mistaken in my recollection respecting it. After the usual proceedings were gone through, and Mr. Albro had undergone an examination at considerable length, by orthodox members of the council, respecting theological doctrines, in which it was pretty apparent, from the indefiniteness of his answers, that he had not very distinct notions upon the subjects of inquiry, or did not choose to commit himself; the Rev. Messrs. Allen and Whitman of the council wished to be informed by Mr. Albro, what were his views and intentions respecting ministerial intercourse and exchanges. They said they made the inquiry in consequence of events that had taken place in several societies; and to enable them to act consistently. It would be absurd for them to coöperate in the ordination of one who would not allow them to be gospel ministers, nor hold intercourse with them as such Doctor Church, and the Rev. Messrs. Stearns and Beckwith, resisted the inquiry, upon the ground that Mr. Albro ought not to give any pledge or express any opinion, as he might alter his views upon the subject, and find himself embarrassed by it. In reply it was said, no pledge was demanded, but simply an honest expression of present views and feelings. There was considerable debate, some warmth of feeling, but no immediate prospect of a termination, when Mr. Clement, a minister and delegate from Andover, who was known to have preached as a candidate in the society before Mr. Albro, rose and said, that, he was well acquainted with the views of the society on the subject, and he presumed he also understood those of the different members of the council; and that he was or felt,' (if Mr. Albro has studied quibbles sufficiently to find out the difference in this case, he may take his choice,] "authorized to say, that Mr. Albro's course, in relation to exchanges, would be such as to give satisfaction to every member of the council.' He then said, that · Mr. Albro was present and could contradict this statement if he chose.' Mr. Albro was silent. Here Mr. Albro, in his letter says, “The subject was drop