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and of supporting the Connexion. How to such an extent as to disturb the peace ever, when he died, in the year 1791, and harmony of the society, would justify that which had been foreseen took place. the Assistant in calling a meeting; and It became then necessary to lay down when the meeting assembled, they more precise laws, for the purpose of would be justified, if they thought the regulating the Connexion in future; case one of such description as to enand it is to the law passed in the year danger the peace and harmony of the so.. 1791 that I must first direct my atten- ciety, to suspend or remove him till the tion; because it appears to me, that, next Conference. I consider :his, thereupon the just construction of that law, fore, as the basis of the law with respect much of the present case necessarily de- to this subject. pends.
In the year 1792 some alteration was In the year 1791, then, after the death made in this law; but not an alteration of Mr. Wesley, for the first time, Dis. of any material consequence. As the triets throughout the kingdom were law stood in the year 1791, the Chairestablished ; and a provision was made man was to be appointed, pro hac vice, to this effect, that the Assistant of the by the District Committee, when assemCircuit shall have the power of conven- bled. An alteration in this respect was ing together the Preachers of the Dis. made, and a permanent Chairman was trict, upon “ any critical case which directed to be appointed immediately might occur;" that they should have after the Conference, who was to hold his the power of appointing a Chairman, situation till the next Conference. By when so met ; that their decision upon the law of 1791, the meeting was to be the matter before them should be final, convened by the Assistant: by the law until the next Conference; that the of 1792, the meeting was to be convened Chairman should report the proceedings by the Chairman. Nothing was said, in to the Conference; who, upon that report, the law of 1791, as to the trial of Preachshould act as the Conference should think ers; but in the law of 1792, something proper and just. That is the first law to is said as to the trial of Preachers; not which I think it necessary attention giving express authority to try Preachers, should be directed.
but assuming, as it were, that they had Nothing is said with respect to offences that authority, and pointing out some committed by Preachers; nothing is said regulations with respect to the manner in as to the trial of Preachers; but still, which that authority should be exercised. taking the language, and the spirit, and One of those regulations was, and a very the scope of this law, and the nature of just and proper one, that an exact copy of the society, can it for a moment be doubt. the charges should be handed to the ed, that, if a Preacher had so conducted Preacher, in order that he might prepare bimself, I am not now alluding at all for his defence, when the meeting should to the case of Dr. Warren,--but that, be convened for the purpose of deciding had a Preacher so conducted himself, as on his case. to introduce discord, and to disturb the But there is another part of this law, harmony of a society like this, and en- to which it is necessary I should advert, danger the Connexion, that would not for an object to which I shall by-and-by be considered as a critical case, justi- direct my attention. The Chairman was fying the Assistant in calling the meet- to call the meeting: he might be the ing of the Preachers? If so, and they culprit, he might be the party accused, had the power to decide, and their de- -and therefore the Superintendent, if cision was to be final till the next Con- there was any accusation against the ference, is it not quite obvious, that it Chairman, was, in that case, directed to might, in many instances, be necessary, convene the meeting; and if the majority under such circumstances, for the pur- of the meeting were of opinion the case pose of preserving the very existence of was made out against the party accused, such a society, that the meeting should -- the Chairman being described to be a have the power of suspending or remov. Travelling Preacher, -in that case the ing the Preacher, subject always to the District Committee had the power to sus. ratification or opinion of the Conference ? pend him. It has been reasoned, and :It appears to me, therefore, notwith very properly reasoned, that it would be standing the generality of these terms, extraordinary there should be a power it embraces the very case in question ; given to suspend the Chairman, and not and that, if the law had stopped here, power given to suspend any other Preach. and no other act been passed, still, under er; and it is almost impossible that one this act of Conference, in the year 1791, could be led to that conclusion. But I any Preacher who misconducted himself have already said, that, under the general
law, I understand there would be a had the power to try; and, as the result power to suspend; and this is a confirma- of that power to try, to remove and to tion of the opinion I have expressed on suspend any travelling Preacher; to rethe construction of the general law. move and suspend him only till the next
There, therefore, the matter continued, Conference. “I think that deduction is till the end of the year 1792. In the clear, and absolutely certain and deci. year 1793 there is a provision of a differ. sive. ent description, referring to a particular If that be so, then the question that charge against Preachers. If a Preacher remains to be considered is this,-Has any is charged with immorality, in that case, alteration been made in this law, in this provision is made to try him by a species power, by the Act of Pacification; and, of domestic tribunal : two persons are to if so, what is the extent and nature of be appointed by the Preacher; two by that alteration ? The Act of Pacification the accuser ; those four persons, with the was an act which appears to have been Chairman, are to assemble; and they very much considered. Disputes had are to decide on his guilt or innocence taken place in this society, principally of the offence which is imputed to him. founded on the administration of the
I find, by the rules of the year 1797, sacraments; and for the purpose of termito which I refer now incidentally for nating all those disputes, this Act of this purpose, that it was not considered Pacification was agreed to by the Conferat that time that the decision of the tribu. ence. Now, it is unnecessary that I nal was to be binding upon the Preacher; should say any thing as to the first part for he might, if he thought proper, in- of the Act of Pacification, which relates stead of submitting to the decision of this to the Administration of the Sacraments.” tribunal, insist on being tried by the I come, therefore, to the second title, the District Committee.
title “Discipline.” Now, what does that This brings me down to the year 1793. provide, and what is the law ? It begins In the year 1794 there was a different by saying, that no Trustee shall expel or regulation made, as to the trial of Preach- remove any Preacher from the chapel. ers who were accused of immorality. In However, it says, that if the majority of that case, the Leaders, the Stewards, the the Trustees, or the majority of the Trustees, and the Preachers of the Cir. Leaders and Stewards of the society, cuit, are to be assembled, and they are to have reason to think that any Preacher decide upon his guilt or his innocence; has been guilty of the offences therein and if a majority decide against him, in mentioned, namely, of immorality, or of that case, the Chairman of the District erroneousness in doctrine, or of a violais to remove him. I do not think it ne tion of the rules therein before specified, cessary to dwell upon this particular law, with reference to the administration of because, when I come to look at the law the sacrament, or that he is deficient in of 1795, the regulations are so much at talents, in abilities, that, under such cirvariance with the law of 1794, that I con- cumstances,-not that they are compelled, sider the law of 1795 was intended to be sub- - not that they are bound,- but that they stituted in lieu of that of 1794 ; and I am shall have authority, to convene a particuconfirmed in that conclusion, when I find, lar species of tribunal, a mixed tributhat in the Code of Rules which was nal. "That tribunal is to consist of the published in the year 1797, this law is Preachers of the District, of the Trustees, altogether omitted ; and, although I do of the Leaders, and of the Stewards; they not know where to find it at the present are to consider the case as alleged against moment, in consequence of the mass of the party accused ; and, if a majority of affidavits before me, I have a strong im. them are of opinion that the case is made pression on my mind that, in the affida- out against him, then he is to be consivits, it is mentioned that it was considered dered as removed, -as removed from that as being abrogated, and as being no Circuit. It is then provided, that the longer in force.
District Committee shall fill up the Now, this has brought me down to the vacancy so occasioned by the removal of Act of Pacification. How, then, did the the Preacher from that Circuit, only until law stand at the commencement of the the next Conference,- that the District year 1795 ? I think it is impossible to Committee shall fill up the vacancy. And doubt for a moment, after the history then it goes on further to provide, that which I have given of the progress of the District Committee may, if they these laws, that, in the early part of the think proper, proceeding upon this act of year 1795, and before the Act of Pacifica the majority, suspend him from all duties tion was passed, the District Committee until the next Conference.
This is the first part of the Articles of by the District Committee, except he shall Pacification, as far as relates to disci. have the privilege of the trial before pline; and if it rested here, it appears to mentioned,” might have had reference to me there would be no ambiguity in the what had gone before, because they had, case. This is not at all at variance in terms, the power to suspend the with the previous provisions. It does not Preacher in consequence of the decision take away the power of the District of the mixed tribunal; but then it goes Committee : it only says, that in the case on to say, “ No District Committee shall of certain delinquencies, or want of abi. have the power of removing from the lity, certain persons have the power, if Circuit the Preacher, unless he has the they think proper to exercise it, to call privilege of the trial before-mentioned." together a particular tribunal-a mixed But the District Committee is not the tribunal—to consider the case. It does body that removes him ; he is removed, not interfere with the right of the Dis- not by the District Committee, but the trict Committee, in all cases in which act of the majority. But then it is imthose particular parties having this parti- possible not to take notice of the term of cular authority do not choose to interfere, expression here used,-“ He shall be conor in cases in which they have no autho- sidered as removed.” It does not say he rity to 'interfere. Therefore, if the case is actually, and in fact, removed, but that rested here, it appears to me there would he shall be considered as removed. And be no doubt in the question.
then that is followed up immediately by But then the doubt which is brought saying, the District Committee should into the question is occasioned by parti appoint his successor. It would seem, cular words contained in the fifth division therefore, as if it was considered that the of this Act. The terms, as far as I re- act of the District Committee was neces. collect them, in that fifth division are sary to consummate, as it were, the act of these," That no Preacher shall be re- removal. Giving it that interpretation, moved from his Circuit, or suspended by and supposing that to be the intention of any District Committee, except he have the parties who were engaged in framing the privilege of the trial before men- this law, then the whole is consistent ; tioned.” Now these words, taken by and it amounts to nothing more than this, themselves, are extremely large and ge- that the District Committee shall not neral; and, I confess, I have felt some give effect to the proceedings hereindifficulty in dealing with them. Do they before mentioned, against any Preacher, apply to the taking away all authority of unless he has had the privilege of the suspending and removal from the District trial which is above-mentioned, -that is, Committee ? If they do, how can we provided for him. apply to such a case all the terms that I do not mean to say, there is not some are contained in this fifth clause? No difficulty in this case, but, as I said dur. District Committee shall have the power ing the argument, and as I have felt of suspending or removing from the throughout, there are difficulties both Circuit, except the party have the ways. The construction is doubtful; privilege of the trial before mentioned. and if the construction be doubtful, then But no District Committee has the power let us advert to the circumstances which of giving the Preacher the benefit of the have taken place since the law was passed. trial before-mentioned. There is no au- What took place in the year 1797 ? The thority for that purpose. They have no question to be considered, it is always to power to convene this mixed tribunal. be recollected, is this,—Was the authority There are no regulations authorizing of the District Committee to suspend, them to do so; and if it was meant that and to remove from the Circuit, taken the District Committee should have had away by the Act of Pacification ? Bear such a power, there is no doubt, I appre- that always in mind, and see what has hend, it would have been distinctly taken place. provided for. It does not appear to me, In the year 1797, two years afterwards, therefore, that this applies to the general another act of Conference was published ; authority of the District Committee. and in that act of Conference there is this But does it apply, and has it reference, provision. By that act of Conference the solely to the powers given in the second District Committee has, with respect to head of this Article of Pacification ? different items, with respect to different There is a difficulty even in construing it acts, only a negative power. Much of strictly with reference to this second head. the authority of the District Committee If the word “suspend” only had been was taken away; and then it goes on used, it would have been free from ambi- thus : “ In short, brethren, out of our guity. “ No Preacher shall be suspended great love for peace and union, and our
great desire to satisfy your minds, we have the Act of Pacification ? By no means. given up to you by far the greatest part Those laws and rules to which I have reof the Superintendent's authority ; and ferred for the trial of a Preacher by the if we consider that the Quarterly Meet. District Committees, form a part of that ings are the sources from whence all tem code. They precede the Act of Pacifiporal regulations, during the intervals cation. They were obviously considered, of the Conference, must now originally therefore, as in force at the time when this spring; and also, that the Committee Act was passed, namely, in the year 1797. formed according to the Plan of Pacifica. The mode of trial of a Preacher by a tion can, in every instance in which the District Committee is pointed out. But Trustees, Leaders, and Stewards choose” it may be said, and has been said, that - choose “ to interfere "-choose to in- though the District Committee may have terfere“ respecting the gifts, doctrines, a power of trial, they have no power of or moral character of Preachers, supersede removing or suspending;—the Act of in a great measure the regular District Pacification, in that clause to which I Committees; we may, taking all these have referred, takes away that power. things into our view, truly say, that such Did it so? Why, in the code of laws, have been the sacrifices we have made, that provision for suspending the Chairthat our District Committees themselves man of the meeting still remains; and it have hardly any authority remaining, but is perfectly clear, therefore, that the party a bare negative in general, and the ap- publishing this code of laws never consipointment of a Representative to assist in dered that that clause in the Act of Padrawing up the rough draft of the stations cification could have the meaning that is of the Preachers.” The authority, there. now assigned to it, namely, that of taking fore, of the District Committee was super away from the District Committee the seded, -when? Not absolutely, but only power of suspending in any case when in those cases in which the Trustees, the party had not the privilege of the parLeaders, and Stewards choose to inter. ticular trial mentioned in the Act of Pacifere, respecting particular objects, namely, fication. the gifts, doctrines, or the moral charac- It appears to me, that this is demon. ter of the Preachers. It appears to me, strative upon this. Who are the parties therefore, impossible to consider, taking promulgating those laws ? Not parties this article of 1797 in connexion with the who had slight information; not persons article of 1795, that the Articles of Pa who had only a slight knowledge of the cification were meant to have the effect constitution of the Connexion ;-why, it which is contended for on the part of the was the legislators themselves, it was plaintiff.
the very parties who promulgated the But the case does not at all rest here: Act of Pacification ;-it was they who the case is much stronger. In the year promulgated this law, and who, by that 1797 it was considered by the Conference, very act of their own of promulgation, who are the legislative body, that it was made it become of itself a legislative act; of importance to the Connexion, both for and it is a declaration, by the legislature, the purpose of promoting harmony, and that the power of suspension still contifor the purpose of pointing out the line of nues in the District Committee. duty which individuals should pursue, But that is not all. I should advert that it was of importance to publish the here, however, to a document which was existing rules of the society. In the put in on the other side, and much inpreamble to this, it says, “And whereas sisted upon ; which is handed, as I un. we have collected together those rules derstand, and I believe that appears in which we believe to be essential to the ex- the affidavits, to each Preacher at the istence of Methodism, as well as others, to time of his ordination ; and which docuwhich we have no objection, we do now ment is accompanied with this declaravoluntarily, and in good faith, sign our tion, that “as long as you conform and names, as approving of and engaging to adhere to these rules, we shall rejoice to comply with the aforesaid collection of acknowledge you as a fellow-labourer." rules, or code of laws, God being our That contains the Act of Pacification ; helper.” So that they publish what they that contains the act of the year 1797 ; consider to be the code of laws of Me. but it takes no notice of the preceding thodism, in the year 1797, and they sign acts : and it is said, therefore, that that that code with their names. Now that document is to be put in opposition to code has been given in evidence. It is the code of laws published in the year the document, I think, described by the 1797, and is to be considered pro tanto letter “ F."- the exhibit “ F." Do we as an abrogation of them. But I consifind that that code of laws begins with der this as nothing more than as a guide to the conduct of the Preacher. It is ception. It is said there was no resist not intended as a perfect code of laws, ance to those cases, because it is very for this obvious reason, that the regula likely the parties themselves, in many tions as to the District Committee are instances, would not be disposed to resist, entirely excluded from it, not merely for for the reason fairly stated in the affidavit. the purpose of trial, but for all other They might be conscious of their guilt, purposes. It is quite obvious on the and, if so, they would be desirous that face of that document itself, it was not the matter should not be further investi. intended as a transcript of the code of gated. But the Conference itself would laws, as then existing, but as a mere have been called upon to act, whether guide and assistant to the Preacher. the parties had intervened or not; the It appears to me, therefore, that that legislative body would have been bound document, which is dated as late as the to act, and would have been of necessity year 1833, cannot have the effect which called upon to have considered and deit was said it was intended to have, of clared that to be a violation of the rules. abrogating and annulling the code pub. But then it is said, “Mr. Henry lished in the year 1797.
Moore's case is an exception. What sigBut now, then, as to what has taken nifies those seventy cases that have been place since the year 1795. From the acted upon and acquiesced in-Mr. year 1795, down to the present tiine, a Henry Moore resisted; and in Mr. Henry great variety of instances, at least seventy Moore's resistance he triumphed in his in number, have taken place ; - seventy opposition to the District Committee."instances, at least, of Preachers sus. Now, really what are the facts of Mr. pended or removed by the District Com Henry Moore's case? Mr. Henry Moore mittees. It is said, that if a law is clear, took the chapel under particular circumusage at variance with that law cannot stances; he took it under an express proalter the law. But I do not consider, vision, as I understand, in the will of taking the law by itself, for the reasons Mr. Wesley. The Conference had al. I have stated, that it is perfectly clear. lotted that house to the Superintendent. Standing by itself, it is not perfectly Mr. Henry Moore, conceiving that he clear. But this is to be considered, with had a right to the house, in defiance of respect to the usage, that it is not the the Conference, refused to give up posordinary usage of ordinary persons, act- session. What did the District Coming under a code of laws; but that it is mittee do? They assembled, summoned the usage of the very legislative body him, and suspended him from his Cir. itself, acting under and interpreting its cuit. Mr. Henry Moore resisted; but own laws. Now mark,--a Preacher is what was the limit of his resistance ? suspended by a District Committee ;- He did not attempt to preach in the other what is the course that is immediately chapels in the Circuit, but confined his taken? He is suspended only till the preaching to that particular chapel, and next Conference. The Committee is his resistance to that particular house, on bound to report to the Conference; and the ground which I have stated. He said, in the Minutes of Conference those re. “ You have no jurisdiction over this par. ports are regularly entered. Is it possi- ticular chapel; I hold it by a particular ble to suppose, that if, in 1796 or 1797, title; I hold it under the will of Mr. immediately after the passing of the Wesley;"but he abandoned his title to Articles of Pacification, the District all the other chapels; he did not preach Committee had removed or suspended a there. This matter afterwards came bePreacher, when they made their report to fore the Conference; but, from Mr. the Conference, would they not have Moore's high character, and the respect immediately said, (if that was not the that was entertained for him, the matter meaning of the law,) “You have acted went no further, but was suffered to drop. illegally; you have acted, it may be, And really it appears to me, that as to with good intentions ; but you have Mr. Henry Moore's case being an excepacted contrary to our law for promoting tion, his abstaining from preaching in the harmony of the society, as promul. the other chapels, and the discharge of gated by us in 1795 ?" But no such his duties there, is rather a confirmation thing takes place. The report of the of it; and that his holding this particuDistrict Committee is entered by the lar chapel on particular grounds, shows Conference, without comment; and so it that he thought he had no right to oppose goes on from the year 1795 down to the the general authority of the District Compresent time. 1. or
mittee, but only that they had no right But then it is said, there was an ex- to disturb him with respect to this parti.