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should be adopted. We insert the result of this meeting, embracing a string of seven resolutions, all of which are subversive of the constitution of Methodism, and highly calculated to injure the cause of vital godliness wherever their withering influence is directed. The addresses of the persons who took an active part in the proceedings of that meeting were distinguished by that vulgar and vituperative conduct by which our modern Wesleyan reformers have rendered themselves notorious, and are utterly unworthy of notice. The resolutions are as follow :
“]. That this meeting hears with surprise and sorrow, that Conference will not grant what we conceive to be the just and reasonable demands of the people.
«2. That though the result of our application to Conference is highly unsatisfactory, yet we do not despair of obtaining a reform in Wesleyan Methodism, based on the Scriptural principle, that the express concurrence of the people is necessary in all important matters such as legislation, finance, and the administration of discipline.' We therefore pledge ourselves to persevere in the use of all Christianlike means for the attainment of such reform.
“3. That should an attempt be made in this Circuit (which has been in others) illegally to expel any from Society who take an active part in Wesleyan reform, we now record our firm determination neither to submit to, nor acknowledge, any expulsion which is not in accordance with the following good old Methodist rule :-No Leader or Steward can be put out of his place but by a majority of Leaders, or a Quarterly Meeting. Nor can any member of the Society be excluded but by a majority at a Leaders' Meeting.'
«4. That this is, and was intended to be, a fundamental and unalterable rule of Methodism, is most certain : and for these reasons: (1.) It is in perfect harmony with the spirit of the regulations of 1797, at which Conference the Methodist constitution was, in its leading principles, settled on a permanent foundation. (2.) The Conference of 1797, after concisely stating to the people the sense of what had been agreed upon, promise that the rules shall be published for the benefit of the members, when they will have the whole at large. And in accordance with this promise, the rules were so published by the Conference agent, G. Story, in 1798; of which rules, the one we have quoted is a most important one, as it respects discipline. (3.) This edition of rules having been all distributed throughout the Connexion, a second was published, 'in 1800, by the said G. Story, who was still the Conference agent; and in this second edition this same important rule is found, and the whole of these rules were sold or given by the Travelling Preachers, as the acknowledged and settled rules of the Connexion. This shows, beyond dispute, what was, and therefore still is, the rule respecting expulsions, as finally agreed upon by the Preachers and people in 1797.
“5. That many of us having accepted office, and become responsible for large sums of money, in the full belief that this was an essential and unchangeable rule of Methodism, and such being still our conviction, we shall be traitor's to ourselves to our office to the cause of God and to posterity, if we were to suffer it to be violated. It will, therefore, be with us a matter of conscience (and being so, we will never swerve) to resist to the utmost any one who dares to break or evade this good old rule of genuine Methodism.*
“6. That should any member be illegally expelled in this Circuit whose moral character is unimpeached, we hereby assure such person that we will feel towards him, and in every respect treat him as a brother beloved. And should the whole, or the major part of us, be so expelled, we are deliberately determined still to consider ourselves Wesleyan Methodists. We will still cleave to each other, as members of the same persecuted portion of the Christian church. We will, as formerly, meet together in all the social means of grace. And as the Trustees have power to bring to trial any Preacher, who is immoral—who breaks our rules-who is deficient in abilities-or whose doctrines are not Wesleyan; and as our attachment to those doctrines is unshaken and unabated, we will not leave the chapels which we and our fathers have reared. Nor will we be driven away from the sanctuaries under the droppings of which we, and our families, had so often and so greatly profited. Whilst, on the one hand, we relax not in our efforts to obtain Wesleyan reform--on the other, we will studiously avoid all unseemly excitement, all angry feeling, and all attempts at separation from the church. We will stand in our lot-confidently believing and praying that He, in whose hands are the hearts of all men, will speedily restore peace to our Zion and prosperity to our Jerusalem. Amen.
7. That these resolutions be printed, and distributed to all the members in this Circuit."
These resolutions bear the signature of a Mr. Samuel Heape, who styles himself, à Circuit Steward, Leader, Local Preacher, and Trustee! Of upwards of seventy persons who attended the meeting, only three were “faithful found among the faithless, ** and opposed their adoption. There is much in the above proceedings of what is so unscriptural and anti-Methodistical, that it would have been our duty to expose the dangerous principles therein inculcated, had not these subjects been frequently, and most triumphantly refuted in the Illuminator ; we therefore pass on by merely referring our readers to those papers.
A similar meeting was held at Heywood, on the 3rd of September, and again on the 7th, at the same place. Another was convened at Rochdale, on the 11th, composed of various official characters in the Circuit, at which meeting it was determined, that public Wesleyan reform meetings should be forthwith held, both at Rochdale and
* The religious public are well aware how much the Rochdale Trustees heeded rules, whether promul. gated in 1797 or 1798, when they determined to bring into the chapel in that town the Grand Central Association, with the expelled Dr. Warren at their head, in the very teeth of the provisions of their own Deed, which they had actually signed, and in good faith promised to observe; and when nothing could check these mad and reckless measures but a legal process !
Heywood. We need scarcely observe that all the above meetings were called, not merely without the sanction, but without the knowledge of the Superintendent of the Circuit.
Affairs no'y assumed a decided form, so that Mr. Sumner determined that no longer delay should take place in reading the pastoral address of the Conference to the Societies. It was, consequently, read to the Rochdale members, by the Rev. John M'Uwan, on the evening of the 13th of September. This circumstance gave considerable offence to the belligerent parties, who, sapiently enough, declared, that because the Preachers read this address, according to the express order of the Conference, they were the aggressors, and had cast the first stone. In consequence thereof, ulterior proceedings of agitation were resorted to; and on the following day, a circular, signed by one of the Trustees, and announcing that a public meeting would shortly be held, in order to give Wesleyan reformers an opportunity of explaining their views, was extensively circulated, and even distributed at the chapel doors after the usual week-night service. On Thursday, the 17th, a meeting of the Trustees was held, of which neeting Mr. Sumner had no notice, neither was he requested to attend ; and here it was that the majority of six or seven to three of the Trustees resolved, that a public meeting to state the grievances of Methodists, and to advocate the principles of Wesleyan reform, should be held in the Rochdale Wesleyan chapel, on the 1st of the ensuing October, and that Dr. Warren, David Rowland, and James Livsey should be invited to attend; the last of whom should be requested to preside on the occasion. Of these proceedings Mr. Sumner received but casual information, on the following forenoon.
The despicable hypocrisy of these Trustees will be apparent to all who look into the affair, and recollect the tenor of the resolutions of the meetings of August 19, carried by such a sweeping majority on that occasion. Nevertheless, these men talk of honor, good faith, and Christian integrity, in all their proceedings! We say, let our readers judge; they declare, “we will not be driven away from our sanctuaries”-“we will studiously avoid all unseemly excitements"-"and all attempts at separation from the church." What dependance ought to be placed on their printed resolutions will appear, when we assert that those very men, of their own accord, have left the chapel, is which they and their fathers reared;" they have invited revilers from a distance, to rail against their own Ministers, in public assemblies convened by themselves, and then two of the Trustees—as a a token of their acquiescerce in all that these wholesale slanderers declared-formally, publicly, and most cordially shook hands with one of these strangers in the middle of his speech; we allude to the contemptible agitator from Liverpool, who has lately gained a deplorable notoriety by exhibiting his wife from platform to platform, as a victim to Methodistical tyranny and priestcraft; these Trustees attempted to hold this meeting for those iniquitous purposes, on their own Trust premises, in direct violation of the express provisions of their own Deed; they have endeavoured by means the most insidious and base, (and in a manner altogether becoming Absalom of old, who was also engaged in a similar bad work,) to alienate the hearts of the Societies and congregations from those who were appointed to labour among them and for them in the word and doctrine, and when they were enabled to ascertain that a majority were ready to act upon their request, they demanded to be freed from a yoke, of the existence of which they had never before dreamed : and commenced a system of the most aggressive measures, all of which were intended to force the Preachers into compliance with their views, under the intimidation of stopping supplies, and starving them and their families; during all this period, with daggers in their hands and words of poison in their mouths, these worthy Trustees of Rochdale, actually expected to be treated as dearly beloved brethren by their pastors !! This was indeed rather too much!
As soon as Mr. Sumner was fully acquainted with the nature of those proceedings which had taken place on the preceding evening, he, in company with his colleague, Mr. M'Owan, waited upon several of those who had been present, and enquired more particularly into the truth of the report; and finding the case to be as we have already stated, he urged them in the most conciliatory and courteous manner, immediately to rescind that resolution, and not desecrate the chapel premises by such a proceeding. The mild and peaceable demeanour of Mr. Sumner met with a perfect contrast in the conduct and spirit of many of those whom he visited, and he was most unhesitatingly assured, that, as a majority of the Trustees had agreed to hold a meeting for such purpose, the meeting would be held accordingly.
Still desirous, if possible, of preventing a rupture, which he foresaw these rerolutionary measures would produce if carried forward, and deeply impressed with the evil which would certainly follow the holding of the meeting in the chapel, he very kindly convened, by notes, a meeting of several of the Trustees, whom he believed to be principally concerned in the agitation, together with a few other friends, who had been accustomed to be consulted occasionally in the affairs of the Circuit. This meeting took place in the dwelling house of Mr. Sumner, on Saturday evening, September 19. It commenced with prayer, after which the Superintendent very freely and familiarly explained the nature and principles of the Wesleyan constitution and discipline, and particularly endeavoured to impress upon the minds of the Trustees who were then present, the illegality and inexpediency of holding the intended meeting in the said chapel, and the inevitable discord among the members of the Society which would be produced. Mr. Sumner and his excellent colleague continued for the space of four hours, reasoning with, and entreating these infatuated men, but without effect; they persisted in declaring their intention to hold the meeting. Anxious to ascertain what power the Trust Deed vested in his hands as the Superintendent, Mr. Sumner requested to have an opportunity of perusing that document, at the same time unequivocally stating to the persons then present, his positive intention of preventing to the utmost of his power, the assembling of that meeting in the Methodist chapel; at which, one of the Trustees, who the day previous had volunteered the loan of his copy of the Deed to Mr.'Sumner, exclaimed, “I object to Mr. Sumner having the Deed without an order from the Trustee meeting;" the Trustees present promised to call a meeting of the Trustees for the purpose of considering the request of Mr. Sumner to inspect the Trust Deed. Prior also to the separation of the parties on that evening, the same individual who engaged to furnish Mr. Sumner with a copy of the Deed, and then retracted, openly stated as follows :-"I corsider Mr. Sumneř's announcement to oppose the meeting in the chapel sufficient reason for withdrawing my promise, and I object to his having the Deed; there being no cause why we should furnish him with weapons to contend against ourselves.” This wiseacre does not appear to have possessed wit sufficient to know, that Mr. Sumner as the representative of the Conference, had as just right to be acquainted with the contents of the Deed as themselves.
On Monday, September 21, the Trustee meeting was held, at which two subjects of discussion were introduced : 1st, whether Mr. Sumner should be allowed to peruse the Deed, and 2nd, whether the Trustees would rescind the resolution of the former meeting. After a protracted conversation it was agreed, that a copy of the Deed which Mr. Howard had in his possession, and which he testified to be an examined copy of the Trust Deed, should be furnished to Mr. Sumner for his inspection; but on the subject of rescinding the resolution of the former meeting, Mr. Sumner prevailed nothing, inasmuch as the force of this question was evaded by the remark, that as all the Trustees were not present who had voted on that question, another meeting would be necessary for its discussion! No disposition, however, was manifested to call such a meeting. One of the disaffected Trustees feeling probably some qualms of conscience, on the gross indelicacy of the steps they were taking, thought, that out of respect for the feelings of Mr. Sumner, that part of the resolution which referred to the holding of the meeting in the chapel ought to be rescinded. The sincerity of this expression of regard for Mr. Sumner's feelings will appear, when we inform our readers, that this amiable Trustee was found on Tuesday evening with a coterie of Associationists, violating the engagement of the Monday evening, by concocting bills, announcing the reform meeting in the chapel! All that he obtained from them was a pledge, that they would not advertise the intended meeting, until he had perused the Deed. Mr. Sumner waited at home during the whole of the following day, the 22nd, for the receipt of the copy of the Deed, but it came not, until early on the forenoon of Wednesday, with the intimation, that it would be called for in the course of the evening of that day, to take to the Revising Barrister's court. As one among the many lamentable proofs of deficient integrity and base duplicity this party has displayed, we record the fact, that while Mr. Sumner was perusing this document, the bills advertising the objectionable meeting, were in the hands of the printer ; and before seven o'clock, A. M., on Thursday, they were industriously circulated through the town, and upon the walls of Rochdale; and by nine, A. M., the same day, were placarded in Manchester.
At the meeting in which the question respecting a copy of the Deed to be funished to the Superintendent was considered, Mr. Sumner was asked whether- he had any intention to take legal proceedings; he replied—“At present I have no such intentions, but cannot pledge myself to any future course of proceeding.” Nevertheless, the notorious Dr. Warren has had the unblushing effrontery to declare, in a meeting recently held in the metropolis, that “ Mr. Sumner procured an inspection of the Rochdale chapel Deed, under a pledge that it should not be used for legal purposes.” A more false statement than this could not have been uttered! Mr. Sumner expressly told the Trustees who met at his house on the 19th, that he wished to peruse a copy of the Deed, in order that he might learn the nature and extent of his prerogative; and at a subsequent meeting, when questioned as to his intentions in reference to ulterior proceedings, he stated, that he did not then intend any legal process, but that he should avail himself of the advice of his friends, and judge accordingly. Notwithstanding, several of the Trustees, (whose names we spare,)-destitute of prudence, and ansious for the introduction of fell democracy ere they ingloriously, but most salutarily, left the Body-went so far as to require from him the pledge which the foolish Samuel Warren, ludicrously enough, imagined our excellent Superintendent of Rochdale was possessed of weakness enough to concede, but which Mr. Sumner, most properly, expressly, and peremptorily refused to give. În corroboration of the truth of this statement, we refer to the following testimonial, drawn up and signed by three of the Trustees resident in Rochdale, who are still faithful to the trust reposed in them, and who were present at the meeting referred to.
“As it appears that public statements have been made by certain persons, in various places, that our highly-esteemed Superintendent, the Rev. John Sumner, previous to his obtaining a perusal of the Rochdale chapel Deed, gave a promise or pledge, in a Trustee meeting, that he would take no legal proceedings against the Trustees-We, the undersigned, having been present on the occasion referred to, hereby declare that NO SUCH PROMISE OR PLEDGE WAS GIVEN BY MR. SUMNER. But that on the question being put to him, first by one Trusteee and afterwards by another, whether he had any intentions of going to law, he replied-Since I am pressed on this point, I will be candid with you. I have no present intentions of going to law. Not having seen the Deed, I cannot tell what my powers are, or whether I have any ; but I will give you no pledge as to my future course.'
"HENRY CARTWRIGHT." In a contemptible publication, notorious only for the malignant spirit whieh it breathes, and for the gross misrepresentations and falsehoods which it contains, entitled “Explanations explaineri,” (!) bearing the signatures of John Howard and John Hoyle, it is asserted that Mr. Sumner had been guilty of intentional deception, in not communicating with the refractory Trustees after he had perused the Deed. Now, the only distinct understanding which existed between the parties, when they separated, was, that no further proceedings should be taken until a communication should take place between them, after Mr. Sumner's perusal of the Deed. The persons who were to make the communication were not named, Mr. Sumner distinctly stating, at parting“I can see you, or you can see me.” This understanding was, however, flagrantly violated by the disaffected Trustees, within a few hours after it was entered into, by their attending an Association committee, and issuing placards announcing the meeting. To have communicated with such characters, reckless of all honor and decency, would, in our opinion, have been the very madness of folly.
On Friday, the 25th-the fourth day after the Trustee meeting the second day after the copy of the Deed was returned to the Trustee who had furnished it-and the day following that on which the towns of Rochdale and Manchester were inundated with the placards advertising the illegal meeting, Mr. Sumner went to Manchester, not to commence a legal process, which the precipitate proceedings of these lawless Trustees demanded there and then, but to consult with his brethren the Preachers of the Manchester Circuits, and to take the advice of Mr. T. P. Bunting about holding a watchnight in the chapel, instead of their public meeting, and to have a sufficient and legal notice drawn up, to be read from the pulpit the ensuing Sabbath day for that purpose. So reluctant was Mr. Sumner to contemplate a process in equity, that this was all the law he intended up to that period. From Mr. Bunting he was made acquainted with the utter insufficiency of this pacific scheme, and that the only method of preventing the meeting and preserving the chapel for its legitimate purposes was, to obtain a special injunction from his Honor the Vice-Chancellor. In this opinion the friends of Mr. Sumner fully concurred, and further suggested the propriety of Mr. Bunting accompanying Mr. Sumner that evening to Rochdale, as a legal friend, and to use his influence in persuading the refractory Trustees to alter their proceedings. This task Mr. Bunting kindly undertook, but failed in the attempt. He then made a formal demand of the Trust Deed; first of George Ashworth, who denied having the custody thereof, but after a lengthened conversation acknowledged, that the required Deed was in the possession of a Mr. John Howard. Of him, therefore, did Mr. Bunting demand a sight of the Deed, but which Mr. Howard positively refused to grant. It ought be known that Mr. Samuel Heape, who figured away at the meeting of August 19, as chairman
Steward, Local Preacher, Leader, and Trustee, in the Rochdale Circuit-was present, and counselled Mr. Howard to tender such refusal. We also strongly suspect that it was this Samuel Heape who declared, at a subsequent Trustee meeting, that if Mr. Bunting had called upon him on such an errand, he should have been disposed to hand him into the canal, which is contiguous to his house! Pretty language this, for a Local Preacher and Leader!
On Saturday evening, the 26th, the Trustees called a meeting of themselves, and invited Mr. Sumner to attend ; which he did. In answer to a question which the Trustees proposed, respecting the adoption of legal measures, Mr. Sumner said " If you, as honorable men, will give me your promise that you will not hold the meeting in the chapel, I will pledge myself that no legal proceedings that I may have contemplated shall affect you." This proposition was most contemptuously spurned, and Mr. Sumner then, for the first time, avowed in what manner he intended to frustrate the holding of the reform meeting in the chapel; and then asked what they, (the Trustees) in such a case, would do? To which they replied—“Two magistrates and a sufficient police force will be in attendance to prevent disturbance and to keep the peace;" and desired to know from Mr. Sumner whether he had not already adopted legal proceedings; whose reply was—“It is stated that you have a right to hold the reform meeting in the chapel; I say, let it be tried; but I shall do everything in my power, between this and next Thursday, to prevent it."
Thus was the excellent Superintendent of the Rochdale Circuit, driven by these Leaders and infatuated men, into the highest court in the land to crave protection for himself, his colleagues, and the Society committed to his care, in the exercise of their civil and religious liberties. That Divine Providence, however, which illumined the steps of our beloved Connexion in the affair of Warren, in the same court, shone upon the path of Mr. Sumner; and although the period of time in which this measure was to be achieved was short, and his Honor the Vice Chancellor at a distance from the Metropolis, nevertheless, a variety of circumstances transpired, all favourable to the grand result, and early in the morning of Thursday, October 1, Mr. Sumner, in company with his indefatigable and talented solicitor, Mr. T. P. Bunting, arrived in Rochdale with the injunction.
No time was lost in giving official intimation to the Trustees of the steps which had been taken; therefore, before Mr. Sumner saw his family, he hastened to the printer, that he might issue a formal notice of the injunction to the public; this was published soon after twelve o'clock at noon, and nineteen copies of the notice, specially for the Trustees, each nearly filling a folio page, were written out, and the greater part served before three, P. M. That Messrs. Howard and Hoyle should, in common with their co-refractory Trustees, feel great anxiety in knowing what the nature of the legal proceedings were, which they had recklessly compelled Mr. Sumner to adopt, we are not at all surprised, for we have noticed the anxiety depicted on the countenances of certain culprits at the bar, when waiting for the verdict of the jury, and the sentence of the judge; it appears also that Mr. Sumner has given these worthies huge offence, because he did not give the Trustees a verbal intimation of what was going on, in answer to certain cynical and obtrusive questions which some of them proposed. Here, in our opinion, Mr. Sumner acted with all due propriety. These obstinately-perverse Trustees had passed the rubicon, the day of verbal communication had gone by, they had drawn the sword and foolishly thrown away the scabbard, they had pertinaciously refused to relinquish the meeting in the chapel, and with most unblushing impudence, actually caused the platform for the reform meeting, that very morning, to be erected in the chapel. If these Trustees suspected that their Superintendent could have been guilty of such weakness, as to communicate verbally any more with them on this subject, we are heartily glad they have mistaken their man. No, no: Mr. Sumner's conduct has our hearty approval, in making these gentry stop a bit, until they should learn the object of their inquiry from the public advertisements, and from the official notices which were shortly served upon themselves.
On the forenoon of the last mentioned day, a document signed by several of the Trustees was presented to Mr. Sumner, stating, that if he would release them from their responsibilities as Trustees, they would peaceably retire from all association with the Wesleyan body. The ludicrous nature of such a proposition is obvious to every one; but the object which those had in view who proposed such a scheme, was so far answered, that it furnished subject of animadversion at the reform meeting, which subsequently took place. The common sense of the refractory Trustees, if any of this useful commodity was in keeping, would convince them of the utter impossibility of Mr. Sumner entertaining such a proposition for a single moment.
Immediately after the notice of the injunction was served on the several Trustees a placard was published by themselves, announcing the adjournment of the reform meeting from the Wesleyan chapel to the Baptist chapel and to St. Stephen's church, a meeting house belonging to the late Lady Huntingdon's connexion. In allusion to that meeting, the following paragraph appeared in the Manchester Times of October 3, which is equally distinguished for falsehood and misrepresentation, together with nu merous other articles which have been inserted, from time to time, on the unhappy disputes now existing among the Wesleyan Methodists.