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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the United States, Held in the State Capitol at Nashville Tennessee, May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1879.
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their sessions, and had an inhabitant of another planet, or a person from a distant part of our own globe been there, and heard all their deliberations as I did, he could not have known, either from their prayers, sermons, or any discussions on the floor of the synod, that human slavery existed in the country."
Of the Old School Presbyterians it is sufficient to say that in the general assembly of 1845 they passed a resolution that "slaveholding as it exists in the United States is no bar to Christian fellowship."
Passing over the practice of Roman Catholics and Protestant Episcopalian Christians, whose icy conservatism is well known, we conclude with the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Methodist Episcopal Church.
When we say that the churchmen of the Methodist Episcopal Church South believed in slavery and Negro subordination, and followed up that belief with a consistency absolutely admirable, in that seven hundred of them absolutely laid down their lives for it in the late war between the States, we can with mutual satisfaction say "good day."
Had the Christians of the Methodist Episcopal Church followed up their belief with the consistency of their Southern brethren, then indeed would we have had presented the most beautiful picture of the age. But, alas, with steps growing weaker day by day they pursued the tenor of their way, and thereby justify the remark of a historian : "The Methodists in some places set out on this principle : their ministers preached against slavery ; many set them at liberty ; but I believe at present (1813) their scruples are nearly laid aside."
Admire the certain sound of 1784 :
"Question 12. What shall we do with our friends that will buy and sell slaves? Answer. If they buy with no other design than to hold them as slaves, and have been previously warned, they shall be expelled and permitted to sell on no consideration."
But mark the change twelve years wrought : "And if any member of our society purchase a slave, the ensuing quarterly meeting shall determine on the number of years in which the slave so purchased shall work out the price of his freedom."
The sound of 1824 is completely changed, and slaveholding is recognized in the church of Wesley, who pronounced slavery "the sum of all villainies."
"Our preachers," says the general conference of 1824, " shall prudently enforce upon our members the necessity of teaching their slaves to read the word of God, and to allow them time to attend upon the public worship of God on our regular days of divine service."
But perfectly distressing to the ear is the sound sent out by the Methodist conference, annual and general, in the years that followed.
Take the following, for instance, as passed by the general conference of 1840, in the city of Baltimore. It was offered by the Rev. A. G. Ferr, of Georgia : "Resolved, That it is inexpedient and unjustifiable for any preacher to permit colored persons to give testimony against white persons in any State where they are denied that privilege by law.' "
The Ohio annual conference, after they indorsed the above, passed the following : "Resolved, That those brethren of the North who resist the abolition movements with firmness and moderation are the true friends of the church, the slaves of the South, and to the Constitution of our common country."
New York, following in the wake, passed the following : "First. That this conference fully concur in the advice of the late general conference (1840) as expressed in their pastoric address. Second. That we disapprove of the members of this conference patronizing, or in any way giving countenance to, a paper called Zion's Watchman, because, in our opinion,
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