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Doc. 211.-meeting of the Baptists, at Brooklyn, N. Y., May 29, 1861.

A. B. Capwell, Esq., presided, and the following officers were appointed:

Vice-Presidents--Hon. George N. Briggs, Rev. G. S. Webb, D. D., Thomas Watson, Esq., A. Hubbell, Esq.

Secretaries--Rev. W. H. Shailer, D. D., Rev. J. B. Simmons.

Rev. George C. Baldwin, D. D., opened the proceedings with prayer, after which

The Committee, appointed at a preliminary meeting--Rev. Dr. Wm. R. Williams, N. Y.; Rev. Dr. Rufus Babcock, N. J.; Rev. Dr. E. E. Cummings, New Hampshire; Rev. Dr. S. Baker; Rev. J. H. Smith, of Penn.; Rev. Dr. W. H. Shailer, Me.; Rev. Dr. S. B. Swain, Mass.,--presented, through the Chairman, Rev. Dr. Williams, the following report:

The Assembly of Baptists gathered from the various Northern States of the Union would, in the present solemn crisis of our National history, put on record some expression of their judgment as Christians, loving their country, and seeking, in the fear and from the grace of God, its best interests. We are threatened to be rent as a people into two hostile camps; several States of the Union have claimed to release themselves by their own act, from the National Constitution and Union, having formed what they designate as a Confederacy. They have seized the National forts, armaments, and ships. Such proceedings on the part of a neighboring community would be held actual war. Yet there has been no precedent such as in modern contests inaugurates ordinary hostilities. They have bombarded a National garrison. The General Government at Washington have refused to recognize the right of secession, and have proclaimed alike their own right and their own purpose to occupy the national property and defences now usurped. One of the foremost statesmen in the new movement, and himself the Executive officer of the new assumed Confederacy, had declared African slavery the immediate cause of the revolution thus attempted. He has alleged that the old — and, as the North deems it, the only existing Constitution — regarded such slavery as wrong in principle, and that the founders of this Constitution expected the bondage, in some way, and at some time, to vanish. He declares of the new Confederate States that they assume, as their basis, the fundamental erroneousness of such original estimate and expectation on the part of the fathers of our land. Accepting not only the propriety, but the perpetuity of such servitude, he places the new government on the alleged inferiority of the negro race, as its corner stone. He claims for the new Confederacy that it is the first government in all history thus inaugurated on this new truth, as he would call it. He invites the North-Western States to enter the Confederacy. But he anticipated the disintegration of the older States, and he declares, that in case of these last, admission to the new Confederacy must not be merely by reconstruction, but reorganization and assimilation. In other words, African bondage seems required as the mortar that is to agglutinate, and the rock that is to sustain the recombined and rebuilt sovereignty that shall include even these last. Men high in position in the new organization of the South, have proclaimed the intent of seizing the National Capitol, and planting their flag on the seats of Northern State Government. The President of the United States has summoned a large, formidable force to the metropolis of the Union, rallying to the defence of the General Government. Remembering their own character, as the servants of the Prince of Peace, this assembly would speak fraternally, not heedlessly, exasperating strife, but also with a frankness and decision, as not endorsing injustice. The Church is a kingdom not of the world. But the men of the Church are not the less bound to recognize and loyally to uphold all rightful secular government. The powers that be are [308] ordained of God, and the magistracy is by His will to bear the sword not in vain. Christ, in His Messiahship, would not be made a judge or a divider as to the statutes and estates of this earth; but He did not, therefore, abrogate the tribunals of earthly judgment. To Caesar He bade us render Caesar's dues. He cherished and exemplified patriotism when answering to the appeal made to Him in the behalf of that Gentile ruler as far as one who loved “our” Jewish nation. He showed it when weeping, as He predicted the coming woes of His own people, and of their chief city. The Gospel of Christ, then, sanctions and consecrates true patriotism. Shall the Christians of the North accept the revolution thus to be precipitated upon them as warranted and necessary? or shall they acquiesce in it as inevitably dismissing the question of its origin in the irrevocable past? Shall they wait hopefully the verdict of the nations and the sentence of Providence upon the new basis of this extemporized Confederacy? Meanwhile shall they submit passively to the predicted disintegration of their own North, pondering wistfully upon the possibilities of their own reorganization to qualify them for admission on the novel platform, and for their initiation into the new principles of this most summary revolution? The memories of the past and the hopes of the future; history and scripture; the fear of God, and regard to the well-being of man; the best interest of their own estranged brethren at the South, and their own rights and duties, not to themselves and their children only, but as the stewards of constitutional liberty in behalf of all other nations, encouraged by our success, as such remotest nations are baffled and misled, as by our failure such nations would necessarily be — all considerations unite in shutting up the Christians of the North to one course. The following resolutions present correspondingly what, in our judgment, is the due course of our churches and people:

Resolved, That the doctrine of secession is foreign to our constitution, revolutionary, suicidal — setting out in anarchy, and finding its ultimate issue in despotism.

Resolved, That the National Government deserves our loyal adhesion and unstinted support, in its wise forbearing, and yet firm maintenance of the national unity and life; and that sore, long, and costly as the war may be, the North has not sought it, and the North does not shun it, if Southern aggressions press it; and that a surrender of the National Union, and our ancestral principles, would involve sorer evils, and longer continuance, and vaster costliness.

Resolved, That the wondrous uprising, in strongest harmony and largest self-sacrifice, of the whole North, to assert and vindicate the national unity, is the cause of grateful amazement and devoutest acknowledgment to the God who sways all hearts and orders all events; and that this resurgent patriotism, wisely cherished and directed, may, in God's blessed discipline, correct evils that seemed growing chronic and irremediable in the national character.

Resolved, That fearful as is the scourge of war, even in the justest cause, we need as a nation to humble ourselves before God for the vain glory, self-confidence, greed, venality, and corruption of manners, too manifest in our land; that in its waste of property and life, its invasion of the Sabbath, its demoralization and its barbarism, we see the evils to which it strongly tends; but that waged in a good causes and in the fear of God, it may be to a people, as it often in past times has been, a stern but salutary lesson for enduring good. In this struggle, the churches of the North should, by prayer for them, the distribution of Scripture and tract, and the encouragement of devout chaplains, seek the religious culture of their brave soldiers and mariners.

Resolved, That the North seek not, in any sense, the subjugation of the South, or the horrors of a servile war, or the devastation of their homes by reckless and embruted mercenaries; but believe most firmly the rejection, were it feasible, of the Constitution and Union, would annihilate the best safeguard of Southern peace.

Resolved, That the churches of our denomination be urged to set apart the last Friday in June as a day of solemn humiliation and prayer for the interposition of God's gracious care to hinder or to limit the conflict, to stay the wrath and to sanctify the trial; and that one hour also in the Friday evening of each week be observed as a season of intercession, privately, for our country during this period of her gloom and peril.

Resolved, That, brought nearer as eternity and judgment are in such times of sharp trial and sudden change, it is the duty of all to redeem the fleeting hour; the duty of all Christ's people to see that the walls of Zion be built in troublous times, and to hope only and ever in that wonder-working God, who made British missions to India and the South Seas to grow amid the Napoleon wars, who trained, in Serampore Missions, Havelock, the Christian warrior, as two centuries before He had prepared, in the wars of the Commonwealth, the warrior Baxter, who wrote, as army chaplain, the Saint's Everlasting Rest, and the Bunyan who described for all after time, the Pilgrim's Progress and the Holy War.

Resolved, That what was bought at Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, and Yorktown, was not, with our consent, sold at Montgomery; that we dispute the legality of the bargain, and, in the strength of the Lord God of our fathers, shall hope to contest, through this generation if need be, the feasibility of the transfer.


Rev. Dr. Welch supposed it was intended to adopt the report without debate. He would, however, ask the privilege of speaking a few words on the question before the meeting. With all his heart he subscribed to the sentiment expressed in the preamble and resolutions; but under the present trying, solemn circumstances of the country, they were too tame, far too weak in their expression. There was truth that could not be gainsayed, and that history would present beyond the reach of controversy. It was true that a great nation had been arrested in a career of peace and prosperity. It was true that their nation had been ruthlessly pulled down from its proud eminence, and humbled before the world. The banner of their glorious Union, which led their forefathers on to victory, was riddled with shot, and the destruction of their Republic threatened. He descended himself from a race of sailors and soldiers, and although his profession differed from theirs — he being a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ — he inherited their patriotic devotion to the flag of their country. His paternal grandfather was with Paul Jones in his adventures in the frigate Alliance. He thought the resolutions did not come up to the expression which they should, as a Church, publish to the world in the present state of the country, and he could not submit to the adoption of the short beautiful rhetoric in terms of appeal, which had been read as representing fully the views of the Denomination. They had appealed to the honor and magnanimity of the South. The South did not know the meaning of the term. (Applause.) They never knew it. The barbarism of Slavery had crushed it out. (Applause.) He was ready then to look on the struggle from Mount Zion, to view it from the point where the Saviour had led captivity captive. When he contemplated the question in that light, there was another class of feelings which took possession of him, which he would wrong them and himself to suppress. He had been in favor of excluding the vexed question of slavery from the associations and conventions with which he was connected, on the ground that the institution belonged to the kingdom of Caesar, and not to the kingdom of Christ. But the time had come when the religious aspect of slavery could not be ignored by them as a people. The clergy at the North had been misrepresented at the South, and even God's Holy Word was said to contain the Divine sanction of slavery. Ministers were made to be the chief and especial patrons of the sin. He would not give the sanction of his voice to uphold slavery, nor would he entertain Christian fellowship for its supporters till he should meet them among the redeemed. He thought that the report would be much improved by being stronger in language and purposes, and would thus be adapted to the crisis which they had been convened as Baptists to consider.

Ex-Governor Briggs said he had listened with increasing interest to every word of the report, as it fell from the feeble but silvery voice of his esteemed brother, (Dr. Williams,) and his heart, his head, and his whole soul and nature, were moved, and responded Amen to the report. The brother who had preceded him had said it was too tame, but he would say that it was just tame enough for him. (Applause.) It was couched in decorous, significant, respectful but forcible language, and was eminently appropriate to proceed from a Christian body. There was nothing in it calculated to exasperate, while it was firm and patriotic in sentiment, and he did not believe that it could be improved. The great truth had been proclaimed thousands of years since, that a soft answer turneth away wrath, and the force and meaning of the sentence remained unchanged since it was written. (Applause.) The public wanted no inflammatory material at the present time. The rights of the country and the trying circumstances surrounding it, were expressed in the resolution, in the spirit which should animate the heart of the Christian. Their Divine Master had set an example, when He wept over Jerusalem. He knew what the people whom He had served would do to Him. Did He address them in words calculated to exasperate them, or embitter their hearts? No; from his peaceful lips went forth the plaintive words, “Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thee, even as a hen doth gather her chickens, and ye would not. Behold your house is left unto you desolate.” That was the spirit which should actuate the followers of Christ. He hoped the report would be adopted without a dissenting voice.

Rev. Mr. Malcom moved an amendment in favor of taking out the clause recommending one hour on each Friday to be spent by the members in private prayer for the country. He for one would not spend an hour in prayer. The time had come for them to act and pray while in action. That course would be too much like that of the Pharisees, who commanded their people to carry heavy burdens, which they would not so much as move with their own fingers. It was simply like a red tape proceeding, and he hoped it would be omitted.

Rev. Dr. Hague supported the amendment, remarking that the time had arrived when they should stand by their guns. He considered the document too long, and thought it would not be sufficiently effective on those who were battling for the country. England was wavering as to whom she should recognize, and the Baptists of England, through Spurgeon and other preachers, should be apprised in the report of the position of their brethren.

Rev. Dr. Gillette suggested that the words “social meetings” should be inserted, instead of private prayer meetings, which was accepted by the Committee, when the amendment was withdrawn. [310]

Hon. Wm. D. Murphy moved the recommittal of the report. Lost.

Rev. Dr. Welch--I protest with my whole soul against the adoption of the report. It will put our denomination in a position of shameful absurdity before the world.

On motion, it was resolved that a copy of the resolutions be presented to the President of the United States, and a collection was taken up to print it in circular form.

The meeting then adjourned.--N. Y. Express, May 29.

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