Action of the Philadelphia Conference on Slavery.
In the Philadelphia Conference, on Friday, the committee appointed to consider the state of the Church
, made the following report, which was adopted:
- I. On the subject of the New Chapter of Slavery.
Whereas, It is indispensably necessary for allaying the excitement and restoring peace and harmony in the Southern borders of our Conference, that the New Chapter on Slavery inserted in our Discipline by the last General Conference, be repealed, and that the Annual Conferences be left to make their own regulations on this subject: Therefore, Resolved, That we concur in the resolutions of the East Baltimore Conference, requesting the General Conference, at its next session, to repeal the Chapter on Slavery; and instead thereof, empower each Annual Conference, within whose bounds the institution exists, to make such regulations upon this subject as in their judgment may best subserve the interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom among them.
In the judgment of this body concerning the New. Chapter.
This they would embody in the following
To the Members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in the State of Delaware, and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia:
Dearly Beloved Brethren:
--The memorials, petitions and communications laid before this body have not only disclosed the dissatisfaction, agitation and embarrassment so fatal to the interests of religion among you, which have grown out of the action of the late General Conference on the subject of Slavery, but also called for an expression of our opinion on the nature of that action, with which call we deem it but just and right to comply.
We assure you that you have our profoundest sympathies in your present disquietude and agitated condition; and having the fullest confidence in your fidelity and loyalty to the interests of Methodism, no exertions shall be wanting on our part to secure redress for your grievances, and to maintain all your ecclesiastical rights, in and under the Constitution
of the Church
Though it is our deliberate judgment — a judgment which must control all our actions on this subject — that the New Chapter does not embody in any form a new condition of membership, it is our conviction that it possesses in no degree the character of legislation or law — affords no basis whatever for administrative or disciplinary inaction on the subject of slavery.
And, therefore, there can be no such action under it. Nevertheless, this change in the discipline was entirely uncalled for, is highly offensive to our brethren on the border, and lamentably injurious to the welfare of the Church
among them, and therefore, in justice to those who suffer so much from its effects, it ought to be repealed.
To this end we have concurred with the resolution of the East Baltimore Conference, requesting the General Conference, at its next session, to repeal the Chapter on Slavery, and instead thereof empower each Annual Conference, within whose bounds the institution exists, to make such regulation upon the subject as may best subserve the interests of the Redeemer
's Kingdom among them.
In the meantime, dear brethren, let us possess our souls in patience, and carry our grievances to the throne of Heavenly grace, confidently relying on Him who is able to deliver us out of all our troubles, who promises to work all things together for the good of those who love Him; and who will not suffer us to be wounded in the house of our friends, nor to be scattered by our enemies.
The division of the Conference.
On this subject there were before your Committee, from the various charges on Peninsula, memorials, petitions, and resolutions, from some Quarterly Conferences and Church meetings, asking for the formation of a Peninsula Conference, by dividing the Philadelphia Conference by the State
line between Pennsylvania
, while other charges and Church meetings declared against such a division at the present time inexpedient.
After due deliberation your Committee agree on the following resolution:
In view of our present National difficulties and embarrassments, and the consequent disturbed condition of the public mind on the one hand, and the conflicting opinion of our Churches in Delaware
on this subject.
we deem it inexpedient to divide the Philadelphia Conference by State lines at this time; but we recommend all the Quarterly Conferences
of the Peninsula
, during the coming year, to consider this matter, and give such expression of their working as may aid in determining the action of this body at its next annual session.