Southern Baptist Convention.
important report on the State of the country.

In Convention at Savannah,May 13th, 1861,Dr. Richard Fulter, of Md., from the Committee on the State of the Country, made the following.


We hold this truth to be self-evident, that Government are established for the security, prosperity and happiness of the people. When, therefore, any Government is perverted from its proper design, becomes oppressive, and abuses its power, the people have a right to change it.

As to the States once combined upon this continent, it is now manifest that they can no longer live together as one Confederacy.

The Union constituted by our fore fathers was one of co-equal sovereign States. The fanatical spirit of the North has long been seeking to deprive us of rights and franchises guaranteed by the Constitution; and, after years of persistent aggression, they have at last accomplished their purpose.

In vindication of their sacred rights and honor, in self-defence, and for the protection of all which is dear to man, the Southern States have practically asserted the right of seceding from a Union so degenerated from that established by the Constitution, and they have formed for themselves a Government based upon the principles of the original compact — adopting a charter which secures to each State its sovereign rights and privileges.

This new Government, in thus dissolving former political connections, seeks to cultivate relations of amity and good will with its late confederates, and with all the world; and they have thrice sent special commissioners to Washington with overtures for peace, and for a fair, amicable adjustment of all difficulties. The Government at Washington has insultingly repelled these reasonable proposals, and now insists upon devastating our land with fire and sword, upon letting loose hordes of armed soldiers to pillage and desolate the entire South, for the purpose of forcing the seceded States back into unnatural Union, or of subjugating them and holding them as conquered provinces.

While the two sections of the land are thus swayed against each other, it might naturally have been hoped that at least the Churches of the North would interpose and protest against this appeal to the sword, this invoking of civil war, this deluging the country in fratricidal blood; but with astonishment and grief we find churches and pastors of the North breathing out slaughter and clamoring for sanguinary hostilities with a fierceness which we would have supposed impossible among the disciples of the Prince of Peace. In view of such premises, this Convention cannot keep silence. Recognizing the necessity that the whole moral influence of the people, in whatever capacity or organization, should be enlisted in aid of the rulers, who, by their suffrages have been called to defend the endangered interests of person and property, of honor and liberty, it is bound to utter its voice distinctly, decidedly, emphatically; and your Committee recommend, therefore, the subjoined resolutions:

  1. 1st. Resolved.that impartial history cannot charge upon the South the dissolution of the Union. She was foremost in advocating and cementing that Union. To that Union she clung through long years of calumny, injury and insult. She has never ceased to raise her warning appeals against the fanaticism which has obstinately and incessantly warred against that Union.
  2. 2d. Resolved,that We most cordially approve of the formation of the Government of the Confederate States of America, and admire and applaud the noble cause of that Government up to this present time.
  3. 3d. Resolved, that We will assiduously invoke the Divine direction and favor, in behalf of those who bear rule among us, that they may still exercise the same wise, prompt, elevated statesmanship which has hitherto characterized their measures: that their enterprises may be attended with success, and that they may attain a great reward, not only in seeing these Confederate States prosper under their administration, but in contributing to the progress of the transcendent Kingdon of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  4. 4th. Resolved, that We must cordially tender to the President of the Confederate States, to his Cabinet, and to the members of the Congress now convened at Montgomery, the assurances of our sympathy and entire confidence. With them are our hearts and our hearty co-operation.
  5. 5th. Resolved. that the lawless reign of terror at the North, the violence committed upon unoffending citizens; above all, the threats to wage upon the South a warfare of savage barbarity, to devastate our homes and hearths with hosts of ruffians and felons, burning with instand rapine, ought to excite the horror of all civilized people. God forbid that We should so far forget the spirit of Jesus as to suffer malice and vindictiveness to insinuate themselves into our hearts; but every principle of religion, of patriotism, and of humanity, calls upon us to pledge our fortunes and lives in the good work of repelling an invasion designed to destroy whatever is dear in our heroic traditions, whatever is sweet in our Domestic hopes and enjoyments, whatever is essential to our institutions and our very manhood, whatever is worth living or dying for.
  6. 6th. Resolved. that We do now engage in prayer for our friends, brothers, Fathers, sons, and citizen soldiers, who have left their homes to go forth for the defence of their families and friends and all which is dearest to the human heart, and We recommend to the Churches represented in this body, that they constantly invoke a holy and merciful God to guard them from the temptations to which they are exposed, to cover their head in the day of battle, and to give victory to their arms.
  7. 7th. Resolved. that We will pray for our enemies in the spirit of that Divine Master, who, ‘"when he was reviled, reviled not again,"’ trusting that their pitiless purposes may be frustrated, that God will grant to them a more politic, a more considerate and a more. Christian mind; that the fratricidal strife which they have decided upon, notwithstanding all our commissions and pleas for peace, may be arrested by that Supreme power who maketh the wrath of man to praise him; and that thus, through a Divine blessing, the prosperity of these sovereign and once allied States may be restored under the two Governments to which they now and hence forth respectively belong.
  8. 8th. Resolved, We do recommend to the Churches of the Baptist denomination in the Southern States, to observe the first and second days of June, as days of humiliation, fasting and prayer to Almighty God, that he may avert any calamities due to our sins as a people, and may look with mercy and favor upon us.
  9. 9th.Resolved. that whatever calamities may come upon us, our firm trust and hope are in God, through the atonement of his Son, and We earnestly beseech the Churches represented in this body, (a constituency of six or seven hundred thousand Christians,) that they be fervent and importunate in prayer, not only for the country, but for the enterprises of the Gospel which have been committed to our care. In the war of the Revolution, and in the war of 1812, the Baptist bated no jot of heart or hope for the Redeemer's cause. Their zeal and liberality abounded in their deepest afflictions. We beseech the Churches to cherish the spirit and imitate the example of this noble army of saints and heroes; to the follower of them, who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises, to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as they know that their labor is not in vain in the Lord.
  10. 10. Resolved. that these resolutions be communicated to the Congress of the ‘"Confederate States"’ at Montgomery, with the signatures of the President and Secretaries of the Convention.
in the course of the brief debate upon the report, as We learn from the Savannah Republican --

Mr. Dudley, of Kentucky, desired to express the embarrassment he felt in casting a vote on this report. Were it simply a question with himself individually, there would be no difficulty; but he represented the General Association of Kentucky, and could not say whether they would approve a vote for the report or not. There were three parties on this question in Kentucky--one for positive and perpetual Union, one for immediate secession, and a third for holding on to the present status of affairs; this latter, he believed embraced the large body of the people of Kentucky, and there he stood himself. Kentucky was virtually out of the Union, as she had refused to furnish money or men for the wicked crusade against the South.

President Fuller said, there was no difficulty on his mind. He voted here for himself, upon his solemn convictions of duty, his conscience and before God. It mattered not who differed from him. Maryland was one way to-day and another to-morrow, and he would say that twenty States could not instruct him and enforce obedience.

Mr. Howell fully agreed with the President, and would so advise the Brother from Kentucky. There might be some division of opinion in Tennessee, but there was no difficulty with his Church. The old men and the young men had gone to the war — he had four sons, all of whom were under arms; he had offered himself to the Governor in any capacity that he may be useful to the country, and his daughters, with their young lady friends, were spending the afternoons in practice with taverns instead their homes in absence of there protesen

Mr. Dudley said he had no difficulty in giving his individual approval to the report.

the vote was then taken on the report by rising, and every member rose to his feet, and the President announced that the adoption was unanimous.

other Business.

the President appointed the following Committee to correspond and negotiate with the Bible Board at Nashville, and Southern Publication Society at Charleston, with reference to a Union of the two, to wit: Messrs.Boyce of S. C., Landrum of Ga., Manly of Ala., Martin of S. C., and Poindexter of Va.

on motion of Mr. Poindexter,

Resolved. that Article XII. of the Constitution be amended by adding the following clause, to wit: the President, or in the event of his death, either of the Vice-Presidents of the Convention, may, at the request of two of its Boards, postpone or alter the place of the meeting of the Convention, when it may be deemed by him inexpedient to convene at the time or place appointed.

President Fuller moved and obtained leave of absence for the remainder of the session. Domestic obligations, and the unhappy condition of affairs in his State and city, made his immediate return imperative.

the President, in taking leave of the Convention, addressed them as follows:

Beloved brethren and Fathers:I tender to you, especially to the Secretaries, the Representatives of the Boards, and the numerous Committees, my hearty thanks for the patient considerateness which you have extended to me; for the prompt, kind and efficient service you have rendered in promoting the harmony of this body, and in facilitating the transaction of such an amount of laborious work. I pray God that our proceedings may contribute something to the peace and prosperity of this distracted land, and may carry forward the sublime enterprise of Redeeming Love with freshened vigor. And I also invoke the selected mercies from our Heavenly Father to go with you, to guide you on your journeys home, and to abide with you, your Churches and families.

’ it is Pascal who remarks that our separations and bereavements are partial deaths, to prepare us for the last great separation. I remember, as if it were yesterday, that in bidding adieu to each other at Richmond, two years ago, a dear Brother from Georgia, (who is present and still happily spared to us.) alluding to a prayer just offered, said to me, with tears, ‘"that thought touches me to the heart, We may, indeed, never meet again upon earth."’ near by him stood another of Georgia' s worthy sons. It was Dawson. The observation was prophetic as to him. Where is he now? where the form so honored and loved — the voice so eloquent for Jesus?--brethren, what has been, will be again. This thought pierces my very soul, that We shall not all meet again.

but I cannot trust my feeling with such reflections. Brethren, again I thank you for all your kindness. I bid you an affectionate farewell. Upon each of you may God shed down the richest blessings of grace, peace and Love. ‘"the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect; establish, strengthen, settle you . the God of peace, that brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus: that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."’

the President then took leave of each member of the Convention, cordially grasping all by the hand and, with a ‘" God bless you ! "’ left the Church.

the Committee on Domestic Missions reported through Mr. Huntington. Adopted.

on motion of Mr. Teasdale,

Resolved. that the Domestic Mission Board be, and they are hereby directed to procure forth with a mortgage on the property of the Coliseum-place Baptist Church, New Orleans, to the full amount of the funds contributed to that Church under the auspices of the Southern Baptist Convention.

the Committee on Finance reported the following sums received and paid over at the present session of the Convention:

For Foreign Mission Board$2,254 28
For Domestic Mission Board880 75
For Bible Mission Board271 40

The Committee on Report of the Bible Board reported through their chairman, Mr. Mallory. After reviewing the operations and difficulties of the Board, as set forth in their report, the Committee give the opinion that the Board was growing in public estimation, and had done much good, considering the embarrassing condition of the country. They therefore commend the Board to increased efforts and prayers of Southern Baptists. The report was adopted.

The Committee on Support of Returned Foreign Missionaries reported through Mr. Shuck. Report adopted.

On motion of Winkler--

Resolved, unanimously, that this Convention would do injustice to its sentiments and convictions, if it should not thus publicly acknowledge its sense of regard to the Rev. Dr. Fuller, President of this body and chairman of its Committee on the State of the Country, and also the others of its members who are citizens of the Border States, for their Christian interest in the fortunes, and their manly and brave assertion of the rights, of our Confederacy; and that we invoke the special protection of Heaven upon them in the cities to which they belong, and in the days of trial which they may hereafter encounter.

On motion of W. C. Crane, the Convention adjourned, to meet at Columbus, Miss., on Friday before the 2d Sabbath in May, 1863.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Fuller (3)
Poindexter (2)
Thomas U. Dudley (2)
Jesus Christ (2)
Winkler (1)
Teasdale (1)
Shuck (1)
Shepherd (1)
Joseph H. Martin (1)
Mallory (1)
Landrum (1)
Christ Jesus (1)
Huntington (1)
Howell (1)
Richard Fulter (1)
Dawson (1)
W. C. Crane (1)
Boyce (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May, 1863 AD (1)
May 13th, 1861 AD (1)
1812 AD (1)
June (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: