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Proceedings of the Methodist Annual Conference.


[reported for the Richmond Dispatch.]

Saturday Morning, Nov. 23.

Conference met at 9 o'clock. Bishop Andrew in the Chair. Rev. R. O. Burton conducted religious exercises. Comparatively few ministers were present when I entered the room at 9 ½ o'clock.

Bishop Andrew announced the receipt of a telegram from Rev. Dr. Sehen, dated at Bristol, announcing his speedy arrival, and requesting that the Missionary anniversary might be postponed until Monday evening.--That order was made.

The Bishop announced as the first business the examination of preachers who had traveled two years as deacons, and who are eligible to Elder, orders. The modus operandi of this examination is, the Bishop calls the name of the party, when the Presiding Elder under whose direction he traveled the preceding year, speaks to the question of deportment and talent as a preacher, and general efficiency; and the chairman of a committee charged with the duty, reports the standing of the candidate in the several studies prescribed by the Discipline of the church, and if these be favorable, the Bishop puts the question, ‘"Shall he be elected to Orders? So many as favor it raise your hands;"’and then another name is called. A large number of candidates were examined thus, and most of them elected to Elders' orders.

A committee of the Relief Society invited applications from those who were entitled to the aid of the society.

Mr. Langhorne announced that the President of the S. S. Railroad would give return tickets over that road to members of the Conference upon their arrival at Petersburg.

During these examinations, it was stated as to one candidate, that he had a wife of most excellent character, one peculiarly qualified for her station as a preacher's wife, when the Bishop responded, ‘"That is well night half the battle,"’

The next order of business was the admission of persons into the traveling connection on trial.

The several districts were called in order.

Dr. Lee desired to make a remark, that we ought now and ever to be very careful in the admission of young men. For lack of this, we are getting now and then young men for whom we can find no work who are entirely unfitted for any place in our bestowal.

Dr. Wm. A. Smith introduced to the Bishop and Conference Dr. Jonnings, a Presiding Elder of the Alabama Conference, now a chaplain in the Confederate army and attached to the third Alabama regiment.

A. C. Bledsoe, Westey C. Vaden, John W. Tucker, and George N. Guy were admitted on trial in the traveling connection.

These young men were called up by the Bishop and examined publicly before the Conference. This examination was, in a large measure, devoted to an inquiry into the personal experience of these persons, their familiarity with the rules of the Church and their purpose to devote themselves wholly and unreservedly unto the work of the ministry. The questions were interspersed continually with counsels and exhortations pertinent.

The question was asked, ‘"Will you endeavor not to speak too long and too loud?"’ and the Bishop hit rather hard at those who occupy a congregation from an hour to two hours, while all the people were waiting and wishing for one word from his lips — the final Amen of the sermon. Immediately after this, the Bishop spoke of preaching simply, using plain familiar words, and did it with so much point, pith, and pleasantness withal, that it was really a rich treat. The Bishop closed with counsels to the young men concerning marriage, urging them not to fall in love with the first pretty face they saw, because it is pretty, but to act with caution and prudence, and after clearly ascertaining that the young lady has the peculiar qualities which will fit her to be a preacher's wife. And, moreover, not to be in a hurry to marry, but to wait until they had formed some character as preachers.

Enoch G. Jameson, formerly of the Baltimore Conference, made application for admission into this Conference. The application was not passed upon, but laid over until another day.

When Dr. Doggett's name was called, he made a few remarks explanatory of the effects of the war upon the churches within the bounds of the Richmond District, alluding to the partial paralysis of various Church enterprises, and to the actual blotting out of one appointment — that at the town of Hampton — and closing with a personal allusion, asking to be remitted from the position of Presiding Elder and assigned to other work.

When Rev. James A. Duncan's name was called, before retiring he gave a brief account of his action as acting editor of the Richmond Christian Advocate, of the difficulties of procuring paper, and the prospective plans for its future publication.

Dr. Doggett gave very warm commendations to the several preachers stationed in Richmond, viz: W. W. Bennett, James A. Duncan, A. G. Brown, T. A. Ware, and G. W. Nolley. All had been abundant in labors, and the labors of each had been much blessed. Mr. Bennett had been particularly active in the establishment of hospitals for the sick soldiers, and had done large service to the country, and alleviated very much of suffering.

Rev. John Bayley who is absent from the country in England, was placed upon the supernumerary list.

Rev. R. B. Beattles, at his own request, was placed upon the supernumerary list.

The Bishop introduced to the Conference Rev. Thomas Hume. Pastor of the Gosport Baptist Church. The Conference rose in salutation.

Rev. Robert Michaels announced the appointments for the morrow. Sunday, which are filled by the Bishop, Dr. Doggett, Dr. Smith, H. B. Cowles, C. C. Pearson, W. W. Bennett, W. G. Brown, J. Manning, J. S. R. Clarke, G. H. Ray, W. E. Judkins, G. W. Langhorne, and others not recollected.

When the name of Wm. H. Wheelwright was called, Rev. D. S. Doggett represented that he was now in the army holding a commission as Major in the Virginia volunteer forces, as he had been since the beginning of the war. Before that war began he had avowed a purpose to tender his services to the State, in some sort, as a compensation for the education which had been given him at the Military Institute. It was done conscientiously, and now he was exerting a whole some, happy influence. Esteemed as an officer, and not less as a sincere Christian man, the Colonel of his regiment testified to his eminent value as a soldier and a man. A true soldier of the country, and a true soldier of the Cross, he was none the less doing God service while serving the State of his nativity. It was certain that the Christian was seen in the camp as a foretime in the Church.

When the Rev. W. M. Ward was called, the Presiding Elder, Rev. W. G. Cross, announced his death, and described the good life he had led while in the active work of the ministry. Happening to mention that the disease which terminated his life prevented his giving any expression of experience at the death hour, Bishop Andrew interposed, ‘"The testimony of his life is far more important."’ That, upon the concurrent testimony of sundry preachers, was all right.

On the motion of Dr. Lee, a committee of three was appointed to prepare resolutions expressive of the sympathy of the Conference with the Methodists in the Valley of Virginia connected with the Baltimore Annual Conference. Committee--Messrs. Lee, Granberry, and Davis. Rev. Nelson Head was subsequently added by special motion.

Dr. Lee called attention to certain debts of the Richmond Depository, and requested that those indebted to the concern would on Monday pay him all or part of their indebtedness, to enable him to pay at least the interest upon the outstanding indebtedness of the concern.

The hour of adjournment having arrived, sundry notices for meetings of committees were given, and the Bishop pronounced the benediction.

The early morn promised rain, and there were consequently few spectators, but later in the day it cleared, and the house gradually filled with ladies.

At night the Rev. R. O. Burton preached at Cumberland street Church, and Rev. P. W. Archer at Granby street. When about to make the opening prayer, Mr. Archer said, ‘"The earnest prayers of this congregation are invoked in behalf of our well beloved brother, the Rev. L. M. Lee, and his deeply afflicted family."’ About mid-day he was stricken with apoplexy, and has from that time been in a very critical condition, and to-night there are no indications of the slightest improvement in his condition.

This announcement seemed to thrill the assembled auditory, as well it might. A recurrence to the above will show that so late as one o'clock the Doctor was upon the Conference floor speaking, and, apparently, in perfect health. Past that hour I was talking with him, enjoying that delightful humor which rendered his conversation at all times so agreeable. His death would be a sad loss to the Church, to his family, and to a wide circle of devoted friends.


Norfolk, Nov. 25th, 1861.
Conference met this morning according to adjournment at 9 o'clock, Bishop Andrew in the chair. Religious exercises were conducted by Dr. Wm. A. Smith.

The order of business of Saturday, ‘"the examination of character,"’ was resumed.

Bishop Andrew took occasion to correct some misapprehensions which had gone forth as to the action of Bishop Kavanaugh and the preachers of the Kentucky Conference. The preachers were not all required to take the oath, but only such as were traveling in the Louisville district.--None others were forced to take it, and as to Bishop Kavanaugh, he not only did not take the oath, but on the floor of the Conference assured the Conference that he would take no oath of any kind whatsoever, and, in point of fact, did not and would not have done so- whatever might have been the result. So that the representation which has gone forth to the world, that the Conference, from the Bishop down, was required to take an oath, was untrue, a mere exaggeration. Thus much is due to Bishop Kavanangh and as well to yourselves.

The hour of ten o'clock having arrived, the Conference, according to an order made on Saturday, went into secret session to consider a case laid over for consideration.

The Conference, as the result of the examination of the case laid over to this morning, expelled Richard C. Smiley.


Norfolk, Nov. 25, 1861.
Before going out this morning, I will got down a few impressions of yesterday, which properly form a part of the proceedings of the ministers in attendance here upon the Virginia Conference. As would be inferred from a previous letter, the pulpits of the city and Portsmouth were very generally occupied by members of the Conference. The great point of interest in the morning, was Cumberland Street, Church, where Bishop Andrew preached, and, after the sermon, ordained Deacons. There was, I learn, a tremendous crowd in attendance. The following persons were ordained: Wm. H. Camper, John G. Bailey, Jas. W. Grant, J. H. Proctor, Jas. C. Watson, W. W. Duncan, E. H. Pritchet, L. H. Greybill, J. A. Crowder, W. E. Allan, C. V. Bingley, L. H. Crenshaw, W. J. Hunter, J. C. Martin, J. W. F. Jones, Jas. A. Crowder.

I had the pleasure of hearing a capital discourse at 11 o'clock, at Granby street church, from Dr. Doggett, from the passage: ‘"This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith."’

At the same church, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, Rev. H. B. Cowles preached an appropriate sermon from the words, ‘"Knowing the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men,"’ and afterwards Bishop Andrew, aided by sundry Elders, ordained the following persons as Elders: S. S. Lambeth, J. S. Porter, Jno. H. Payne, W. G. Hammond, Thos. H. Early, Jno. J. Lafferty, Ro. N. Sledd, Ro. W. Watts, Aaron Boone, Jas. W. Blincoe, Corlin Jordan, Nelson Chamberlin, Arthur C. Drewry, Benj. F. Story.

The attendance on all these services was very large. I have heard from the sermons preached by Dr. W. A. Smith, C. C. Pearson, and W. W. Bennett, all of whom gave great satisfaction to the several audiences addressed by them.

Bishop Andrew was to have preached at Granby street Church at night, but found himself physically incapable of the effort, and the pulpit was occupied by Rev. John E. Edwards, who preached from the text, ‘"We preach Christ, and Him crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness, but to them that are called Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God."’

Dr. Cass preached at Cumberland street at night, on the words, ‘"In the name of the Lord we lift up our banners."’

The numerous friends of Dr. Lee, resident in Richmond, will be glad to learn that the indications in his case were regarded as favorable all the day of yesterday, and still so this morning. Consciousness has returned, and he now recognizes the friends who call and are permitted to see him. The stroke fell upon him just as he was in the act of rising from his chair to lead the way to the dining room to dinner. As he gained his feet, he complained of a severe pain in the head to Bishop Andrew, and would have fallen to the floor but for the assistance which was immediately rendered. Dr. Rosser tells me this morning that Dr. Lee is very much better.

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