Proceedings of the Methodist Annual Conference.
[reported for the Richmond Dispatch.]
Norfolk, Nov. 26, 1861.
My last report left Dr. Sen of Nashville
, upon the floor, addressing the Conference.--At the conclusion of the address, Mr. Moon
, who had given way very liberally at the Missionary anniversary on the preceding night, stated that he wished to increase the amount by forty dollars, twenty hereof to be appropriated to make President Jefferson Davis
a life member, and twenty to make Geo
. Joseph E. Johns
on, of the army of the Potomac, a life member.
said, "that was a good response to a missionary speech, and recalled a scene which transpired in the Tennessee Conference
some years ago. A gentleman who had already at the Missionary meeting given largely, came to him in the Conference and asked to be allowed to say a few words.
Permission being granted, the person went on to say, that he was unhappy — very unhappy — that he had not contributed sufficiently to the missionary cause last night; that while at the meeting he had thought that others might give their cents as he had already given when at home, he would not do much, and he didn't; but, that afterwards it appeared to him that this suggestion came from the devil, and that he had been miserable ever since.--And now, Bishop
, if you will only let me add this hundred dollars to my contribution, it will make me very happy.--‘"May I, Bishop
,"’ ‘"Certainly you may,"’ was the response, and the man laid the money on the table and walked away, saying, as he went, ‘"Now I'm happy again."’ And he had a right to be happy, as the liberal-minded man always has. Your miserly Christian is a monstrosity.
Such an one as searches through the pocket-book, turning over fifties and tens and fives, looking for a shinplaster, and gives even that with an air that seems to say, ‘"The best of friends must part, and I'm sorry I shall look upon your face no more."’ Such an one has no right to be happy, and his shouting if he does shout, is a sham.
I like much better the spirit of that old man who, at such a meeting, after a collection to which he had made no contribution, was asked to lead in prayer.
As he did not begin at once, they looked to see what he was about and found him fumbling in his pocket for money, which when he had found he put upon the table, and then began to pray.
Obviously that old man thought he could not properly pray until he had given, and I am not sure but that he was right.
Those prayers do not much avail which come from niggardly hearts.
‘"Thy kingdom come,"’ falls but coldly from lips which are never seconded in their utterances by benevolent impulses of soul, manifested in testaments for the relief of the suffering and the promotion of the gospel.
A Christian must be a liberal man, and the measure of his liberality will be the measure of his ability.
Let us preach and practice this, brethren, and our church enterprises will not languish for want of support now or hereafter, and we shall realize the truth ‘"that there is that giveth and yet enricheth."’
Rev. W. A. Smith
was announced to preach this evening, at 7 ¼ o'clock, at Cumberland
The service, by particular request, was to be for the benefit of young preachers.
The joint Board of Stewards, through their Secretary
, made their first, which was a partial report.
They announced the expectation of closing their labors on the morrow.
D' Arcy Paul
, read over the documents received from the several circuits and stations within the bounds of the Conference, on account of the Conference collection.
From all the points on the Potomac
no collection was returned, but from many of the interior churches, an amount largely exceeding the assessment was sent up to Conference.
Quite a number of the preachers entitled to draw portions of this fund relinquished their claims, so that the more needy of that body might obtain the same.
The examination of the character of Elders was resumed, Rev. H. B. Cowles
in the chair, and Thomas S. Campbell
, F. L. Way
, Wm. E. Judkins
, John Kerr
, Thos. H. Boggs
, Geo. F. Doggett
, Thos. Diggs
, L. J. Harnsberger
, J. A. Riddick
, Nat. Thomas
, Alex. Stewart
, Jos. H. Jefferson
, Jas. E. Potts
, B. C. Spiller
, Isaac M. Arnold
, B. Devany
, W. G. Lumpkin
, R. J. Cesson
, T. L. Williams
, B. R. Duval
and H. B. Cowles
passed the examination.
Rev. H. B. Cowles
, when his name was called, surrendered the chair to Rev. George W. Langhorne
, and gave an account of his action during the year as agent of Randolph Mason College.
His operations had been greatly hindered by adjourned to Texas
, the first relaxation from otive ministerial duties during thirty years, and by the pending war, Mr. Cowles
declined to act longer as College Agent.
paid a high tribute to Mr. Cowles
for the energy displayed by him as College Agent.
The success of the $100,000 endowment was largely attributable to him.
When the name of B. R. Duval
was called, he gave an account of his transactions during the past year as agent of the Bible
and Tract Society of the Virginia Conference
, B. Devany
, James A. Riddick
, Alex. Stewart
, and D. M. Wallace
, were granted a supernumerary relation.
Just previous to adjournment an animated discussion arose upon the motion to rescind a resolution adopted at the morning session yesterday appointing a secret session at 3 ½ o'clock this afternoon, for the trial of John K. Littleton
The accused asked for a postponement of the trial, alleging the absence of important testimony which he could not obtain during the present session of the Conference.
The motion to rescind was debated by Messrs. Couling
, P. A. Peterson
, and Joyner
, and was rejected.
And then the Conference adjourned to meet at 3 ½ o'clock.
Norfolk, Nov. 26, 1861.
The Conference met, pursuant to adjournment, Bishop Andrew
in the chair, who opened the meeting with prayer.
What transpired during the session, I, of course, cannot with propriety report, further than this, that the only question debated was whether the trial of John K. Littleton
shall now proceed or be longer deferred.
It was very elaborately discussed and after a session of about two hours, the following resolution, in substance, was adopted:
That the trial of John K. Littleton
be postponed until the next annual session of this body, on the ground that the defendant alleges that he is not now ready for trial, because of the absence of oral and documentary evidence, which he could not by reasonable diligence have here at this time, and which he believes will fully vindicate his character, the said defendant meantime to remain suspended from the functions of a minister.
This action was had by a vote well nigh unanimous, the general desire seeming to be to give the accused party full and ample scope for defence.
And the Conference adjourned until to-morrow at 9 o'clock.
During the morning session, Rev. P. W. Archer
, told of a preacher upon his district who was sent to a very poor appointment, who, upon reaching it, could find no place to board his family; but who determined to do his work, hired a house, and not having means to buy furniture, made for himself a bedstead and some other articles, then made a bed or broom straw, not having feathers or money to purchase, and thus preparing for his family as best he might, addressed himself to his work, and succeeded so well as to build up the Church
, enlarge its membership, and during the year drew around himself many elements of comfort.
That was the only case of the kind which had fallen under his observation.
said that such instances of devotion were rather rare in these days, though in former days common enough among the Methodists; but it was cheering to see that the old spirit had not died out entirely.--Doubtless, if circumstances called them out, many like heroes would be found among the preachers of the Conference.
Norfolk, Nov. 27, 1861.
Conference did not assemble this morning until quite half-past 9 o'clock, and even then there were but few preachers in attendance.
in the chair.
Religious exercises conducted by Rev. J. Finley
On motion, the Conference went into the selection of a place for holding the next annual session of the body, and Petersburg, Va.
; was chosen by a unanimous vote.
Rev. John C. Granberry
presented a report from the Committee
appointed to draft resolutions expressive of the sympathy of this body with the ministers and members of the Baltimore Conference.
A little verbal criticism ensued as to one phase in the report, but in the end the paper was adopted without dissent.
Rev. D. S. Doggott
presented the report of the Publishing Committee of the Richmond Christian Advocate
The paper was read by Rev. Nelson Head
It reported a decided improvement in the financial condition of the paper and in the general management of its affairs.
The liabilities of the paper have been much lessened.
addressed the Conference in further explanation of the condition of the paper and of the action of the Publishing Committee.
In concert with the other members of the Committee
, the speaker hoped that the Advocate
Further remarks were submitted by Messrs. Joyner
, and Stanley
, chiefly directed to details of management to be adopted for the future.
The report met with general favor, and the purpose to continue the paper was universal among the members of the Conference.
The report was adopted.
decided that when an Annual Conference holds the title to a paper it may elect an editor either through a Publishing Committee or by its own action.
The General Conference having parted with the control of the paper, parted with the power to elect the editor of the paper.
The Conference adopted a motion requesting the Bishop
to appoint Rev. James A. Duncan
to the editorship of the Advocate.
The discussion continued upon the proposal to instruct the editor to travel through the State
to promote the circulation of the Advocate
and otherwise to enhance its prosperity.
When I close this report, the Rev. James A. Duncan
is on the floor speaking to the question, having been called to his feet by Sundry members of the Conference.
The attendance upon the session this morning is very large, particularly of the ladies, and the deepest interest seems to be taken in the discussion taking place.
The Conference will probably adjourn to-morrow night.
Dr. L. M. Lee
's condition is a little more favorable this morning.