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A History Of The Methodist Episcopal Church Volume Iii by Nathan Bangs, D.D.

CHAPTER 6 From the Close of the General Conference of 1820 to the Beginning of the General Conference of 1824

According to the decision of the late General Conference, there was an additional annual conference created this year called Kentucky making in all twelve. This conference, it was stated, |shall include the Kentucky, Salt River, Green River, and Cumberland districts, and that part of the state of Virginia included in the Green Brier and Monroe circuits, heretofore belonging to the Baltimore conference, and the Kenawa and Middle Island circuits, heretofore belonging to the Ohio conference.|

This division of labor into twelve annual conferences gave to each effective bishop -- for, as Bishop McKendree had been released from effective labor in consequence of his debility, there were but two -- six conferences to attend, which, in the extension of the work, particularly in the west and southwest, made their labors extremely arduous. They, however, entered upon their work with diligence and zeal; and although Bishop McKendree was not required to perform effective service, yet he attended as many of the conferences as his strength would allow, and was particularly useful in the missionary department of the work, in which be took a deep and lively interest.

Notwithstanding what had been done to supply the destitute portions of our country with the word and ordinances of Christianity, there were yet many parts unprovided for, particularly in the southwestern states and territories. The state of Louisiana, which contained at this time not less than 220,000 inhabitants, about one fourth of whom were slaves, was almost entirely destitute of evangelical instruction. About three fourths of the population were French Roman Catholics, but few of whom could either speak or understand the English language, and the greater proportion of these had never heard a Protestant minister.

In this large territory there was a presiding elder's district, including only two circuits, called Attakapas and Washataw, in which there were one hundred and fifty-one white and fifty-eight colored members, under the charge of three preachers, including the presiding elder. How inadequate they were all to meet the spiritual wants of the people, may be inferred from the fact, that one of these preachers traveled not less than five hundred and eighty miles every five weeks, in order to preach to as many of the people in their scattered settlements as he possibly could. In this state of things the few whose hearts the Lord had touched sent up a loud and urgent call to the rulers of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and made their earnest appeals to the managers of our Missionary Society for ministerial help. After consulting with Bishop McKendree in reference to the best manner of answering these earnest appeals, the managers selected a young preacher of promising talents, Ebenezer Brown, who was approved of and appointed by Bishop George, and, with a view to qualify himself for his work, he entered upon the study of the French language. He went finally to his field of labor, but the enterprise proved a failure. Such were the prejudices of the French population, fomented as they were by priestly influence, that the missionary could gain no access to the people; and hence, after spending some time in preaching to an English congregation in New Orleans, he returned to the New York conference, in which he continued until he located.

But though these efforts to send the gospel in that direction, like many others of a similar character which had been made to benefit the Catholic population, were unsuccessful, the prospects in other places, particularly among the aborigines of our country, were more flattering. These long neglected people, the original lords of the soil, began to attract the attention of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and by one of those singular providences which so strikingly indicate the wisdom and power of God in selecting the means for the accomplishment of his purposes of mercy, a work of grace had been commenced among the Wyandot Indians in Upper Sandusky, in the state of Ohio.

That the reader may duly estimate the difficulties with which the missionaries had to contend, in their efforts to convert these savages to the Christian faith, it is necessary that he should know something of their superstitions, customs, and manner of living, as well as the great diversity of languages which are spoken by the several tribes.

Within the bounds of the United States and territories there were remaining, according to the most accurate estimate which could he made of all the numerous tribes which once inhabited this land, only about one hundred and thirty thousand; and there were supposed to be in the Canadas, chiefly of the Chippeway [sic], Mohawk, and Missisauga tribes, about fifty thousand more. Such inroads had disease, wars, and intemperance made upon this once numerous and powerful people, the aboriginal lords of the soil, that these several tribes of Indians were but fragments of what they once were, scattered about in small insulated groups, some of them half civilized, and many melted down to mere handfuls in comparison to their former numbers.

These one hundred and thirty thousand were divided into not less than sixty-five different tribes, speaking almost as many languages, some reduced to as few as thirty in a tribe, while the largest number did not exceed thirty thousand in any one tribe. What a difficulty does this single circumstance present in the way of their conversion! And how hopeless must their case have appeared to all who looked at them merely with the eye of human reason! But the faith of the Christian surveyed them with very different feelings, and prompted him to adopt measures for their melioration and salvation.

Though each tribe may have some religious notions and customs, as well as modes of life, peculiar to itself, yet in the general outline of heathen superstitions and manner of savage life they all agree; and hence a general description of these things may answer the purpose of conveying an accurate idea of their character and religious and social condition.

Though most of them believe in one supremely good Spirit, whom they call Ke-Sha-Muneto, yet as they think he is goodness itself, they conclude he can do no evil, and therefore they neither fear nor offer to him any propitiatory sacrifice. To the evil spirit, who is called Manche-Muneto, they offer sacrifices, as an object of fear and dread, that they may appease his wrath.

In addition to these two great and powerful beings, they believe in the existence of a multitude of subordinate deities, who are distinguished by the simple name of Muneto. These are, like the gods of the ancient heathen, local deities, who have their abodes in caves of the earth, in great waterfalls, in large and dangerous rivers and lakes, which, together with whatever natural phenomenon is calculated to inspire the mind with awe and dread, are under the control of these inferior and local deities. To the care of these subordinate gods the souls and bodies of individuals are committed, and it is a subject of much solicitude for each person to ascertain to which of the Munetos his destinies are to be consigned, that he may render to it the proper homage. For the purpose of acquiring this knowledge they go through a most painful process of fasting and other bodily austerities for several days in succession, and when reduced by this means to great physical weakness, they become perturbed in sleep, and the thoughts which flit through their minds in that state are interpreted in such way as to lead them to infer that either a bear, a deer, a snake, or some other animal is to be the representative of their guardian Muneto; and thenceforward the animal selected by the individual becomes the object of his superstitious reverence through all the vicissitudes of his future roving life.

But they have also their priests, who hold a preternatural intercourse with the invisible world, and interpret the will of the gods unto the people. These are called Paw-waws, or Conjurors. These profess to hold a correspondence with invisible and absent spirits, whether dead or alive, and teach the deluded people to believe that they can inflict punishment upon their enemies, even though at a great distance from them -- that they can, by their conjurations, cure diseases, expel witches and wizards, and control the power of evil spirits. These conjurors have their medicine-bags, with which they perform a variety of antic tricks, beating their tum-tum, a sort of drum, and singing their monotonous tunes over the sick, attempting by this means to drive away the evil spirit and restore the patient to health; but they more frequently increase the sufferings or hasten the dissolution of the diseased person than effect his cure.

In addition to these ordinary priests there is another order of a peculiar character, -- whose business is to guard the |Council Fire.| This is kept by each tribe in a place selected for that purpose, where an altar, something in the form of a rude oven, is erected, and here the eternal fire, as it is called, is kept perpetually burning. That it may not be extinguished or desecrated by rude or vulgar hands, four persons, two males and two females, husbands and their wives, are appointed as its guardians. The wives are required to cook and do the domestic work, while their husbands, who are destined more especially to the sacred duty of guarding the council fire, are likewise engaged in hunting and providing all needful things for the household. These four persons are relieved from all secular cares, that they may the more entirely devote themselves to the holy trust confided to them. In this priesthood a perpetual succession is kept up by the appointment of the head chief and his spouse, the former selecting the husband and the latter the wife of the survivor. And so sacred is the duty of guarding the eternal fire considered, that death is inflicted as a punishment upon him who violates his trust.

The custom of ridding themselves of the encumbrance of the aged and infirm, by putting an end to their life, is continued among these heathen with all its shocking barbarities. The following, as corroborative of the truth of this, is related on the authority of the Rev. William Case, whose labors among the Indians of Upper Canada, and intimate acquaintance with their customs, entitle him not only to credit, but also to the thanks of the whole Christian community. He says: |Many years since an aged respectable gentleman, being at the head of the Bay of Quinte, found an assemblage of Indians. On inquiring the cause, he was informed that they had assembled to perform one of their ceremonies. Out of respect to our informant they permitted him to witness the scene. They were ranged in Indian file, at the head of which was an aged man, and next to him a lad, his son, with a hatchet in his hand. They all moved slowly until they arrived at a place nearly dry in the ground. Here they halted. The old man kneeled down. The son stood for a moment, and then deliberately stepped up and struck the tomahawk into his father's head. He fell under the stroke, was buried, and the ceremony ended by drinking freely of ardent spirits.| In justification of this inhuman conduct, they alleged that this was not a punishment for any crime, but merely because the old man could no longer follow them in their wanderings. So powerfully does the selfish principle predominate over filial love and obedience.

But these superstitions are not the worst things with which the Christian missionary has to contend. Had these heathen been left in their native condition, their conversion to Christianity might be effected with much more ease. It is, indeed, lamentable to reflect, that their proximity to the white population, and their intermingling with them for purposes of traffic, instead of bettering their condition, have made it far worse, and furnished them with an argument against Christianity of peculiar point and force. I allude to the introduction of ardent spirits by mercenary traders, to the custom of profane swearing, to gambling, and to those diseases to which they were heretofore strangers. These things have debased their minds, corrupted their morals, impoverished their tribes, thinned their ranks, and hardened them against the truths of the gospel. And this is the more to he lamented, because these evils have been superinduced by those who have called themselves Christians, and professed to enjoy the advantages of civilization. In consequence of these things, the semi-civilized Indians, who skirt our settlements, and have intermingled with their white neighbors, are the worst, to whom the appellation of |miserable, half-starved Indians| most appropriately belongs to those in the interior, far removed from civilized life, being much more industrious, better clad, enjoy better health, and are more easily reached by gospel truth.

This state of things renders it imperative for the missionary, on his first introduction to these semi-barbarians, to remove the objections to Christianity arising from the corrupting example of those professed Christians who have cheated them, made them drunk with |fire waters,| and turned the edge of the sword against them, until they have been compelled to seek a shelter from the hot pursuit of their enemies by plunging farther and farther into the trackless wilderness -- by leaving their paternal inheritances, and taking up their abodes amidst bears and wolves, and other wild beasts of the forests. To do this -- to meet and obviate their objections arising out of this inhuman treatment, by distinguishing between a cause and its professed advocates, between nominal and real Christians, and by discriminating between pure Christianity and that corrupted form of it which has been made to accommodate itself to the debased passions of men -- to do this effectually and satisfactorily to the inquisitive mind of an Indian requires no little ingenuity and patient perseverance. And yet it must be done before an entrance can he gained to his heart by the truth. He must he convinced that the missionary is honest in his purpose, and then the latter must adapt himself, in his mode of instruction, to the condition, the intellect, and the moral habits of his pupil.

Such were the difficulties existing among the Indian tribes to whom the gospel was sent by the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church about this time; and yet it met with a success unparalleled among Indian missions.

The Wyandot Indians, among whom the reformation commenced, called by the French Hurons, were once a powerful nation, the most ancient settlers and proprietors of the country on both sides of the Detroit river, extending northwest as far as Mackinaw. By frequent wars, however, and the destructive influence of those vices contracted by their contiguity to the white population, they had now become greatly reduced in number and influence, and were at this time settled on a reservation of land in Upper Sandusky.

This reservation was about nineteen miles in length from east to west, and twelve in breadth from north to south, containing in all nearly one hundred and fifty thousand acres of land. This tract, through which the Sandusky river winds its way, together with five miles square at the Big Spring, includes all the soil remaining to this once numerous and powerful tribe, whose dominion had extended, in their more palmy days, over such a vast region of country. Their chief settlement, where the mission was commenced, and the mission premises have been established, is about four hundred and seventy miles north of Columbus, the capital of the state of Ohio.

As early as the year 1816, John Steward, a free man of color, born and raised in Powhatan county, in the State of Virginia, visited these people in the character of a Christian teacher. Having been brought to the |knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus,| and become a member of our Church, it was deeply impressed upon his mind that it was his duty to travel somewhere northwest in search of some of the |lost sheep of the house of Israel.| So strong were his convictions on this subject that he could have no rest in his spirit until he yielded obedience to what he considered the call of God. Unauthorized by any church, and in opposition to the advice of many of his friends, Steward took his departure from his |home and kindred,| and continued his course until he arrived at Pipe Town, on the Sandusky river, where a tribe of the Delaware Indians dwelt. After holding a conference with these friendly Indians, and, through an interpreter, delivering to them a discourse on the subject of religion, impelled on by h is first impressions, the next morning he bade them an affectionate adieu, and pursued his journey toward Upper Sandusky, and soon arrived at the house of Mr. Walker, United States sub-agent, to whom Steward related his Christian experience, and the reasons which had induced him to come among them. Being finally satisfied that he was actuated by pure motives, Mr. and Mrs. Walker, both of whom could speak the Wyandot language, encouraged and assisted him much in his work. His first sermon was delivered to one old Indian woman. But recollecting that his Lord and Master had preached successfully to the woman of Samaria alone, Steward preached as faithfully to her as if there had been hundreds present. At his next appointment, |on the morrow,| he had the satisfaction to find added to his congregation an old man. To these he addressed himself with such effect that they both were soon converted to the Christian faith.

In this small way, and by these comparatively inefficient means, the work of reformation began among these people in the month of November, 1816, and by the faithful labors of Steward, assisted occasionally by some local preachers, who took an interest in their spiritual welfare, before any regular missionary was pointed to take charge of them, a large society of converted natives had been formed, all zealous for the salvation of their heathen brethren. Among these were several influential chiefs of the nation, Between-the-logs, Mononcue, Hicks, and Scuteash, together with two of the interpreters, Pointer and Armstrong; the first of whom, Between-the-logs, was one of the chief counselors of the nation, a man of vigorous intellect, who soon became an eloquent advocate for the Christian cause; nor was Mononcue much inferior to him in mental strength and useful labors.

In 1819, the very year in which the Missionary Society was formed -- a coincidence not unworthy of notice -- this mission was taken under the superintendence of the Ohio conference, which held its session that year in Cincinnati, August the 7th, and the Rev. James B. Finley, who was appointed to the Lebanon district, took the Wyandot mission under his care. At a quarterly meeting, held in November of this year, on Mad river circuit, forty-two miles from Upper Sandusky, about sixty of these native converts were present, among whom were the four chiefs above mentioned and the two interpreters. And that the reader may judge for himself in respect to the genuineness of the work which had been wrought in the hearts and lives of these people, I will insert the following account of the manner in which some of them related their Christian experience. Between-the-logs arose first in the love-feast, and lifting his eyes to heaven, streaming with tears of penitence and gratitude, said: --

|My dear brethren, I am happy this morning that the Great Spirit has permitted us to assemble here for so good a purpose as to worship him, and to strengthen the cords of love and friendship. This is the first meeting of the kind which has been held for us, and now, my dear brethren, I am happy that we, who have been so long time apart, and enemies to one another, are come together as brothers, at which our Great Father is well pleased. For my part, I have been a very wicked man, and have committed many great sins against the Good Spirit, was addicted to drinking whisky and many evils: but I thank my good God that I am yet alive, and that he has most perfectly opened my eyes by his ministers and the good book to see these evils, and has given me help to forsake them and turn away from them. Now I feel peace in my heart with God and all men; but I feel just like a little child beginning to walk; sometimes very weak, and almost ready to give up; then I pray, and my Great Father hears me, and gives me the blessing; then I feel strong and happy; then I walk again; so sometimes up and sometimes down. I want you all to pray for me, that I may never sin any more, but always live happy and die happy. Then I shall meet you all in our Great Father's house above, and be happy for ever.' This speech was attended with great power to the hearts of the people.

|The next who arose was Hicks, who had become a most temperate and zealous advocate for the Christian religion. His speech was not interpreted entire; but after expressing his gratitude to God for what he then felt, and hoped to enjoy, he exhorted his Indian brethren to be much engaged for a blessing, and enforced his exhortation in the following manner: -- When I was a boy, my parents used to send me on errands, and sometimes I saw so many new things to attract my attention, I would say, By and by I will ask, until I would forget what I was sent for, and have to go home without it. So it may be with you. You have come here to get a blessing, but if you do not ask for it you will have to go home without it, and the wicked Indians will laugh at you for coming so far for nothing. Now seek, now ask, and if you get the blessing you will be happy, and go home light, and then be strong to resist evil and to do good.' He concluded by imploring a blessing upon his brethren.

|Scuteash next arose, and, with a smiling and serene countenance, said, I have been a great sinner, and such a drunkard as made me commit many great sins, and the Great Spirit was very mad with me, so that in here -- pointing to his breast -- always sick -- no sleep -- no eat -- walk -- walk -- drink whisky. Then I pray to the Great Spirit to help me to quit getting drunk, and to forgive me all my sins; and God did do something for me -- I do not know from whence it comes nor where it goes, but it came all over me -- Here he cried out, Waugh! Waugh!' as if shocked with electricity -- Now me no more sick. Me sleep, eat, and no more get drunk -- no more drink whisky -- no more bad man. Me cry -- me meet you all in our Great Father's house, and be happy for ever.'

At the conclusion of the love-feast there were not less than three hundred white people assembled from the neighboring frontier settlements, to whom Mr. Finley preached with great effect. The manifest attention in the appearance and general deportment of the Indian converts, together with the preaching, had a most salutary effect upon the audience.

|The next evening, at the earnest request of the natives, the meeting was resumed. After an exhortation from Mr. Finley, Mononcue arose and exhorted his brethren to look for the blessing they sought now. He then addressed the white brethren as follows: --

|Fathers and brethren, I am happy this night before the Great Spirit that made all men, both red, white, and black, that he has favored us with good weather for our meeting, and brought us together that we may help one another to get good and do good. The Great Spirit has taught you and us both in one thing, that we should love one another, and fear and obey him. Us Indians he has taught by his Spirit; and you, white men, he has taught by your good book, which is all one. But your book teaches you, and us by you, more plainly than we were taught before, what is for our good. To be sure we served our Great Father sincerely, (before we were told by the good book the way,) by our feasts, rattles, and sacrifices, and dances, which we now see were not all right. Now some of our nation are trying to do better; but we have many hindrances, some of which I mean to tell. The white men tell us they love us, and we believe some do, and wish us well; but a great many do not, for they will bring us whisky, which has been the ruin of our people. I can compare whisky to nothing but the devil; for it brings with it all kinds of evil -- it destroys our happiness; it makes Indians poor; strips our squaws and children of their clothes and food; makes us lie, steal, and kill one another. All these and many other evils it brings among us; therefore you ought not to bring it among us. Now you white people make it, you know its strength and use, Indians do not. Now this whisky is a curse to yourselves why not quit making it? This is one argument used by wicked Indians against the good book; If it is so good; why do not white men all do good? Another hindrance is, white men cheat Indians, take away their money and skins for nothing. Now you tell us your good book forbids all this; why not then do what it tells you? then Indians do right too. Again, you say our Great Father loves all men, white, black, and red men, that do right; then why do you look at Indians as below you, and treat them as if they were not brothers? Does your good book tell you so? I am sure it does not. Now, brothers, let us all do right; then our Great Father will be pleased, and will make us happy in this world, and when we die then we shall all live together in his house above, and always be happy.'|

At the Ohio conference, which was held this year, 1820, in Chillicothe, the chiefs of the Wyandots presented a petition to the conference for a regular missionary to be appointed over them. It will doubtless be both pleasing and edifying to the reader to know the orderly method by which the whole affair of preparing and presenting this petition was conducted, as it will show that these people were governed by the principles of democracy in coming to a final determination of any important question, while the executive authority was confided to their chief men. The following is Mr. Finley's' account of this transaction: --

|Sunday, 16th July, in the Wyandot council house, Upper Sandusky, at the close of public worship, was my last address to the Wyandots by the interpreter. My friends, and you chiefs and speakers in particular, I have one word more to say; I expect to meet our good old chiefs and fathers in the church at Chillicothe before I come to see you again, and they will ask me how you come on in serving the Lord, and if you want them to keep sending you preachers any longer, to tell you the good word, or if you have any choice in preachers to come and teach you.'

|The answer. -- Our chiefs are not all here, and we must have all our chiefs and queens together, and they must all speak their minds, and then we will let the old father know.'

|They appointed to meet me at Negro town on Wednesday evening, on my return from Seneca town; and, having returned, found them assembled and prepared to answer. On entering in among them a seat was set in the midst of the room, and I requested to take the seat, which I declined; but took my seat in their circle against the wall, and directed the interpreter to take the middle seat, which was done. After a short silence I spoke. Dear friends and brothers, I am thankful to find you all here, and am now prepared to hear your answer.'

|Mononcue, chairman and speaker for them all, answered: --

|We let our old father know that we have put the question round which was proposed on Sunday evening in the council house, and our queens give their answer first, saying,

|We thank the old father for coming to see us so often, and speaking the good word to us, and we want him to keep coming and never forsake us; and we let him know that we love this religion too well to give it up while we live, for we think it will go bad with our people if they quit this religion; and we want our good brother Steward to stay always among us, and our brother Jonathan too, and to help us along as they have done. Next we let the old father know what our head chiefs and the others have to say. They are willing that the gospel word should be continued among them, and they will try to do good themselves and help others to do so too; but as for the other things that are mentioned, they say, We give it all over to our speakers; just what they say we agree to; they know better about these things than we do, and they may let the old father know their mind.'

|The speakers reply for themselves: --

|We thank the fathers in conference for sending us preachers to help our brother Steward, and we desire the old father to keep coming at least another year when his year is out; and we want our brother Armstrong to come as often as he can, and our brothers Steward and Jonathan to stay among us and help us as they have done; and we hope our good fathers will not give us up because so many of our people are wicked and do wrong, for we believe some white men are wicked yet, that had the good word preached to them longer than our people; and our great heavenly Father has had long patience with us all; and we let the old father know that we, the speakers, will not give over speaking and telling our people to live in the right way; and if any of us do wrong we will still try to help him right, and let none go wrong; and we will try to make our head chiefs and all our people better, and we are one in voice with our queens, and we all join in giving thanks to our good fathers that care for our souls, and are willing to help our people; and we want them all to pray for us, and we will pray for them, and we hope our great heavenly Father will bless us all, and this is the last.'|

Their request was granted, and Moses Hinkle, senior, was appointed a missionary to Upper Sandusky. Being aided and encouraged by so many influential chiefs, and others of the tribe who had embraced the Christian faith, the missionary entered upon his work with a fair prospect of success; nor was he disappointed in his expectations, though it required much labor and skill to bring them into gospel order, according to our disciplinary regulations.

While these prospects were looming up before us in this and some other places, the Church in the city of New York was convulsed by an eruption which had been secretly working, and sometimes venting itself in low murmurings and disputings, for a considerable time before it broke forth in the manner now to be described. It would doubtless be tedious, and probably uninteresting to the reader, for me to enter into a minute detail of all the circumstances which led finally to a secession of a traveling preacher and upward of three hundred members, including three trustees and quite a number of class-leaders.

In contests of this character there is generally more or less of blame on both sides in respect to the manner in which the controversy is conducted, while only one can be right in regard to the main principle contended for, or as it respects the measures and things to be sustained or sacrificed. And that in the discussions which arose on the present occasion there were hasty expressions and precipitate measures on the one side as well as the other, I have good reason to know, while I am equally well convinced that the seceders themselves had no just cause for their complaints, and the means which they employed to accomplish their ends.

The origin of the difficulty may be traced to the rebuilding of John Street church, in the year 1817, although long prior to this there had appeared a jealousy between the uptown and downtown people, and more particularly between the east and west portions of the city. But the manner in which this church was re-edified, being a little more neat and costly than the other churches in the city, furnished a plausible opportunity, for those who seemed to want one, to censure the conduct of the trustees and those preachers who favored their plan of building, and thus the spirit of discontent among the members of the Church was much increased. Unhappily for the peace of the Church, the malcontents were strengthened in their opposition at the first by at least one preacher, who made no secret of his dissatisfaction at the measures which had been pursued in relation to the John Street church, and other matters connected with the administration of discipline.

These things continued to distract the councils of the Church, and to disturb its peace and harmony more and more, until the session of the New York conference in 1820, when the conference adopted measures to remove, if possible, the source of the difficulties, by advising our people to petition the state legislature for such an act of incorporation as should |recognize the peculiarities of our form of church government,| and thereby protect the administrators of discipline in their ecclesiastical rights and privileges. Though the conference meant nothing more than the removal of legal barriers, which they then thought existed, out of the way, yet the dissatisfied party seized hold of this circumstance with peculiar avidity, and made it subserve their purposes by raising the cry of |legal establishment,| an |attempt to coerce the people by civil laws,| &c., &c. Though all this was but idle gossip, yet it had its effect in raising a prejudice in the minds of many sincere members of our Church, and induced them to believe that their preachers were adopting measures to enslave them, or to deprive them of their just rights and privileges.

It is believed that the measures of the conference, though well meant, were unnecessary, even for the attainment of the end proposed, as subsequent experience has proved that the constitutions, both of the general and state governments, amply secure to all denominations the full enjoyment of all their peculiarities, and the free and unrestrained exercise of their disciplinary regulations, provided they behave as peaceable citizens, and do not infract any law of the land. This principle has been settled by the highest tribunals of justice, and therefore no special act is necessary to remove any legal barrier out of the way of the exercise of discipline, provided as above, because all such barriers, did they exist, are unconstitutional, and are therefore null and void.

But this act of the New York conference, perfectly innocent in itself, and which was never carried into effect, furnished a plausible pretext to the discontented party, and was used with admirable effect in raising a prejudice against the constituted authorities of the Church. It finally ended, as before remarked, in the secession of a preacher, William M. Stillwell, and about three hundred members of the Church, some of whom were men of long standing and considerable influence. They formed themselves into an independent congregation, adopting the substance of our general rules for their government, and our doctrines as articles of faith, professing at the same time an attachment to the itinerating mode of spreading the gospel, and, drawing others after them in some portions of the country, formed an annual conference, made up chiefly -- for I believe no traveling preacher joined them except Stillwell -- of local preachers, and those who had been exhorters in our Church. Their itinerancy, however; was of short duration, for those who seceded in the city of New York soon settled down upon the Congregational plan of church government, allowing even the females a voice in all matters of administration.

As it will not be necessary to advert to these things again, except incidentally, it is proper to remark here, that most of those who left us at that time have since returned to the church of their first love. Having sufficiently tested the quality of the |new wine| to find it unsavory, and becoming restive under their new regimen, they made application to be restored to the privilege of drinking again the |old wine,| and to the government from which they had expatriated themselves. Some afterward joined the |Reformer,| improperly so called, and a few only of those who seceded remain attached to Stillwell. Two out of the three trustees who left us, most of the class-leaders, together with their members, have been, at their own request, restored to their former fellowship, in a way equally satisfactory to all concerned. Mr. Stillwell, however, remains over a congregation, made up chiefly of those who have been gathered in since the secession, and, so far as they may promote |the common salvation,| we wish them success.

Notwithstanding these difficulties occurred in the city of New York and a few other places which were affected by these movements, by which many a sincere heart was made to palpitate with sorrow, and some of our ministers to suffer a temporary reproach, the work of God was generally prosperous, and great peace reigned among those who remained unmoved in the city of New York.

It was no small satisfaction to the projectors and friends of our Missionary Society to find that their labors were duly appreciated by their brethren, and that the spirit of missions was gradually diffusing itself throughout our ranks, exerting in its course a hallowing influence in the Church, and calling forth a spirit of liberality highly creditable to all concerned. Many of the annual conferences formed themselves into auxiliary societies, and adopted energetic measures to establish branches throughout their bounds, with a view to supply the pecuniary means needful to support those men of God who volunteered their services for the salvation of men. Numerous testimonies in favor of these measures, sent to the managers to cheer them on the way, might easily be adduced; but I shall content myself with inserting the following from the Rev. Thomas L. Douglass, of the Tennessee conference: --

|The plan,| he remarks, |proposed in the Address of the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, places things on very advantageous ground. The men to be aided and sanctioned as missionaries are to be approved by our annual conferences, and to act under the direction of our bishops. Men who, renouncing ease and worldly prospects, devoted to God and his Church, and qualified for the divine work in which they are engaged, will spread the word of life; and by uniting precept with example they will plant the standard of Immanuel, and diffuse light to thousands in regions where darkness now reigns. O! could our venerable father, Bishop Asbury, the apostle of America, have witnessed such a plan matured and carried into operation by his sons in the gospel, his great soul must have felt such rapture, that, like Simeon, he would have exclaimed, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace! Admirable system! The strength of Jehovah must be felt by the powers of darkness in the operation of such a plan.

|I think the publication of the Methodist Magazine and the establishment of the Missionary Society, both engrafted on the old itinerant missionary plan, are calculated to impart such energy and spirit to the whole connection, that we shall not only keep up the life and power of religion where it is already planted, but renewed exertion and unequaled success, since the apostolic age, in saving souls from death, will be the resulting consequences.

|Nashville is certainly the most central as well as the most populous town within the limits of this conference, and therefore ought to be the place for the location of an auxiliary society, which I shall use my endeavors to establish as soon as possible.|

Events have verified the truth of these anticipations respecting the blessed results of this society. An enlightened zeal distinguished the conduct of those who entered the most heartily into the missionary work, and the spirit of revival pervaded many portions of the Church during this and succeeding years. An auxiliary missionary society had been formed in Lynn, Mass., and the Rev. J. A. Merrill, who was appointed by the bishop as a missionary in the bounds of the New England conference, went to the upper Coos, along the upper waters of the Connecticut river, a tract of country almost entirely destitute of the gospel. God accompanied his labors with the energies of the Holy Spirit, so that many sinners were awakened and brought to the knowledge of the truth. He extended his labors into Vermont, some parts of New Hampshire, and Maine, and everywhere found a people eager to hear the word. The following extract from one of his letters will show the extent and effect of his labors: --

|Since my last communication I have made two visits into the upper Coos country, and am happy to state that the prospect still brightens. In Lunenburgh there is a gracious work of religion. I have attended a number of meetings in that place, and the power of God was evidently manifested among the people. The tears and sighs of mourners clearly discovered that the word was not delivered in vain. At one time nearly the whole assembly rose and requested prayers, and after the congregation was dismissed a number of mourning and weeping souls tarried, and still desired we should pray for them. They readily prostrated themselves at the foot of the cross, while our prayers were offered to God in their behalf. Several have professed faith in the Lord Jesus, and others are still struggling for deliverance.

|There is a good work in the Congregational society in this town. At a meeting not long since, the preacher, after giving an invitation to the people to rise to be prayed for, and counting forty, urged the importance of their kneeling, from the example of Christ and the apostles; he then kneeled, and was joined in this Scriptural and rational act by nearly all the congregation.

|About one hundred have been added to the societies on Stratford circuit since the last conference, and perhaps more than that number on Landaff circuit.

|I have made a tour of about five weeks into Maine; preached in the towns of Shelbourn, Rumford, Bethel, Livermore, Augusta, Sidney, Gardner, Litchfield, and Vienna. In some of these towns I preached four and five times, and have reason to think the labor will not be lost. The prospect in several towns is good; -- in Vienna about sixty have experienced religion of late, and the attention in most of these places is considerable.

|You observe in your letter that several wished to know how many miles I have traveled and how many sermons I have preached since my appointment. I am not much in favor of this practice, generally; but as it is the wish of my friends, and has been a practice among missionaries, I shall here state, for the satisfaction of the society, that I have visited and preached in seventy towns, traveled three thousand six hundred and seventy miles, (in about eight months,) and preached two hundred and forty sermons; but how many families I have visited I cannot tell.|

In the town of Bristol, R. I., there was a gracious work of God. The following particulars respecting the commencement and progress of Methodism in this place will doubtless be interesting to the reader. About the year 1791 a sea captain, a citizen of Bristol, was brought to the saving knowledge of the truth under Methodist preaching in the city of New York. On his return to his native place he made known to some of his neighbors what God had done for his soul. Though many who heard these things treated them with contempt, others believed his testimony and received it with joy. Being encouraged by these, the captain, whose heart burned with love to the souls of his fellowmen, invited the Methodist preachers to visit Bristol; and though much opposition was manifested by some, yet others received the word with joyful and believing hearts, and a society was soon formed, consisting of eighteen persons. This was the beginning of Methodism in that place, and the society gradually increased in numbers and strength, so that in 1805 they were enabled to build a commodious house of worship. In 1812, under a powerful revival of religion, about one hundred were added to their number. This year, 1820, they were favored with another outpouring of the Spirit, during which not less than one hundred and fifty gave evidence of a work of regenerating grace, so that the whole number of Church members was four hundred and eight, including twenty-two colored.

In Provincetown, Massachusetts, also, there was a remarkable work of God; -- so powerful was it in its effects, and so rapid in its progress, that it changed the entire moral aspect of the place. As this work began while many of the men were absent at sea -- the inhabitants living chiefly by fishing -- on their return they were astonished at the change which had taken place; but they soon became convinced that it was the power of God which had produced the reformation, and they also were soon made |partakers of like precious faith,| whole families rejoicing together |for the consolation.| About one hundred and forty in this little town were brought to God during this revival.

Chillicothe, Ohio, was also favored with manifest displays of the power and grace of God. In 1819 there had been a revival here which eventuated in the addition of three hundred and twenty to the Church. This year the work continued with increasing power, and, among others, the man who had been employed in finishing their house of worship, together with all his family, and all the hands employed on the house, were made partakers of the grace of life.

Many other places, too numerous to mention, were blessed with revivals, so that it may be said the Church very generally was in a prosperous condition.

Thirty-five preachers were located this year, fifteen were returned supernumerary, and forty-two superannuated, and three had been expelled. Two, John T. Brame and George Burnet, had died in the Lord.

Numbers in the Church: Whites This Year: 219,332; Last Year: 201,750; Increase: 17,582 -- Colored This Year: 40,558; Last Year: 39,174; Increase: 1,384 -- Total This Year: 259,890 ; Last Year: 240,924 -- Increase: 18,966 -- Preachers This Year: 896; Last Year: 812; Increase: 84.

1821

The mission which had been commenced among the Wyandots continued to prosper, and the reports of its success had a most happy influence on the cause of religion generally. This year the Rev. James B. Finley was appointed to the superintendence of this mission. In addition to preaching the gospel to the adult Indians, he was instructed to establish a school for the education of the children, both in letters and in domestic economy -- to teach the boys the art of agriculture, and the girls to sew, spin, and knit, and all the duties of the household.

It is a coincidence worthy of notice, that about the time this good work commenced among the natives of our forests, the government of the United States made an appropriation of ten thousand dollars annually for the support of native schools, in which it was ordered that the children should he taught the arts of civilized life, as well as to read, write, and keep accounts. This annuity was to be divided among the several schools which might be established among the aboriginal tribes by missionary societies, and the Wyandot school received its quota. To accomplish his object Mr. Finley commenced building a house, which might serve the double purpose of a house of worship and for teaching the children, and likewise inclosed a large farm, the land having been granted by the chiefs to the mission, on which he labored with his own hands, for the purpose of setting an example to the Indians, that they might habituate themselves to an agricultural life. These movements had a salutary effect upon their physical and moral condition.

The converted natives were formed into classes, and the chiefs who embraced Christianity were appointed leaders. At the first offer that was made to receive them into class twenty-three came forward, with tears of mingled sorrow and joy, desiring to become members of the Christian church, while others stood trembling and weeping, crying aloud, |O, Shasus, Ta-men-tare!| that is, |O, Jesus, take pity on us!| In this way the good work went on during the year.

With a view to send the gospel to the Creek Indians, who inhabited a tract of country lying within the bounds of the states of Georgia and Alabama, then under the chieftainship of McIntosh, the celebrated half-breed warrior, the Rev. William Capers undertook a tour through the state of Georgia, to ascertain the feelings of its citizens toward an attempt to establish a mission among that tribe of Indians. He was favorably received by the people generally, and the proposed mission was viewed with a friendly eye. He visited and preached in the most populous towns and villages in the state, and made collections for the support of the contemplated mission, which was begun the succeeding year.

The feelings of the managers of the Missionary Society, in view of what God had already done through their instrumentality, may be seen by the following extract from their third annual report: --

|It is now only about three years since this society commenced its operations. Combining so large a field of labor, and comprehending in its plans so large a circle, as the whole of the Methodist conferences in the United States, it was but reasonable to expect that its progress would be slow; but it has been sure. Time and patient perseverance are necessary to set so many wheels in motion, to communicate life and vigor to each, and so to direct the movements of the whole as to produce a simultaneous and harmonious co-operation. But, blessed be the God of missions! the God of Wesley and Whitefield -- those eminent missionaries of the old world -- who inspired them with sufficient energy to set the mighty machine in motion -- of Asbury and Coke, who gave it such an impulse in the new world -- blessed be his holy name for ever, that he hath so far given success to the experiment. Already the impulse is felt more or less strongly from the center to the circumference of our connection. The mustard-seed first s own about three years since has taken deep root, has extended its branches, and many are reposing under their shadow. Young branches are shooting forth in various directions, and, instead of exhausting the strength of the parent stock, are daily adding to its growth and stability. As you have already heard, the heathen tribes of our wilderness are partaking of its fruits.

|The time, indeed, is not far distant, when every man who shall have engaged in this godlike enterprise will esteem it as the happiest period of his existence, the highest honor ever conferred upon him, when he embarked in the cause of missions. The loiterers, those who have looked on with cold indifference, and with envious eye have waited the doubtful result, will stand abashed, filled with confusion at their own supineness; and will, if their zeal for God be not quite extinguished, petition the privilege to redeem their lost time, by being permitted, at last, to participate in the grand work of conquering the world by the power of truth.|

The work of God was generally prosperous throughout the bounds of the several annual conferences, notwithstanding a spirit of disaffection was manifesting itself in some places among a few restless spirits. Through the agency of camp meetings in some parts of South Carolina much good was done, and a new circuit which was formed in the neighborhood of Bush river was blessed with an encouraging revival, under the labors of R. L. Edwards. An effort was also made to carry the gospel into a new field in the southwest, in what was called Jackson's Purchase, which embraced portions of the states of Kentucky and Tennessee, and Lewis Garrett and Hezekiah Holland were appointed to this service. That they were successful in their labors is evident from the fact, that there were returned on the Minutes for 1822 one hundred and forty-two whites and thirteen colored.

In the Nashville district also, through the agency of camp meetings, there were extensive revivals of religion throughout nearly all the circuits within the district, so much so that the net increase, after deducting expulsions, deaths, and removals, was one thousand three hundred and five members. The writer of this account, the Rev. Thomas L. Douglass, thus concludes his remarks: --

|The character of this revival is the least mixed with what are called irregularities or extravagances of any that I ever saw. We have had nothing of what is called the jerks, or dance, among us. The work of conviction in the hearts of sinners has been regular, powerful, and deep; their conversion, or deliverance from sin and guilt, clear and bright; and their rejoicings Scriptural and rational. I think fully half of those who have been the subjects of the work are young men, and heads of families; many of them among the most respectable in the country, men of education, men of talents. We anticipate help and usefulness from some of them in the Lord's vineyard. Upon the whole, it is the greatest work, the most blessed revival, I ever saw. The whole country, in some places, seems like bowing to our Immanuel; religion meets with very little that can be called opposition; and many who neither profess nor appear to have any desire to get religion themselves, manifest an uncommon degree of solicitude that others should obtain it, and express a high satisfaction at seeing the work prosper. May the Lord continue to pour out his Spirit, and may the hallowed fire spread, until all the inhabitants of the earth shall rejoice in his salvation! To God be all the glory! Pray for us, dear brethren, that this year may be as the past, and much more abundantly. We look for it and expect it. The district is well supplied with preachers, men of talents, men of zeal, and in the spirit of the work. May the Lord bless their labors!|

In Carter's Valley circuit, Holston conference, there were added, during a revival that year, not less than three hundred to the Church.

In Pittsburgh, Pa., the work of reformation had been going forward without interruption for about eighteen months, during which time not less than five hundred had been added to the Church, of whom about two hundred and sixty had been received in the course of six months. The writer of this account of the work of God in Pittsburgh, the Rev. Samuel Davis, who was at that time stationed there, closes his narrative in following words: --

|To those who have been conversant with the history of Methodism in this place from its rise, and who, with lively interest, have marked its progress down to the present, the retrospect must afford matter for the liveliest feelings of gratitude to God. Yea, when they look back but a few years, and compare what they then were with what they are now, their souls, in pleasing astonishment, must cry out, What hath the Lord wrought!' When they consider that, about ten or twelve years ago, an apartment in a private house was sufficient to contain the society, and all who chose to assemble with them to hear the word preached; and that now that little society has swelled to a church of near seven hundred members, possessing two meeting-houses, (one of which is large,) which are well filled, on sabbath evenings especially, with serious and attentive hearers -- a review of these circumstances constrains them to acknowledge that it is indeed the Lord's doings, and marvelous in their eyes,' -- that they who were not a people should become the people of the Lord.' The Lord reigneth! Let the earth rejoice.'|

In some portions of North Carolina the camp meetings were rendered a great blessing to the people. In the town of Hillsborough, where the Methodists had been but little known, having only two Church members in the place, there was a society of forty raised up as the fruit of one of these meetings, and they immediately adopted measures for erecting a house of worship, much to the gratification of the people of Hillsborough. Other places shared largely in the blessed effects of these revivals, and upward of three hundred were added to the several societies in that region of country, besides a number who connected themselves with other denominations.

In the more northern conferences also the work of God was prosperous. In the New Hampshire district, in New Haven, Conn., Providence, R. I., New London district, Wellfleet, New Windsor, and Rhinebeck circuits, the Lord poured out his Spirit, and blessed the labor of his servants in the conversion of many sinners and the sanctification of believers.

In 1819 Alabama was admitted as a state into the American confederacy. It had been filling up, like the other territories in the west and southwest, with inhabitants from Europe and the older states in the Union, most of whom were destitute of the ordinances of Christianity. Into this country the Methodist itinerants had penetrated, and succeeded in forming circuits and establishing societies among the scattered population. This year, as the following account will show, there were encouraging revivals of religion in many places in that part of the country. The presiding elder, the Rev. Thomas Griffin, writes as follows: --

|At a camp meeting held on the 6th of July last, on Pearl river, a few miles from Monticello, the congregation was large and attentive, many were awakened to a sense of their need of Christ, and five or six gave evidence of a change of heart.

|On the 20th we held another meeting on the river Chickasawhay, about fifty miles from the town of Mobile, where we have a large, flourishing society. There were two traveling and four local preachers, and one Presbyterian minister at this meeting. On Friday and Saturday the Lord favored us with a solemn sense of his presence. Sinners were struck with awe, and stood with respectful silence, while believers rejoiced in God their Saviour. On sabbath we administered the Lord's supper. All were solemn as night. The word of God was heard with great attention, and I believe much good was done. About ten professed justifying grace.

|On the 27th of July we held another meeting, about thirty miles from St. Stephen's, near the Tombeckbee and Alabama rivers. Though the principal part of the people were irreligious, yet they behaved with great order and decorum, and five or six professed to be converted.

|On the 2d of August we commenced a camp meeting on the banks of the Alabama river, thirty miles below the town of Cahawba the seat of government for this state. From the paucity of the inhabitants, and the affliction many were suffering from a prevailing fever, there were not many that attended this meeting. Some disorder was witnessed; but He that commanded the boisterous winds to be still appeared in our behalf, and before the exercises closed some were brought, as we have reason to believe, to the knowledge of the truth.

|August 10th another meeting began, thirty miles above Cahawba, on the bank of the above-mentioned river. A numerous concourse of people attended, and much good was done. On Tuesday morning I requested all who had obtained an evidence of their conversion to God to come forward to the altar, when thirty-seven presented themselves. The last two meetings were held in a forest, and the Indians were fishing in the river while we were preaching and praying; the bears were ravaging the cornfields, and the wolf and tiger were howling and screaming in the very woods in the neighborhood of our meeting.

|These accounts may seem unimportant to those who are accustomed to more numerous congregations, and who have the privilege of assembling in convenient houses; but to us, who are struggling with many difficulties in this newly settled country, it is highly gratifying, and fills us with a pleasing hope of yet seeing the desert blossom as the rose.|

Fifty preachers were located this year, twenty-two returned supernumerary, fifty-five superannuated, and five expelled. Three, Daniel Ireland, William M. Stillwell, and William Barton, had withdrawn, the last of whom joined the Protestant Episcopal Church. Six, namely, Samuel Parker, Charles Dickinson, Archibald Robinson, John Robertson, Richard Emory, and Apheus Davis, had finished their course in peace.

Samuel Parker was eminently useful in his day and generation. He was a native of New Jersey, born in 1774, of poor parents. At the age of fourteen he was brought from darkness to light, and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1805 he entered the traveling ministry, and was appointed to labor in the western country. It soon appeared that God was with him. By his deep devotion to the work of God, and his eminent talents as a preacher of righteousness, he acquired the confidence of his brethren, and commanded the respect of the community generally. In 1815 he was appointed the presiding elder of the Miami district, and from thence, in the next year, was transferred to the Kentucky district, in which he continued four years. In this station he was greatly blessed in his labors, during which time he was married to Miss Oletha Tilton.

Being called by the bishop to fill an important post in the bounds of the Mississippi conference, though his health was evidently declining, he consented to be transferred to that more distant field of labor. He soon, however, sunk under the influence of disease, and on the 20th of December, 1819, he died in peace.

The Rev. Samuel Parker was a man of deep experience, of fervent piety, of stern integrity, and possessed talents of the most useful character as a minister of Jesus Christ. His method of preaching was well calculated to soothe the mind of the believer by the sweet and rich promises of the gospel, as well as to inspire hope and faith in the broken-hearted, penitent sinner. And his general deportment as a Christian minister, among his brethren and the people of his charge, inspired such confidence in his wisdom and the purity of his motives as gave him a powerful influence over others, and he exerted it at all times for their present and future welfare. Had he lived to |threescore years and ten,| no doubt he would have ranked among the first ministers in the Methodist Episcopal Church; but that God who |seeth the end from the beginning| saw fit to call him in the prime of life from the militant to the church triumphant, where he rests from his labors, and his works do follow him.

Of the others whose death is recorded, it is said that they also filled up the measure of their days in usefulness, and ended their lives in the full hope of the gospel.

Numbers in the Church: Whites This Year: 239,087; Last Year: 219,332; Increase: 19,755 -- Colored This Year: 42,059; Last Year: 40,558; Increase: 1,501 -- Total This Year: 281,146; Last Year: 259,890 -- Increase: 21,256 -- Preachers This Year: 977; Last Year: 896; Increase: 81.

1822

This year two more Indian missions were commenced, one among the Mohawks in Upper Canada, and the other among the Creeks, called the Asbury mission. As the latter, after much expense and labor, failed in the accomplishment of its objects, perhaps it may be as well to give the history of its commencement, progress, and termination, once for all, in this place.

As before stated, the charge of this mission was confided, by Bishop McKendree, to the Rev. William Capers, of the South Carolina conference. After traveling extensively through the state of Georgia, endeavoring to awaken the missionary spirit, and collect funds to defray the expense for an outfit of the mission, in the month of August of this year, in company with Colonel Richard Blount, a pious and intelligent member of our Church, he arrived at the Creek agency, on Flint river. After witnessing some debasing scenes of amusement among the females, and one of those Indian plays which was conducted with a rude display of Indian dexterity, and daring feats of ferocious gallantry, he obtained an introduction to General McIntosh, the principal man of the nation. As an instance of the lordly bearing of this chief, who prided himself for having fought the battles of his country, as a general in the ranks of the Indian allies, under the command of the hero of New Orleans, may be mentioned his refusing to converse with Mr. Capers, though he perfectly understood the English language, only through the medium of an interpreter, assuming, in the mean time, all the etiquette of a stately prince in the reception of an ambassador.

The interview resulted in an agreement between the parties for the establishment of a mission, with liberty to use so much land only as should be found necessary to raise provision for the mission family, and for building the needful houses; and the Rev. Isaac Hill, an old, tried, experienced minister was appointed in charge of the mission. But notwithstanding the favorable beginning of this laudable attempt to convey the blessings of the gospel to these heathen, so long neglected by the Christian church, difficulties of a formidable character soon made their appearance. Some of the chiefs, who were not present at the council when the above agreement was ratified, raised objections against the enterprise, and thus created so many jarring sentiments in the nation, that for a time it was doubted, among the friends of the cause, whether it was best to continue the effort. It was, however, continued. A school was opened for the instruction of the children, but the missionary was forbidden, through the influence of the opposing chiefs, to preach the gospel to the adult Indians. It was also strongly suspected that the United States agent lent the weight of his influence against the prosecution of the mission, though an investigation of his conduct resulted in his justification by the government of the United States. And the following extract from the letter of instructions which was sent to the Indian agent will show that the officers of the government took a lively interest in the objects of this mission. The secretary of war, the Honorable John C. Calhoun, after expressing his regret that any difficulties should have arisen between the missionaries and Colonel Crowell, the Indian agent, expresses himself in the following language: --

|The president takes a deep interest in the success of every effort, the object of which is to improve the condition of the Indians, and desires that every aid be furnished by the Indian agents in advancing so important an object; and he trusts that your conduct will be such as to avoid the possibility of complaint on the part of those who are engaged in this benevolent work.

|You will give a decided countenance and support to the Methodist mission, as well as to any other society that may choose to direct its efforts to improve the condition of the Creek Indians. It is not conceived that they can have any just cause of apprehension against the privilege of preaching the gospel among them; and you will use a decided influence with them to reconcile them to its exercise on the part of the mission. The department feels confident that, by proper efforts on your part, you may secure to the mission the right of preaching among the Indians, which is deemed to be so essentially connected with the objects of the society.|

Notwithstanding this favorable regard toward the mission by the government of the United States, and the persevering efforts of the missionaries themselves, the mission was destined to undergo a sad declension in its affairs, and, after lingering for a while, was finally abandoned in despair. In addition to the barriers thrown in the way of the missionaries by the hostile chiefs and their partisans, were the troubles arising out of the treaty made by McIntosh and his party, by which the lands included in the chartered limits of Georgia were ceded to the United States, for the benefit of the state of Georgia, for the consideration of the sum of four hundred thousand dollars. This gave great offense to the majority of the nation, who affirmed that McIntosh and those who acted with him executed this treaty contrary to a law which had been promulgated in the public square, and they arose against him with violence, and massacred him and some others under circumstances of great barbarity. This threw the nation into great confusion, and exerted a most deleterious influence upon the interests of the mission.

The school, however, was continued under all these discouragements, and by the judicious manner in which it was conducted, and the manifest improvement of the children, both in letters and religion, it acquired the confidence and respect of all who made it an object of inquiry. And the restraints against preaching the gospel being removed in 1826, owing, in a great measure, to the interference in behalf of the mission by the United States government, the mission presented a more flattering prospect, so that in 1829 there were reported seventy-one Church members at the Asbury station, namely, two whites, twenty-four Indians, and forty-five colored; and the school consisted of fifty scholars. Under this state of things the friends of the cause fondly anticipated a final triumph over infidelity and heathen superstition among this nation of Indians. But, alas! how often are all human expectations blasted!

Such were the difficulties thrown in the way of this mission, that in 1830 it was entirely abandoned. Their confirmed habits of intemperance, their predilection for savage life, the persevering opposition of most of the chiefs to the self-denying doctrines of the gospel, together with their proximity to dissipated whites, whose interest was promoted by furnishing the Indians with means of intoxication, combined, with the troubles arising out of the murder of McIntosh and others, to paralyze the efforts of the missionaries and their friends, and they were reluctantly compelled to abandon the enterprise in despair. The labor, however, was not lost; lasting impressions were made upon some minds; and some who were removed to the west have been gathered into the fold of Christ, and others, who have been since that time converted to the Christian faith, have traced their first impressions to the instructions of |father Hill| and his pious associates.

Another aboriginal mission was commenced this year. This was among the Mohawks of Upper Canada. They had been partially civilized, and imperfectly instructed in the Christian religion; and yet their moral and religious state was very far from being improved.

They were settled principally on an Indian reservation of land, sixty miles in length and twelve in breadth, on each side of the Grand river. At the head of this tribe was the celebrated Mohawk chief, Colonel Brant, whose name carried such terror into our frontier settlements during the revolutionary war. Soon after the termination of this severe struggle, chiefly through his solicitation, the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge adopted measures to furnish these people with Christian instruction. A missionary was sent to preach to them, and the Gospel of St. Mark and the Prayer Book were translated into the Mohawk language, the former by Colonel Brant himself. But little permanent good, however, resulted from these efforts. Instead of producing any radical change in the heart and life of the people, they were merely initiated into an observance of the external rites and ceremonies of the church, while, like all other tribes who had mingled with the unconverted whites, they had become addicted to intemperance and its kindred vices.

In this state they were when visited by a Methodist missionary this year. It is true, that from the time the Methodist itinerants first visited that country, they were in the habit of preaching occasionally to these people, but with little apparent effect. As early as the year 1801 an Indian youth was baptized at a quarterly meeting held at the house of Mr. Jones, the father of Peter Jones, whose conversion and labors will be hereafter noticed; and it is remembered well that when Mr. Joseph Sawyer, the administrator of the ordinance, concluded the ceremony by prayer, he prayed most fervently that this youth might be the first-fruits of a harvest of souls from among these natives. The wife of Mr. Jones also, who was a Mohawk princess, was baptized about the same time, and received into the Church with her husband. These were all the aboriginal conversions known to the writer before the reformation of which we now speak commenced.

The mission was begun under the patronage of the Genesee conference, to which Upper Canada was then attached, and Alvin Torry was appointed to its charge. The following extracts of letters received from brother Case will fully explain the manner in which this good work began and was carried forward: --

|When I visited and preached to these Indians last June, I found several under awakenings; for they had heard occasionally a sermon from brothers Whitehead, Storey, and Matthews; and had for some time been in the habit of coming together at the house of T. D. to hear prayers in the Mohawk. Several manifested much concern, and appeared very desirous of the prayers and advice of the pious. These, with two youths who had lately received religious impressions at the Ancaster camp meeting, I formed into a society, giving charge of the society to brother S. Crawford. His account of the progress of the revival during my absence to conference I here insert, from his letter to me. We must beg some indulgence for being particular, considering that the subjects of this work are the first-fruits unto Christ, and that this revival may be seen in the native simplicity of these artless Indians. Brother C.'s account is as follows: --

|During your absence to the conference I have continued to meet with our red brethren every week, giving them public discourses, as well as answering their anxious inquiries concerning the things of God. The Lord has indeed been gracious to this people, pouring out his Holy Spirit on our assemblies, and thereby giving the spirit of penitence, of prayer, and of praise. About the first who appeared deeply concerned for their souls were two women. One of them had, about fourteen years ago, known the way of the Lord, and had belonged to our society in the Allegheny. Having been a long time without the means of grace, she had lost her comforts and her zeal for God; but now, being again stirred up to return to the Lord, she became useful to others of her sex who were inquiring for the way of life. The other was a woman of moral deportment, and of respectable standing among her nation, but of great and painful afflictions: by a series of family trials she had been borne down with overwhelming sorrows. To this daughter of affliction the other woman gave religious counsel, urging that if she would give her heart to the Lord he would give comfort to her mind, as well as direct and support her in her worldly troubles. She listened to these things with much concern, and as she went to the spring for water she turned aside several times to pray. At length, under a sense of her unworthiness and sinfulness, she sunk to the earth, and was helpless for some time. When she recovered strength she came into her house, and calling her children around her, they all kneeled down to pray. While at prayer a weight of power came on them -- the daughter of fifteen cried aloud for mercy, and the mother again sunk to the floor. The daughter soon found peace, and praised the Lord. While the mother was yet mourning and praying, the youngest daughter, not yet four years of age, first kneeled by her mother, praying: then coming to her sister, she says, |Onetye ragh a gwogh nos ha ragh ge hea steage? Onetye ragh a gwogh nos ha ragh ge hea steage?| that is, |Why don't you send for the minister? why don't you send for the minister?| showing thereby a religious concern and intelligence remarkable for one of her age. The mother soon after obtained peace. She with her children are now a happy family, walking in the enjoyment of the Holy Comforter. Thus did the Lord bring these sincere inquirers to the knowledge of himself, while they were alone, calling on his name.

|Another instance of extraordinary blessing among this people was on sabbath, the 27th of July last, when one of our brethren came to hold meeting with them. During singing and prayer there was such melting of heart and fervency throughout the assembly; -- some trembled and wept, others sunk to the floor, and there was a great cry for mercy through the congregation. Some cried in Messessaugah, |Chemenito! Kitta maugesse, chemuche nene,| &c.; that is, |Great good Spirit! I am poor and evil,| &c. Others in Mohawk prayed, |O Sayaner, souahhaah sadoeyn Roewaye Jesus Christ, Tandakweanderhek;| that is, |O Lord, the only begotten Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us!| Others were encouraging the penitents to cast their burdens on the Lord. Others again were rejoicing over their converted neighbors. In this manner the meeting continued throughout the day. While these exercises were going on a little girl ran home to call her mother, who came directly over to the meeting. On entering the room where the people were praying she was smitten with conviction, and fell down crying for mercy. While in this distress her husband was troubled lest his wife should die, but was happily disappointed when, a few hours after, her sorrows were turned into joy, and she arose praising the Lord. From this time the husband set out to serve the Lord, and the next day he also found peace to his soul, as I will hereafter relate. During the day several found the Saviour's love, and retired with great peace and comfort; while others, with heavy hearts, wept and prayed as they returned comfortless to their habitations. The next day I visited them, when they welcomed me with much affection, declaring what peace and happiness they felt since their late conversion. A number soon came together, among whom was the Indian who, the day before, was so concerned for his wife. His convictions for sin appeared deep, and his mind was in much distress. We joined in prayer for him; when I had closed, an Indian woman prayed in Mohawk. While she was with great earnestness presenting to the Lord the case of this broken-hearted sinner, the Lord set his soul at liberty. Himself and family have since appeared much devoted to the service of the Lord. The next morning, assisted by an interpreter, I again preached to the Indians. After the meeting, observing a man leaning over the fence weeping, I invited him to a neighboring thicket, where I sung and prayed with him. I then called on him to pray; he began, but cried aloud for mercy with much contrition of spirit; but his tone was soon changed from prayer to praise. The work is spreading into a number of families. Sometimes the parents, sometimes the children, are first brought under concern. Without delay they fly to God by prayer, and generally they do not long mourn before their souls are set at liberty. The change which has taken place among this people appears very great, and, I doubt not, will do honor to the cause of religion, and thereby glorify God, who has promised to give the Gentiles for the inheritance of his Son.'

|On my return from conference I called and preached to the Mohawks, and have it on my plan to continue to attend to them in my regular route. After having explained the rules of society to them, twenty were admitted as members of society. It was a season of refreshing to us all. On the 28th of September I again preached to them. The crowd was now such that they could not all get into the house. Their usual attention and fervor were apparent, and near the conclusion of the discourse the hearts of many were affected, and they praised the Lord for his power and goodness. In meeting them in class they appeared to be progressing finely, advancing in the knowledge and love of God. Several who had been under awakening, having now returned from their hunting, requested to be received, and were admitted into the society. The society now consists of twenty-nine members, three of whom are white persons. We have also a sabbath school of Indian children, consisting of about twenty, who are learning to read. Some young men have kindly offered their services to instruct them. This good work is about fifty miles from the mouth of the Grand river, about six miles from the Mohawk village, and four miles north of the great road leading from Ancaster to Longpoint. About twelve miles from the mouth of the Grand river another gracious work is commenced, among both Indians and whites. About twelve have found peace to their souls, among whom are four of the Delaware tribe. This awakening first took place in the mind of a white man -- a notorious sinner. It was in time of preaching that the power of God arrested him. He wept and trembled like Belteshazzar. After meeting he came to me, saying, I don't know what is the matter with me. I never felt so before: I believe I am a great sinner, but I wish to do better: what shall I do to be saved?' I told him the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, to convince him of sin, and he must repent and turn to God. There is evidently a great change in this man, who we hope may be an honor to the cause of religion in this wicked part of the reservation. The awakening is prevailing in several families. We have twelve in society here. In the townships of Rainham and Walpole there are still good appearances. Indeed, at most of my appointments we have the presence and blessing of the Lord; so that our missionary friends will have no occasion to repent the prayers they have offered, the money they have expended, and the tears they have shed in behalf of the once miserable and forsaken sinners, but now happy and blessed converts, on the Grand river. Much labor is now necessary, and I would gladly have assistance; but my health is good, and I would not increase expenses. In weariness my mind is comforted, and my soul is delighted in feeding these hungry natives with the provisions of the gospel. O, I could endure hunger, or sit down thankfully to their humble fare, or lie down in Indian wigwams all my life, to be employed in such a work as this, and especially if favored with such consolations as at times I have enjoyed since I commenced my labors in this mission. I hope for ever to be grateful for His mercy in thus blessing his word for the conversion of these poor perishing sinners. Dear sir, a letter of instruction and counsel would be thankfully received. I hope I have an interest in the prayers of my brethren. Farewell. Very affectionately yours in the gospel of Christ.|

|Letter from the Rev. William Case, dated Niagara, U. C.,

October 7, 1823

|In my letter of the 27th of August I mentioned that an awakening had taken place among the Indians on the Grand river, and promised a more particular account of this work after my next visit among them. But as brother Torry has sent you a pretty full account, a few remarks will suffice. On the 24th of September, in company with a religious friend, we passed into the woods, and arrived at the Indian dwellings about nine o'clock in the morning, a time at which they generally hold their morning devotions. We were received with cordial kindness, and the shell was blown as a call to assemble for religious service. Soon the people, parents and children, were seen in all directions repairing to the house of prayer. When they arrived they took their seats with great solemnity, observing a profound silence till the service commenced. Having understood that they were in the habit of singing in the Mohawk, I requested them to sing in their usual manner, which they did melodiously. The following verse is taken from the hymn, and the translation into English is annexed: --

O sa ya' ner Tak gwogh sni ye nough Ne na yonk high sweagh se, Ne o ni a yak hi sea ny, Sa ya' ner tea hegh sm yeh.'

Enlighten our dark souls, till they Thy sacred love embrace: Assist our minds (by nature frail) With thy celestial grace.'

|After the sermon several addressed the assembly in the Mohawk, and the meeting was concluded by prayer from one of the Indians in his native tongue. The use of ardent spirits appears to be entirely laid aside, while the duties of religion are punctually and daily observed. The hour of prayer is sounded by the blowing of the shell, when they attend for their morning meetings with the regularity of their morning meals. The Indians here are very desirous of obtaining education for their children, and they are making such efforts as their low circumstances will allow: for this purpose a schoolhouse is commenced: a sabbath school is now in operation, where about twenty children are taught the rudiments of reading, and we are not without hope of seeing a day school established for the ensuing winter. Certainly this mission has been attended with the divine blessing beyond every expectation. It was not at first commenced with the professed design of converting the natives, (though they were had in view,) but for the benefit of the white inhabitants scattered over the Indian lands. The merciful Lord, however, has been pleased to endow the mission with abundant grace, and the friends of missions may now renew their songs of gratitude and joy over thirty more converted natives of the forest, together with an equal number of converts among the white population.|

The Cherokee mission was also commenced this year. The Cherokee Indians inhabited a tract of country included in the states of Georgia and North Carolina on the east, Alabama on the west, and that part of Tennessee lying south of Hiwassee and Tennessee rivers, comprising not less than ten millions of acres. These natives had been partially civilized; some of them had become wealthy, possessing domestic cattle in abundance, and were thriving agriculturists. White people had settled among them, intermarriages had taken place, so that there were many half-breeds of respectable standing and character, who could speak both the English and Cherokee languages, and many of the children were well educated. And had they been left undisturbed in their possessions, they doubtless would have risen into a wealthy, intelligent, religious, and respectable community.

The American Board of Missions commenced a mission among these people as early as 1817, which has been much assisted in its funds by the government of the United States, and has, no doubt, exerted a salutary influence on the Indian character.

It was in the spring of this year, at the request of a native Cherokee, by the name of Richard Riley, that the Rev. Richard Neeley, of the Tennessee conference, visited the nation, and preached in the house of Mr. Riley. In the course of the summer, being assisted by the Rev. Robert Boyd, Mr. Neeley formed a society of thirty-three members, and Richard Riley was appointed a class-leader. At a quarterly meeting which was held there a short time after, by the Rev. William McMahon, presiding elder of Huntsville district, the power of God was displayed in a most signal manner, during which several of the natives found peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus, and became members of the Church. In December following the Rev. Andrew J. Crawford, who had been appointed to the charge of this mission, arrived there, and met a council composed of the principal men of the nation, who approved of the mission, and, with their consent, a school was commenced on the 30th of that month. This was the beginning of the good work which terminated in the conversion of many of the Cherokees to the faith of Christianity. In reporting the state of this mission to the Tennessee conference, in 1822, the committee use the following language: --

|Your committee look upon these openings of Divine Providence as special and loud calls to our conference, our superintendents, our ministers, and members in general, to unite their zeal and exertions, to afford this destitute people the means of salvation. O, brethren! come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty. What has God already wrought, and how plain and simple the means by which he has performed the mighty work! Only consider, but two years ago a Methodist preacher had never preached in this part of the Cherokee nation. Our worthy and pious friend, Mr. Riley, as has been stated, invited brothers Neeley and Boyd to cross the Tennessee river and preach at his house, and these zealous and pious young men, who had just been called, like Elisha, from the plow to the pulpit, embraced the invitation, and flew upon the wings of love to plant the gospel among the Indians, believing that a Methodist preacher is never out of his way when he is searching for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and bringing sinners home to God. Robert Boyd is no more! he is gone to his reward; but he lives in the hearts of these pious Indians, and never, no, never, while their memory is left them, will they cease to remember Robert Boyd.

|We now have one hundred and eight regular members of society in this part of the nation, and a number of the children can read the word of God, and some of them can write a tolerably good hand; and the whole amount of moneys expended does not exceed two hundred dollars. Indeed, your committee are of opinion, that a great parade about missionary establishments, and the expenditure of many thousands of dollars to give the heathen science and occupation, without religion, is of but little advantage to them. For, after all their acquirements, they are still savages, unless their hearts be changed by the grace of God and the power of the gospel; but this blessed gospel, which is the power of God to the salvation of all that believe, whenever and wherever its divine influences are implanted in the heart by the efficient operations of the Holy Ghost, makes man a new creature, and fits him for his place in society.|

The success which attended these efforts among the aborigines of our country acted as a divine charm upon the members of the Church generally, and contributed not a little to diffuse the spirit of revival, and to excite a generous liberality throughout our entire borders. It tended also to silence the objections of those who had doubted the expediency of forming the society, or of the feasibility of reclaiming the wandering savages of our wildernesses from their heathenish superstitions and vicious habits.

Besides these Indian missions, others were undertaken for the benefit of the destitute parts of the white settlements. Last year the Rev. Fitch Reed, of the Genesee conference, was appointed to York, (now Toronto,) in Upper Canada, with Rev. Kenneth M. K. Smith as his helper. Their mission extended into the settlements in the neighborhood of Toronto, which, at that time, were new, poor, and destitute of the gospel. Some idea may be formed of the difficulties with which they had to contend in traveling through particular parts of the country, from the fact that brother Smith, who devoted himself chiefly to the back settlements, was in the habit of carrying an ax with him, so that when he came to a stream of water that he could not ford, (which was frequently the case,) he felled a tree across it, on which he passed over. In some instances, it is stated, where the trees stood opposite to each other on the banks of the creek, and formed a junction at the top, he would climb one tree and descend another, and thus pass on to his appointments among this scattered population. Their labors were blessed, and a foundation was laid for the establishment of societies which have subsequently much prospered.

When they first went among the people they found them engrossed in the cares of the world, desecrating the sabbath for purposes of amusement, idle recreation, or secular labor; and some who had once professed religion had cast off the fear of God, and were immersed in the pleasures of sin. It was not long, however, before the word took such effect that the houses were crowded with attentive hearers. The sabbath especially, instead of being devoted to profane revelry, was spent in religious devotion, and many were inquiring what they should do to be saved. The result was, that this year, 1822, there were returned on the Minutes in this mission one hundred and four; thirty-four in York, and seventy in the new settlements.

To aid the missionaries in their work, the American Bible Society made a generous donation of Bibles and testaments for gratuitous distribution among the poor in that district of country.

Many parts of our general work were blessed with revivals of the work of God. Among others, the following may be mentioned: -- Brooklyn, Long Island, was powerfully visited with the refreshing influences of the Spirit, under the labors of the Rev. Lewis Pease. This work commenced at a camp meeting held at Musquito Cove, Long Island, and was productive of the conversion and addition to the Church in that place of not less than one hundred souls. Several towns on the Amenia circuit were visited by powerful revivals, which terminated in the conversion of about two hundred souls, one hundred and seventy of whom joined our Church, and the rest were divided between the Presbyterians and Baptists. Among these converts, several, at a place called Oblong, had been Universalists. Being convinced of the excellence of the power of religion, they cast away their dependence upon a mere speculative belief in Christianity, and yielded to be saved now, by |grace, through faith.|

A work of God also prevailed on the Tolland circuit, New England conference, which eventuated in the conversion of about two hundred and fifty, of almost all ages, and of both sexes. At a camp meeting held at East Hartford, which was numerously attended, there were manifest displays of the power and grace of God in the awakening and conversion of souls. The fruits of this revival were divided among the Methodists, Congregationalists, and Baptists, about one hundred being added to the Methodist Church.

The Upper Canada district, then under the charge of the Rev. William Case, is thus described by him: --

|Blessed be the Lord, we are prospering finely in this country. Our congregations, sabbath schools, missionary collections, a church-building spirit, as well as conversions, and order and harmony in the societies, all demonstrate the rising strength of Zion in these parts. There are now finishing or commencing twenty churches in this upper half of the province. We have more than forty sabbath schools, and one thousand scholars. These nurseries of virtue and religious information promise much to the prosperity of the rising generation, both in a civil and religious point of view. A great and happy improvement is visible since the close of the late war, which, in many places, by the confusion and calamities it introduced, had broken down the barriers of vice. Churches are crowded with listening hearers. Youth and children, instead of wandering in the fields, or loitering in the streets, are in many places thronging to the schools, with their books in their hands, and learning to read the book of God. One man, who has a large family of children, a few days since observed to me that, 'since sabbath schools began, he had had no trouble in the government of his family.'|

On the Smyrna circuit, Delaware, there was an outpouring of the Spirit, which resulted in the conversion of many souls; one hundred and twenty were connected with our Church, forty of whom were colored people. Heretofore this revival the colored members of the Church had been much divided in spirit, by the efforts of the Allenites to form a party; but this good work had the happy effect of uniting them more closely together, and of cementing their union with the Church which had nursed them from their infancy.

In Surry county, in Virginia, through the agency of camp meetings and other means of grace, about three hundred souls were brought to the knowledge of God by faith in Jesus Christ, and the general impression made on the public mind was most favorable to the cause of truth and love. In Lynchburg also, in this state, there were added to the Church upward of one hundred members, as the result of a revival in that place.

At a camp meeting held in the Scioto district, Ohio, the work of God prevailed powerfully, and from thence spread in different directions through the country. This meeting, which was under the superintendence of the Rev. G. R. Jones, was attended by about sixty of the converted Indians of the Wyandots, among whom were several of the chiefs who had embraced Christianity. These spoke in a most feeling manner of the work of God in their own hearts, and among the people of their nation, while tears of grateful joy bespoke the interest which the congregation felt in their spiritual and eternal welfare.

On the Northumberland district, under the charge of the Rev. H. Smith, by means of various camp meetings which were held in the several circuits, not less than two hundred souls were brought to God, while a conviction of the necessity of being reconciled to him through faith in his Son spread extensively among the people in that region of country.

The Hudson river district, New York conference, through a similar agency, shared largely in the good work this year.

The New Rochelle circuit, New York, was blessed with a great revival of religion, under the labors of the Rev. Elijah Woolsey and his colleagues. White Plains, Rye, Sawpit, and New Rochelle all shared in the benefits of this glorious work: and so earnest were many to attend the meetings, with a view to seek the salvation of their souls, that some came from ten to twelve miles, and many such returned rejoicing in God their Saviour. In consequence of this work, the net increase in this circuit among the whites was one hundred and nine.

In Washington city, D. C., God poured out his Spirit in a remarkable manner, in answer to the prayers of his people. During this work, in little more than two months, one hundred and fifty-eight were received into the Church as probationers.

There was also a good work in the city of New York, about three hundred being added to the Church. This was encouraging to those who had mourned over the departure of so many two years before.

I have before remarked, that during this period of our history we were called upon to sustain a new warfare to defend ourselves against the assaults of our opponents. Whether it was from jealousy of our rising prosperity, or from a real belief that our doctrines were dangerous to the souls of men, other denominations, more particularly the Calvinists, seemed to rally to the charge against our ministry, the economy of our Church, and our modes of carrying on the work of God. Hence a spirit of controversy was infused into the sermons which were delivered by our preachers, much more than formerly, the necessity for which was urged from witnessing new modes of attack. Indeed, a new system of divinity was rising into notice, differing in some respects from the Calvinism of former days, in which a universal atonement was recognized in connection with the doctrine of eternal and universal decrees, the force of which, however, it was attempted to avoid by inculcating the doctrine of a |natural ability and a moral inability.| By the use of this subtle distinction, and the doctrine of universal atonement, keeping out of view the old doctrine of universal decrees, some were induced to believe that the difference between this new divinity and Methodism was but slight, and therefore they might, so far as these doctrines were concerned, embrace one as well as the other. Our preachers felt it to be their duty to unravel the sophistry of these arguments, by showing that, so long as that doctrine of universal decrees, which involved the notion of unconditional election and reprobation, was held fast, the two Systems were at variance, and could never be made to harmonize.

We were also frequently denounced as Arminians. And Arminians were represented as denying the doctrine of human depravity, of regeneration by the efficient grace of God, and the necessity of divine aid in working out and securing our eternal salvation. As this was a most unjust imputation, we felt called upon to make a full and fair statement of our doctrinal views, and to defend ourselves against such manifest perversions of our real, published, and acknowledged sentiments. In doing this, though there may have been occasional exhibitions of heat on both sides, and a controversial spirit indulged, in some instances, to too great an extent, yet truth was elicited, and our doctrines and usages became better understood, and more highly and generally appreciated by the community.

With a view to secure a more commodious and permanent location for the Wesleyan seminary in the city of New York, a site was this year procured in Crosby Street, by leasing three lots of ground, on which the trustees erected a brick building, sixty-five feet in length and forty in breadth, the upper part of which was occupied as a place of worship. Here a male and female academy was kept until the premises were purchased by the agents of the Book Concern, in the year 1824, when another building was procured in Mott Street. The academy at the White Plains grew out of the one first commenced in the city of New York; and when the property of the latter was disposed of; after discharging the debts of the institution, the balance was given to the White Plains academy, which has continued to the present time.

Though the Wesleyan seminary did not fully answer the benevolent designs of its original founders, it is believed that its establishment gave an impulse to the cause of education which has gone on increasing in power and influence to the present day.

Thirty-seven preachers were this year located, twenty-four returned supernumerary, and seventy-one superannuated, and four had died, namely, Hamilton Jefferson, Edward Orem, William Early, and John Pitts, each of whom died in the full assurance of faith.

Numbers in the Church: Whites This Year: 252,645; Last Year: 239,087; Increase: 13,558 -- Colored This Year: 44,377; Last Year: 42,059; Increase: 2,318 -- Total This Year: 297,022; Last Year: 281,146 -- Increase: 15,876 -- Preachers This Year: 1,106; Last Year: 977; Increase: 129.

It will be perceived that there was a more than usual increase to the number of traveling preachers, owing to a diminution in the number of locations, and a proportionate increase to the list of superannuated preachers. This was probably owing to the better provision which began to be made, in consequence of the regulations of the General Conference of 1816, for the support of the families of preachers, and the furnishing parsonages for their accommodation. This last remedy, however, was but partially provided as yet, though the work was happily begun, and has been gradually going forward to the present time.

1823

The work of God this year was steadily advancing within the bounds of the several annual conferences. Some of the circuits in the older parts of the work, in consequence of the increase of members and societies, were much contracted, and the number of stations was necessarily multiplied. In this manner the work was becoming more and more compact, pastoral labor more easily and punctually performed, and the local interests of each society more minutely attended to. Still, new circuits were formed in the frontier settlements, new missions opened, and some villages and neighborhoods not before occupied by our ministry, through the aid of the Missionary Society, were supplied with the word and ordinances of God. These I shall endeavor to notice, so far as authentic documents and other sources of information will enable me to do it correctly.

The Missionary Society, having been recognized by the General Conference, was now considered as an integral part of the general plan of carrying on the work of God, and was becoming more and more identified with the other institutions of the Church. Its blessed results, also, which were seen and felt, more especially among the wandering savages of our country, entwined it around the affections of our people, and called forth their liberality for its support.

The cause of missions was also much aided about this time by the eloquent appeals of the Rev. John Summerfield, a young minister who came over from Ireland and joined the New York conference in 1821. He had attracted much attention since his arrival among us by the sweet and melting strains of his pulpit oratory, and as he entered into the spirit of our Missionary Society with great zeal and energy, he contributed much to the diffusion of its benevolent principles among the people at large. While stationed in the city of New York, in 1822, where he drew vast multitudes to listen to the accents of redeeming love, which fell from his lips in the purest strains of gospel eloquence, he adopted the practice of delivering lectures to the children at stated times, at which he made collections to aid the Missionary Society. And the hearty and efficient manner in which he espoused this noble enterprise of the Young Men's Missionary Society of New York to elect him as their president. His zeal in the cause of God, and the popularity of his talents for addressing public assemblies on anniversary occasions, induced so many applications from the benevolent and charitable societies for his services, to which he yielded with perhaps too great a readiness for his strength, that he found himself wearing out by the intensity of his labors. This induced him, by the advice of his physicians and friends, to make a voyage to France for the benefit of his health. While there he sent the following address to the society of which he was the president, and which, as a sample of the writer's manner of communicating his thoughts, and an evidence of the ardor with which he entered into, this subject, I think worthy of preservation. It is as follows: --

|Marseilles, February 20, 1823

|My Dear Brethren: -- You are too well acquainted with the circumstances which prevent my filling the chair upon this pleasurable occasion, to require that I should dwell upon them; indeed, it would be irrelevant to those important objects which have assembled you together: not private sympathies, but the public good, will be your present theme; and in this I realize my full share of joy with you, for although in a far distant land, and that a land of strangers, my affections point to those whom I love in the truth,' and with whom I glory to be in any wise associated in carrying on the cause of our common Lord.

|Upon the occasion of an anniversary like yours, exhortation to renewed zeal might be deemed impertinent; the pulse of every heart beats too high on such an occasion to anticipate any decay in your future exertions. This is rather a of congratulation and rejoicing; and in commencing another year of labor and reward, I devoutly implore for you a continuance of that grace which has enabled you to remain 'steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.'

|In common with all who love the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom, I rejoice at witnessing that increase of missionary zeal and missionary means which the past year lays open, not only in your auxiliary and its parent society, but among other denominations of the Christian church; in this you also joy and rejoice with me,' for whether Paul, Apollos, or Cephas, all are ours;' -- so that in whatever part of the vineyard the work is wrought, we view it not as the work of man, but as it is in truth, the work of God;' for neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth: it is God that giveth the increase.' We may collect from different funds, but we bring to the same exchequer; and have no greater joy than in the accumulation of the revenue of that relative glory of the divine character which redounds from the salvation of men, through Christ Jesus, unto the glory and praise of God the Father.'

|But, abstracted from general views of the mighty work of missions, I regard the branch to which you are attached with peculiar pleasure on this occasion. You know that, from the beginning of our existence in the religious world, Methodism has always been a history of missions;' its venerable founder, considering that this was the first character of the Christian church, and believing it would be the last, even at that day when many shall run to and fro, and knowledge be increased,' wisely instituted a ministry which should be a standing monument of what God could do by this means. And what has God wrought? Some there are, whom the frost of many winters has not chilled to death, to whom our father's words may still be spoken,

Saw ye not the cloud arise? Little as a human hand'

|Its present state we ourselves have lived to see:

Now it spreads along the skies -- Hangs o'er all the thirsty land! When he first the work begun, Small and feeble was his day; Now the word doth swiftly run, Now it wins its widening way! More and more it spreads and grows; Ever mighty to prevail, Sin's strong holds it now o'erthrows, Shakes the trembling gates of hell!'

|Indeed, there are seasons wherein the overwhelming influence of these reflections so rests upon the mind, that unless we heard the warning voice, What doest thou here, Elijah?' we should stand at the base of this mighty structure, and wholly spend our time for naught, in admiring the symmetry and proportion of all its parts, beholding what manner of stones and buildings are here!' But, thus warned, we too arise and build.' Thus instead of the fathers are the children, and the children's children shall yet add thereto, till the topstone be raised, shouting, Grace, grace unto it!'

|My dear brethren, if there is a scene within the universe of God calculated to lift our minds to heaven; if there is a scene calculated to bring down the heavenly host to earth, it is that which portrays in anticipation the final triumph of the gospel of the grace of God.' Yes, the gospel must ultimately and universally triumph! Well may we exclaim, What an object is this! It is the fairest scene that the pencil of heaven, dipped in the colors of its own rainbow, can delineate; and even the great voice issuing from the eternal throne can utter nothing more exhilarating and sublime than the consummation of this event, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men!' Yes, my brethren,

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun Does his successive courses run.'

|The glow which pervaded the apostle's mighty mind did not cause his pen to aberrate; the spirit of inspiration sat upon him when he declared that Jesus must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet.' That day will come! Do we expect to swell the number who shall grace his triumph? Do we burn with seraphic ardor to be among his train when he shall be revealed from heaven with power and great glory?' Then gird up the loins of your mind; be sober, and hope to the end, for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ!' Wherefore comfort one another with these words,' for truly it is with the same comfort wherewith I myself am comforted of God.'

|You, my dear brethren of this auxiliary, who are the managers of its concerns, I hail. I am also one of you. I write unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you.' Early separated from the world, and ardently employed in seeking the interests of a better country, that is, a heavenly, God is not ashamed to be called your God, for he has prepared for you a city.' Walk therefore by the same rule, mind the same thing.' Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.' Set your affections on things above, and not on things upon the earth.' Soon you shall hear it sounded, Because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee' ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!'

|The friends and subscribers of this auxiliary are entitled to your thanks; they have merited them will; by means of the numerous little streams which have been directed to our reservoir by the friends of missions, our water-pots,' if not always full, have never become dry. On this occasion, however, you look to have them filled even to the brim;' and may He who can convert our base material to subserve his glorious purpose of saving men, draw forth' therefrom that wine of the kingdom which cheers the heart of God and man.'

|I remain, my dear brethren, your fellow-laborer and servant,

J. SUMMERFIELD.|

A mission was commenced this year among the Pottawatamy Indians, a small tribe settled in the neighborhood of Fort Clark, on the Fox river, in the state of Illinois, and the Rev. Jesse Walker was appointed to prosecute its objects.

But though he succeeded, after much toil and expense, in establishing a school and conciliating the friendship of some of the adult Indians, yet the missionary was compelled, after seven years of hard labor, to abandon the enterprise as hopeless. Their strong attachments to savage life, and incurable suspicions of white men, together with their final determination to remove west, frustrated the benevolent attempts to introduce the gospel and the arts of civilized life among them.

A fragment of the Wyandot tribe of Indians was settled in Upper Canada, on the banks of the river Carnard. These were first visited by Mr. Finley, and were afterward transferred to the care of Mr. Case, to whom the superintendence of all the aboriginal missions in that province was committed. About twenty of these Indians embraced the Christian faith, and became members of our Church.

In the bounds of the Tennessee conference there was a missionary district formed, embracing that part of Jackson's Purchase that lies in the states of Tennessee and Kentucky, which was committed to the charge of the Rev. Lewis Garrett. This was a new country, rapidly filling up with inhabitants, and there were no less than nine preachers appointed to supply them with the means of salvation. As before remarked, Mr. Garrett was first appointed a missionary to this region of country, which contained not less than ten thousand square miles, in 1820, and he succeeded in forming a four weeks' circuit, in which he was assisted, by the appointment of the presiding elder, by Andrew J. Crawford. And so successful had they been in 1821, that in 1822 there were returned on the Minutes of the conference one hundred and fifty-five members, thirteen of whom were colored people. The inhabitants generally received the messengers of the gospel with joyful hearts, opening their doors and making them welcome, and also contributing, according to their scanty means, for their support, for as yet the Missionary Society was able to appropriate but little for the furtherance of domestic missions.

These men of God, though they had to contend with poverty, bad roads, and to preach in log huts, or under the foliage of the native trees, penetrated into every part of the country where settlements had been formed, and succeeded in establishing several circuits, in which they returned for the Minutes of 1823 one thousand one hundred and twenty-six members, one hundred and one of whom were colored, chiefly slaves.

This year the gospel was more extensively introduced into the territory of Michigan, which was erected into an independent state and received into the Union in the year 1836.

This country was originally settled by the French, who sent Catholic missionaries there as early as 1648, and the city of Detroit was founded in 1670, by a few French families. Its growth was slow, but the people gradually enlarged their borders on each side of the Detroit river, a strait about twenty-four miles in length, which connects Lakes St. Clair and Erie. In 1763 this country, together with Upper Canada, passed, by the right of conquest, from the French into the hands of the British, and so remained until the war of the revolution separated it from the British empire and connected it with the United States. After this, emigrants from different parts of the Union began to mingle with the original settlers.

When this country was first visited by a Methodist missionary, in 1804, it was in a deplorable state as to religion and morals. In Detroit there was no preaching except by the French Catholics, and their influence in favor of the pure morality of the gospel was extremely feeble. The few Protestant emigrants who had settled in Detroit and some of the adjoining places were entirely destitute of a ministry of their own order, and were fast assimilating into the customs and habits of those with whom they associated. And though repeated efforts had been made, from time to time, to establish Methodism in Detroit, they must have been attended with but little success, for we find no members returned on the Minutes of conference for that place until the year 1822, and then the number was only twenty.

This year, 1823, the Rev. Alfred Brunson was stationed on the Detroit circuit, which stretched through the country for four hundred miles. This he and his colleague, the Rev. Samuel Baker, surrounded each once in four weeks, giving the people a sermon every two weeks; and their labors were so far blessed, that in 1824 the number of Church members had increased to one hundred and sixty-one.

This year a small society was formed at St. Mary's. This was a military post belonging to the United States, situated on the strait by that name, about eighty miles in length, and which connects Lakes Superior and Huron, and is about four hundred miles in a northerly direction from Detroit. The most of this distance, at that time, was a wilderness, infested with beasts of prey, and dotted with here and there an Indian village. It was at this place that a few pious soldiers, who had been converted at Sackett's Harbor, were removed, and, being almost destitute of every religions privilege, formed themselves into a class, chose a leader, and met together for mutual edification and comfort, holding their meetings in the woods until the barracks were erected, when they were allowed the use of the hospital. They were much assisted by the good countenance of Lieutenant Becker, a pious member of the Presbyterian Church, to whom they were attracted by a congeniality of feeling, and they were mutually refreshed and strengthened in their social meetings. In the course of the winter their number increased to about fourteen, which much encouraged them to persevere in their work of faith and labor of love.

This state of things in that part of the country induced Mr. Brunson to call loudly for help, and this led to the establishment of St. Mary's mission a short time after.

The territory of Florida had recently been ceded to the United States, as an indemnity for the spoliations committed upon our commerce by Spanish cruisers; and as it is the policy of the Methodist Episcopal Church to enter every open door for the spread of the gospel, a missionary, the Rev. Joshua N. Glenn, was sent this year to St. Augustine, the oldest town in North America, and capital of East Florida. Most of the inhabitants of this place and the surrounding country are of Spanish descent, and members of the Roman Catholic Church. There were, however, a few Anglo-Americans settled among the Creoles, to whom our missionary addressed himself in the name of the Lord, and he succeeded in raising a society of fifty-two members, forty of whom were people of color. This, however, has been a barren place for the growth of Methodism; for even now, 1840,) after continued efforts of seventeen years, St. Augustine is scarcely represented among our stations. This, however, is owing to other causes than the want of a disposition on the part of the people to receive the gospel. The late Indian warfare has exerted a most destructive influence upon the religious state of the population through all that region of country, and more particularly upon the citizens of St. Augustine, the chief rendezvous of hostile armies.

Chatahoochee, in the bounds of the Florida territory, was also selected as missionary ground, and its cultivation was committed to Messrs. John J. Triggs and John Slade. They entered upon their work with zeal and perseverance; and notwithstanding the newness of the country, and the scattered state of the population, there were returned on the Minutes for 1824, as the fruit of their labor, three hundred and fifty-six members, sixty-four of whom were colored people.

The Rev. Alexander Talley was appointed a missionary this year to Pensacola, Mobile, and Blakely. Though no immediate fruit of his labor in these places was seen, yet he opened the way for the introduction of the gospel into that region of country, which has since flourished under the labors of those who succeeded him in his work.

St. Mary's, situated near the mouth of St. Mary's river, in the state of Georgia, near the frontier of Florida, was visited this year with a revival of the work of God, under the ministry of the Rev. Elijah Sinclair. Though there had been in this place once a flourishing society, it had become scattered abroad, so that when Mr. Sinclair arrived there, in 1822, he could scarcely find a |place for the sole of his foot;| but he soon obtained favor in the eyes of the people, and God so blessed his faithful labors, that in 1823 there were returned forty-one members of the Church; and the good work has gradually increased from that time to this.

Cumberland mission, in Kentucky, was commenced this year by the Rev. William Chambers. He so far succeeded in his efforts as to return two hundred and sixty-one members, two hundred and fifty-one whites and ten colored, in 1824.

In 1821 Methodism was introduced into the town of St. Louis, by the Rev. Jesse Walker, who went there as a missionary under the direction of the Missouri conference. St. Louis is the largest town on the west bank of the Mississippi river, and second to New Orleans in importance as a place for commercial pursuits. Its original settlers were French Roman Catholics, this being another in the range of settlements which they established along the course of the waters from Quebec to New Orleans. It had been, for some time before this, rising in importance, and increasing in its population by emigrations from different parts of the United States and from the old world, and was considered the center of commerce in that part of the country. In this mixed population the missionary had some prejudices to encounter, and the more so on account of the indiscreet conduct of some who had represented the citizens of that place to the eastern churches as being but little removed from barbarians. Mr. Walker, however, was kindly received by a few, and he gradually gained the confidence of the community, raised a society of about one hundred members, and succeeded in building a house of worship thirty-five feet in length and twenty-five in width. The Rev. Alexander McAlister, in giving an account of this work, adverts to the Missionary Society in the following words: --

|It is yet in its infancy, but its growing importance portends greater good to mankind than any institution of the kind hitherto known. I am induced to believe that there will be both numerous and liberal contributions to support the institution, since the money so raised is to be deposited in the hands of men who will, no doubt, distribute it with an economical hand for the support of those missionaries whose zeal is not a transient blaze, but a constant flame, consuming vice and iniquity before it, and with a gentle hand leading the penitent sons and daughters of men up to the throne of grace, where they may obtain the mercy and salvation of God.|

Mr. Walker was reappointed to St. Louis in 1822, at the end of which year there were returned, including the station and circuit, one hundred and sixty-six white and forty colored members of the Church. He was succeeded this year by the Rev. William Beauchamp, whose labors were acceptable and useful, and the cause has gradually gone forward from that time to this.

The aboriginal missions, which had been begun under such favorable auspices, and which promised so much good to the wandering tribes of our wildernesses, continued to prosper this year more than ever. These, together with the exertions which were made in their behalf, tended powerfully to awaken a deep and lively interest through the ranks of our Israel in favor of prosecuting the cause with increasing zeal and energy. The Wyandot mission, which had been committed to the care of Mr. Finley, was this year visited by Bishop McKendree, who entered most heartily into the cause of missions, contributing to its support, and giving, by his example, an impetus to the work in every direction. And as his testimony is that of an eye-witness, capable of estimating the nature and importance of the reformation which had been effected among these people, the reader will be pleased to read it in the bishop's own words. It is as follows:

|On Saturday, the 21st of June, about ten o'clock in the morning, we arrived safe, and found the mission family and the school all in good health; but was much fatigued myself, through affliction and warm weather, which was quite oppressive to me in crossing over the celebrated Sandusky Plains, through which the road lies.

|In the afternoon we commenced visiting the schools, and repeated our visits frequently during the five days which we stayed with them. These visits were highly gratifying to us, and they afforded us an opportunity of observing the behavior of the children, both in and out of school, their improvement in learning, and the whole order and management of the school; together with the proficiency of the boys in agriculture, and of the girls in the various domestic arts. They are sewing and spinning handsomely, and would be weaving if they had looms. The children are cleanly, chaste in their manners, kind to each other, peaceable and friendly to all. They promptly obey orders, and do their work cheerfully, without any objection or murmur. They are regular in their attendance on family devotion and the public worship of God, and sing delightfully. Their proficiency in learning was gratifying to us, and is well spoken of by visitors. If they do not sufficiently understand what they read it is for the want of suitable books, especially a translation of English words, lessons, hymns, &c., into their own tongue.

|But the change which has been wrought among the adult Indians is wonderful! This people, that walked in darkness, have seen a great light; they that dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.' And they have been called from darkness into the marvelous light' of the gospel. To estimate correctly the conversion of these Indians from heathenish darkness, it should be remembered that the Friends (or Quakers) were the first to prepare them in some degree for the introduction of the gospel, by patiently continuing to counsel them, and to afford them pecuniary aid.

|The first successful missionary that appeared among them was Mr. Steward, a colored man, and a member of our Church. The state of these Indians is thus described by him, in a letter to a friend, dated in June last:|

|The situation of the Wyandot nation of Indians when I first arrived among them, near six years ago, may be judged of from their manner of living. Some of their houses were made of small poles, and covered with bark; others of bark altogether. Their farms contained from about two acres to less than half an acre. The women did nearly all the work that was done. They had as many as two plows in the nation, but these were seldom used. In a word, they were really in a savage state.'

|But now they are building hewed log houses, with brick chimneys, cultivating their lands, and successfully adopting the various agricultural arts. They now manifest a relish for, and begin to enjoy the benefits of civilization; and it is probable that some of them will this year raise an ample support for their families, from the produce of their farms.

|There are more than two hundred of them who have renounced heathenism and embraced the Christian religion, giving unequivocal evidence of their sincerity, of the reality of a divine change. Our missionaries have taken them under their pastoral care as probationers for membership in our Church, and are engaged in instructing them in the doctrine and duties of our holy religion, though the various duties of the missionaries prevent them from devoting sufficient time for the instruction of these inquirers after truth. But the Lord hath mercifully provided helpers, in the conversion of several of The interpreters and a majority of the chiefs of the nation. The interpreters, feeling themselves the force of divine truth, and entering more readily into the plan of the gospel, are much more efficient organs for communicating instruction to the Indians. Some of these chiefs are men of sound judgment, and strong, penetrating minds; and having been more particularly instructed, have made great proficiency in the knowledge of God and of divine truths; and being very zealous, they render important assistance in the good work. The regularity of conduct, the solemnity and devotion of this people, in time of divine service, of which I witnessed a pleasing example, is rarely exceeded in our own worshipping assemblies.

|To the labors and influence of these great men, the chiefs, may also in some degree be attributed the good conduct of the children in school. Three of the chiefs officiate in the school as a committee to preserve good order and obedience among the children. I am told that Between-the-logs, the principal speaker, has lectured the school children in a very able and impressive manner, on the design and benefit of the school, attention to their studies, and obedience to their teachers. This excellent man is also a very zealous and a useful preacher of righteousness. He has, in conjunction with others of the tribe, lately visited a neighboring nation, and met with encouragement.

|On the third day after our arrival we dined with Between-the-logs and about twenty of their principal men, six of whom were chiefs and three interpreters, and were very agreeably and comfortably entertained. After dinner we were all comfortably seated, a few of us on benches, the rest on the grass, under a pleasant grove of shady oaks, and spent about two hours in council. I requested them to give us their views of the state of the school; to inform us, without reserve, of any objections they might have to the order and management thereof, and to suggest any alteration they might wish. I also desired to know how their nation liked our religion, and how those who had embraced it were prospering.

|Their reply was appropriate, impressive, and dignified, embracing distinctly every particular inquiry, and in the order they were proposed to them. The substance of their reply was, that they thought the school was in a good state and very prosperous; were perfectly satisfied with its order and management, pleased with the superintendent and teachers, and gratified with the improvement of the children. It was their anxious wish for its permanence and success. They gave a pleasing account of those who had embraced religion, as to their moral conduct and inoffensive behavior, and attention to their religious duties. They heartily approved of the religion they had embraced, and were highly pleased with the great and effectual reformation which had taken place among them.

|In the close they expressed the high obligations they were under to all their kind friends and benefactors, and in a very respectful and feeling manner thanked their visitors, and the superintendent and teachers, for their kind attention to themselves and to their children; and concluded with a devout wish for the prosperity and eternal happiness of them and all their kind friends. It was an affecting scene, and tears bespoke their sincerity.

|To this school there are Indian children sent from Canada. Others which were lately sent were detained and taken into another school, at the rapids of Maumee, under the direction of the Presbyterians. An apology was written by the superintendent thereof to ours, stating that the detention was made on the presumption that our school was full, &c.

|When we reflect upon the state of the Wyandots, compared with their former savage condition, we may surely exclaim, What hath God wrought!' The parched ground hath become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; the wilderness and the solitary place is made glad, and the desert blossoms as the rose.' The marks of a genuine work of grace among these sons of the forest accord so perfectly with the history of the great revivals of religion in all ages of the Church, that no doubt remains of its being the work of God.

|That a great and effectual door is opened on our frontier for the preaching of the gospel to the Indian nations which border thereon, and that we are providentially called to the work, I have no doubt. The only question is, Are we prepared to obey the call? The success of our missionary labors does not depend on the interference of miraculous power, as in the case of the apostles, but on the ordinary operations and influences of the Holy Spirit, through the instrumentality of a gospel ministry, supported by the liberality of a generous people.

|We have lately received an invitation from a distinguished officer of the government to extend our missionary labors to a distant nation of Indians. A gentleman of this state who has visited New Orleans has taken a deep interest in its favor; and from the great increase of population from other states, and the great probability of doing good at least among them, he urges another attempt. And from his influence, his ability, and disposition to minister to its support, we entertain a hope of success.

|From a general view of our missions, and of what the Lord is doing by us, we certainly have abundant cause to thank God and take courage,' and to persevere faithfully and diligently in the great work, looking to the great Head of the Church, that he may bless our labors and crown them with success.

|Yours in the bonds of the gospel of peace.|

Nor is the following account less interesting and illustrative of the power of gospel truth. It is from the pen of the Rev. G. R. Jones, who was present and witnessed the ceremony which he describes in the following words: --

|At our late Ohio annual conference, held in Urbana, there were several of the red, and one or two of the colored brethren present, from the Wyandot mission at Upper San dusky. Several interviews took place between our general superintendents and them, during the sitting of the conference, at Bishop McKendree's room, at one of which I was present part of the time.

|A few friends were invited to be present at this interview. As breaking bread together has been a token of hospitality and friendship among most nations, a cup of tea was prepared by the family, and at a suitable time they were waited on with it. Bishop McKendree, without any previous arrangement or design, appears to have been made a kind of master of ceremonies -- he was waited on first. The sagacity of the red brethren was quite observable; they kept their eye on him, and conformed in every particular. Jonathan, a man of color, (who has served the mission from the beginning as an interpreter, and who, while engaged in this work, became convinced of sin, and happily converted to God,) was one of the company; he modestly declined partaking with them, but, being pressingly solicited by Bishop McKendree, yielded. After the repast was over, the red brethren joined in singing several hymns in their own tongue, during which a number in the house within hearing crowded into the room, until there might have been as many as forty present; Mononcue (a chief) rose, and, approaching Bishop McKendree respectfully, held out the hand of friendship, which was cordially received, and a warm embrace took place; this appears to have taken off all restraint. Between-the-logs (another chief) followed his example, and they proceeded round to all in the room, while sighs and tears witnessed the feelings of most who were present; but they were sighs of gratitude and astonishment, and tears of joy. The spirit of hostile foes in the field of battle was lost in the spirit of harmony and Christian love, which appeared to fill the room. I have witnessed few scenes which carried stronger conviction to my heart of the truth and excellence of the religion of the meek and humble Jesus. I was ready to cry out and say, What hath the Lord wrought!'

|A worthy gentleman, high in office and respectability, had received an invitation, and was present at the interview. It seems he had imbibed an opinion, which is perhaps prevalent among politicians, that it is impracticable to Christianize the aborigines of our country. He was placed in a part of the room farthest from the door. When the chiefs approached him all his unbelief appears to have, given way, his arms were open to give the friendly embrace, while the flowing tear bore witness to a reciprocity of feeling. He was heard to exclaim, a day or two afterward, I am fully converted!' At the close of the singing by the red brethren Bishop Roberts made a few appropriate remarks, and we all joined him in singing, at the close of which, from the fulness of his heart, he offered up a fervent prayer. We again joined in singing, and one of the chiefs, (Between-the-logs,) being called on, prayed in a very feeling manner, while every heart appeared to respond the hearty amen! The meeting was then drawn to a close.|

The mission now contained one hundred and fifty four members of the Church and sixty scholars, who were taught letters and the duties of domestic life.

This year Mr. Finley, in company with some of the converted chiefs and an interpreter, set off on a visit to the Chippeways, on the Saganaw river, with a view, if practicable, to establish a mission among them. They at length arrived at the Wyandot reservation, on the Huron river, where they were cordially received and entertained by a white man called Honnes, who had lived with the Indians for many years, having been taken a prisoner when quite a lad. He was now supposed to be not less than one hundred years of age, could remember nothing of his parentage, nor of his days previous to his captivity, only that he was called Honnes. He was now much crippled and nearly blind, but was very intelligent and communicative. He sat upon a deer-skin, and, through an interpreter -- for he had lost all knowledge of his vernacular language -- he addressed our missionaries in the following manner |My children, you are welcome to my cabin; and I now thank the Great Spirit that he has provided a way for us to meet together in this world. I thank him for all his mercies to me. He has fed me all my life. He has saved me in the field of blood, and has lifted up my head when I have been sick, and, like a kind father, has protected and provided for me.| These affecting remarks from this patriarch of the woods were listened to with great attention and respect, being interrupted now and then, by those Indians who were present, by the expression, |tough,| which signifies, all true, and then the pipe of peace was lighted, passed around the company, and returned to the aged sire. This ceremony being ended, Mr. Finley informed him that, having often heard of him, he had come some distance out of his way to see him, and then proceeded to explain to him the gospel of Jesus Christ. The tears which coursed down his withered cheeks, while he listened with solemn attention to the words of truth, bespoke the deep feeling of his heart, and the lively interest which he took in the subject. The discourse being closed, he took Mr. Finley by the hand, and, calling for blessings on him and his associates, said, |I have been praying for many years that God might send some light to this nation.|

After hearing, the next day, some historical anecdotes of the Wyandots from this aged man, who had been for so many years shut out from civilized life and immured in the dungeon of heathenism, Mr. Finley bade him an affectionate adieu, and continued his journey in search of other lost sheep of the house of Israel. These men of the woods, however, were not forgotten by the Christian missionaries, but were sought out and provided with the means of salvation, the benefits of which some of them received. Of the destiny of Honnes, whose simple story is so affecting, I have not been informed, but trust the God of all the families of the earth did not forget him in his lonely retreat, nor refuse his prayers for more light to the nation. who had adopted him as a brother. He seemed, indeed, like the Nestor of his tribe, and to be preserved to this good old age to welcome the harbingers of peace and good-will to the borders of his land and nation.

For that abandoned class of females who have been seduced from the paths of virtue by the wiles of the other sex, many efforts had been made by the pious and benevolent in the city of New York, as well as in other places where this destructive vice had become so predominant, but without any permanent effect. It seems, indeed, that among all the vices which infect mankind, this, when its corrupting sway has been once permitted to gain an ascendency, is the most inveterate, and of course the most difficult to eradicate. Not, however, entirely despairing of success in attempting to effect a reformation even among these unhappy subjects of seduction, a mission was undertaken this year for their special benefit, and the Rev. Samuel D. Ferguson was appointed to its charge. Though he labored indefatigably, in conjunction with some local preachers and exhorters who volunteered their services to aid him, and some good impressions were made upon a few, yet they were soon effaced, and they were compelled, after using every exertion to accomplish their object, to abandon their enterprise in despair; and though subsequent efforts have been more successful in a few instances in which reformations have been effected, it would seem that more powerful means must be resorted to before this soul-destroying vice can be banished from the community.

In consequence of this failure in the primary object of the mission, the missionary, in the latter part of the year, turned his attention to some destitute portions in the west sections of Long Island, where he was more successful. Here he formed a regular circuit, and raised two classes of fifty-two members, which have continued to flourish, less or more, to the present time.

As it was one object of our missionary societies to supply destitute places in the older settlements where the people were either unwilling or unable to support the institutions of religion, some such were either partially assisted from their funds or wholly supported for a season, as the case might be. Among others may be mentioned, as showing the good effects of this policy, the town of New Brunswick, in the state of New Jersey. This, though an old settled place, had been a barren soil for Methodism. Our preachers had long preached there occasionally to a feeble few, but under great discouragements. In 1821 the Rev. Charles Pittman was sent there as a missionary, under the patronage of the Philadelphia Conference Missionary Society, and again in 1822. He met with much opposition, owing to the deep-rooted prejudices cherished against the peculiarities of Methodism. His congregation was small, not amounting to more than thirty for some weeks during the first year of his ministry. He and the little flock, however, persevered in the strength of faith and prayer until a revival of religion commenced, which terminated in the conversion of quite number of souls, so that in the month of February of this year they numbered about one hundred communicants. From that time the work has steadily advanced, and we have now a flourishing society and a commodious house of worship in that place.

In many other places, too numerous to mention, the work of God prevailed in the older circuits and stations. On the New Bedford circuit, Mass., where a good work had been progressing for some time, in the month of August of this year it had extended for twenty miles, so that an entire new circuit had been formed, large enough to employ three preachers.

The camp meetings continued to be held with profit to the souls of the people. At one held in the Ogeechee district, in the state of Georgia, not less than one hundred white and upward of forty colored people were made partakers of the grace of life. At one held in the same place last year a work of God commenced among the students of Tabernacle Academy, a literary institution under our care, and the reformation was advancing among the students this year most encouragingly.

At five camp meetings held in the Baltimore district for this year the Lord poured out his Spirit, and about one hundred and twenty, white and colored, professed to find the pearl of great price, among whom were two females, one eighty and the other sixty years of age. The latter was a Quakeress, whose charming simplicity of manners and conversation, after her conversion, reminded one of the primitive days of Christianity. Such evidences of the power of grace were not unlike the Pentecostal showers of divine mercy, and they tended mightily to strengthen the faith of God's people, and to baffle the speculations of an infidel philosophy.

We have already seen that the cause of education began to engage the attention of some of the annual conferences, and that two academies had been put in operation. This year I find on the Minutes of the Kentucky conference that John P. Finley was appointed to the charge of Augusta College, though I believe the college edifice was not erected until 1825. Our brethren, therefore, west of the mountains have the honor of founding the first college in the United States under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church; and I am happy to say that this institution has gone on prospering, though sometimes depressed from pecuniary embarrassments, shedding on that region of country the blessings of science and religion, greatly to the joy of its friends and patrons.

Forty-four preachers were located, forty-seven returned supernumerary, and fifty-nine superannuated, and nine had died during the past year. These were, Philip Kennerly, Walter Griffith, John Dix, Samuel Davis, William Wright, William Ross, Alonson Gord, James Griggs Peal, and William Penn Chandler.

A strong testimony is given in favor of these devoted men of God, that in their last days they maintained their integrity, triumphing in the hour of dissolution, and died in hope of the glory of God.

Dr. Chandler was appointed the presiding elder on the Delaware district in 1801, about the time the camp meetings were introduced into that part of the country, and his talents were peculiarly adapted to promote their objects. His zeal in the cause of Christ was ardent, and his talents as a preacher were more than ordinary, and often the most astonishing effects were produced under his powerful appeals to the consciences of his hearers. In consequence of his devotion to the cause, and the character of his talents, he exerted a commanding influence upon his district, winning the affections and inspiring the confidence of the people committed to his charge. The ardency of his zeal and intensity of his labors so exhausted his physical strength that in 1808 he was returned superannuated. In 1813 he received a location; but his warm attachments to his brethren in the traveling ministry led him back to the Philadelphia conference in May, 1822, where he remained in the relation of a superannuated preacher until his death.

While preaching the gospel of the Son of God in the Ebenezer church, in the city of Philadelphia, on the first sabbath of May, 1820, he was suddenly prostrated by a paralytic stroke in his left side. Though he partially recovered from this, yet while at the island of St. Eustatia, whither he had gone for the benefit of his health, a second stroke deprived him of the use of his right side also, which took from him and his friends all hope of his recovery. He returned home, however, and lingered for about twelve weeks, when he exchanged a world of labor and suffering for a world of rest and reward. His expressions upon his death-bed were no less consolatory to his friends than they were satisfactory to himself. On being told by a friend that it was Sunday, he replied, |Go then to the meeting, and tell them that I am dying, shouting the praises of God!| Then, turning to his wife, he said, |My dear Mary, open the window, and let me proclaim to the people in the streets the goodness of God!|

The following testimony is from an affectionate brother, a physician, who attended him much in his last sickness:

|I visited Dr. Chandler daily during his last illness, which was of long continuance. His disease was an almost universal paralysis. The attack had at first been confined to one side, and after a partial recovery only of that side, the other became affected in like manner with the first. His mind as well as his body felt the effects of the disease, which at times caused a considerable derangement of intellect: but notwithstanding the confusion that was apparent in his mental operations, his constant theme was his God and the salvation of his soul; and on these subjects it was truly surprising to hear him converse. Although Dr. Chandler seemed incapable of rational reflection on other subjects, yet on that of religion, at intervals; he never conversed with more fluency, correctness, and feeling at any period of his life. He appeared to be exceedingly jealous of himself; and occasionally laboring under fear lest he might have deceived himself; and that he should finally become a cast-away; but of these apprehensions he was generally relieved whenever we approached a throne of grace, which we were in the habit of doing on almost every visit. In this state he remained until within a few days of his death, when the Lord was graciously pleased, in a most extraordinary manner, to pour out his Spirit upon his servant; and although his body was fast sinking, his mind, for two days, was restored to perfect vigor and correctness. During this time he seemed to be in the borders of the heavenly inheritance. He spoke of the glories, the joys, and the inhabitants of heaven as though he had been in the midst of them. He remarked to me, at the time, that he felt that his soul had begun to dissolve its connection with the body; and that there was a freedom, a clearness, and ease in its views and operations that was entirely new to him, and that he had never before formed a conception of -- ' in fact,' said he, I know not whether I am in the body or out of it.' Soon after this he sunk into a stupor, in which he remained to the last. On the sabbath following his funeral sermon was preached, by the author of these lines, to a large and deeply affected congregation, from these fine words of the apostle: But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, Concerning them that are asleep, and that ye sorrow not even as others which have no hope.'|

The account of his death concludes in the following words: --

|As a Christian, and as a Christian minister, W. P. Chandler was a man of no ordinary grade. In his deportment, dignity and humility, fervor and gentleness, plainness and brotherly kindness, with uniform piety, were strikingly exemplified. In the pulpit his soul was in his eloquence, his Saviour was his theme, and the divine unction that rested upon him, and the evangelical energy of his sermons, gave a success to his labors that has been exceeded by few. He studied to show himself approved unto God, a workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth: and how good a proficient be was in this study, thousands who were blessed under his ministry can heartily testify, many of whom are living witnesses of the happy effects of his labors, while he is now reaping his eternal reward.|

Among others who departed to another world this year was John Steward, who first carried the gospel to the Wyandot Indians. Of his early life we have seen something in our account of the Wyandot mission. He seems to have been peculiarly fitted for his work. Sincere, simple-hearted, much devoted to the cause in which he had engaged, he adapted himself with a ready and willing mind to the condition and circumstances of those people, won their confidence and affection by his honest simplicity, and, by the blessing of God on his exertions, conducted them away from the absurdities of heathenism by the charms of gospel truth and love.

His entire devotion to the interests of the mission, his intense application to meet its spiritual wants, and the privations to which he was subjected in his early residence among them, so wore upon his constitution, that in the course of this year it became manifest that his health was fast declining, and that the days of his pilgrimage were near their end.

When so exhausted in his physical powers as to be unable to labor for his support, his temporal wants were provided for by his friends, about fifty acres of land, on which was built a cabin for his accommodation, being secured to him in fee-simple. Here he lived the remainder of his days, and on his demise the property was inherited by his brother. In this place, loved and honored by those who had been benefited by his evangelical labors, he lingered along the shores of mortality until December the 17th, 1823, when he fell asleep in Jesus, in the thirty-seventh year of his age, and the seventh of his labors in the missionary field. On his death-bed he gave the most consoling evidence of his faith in Christ and hope of immortality, exhorting his affectionate wife to faithfulness to her Lord and Master, and testifying with his latest breath to the goodness of God.

In the contemplation of such a man, we cannot but admire the wisdom of God in the selection of means to accomplish his designs of mercy toward the outcasts of men. Born in humble life, destitute of the advantages of education, unauthorized and unprotected by any body of Christians when he first entered upon his enterprise, influenced solely by the impulses of his own mind, produced, as he believed, and as the event proved, by the dictates of the Holy Spirit, Steward sets off on an errand of mercy to the meandering savages of the wilderness. Here he arrives, a stranger among a strange people; and opens his mission by a simple narration of the experience of divine grace upon his heart, and of the motives which prompted him to forsake home and kindred, and devote himself to their spiritual interests, Having gained their attention, he explains to them, in the simplest language of truth, the fundamental doctrines of Jesus Christ, contrasting them with the absurdities of heathenism and the inummeries of a corrupted form of Christianity. No sooner does the word take effect, than a violent opposition arises against this humble and unpretending servant of Jesus Christ, which he meets with Christian courage, and bears with the fortitude of a well-trained soldier of the cross. By the strength of God resting upon him, he manfully buffets the storms of persecution which raged around him, and calmly guides his little bark over the threatening billows until it is conducted into a harbor of peace and safety. Seeking for the wisdom that cometh from above, he is enabled to unravel the sophistry of error, to refute the calumnies of falsehood, to silence the cavilings of captious witlings, and to establish firmly the truth as it is in Jesus. Did not God |choose the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty?|

Who does not look on with a trembling anxiety for the result, while the umpire was deliberating upon his fate, at that memorable time when he submitted his Bible and Hymn Book to the inspection of Mr. Walker, that he might determine whether or not they were genuine! And who can forbear participating in the general shout of exultation when the momentous question was decided in his favor! During these anxious moments the heart of Steward must have beat high amidst hopes and fears, while the fate of his mission apparently hung poised upon the decision of a question which involved the dearest interests of the nation for whose welfare he had risked his all! But the God whom he served pleaded his cause, silenced the clamor of his enemies, disappointed the machinations of the wicked, and gave a signal triumph to the virtues of honesty, simplicity, and godly sincerity. In this triumph was fulfilled the inspired and inspiring declaration, |One shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand to flight.|

In all the subsequent conduct of Steward we behold a combination of those excellences which the Spirit of God alone can engraft and nourish in the human heart. |The excellency of the power,| therefore, which was conspicuous in the life and conduct of Steward, reflected the rays of Him who had most evidently made him |a chosen vessel to bear his name unto the Gentiles| in the American wilds. Humble and unpretending as he was, his name will ever be associated with those men of God who had the high honor of first carrying the light of divine truth to the darkened tribes of our forests. And this record is made as a just tribute of respect to the memory of one whom God delighted to honor as the evangelical pioneer to the Methodist Episcopal Church in her career of usefulness among the long neglected children of our own wide domain.

Numbers in the Church: Whites This Year: 267,618; Last Year: 252,645; Increase: 14,973 -- Colored This Year: 44,922; Last Year: 44,377; Increase: 545 -- Total This Year: 312,540; Last Year: 297,022 -- Increase: 15,518 -- Preachers This Year: 1,226; Last Year: 1,106; Increase: 120.

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