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In 1808 another book was added to the hymnal. At the General Conference of this year Ezekiel Cooper resigned, after having increased the assets of the Book Concern from $4,000 to $45,000; and John Wilson was elected his successor as editor and book steward, with Daniel Hitt as his assistant. To this Conference Daniel Hitt submitted a collection of manuscripts, which he had prepared evidently in collaboration with Bishop Asbury, as we find such references in Asbury's diary as these: "August 2, 1807: I have hastily marked above two hundred hymns, taken from the congregational hymn book, to add to a new American edition, which, I hope, will be as good as any extant." "August 30. The hymns for collection occupied my mind much." "Nov. 3. Both Daniel Hitt and myself preached. Nov. 4. We were diligently occupied with our projected hymn book. 6. We were engaged with our collection of hymns," etc.
At the same Conference James Evans, of New York, made a proposal "for publishing a music book as a standard for the use of the Methodist Churches throughout the United States." The Committee of Review reported adversely on the tune book, but in favor of publishing the manuscripts of Daniel Hitt as a separate book bound together with the old book, advising, however, the alteration of some of the hymns. This report was adopted two days later. That this revision did not consume much time is evidenced by the fact that the new Supplement was copyrighted September 28, 1808, joining its destinies with the old book, and forming what came to be known as "The
Double Hymn Book." The title of the Supplement was "A Selection of Hymns, from Various Authors, Designed as a Supplement to the Methodist Pocket Hymn Book, Compiled under the direction of Bishop Asbury and Published by Order of the General Conference." Beneath a quotation from 2 Cor. 3. 16 were the words: "First Edition, New York, Published by John Wilson and Daniel Hitt, For the Methodist Connection in the United States. John C. Totten, Printer, 1808." The reason for the change of the place of publication from Philadelphia to New York was that by vote of the General Conference of 1804 the Book Concern had been moved from Philadelphia, where it had become unwelcome, and of the two cities proposed for its new home New York had prevailed by a majority of two.
The old Pocket Hymn Book contained 320 hymns, the new Supplement 328. The Preface, unsigned in the first edition, but signed in some later editions by Francis Asbury and William McKendree, makes this apology for the Supplement: "Although we esteem our Hymn Book in present use, among the best, yet in the great and glorious increase of our Church it has been thought defective in size." The Supplement passed under the review of a committee from each Annual Conference with approbation. It is curious to note in the back of the Supplement the advertisement of some of the publications of the Book Concern. The Supplement was also published as a separate volume.
In 1821 a new Hymnal, copyrighted October 30,
was "published by N. Bangs and T. Mason for the Methodist Episcopal Church. Abraham Paul, Printer." Its title eliminated the phrase "Pocket Hymn Book" for the first time: "A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the Methodist Episcopal Church, principally from the collection of the Rev. John Wesley, M.A., late fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford." This Hymnal contained 604 hymns, two doxologies, and a scriptural index. The preface, containing a few of the phrases in previous prefaces, explains the relation of this Hymnal to its predecessor: "The greater part of the hymns contained in the former selection are retained in this, and several from Wesley's and Coke's collections, not before published in this country, are added. The principal alterations which have been made consist in restoring those which have been altered, as was believed for the worse, to their original state, as they came from the poetical pen of the Wesleys, for the following hymns were, except a few which have been taken from other authors, composed by the Rev. John and Charles Wesley-names that will ever be held dear and in high estimation by every lover of sacred poetry."
On February 18, 1836, a fire destroyed the building of the Methodist Book Concern on Mulberry Street, New York city, with a loss of $250,000. Many of the plates of the Methodist publications were totally destroyed, including the Hymnal plates. This necessitated a new edition of the book then in use. Dr. Nathan Bangs, the book steward, prepared this new edition, adding a new Supplement.
When in the year 1844 the question of episcopal rights and its special relation to slavery had hopelessly divided the councils of our Church, and it was deemed wise to the Southern Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church that they should separate and form a Church of their own, a plan was proposed whereby the separation should be consummated regularly and in order. The regularity of the actual division of Methodism into two bodies was not recognized by the Methodist Episcopal Church, however, until 1876, when the bitterness of the lamentable dispute gave way to the affectionate interchange of fraternal relations between the two great bodies of Methodism in America.
In May, 1846, the Southern Conferences met in Petersburg for the first General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, under whose authority the forms of the new Church were perfected. One question which demanded decision was the preparation of a new Hymnal. This was first brought before the General Conference on May 5 by a resolution signed by William M. Wightman and Thomas O. Summers, which we quote in full, because of its importance as the first officially recorded step toward a Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South:
Whereas, It is highly desirable that various changes and improvements should be made in a new edition of the Methodist Hymn Book, to be published under the authority of this General Conference; therefore,
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed to prepare such a work for publication, as soon as possible, giving in every case the name of the author of the hymn, increasing the number of common, long, and short meters, by selecting
from the authorized Wesleyan Hymn Book, and other approved sources, and excluding some of the particular meters, which are unsuitable for the ordinary congregational singing, introducing into the body of the Hymn Book any valuable hymns not to be found in the Supplement, and dispensing with the remainder and making such alterations in the method and arrangement of the subjects as they may deem advisable.
Although the resolution was promptly tabled for the time being, it was taken from the table three days later and referred to the committee, which barely escaped being instructed "to report to this Conference within six days what particular meter hymns they propose to exclude"-an almost impossible task for a hymnal commission in the midst of the excitement and work of so constructive a General Conference as this was. The following day, May 9, it was voted by the Conference that the "Committee on Revision and Publication of our Hymn Book be not required to report to this Conference, but that they be authorized to proceed, as soon as may be," to prepare the Hymnal and have it published. On May 23, shortly before the adjournment was taken, the Bishop appointed as a Committee on the Hymn Book, Thomas O. Summers, William M. Wightman, Jefferson Hamilton, Whiteford Smith, and Augustus B. Longstreet. The Hymnal which they published was in constant use by the Church until 1886. Efforts were made from time to time to modify or supplant the book. At the General Conference of 1858 a resolution and a memorial asking for a Tune Book were referred to the Committee on Tune Hymn Book, who, with the assent of the General Conference, referred it all to the book agent, book