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hundred dollars to support “almost wholly” 1106 preachers,-most of whom have wives and children-besides a number of widows and orphans! We presume to say, that if this sum were equally divided among those who claim a support from our Church as preachers, their wives and children, widows of those preachers who have died in the field of gospel labour, and their orphan children, it would not give more than three dollars per year to each.
But this is not the way this money is appropriated. It is given entirely to those preachers who labour in such places where the people are too poor to pay them their annual allowance, and to the widows and orphans of travelling preachers, excepting $550 which the three bishops are allowed to draw annually from the Book-Concern. Now, what a mighty income is this to prevent the ministry from “supplicating a collector to entreat the people to pay arrears !"
We envy no man his situation on account of its pecuniary advantages; and we fully believe every minister is entitled, according to the economy of the gospel, to a competent support from the people for whom he labours; but we remark, that the whole of the available funds of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is but about one third more than the salary of sorne ministers of other denominations in New York, and in some other cities. We mention not this circumstance to censure others, but to shew how “almost wholly” wide of the mark the New-Haven Religious Intelligencer is.
No! So far from being “almost wholly” supported from Funds, that our ministers, we venture to say, are more dependent on the people for pecuniary support, than any body of ministers whatever; and notwithstanding the insinuation of the New-Haven Editor to the contrary, we believe their salary is less than most others in this or in any other country. Their stated allowance is derived “almost wholly," (entirely, with the exception of the small fund above-mentioned) from the voluntary contributions of the people, each of whom gives according to his ability and disposition.
This, considering all circumstances, is the last charge we should have anticipated against the economy of our Church, seeing there is so little foundation for it. It must, therefore, have proceeded from extreme ignorance, which is inexcusable in him who writes for the information of the public, or from strong prejudice, which is hardly compatible with that “charity which hopeth all things.”.
We were, indeed, quite unprepared for such an assault, when we read, in a Religious paper, such an eulogy on the Methodist ministry as the following :-" They have proclaimed the glad news of salvation where it had not before been heard, or where it had been disregarded, have had many souls as seals of their ministry, who will be stars in their crown of rejoicing, and we should consider the day in which the preaching of these heralds of the
cross should cease, as one in which Zion should assume the garments of mourning.” If such be the genuine feelings of this writer towards the ministers of our Church, we trust he will be willing to do them an act of justice by giving publicity to this correction of his errors.
COPY OF A LETTER SENT TO THE EDITOR OF THE “WESLEYAN
REPOSITORY." Mr. Wm. S. Stockton,
SIR.-In your Number of the Repository for October, page 207, note, you say, “ Justice requires us to say that the former incumbent" (of the Book-Concern) “had the good senses to suffer Mr. B.'s manuscript to remain in the Book-Room unpublished, through the whole course of his judicious administration ; and in all probability had not Mr. B. succeeded Mr. S. in the agency, the manuscript vindication would have been given, ere this, to the moles and bats.”
I am sorry to be under the necessity, in self-defence, to contradict this statement. But it is so far from being true, that the manuscript in question was never submitted to the “former incumbent.” To correct any erroneous statements that may have been made to you or to your correspondent, in relation to this subject, I will take the liberty to observe that a small manuscript on the same subject was submitted to the inspection of Mr. Soule, with permission, if he pleased, to publish it in the Methodist Magazine: this he declined; but advised me, if I published it, to publish it in a pamphlet, which, however, I declined doing. But even this manuscript, so far from remaining “in the Book-Room through the whole course of his administration," did not, I think, remain there three months.
The vindication was written after the last General Conference, in which, to be sure, was incorporated the principal part of the former manuscript, but entirely new modelling the whole, and making such additions as to make it more than twice as large as the first manuscript. Of this revised manuscript, Mr. Soule, while Book-Agent, never saw a single line. Previous to its publication, it was read to the Book-Committee, who unanimously approved of its publication. Some of my brethren in the ministry, knowing that I had such a work in contemplation, and that I had made a beginning, often requested me to finish and give it to the public. This induced me to revise and enlarge the little mandiscript, and, after being submitted to the authorized Book-Committee, it was published. I have given this history of that book, for the sole purpose of correcting the erroneous statement made in the Repository.
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But the principal object of this communication is, to correct another very erroneous statement, which is found in your Number for Sept. page 200, where it is said, that our “Bishops may order what they please from the Book Fund”—and then it is asked, “ Where is the check?” This is a most unjust reflection upon the character of our bishops, as well as an erroneous representation of the economy of our church. For the information of those of your readers who may not be acquainted with the regulations of our church respecting the pecuniary allowance of our bishops, and of the manner in which they obtain it, I will state, that for the salary which the Discipline allows them, which is $100 for a single and $200 for a married bishop, they are not permitted to draw a single cent from the “ Book Fund;" but it is paid them, in equal proportions, by the several Annual Conferences. At the General Conference in 1816, the Conference authorized their Book-Committee in New-York and Book-Agents, to make an estimate for the family expences of the bishops; and the last General Conference, in consideration of the infirmities of Bishop M'Kendree, and consequent increase of his expences, authorized the same Committee to make an additional allowance to him. The Coinmittee acting under this authority, allowed Bishop George, who had several children dependent upon him, to draw $250 annually, and Bishop Roberts, who has a wife but no children, $200, and Bishop MóKendree, $100. These sums are accordingly drawn, and no more. Is this drawing what they please ?
O Sir! when it shall be known that the Wesleyan Repository is the medium through which such unjust statements are circulated, to the injury of men who are devoting their time and talent for the public good alone, what will be thought of its character? I pray you to spare those men who cannot answer for themselves. .
Yours, &c. New-York, Jan. 22, 1823.
Since writing the above letter, the following assertion and queries have been discovered in the “ Wesleyan Repository," Vol. ii. p. 293. " It is said the nett profits of the Book-Concern, amount to $25,000 per year. Is it so? And how is that sum disposed of? Have the people any right to know ?”
Twenty-five thousand dollars per year! “Is it so ?” We should rejoice, indeed, were it so; because we should then have additional means to extend the benefits of a gospel ministry among the poor, and should not have so many suffering widows, and orphan children, as the profits of this benevolent establishment are devoted to these worthy objects. But it is so far from being so, that the “nett profits of the Book-Concern” do not exceed one sixth part of that sum. (See Error detected, &c. p. 106.) For the truth of this every Annual Conference can vouch.
“ How is this sum disposed of?” Why should Mr. Stockton ask this question? Has he not our discipline in his hand? And surely, if he had read those parts which relate to the temporal economy of the Church, as attentively as he has those upon which he animadverts so freely, he might have saved himself the necessity of these questions, and his reputation from the obloquy of misrepresentation. These remarks apply to him, because the above words are his own, being found in an Editorial note, appended to a Letter to “Candidates for the General Conference.")
If he will turn to p. 21, last edition of the Discipline, he will find the following words :-“They," the General Conference, “shall not appropriate the produce of the Book-Concern, or of the Charter Fund, to any purpose other than for the benefit of the travelling, supernumerary, superannuated and worn out preachers, . their wives, widows and children." And on page 184 it is thus ordered :-" The' profits arising from the Book-Concern, after a sufficient capital to carry on the business is retained, shall be regularly applied to the support of the distressed travelling preachers, and their families, the widows and orphans of preachers," &c.These quotations, it is presumed, will be a sufficient answer to the question, “How is this sum disposed of ?" . .
“ Have the people any right to know ?”. It will be recollected that the above directions respecting the disposition to be made of the available funds of the Book-Concern, are taken from our form of Discipline, which is put into the hands of all who are willing to pay thirty-seven and a half cents for it; and so far are we from wishing to conceal any part of the economy of our Church from the people, that the bishops say to them, in the preface to the Discipline;—“We esteem it our duty and privilege, most earnestly to recommend to you, as members of our Church, our FORM OF Discipline, which has been founded on the experience of a long series of years." Now if, after so much is done to give information to our people respecting the appropriation of their money, they still remain ignorant, who is responsible for that ignorance?
Is it said that the manner in which the money is appropriated is not annually exhibited to the people in print; and therefore they are kept in ignorance respecting the amount which each man receives? Be it so. But this they know, if they will read what is printed, that no man can receive over a hundred dollars per year for himself, one hundred for his wife, if he have one, sixteen for each child under seven years of age, and twenty-four for each over seven but under fourteen years, with the addition of what a committee of a quarterly meeting conference may see fit to allow for family expences. But it should be recollected that no part of the avails of either the Book-Concern or Charter Fund, (except what the bishops are allowed) is to be appropriated to what are called family expences ; this the stewards are to raise
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by such means as they may see fit; but the money derived from the Book-Concern and Charter Fund is brought to the Annual Conferences, and applied to deficient preachers, to widows and orphans. See Discipline page 169, 173, 177. .
* For my own part, I most heartily wish that the pecuniary transactions of the Church were yearly printed, that our people might no longer be liable to be imposed upon by such insinuations as those which have drawn forth these remarks.
(Continued from page 62.) To Mr. Woolman Hickson, a Methodist Preacher, now in the County of Cape May,
Your kind letter of the 21st of June last, I had the pleasure of receiving a few days ago. I was happy to be informed that Mr. Hickson, who is still high in my esteem, was in the enjoyment of health, and that his friends and relatives were also well. May every blessing, temporal and spiritual, attend him and them, in such manner as shall seem meet to divine wisdom.
I cannot say I have had great trials, in the manner you fear, since I was at the quarterly meeting at Germantown; but am happy to mention, that I hear this meeting hath been blest to many persons; and I rejoice to be told that your Annual Conference was so agreeable.
With us, religion, in several places, flourishes. At Mr. Howell's, a few months past, I admitted about fifty persons to the Lord's Table, on one day, who before had not approached this blessed ordinance. May numbers daily, in every place, be added to the Church of Christ.
I am happy you have found some of our clergy, to the southward, who are disposed to countenance your preachers in their attempts to reclaim sinners from the errors of their ways. And why should not the ministers of the gospel, of every denomination, rejoice to have it in their power to do good ; to demolish
the empire of sin and Satan, and to give prosperity to the king- dom of the Prince of Peace ? I do not, in any sort, repent of the
favour I have shewn the Methodists; but regard it as a happiness, that through them, I have had it in my power to aid the cause of religion.
You inform me, that many of the people of Maryland, request I would visit them; that you think my labours among them would