Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CORRESPONDENCE.

granddaughter of the above Eady and Isaac of their undiminished affection for him, for Booth.

the mildness of his disposition as a member

of the community, for his exemplary and MISCELLANEA.

unsullied character as a Christian, and for his

unwearied efforts to extend the kingdom of RESIGNATIONS,

Christ in the world, as a minister of the The Rev. S. Spurgeon, having sent in his glorious gospel of the blessed God.” resignation as pastor of the baptist church, Wesley Road, in Guernsey (after having sustained this office for nearly seven years), has, by some of the members of his church The Rev. W. H. Fuller has resigned the and congregation, been presented with an pastoral oversight of the church in Thrissell elegant dr:: wing-room time-piece, as "a token Street, Bristol.

CORRESPONDENCE.

He

was

ON THE LETTER OF THE REV. J. P. MURSELL. [meeting of the) committee.” The meeting

To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine. referred to was held April 29th, 1848, and

DEAR SIR,- In the second paragraph of no such resolution was adopted at it ; the the first letter in the Baptist Magazine for record on the minutes is this:-“Mr. Hinton March, on the Proposed Charter for the brought up the following report from the Baptist Missionary Society, there are some sub-committee appointed in reference to a inaccuracies reflecting upon the committee, charter of incorporation,which you will, perhaps, allow me to correct. “Resolved, That the report be received." It is said that the charter“ was condemned

says further, that “the question was reupwards of six months ago by the all but vived at a weekly sitting of the committee." unanimous voice of a quarterly committee;" This is not accurate. The question and again, “ That the question was revived only conversationally “revived at a weekly at a weekly sitting of the committee.” Both sitting of the committee;" it was regularly statements are inaccurate. The charter has introduced at the quarterly meeting held on never been condemned or approved by the the 12th of July, 1848, at which the recommittee; a resolution condemnatory of it appointment of the sub-committee was rewas written at the meeting referred to, and solved on. To his statement, that “ had the read, but withdrawn. No decision was taken vote been taken on the question, charter or upon the question.

no charter," on the 17th of January, 1849, Nor was “The question revived at a weekly " it would, from all appearance, have been sitting;" it was at a quarterly meeting, when negatived," I have to add that no attempt a sub-committee was appointed, with in- | whatever has been made to raise such structions to report in writing upon the whole a question in committee, or to submit it to question.

any other decision than that of the society These inaccuracies are not unimportant. itself, at its general meeting. In the hands of Mr. Mursell, indeed, they finally, that “a small majority only was in are used for no mischievous purpose; but favour of publishing the report.” The fact they have been noticed elsewhere with the is, that out of twenty-seven persons present, view of making charges of unfairness and twenty-one voted, thirteen in favour of it, and pertinacity, which are (I believe) entirely eight against it ; a majority of more than unfounded.

three to two. Yours very truly,

After observing justly that "the intention March 10th, 1849. JOSEPH Angus. for which the Baptist Missionary Society was

instituted, was not the acquisition and the To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine. holding of property,” Mr. Mursell says, " to

DEAR SIR,- In briefly noticing the re- charter the society merely to enable it to marks of Mr. Mursell, inserted in your num. compass the more easily what is purely inci. ber for March, on the proposed incorporation dental to it, and which may drop off from it of the Baptist Missionary Society, I must any year in its progress, seems to me to be at begin by correcting some errors in his state variance with a truly wise and sound policy." ment of facts. He says that "it was con- This is written as though the society could demned upwards of six months ago, by the get rid of its interest in property. To a very all but unanimous voice of a quarterly large extent, however, this is not possible.

He says,

а

[ocr errors]

Much property the society has (for its most and incapable of any essential modification , important and indispensable purposes) ac- as if it were incorporated, as, in case of procepted in trust for others, and it cannot be ceedings in chancery, would be speedily and released from this obligation. No one ima- effectually demonstrated to them. In this gines that the possession of property is, for respect the society has no “birthright" of its own sake, "advantageous to the society;" freedom" to sell,” however much more than the justification for its possession is that it is mess of pottage" Mr. Mursell might necessary, and that the great object of the wish to get for it. society cannot be carried on without it. “ The application for a charter," Mr. MurHence, as anxieties and responsibilities are sell goes on to say, “would be derogatory to inevitable, a desire to reduce the incon- the position of the Baptist Missionary Society veniences attending them to the smallest as a religious institution.” This is an asserpossible amount is not unreasonable.

tion, however, of which he adduces no proof; “ Suppose a charter should be obtained,” all that he has written under this head being * says Mr. Mursell, “it is by no means certain a reply to that part of the sub-committee's that it would be of universal application.' report which is not officially published, and Will he kindly allow further inquiry, as the which, consequently, is not properly open to sub-committee suggest, to be made into this remark. On that part of the report which point, and be guided by the issue ?

assigns the reasons why, in the judgment of He asks, whether the local inapplicability the sub-committee, a society in the strictest of the charter “ might not introduce into the sense religious need not fear to accept a deliberations of the society a merely secu- charter, he says nothing. I can desire nolar element ;” as though he imagined that thing more than that the reader will take the “ merely secular elements" had nothing to trouble to refer to it again. do with the deliberations of the society now. “In this matter," he continues, “we are What else are the questions, whether a situa- in danger of compromising ourselves as tion is unhealthy, or whether a house could be dissenters.” He supports this position by procured for a missionary to live or to preach saying, that, since the society is “set up in ? As to any “dignity" which may be sup. specifically and exclusively for religious purposed to attach to the mere “holding of poses, we cannot, as nonconformists, ask for property," operating as an inducement to the it the patronage of the crown, or the favour occupation of a missionary field, the notion of parliament, without detriment and disseems to me (to borrow a phrase of his own) honour." My reply to this is, that to seek to be “splendid trifling.”

the incorporation of the society, either by “We are told,” he proceeds," that the the crown on the one hand, or by parliasociety will save money by a charter of in- ment on the other, is not to seek for it either corporation,” Mr. Mursell ought in fairness, “patronage" or "favour.” In pursuance of however, not to have so put this statement as its religious object, the society has of neto lead his readers to suppose that this was the cessity acquired a secular standing, by means only, or the principal reason assigned for the of the large amount of property in which it is proposal. Every attentive reader of the interested; and all that is sought, or would be sub-committee's report must have felt that obtained, by incorporation is, a secular standthis is not the truth; and every considerate ing for the society more equitable and just. reader of Mr. Mursell's remarks will feel, Can Mr. Murseli show any reason why a that his puttting this part of the case forward society, merely because its object reliso as to conceal or disguise the more important gious, should be at an unjust disadvantage in aspects of it, goes far to warrant a suspicion its secular affairs ? that there is more in it than he is able to Under this head Mr. Mursell is pleased to answer, even to his own satisfaction.

notice a statement made by the sub-com* Should the charter of incorporation be mittee for a very different purpose.

"The obtained,” he continues, the freedom of the report of the sub-committee,” says he,“ poBaptist Missionary Society would be de- litely intimates that the objectors,' poor stroyed." This sweeping sentence he illus- things ! to the charter, do not seem to know trates by the difficulty which would then that, not only municipal bodies, but banking exist in altering any essential (non-essentials companies, &c. &c., are corporations;" and may be modified in either case) part of the then follows a piece of caustic irony, consociety's constitution ; but he entirely over- cluding with a reference to “water comlooks the difficulty (quite as great, although panies.” Mr. Mursell has previously told perhaps different in form) which attends us that a part of the report of the sub-comimilar alterations now. He claims, indeed, mittee is a splendid trifling;” of this sally of that the society “must be left unfettered and his imagination it may be said with at least independent, and capable of any modification equal truth, that it is “trifling,” but not which experience or circumstances might sug- “splendid.” What is gravely to be comgest.” How little he knows of its actual plained of here, however, is, that the incondition! A society which has accepted iention of the sub-committee in this part of property in trust is as substantially fettered their report is wholly lost sight of. They

no reason

66

on the

are addressing themselves, not to "objectors” | viduals nor societies can consistently recognize to the charter generally, but to those who the authority of the state in religious matters. had made a specific objection to it; namely, | This, no doubt, is true, but is nothing to the that the name had become so vile in the ears purpose. of men, that for the society to become a cor- " Besides," he goes on to say, “ if it be a poration would render it hopelessly infamous. secular and civil advantage which is sought, To this they replied, that many societies of

can be adduced wherefore the unquestionable respeo lity were also cor- favour should be conferred, founded on the porations, and so far their reply was to the fact that the party seeking it is a ' body in point. Further it was never intended to the strictest sense religious,' without the most bear.

wretched compromise, since other bodies Mr. Mursell proceeds to assign some rea- have an equal claiin on the consideration of sons why a body strictly religious should not the state.” Mr. Mursell here does injustice accept a charter from the crown. The first to the sub-committee. They have not argued of these is, that such a body “cannot con- that the religious character of the society* sistently, in ils capacity as such, recognize supplies a reason why a charter should be the existence of the crown," or (as he atter- granted; all that they have said is that it wards expresses it), of “the first authority constitutes no reason why a charter should in the state," or of the powers that be.” be refused. Mr. Mursell does injustice also If this position can be made good, no doubt to himself. From his argument as it follows the conclusion will follow; but Mr. Mursell the sentence I have quoted, it would inevithas here left it to rest solely on his own ably result, that “purely civil privileges ? assertion. Let us try it by an example. ought to be withheld by the state on religious Suppose the church assembling in Belvoir grounds; a principle which he certainly must Street chapel, Leicester, “in their delibera- be the last man in England to maintain. tions and counsels as members of the body of “ A further reason rests," he says, Christ,” to consult on the question whether very tangible ground of profit and loss." they shall hold their church-meetings with He here contrasts the “saving of money and closed doors. Many reasons are adduced in of trouble" anticipated from a charter, with favour of such a plan, and the society are on the loss of the society's " freedom of action," the point of resolving on it, when a member which he alleges the sub-committee to have suggests that, according to the Toleration admitted in saying, “it is no doubt true that Act, it is not lawful to do so; upon which the movements of an incorporated society the pastor announces, that “a religious so- cannot be absolutely unfettered." Nothing ciety cannot consistently, in its capacity as more, however, is here admitted concerning such, recognize the existence of the powers' the movements of an incorporated society, that be,” much less the binding force of the than holds equally true of a society not inlaws they may have passed. You will, of corporated, having an interest in property. course, then meet with closed doors, Mr. The Baptist Missionary Society is very fur Mursell? Or take another example. Sup- from being “absolutely unfettered” now; pose the town of Leicester to be in a state of and its present and inevitable subjection to political excitement, and a mob to demolish law will be in no respect modified for the the chapel above-named by violence. The worse by incorporation. church are assembled to consider what shall Proceeding to a different ground, Mr. be done, and they are on the point of deter- Mursell observes that, if it were" lawful” to mining to avail themselves of a legal remedy seek a charter, “ it might not be expedient.” against the rioters, when, for the second time, He here refers to the light in which the step the pastor announces that “a religious might be regarded by many persons, both in society cannot consistently, in its capacity as and out of the society; a consideration of such, recognize the existence of the powers | undoubted importance, and one to which, for that be," much less seek from them redress one, I shall be ready to pay as serious attenof an injury. You will seek no legal remedy, tion as himself. then, Mr. Mursell ?

Mr. Mursell next notices the statement of It must be evident, I think, that the ex- | the sub-committee, that, in granting a charter, treme position taken by Mr. Mursell cannot the sovereign is “not so much the represenbe sustained ; but that, on the contrary, a tative of the state as of the law ;" but he is society in the strictest sense religious may quite mistaken in the use for which he supvery consistently recognize the existence of poses they intended it. It had been objected those authorities in the state, to which they to seeking a charter for a relizious society, have (in things not contrary to the will of that it would involve the principle of a con. Christ) to render obedience, and from which nexion between the church and the state ; they have, as exposed to social wrong, to ex- and to this the sub-committee reply, that, in pect protection. It may be assumed, indeed, the act of granting a charter the sovereign that Mr. Mursell's language is only an would not represent the stale, a fair answer exaggerated mode of expressing the maxim to the objection, if true. What is meant generally held among us, that neither indi. when it is stated that the sovereign, in such an act, would represent, not the state, but the the popular character of the committee is a law, is evidently this : that the act, although reality, and no semblance, may be evident from performed by the executive power, would be this, that the committee is, by a rule of the itself not executive but legislative--an exer- constitution, open at all times to the attendance cise, in fact, of that small portion of legisla- and votes of about eight hundred members tive power which the constitution and laws of of the society, and that scarcely a meeting is England yet leave to the crown.

held at which some members, thus entitled, The sub-committee further state, that that do not attend. This popular constitution of which is received from the crown, when a the committee would be in no respect altered charter is granted, "is neither personal nor by the society's incorporation. official favour, but a modified and more I have now noticed all Mr. Mursell's equitable position in relation to the law.” statements, and if I were to conclude my In confutation of this assertion, Mr. Mursell observations by saying, that had he designed thinks it " quite enough to refer to the lan- to collect the greatest possible number of guage of the charter itself:"_“We, of our sophisms in the least possible space, he could special grace," &c. But he altogether mis- scarcely have been more successful, and that takes the import of this phraseology, which the whole effect of his paper is to throw dust is in reality intended to affirm the legislative in the eyes of your readers, I should give purity of the transaction, and to deny corrupt him no cause to complain, since I should only and venal motive. The granting of a charter, use language which he has set me the examwhen satisfactory ground can be laid for it, ple of employing. If I refrain from using is, on the part of the sovereign, but a due such language, however, let him allow me to discharge of one of the public duties of his assure bim, with sincere regard and respect, office,

that he has yet to do the subject on which he " If the charter were obtained,” continues has written the justice which it demands, Mr. Mursell, “it would confer an amount of

I am, &c., power which should not be entrusted by any

J. H, HINTON. religious society to any body of men.” London, March 13th, 1849. Under this head several items are nientioned, which it will not be requisite to notice in de- ON THE LETTERS OP MESSRS. MURSELL, tail, because the general notion out of which

ROBINSON, AND BOWSER, they spring is altogether unfounded. The To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine, truth is, that a charter would confer on the Rev. Sir,-It is due to your readers and committee no power whatever. It is not the the friends of the Baptist Missionary Society committee that would be incorporated, but that they should be informed that the letters the society, that is, the whole multitude of of Mr. Mursell, Mr. Robinson, and Mr. members ; and the relation which the com- Bowser, in your magazine of this month, mittee would bear to the society, and conse- were written (if I may judge by their conquently all its powers, would be the same as tents) under some misconception of the at present. Going through every sentence in nature and effects of a royal charter. this paragraph, I can most conscientiously I will not occupy your valuable space by affirm my conviction, that in every one of replying in detail to those gentlemen, but them the writer is wholly mistaken ; and, as content myself with assuring your readers, he adduces no proof, but makes assertions that a royal charter of incorporation is, in only, considerate persons may well hesitate substance, a perpetual trust-deed, a grant to before they give him credence.

the persons named in it and to their succesIn error in supposing that a charter would sors, of power to deal with the entire pro. throw power into the hands of the committee, perty then possessed, or which may thereafter Mr. Mursell is, of necessity, still more in be acquired by the grantees and their sucerror in saying that such augmented power cessors, and these persons may be changed at would “fall into the hands of a very few,” pleasure without a new deed, provided the

even of the committee itself. He asserts, change be made in the manner prescribed by • indeed, that " the popular character of that the first deed. The charter defines in general

body is rather a semblance than a reality ;" terms the powers of the grantees, and the and he tells you that "the quarterly meetings purposes to which they shall apply their are not invested with more authority in any trust property, and whatever is done to the way than " the weekly meetings. The truth contrary is illegal. An ordinary trust-deed is, that the constitution of the society knows renders a new deed necessary every time that nothing of quarterly meetings of the com- death or resignation requires new trustees to mittee, this distinction having originated be appointed. It might happen that, if the entirely in the fact, that, for the sake of Baptist Missionary Society was incorporated, facilitating interchange of opinion, the com- persons would consent to become members of mittee have agreed, that upon special occasions, the committee, and thus invest themselves (occurring somewhere about once a quarter), with these trust powers, seeing that without the travelling expenses of members residing expense to themselves or the society they at a distance from town shall be paid. That might resign at pleasure. If they obtained their power under a trust.deed they might | treated with the same respect in a foreign have to procure a new trustee to take their country as an individual, and cannot demand place, or be driven to the Court of Chancery more. to be relieved of their trust.

If the committee of the Baptist Missionary The London companies, and, in short, all Society should hereafter provide their friends the corporate towns in England, act under with situations of emolument and ease at the royal charters, but these documents do not so expense of the society, I have no doubt it define the purposes of the corporations as will soon become known, and then the subthey should, and some of them authorize scribers, instead of resorting to either a compulsory exactions, which the proposed chancery suit or an action at law to remove charter of the Baptist Missionary Society, of the evil, would cease to subscribe to the socourse, does not and never can authorize.

ciety's funds, and thus peacefully cause the The proposed charter will not give an atom situations to be vacated. I have no fears for of religious power, nor will it profess to do the society whilst the committees shall be 80, and by no means can the society free it- constituted of such men as we have had self from liability to control from the courts hitherto, but that they have done everything of law and equity.

which they could is more than can be exThe Law Institution, which consists exclu- pected. sively of lawyers, has, from its commence- I entreat every subscriber and contributor ment, acted under royal charter, and if it be to the society's funds to ask himself if he has admitted that lawyers are the best judges of done all for the society which he could, and what, on legal grounds and for practical pur- if he can answer the inquiry in the affirmaposes, is most likely to conduce to their own tive, happy is he! But if he would do interests, their conduct in this respect may be justice to the committees he must not condemn worthy of the consideration of the friends of them until he has satisfied himself that a the Baptist Missionary Society. The Ameri- majority of the contributors to the society can Baptist Missionary Society acts under a have done as well as he has. Moses was state charter of incorporation.

deprived of the privilege of entering into Mr. Robinson, in his letter to you, inquires Canaan for speaking against God's Israel, let the amount of responsibility which the pro- us not lessen our privileges by speaking posed charter of the Baptist Missionary against those who have devoted themselves Society would entail on the members of the to the noble and holy employment of carrysociety. I think that this may be answered ing out the objects of the Baptist Missionary by stating that the property of the corpora- Society, and made pecuniary sacrifices also. tion would be answerable for all its engage- I write this without the knowledge or ments, and must be first exhausted, and as suggestion of any member of the committee the liabilities of the society would be tempo- or person connected with the society, and rary there is no actual risk incurred by mem- simply to prevent my brethren raising objecbership. There is no such risk as is incurred tions to a charter founded on ignorance ; if by trading companies ; in these, losses have there be any founded on facts let them be been sustained by the money invested not stated and attended to. having been returned, but, on the contrary,

A LAWYER. lost by improvident purchases of valueless Camberwell, March 10th, 1849. property, and by having been lent to insolvent persons. A royal charter, although in form a royal

RATION FOR THE BAPTIST MISSIONARY favour, is not worthy of being so considered. The grounds of the application for one, and the form of words to be used in it, are first

To the Editor of the Baptist Magazine. ' submitted to the legal advisers of the sove- SIR, -Although you have devoted so much reign, who receive fees for their trouble from of your March number to the above subject, those who apply for the charter, and, there- hope you will find room in the number for fore, rather feel that a favour is conferred April for the following brief narrative, which • upon them by the application for the grant, shows the actual working of such a charler. than upon those who obtain it. The sove- In the case in question there is nothing reign acts upon the advice given by simply peculiar in the terms of the charter ; nothing affixing the royal sign manual (the signature) in fact, so far as I know, but such regulations to the charter

matter of as would be inserted in the proposed charter

to the Baptist Missionary Society. A royal charter does not grant the parties

I am, sir, incorporated power to compel any persons to

Yours truly, part with their houses or lands to the corpo

David M'LAREN. ration, which is the reason that railway com- No. 4, New Broad Street, panies never act under a charter, but obtain 3rd March, 1849. an act of parliament.

A chartered company has hitherto been A number of the shareholders of a banking

ON

THE PROPOSED

CHARTER OP

INCORPO

SOCIETY.

as

a

mere

course,

« AnteriorContinuar »