CHESTERFIELD Co., Va., July 14, 1840.
BROTHER BEEBE: - In the Religious Herald of May 28th, 1840, we discover some notice taken of a society formed in the city of New York, called the “American Baptist Anti-Slavery Society,” which society has adopted separate addresses to the churches north and south. Now, Brother Beebe, as this measure is by some amongst us charged to the Old School Baptists at the north, and by others to the New School; and supposing that you are informed how, and by whom such a society was. formed, I have thought proper at the request of several brethren to ask you by whom the above-named society was formed, by Old, or New School Baptists? Please inform me, and oblige many brethren,
Your brother in trial and tribulation,
REPLY: OF the society concerning which our brother enquires, we have but very little knowledge; we have recently received the first number of a periodical published by a newly organized body, calling themselves the “American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society,” and their paper now before us is christened The American and Foreign Anti-Slavery, Reporter. This Society appears to have broken fellowship with the Old Society, and have set up an independent standard. A copy of their constitution is given in the paper before us, from which we discover their object is the immediate abolition of slavery, and, if we understand the preamble to their constitution, they also aim at a general amalgamation. A list of the names of the constituent members is also reported, among which we find Duncan Dunbar, Charles W. Denison and Z. Grenell; all New School Baptists. Among their resolutions we find the following, as offered by C. W. Denison, viz:
“Resolved, That we hail, with devout gratitude to God, the organization of the American Baptist Anti-Slavery Convention, which has been recently formed in New York representing hundreds of ministers, and thousands of members of that denomination, and which has already begun its labors by appointing an efficient Executive Committee of fifty, by addressing official letters to the churches at the North and South on the subject of Slavery, by furnishing credentials for an able Delegation to England, and by other important movements, which bid fair, with the blessing of Heaven, to produce good results in that denomination, and among christians at large.”
From this resolution it appears the society of which brother Goode enquires, stands in the fellowship of the American and Foreign Society, and has no more connection with the Regular or Old School Baptists, than the latter have with the Mission, or any other modern religious societies. That some of our Old School Brethren in this state as well as in the Southern States, are in sentiment opposed to slavery, in the abstract; and would rejoice if in the providence of God the evil (for such some regard it,) might be dispensed with in a manner mutually satisfactory to all parties concerned; yet we do not believe there can one solitary Old School Baptist be found belonging to, or connected with any abolition or anti-slavery society whatever. The Old School Baptists as a body disclaim all connection with, and fellowship for religious societies of every name, object and pretense excepting the church of God. The subject of slavery and anti-slavery, abolition, &c., has never to our knowledge been discussed by the Old School Baptists as a body; they may entertain different views on this subject, for aught we know; but we have hitherto, and still shall object to a discussion of the merits of the subject through the “Signs of the Times,” as such discussions could not fail to do mischief, without promising to result in any good to either the free or the bound; besides it would be a perversion of the original and present design of our publication. Whatever merit or blame may belong to the “American Baptist Anti-Slavery Society,” recently organized in the city of New York, belongs to the New School party exclusively; and those who have represented it otherwise in Virginia, have done so, in all probability to raise a prejudice against a people who ever have, and still do feel ready to “Render unto Cesar, the things that tire Cesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s.”
NEW VERNON, N. Y.,
September 15, 1840.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 1
Pages 635 – 637