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which Mr. Stark had “ pledged his sacred honor,” the evening before, to make no use of, forsooth, "an irresistible impression is made on the minds of all honest men, that the Presbytery must have been concerned in the infamous publication !" One thing, however, is certain, that the tearing up of ihat paper made“ an irresistible impression on some minds, thai the act was prompted by a strong feeling of indig. nation at what was considered perfidious is not treucherous conduct on the part of the individual who had been using that paper in defiance of a solemo pledge given to the contrary!
After making the above very plain and logical deduction to the injury of the Presbytery, as he supposes, the Dr. thus proceeds with his history :-" The Presbytery then proceeded to draw up a libel against Mr. Webster for publishing his slanderous pamphlet, and afterwards found the charges bronght against him in the libel to be relevant. That is, they decided that the offences laid to his charge in the libel, and which it was proved that he had actually committed, were sinful and censurable. But instead of censuring him for his sins and offences, the Presbytery, in open violation of the laws of God, and in direct opposition to all the rules of church discipline, allowed him and assisted him to bring testimony to attempt to prove what he had already declared to be .unwarranted and unfounded'-and by so doing, determined that it was lawful for him to justify his sins. Mr. Stark objected to this proceeding as a violation of all the laws of God and man,' &c. Now for the truth. It was the Dr. himself, after the affair of the "retraction" was dismissed, who moved and advocated the drawing up of the libel against Mr. Webster; it was the Dr. who framed the libel; it was the Dr. who, in opposition to the judgment of some others, maintained and carried the relevancy of all the charges in the libel; it was the Dr. who insisted on Mr. Webster's being put on triul, and either prove his statements, or be censured for making them; and it was the Dr. who, as Moderator pro tem. signed the citations for Mr. Webster's witesses, and thus, it seems, "allowed him and assisted him to bring testimony to attempi to prove what he had already declared to be unwarranted and unfounded'-and by so doing, determined that it was lawful for him to justify his sins !" We do not mean to say that Dr. Bullions did all this alone; only, that he took the lead in this affair of the libel, and gave his hearty consent to that very procedure, which he imputes to the Presbytery as “a violation of all the laws of God and man.”
But in the above extract there are two very gross departures from the truth-- First, in representing the charges contained in the libel against Mr. W. as proved, before any proof was taken in the case, or in other words, before Mr. W. was put on his trial: finding the charges relevant, that is, censurable if proven, is made synonomous with actually proving them : an easy process this whereby to convict a person of crime !-- And Second, in asserting that the Presbytery "determined that it was lawful for Mr. W. to justify his sins ;” which assertion is again repeated on the next page—“The Presbytery agreed that Mr. W. should go on and justify his sin." Any person will see, without baving another word said on the subject, that this assertion is destitute of even the semblance of truth.
In close connection with the above, we find the following very charituble remarks: "By these infamous proceedings, Mr. Stark became fully satisfied, that the design of the Presbytery in trying Mr. Webster, was merely to do what they could for him, to prevent the truth from being known, and to conceal their own share in this nelarious business. He therefore interfered no further with the Presbytery than to protest against their illegal proceedings, and they agreed that Mr. W. should go on to justify his sin, in publishing his slanderous falsehoods, and to prove those things to be true that he had declared to be unfounded.” (p. 12.) But here we will merely notice, with the view to correct it, the statement, that " Mr. Stark interfered no further with the Presbytery than to protest against their illegal proceedings." Let the reader contrast with this statement, the fact that Mr. Stark was present during almost the whole time of Mr. Webster's trial, and took a most active part in it, such as cross-examining witnesses, explaining, testimony, &c., and that it was not till near the close of the trial, at least till all the matters in which he had a personal interest, were disposed of, that he left the Presbytery and “inierfered no further with them,” assigning also as his reason, not that which is here insinuated, but sickness. This is confirmed by a note which he addressed to the Clerk on that occasion, and which begins thus :-" Rev. Sir In consequence of continued indisposition, I find myself under the necessity of being absent from the Presbytery, and have thought it best to return home.”
From the libel against Mr. Webster, the Remarker proceeds to notice the one against Mr. Stark, which“ libel,” he says, “the Presbytery constructed out of the slanders contained in Mr. Webster's pamphlet,” (p. 12) and a little afterwards, “ The libel was confessedly founded on Mr. 'Webster's slanderous pamphlet."* Now this is so far from being true, that the libel was chiefly " constructed out of the slanders contained” in Mr. Stark's Anonymous Pamphlets, and was “confessedly founded” on those "slanderous” pamphlets. (See the Libel as given in the Narrative published by the Presbytery of Albany.)
This libel against Mr. Stark was referred by the Presbytery to the Synod for trial; concerning which latter court, the Remarker is pleased to hold the following language :-" The Synod which met in Philadelphia, in May, 1836, consisted of about a fifth part of all the members, and so many of these were implicated in the affair of Mr. Webster's pamphlet, that there would not have been a quorum without them. Yet some of these persons, though so deeply implicated, were the · principal actors in the indecent transactions of that Synod. All their proceedings seemed designed to screen the Presbytery from well-merited contempt. Nothing more unprincipled or unjust can well be imagined, &c." (p. 13.) The Synod thus blackly characterized, was composed of twenty-one ministers and eleven ruling elders. The Book of Discipline says " Any six ministers from different Presbyteries, with such elders as shall be present, shall be competent to form a Synod, and to proceed to business.” And yet, according to the Remarker, so many of the above thirty-two members “were implicated in the affair of Mr. Webster's pamphlet, that there would not have been a quorum without them !" As there were four ministers who voted in Mr. Stark's favor, it would seem that all the rest, save perhaps one, were “actors" in “indecent transactions,” and “were deeply implicated in the affair of Mr. Webster's pamphlet!" Now, will it be deemed too harsh, to
Aller the s. vere and harsh epithets employed by the Remarker against Mr. Webster's pamphlet, Mr. Stark ought not to think it uncharitable nor ungenerous, were Mr. Webster's defence before the Presbytery of Albany to be made public, together with ALL THE TESTI MONY taken in the case,
use the Remarker's own language as descriptive of his own conducts in thus lampooning a court to which he had solemnly vowed respect and obedience !__ Nothing more unprincipled or unjust can well be imagined.”
After publishing the “first charge" in the libel against Mr. Stark, and which charges him with the authorship of “certain anonymous pamphlets,” the editor declares, that “all the other charges in the libel depended on it.” (p. 13.) But this is not the fact. For any person, by referring to the libel, will find Mr. Stark charged with “slandering Mr. Webster in the Christian Magazine," and also with “ lying” in denying the authorship of the “K. paper. These charges were as weighty as any in the libel; but they had no connection whatever with the "anonymous pamphlets."
But a still more fearful departure from truth immediately follows: “However incredible it may appear, this Synod found the libel proven in the absence of all testimony" (p. 13.) This is repeated, (same p.) “The Synod covicted him in the absence of all testimony. Again (same p.) “The Synod did in effect suspend Mr. Stark-for offences which they had not even attempted to prove." And on page 19, we find it again repeated : “ The Synod found it [the libel] proven without any evidence." On this outrageous conduct, the Remarker, his moral sensibilities being deeply wounded, thus comments :-"Surely the court that could do this must have been given up to the most fearful infatuation ;" and such conduct he pronnunces an outrage on all decency, and perfect mockery of all that men regard as sacred and holy.” Some of our readers may now be ready to say, surely this charge against the Synod which is so often repeated, and on which the Reverend Remarker thus feelingly moralizes, must be based on solid truth. This, however, is far from being the case. The charge is utterly groundless. The Synod committed no such “outrage" as that alleged. This is manifest from the following extract taken from the published minutes of that Court :-“ Proceeded with the business left unfinished in the forenoon sitting, viz: the libel against Mr. Stark, Mr. Clokey in the chair. The proof of the 1st charge in the libel, viz: 'writing and publishing pamphlets and letters of a mendacious, calumnious, aud ribaldish character' was produced, viz: the recorded testimony of the Rev. P. Bullions, as taken by the Presbytery of Albany, on the trial of C. Webster, in presence of Mr. Stark. Also a note in the pamphlet, entitled The case of Dr. Bullions fairly stated, in corroboration of which the written testimony of the Rev. P. Campbell, and Messrs. John Law and Andrew Kirkpatrick, as taken in the case above mentioned, in the presence of Mr. Stark, was admitted and read as testimony." (Minutes of Synod for 1836, p. 34.)
Nor was the above all the testimony that was used on the trial of the libel in question : The “internal evidence" contained in the “pamphlets themselves” was exhibited to the court;- to establish the truth of a certain part of the libel, the testimony of Messrs. Irvine and Martin and Mrs. E. Wright, was also produced ;—the “Christian Magazine" and a written admission of Mr. Stark proved another point in the libel ;-and other points were proved by reference to the "minutes" of Synod, of the Commission at Salem, and of the Presbytery of Cambridge. Aud yet, the Editor of the Associate Presbyterian Magazine bewails the “infatuation" of the Synod in "finding the libel proven in the absence of all testimony !" The reader will now be able to judge
for himself, how much credit is due to the oft repeated assertions of the Magazine ; and also, whether the editor's comment on the Synod's conduci, as quoted above, might not be used very appropriately to illustrate the character and import of his own conduct." But we forbear.
Passing over some other misstatements, we will now proceed to notice what is said in the Magazine respecting the late decision of Synod in “the case of the Albany Presbytery.". But that the reader may have a better understanding of the subject, it must be premised, that shortly before the meeting of Synod in 1836, Mr. Stark sent in a paper to the Presbytery in which he absolutely refused to be tried by the Presbytery on the libel mentioned above, and protested against the Presbytery's "interfering with him in any way;" but after the Synod of 1837 had removed the suspension under which the Synod of 1836 had laid him, in order to a “review of that deed," he attended a meeting of Presbytery and claimed his seat; but was refused, for this reason, among others, that he had declined the authority of the Presbytery; and also when asked to withdraw his paper of declinature he refused to do it. Against the decision of Presbytery refusing Mr. Stark a seat, he together with Messrs. Bullions and Blair protested and appealed to the next meeting of Synod, and subsequently gave in their reasons of protest, which were ar.swered by a commitiee.
But about a month before the meeting of the Synod to which they had appealed, the protestors did by management, and in the absence of the other ministerial members, thrust Mr. Stark into the seat from which he had been excluded. This, with the accompanying circumstances, occasioned that division in the Presbytery, with which all our readers, it is presumed, are more or less acquainted. At the last meeting of Synod, then, the question came up for consideration, which of these divisions should be regarded and held as the Associate Presbytery of Albany? And this question was finally decided in the words following, viz:
“Whereas it appears that Mr. Stark had been justly excluded from a seat in the Associate Presbytery of Albany, on the ground of his having declined their authority, which declinature he had also refused to withdraw; whereas the protestors against his exclusion, by withdrawing their protest, left his exclusion confirmed; and they had no right to review or reverse the deed of Presbytery; and whereas Mr. Stark's illegal admission to a seat vitiated all their proceedings: Therefore
“Resolved, That the party of which he was a member is not the Associate Presbytery of Albany, but was irregular in their constitution and all their acts null and void.
“And whereas Dr. P. Bullions was under process for scandal, he had no right to accuse; and therefore the decision excluding from seats in the Associate Presbytery of Albany, Messrs. Martin and Campbell is null and void : Therefore
" Resolved, That the body, of which Messrs. Martin & Campbell are members, is truly the Associate Presbytery of Albany."
In relation to the above decision the Remarker observes :-" The first and principal ground on which this decision rests is, that Mr. Stark had declined the authority of the Presbytery of Albany, and which declinature he had also refused to withdraw," and then adds, that "both of those statements are untrue.” He begins with
the former, and denies that “Mr. Stark had declined the authority of the Presbytery of Albany," adding :-" The paper dated 12th May, 1836, which he gave into that Presbytery was not a declinature.”
This paper was published by the Presbytery of Albany in their “Narative"; and every person who has read it can form his own opinion whether it was a declinature or not. The following are a few extracts from it:-“1 hereby give notice that I protest against their [the Presbytery's! interfering with me in any way, and that I shall hold as null and void and of no account whatever decisions they may make.”—“The conduct of the Presbytery in the matter of Mr. Webster's trial, was such as necessarily to destroy their character for disinterestedness, impartiality and fair dealing.”—“To me it appears quite evident that a court that could do this, could not act on the principles of truth and righteousness, and it would be perfectly idle to expect justice from it. If I were as innocent as my master himself, I could expect nothing else than to be condemned by such a court, provided it might suit its policy. Therefore a trial before such a court is, in my humble opinion, a very needless formality.”—“I cannot honor the Presbytery so far as to he tried by them, till the Rev. Messrs. Campbell and Martin, James Geery, John Duncan, Mrs. Wright and Dr. Buckhain, and all the others concerned, shall be brought to trial, and be made either to retract or establish their slanders, (the things they stated under oath.”]—" This fact alone, is, in my opinion, quite sufficient to destroy my confidence in the Presbytery."
."-" When church courts depart so far from the course of duty, they lose all just claim to that respect, to which otherwise they are entitled.” Of such bearing and tenor is the whole paper, which winds
up after the fashion of a genuine declinature; the writer charging the Presbytery with a departure from the principles of the Associate Church, and declaring his intention not to follow them. His words are : “For my own part I intend firmly to adhere to these principles [of the Associate Church) and resolutely to oppose every departure from them, and therefore, I cannot in any way countenance the Presbytery in a course of backsliding, which if sanctioned must destroy the principles and discipline of the church.
ANDREW STARK." This paper was accompanied with no appeal to the Synod, or notice of his transferring his cause lo that court for trial, as is usual in all cases of allowable declinatures, where some special reasons exist for the removal of causes from the lower to the superior court. Let this fact be borne in mind, and we may safely appeal to the candor of every enlightened person, if the above paper be not a real declination of the authority of the Presbytery of Albany? But the Remarker says,
“Mr. Stark always denied that the paper in question was a declinature.” (p. 12.) Let Mr. Stark's own words on the subject be heard, and it will be seen that he did regard that paper, if not in form at least in fact, to be a declinature. In his published Letter to his congregation, shortly after the paper in question was written, he says :—“I thought I could no longer place any confidence in them, (the Presbytery.) Accordingly, when they cited me to attend the meeting at which they said they were to try their libel, I gave them notice that I could not countenance them in any way till their own conduct should be investigated." Why then did he come back to the Presbytery, asking a seat, before their conduct was investigated? But again, in that strange communication, which he addressed to the Synod of 1836, (a sentence from which was commented on at the late meeting of Sy. nod,) and which bears palpable marks of its being intended as a finale he thus writes :-" The subscriber, therefore, petitions and requests from Syaod, as a matter of common justice, that it direct the Presbyte.