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Comly. Some persons observed that John Comly was nominated, justly nominated, for clerk-others, who were opposed to it, did not consider him so, and gave as their reasons for it, that the weightier part of the representatives were opposed to his nomination. In reply, those on the part of John Comly replied, that there was a very large majority who had agreed to place his name on nomination; and that we had no possi. ble means to judge of the weight of any individual member of the representative committee, (as we considered it,)—that we were sent there to act for our different Quarterly Meetings, and that we all stood on equal ground. In reply, it was stated, that it had always been the practice to go by weight in our decisions. It was very positively contradicted. Then those who were opposed to John Comly contended, that we had no proof that there was a majority in favour of his being placed on no. mination. It was then proposed, that some Friend should go to the table, and take down the names of those who were in favour of John Comly. From the manners of some elderly people there, it appeared that any that was capable of performing that service, was intimidated from going forward to the table to perform that service.
It was then proposed to divide, those in favour of John Comly on one side of the passage, and those in favour of Samuel Bettle on the other. There were several Friends rose and protested against the measure, and declared, that if there were any attempts made of that kind, they would go out of the house, and would not stay in it. Abraham Lower then
rose in vindication of the measure, and was repeatedly ordered down • by Thomas Wistar, and some others-(Thomas Wistar I well recollect,
and there were one or two others,)-in a very stern manner; Abraham several times requested them to be quiet, and let him go through his observations. Thomas Wistar said, that such a procedure was scandal.. ous and outrageous, and would be a disgrace to the society; and that he might be ashamed of himself to make such a proposition-a man that pretended to preach the gospel! After Abraham sat down, there was another proposition for some person to go to the table, and to take down the names of those who were in favour of John Comly. Those opposed to John Comly, again declared, that if there was any measure of that kind gone into, they would leave the house. Marden Wilson, of Bucks Quarter, drew to the table, and Abraham Lower to assist him. They were followed by fifteen or twenty of the representatives. Those who had given threats of leaving the house, then went towards the door, and some went out. By opening the door, the people in the yard, to a considerable number, rushed in at it. Finding that there would be a difficulty in doing any thing at that time, there was a proposition made for the representatives to adjourn until 8 o'clock that evening. This was objected to, on account of the age of some of the members of that body. It was then proposed to adjourn until 8 o'clock the next morning, which was agreed to by a number that were then present at the table—those from the table had no knowledge of it, I believe and that those representatives present, were to give information to those that were not. was done in a good deal of haste and confusion. This conclusion was, because the people were rushing into the house. I then left the house. After returning, and the meeting being pretty well settled, John Cox, (a person who they informed me was John Cox,) an elderly, pious, goodly old man, I believe, rose and reported, that the representatives could not agree, and stated in effect that he was authorized so to report. Some
person got up and objected-denied his having any such authority. I then got up, and stated what had transpired at the table, previous to the convening of the people at that session of the meeting, and that John Cox was present at this conclusion, and had agreed to it; that I again gave my opinion of his piety, and attributed his error to his old age, and the confusion in which the business was conducted. A person, whose name I was told was Thomas Stewardson, (he was a stranger to me I did not know the man,) who, I believe, had left the house before the conclusion was come to at the table, as I have related, rose and charged me with insolence, and with uttering a positive falsehood. I rose again to reply, and was ordered down by a person of the name of John Comfort, of Bucks Quarter, asking me if I was’nt ashamed of myself-did'nt I see there was a person up. I replied, I did, and he might speak when I had done. Samuel Bettle's name was then offered to the meeting as clerk. There was no person speaking when I rose to reply; and it was not until after I had begun to speak, that I saw any person up. Before I had done, there was, perhaps, a dozen up.
Samuel Bettle’s nomination to serve the meeting as clerk, was objected to, and the right of the representatives vindicated to fix on a clerk to serve that meeting. A scene of confusion ensued, perhaps to equal any assemblage of people, under any circumstances: and one who was opposed to the nomination of John Comly, and who sat pretty well back in the meeting house mit would be right to give his name, likely—it was Charles Shaw-told me that there were as many as five hundred persons on their feet at one time. I don't think I ever observed one-tenth that number, myself.
Samuel Bettle was appointed as clerk, notwithstanding there appeared to me two to one opposed to it, of the members present.
Q. Did you yourself speak to John Cox upon the subject of another meeting of the representatives?
A. I did. I drew very near to him, and I thought from his manners that he had a disposition to reconcile the parties. He appeared extremely tried.
Q. Was that at the table?
--deliberations on the subject of the nomination of a clerk?
Q. Did you remain until the meeting of the representatives was broken up, by the gathering of the afternoon meeting?
A. Yes. It was recommended by those who were opposed to Samuel Bettle's acting as clerk, under the circumstances by which he was appointed, to withdraw themselves from the concerns of the then pretended Yearly Meeting, as they considered it as improperly gone into.
Q. You are speaking now of a period subsequent to the breaking up of the meeting of the representatives?
A. Yes. In the afternoon the proposition was made by some person, that those who were opposed to Samuel Bettle's acting, as I have stated, should withdraw themselves from the concerns of the meeting; and I think there were but a few Friends that (excepting in two or three instances) took any part in the deliberations of that meeting, while I
stayed. One subject I particularly remember, that enlisted their feelings pretty generally. The Yearly Meeting of North Carolina had solicited, by means of some communication or other, I don't recollect what, now, for some aid to enable them to rescue some Africans in that state from losing their freedom. I think the law of that state was about to take their freedom from them, somehow. The meeting took the subject under consideration, and acted on it, and agreed to raise a certain sum.
Q. On what day of the week did you leave the meeting?
A. On Sixth-day evening it was represented in the meeting, I think, by Samuel Bettle, that there would be no further business of importance that would be likely to come before the meeting, or at least, that was my understanding. Therefore, I left the city in the morning on Seventh-day morning.
Q. Was that meeting, so far as you observed, conducted in the usual order of Society?
A. The fore part of the meeting was a scene of confusion. After a number of Friends had come to the conclusion, that the whole procedure was incorrect, and had left it to the management of a few, I think there was very little disorder, except in one or two instances. One I recollect was, after some woman had spoken, that came in from the women's meeting-she had used a great deal of severity, and some very heavy charges against members of the meeting-a person rose, and said that he felt a freedom to give the dear sister some advice, and advised her “to resist the devil, and he would flee from her.” I believe that's all that I remember.
Q. After the number of Friends, of whom you speak, as coming to the conclusion that the whole proceedings were incorrect, did they generally look on as spectators, as having little or nothing to do with what the few were transacting?
A. It is a question that it would be very difficult for me to answer. It was the first time I had ever attended a Yearly Meeting in Philadelphia-hence, a great proportion of that meeting were strangers to me -but as far as my observation would carry me, there appeared a small portion of those who were opposed to the proceedings, that appeared to take any part in the business of the meeting, except in two or three instances, as I before observed.
Q. Did the representatives from Bucks Quarter report the proceedings of that Yearly Meeting to have been irregular and disorderly, and without validity?
A. Twenty out of twenty-four of the representatives from that Quarter drew up something to that effect, and signed it, and presented it to the Quarterly Meeting, if I am not mistaken, in Eighth-month following, which was duly considered by that meeting, and minuted on their book of records, I think.
Q. Did they recommend that the contribution of that Quarterly Meeting, towards the relief of the coloured persons in North Carolina, should be made unofficially, and without recognising the Yearly Meeting as a valid one?
A. I am not certain I understand that question, so as to answer it satisfactorily; I will answer it in my own way, which probably will be best: when this subject was brought before our Quarterly Meeting, it was done under the influence of sympathetic feeling towards those Afri.
cans, and not on account of any procedure in the Yearly Meetinga though it was rather urged in the Quarterly Meeting by some Friends, that owing to the active part that was generally taken in the decision of the pretended Yearly Meeting, that for consistency's sake, we ought to take notice of it, under that head.
Adjourned until ten o'clock to-morrow morning.
Tuesday morning, December 7, 1830, at 10 o'clock. The parties and counsel present, as yesterday. Examination of Cephas Ross continued.
Question by Mr. Price. Was the reference in your last answer, to an active part having been taken in the decision of the Yearly Meeting, in. relation only to that matter of contribution?
Answer. That only.
Q. When fifteen or twenty representatives drew to the table, in respect to drawing up a.paper to propose John Comly as clerk; about how many representatives were there still remaining in the house?
A. I think there were, from appearances, one hundred or more.
A. As I have before observed, the members of that meeting were generally strangers to me—but some of the most active, were those that I recognised as representatives, who had opposed John Comly's nomination.
Q. Who made the minute of his appointment?
A. Samuel Bettle himself. He made a minute, and rose and read it. A number of Friends immediately protested against it.
Q. Had the Bucks Quarter double its usual number of representatives that year?
A. They had before sent three, and that year they sent four, for each Monthly Meeting.
Q. Had the Orthodox party their full proportion in that representation?
A. At the time they were appointed, I knew of no such appellation as “the Orthodox.” When we convened to draw up a report to the Quarterly Meeting, there was a division took place amongst us, three of which, who have since joined that party, would not sign the report; one who has since united himself with Friends, also declined.
Q. Did you understand, that the increase of the representatives was with any view to produce a change of the clerk of the Yearly Meeting?
A. At the time of the increase being made, I heard of no such thing.
Q. Was what is called the Yearly Meeting's committee, acknowledged as having been regularly appointed, when they visited Bucks Quarter ?
A. I think not, by nineteen-twentieths of its members who were then assembled. At the time of the Quarterly Meeting in Fifth-month, following the Yearly Meeting, 1827, there were very few Friends of the afterwards Orthodox party that said any thing on the subject--the claim of the committee being received by our Quarterly Meeting, was urged by those who said they were of that committee.
Q. Did the conduct of that committee seem to be in the usual order of society?
A. Some of that committee were extremely harsh in their charges against Friends, branding them as rebels, and so forth, in refusing to
receive them as the Yearly Meeting's committee, and refusing to read the extracts that were offered.
Q. Was there a secession from that Quarterly Meeting of those since called Orthodox ?
A. I do not recollect, as to the meeting spoken of in Fifth-month.
A. There was. Friends convened as usual to hold their Quarterly Meeting. Those who represented themselves as the Yearly Meeting's committee also attended-some of those, I should say—and the Orthodox party generally, attended the same meeting, and a considerable num. ber of strangers—several strangers also, who appeared also to be of that party, they interfered in nearly all, if not all the business that came before the meeting—they were extremely rash in their observations, on the subject of business before the meeting. All taking part-those who represented themselves as the Yearly Meeting's committee, notwithstanding they had not been received by the Quarter, as far as it appeared to me. After our meeting had closed its business, an Orthodox minister rose, and requested those who were opposed to the proceedings of that day, to stop at the rise of the meeting. Some Friend or Friends objected to leaving the meeting house to them. He then stated, that they had no object in view but a friendly conference. With that, Friends withdrew, and left the meeting house, with a very few exceptions; there were some remained, I think. They (the Orthodox) immediately proceeded to organize a Quarterly Meeting by appointing a clerk; what business they did, I don't know; as there were some of the representatives from the different Monthly Meetings that stopped with them, as far as my knowledge extends. They then adjourned to the next day, when they proceeded to appoint a committee to visit the Monthly Meetings belonging to that Quarter. This information I had from one of their party, an Orthodox member.
Q. According to your observation, in about what proportion as to numbers, are the Orthodox to Friends, within the limits of Bucks Quarter?
A. It was recommended to the different Monthly Meetings, either officially or otherwise, I do not recollect, to go into an enumeration of their different meetings, as to the numbers of each party. I assisted in the business of our Monthly Meeting and Preparative Meeting, and as near as I can recollect, when all our numbers from the different Monthly Meetings were added up, there were five-sixths Friends, and one-sixth Orthodox.
Q. Have this smaller party undertaken to disown those of the larger party?
A. They have.
Q. Have Friends kept up all their meetings, within the limits of that
A. In some instances, I think they have; perhaps, not more than one instance. They have varied the times of holding them, and in not more than one instance, I think, have they sustained them as to the place, but varied the time as to that place.