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The reviewer understood my denial to respect the whole Calcinistic party of present times, and my charge of false witness to respect all who accused them of holding to infant damnation; admits that he is implicated in the charge of falsehood and slander, and bound to defend himself, and comes out for that purpose. By quoting the charge from the Christian Disciple, he repeats it, and there leaves it as he found it; says not a word to prove it true; comes and looks upon it, like Levite upon Jew, and passes by on the other side. But in the mean time, he gathers up all his resources, and puts forth all his energies, to repel the charge of slandering his neighbor “ the Calvinistic System,” whom no one ever suspected of being his neighbor, or had charged him with slandering; and feels indignant at being charged with bearing false witness against his neighbors, the Calvinistic writers, and compasses sea and land for evidence to clear himself. But under the charge of bearing false witness against “living Calvinistic men,” the whole Calvinistic party of the present times, in the sight of the nation, he meekly lies down-lies down deliberately under the acknowledged charge of falsehood and slander—lays his hand on his mouth, and his mouth in the dust, and pleads guilty-and says he knew from the beginning that the charge against the living Calvinistic party could not be proved. With this we ought to be satisfied, had it pleased the reviewer to stop here. But, mirabile dictu, in a moment he is on his feet, and boldly declares that the opinion of Calvinists of the present age was not the question at issue, and charges me with palpable attempts to evade the question at issue by a frequent and fretsul shifting of positions.
Having now ascertained the question at issue in this controversy, I proceed to consider some of the results. And,
*1. It is a point settled by this controversy, that the Calvinists of Boston, of New England, and of the United States, do not hold to the doctrine that infants are damned.
This accusation has been publicly made, and publicly denied. Time enough has been offered for research, correspondence, and personal inquiry—and no evidence has been produced. This might suffice, as all men are to be presumed innocent of odious accusations, until such accusations are proved to be true. In the present case, the force of this equitable principle is greatly augmented, by the urgent motives which pressed the reviewer to defend himself and his friends, who were charged, as he admits, with falsehood and slander in respect to the whole Calvinistic party of present times. Silence, therefore, in such circumstances, may justly be regarded a decisive proof that the whole party, as such, are clear in this matter. But the conclusion, so just and forcible in itself, the reviewer establishes by the concession that he had not proved the charge,—had not attempted to prove it, and knew from the beginning, even when he made it, that he could not prove it.
pablent age was lidly declare, mirabile istice
2. It follows, therefore, secondly, as the result of this discussion, that all of every name who have charged the Calvinists of the United States with holding the doctrine of infant damnation have been guilty of bearing false witness against their neighbors. The Christian Disciple and the reviewer stand at the head of those who have done this; and all who before or after them have made the charge are involved in the same condemnation. Once more, therefore, I feel authorised to repeat, that Calvinists as a body are as far from holding the doctrine that infants are damned as those who falsely accuse them, and I would earnestly and affectionately recommend to all persons who have been accustomed to propagate the slander, that they commit to memory without delay the ninth commandment, which is, THOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.
The great and only end, for which I entered upon this controversy, viz. “ To compel those who have been accustomed to circulate the reports in question, to cease from their slanders, or to assume in some tangible form the responsibility of uttering them,” has now been accomplished. They have adopted the latter alternative —have assumed the responsibility of uttering reports in their nature slanderous, and which they admit they cannot prove.
(To be continued.)
A REPLY TO A LETTER IN THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER,
ADDRESSED TO THE Rev. Parsons CookE. Boston : Peirce and Williams, 1829. pp. 38. Also, THE MORE RECENT PUBLICATIONS of Mr. Cooke, in the Boston Daily Advertiser, and Baston Courier.
We do not purpose, in this number, to enter into an examination of all the matters touched upon by the Rev. Mr. Cooke and his opponents in their several publications. On another occasion, we may resume the subject. At present, we wish to confine our remarks to one topic of great practical importance, we refer to the management of the pecuniary concerns of Harvard University during the presidency of Dr. Kirkland.
This subject was first incidentally introduced by Mr. Cooke, in a note, subjoined to his Reply to a Letter which had been addressed to him, and published in the Christian Examiner. This note drew forth the following communication from the Hon. John Davis, which appeared in the Boston Daily Advertiser, April 4, 1829.
Mr. Hale.--In a pamphlet lately published in this city, entitled, “ A Reply to a Leiter, in the Christian Examiner, addressed to the Rev. Parsons Cooke,' there is the following note, in connexion with many severe, and, as I believe, unfounded strictures, in reference to Harvard College:
" I am constrained here to speak on a subject, in relation to which I would gladly be silent. I have been credibly and repeatedly informed, that the accounts of the late Treasurer and President of Harvard College have never been properly adjusted, and cannot be. A large sum is said to be missing, and not to be found. Certainly this matter ought to be attended to. The people have a right to knoro what has become of this money. And we here see the necessity of having other men, besides a collection of Unitarians, in the Board of Overseers." I
The Rev. Parsons Cooke, of Ware, is the acknowledged author of that pamphlet. The official documents annexed to this notice, will, it is presumed, le considered by the public a sufficient reply to his slanderous paragraph, respecting the late Treasurer of Harvard College.
In regard to the accounts of my esteemed friend, the late President of that institution, who is now absent, a communication, in his behalf, from Mr. Lowell, is readily subjoined to my defence.
John Davis. Boston, November 10, 1829.
The subscriber having been employed by a Committee of the Corporation of Harvard College, to investigate the accounts of the Hon. Jolin Davis, late Treasurer of the College, has attended to that service. He has examined all the accounts and vouchers, as well those of the Treasurer, as of Stephen Higginson, Jun. Esq., Steward, from the time of their respective appointments in 1810, and 1818, to the time of the resignation of the former, on 1st February last. Satisfactory evidence has been furnished of the payment of the several sums charged by them, all the mistakes which have been discovered in the accounts are corrected, and the books regularly closed.
Besja. R. Nichols. Boston, November 10, 1827.
Boston, November 13, 1827. Having this day received, from the Committee of the Corporation of Harvard College, the book and accounts settled, as per my receipt given them, by said accounts it appears that the sum of $6859 79 cents remains due in cash from the Hon. John Davis, late Treasurer; this may certify, that I have received said balance, as follows, viz.: on the 12th day of February last the sum of $.5880 72, and on the 10th day of the present month $978 87, making the said sum of $0859 79. Also, the sum of $45 50 cents for interest due.-All which have been regularly entered in the College Books.
Treasurer Harvard College. To the Honorable and Reverend Board of Overseers of Harvard College.
The Committee of this Board, appointed 10th June, 1826, to examine the Treasurer's accounts, ask leave to report :
That, since their appointment, the Hon. Judge Davis, the late Treasurer, having resigned his office, a Committee was chosen, by the Corporation, to cause his books and accounts, during the whole term of his continuance in office, a period of seventecn years, to be fully examined; a measure adopted with the entire concurrence of the lato Treasurer himself. That Committee were authorized to employ an Auditor for this purpose, and accordingly appointed Benjamin R. Nichols, Esq., by whom all the books, accounts and vouchers, during that period, have been very laboriously and minutely examined, and all errors corrected, and the same are now certified to be correct; and all the books, securities and other property of the College, including a balance in cash of $6859 79 cents, have been delivered, by the late Treasurer, to the Committee of the Corporation, and, by them, to his successor, Ebenezer Francis, Esq., and receipts given for the same accordingly, by the Committee, and the present Treasurer.—Your Committee, therefore, have not thought it necessary to examine the same accounts again, being entirely satisfied with the accounts, adjustment and receipts which have been submitted to them.
VOL. III.-NO. 1.
The details of these proceedings were laid before the Committee, and can at any time be examined by the Overseers, if they see fit.
Thomas L. WINTHROP,
At the semi-annual meeting of the Overseers of Harvard University, 10th January, 1828, Voted, That the foregoing report be accepted.
A true copy. Attest,
Joun PIERCE, Sec'ry. [The Committee of the Corporation referred to in the foregoing documents, were Hon. Nathaniel Bowditch and Hon. Francis C. Gray.]
Boston, April 2d. 1829. Hon. John Davis,
DEAR SIR-Understanding that it is your intention to expose the falsehood of an atrocious libel, contained in a pamphlet lately published by the Rev. Parsons Cooke, reflecting on your character, and on that of the Rev. Dr. Kirkland, as having embezzled monies belonging to the College, I feel myself bound, in the absence of Dr. Kirkland, as his friend, and under express authority from him, to declare, that Dr. Kirkland's accounts with the Corporation of Harvard College were completely adjusted immediately after his resignationthat he was fully discharged, and a liberal grant made to him in consideration of the eminent services which he had rendered to that seminary. I will add, that of all the libels which political and theological hatred have fabricated, this one of the Rev. Parsons Cooke's is, under all its circumstances, the most malicious and unprincipled.
John LOWELL. It thus appears that a Committee of the Board of Overseers of Harvard College was appointed, on the 10th of June, 1826, to examine the Treasurer's accounts; and that, for reasons not disclosed to the public, and before such examination was entered into by this committee, the Hon. Judge Davis, the Treasurer, resigned his office. It further appears that, on his resignation, a committee, consisting of Hon. Nathaniel Bowditch, and Hon. Francis C. Gray, was chosen by the Corporation, to cause his books and accounts, during the whole term of his continuance in office, a period of seventeen years, to be fully examined ; that this committee was authorized to appoint an Auditor; and accordingly that they appointed Benjamin R. Nichols, Esq., who, on the 10th of November, 1827, gave the certificate above quoted. It does not appear at what precise time Mr. Nichols was appointed to this business ; but, as Judge Davis resigned, 1st February, 1827, it is to be presumed that it was at or about that time. — Before we proceed to examine the auditor's certificate, it may be stated that it has been publicly reported, and we presume has never been denied, that Mr. Nichols received three thousand dollars for his services herein rendered, and that this sum came, either directly or indirectly, from the late Treasurer.
With reference to Mr. Nichols, we wish it to be distinctly understood, that we have never heard the slightest imputation cast upon his integrity or capacity. He doubtless disposed of an
embarrassing case with as much adroitness as could have been reasonably anticipated. His own character, as an accurate and honest accountant, was involved, but must not be sacrificed ; and we regard his certificate as an admirable instance of agile extrication.
Relative to this matter, it deserves notice, that Mr. Nichols was employed at all. Had the accounts of the Treasurer, during his term of office, been correctly kept, accurately cast, properly vouched, and suitably audited from year to year, two gentlemen of such intelligent and practised skill as Mr. Bowditch and Mr. Gray could have examined the whole books and papers necessary to be submitted for inspection in, at most, seventeen hours, and perhaps in seventeen minutes. The mind of the former gentleman could instantly have grasped all the intricacies of a book of Dr. and Cr., if it had been kept in some tolerable order, without calling in the aid of any other accountant. The commentator of La Place would, by the thread of his own perspicacious intellect alone, have wound his way through any mathematical tortuosities but those of an Egyptian labyrinth. But we doubt not he would rather have weighed the sixth satellite of Herschel, than have attempted to adjust and rectify the uncertain and disjointed materials, out of which Mr. Nichols sedulously strove to educe some order.
Again; it is noticeable that this Committee of the Corporation authorized Mr. Nichols to cause the books and accounts of the Treasurer, during the whole term of his continuance in office, to be fully examined. This does not appear to have been done at the request, though doubtless with the concurrence of the Treasurer. But is this the mode in which the treasurers of other institutions are treated, on resigning their offices ? Are accounts of long standing, which are correctly kept, vouched, and audited, thus brought up anew and re-examined ? If the accounts of Harvard College were not thus kept by the late Treasurer, nor thus audited by those whose duty it was, then is there an explanation of this otherwise unaccountable mode of procedure. How is this matter? Did not Mr. Nichols fairly earn his money for “his laborious and minute examination,” embracing a period of seventeen years, and extending through nine months ? Were not he and his friends for a long time in doubt whether the College was solvent or bankrupt? And was not bis joy unequalled, save by that of Columbus, when, at length, he saw the land ?
Once more; it deserves to be noticed, that this certificate was given and received, without the intent of its being made public. It was evidently drawn up in as favorable terms for the late Treasurer, as the nature of the case would admit. We do not hear that he complained of it, and we presume that he had no reason to complain. Let us, then, examine this curious docu