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UL^lH'fee.i^ 




HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




THE BEQUEST OF 

EVERT JANSEN WENDELL 

(CLASS OF 1882) 

OF NEW YORK 



1918 




r 



V 



THE DOCUMENTS 



y 



IN THE CASE OP 



■i. 



JAMES RICHARDS. 



» • » 



NEW HAVEN: 
TOTILE, KOSEHOUBB k ^TATIOB) 



1860. 



r 



Hnf. » ARO U » LiMAKY 
Tr^ BEQUEST rp 



CONTENTS. 



lyTRODUCTION, pp. 3—4 

Object of the pamphlet The points cUImed in defense of Dr. Richards. Tho 
defamations practiaod against other parties. 

The Gasb of Dr. Richards previous to his Appearance before 
THE LrrciiPiELD South Association, pp. 5—9 

Action of the Litchfield NORTH Association, June 17th, 1658. Letter of Dr Rick- 
ards to Rev. L. W. itoc<mf-and ansvror. Oorrespondenoe with the Suusd Clerk of 
the Freebvtery ^ New Orleans. Further Letteni to Dr. Richarde. Contingent Action 
of the Lwhfieid South Association, Jane 7th, 1859. , ' ^ 

t 

Dr. Richards before the Assooiation, pp. 9 — 13 

Memorial of Dr. Richards to the Association, presented Ang. 16th, 1859. His Oral 
Statement. Action of the Association. 

CORBESPOKDEKCE OF THE COMMITTEE OF InQUIBT, pp. 13 — 29 

With Rey. Dr. Palmer, New Orleans ; Rev. Mr. Perrin, New Britain ; Rer. Dr, 
ButUTt Port Gibson, Miss. ; H. W. Tofflor, Esq., Ganandaigoa, N. Y. ; Geo. Starrt 
Esq., Warren ; Rev. Dr. MagiCy Eliaabethtown, N. J. ; H. J. Taylor, Esq., Warren ; ■ 
/. D. Patterson, Esq., Now Preston ; Rev. Dr. Hiekok, Schenectady, N. Y. ; Rev. Dr. 
Cheever, New York ; Frederick Stringer, Esq., and Wm. C. Rawmond, Esq., New Or- 
leans ; Rev. Dr. Mills, Auburn, N. Y. ; Rev. Mr. Culler, New York ; Rev. Mr. 
English, (Sutod Clerk of the Presbvtery of Elizabethtown,) Liberty Comer, N. J. ; 
Thos. Beale, Esq., Canandaigna, N. Y. ; Rev. Dr. Daggett, Canandalgua, N. Y. ; 
Dr. Chas. B. White, New Orleans ; Rev. Dr. Thompeon, Buffalo ; Rev. Mr. Englieh, 
(Suted Clerk, &c.) Liberty Comer, N. J. 

Dr. Richards's withdrawal of his Petition to the Assocution, 
AND Presentation of a Memorial to the Presbytery of New 
Orleans, pp. 30 — 33 

Correspondence botwoon Dr. Richards and Members of the Association* 

Report of the Committee of Inqxhry; and Action of the 
Association, Sept. 27th, 1859, pp. 32— 36 

Dr. Richards before the Presbytery of New Orleans, , pp. 36—31 

Action of the Prssbytery, Oct. 1859. Also, a copy of the Charge and Spee\Jua- 
tions under which Dr. Richards was convicted, Jan. 1856. 

Conference of the Committee of the Association with leading 
Men in the Church at Northfibld, 1 pp. 38— 41 

Correspondence with Deacon John CaiUn. 

Final Poblio Action of the Association, Doa 6th, 1859, pp. 42—14 



APPENDIX. 

I. Dr. Richards's Defense, pp. 1 — a 

Anonymoos Article In the Wineted Herald. 

II. Dr. Richards at New Orleans, pp.3 — ^9 

Articles ttom the JV. O. Crescent :— 

1. Arrest of Dr. Richards for Drunkenness. March 3, 1855. 
S. " AdditionaL*' March 5, 1855. 

3. Dr. Richards's Apology. March 13, 1855. 

4. Final Exposure and Disgrace of Dr. Richards before the Public of New Or- 
leans. May 17, 1855. 

Article from the Taieo Whig, March 30, ^855.— A Lady's comments on Dr. Rich- 
ards's Apology. 

III. Dr. Richards's PiiA of Insanity, — — pp.9 — 10 

ly. Dr. Richards's Plea of Rbohnt Ibbbpboaohablb Chakacteb, p. 10 

y. JUBISDIOnON OF THE ASSOCIATION, pp. 10— 13 



INTRODTJCTIOK 



The occasion for printing these documents is as follows. 

In the course of the year 1859, it became necessary for the Litchfield South As- 
sodfttion of Pastors, in the fulfihnent of their public duties,* to inquire into the 
standing and cliaracter of James Riohards, and finally to expose him as an im- 
postor. 

This exposure of him having been published, it was claimed in his defense :f 

1. That the charges of Falsehood, Fraud, Violence, Drunkenness and other crimes, 
which had been laid against him since he had been in the Christian miziistiy, 
either by common fiune, or by the allegations of responsible men, or by the finding 
of the ecdesiasttcal courts by which he had been successively tried and condemned 
—were false charges. 

2. That if the things charged had been committed, it had been during periods of 
insanity, in which he was relieyed from all responsibility /or his actions, or in fits of 
unoonsdousness, from which he emerged with no knowledge or memory of his acts 
during the continuance of them. 

3. That whether or not he had been guilty of these things in his past life, he had 
lived irreproachably since he had come to Litchfield, and had given satisfactory ev- 
idenoe of oontrition, penitence, and reformation of life. 

All which datms are denied, and the contrary of them is ready to be proved, 
whenever Dr. Richards shall call for the proof before any competent tribunal. 

But the main resource in the defense of Dr. Richards, has lain in the d^/bma<um 
of other parties, vis. : 

1. In <^^fiMw<ng the members of the Presbytery of New Orleans that had ex- 
communicated him, as being themselves men of scandalous lives. 

2. In defaming the Litchfield South Association, who (to protect the public against 
imposture) had given public notice of his exconmiunication and the cause of it, of 
his falsehood in their presence, and of his general bad character for veracity, — ^by 
accusing them of " conspiracy;" of " raking up old charges against him,** that had 
no pertinence to the question of his present character ; of "jnaking to order,*' the 
charge of fiEdaehood; of inveigling him by false pretenses into coming before them 

* Am Appendix, Hot y, " JmiiHtliom qf Am A9$oelMlM^'* 
t am pfe 1 of Appendix, ** Dr. M ckaritti J0iMt." 



as a candidate for the ministrj ; of intermeddling with a matter in which they had 
no oonoem ; and in general, of malicious persecution. 

3. In defaming, in particular, a member of the Association, Mr. L. "W. Bacon, bj 
imputing to him personally the various charges preferred against the Association ; 
and by alleging that he had sought to harass a man who was "trying to reform," with 
persistent attacks in the newspapers, and had sought to gratify his malignity or 
vindictiveness, under the pretense of public duty. 

4. In defaming his own former wife. 

These falsehoods are still industriously circulated ; they are repeated, explicitly 
and by innuendo, privately and in public meetings, and there are, even outside of 
the Northfleld parish, persons claiming respectability, who affect to believe them, 
and to have confidence in the character of Dr. Richards from whom they chiefly 
originate. For Uiis reason the documents in tJie case are submitted, in the most nat- 
ural order of arrangement, and with only so much of coomient as may make them 
intelligible. These being read there will be no occasion for argument. 

The documents are not printed for sale, nor for general circulation. No further 
publicity is sought for them than has been, or may yet be, necessitated by the inju- 
rious conduct of the person to whom they chiefly relate. 

LEONARD W. BACON. 

Litchfield, Conn., September, 1860. 

P. S. — Some weeks have now elapsed since the above was written, and the doc- 
uments transcribed in the following order. They were read by judicious friends of 
the subscriber, including gentlemen of the highest eminence in the legal profesidon, 
who concurred in recommending that they should be printed. Since then, any 
scruple about printing them has been removed by Dr. Richards's own act He has 
commenced a suit at law, the trial of which would compel the production of them 
before the public ; so that the printing only anticipates " the law's delay." Thanks^ 
however, are due for the cheerful removal of the injunction of privacy, from such 
part of the correspondence herein contained, as was properly subject to the dispo- 
sal of the writers. 

One thing more. The correspondence of the Committee of Inquiry haa been in 
a few instances abridged by the omission of irrelevant, or merely formal matter. 
The omissions are always indicated by asterisks, and never include anything that 
could help the defense of Dr. Richards. 

• L W. B. 

New Haven, October, 1860. 



LETTERS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS 



Action of the Idtcbfleld XTorth AMooiAtion, June 17thy 1868. 

(Dr. RIetaardt came to Lltehfteld in the year 1858, and announced hlmielf, In the adreitlM* 
toenti of his school and elsewhere, with the title of "Reverend.** He thus obtained admissiob 
to sundry pulpits where his eharaeter and antecedents were not knewn. Some of the fticta 
regarding him baring been discovered by members of the Litchfield North Association, (withlb 
whose bounds nrast of tliese ministrations had been performed,) the fSoDowlng action was taken 
mt their annual meeting, June 17th, 18S8 J 

Whsreaa^ This Association has learned that the pulpits of some churches within 
our bounds have been opened to one who, we are credibly informed, is under 
ecclesiastical censure ; therefore, 

Resolved^ That as an Association, we protest, for the purity of the ministry and 
the benefit of the churches, against the employment of any individuals as preachers 
of the Gospel who cannot give satisfliciory proof of their good standing in the 
ministry. 

Voted^ That the above minute be published in the ^ 71 Ini^pwdent^ Bvangdui^ 
and Observer^ and also in the Religious HenM of Hartford. 

Lettor of Br. Riohards to Bev. L. W. BaoozL 

(Being excluded firom the pulpits of the northern half of the county, Dr. Richards did not 
refrain from accepting invitations to preach in pulpits within the bounds of the Litchfield South 
Association, — invitations which had been extended to him under the belief that he was of good 
character and standing. These infractions of good order were the occasion of much regret to 
meh of the neighboring ministers as had heard any thing of Dr. Rlchards^s antecedents ; and 
wlien it appeared at last that he was preaching regularly in a parish to which he had been 
Ignorantly Invited, the member of the Litchfield South Association living nearest to Dr. Rich- 
nrds (Rev. L W. Bacon,) called on him, April ftth, 1859, to remonstrate with him. At thia 
Interview, Dr. Richards dedared that he had no Idea that the pastors were taking offense at 
bis course, that he had not been awaro tl&at the action of the Litchfield Norik Association dur- 
ing the previous year was intended to apply to him, and that he would not repeal the offense a 
single Sunday ;-Hha( he would write down to the church at Northfield at once, declining to 
serve them in future. He added tl&at he bad never had anyottdal or authentic information 
that he had been deposed firom the ministry c he gave as his reason for not asking to be restored 
to the ministry by a regular proMss, that his health was smdi that he oonld not bear the agita. 
tlon of an Inquiry into the story of his past troubles^ * 

In reply he was assured that it was unneceasary for him to act towards the chnrefa at North- 
field with any appearaaee of abruptness :->that no oflisnse would be taken at his gradually and 
fuietly withdrawing himself from ministrations among them :-~tliat with regard to his alleged 
deposition by the Presbytery of New Orieans, it was desirable on all aeeoants to have authentio 
Information, and that a letter would be despatched to the Stated Clerk of that Presbytery, 
asking for the flicta His resolution to discontinue the exerdse of the ministry until restored 
to Its fellows Ip was warmly oommended. 

In the evening of the same day, Mr. Bacon received firom Dr. RIeharda the following letter t] 

2 



6 

Mn Parkf April 6ih^ 1859. 
Rev. L. "W. Bacon, My Dear Sir : 

I have been pondering seriouslj and prayerfully the subject matter of our coi 
versation this morning, and I must say that I do not feel entirdy ckar as to tl 
course to be pursued. 

In view of aU the circiimstanoes of the case, it seems to me that I ought n 
hastily to commit myself to any definite cowse in relation to my pubUc and ojjici 
duties. More reflection on my part and earnest prayer to God as well as consvUatii 
ivith friends who have favowred me with their confidence^ and who are deeply inte 
ested in my welfare and usefulness as a teacher and a preacher, must he had befoi 
I can decide on the precise steps to be taken to relieve ministerial brethren froi 
the embarrassment which you named. (See Gospel John, 2d : 24th, 26th.) 

I had indulged the hope that I was soon to reap the peaceable fruits of my loi 
and bitter trials — ^but if I am to taste yet mare of the wormwood and the gaUj ai 
be subjected to still greater '^ perils ^* than those through which I have alreac 
passed — God's wiU be done. 

That the g^reat Head of the Church may guide and bless you in all your effor 
to do good and extend the honor of his name, is the sincere prayer of one wl 
humbly hopes that he is a member of Christ's mystical body, and who now as evi 
subscribes himself truly yours, 

Jambs Rioblakds. 

Tliesday evening. 



Litchfieldj Twesday evening^ April bth. 
Rev. Da. Richards, Dear Sir: 

Tour note (which arrived a few moments since,) I at first intended to answer 
person ; but it seems to me that I can express myself more satisfactorily in writin 

I am not at all surprised that you hesitate in the decision of so important 
question as this which has arisen. I assure you that I sympathize in the strugg 
of mind which it must doubtless cost you. It seems to me that your mistake U 
in acting in the matter before it is decided. The thing which I think must make i 
unfavorable impression upon such minds as are already prejudiced against you, 
that while you hesitate to ask the approbation of the pastors, you should liave : 
hesitation at all about the far more momentous matter of preaching. I am n 
surprised that a bad report (however unjust) among "them tliat are withoui 
should have been deemed by you a sufficient reason for refraining, for a time, frc 
being a member of a church : I only wonder that it did not seem even a strong 
reason for not entering, for a time, upon the position of a minister. I. Tim., iii, 
seems explicit on this point. 

Excuse tiie roughness uf my sentences, I only want to get my meaning out fair 

But my object in communicating with you on tills subject has been, not 
volunteer advice with regard to your duty, — ^I should not have alluded to that b 
for your very frank invitation, — but simply that you might be advised of whal 
conceive to be mine and that of my brethren in the pastoral office. That dut} 
conceive to be threefold. 

1. Ih the churches. Some rule is necessary to save the churches from ignora 
and unworthy impostors in the pulpit. Among Baptists and (I believe) Engli 
Independents the rule requires an examination before the church of which t 
candidate is a member, and a certificate of their approbation. Here the rule 
different f but it is t?ie rule nevertheless, and it is indispensable to good order. 'S 
all know you to be an able and learned man ; but if we examine no man except • 
the suspicion that he is a blockhead, we shall examine nobody at all. My impn 
flion is perfectly clear and satisfactory of your soundness in the faith ; but if ^ 
on the strength of an impression^ suffer you to preach as if by our approbation ai 
yet without any credentials, we throw away the only safe-guard of the church 
against novices and heretics. The Korthfield church would have a right to ooo 
plain that the pastors had been treacherous to their oonfldeiioe, if we abould i 
unfaithful in this matter. 



2. We have a duty (o you. If any brother becomes the subject of an evil report, 
which follows him to annoy him, and to circumscribe his useftilnese, obviously the 
very first duty and service which we can render him is to inquire into the matter, 
and to vindicate him by declaring his innocence. I do not see but that this is 
exactly your case and ours. If your case is perfectly clear and satisfactory, all the 
more easy for examination ; if it is any wise difficult or embarrassed, all the greater 
neeesnty for an examination. If there is no difficulty about satisfying the pastors, 
why not do it? If there is difficulty about it, why is it not all the more important 
to do it? 

The very important consideration whidi you mentioned this afternoon, that of 
your health, and the importance of avoiding needless excitement, is open to the^ 
same sort of aaswer. The same considerations of health which should lead you to 
avoid an informal conference with the neighboring pastors, ought to forbid you to 
undergo the weekly excitement and fatigue, at the dose of your week's laborioaa 
duties, of supplying a pulpit. A providential call to do the latter of these must 
seem to be a providential call to do the other first 

I cannot but sympathize with you in the thought of your protracted trials, to 
which you so -feelingly allude. But it is impossible for me to think it a hardship 
that you should not be permitted to over-ride all the laws and discipline of our 
churches, or that you should not be admitted to the confidence of the associated 
ministers and churches while offering no opportunity to them to satisfy the doubts 
of any of their number, touching your character and standing. 

3. We owe a duty to ourselves. For all these irregularities we are justly held 
responsible, and to all tlie reproach of flying rumors unfavourable to you, and 
which are not brought to investigation and set at rest, we are justly obnoxious, so 
long as you occupy this position with our tacit consent. We are so fixed that we 
can neither deny the charges, nor disclaim the responsibility. Such responsibility 
as this I do not think we have any right to assume ; nor does it seem just that you 
should impose it on us, for even a single week. 

As I have said, I assume no authority whatever. You are independent; the 
Northfield church is independent, except so far as it may have bound itself by com> 
pact Just so, however, all the pastors and churdies of this district are indepea* 
dent And there is no difficulty in devising action which shall rectify the irregu* 
larity complained of, without in the slightest degree trenching oa the independence 
of church or individual 

If the relations of parties should continue as at present, I should think it my 
duty to bring the subject to the notice of the Association at the earliest opportunity. 

I dose abruptly, for it is long after midnight But I am happy to know that 
I have had too many opportunities to show my personal and neighborly good will, 
to make it needful for me to disclaim any motive for the above resolution but such 
as appear on the face of the letter. Truly yours, 

L. W. Bacon. 

Ber. L. W. Baoon, to tlie Stated Clerk of the Freslqrtery of New 

Orleaofl. 

LUehfidd, ContL, April 6«^ 1869. 
Bev. and dear Sir : 

Will you have the kindness to send me a statement of the eodesiastical standing 
of Dr. James Richards, formerly pastor of a church in your presbytery. 

In case any censure exist against him, if there are also any circumstances that 
may mitigate the moral effect of the censure, or if you have any knowledge of a 
disposition among the members of the presbytery to reverse or alleviate the sen- 
tence in view of &cts which have since transpired, I should esteem it a favor to 
be advised of them. I write simply by my own authority, but your answer will be 
a kindness not only to me, but to the churches of our common Lord in this region, 
into whose pulpits Dr. Bidiards desires to be admitted. 

Wishing to you, and to the church under your charge, the blessing of grace, 
mercy and peace, I am yours fraternally, 

LaovABD W. Bacok. 



8 
AxiBwer. 

yew OHeam, April 19, 1869. 

Bet. L. Bacon, Dear Sir: 

Your letter asking information about the ecclesiastical status of Dr. Richards 
has just come to hand. Much to my regret I am unable to afford any information 
that can give you pleasure. What follows is%n extract from the Heoords of Pres- 
bytery, page 51. 

The Committee appointed to prepare a minute in the judicial case of Common 
Eame vs. James Richards, made the following report : 

WhereaSj Bev. James Richards, D. D., has been charged by Common Fame witl 
the crime of drunkenness, and this Presbytery after a full investigation has found 
the general charge to be sustained, specifications 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, whoUy ; and specifi- 
cations 4 and 7 in part; and wherecu, in the judgment of this Presbytery the 
aggravations of the offense, as proven, require that the defendant should be solemnly 
deposed from the gospel ministry ; and that the sentence of deposition should in 
oLude excommunication, therefore. 

Resolved, that the said Rev. James Richards, D. D., be, and hereby is, deposed 
from the gospel ministry and excommunicated from the Church. 

The roll being called, the report of the Committee was unanimously adopted 
After some remarks by the moderator respecting the solenm business in which we 
have been engaged, Presbytery engaged in prayer. 

Besolvedy that the Stated Clerk be instructed to forward a copy of this minute tc 
Dr. Richards.— [ifintt^ of Jan. 22d. 1856.] 

In answer to your question as to the possible removal of tins existing censure,— 
I have no doubt that Presbytery would willingly listen to any considerations thai 
would justify such action. Nevertheless, the events oonnected with this judicia 
case, are so painfully fresh in the minds of many of the community, that I should 
think it injudicious in the friends of Dr. Richards to ask Presbytery to reconsidei 
its acti6n at present 

If I can be of any service to you and the friends of Dr. Richards in further con- 
nection with this matter, believe me that it would afford me great pleasure. 

Yery respectfully, yours in Christ, 

Henbt M. Smith. 
SkUed Clerk of the Presbytery of N. 

9 

[A. copy of the above letter wMindoted to Dr. Blduurds, and the note aecompAnying it con 
dnded m follows :] 

" As I have said before, I mean to keep a mind as clear from prejudice as po» 
Bible on the merits of the main question. But let me urge it again on your consid- 
eration, how much a frank invitation of inquiry would do to relieve existing preju- 
dice, and how much a course which cannot but seem an evasion of inquiry musi 
needs aggravate It 

Yours Truly, 

L. W. Bacon. 

[At the time of the annael meeting of the Litchfield South Auoclation approached, the follow 
ing letter waa lent to Dr. Bichards.l 

Bev. L. W. Baoonto Dr. James Biohards. 

Litchfield, June 4^A, 1869. 
Rev. Dr. Richasdb, Dear Sir: 

The Consociation of "Litchfield South" (including the Association) is to meet nezi 
Tuesday (7 th inst) at Plymouth. I mention this in order that you may be preparec 
(if you should think best) to forestall any action of the Association on the subject 
on which we have exchanged letters, by yourself presenting to the body somi 



oommunication which should make it unneoesaary for them to act. I should be 
happy to be the bearer of any such communioation, or if you should desire to 
address yourself to the Association in person, I have no hesitation in saying that 
you would be heard. 

I deprecate the necessity 'of action by the Association proprio motu. Decisive 
and effective action would involve the substantial republication of the doings of the 
New Orleans Freebyteryf and this would not only be an effectual guard of the pulpits 
of our churches, and the good name of our ministry, but might have other results, 
affecting yourself, whidi none of the brethren would desire, and least of ail, 

Sincerely your Friend, 

L. W. Baoov. 

[In tho above mentioned proeeedlngt, Mr. Bacon acted at the suggestion, or with the ap* 
probation, of the neighboring clergymen.] 

Action of the Utchfleld South Assoolation, Juno Tth, 1859. 

At the annual meeting of the Litchfield South Association atPljrmouth, June 7th, 
1859, Messrs. Bacon, Lyman, Isham, Lawrence and Prudden, were "appointed a 
committee to report what action, if any, ought to be taken with respect to the irreg- 
ular assumption of ministerial character and duties within the limits of this Asso- 
ciation, by an unauthorized person." 

This conunittee recommended the following action, which was adopted: 

" WherectSf It has come to the knowledge of this Assodation that James Richards 
has irregularly assumed to performed the functions of a minister in regular standing 
among the churches within our limits ; 

*' VoUdy That a committee of three be appointed to confer with Dr. Richards re< 
specting his irregular ministrations, and to obtain trom him, if possible, some 
guarantee that he will abstain from further violation of the order of the churches ; 
and that in the event of their failing to obtain any such guarantee, they have 
authority to warn the churches in the name of the Association concerning his 
irregularity, by the publication of the following letter." 

[The letter contained a declaration of the standing of Dr. Richards, and a warning to the 
ehnrehes against all infractors of good order, and CTaders of the safeguards of the ministry' 
It was not published. In consideration of the wish of Dr. Richards to submit his case to exam- 
ination by the Association. To consider his request, a special meeting was called at Litchlleld 2 

Memorial of Dr. Biohards to the Iiitchfleld South ABsooiation. 

[The following paper was presented to the Association at a m^etlog convened at Litchfield 
Aug. 16th, 1839, " to hear and act upon the application of Mr. James RlcharJs of Litchfteld to 
be examined as a candidate for the ministrj.**J 

DiAB Bbbthbbit, 

Between three and four years have elapsed since I took up my residence among 
you. I came here with enfeebled health and under the censure of one of the lower 
Judicatories of the Old School Presbyterian Church. The justness of that censure, 
humiliating and afflictive as it was, I do not controvert, further than to say that 
under circumstanoes far more painful and tiying, I was/tcSy and AonoroMy acquitted 
of any moral deHnquency or obliquity by the Pre^^yiery of Elizabethtoum and 
by the Synod of New Jeroeyy and by both bodies commended to the sympalhy and 
oonrfidmce of the Presbyterian church. 

That the judicatory under whose sentence I am now resting, acted consistently 
with their impretaion of duty, I have no reason to doubt. Since their action in my 
case, accident and disease have borne the greater part ot the Presbytery to a world 
of retribution, and such as were prepared, to a world of rest. But one pastor out 
of those known by me to have participated in that judicial inquiry remains. A new 
generation of ministers and people have arisen in that focai point of all that i« 
noxious, deadly and debaaing in the U. States. 

02 



10 

I will not, as I have said, oontrovert the justness of their sentence. They acted 
I am willing to believe, consistently with their sense of duty. Nevertheless 1 fyl 
Justified in the eye of God, by my own oonsdenoe, and by the consciences and wishei 
of those who best knew me, in a total disregard of the censure, — and the more 8< 
as I had formally withdrawn fh>m the Presbyterian chorch before any process wai 
instituted against me, and when by my own act, they were relieved from all respon 
sibility for my future course. My disregard, however, of their action has place( 
me beyond the circle of their sympathies, and I cannot look to them with any hop< 
of success for a redress of my grievances, or a removal of those obstacles to mj 
usefulness created by their judicud action. I must turn to you, dear brethren, foi 
sympathy and effective relief in my peculiarly trying and embarrassing circumstan 
oes. I have confidence in your christian benevolence, and in your love of justice 
I deeply regret all those instances in which I have seemed to bid defiance to you 
rules of ecclesiastical order. Never to my recollection, have I officiated as a min 
ister of religion within your bounds, without a special invitation from the residen 
pastor or Committee of Supply ; nor even then, without distinctly avowing m; 
unfortunate position as a minister under censure of a Southern Presbytery. I an 
pained to thmk that my course in this, or in any other respect has been the occa 
aion of grief to my brethren in the Lord, for nothing could be further from m; 
wish or purpose. Respect for the ministerial character and office is intertwine* 
with every fiber of my heart, and I would have accounted it the greatest privileg 
the Gk>d of mercy could bestow upon me this side of heaven, to have been in fel 
lowship with you, and to have received the counsels and the care of my father 
and brethren of this Association. This favor I now ask at your hands. So far a 
I know my own heart, the prominent desire which prompts me to make this appli 
cation is that I may have an unembarrassed opportunity of doing good, of heraldki 
my Master's name and grace to my dying fellow-men, — of convincing the worl 
that by the boundless grace of God I am a humble and conscientious and sell 
sacrificing minister of the Gospel, and I trust through the constantly excrte 
grace of the Redeemer nothing shall be wanting in my conduct decisively t 
evince the sentiments I have now expressed. 

My health is now so far restored, as with safety to admit of my occupying 
pulpit on the Sabbath, in addition to my routine of duties through the week in ih 
school room. I find the change of labor on the Si\bbath most agreeable ; but 
anything is still needed to give permanency to my bodily health and tranquillity t 
my mind, I verily believe that a favorable reception of my application, followed b 
your cordial rej)gnitian of me as a brother in Christ, and a minister of hi 
church, will contribute more than anything else to a result so beneficial and desirabl 

In this petition, you will observe that I have carefully refrained from all allusioi 
to my relationship with an honored but now departed servant of God, the fragranc 
of whose good name is even now diffused throughout the Christian Church, f 
one who never occupied a station which he did not adorn. Nor have I made mei 
tionof my own ministry of twenty years, in fields of varied prominence and us( 
fulness ; seven of which was passed with one church, and twelve of which withoi 
as much as the illness of a single sabbath. I am anxious that my brethren of th 
Association, independently of my antecedents of any sort, slioidd take up the cas 
as they find it, in the spirit of meekness and charity, in the temper of disciples < 
the Prince of peace, with a large supply of that spirit which prompted the excl 
mation, *' w?io is weak and I am not wecikt who is offended artd I bum not f " 

And now, dear Brethren, I have only to add that in our best intentions we ai 
liable to error. We may be deceived both in our actions, and in the motives froi 
which they spring. And if at any time since I have been amongst you, I hai 
been left to be actuated by improper feelings, or if under the dominion of goc 
feelings I have been left to improper conduct, I hope to have the fortitude to oonfei 
it, the principle to mourn for it, the virtue to repent of it, the Christian magnanii] 
ity to make any reparation in my power to the injured, the cliurch of God and tl 
world. 

I hope you will interrogate me freely on any points whereupon the minds of or. 
of you labor, and give me an opportunity of clearing up every thing to your satisfactic 
80 far as I am able to do so. If you wish me to fortify my position and strengthc 
your own favorable [ ] of me by documentary evidence, I shall furnish i 



II 

Some of the neighborin(( churches have volunteered their service in this behalf aa 
well as private members and personal friends in this plaoei from whom you shall 
hear at the fitting time and place. 

I am, Fathers and Brethren, yours with respect and affection, 

Tour afflicted brother, 

James Kichabds. 

[Dr. Rlebarda then, on InyiUtion, appeared before the AHOciatton, and made a itatement of 
hit perMUAl history. ] 

Oral Statement of Dr. Riohards. 

He spoke of his religious experiences in childhood and early youth. He said 
that he was brought to repentance and conversion at Canandaigua, under the 
ministry of Rev. Dr. Eddy : that he became a teacher in the SuncUiy School, and 
by and by a student of theology in the Seminary at Auburn, but that he did not 
unite with the church until two years after entering the Seminary. He gave the 
details of his religious experience at some length. 

At the dose of his studies, he was called to to the Presbyterian Church in Aurorai, 
N. Y., where his preaching was so successful that the two churches in the village, 
Presbyterian and Episcopalian, became united in one under his ministry. At Aurora 
he remained two years. 

Thence he went to Penn Yan, N. Y., where he remained seven years. During 
this period, he suffered at intervals with great depression of spirits, and with doubts 
touching his own salvation. When he left the church, it was increased by a hun- 
dred members. During his ministry there, he lost his [first] wife by death. At 
the close of it he declined several calls to different churches, and finally accepted 
a call to his father's old church in Morristown, N. J. There were circumstances 
connected with a prospective marriage, which luid to do with the termination of his 
ministry at Penn Yan. 

While pastor at Morristown he was taken sick and in consequence of aberration 
of mind was taken to the Insane Retreat, where, in answer to the prayers of his 
church, he was restored to health. Returning to his charge, he had a constant 
morbid feeling of being suspected and pointed at, which wrought on him and 
affected his health; he twice tendered his resignation to the church, which was 
declined. Finally distressed and exhausted in health, he insisted on his resignation, 
acting by the advice of Rev. Dr. Magie and other friends, — and the resignation was 
accepted. 

After his dismission from the pastorate at Morristown, he visited New Orleans, 
and on his return to Morristown, found circumstances which led him to demand a 
judicial inquiry. The charges which were preferred against him in this process 
before the Presbytery of Elizabethtown, were Intemperance ; Falsehood (in deda- 
ing the first charge to be false ;) and Profane Swearing (which took place on the 
cars on the way to the Insane Retreat.) The investigation lasted a long time ; and 
the result was "modified criminality," and he was ei^oined to demit the exercise 
of the ministry for a while, on account of his health. This result was made sub- 
ject to Protest. He submitted to it, but it was carried up to the Synod, where the 
case was "taken up on the record," and the lower Judicatory overruled. All the 
whUe that this matter was pending, he was supplyhig the pulpit of Dr. Cheever's 
church, and other pulpits. 

After this he received sundry calls ; among others, to Memphis and Little Rock. 
Meeting with Dr. Zebulon Butler of Port Gibson, Miss., he went to that place and 
spent a year and a half in the college there. While there, he received and accepted 
a oill to the Third Presbjrterian Church in New Orleans. He had previously 
received and declined a call to the Second Presbyterian Church in the same city, a 
fact which he believed to have given rise to jealousy and hostility toward him. 

In his charge at New Orleans his ministry was prosperou.% until the difficulty 
arose which resulted in his deposition. That difficulty was as follows : 

In order to proeecute an application for divorce which had been commenced in 
the State of Mississipi, he had retained a legal " residence" within the boundaries 
of that State, although not far fhnn the city of New Orleans. One day he had 



12 

bMn engfftged all day at this rosidencOf with his lawyers, and returned to the city 
fatl^ed and exhausted. He became unconscious, and was brought to the Recor- 
der's office in a state of insensibility. This was the first of March, 1856. He was 
recognized by documents in his pockets. The thing got into the newspapers in the 
most unfavorable form. He was mortified and entirely unmanned. He remained 
in the city only three weeks, during which time he received many letters of sym- 
pathy, and an invitation to preach at Galveston. He resigned his church, and 
before any charges were preferred ag^st him, requested a dismission from the 
Presbytery. The story was investigated by the " Sons of Temperance" of which 
he was chaplain, and he was acquitted. He does not know that he had taken any 
thing intoxicating. He was not in the habit of using anything intoxicating. He 
would sometimes take a glass of claret at the table of a brother minister, — ^if it was 
wrong he was sorry fbr it; but to all intents and purposes, during his residence 
at New Orleans, he was a total abstinence man. 

He now left New Orieans on a visit to England, and while in London, became 
convinced of the principles of Congregationalism, and wrote to the Stated Clerk oi 
the Presbytery requesting them to drop his name from their roll. The Presbytery 
took up the matter, cited nim to appear, notwithstanding his withdrawal from them, 
and suspended him from the ministry. He asked counsel of Dr. Cheever and others, 
and was advised to disregard the censure of the Presbytery. All this time he held 
fast his integrity ; he was maintaining habitual prayer ; he loved the doctrines ol 
the gospel. 

He is now pleasantly situated, and enjoying good health of body and mind. 

Nearly a year aller he came to Litchfield, he was preaching at Warren. During 
one week he was unusually burdened and fatigued. Saturday, he 'lay down and 
tried to sleep. In the afternoon he started for Warren in a buggy, with a large bot- 
tle of camphor in his traveling bag; — ^became bewildered, lost the road, and 
arrived at Mr. Comstock's late a^ night He assisted at family prayers 
went to bed, but was sleepless at night. In the morning he went to church ; ii 
reading the second hymn, had a thickening of the utterance, and was obliged U 
desist He went home, and was sick. 

He believes himself now to be in good health, and able to be nsefuL He hai 
long wanted to have the approbation and commendation of the Association, but hai 
been hindered from seeking it by considerations of health. He wishes that he hac 
acted in an orderly manner, with respect to resuming the ministry. He has n< 
disposition to be disorderly. 

Qu^tion by a member of the AaaadoHofL — You have said that you withdrei^ 
from the Presbytery before charges had been made against you. Did you with 
draw before you e3q>ected that charges would be tabled? 

Ana. There, brethren, I must acknowledge that you press me too hard. I dii 
expect that they would bring charges against me. 

Qu. Dr. Richards, you have given a satisfactory explanation of a single instanc 
of alleged drunkeness. But it appears by the letter of the Clerk of the Presbyter 
of New Orleans, that seven specifications were tabled against you, five of whicl 
were held to be fully sustained, and two of them in pan. Now were there an] 
other instances of apparent intoxication which might have given occasion to thes 
accusations? 

Ans, None whatever. 

QiL What then do you suppose these other six specifications to refer to ? 

Ans. Before Grod my final Judge, I cannot tell. 

QiL At any time since you became a minister, have you ever been guilty of an; 
gross and scandalous outward sin ? 

Ans. Never in any conscious moment. 

Qu. There has been a good deal said, since your residence among us, with re 
gard to your financial dealings. Has there been any thing in these that you noi 
consider to be wrong ? 

Ans, When I came here to establish myself, I was without capital, and at m; 
time of life could not afibrd to wait for it, so that I was compelled to go a good dei 
on the " high-pressure " system. In this way I contracted a g^oodmany obligation 
which I was unable to meet when due. But I hope now to be able to fulfil thee 

alL 

Q^ Tou have stated that in eveiy instance in which you have offidated as 



13 

minister since you have been among ns, you have distinctly avowed that jou were 
not in regular standing in the ministry. To whom did you state this in Ooshen? 

Ana. To Brother Perrin. He came to Litchfield to invite me to preach for him. 
I told him that I was a speckled bird, and that he must take me as I was. He still 
urged his invitation. 

Qu. Whom did you tell of this at Kew Preston ? 

Atu. Mr. Patterson. 

Qu, Whom did you tell at Warren? 

Atu. Mr. Taylor, a member of the Society's Committee. 

Qu. Whom did you tell at Woloottville ? 

Afu, There I took it for granted that the people knew the facts. 

Qu. What did you say on the subject to the Rev. Mr. Clark, of Cornwall, when 
you proposed an exchange with him from Wolcottville ? 

Ans. I said nothing to him. 

Qu, Whom did you inform of your standing at Northfield ? 

Ans. The third or fourth Sunday of my preaching there, Mr. Peck reported to 
me a remark of Geo. D. Wadhams, Esq., of Wolcottville, to the eflTect that I was 
not an authorized minister of the Grospel, and asked me whether it was true ? I 
acknowledged that it was. 

Qu. Was this at the time of your giving notice of the proposed administration 
of the Lord's Supper? 

Ans. It was. 

{The aboTtt oral stetement mad ezMiilBation hu been written omt from notes taken at the 
time, and from memory, and is subetantially, although not in all eaaea verbally, correct] 



Aotion of the Assooiation, Aug. lOth, 1859. 

Whereas^ Mr. James Richards, B. B., has requested this Association to take his 
case under examination with a view if the Association think proper, to license him 
to preach the Gospel, 

Voted, To defer final action upon the question of his license to preach the gospel 
until the next session of the Association, when, if nothing adverse shall appear to 
forbid, he shall receive the license in question. 

Votedy That Brothers Bacon, Lyman and Churchill, be a committee to make such 
inquiries as will enable the Association to reach a just conclusion, and report at the 
next meeting. 

Tlie Association then adjourned to meet at the same place, on the 27th of Sep- 
tember, 1859. 



CORRESPONDENCE OP THE COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY. 

To Rev. Br. Palmer, New Orleans. 

(The following letter wm written (u appeera by the date,) before the meeting at which the 
Committee of Inqniry wet appoint d ; bat the aniwer did not arriye until after that meeting, 
and was laid before the Committee, and referred to In their Report ] 

Liichftad, Conn., Aug, 3d, 1859. 
Bit. Db. Palmbb, Dear Sir: 

In a matter in which I need the counRel of some wiae Christian minister in New 
Orleans, my friend Mr. Chas. H. Lloyd, has recommended me to address you ; and 
has assured me that you would render me any service which should at the same 
time be a service to our common Master and his Church. Having this sort of intro- 
duction to you, which I hope will commend me, although unknown, to your confi- 
dence, I write to you rather than to the Bev. Mr. Smith, Stated Clerk of the New 
Orleans Presbytery, from whom I have already received an otBcial letter, acoom- 
panied by a very kind and fraternal offer of aervioes. 



6 

JEhn Parky April &th, 1869. 
Rbv. L. W. Bacon, My Dear Sir : 

I have been pondering seriously and prayerfully the subject matter of our con 
versation this morning, and I must say that I do not feel etUirely clear as to tin 
course to be pursued. 

In yiew of all the circumstances of the case, it seems to me that I ought no 
hastily to commit myself to any d^nite course in relation to my public and oficia 
duties. More reflection on my part and earnest prayer to God as well as ctmsuUatio^ 
"With friends who have favour&i me with their co^fidenoe, and who are deeply inter 
ested in my welfare and usefulness as a teacher and a preacher, must he had befon 
I can decide on the precise steps to be taken to relieve ministerial brethren froD 
the embarrassment which you named. (See Oospel J(^m, 2d : 24th, 26th.) 

I had indulged the hope that I was soon to reap the peaceable fruits of my lonj 
and bitter trials — ^but if I am to taste yet more of the wormwood and the yaO, an< 
be subjected to still greaksr '* perils ^^ than those through whidi I have already 
passed — God^s wiU be done. 

That the g^reat Head of the Church may g^ide and bless you in all your effort) 
to do good and extend the honor of his name, is the sincere prayer of one wh< 
humbly hopes that he is a member of Christ's mystical body, and who now as eve: 
subscribes himself truly yours, 

JaXSB BlOBABDS. 

Tuesday evening » 



LUchfitH Tuesday evening, April hih. 
Rev. Dr. Riohabdb, Dear Sir: 

Tour note (which arrived a few moments since,) I at first intended to answer ii 
person; but it seems to me that I can express myself more satisfactorily in writing 

I am not at all surprised that you hesitate in the decision of so important i 
question as tliis which has arisen. I assure you that I sympathize in the struggh 
of mind which it must doubtless cost you. It seems to me that your mistake liei 
in acting in the matter before it is decided. The thing which I think must make ai 
unfavorable impression upon such minds as are already prejudiced against you, ii 
that while you hesitate to ask the approbation of the pastors, you should have n< 
hesitation at all about the far more momentous matter of preaching. I am no 
surprised that a bad report (however unjust) among "them that are without,' 
should have been deemed by you a sufficient reason for refraining, for a time, fron 
being a member of a church : I only wonder that it did not seem even a stronge: 
reason for not entering, for a time, upon the position of a minister. I. Tim., iii, *l 
seems explicit on this point. 

Excuse the roughness of my sentences, I only want to get my meaning out fairly 

But my object in communicating with you on this subject has been, not t( 
volunteer advice with regard to your duty, — I should not have alluded to that bu' 
for your very frank invitation, — ^but simply tliat you might be advised of what 1 
ooncoive to be mine and that of my brethren in the pastoral office. That duty ' 
conceive to be threefold. 

\. Tb the churches. Some rule is necessary to save the churches from Ignorani 
and unworthy impostors in the pulpit. Among Baptists and (I believe) Englisl 
Independents the rule requires an examination before the church of which th< 
candidate is a member, and a certificate of their approbation. Here the rule i( 
different f but it is the rule nevertheless, and it is indispensable to good order. Wi 
all know you to be an able and learned man ; but if we examine no man except oi 
the suspicion that he is a blockhead, we shall examine nobody at all. My impres 
sion is perfectly clear and satisfactory of your soundness in the faith ; but if we, 
on the strength of an impression^ suffer you to preadi as if by our apprc^ation anc 
yet without any credentials, we throw away the only safe-guard of the churchei 
against novices and heretics. The Northfleld church would have a right to com- 
plain that the pastors had been treacherous to their oonfidenoe, if we ahould bfl 
unfaithful in this matter. 



2. We hare a duty to yen. If any brother becomes the subject of an evil report, 
which follows him to amioj him, and to circumscribe his usefulness, obviously the 
very first duty and service which we can render him is to inquire into the matter, 
and to vindicate him by declaring his innocence. I do not see but that this is 
exactly your case and ours. If your case is perfectly clear and satisfactory, all the 
more easy for examination ; if it is any wise difficult or embarrassed, all the greater 
necessity for an examination. If there is no difficulty about satisfying the pastors, 
why not do it? If there is difficulty about it, why is it not all the more important 
to do it? 

The very important oonsideretion which you mentioned this afternoon, that of 
your health, and the importance of avoiding needless excitement, is open to the^ 
same sort of aaswer. The same considerations of health which should lead you to 
avoid an informal conference with the neighboring pastors, ought to forbid yon to 
undergo the weekly excitement and fatigue, at the dose of your week's laboriona 
duties, of supplying a pulpit A providential call to do the latter of these must 
seem to be a providentiaL call to do the other first. 

I cannot but sympathize with you in the thought of your protracted triala, to 
which you so feelingly allude. But it is impossible for me to think it a hardship 
that you should not be permitted to over-ride all the laws and discipline of our 
churdies, or that you should not be admitted to the confidence of the associated 
ministers and churches while offering no opportunity to them to satisfy the doubts 
of any of their number, touching your character and standing. 

3. We owe a duty to oursdves. For all these irregularities we are Justly held 
responsible, and to all the reproach of flying rumors unfavourable to you, and 
which are not brought to investigation and set at rest, we are justly obnoxious, so 
long as you occupy this position with our tacit consent. We are so fixed that we 
can neither deny the charges, nor disclaim the responsibility. Such responsibility 
as this I do not think we have any right to assume ; nor does it seem Just that you 
should impoee it on us, for even a single week. 

As I have said, I assume no authority whatever. You are independent; the 
Korthfleld church is independent, except so far as it may have bound itself by com- 
pact Just so, however, all the pastors and churches of this district are indepen- 
dent And there is no difficulty in devising action which shall rectify the irregu- 
larity complained of, without in the slightest degree trenching on the independence 
of church or individual 

If the relations of peuties should continue as at present, I should think it my 
duty to bring the subject to the notice of the Association at the earliest opportunity. 

I close abruptly, for it is long after midnight But I am happy to know that 
I have had too many opportunities to show my personal and neighborly good will, 
to make it needful for me to disclaim any motive for the above resolution but sudi 
as appear on the face of the letter. Truly yours, 

L. W. B1.0ON. 

Bev. Ii. W. Baoon, to tlie Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Kew 

Orleans. 

LiichfiM, Cbim., April ^ 1869. 
Hev. and dear Sir : 

Will you have the kindness to send me a statement of the ecclesiastical standing 
of Dr. James Richards, formerly pastor of a church in your presbytery. 

In case any censure exist against him, if there are also any circumstances that 
may mitigate the moral effect of the censure, or if you have any knowledge of a 
disposition among the members of the presbytery to reverse or alleviate the sen- 
tence in view of Susts which have since transpired, I should esteem it a favor to 
be advised of them. I write simply by my own authority, but your answer will be 
a kindness not only to me, but to the churches of our common Lord in this region, 
into whose pulpits Dr. Ridiards desires to be admitted. 

Wishing to you, and to the church under your charge, the blessing of grace, 
mercy and peace, I am yours fraternally, 

Liovija) W. Baook. 



6 

Ehn Parkt April 5th, 1859. 
Rbv. L. W. Bacok, My Dear Sir : 

I have been pondering seriously and prayerfully the subject matter of our oon* 
versation this morning, and I must say that I do not feel enHrely dear as to the 
course to be pursued. 

In yiew of aU the circumstances of the case, it seems to me that I ought not 
hastily to commit myself to any d^nite course in relation to my public and official 
duties. More reflection on my part and earnest prayer to God as well as consultation 
with friends who hs^ye favoured me with their confidence, and who are deeply inter^ 
ested in my welfare and usefulness as a teacher and a preacher, must be had before 
I can decide on the precise steps to be taken to relieve ministerial brethren from 
the embarrassment which you named. (See Gospel John, 2d : 24th, 25th.) 

I had indulged the hope that I was soon to reap the peaceable fruits of my long 
and bitter trials — ^but if I am to taste yet more of the wormujood and the gaU^ and 
be subjected to still greater *^ perils" than those through Which I have already 
passed — God's will be done. 

That the great Head of the Church may guide and bless you in all your eflfbrts 
to do good and extend the honor of his name, is the sincere prayer of one who 
humbly hopes that he is a member of Christ's mystical body, and who now aa ever 
subscribes himself truly yours, 

JaXSB RiOfiABD& 

Tuesday evening. 



Litchfield, Tuesday evening, April bth. 
Rev. Dr. Riohaads, Dear Sir: 

Tour note (which arrived a few moments since,) I at flrat intended to answer ia 
person ; but it seems to me that I can express myself more satisfactorily in writing. 

I am not at all sarprised that you hesitate in the decision of so important a 
question as this which has arisen. I assure you that I sympathize in the struggle 
of mind which it must doubtless cost you. It seems to me that your mistake Uea 
in acting in the matter before it is decided. The thing which I think must make an 
unfavorable impression upon such minds as are already prejudiced against you, is 
that while you hesitate to ask the approbation of the pastors, you should have no 
hesitation at all about the far more momentous matter of preaching. I am not 
surprised that a bad report (however unjust) among "them that are without^" 
should have been deemed by you a sufficient reason for refraining, for a time, from 
being a member of a church: I only wonder that it did not seem even a stronger 
reason for not entering, for a time, upon the position of a minister, I. Tim., ill, 7, 
seems explicit on this point 

Excuse the roughness of my sentences, I only want to get my meaning out fairly. 

Bat my object in communicating with you on this subject has been, not to 
volunteer advice with regard to your duty, — I should not have alluded to that but 
for your very frank invitation, — but simply that you might be advised of what I 
conceive to be mine and that of my brethren in the pastoral office. That duty I 
conceive to be threefold. 

1. To ttie churches. Some rule is necessary to save the churches from igrnorant 
and unworthy impostors in the pulpit. Among Baptists and (I believe) English 
Independents the rule requires an examination before the church of which th« 
candidate is a member, and a certificate of their approbation. Here the rule is 
different f but it is t?ie rule nevertheless, and it is indispensable to good order. We 
all know you to be an able and learned man ; but if we examine no man except on 
the suspicion that he is a blockhead, we shall examine nobody at all. My impres- 
sion is perfectly clear and satisfactory of your soundness in the faith ; bnt if we, 
on the strength of an impression, suffer you to preadi as if by our approbation and 
yet without any credentials, we throw away the only safe-guard of the chuixshes 
against novices and heretics. The Northfield <diupch would have a right to com- 
plain that the pastors had been treacherous to their confidence, if we should be 
unfiutbful in this matter. 



2. We have a duty to you. If any brother becomes the subject of an evil report, 
which follows him to annoy him, and to circumscribe his usefulness, obviously the 
very first duty and service which we can render him is to inquire into the matter, 
and to vindicate him by declaring his innocence. I do not see but that this is 
exactly your case and ours. If your case is perfectly clear and satisfactory, all the 
more easy for examination ; if it is any wise difficult or embarrassed, all the greater 
necessity for an examination. If there is no difficulty about satisfying the pastors, 
why not do it? If there is difficulty about it, why is it not all the more important 
to do it? 

The very important consideration which you mentioned this afternoon, that of 
your health, and the importance of avoiding needless excitement, is open to the^ 
same sort of answer. The same considerations of health which should lead you to 
, avoid an informal conference with the neighboring pastors, ought to forbid you to 
undergo the weekly excitement and fatigue, at the dose of your week's laborioua 
duties, of supplying a pulpit. A providential call to do the latter of these must 
seem to be a providential call to do the other first. 

I cannot but sympathize with you in the thought of your protracted trials, to 
which you so -feelingly allude. But it is impossible for me to think it a hardship 
that you should not be permitted to over-ride aU the laws and discipline of our 
churdies, or that you should not be admitted to the confidence of the associated 
ministers and churches while oflfering no opportunity to them to satisfy the doubts 
of any of their number, touching your character and standing. 

3. We owe a duty to oursekes. For all these irregularities we are justly held 
responsible, and to all the reproach of flying rumors unfavourable to you, and 
which are not brought to investigation and set at rest, we are justly obnoxious, so 
long as you occupy this position with our tacit consent. We are so fixed that we 
can neither deny the charges, nor disclaim the responsibility. Such responsibility 
aa this I do not think we have any right to assume ; nor does it seem just that you 
should impose it on us, for even a single week. 

As I hiave said, I assume no authority whatever. You are independent ; the 
Northfleld church is independent, except so far aa it may have bound itself by com- 
pact. Just so, however, all the pastors and churches of this district are indepen- 
dent. And there is no difficulty in devising action which shall rectify the irregu- 
larity complained of, without in the slightest degree trenching on the independence 
of church or individual 

If the relations of parties should continue as at present, I should think it my 
duty to bring the subject to the notice of the Association at the earliest opportunity. 

I close abruptly, for it is long after midnight But I am happy to know that 
I have had too many opportunities to show my personal and neighborly good will, 
to make it needful for me to disclaim any motive for the above resolution but such 
as appear on the face of the letter. Truly yours, 

L. W. Bi.C0N. 

Bev. Ii. W. Baoon, to tlie Stated Clerk of the Fresl^eiy of Kew 

Orleans. 

JjitchJUId, CoML, April Bth, 1869. 
Hev. and dear Sir : 

Will you have the kindness to send me a statement of the ecclesiastical standing 
of Dr. James Richards, formerly pastor of a church in your presbytery. 

In case any censure exist against him, if there are also any circumstances that 
may mitigate the moral effect of the censure, or if you have any knowledge of a 
disposition among the members of the presbytery to reverse or alleviate Uie sen- 
tence in view of facts which have since transpired, I should esteem it a favor to 
be advised of them. I write simply by my own authority, but your answer will be 
a kindness not only to me, but to the churches of our common Lord in this region, 
into whose pulpits Dr. Richards desires to be admitted. 

Wishing to you, and to the church under your charge, the blessing of grace, 
mercy and peace, I am yours frateFoally, 

LioviJa) W. Bacok. 



6 

JBlm Park, April 5th, 1859. 
Rbv. L. W. Bacon, My Dear Sir : 

I have been pondering seriously and prayerfully the subject matter of our oon- 
veraation this morning, and I must say that I do not feel entirely dear as to the 
course to be pursued. 

In yiew of aU the circumstances of the case, it seems to mo that I ought not 
hastily to commit myself to any definite course in relation to my public and official 
duties. More reflection on my part and earnest prayer to God as well as consultation 
ynih friends who hAve favoured me with tfieir confidences and who are deeply inter- 
ested in my welfare and usefulness as a teacher and a preacher, must be had before 
I can decide on the precise steps to be taken to relieve ministerial brethren from 
the embarrassment which you named. (See Gospel John, 2d : 24th, 26th.) 

I had indulged the hope that I was soon to reap the peaceable fruits of my long 
and bitter trials — ^but if I am to taste yet more of the wormwood and the gaU, and 
be subjected to still greater ^* perils" than those through which I have already 
passed — God's wiU be done. 

That the great Head of the Church may guide and bless you in all your efforts 
to do good and extend the honor of his name, is the sincere prayer of one who 
humbly hopes that h.e is a member of GhrisVs mystical body, and who now aa ever 
subscribes himself truly yours, 

JaXSB RiOBASDS. 

Tuesday evening. 



Litchfidd^ Tuesday evening^ April 5th, 
Rev. Dr. Riohakds, I>earSir: 

Your note (which arrived a few moments since,) I at first intended to answer in 
person; but it seems to me that I can express myself more satisfactorily in writing. 

I am not at all surprised that you hesitate in the decision of so important a 
question as this which has arisen. I assure you that I sympathize in the strug^e 
of mind which it must doubtless cost you. It seems to me that your mistake hes 
in acting in the matter before it is decided. The thing which I think must make an 
unfavorable impression upon such minds as are already prejudiced against you, is 
that while you hesitate to ask the approbation of the pastors, you should have no 
hesitation at all about the far more momentous matter of preaching. I am not 
surprised that a bad report (however unjust) among "them tliat are without," 
should have been deemed by you a sufficient reason for refraining, for a time, from 
being a member of a churcJi : I only wonder that it did not seem even a stronger 
reason for not entering, for a time, upon the position of a minister, I. Tim., lii, 7, 
seems explicit on this point. 

Excuse the roughness of my sentences, I only want to get my meaning out fairly. 

But my object in communicating with you on this subject has been, not to 
volunteer advice with regard to your duty, — I should not have alluded to that but 
for your very frank invitation, — ^but simply tliat you might be advised of what I 
conceive to be mine and that of my brethren in the pastoral office. That duty I 
conceive to be threefold, 

1. 7b the churches. Some rule is necessary to save the churches f^om igrnorant 
and unworthy impostors in the pulpit. Among Baptists and (I believe) English 
Independents the rule requires an examination before the church of whi(^ the 
candidate is a member, and a certificate of their approbation. Here the rule is 
different^ but it is the rule nevertheless, and it is indispensable to good order. We 
all know you to be an able and learned man ; but if we examine no man except on 
the suspicion that he is a blockhead, we shall examine nobody at all. My impres- 
sion is perfectly clear and satisfactory of your soundness in the faith ; but if we, 
on the strength of an impression^ siiiTer you to preach as if by our approbation and 
yet without any credentials, we throw away the only safe-guard of the churches 
against novices and heretics. The Korthfield cfaurdti would have a right to oom- 
plain that the pastors had been treacherous to their eonfidenoe, if we should be 
unfiuthful in this matter. 



2. We hare a duty to you. If any brotbar becomes the subject of an evil report, 
which follows him to amioy him, aud to circumscribe his usefulness, obviously the 
very first duty and service which we can render him is to inquire into the matter, 
and to vindicate him by declaring his innocence. I do not see but that this is 
exactly your case and ours. If your case is perfectly clear and satisfactory, all the 
more easy for examination ; if it is any wise difficult or embarrassed, all the greater 
necessity for an examination. If there is no difficulty about satisfying the pastors, 
why not do it? If there is difficulty about it, why is it not all the more important 
to do it? 

The very important consideration which you mentioned this afternoon, that of 
your health, and the importance of avoiding needless excitement, is open to the^ 
same sort of answer. The same considerations of health which should lead you to 
avoid an informal conference with the neighboring pastors, ought to forbid yon to 
undergo the weekly excitement and fatigue, at the dose of your week's laborioiia 
duties, of supplying a pulpit A providential call to do the latter of these must 
seem to be a providential call to do the other first 

I cannot but sympathize with you in the thought of your protracted trials, to 
which you so -feelingly allude. But it is impossible for me to think it a hardship 
that you should not be permitted to over-ride all the laws and discipline of our 
churches, or that you should not be admitted to the confidence of the associated 
ministers and churches while offering no opportunity to them to satisfy the doubts 
of any of their number, touching your character and standing. 

3. We owe a duty to ourselves. For all these irregularities we are justly held 
responsible, and to all tlie reproach of flying rumors unfavourable to you, and 
which are not brought to investigation and set at rest, we are justly obnoxious, so 
long as you occupy this position with our tacit consent. We are so fixed that we 
can neither deny the charges, nor disclaim the responsibility. Such responsibility 
as this I do not think we have any right to assume ; nor does it seem just that you 
should impose it on us, for even a single week. 

As I have said, I assume no authority whatever. You are independent ; the 
Northfield church is independent, except so far as it may have bound itself by com- 
pact Just so, however, all the pastors and churches of this district are indepen- 
dent And there is no difficulty in devising action which shall rectify the irregu- 
larity complained of, without in the slightest deg^e trenching on the independence 
of church or individuaL 

If the relations of parties should continue as at present, I should think it my 
duty to bring the subject to the notice of the Association at the earliest opportunity. 

I close abruptly, for it is long after midnight. But I am happy to know that 
I have had too many opportunities to show my personal and neighborly good will, 
to make it needful for me to disclaim any motive for the above resolution but such 
as appear on the face of the letter. Truly yours, 

L. W. Bi.C0N. 

Bev. Ii. W. Baoon, to tbe Stated Clerk of the Prea l aytery of Kew 

Orleans. 

JMeJ^ield, Corm,, April Bth, 1869. 
Kev. and dear Sir : 

Will you have the kindness to send me a statement of the ecclesiastical standing 
of Dr. James Richards, formerly pastor of a church in your presbytery. 

In case any censure exist against him, if there are also any circumstances that 
may mitigate the moral effect of the censure, or if you have any knowledge of a 
disposition among the members of the presbytery to reverse or alleviate the sen- 
tence in view of f&cta which have since transpired, I should esteem it a favor to 
be advised of them. I write simply by my own authority, but your answer will be 
a kindness not only to me, but to the diurches of our common Lord in this region, 
into whose pulpits Dr. Ridiards desires to be admitted. 

Wishing to you, and to the church under your charge, the blessing of grace, 
mercy and peace, I am yours fraternally, 

LioviJa) W. Baook. 



90 



Wtmm^ A%9. 25^^ 1869. 
^•▼. Sir: 

In reply to jrours of the 34th, I will way that whon we exigaged Dr. Riofaarde to 
preach for us, we supposed him to be in good standing. Nothing was said on thai 
•nfajJBCt by «c to him, or by him to us; neither did we suspeet anyHdng to the con- 
trary, until he had been with us some four weeks^ and then it came from sueh a 
source I did not credit it I do not reooUect now of hearing him say any^inc 
about his difficulty at New Orleans, untU the Sabbath of his illness here. At tluS 
time the committee asked him the question, Why he did not tell them of his stand- 
hig when tiiey engaged him 7 His r^y was, Bow can a man kU tkeM Uiings </ 

As to tiie cause of his illness hers, I haye no means of knowing it to be difl^rent 
from what he states. 

BespeotftiUy yours, H. J. Tatlor. 

To Isaao D. Patteraon, Esq, Ifew Proifcoii, Cknin. 

CThlfl letter was wuuato wmMim^ fabitantially the Mioe witk tha letter ta Mr. Tajler of Wai^ 
laa, oadttiag tiM Moond pMagnph.} 

Answer. 

yew Fresiim^ S^t, 6^ 1859. 
Dear Sir: 

Youra was reoeiYed in due time; negligence is my exciise for not answering it 
sooner. 

Tou make some inquiries about Dr. James Richards; Whether any oonyersation 
passed between us, on the subject of his standing in the ministry ? Whether he 
^oade 6j)j statemMit to me on this sulject, when he was in New Preeton, and if so 

I do not now recollect that he did make any statement with reference to hi^ 
standing in the ministry ; nor would he be likely to^ if his standing was not good, 
as I now suppose it was not. 

We did not hire Dr. Eichards to supply our desk. We had engaged Mr. Hemp- 
stead to supply it for a few months, and in the meon time Mr. Hempstead wished 
to be absent for one or two Sabbaths, I think two, and Dr. Richards preached for 
him during his absence. I supposed at the time his standing was good as a minis- 
ter of the gospel, and that he had dean papers, although I did not inquire of him 
for his credentiaLB ; but have since learned that he has been silenced or suspended 
by two dilferent Presbyteries. Rev. Mr. Hempstead, I suppose, could give you all 
the information you need on the subject 

Yours tmly, L D. Pattxb80» 

To Ber. L- ^- Hiokok, D. D., Sbheneotady, V. T. 
Vioe-Fresident of Unloa OoUoge. 

Auff. 25, 1869. 

{Alter the etatement ef the iMt of Dr. Rlichardt*e eppttcatioai end eTanrinetton, and the 
i^polatBMBt of theCkMunHtefk the letter proeeede :] 

Will .you have the kindness to teU me whether, fronx fscts within your personal 
k^kowledge, you have formed ai^ dear and dedded opinion of Dr. Richarda'a fltnoM 
^r the gospel ministry, and particularly on the points of truth and veradty? 

Also whether there is any such common fame against him for inveradty aa woul4 
affect his credibility aa a witness in his own behalf? 

If you can contribute anything in the way of counsel or suggestion that can help 
us to a wise i^id just oondusion, we shall receive it gratefully. * * * 

Yours truly, 

Ii. W. Bacm)k. 



81 

Answer* 

Union OoUege, AttguH ilV^ 1859. 
Dear Sir: 

I have not doabted the propiiely of Dr. BichardB^s deposition t\rom the gospel 
ministry, though the fiicts on which it was grounded were not within my personal 
knowledge. From souroes of information that I suppose myself obliged to credit, 
I have &It convinced that both before and since his deposition, his conduct was 
wholly unworthy a Christian minister; but from my personal knowledge I can say 
nothing. I should much prefer to hear of confession and promises of reformatioD, 
than, as you say, "a vindwation of his integrity throughout the whole course of 
his ministry." 

I have rejoiced to understand that his conduct and success as a teacher have 
been so favorable since his residence at Litchfield, and I should wish to do nothing 
to discourage or embarrass him ; but it becomes a different matter, when he adcs for 
admission again to preach the gospel That office should not be sought or given, 
without high and unquestionable standing.f ****«« 

I would do all I might to help him in business and socially; I could not aid in 
putting him into the ministry without greater evidence of reformation. 

Most cordially, 

L. P. HlOKOK. 

* * I think Rev. Henry Mills, D. D., Auburn, would be a better source 
from wtkh to obtain informatioa about Dr. Richards than myself. He is ftiendly 
to him and knows, I think, mudi more than I do. He has Mends who live in and 
near Morristown, where Dr. Richards was some years settled. 

To Ber. Qeo. B. Oheever, D. D., New York. 

August 26, 18691 

CAAar a rtafMaant of Dr. Biehardf '■ appUeatton, •xMnimUlon, and the appolntmait of tho 
OMBmitleo, tho letter prooeeda 

Dr. Richards informed us that during the pendency of his trial before the Pies- 
bylsffy of BBzabethtown, ha was acting as temporary stq^y of your pu^it;- and 
that after he returned firom New Orleans under censure, you stood by him as a 
fHend and adviser, and that it was in accordance with your advice^ that he deter- 
mined to act "in total disregard of that censure." 

Win you have the kindness to inform us how ttat these statements of Dr. Richards 
are in accordance with the £ut8 as you remember them? 

Also, (as Dr. Richards has made reference to you) please state whether yon are 
prepared to recommend him to us, fh>m your knowledge €i his character, as a man 
worthy of being commended by us to the confidence of the churches as a Cfuididate 
for the Ghristiaa ministry. a a * 

Tours respectfVilly, L. W. Baook. 



.^10 Torkf SepL 20^A, 1869. 
Hy dear Sir: 

I have been absent aeveral weeks, and regret that your letter should remain so 
long unanswered. 

lij reosUeotion of the circumstances to which you refer, in regard to Mr. 
Richards is very imperfect indeed, but accords with his statement of tlM matter. I 
have known nothing at all oonoeming him for a considerable time, but as to the 
censure of the Presbytery of New Orleans, to which you refer, I remember thai 
my conviction was that it deserved not to be regarded, and that he could safely act 
in entire contempt of it I know nothing against his character as a candidate, and 
should rejoice to see him setfled and useuil as a Gongregational minister. 

Yours most truly, Gbobob B. C hmivbb . 

— ^^ — ^ — ^ 

fTbe parafraph here oaiitted glTea aeoouat of a trmnuetioB wUeh It it not a e ee w eiy here ta 
datafl. If thaenittadUBMuaealled fbrbytbelHendtofDr. RkhsrdkftbeyoaabeprodaaaC 

3» 



38 

To Fredteiak Striogoiri Beq., New Orleane. 

Aug. 26ih, 1,869. 
Dear Sir: 

Dr. James Richards, formerly of New Orleans, but for three years paet a reaident 
ef this place, has officiated a number pf times in aeyend churehes of this region, 
notwithstanding the censure which rests upon him from the Presbjrterj of New 
Orleans. Being remonstrated with for this Irregukrity, he has flnaDy present 
himself to the litohfleld South Association^ of whiqh I am a member, and been 
examined on his application for a lloense to preach. His statements before the 
Association, (whidi were in vindication cK his entire career,) made a yery fayorabje 
impression on the pastors present, but it was thought wise to defer final action !a 
the matter, until inquiries should have been instituted by a Gonmuttee sppointe4 
for that purpose, of which I am chairman. 

I wrote at once to my friend, Rev. E. K. Beadle of Fartford,* asking htan to 
give me tiie name of some wise and ftuthM member dt the Third Presbyterian 
Church whom I might address in the matter. He gave me two namee, of whidi 
yours was one ; and accordingly I write to you to ask ;— 

1. What is your opinion of tiie moral and religious character of Dr. Richards t 

2. In your judgment, can the phenomena which were considered as evidence of 
drunkenness by tibie Presbyteiy of New Orleans, be accounted for as the effect of 
bodily or mental disease? 

8. What is the prevailing opinion, in the Ttiid Presbyteiisa Chuioh, wttik 
Mi0Brd to Dr. Bicharda's charaoter, especially on the two points of veracity and tea^- 
peranoe? 

Answers to these questions, with any suggestions which will be likely to aid us 
in coming to a wiae aiid just oon^sion, w3l be a valuable aervioe rendered to the 
cause ana church of Christ in this part of the country. 

Tours in Christian respect and duty, 

L. W. Ba^s. 
(AniBlhac fapy of the above teller wm eddiMsed to Wbl C. BayBieai, Bn^t How MoaBa.] 



Awwep: 

Km OHMmgf Oept IM^ 1869. 
ar: 

Absence from the city has prevented me from responding to yours of )(tli 
August 

As a witness in the trial of Dr. Richards, my testimony is on record, and wffl 
probably in due time be placed before you. A subsequent expression of opinion 
therefore does not appear to me to be proper, especially as the Presbytery of which 
I am a member may be called upon to take fbrtiier action in the case. I therefore 
waive the answers to your three questions. 

I would however suggest that the action of our Presbytery, composed of me& 
m pore In duraeter as can be found in our ohuroh, should not be ligfatly esteemed* 
The patience, prayerfiil attention, deep sorrow and solicitude for the absent aoeoeed^ 
all oenfirm their ftitfafhlness, and the results of that investigation can only b^ 
ascribed to the spMtual guidanoe of the great Head of the churdi. 

Brother F. Stringer, vraiom you addressed, ooneuis in the foregoing, and begs 
yea to accept it ki Seu of a formal answer 

Tours Bespeotftilly, 

W. C. Raticovd, 

BSder, 3d Presbyterian Ghurdh. 

•Formor pMtor of the Third Frofbyterii^i Gharth la Hew OrioMu, in which ofiee ho 
■ueooodod by Dr. Bt^harda. 



J 



itii^i»< 31«i; 1869. 

[After ttattng the ctreuni Ubqm of th* ftppolntmeiit of the CommlUee, end Ihet ]>v. Hkkok 
he4 reoompieiided addreailQg pr. HUK tqr Bf^n^n IQ M^^e tf<^9 ^tteitio:!i« irhieh )ia4 been put 
to himself^ the letter proceeds :~-\ 

I tmai, Sir, that I need no far^en apology fbr addrefleiiig to you the aam^ 
inquiries which I put to Dr. Hickok. We shall be trulj grateful, — ^pastors and 
charches, — ^for any pertinent information, and shall especially rejoice if your answers 
ahall tend to corroborate the statements of Dr. Blaiuds, and ^us restore him to 
the! ooDfidenge of the dian;ih9« i^id of thP publia 



B^arSr: 

Yours of 3l8t ult wias duly reoelved, 

Any hope I may have of him about whom you inquire^ looks to th« f^tnro^ pot to 
the past; and must have for its basis liis acknowledgments and the evidence of his 
amendment, rather than "his own vindication of his entire career as a mmister, as 
heing pure Ihxn any just reproedi.'* 

Several years have passed since I had any opportunity fbr personal observation 
of his course. After several experiments in cblferent and durtant plaeesi he has 
been renewedly on probation at litchfleM now for tliree years f—iuid if your 
Asaociation oan unite in the tostioKwqr that during ^t Mnod aqjUiiiw has toeuned 
making questionable liis veracity or sobrie^, X VHHUd rejoiee,— though hit s^ 
vindication, I must confess, excites some fears oiT rglapsa. 

The subject is an unpleasant one. I wpMkI havf ]iielM^ paying QDthnig« I 
oould say much. I, perhaps, liave already said too much* ^^\ whan dubr appeiMed 
to, I ooidd not well say few, nor, honestly, oihenoife^ 

Witii much regara, yours, Hmnikt Ujua 

To Ber. TheoqorP In GmlK, ITow Tw*?» 

(^^ taow taa^teBf w«« tddreaNri at Id Bhn. Bkkok and Mflh.] 



i M.Z, Stfi. 84ft, 1869. 

Bev. and dear Brother: 

Ton write ma in regard to poor i9|bAanb, whoa^ paiver haa beea # pad ^4 
wretched one indeed. 

^ first ministry ww in my iiative tovB, Aurora, N« T, Thero ho had no 
character for "veroct^.'* 

Then he preached in tf orristown, 17. X, (my mo4het^$ native ^wi^) and thm h^ 
lost hid character for **sobriety.^ 

What Mr. Bichards is fioio I do not know. I Aqpe he has reformed. Butwh^I 
used to know him, he was lioentious, imtnithfVil, and addicted to strong drhik. If 
Mr. Bidiards is a ekmnffad man,->4hon>ugbly changed, and you know it^ — Aen 
leetoro hfan to the puiptt But if aoi, let him alone. 

Our old friend, Dr. Henry MiHs, of the Auburn Theological Seminary, loiows moiv 
•f Biohards Hum any man in Ameriea. WHk to kirn. 

Towards Mr. Rlohaids I hava no peiwmal unkindness, but I should want ttroiMr 
•fUeooa indaad to oonvinpa ma to vote for his restoratioo to the pulpit 
Szouae harta Frankly and fhitonuilly yours, 

Tbio. L. OmaB. 



*Thii i i| |ffw tto» l|at beta rtaovad by Ifitn Qayler. 



To Bev. James T. 'RttgHwh, Idbeorty Oomer, N. J^ 

stated Obrk of the Pteabytery of EUMabethiowfL 
[The OoiftmittM wrote] 

. . . "To ask the favor of a copy of the charges and specificaHona^ and the acUon 
of the Presbytery upon them ; idso of any subsequent action that may have been 
taken by the Presbytery, after their teoord in the oase had been submitted to the 
Synod." 

A2i8W0r« 

Liberty Corner, Ni X, Sept 13th, 1869. 
BoT. and dear Sir : 

Tours of the 5th instant is ftt hand. The records of Presbytery in the case of 
Dr. Richards are voluminous. I will try and give you the substance in brief. 

Tou ask for the '^charges and specifications tabled, &c ;— The actim of the Pres- 
bytery upon them ; also any subsequent action that mi^ have been t^en by the 
F^bytery after their record in the oase had been submitted to ^e Synod.*' 

1. Charges and specifications, &c. 
Charge first; Drunkenness, 

The specifications under it are eight in number,— times and plaoes all differeati 
and one on a Sabbath named "in the pulpit morning and evening." 

Charge second; Leufd and profane Language, 
The specifications are three In number. 

Charge third; Abusing Ms wife by frequently defaming her character, assaulting 
herperson, and striking her witii violence. 
The spedficationa are four in number. 
Charge fourth; PteiMmioaMon and falsekood. 

The specifications are three. 

Charge fifth; Attempting to hone iUieii intercourse with ■ ■ in his own 

house about the middle of February, 1860. 

2. "The action of the Presbytery upon them." 

" Besolved, first, that the Ist and 8d charges are proved, that the 3d and 4tii 
charges are proved in part, and that the 6th charge is not proved at all. But tim^^ 
the oriminality of Dr. Richards is in the view of Presbytery greatly modified on 
the ground of insanity. 

" Resolved, secondly, that the judgment of this Presbytery hi view of the whole 
case is this: that Dr. Richards be requested, and he is hereby enjoined to demit 
the flmctions of the ministry, until the meeting of this Presbytery in Oct 1852.*'* 

Ten members "protested against the proceedings as irregular, on the ground 
that no formal vote was taken and recorded, as to the guilt or innocence of the 
accused as to the charges on which he had been tried." 

Dr. Richards "submitted to their decision, and would endeavor to oonform him* 
self to their advice, according to his ordination vows^ At the same time, he asked 
for himself their sympathies and prayers, in the difficult and trying circumstances 
in which he was placed." 

3. " Any subsequent action," Ac 

Allow me to say that no action of any kind was taken in the case by the Piesby* 
tery, after their record had been submitted to the Synod. All that the Presbyteiy 
did, they did before their decision in the case came before the upper judicatory for 
approval Dr. Richards was suspended Nov. 15th, 1861. The period for which he 
was suspended, terminated at "the meeting of this Presbytery m October (first 
Tuesday) 1852." The reooTds of the Presbytery came up regularly for review two 
weeks after (third Tuesday of October, 1852,) and did not indnde (they never do) 
the doings of the Presbytery at the meeting two weeks previous,— when "Dr. 
Richards was permitted to resume the duties of his office, and in so doing is 



• The date of thl« minute is Nov. 1853.. 



paopla of Qod." I>r. BichArds liad Wen tried, oondemneid, Biiq>eod«d and roilor^di 
and was diamiMed in good Btanding to tho Piaeabjtery of Now BnmiwiclCp at tiit 
time that the raoordaof ihf Presbytery in hia oaaa Game regularly bafoca tba QyiioA. 
There oould therefore be no ^mibaifimU acHotk* 

I forbear niaking any farther explanation ov oonuneiit at pteaent If after 
reoeiying tfiia 'brief you still think you would prefer the whole leoord, I will 
hare it copied for you. I afaall be greatly obliged if you will send me the subetanaa 
of ycnir deliberations and decision in the casa I wlU answer anj queBtioltf^ or do 
any thing for jou touching this matter, in b^ power. 

I oertUy that the extracts above are true extraets ttom the minutes of the Pres- 
bjtery of SUaabethtown ; and that all the representations and explanations herein 
giyen are in aooordance with the same. 

;. T. BlWOHi iSSttM CbriL 

To Thoi. Bealfli Baq., OKnandKignftj H. T. 

S^ 10, 1869. 
Dear Sir: 

A brief statement of the oiTOumstancea in whioh I wrifta will be a fffl4^^'^^ 
i^imlogy to you for my liberty in addressing you. 

Dr. James Ricdiards, who is now under censure of deposition of the Praabjtery 
of New Orleans, has applied to the Litchfleld South Association, of whkdi I am a 
member, to restore him to the ministry bj granting him their reeommendatioa and 
lioense to preach. Hia statement to tiie Aseociation, (wl^ made a toi; faroiable 
impression) was in YindicaHon of his Christian chancter through the entire eowaa 
of his ministry. The yery grave responsibili^ of the ease made it seam to the 
Association imwise to proceed to act finally \xpoia it, until they had inquired into 
the truthfulness of Dr. Richards^s statement; and they accordingly acQonmed untQ 
the 27th of September, appointing for the pieantime a Committee of Inquiry, of 
itiiich I am chairman. 

My friend, Henry W. Taylor, Esq., writes to me, in reply to some inquiries, that 
he has had no opportunity of personal knowledge of Dr. Richards since he becsma 
^ minister, and suggests that you could give us more and better iidbnnatien than 
any other person m that community. The importance of the case is such, both t9 
Dr. Richards, and to the puri^ and order of the church of Ghrist» that I T^ntaia 
to submit to you tho same questioas, substantiaUy, which I asked of Mr. Taylor. 

1. Whether from facts that have come within your personal loiowledge, you have 
formed any dear and decided opinion on Dr. Ricbards^s character in general, and 
particulaily as concerns hia moral fitness for the Quistian ministry ? lyid If iOb 
what that opinion is? 

2. Whether you can conununicato to us any authentic /adl9 that either oorroboiata 
or discredit Dr. Richards's assertion of his pyrij^ and integrity cC cfaaraoter 
throughout the period of hia ministry T 

Tour answers to these questions will have great weight with our body, and will 
be thankftilly received. We shall especially rejoice, if they shall tend to reconmiend 
Dr. Richards to our confidence. 

RespeotftiDy, and truly yours, L. W. Baoov. 

AXUKWBtm 

Oimandaigua, 8ipt lOA, 1869, 
DearSir: 

Your letter of 7th inst is just received. My neighbor. Judge Taylor, has referred 
you to mo to answer ** whether from foots that have come within your penwmal 
knowledge, you have formed any dear and decided opinion of Dr. Riehards's 
diaracter in general, and particularly aa concerns bis moral fitness for the Christian 
ministry? and if so^ what that opinion ia? Whether you can commumcate to ua 
ai^ autiientic faeia that either corroborate or discredit Dr. Riohards*s assertian of 
his purity and integrity of diaracter throughout the whole period of his mmist^t 



I ftnswer, your letter is respectflil, and I respond promptly. I have had no oorres^ 
pondence ^tii Dr. Richards since he left M orristown, N. J. IHiat he has heen deposed 
from the ministry, I have no eyidenoe, except the New York Obsenrer, in which I 
read the atmtnmcement and without comment I hare n^t made inquiry, and know 
nothing but what comes through his children. They are daughters, 14 and 16 
years of age, and have lived in my fiEunily many years. I ask no quettions, and 
am without information. It appears to me you cannot go behind the rword. You 
must go to the body who severed the relation. You have been his neighbor for 
many years. Is he of good report in your midst ? This question being settled, 
you are well prepared then to act ecdenagUcaUy. Yeiy respectfully, 

Your most obedient servant, 

Thomab BsAia. 

To Be¥« O. B. Daggetty D.J}^ Canandaiguay N. Y. 

.S^ nth, 1869. 
My dear Doctor: 

1. What is your opinion of Dr. James Richards, formerly of Penn Yan, and 
what are your reasons for it? 

2. What is the public opinion of him in Western Kew York, especially among 
wise and good men who have had opportunity of personal knowledge of him, and 
about him ? 

I write on behalf of the Litchfield South Association, to whom Dr. Ridiards has 
lately applied for license to preach, asserting his innocisnce of the charges preferred 
against 1dm at New Orleans, and that he hM held fast his integrity throughout the 
whole period of his ministry. His statement made a favorable impression on the 
brethren present, but they adjourned the case until the 27th inst., and appointed a 
Oommittoe of Inquiry, for which I write, as chairman. * * * 

With kind remembrances, Aa, L. W. Baoov. . 

Axurwer. 

Ckmandcdgua^ SqO. lOth, 1869. 
My dear Sir: 

I have received your letter of the 7th inst asking, Ist, What is my opinion of 
ICr. James Richards, and what my reasons for it : and 2d, " What is the public 
opinion of him in Western New York, especially among wise and good men who 
have had opportunity of personal knowledge of him and about him?^' 

To the 1st question, I answer ; my personal acquaintance with him was never 
more than slight and casual, and I have not now met him for several years, 
nor did I ever investigate the charges and proceedings against him, either in New 
Jersey or in New Orleans : hence I have no business to pronounce an individual 
opinion on his merite. 

To the 2d I answer: As far as I have heard him spoken of in Western New 
York, his reputetion as to integrity and sobriety is not good. 

Yours sincerely, O. E. Dag<}Btt. 

To Charlea B. White, M* D., Kew Orleaxui. 

CThe laqniriM addreMed to Dr. White are given In foil in his replj. He wee a member of 
the Preebyteiy of Kew Orleani at the time of the tiial end exeommnnicatton of Dr. Blcharde. 
Dr. Wbtte it a prMtliing phyiidea. Hit answer did not reach the Committee till after their 
Report had been made,] 

A2I8W0F. 
Dear Sir: New OrfeoM, S^ 9t\ 1859. 

You inquire 

ItL " In your Judgment, can the phenomena which were considered by the Pres- 
bytery of New Orleans to be evidence of drunkenness in Dr. Richards, be accounted 
for as the effect of bodily or mental disease, simulating the symptoms of intoxica- 
tion?" 



In annoer: The evidenoe which I heard at the trial of Br. BichardB, left no 
doubt in my mind that the '* phenomena" above-mentioned were the effects of 
intoxication. I do not think they could be considered the manifestation of mental 
or bodily disease. 

Query 2d " How are opinions divided in the Christiaa community of New 
Orleans with respect to the justice or ix:justice of the eodeBiastical sentence 
against Dr. Richards ?" 

Afuwer: I am not aware of any division of opinion in regard to the matter 
mentioned in this previous question. 

Dr. Richards^ as you are probably informed, was upon one occasion picked up in 
the streets in a supposed state of intoxication, and carried to the watch-house until 
morning, and an account of the affair published in one of the daily papers. The 
Christian community were so saddened by the grievous wound to the cause of their 
Master, that as little as possible was said about the occurrence, and I myself never 
heard a word of censure in regard to the course of the Presbytery, nor have I 
known of any objection made by Ohristians or others to the ecclesiastical sentence 
passed upon Dr. Richards. 

Query 3(2. " Would it, or would it not, in your view, be possible to account fOT 
facts in the Dr. Richards's life at New Orleans on the idea that he was a man of 
integrity and purity of (character ?" 

Aruwer: I think the facts in Dr. Ricbards^s life in New Orleans do not consist 
with the idea that he was a man of integrity of character. 

The evidences of frequent duplicity, and unmistakeable falsehood, persistent 
through months, I presume had much weight in deciding the Presbytery to pn>* 
nounoe the sentence of exc(mununicaHon from the church. 

I would respectfully suggest that a copy of the minutes of the trial fh>m the 
Presbyterial records would furnish to the Association the means of arriving at a 
satisfactory conclusion. 

You will observe that I have not responded to one expression of the third ques> 
tion,^" jnirily cf ehanteier.^^ Not knowing precisely the force of the expression, I 
have not said anything upon that point At this distance of time, I do not recollect 
that any evidence of Ucentionsness was brought forward against him. 

Allow me to hope that your associates ahd yourself may be led by the Holy 
Spirit to opinions and actions which will conserve the purity of the diurch, and 
render honor unto our Master. With respect, I remain, 

Tours truly, 0. B. Whct. 

To Bev. M. II. P. ThompBon, D« D^ BufUOt K. Y. 

[Alter pnttiac the two qneitloni wUeh were addressed to Dr. Dafgett, the Oommittee ask :] 

&pt. nth, 1869. 

Qtt, 3. It has been intimated to me that reports seriously to the disparagement 
of Dr. Richards^s character were in cireulation before he left Western New York. 
If this be true, can you suggest an explanation why these reports were not made 
subject of inquiry by the ecdesiastical oourts to whidi he was then amenable ? 

Antwer, 

Buffalo, Sept 11th, 1859. 
Bev. and dear Sir : 

I am really sorry that you have found it necessary to address me on the subject 
of your letter. Pers<Mially, I have no knowledge of any of the things for whidi 
Dr. Richards was deposed from the ministry. I am nevertheless constrained to say 
that the settled convictions of my mind are all opposed to his restoration. I have 
no doubt that it is better for him and for the churoh that he shall continue as he is. 
As his own friend, were I consulted, I should advise him to remain quiet. I may 
have been misinformed, but my belief^ on the testimony of those who know him 
beet, is that he is still addicted to the occasional excessive use of intoxicating 
drinks. For eleven years past I have had no communication with him. At thait 



tima, ioHie eire&ts t^ftii8pii«4 under my own obdeftitioii, which iatisfled me Ota* he 
Wm « dishoneflt and diAononble naii. I on Bot attempt m detailed oartaliTe ef 
theee mattora, but should be ready to testify if ealled upon. 

As to the reputation of Dr. Richards generally in Western New York, it iM 
vndoubtedly bad. I do not thmk that those who know him have any confidence in 
him. If you have time,* write to t)r. Oridiey of Waterloo, who can speak far more 
positively on this head than I can. Dr. Gridley had personal dealmgs witb Dr. 
Biokardsi and knew him wi^ 

In answer to your 3d question, I can only iay that at the time of my leaving 
Choandaigua I was not awam of the existence of any rumors prefudicial to Dr. 
BIchards's charaeter. If tiiere were any after that, previous to his going to Kew 
Jersey, I apprehend that they Were not of a sufficiently tangible character to 
faurtify any public abtion. Dr. Oridiey, I know, Mt himself greatly aggrieved by 
him in relation to some peooaiary tranftactkm, and was forced, I think, to use legd 
temediea ; but the grievance did not reaiih the point of extreme irritation, ff I am 
OMVBOtly infonned, until about the time of Dr. Ridtaids^ removaL Ky impression 
Is that Uie rumors in that region, which might have called for pubUo inveetigatioDt 
did not become flagrant, b anv dense, untal his removal from it. 

Bichards tiMiy be a thoroughly reformed man. I should be sorty to do him aai 
injustice. If the action of your Association is to be based on the evidence of hia 
pi ' Msnl fttneas to exercise the ministerial office, then I apprehend you have no con- 
cern with the old matters upon which he was deposed, unless he now denies them. 
If tiie question relatee to tae old matters, you have a wide field of inquiry before 
yon, and will find it necesaaiy to travel far and look sharp, before you reach a wise 
conclusion. 

I beg to say in dosing that I have a very pleasant remembrance of you and bnt 
Cdt the oooaaion, should have fblt a real ^ensure in tiiis revival of our aoquaintanoe. 

Prajdng for your welfare, and that your Association may be guided aright in its 
•otimi on'lhe^aBe before yon, I am wltii love. 

Truly youn, IC. L. P. Thokpsov. 

To Rev. J. T. Hffngliiih, Stated Olerli^ Idbertgr Gkxmer, JX. J. 

Sept lltK, 1869. 

... 1. Please to give me the specifications under charge 2d, " Lewd and profane 
language," and charge 4th, " Prevarication and falsehood." 

2. Did the Synod take any action, when the case came before them *^ on the 
record," in disapproval of the action of Presbytery 7 « . . 

Answer. 

Liberty Oonwr^ K. J,, 8qpL 23d; 1869. 
Bev. anddesrfiir: 

Your second letter of inqtthy in title matter of Dr. Bidmrds is at hand. 

Tott make two pohits : 

I. The specifications under enlarges 2 and 4. 

A. Charge 2d] " Lewd and profane language." Specifications, three: 

1. At his own house in the early part of July, 1849. 

2. At his own house and at Ira 0. Whitehead's, also on his way to Trenton in 
January, 1860. 

3. At Ira G. Whitehead's, F^b. 1st, 1860, also at other places. 

B. Ohar^4tiL *' Provarication and fUsehood.** SpeciflcationB, fonr : 

1. Denying, contrary to faot, that he used strong drink except when iMlvlsed 
tiiereto by his physician. 

2. Denying thint be had ever abused his Wifo. 

8. Falsely asserting that he had been invited by the feesskm, or one of lie mem- 
bers, to resume the pulpit after he had given it up. 



* Tha Conaalttee Had Ml lolklattt «Im te tai«a amww firoa Dr. OHdl^y, b«M« Iha 



99 

4. Saying thAt Kr. ToorfadM aftd Beftoon Pnidden had told him that his uaeftil- 
nesa was at an end, and then denyioig that he had said so. 

U. *' Did the Sjmod take any action .... in disapproval of the action of the 
Preabyteiy?" 

A few preliniinarieB, here, if yon please. 

The charges were tabled Aug. 19, 1851, and the suit commenced by the examina- 
tion of the iQrst witness, Sept 2nd. Between seventy and one hundred witnesses 
were sworn ; many of them were recalled, and some of them for the third or 
fourth time. A very large number of letters were read, besides a variety of docu- 
ments, sessional records, etc., etc Between twenty-five and thirty days were con- 
sumed in the investigation, and the decision was at last reached on a Saturday 
evening «< a kUe houTy about the middle of November. Presbytery had come 
together on Wednesday to decide the case, (expecting to return home the day fol- 
lowing,) but were not able to do so until the evening of the fourth day. By this 
time aU were wearied and anxious to get home. Some had obtained leave and gone, 
liuch confusion prevailed; different motions were offered, and papers read, and 
votes taken, Ac. " Some cried one thing, and some another ; for the assembly was 
oonfiyiod, and the more part knew not " — ^what to do. In the midst of tlie conAi- 
aion, *' the calling of the roll was commenced," but was soon '* suspended to give 
place for a minute on which the numbers of Presbytery might unite, and during 
the discussion of said minute " another paper was offered and adopted, but was 
afterwards "on motion reconsidered." '* Alter its reconsideration " the paper was 
adopted, the substance of which I sent you before. £ven this was not satisfactory 
to many of the Presbytery, and five members had " leave to dissent from the judg- 
ment 0^ tiie Presbytery," and ten members protested " on the ground that no for- 
mal vote was taken and recorded as to the guilt or innocence of the accxzsed as to 
the charges on which he had been tried." 

This protest, or the irregularity in the proceedings of the Presbjrteiy which was 
the ground of it, formed the basis of the action which the Synod took in its review 
of our records. 

This action I will now give you. A, B, and G were appointed a Committee on the 
records of the Presbyteiy of Elizabethtown, and subsequently reported to Synod 
that the records be approved, except; &c., *' on pages 643—4, vol. 2, in the case of 
Dr. Richards, the Committee reconunend the following exceptions: — 

" 1st. That it was due to the accused to have had a direct vote of the Presbytery 
on eaoh charge, and that the Presbytery ought to have taken such vote instead dT 
uniting the vote as they did after the vote on the second charge. 

" 2d. That after deciding that Dr. Richards could not be considered guilty on 
account of insanity,* yet because the decision was " not satisfactory to some," and 
notice of protest having been given, a new resolution was adopted, declaring that 
four of the charges were provend in whole or in prrt, and that his criminality was 
modified on the ground of insanity, — ^this course the Committee consider irregular 
and uxijust. 

" The Committee finding that Dr. Richards submitted to the result, and that he has 
been permitted by the Presbytery to resume the Ainctions of the ministry, do not 
think it necessary to recommend any farther action than that the report of the 
Committee appointed to examine these records be entered on the minutes of th^ 
Presbytery." 

The above is the whole of the report of the Committee of Synod, and the adop- 
tion of said report was the only action taken by Synod in the case. 

The foregoing is, I believe, about all you ask for at present If at any subsequent 
time you need further information in the matter, it would afford me great pleasure 
to ftimish you with whatever it is in my power to oommonicate. * * « 

Yours truly, 

J. T. English. 

* Tkk wu Um paper flnt «dopt«d bj the PrMbyleiy, and afterwatdf r«coiifidered.- 



30 

GOBBESPONDENGE OF DB. BIGHABDS WITH MEHBEBS 

. OP THE ASSOCIATION. 

(The fbttowing letten are dated a few dayf after the appointment of the Committee of In- 
quiry, and after their eorreipondenoe had been eommenoed and was in progren. Inaamneh 
as the ease of Dr. Ricluurds was pending before the Association before the presentation of his 
petition for license, it is obvions that it remained before them after tliat petition was with- 
drawn. This sadden shift was not suffered to intermpt the business of the Committee ] 

Dr, BiohardB to the Moderator of the AssociatLOXL 

Likhfidd, Saiwday, Aug.20t?i, 1869. 

Rev. Mr. Lthak, Moderator of Litchfield Association South. 

Dear Sir: 

Since the arrival of the Ber. Dr. Wadaworth in this place, I hare had a con- 
ference with him touching my application to your body ; and he advises me to take 
the direct method of seeking restoration to the ministry laid down in the Book of 
Discipline of the Presbyterian Ohurch, and the Rev. Dr. Walter Clarke concurs. I 
therefore withdraw my application for license, that I may refer my case at once to 
the Presbytery of New Orleans. Yours respectf\illy, 

James Riohabd&' 

P. S. My case is now, so far as my request can make it, on tlie way to New 
'Orleans, and you are relieved of aU concern in it. J. R. 

Dr. BiohardB to Ber. George J. Harrison. 

Scribe or the Associatiok. 

Saturday evening^ Aug. 20^ 1859. 
My Dear Sir: 
After conference with the Rev. Dr. Clarke of the Mercer Street Presbyterian 
^Church, New York, and with the Rev. Dr. Wadsworth, of the Arch Street Church, 
'Philadelphia, I am advised by them to withdraw at once my application for licen- 
sure, made to your body, and I have notified accordingly the Moderator of the As- 
sociation of my withdrawal. My object is to make a direct appeal to the body un- 
der whose censure I am now suffering — ^the only body which ccm fully restore me.* 
The Presbytery of New Orleans are already memorialized to this effect. . l£y ap- 
plication to your Association is a nullity, and the papers containing that application 
-are my property on every principle of civil as well as of ecclesiastical law. Yon 
will therefore at once restore them to me. And on behalf of the church of North- 
•field, of which I am a member, and to whom I regularly minister, at their unani- 
mous call, I would request the return to tJiem of the memorial addressed to your 
Association on my behalf. 

I am yours respectfully, James Richabds. 

Answer. 

Milton, Aug. 24tA, 1859. 
Dear Sir: 

Your favor of the 20th inst., reached me on the evening of the 22d. 

It would afford me pleasure to return to you the papers containing your applica- 
tion to the Litchfield South Association for licensure, did the propriety of it depend 
only upon my disposition to oblige you. 

A moment of reflection, however, will show you that it is unpossible for me to 
do so. The application was committed to my charge not by yourself but by the 
Association, — subject to their directioQ and not your own. I, of course, hold my- 
self responsible to them for its safe keeping. 

Moreover, your request is evidently founded on an inexplicable misapprehen- 
sion of the case. Your application to the Association for licensure, instead of be- 
ing a ''nullity," is an historical fact — a part of the record of the Association, and 

* Compare Dr. BIchards'f Memorial, p. 10. *< I turn to yoo, dear bretlireB, fte." 



31 > 

the basis of their still unflnished action ; and the papers, instead of being jonr 
*^ property on eyerj principle of civil and ecclesiastical law," are the property of 
the Association, not only on all principles of ciyil and ecclesiastical law, but on that 
▼ery obvious principle of common sense, that the documents of a correspondence 
belong to the party to whom they are addressed and delivered, and not to the per- 
son from whom they come. 

Allow me to suggest that you would act most regularly, if you were to make 
your application to the Association of which I am in this matter only a servant; 
and upon their order I should cheerfully comply with your request 

With earnest desires that this unpleasant matter may so result as to promote the 
happiness of all concerned, the interests of religion and the glory of God, I am 

Respectfully yours, 610. J. Har&isgk, 

Scribe of litchfleld Sooth Association. 

i 

Dr. Rioliards to Bev. (George J. Harrison, 

LUchfidd a, Sept l^ih, 1859. 
Hy Dear Sur: 

Blease rotum to my address at Litchfield the paper signed by me, and addressed 
to the Litchfleld Association South, on or about the middle of August last and 
which paper you have acknowledged to be in your hands. 

I am respectfully yours, &c., in haste, James Richards. 

Br. Biohards's Bequest for a Beoommendation firom Mr. Baoon 

to the Presl^srtery of If ew Orleans. 

(On th« evening of SatnrdAy Ang. 90t1i, (the date of Dr. Rictaarde'e withdmwel of hU peti- 
tion for Ueenee,^ hli attorney called on the Rev. L. W. Bacon, with the ' following paper, to 
whieh there were no tlgnataree, bat which he labored with much talk to iadaoe Mr. Baoon to 
•IgnO 



(I 



To the Presbytery of New Orleans : 

Having heard that James Richtrds has applied for restoration to the Pres- 
bytery of New Orleans, on the ground of confession and reformation, we the un- 
dersigned who have known him intimately for the last three years, certify to the 
Presbytery that we have observed nothing in his life during the aforesaid lime, 
which in our judgment ought to discredit his confession or Mnder his restoration. 

" LUchfidd Aug. 20th, 1859." 

Mr, Baoon's TestimoniaL 

[Mr. Bacon waiaitonlihed at this request, coming within fonr daye of the itatementa, written 
•ad oral, which Dr. Kicharde had laid before the Awoeiation. He accordingly called apon the 
attorney of Dr. Richardi to accompany him, and went to the honte of Dr. RIeharde to aak aa 
explanation of the ** oonfcMion and repentance '* of aine of which he had Joet, with the meet 
solemn adjurations, declared himself to be innocent : Dr. Richards answered, ** Uy dmr fellow, 
I can explain that in a moment," and averred that by ** oonfession and repentance," he <»ly 
meant to acknowledge that in a fit of onconseiovsness be wti^kt have committed some ontward 
act of sin, in which ease he was sorry, and hoped that it might nerer occnr again. In accord* 
nnce with this explanation Mr. Bacon olfered to prepare snch a paper as would not be ambig • 
aona ; which he did as follows :— ] 

7b the Presbytery of New Orkana: 

In the matter of the petition of the Rev. James Richards, D.D., to your body to 
be restored to the fellowship of the gospel ministry on the ground of oonfession 
and reformation, I desire to say : — 

That I have been well acquainted with the petitioner for the space of three 
years past, during which time I have understood him to maintain and profess his 



3S 

innocdnoe of any eonsei<nt$ moral delinquency in the matters for which he has heen 
accused before yonr body and condemned ; 

That understanding the confession of Dr. Richards to signify this simply, that he 
defers to the testimony of others with regard to matters on which his own con- 
science does not accuse him, I have no personcU knowledge of anything in his lifb 
during the time aforesaid which should hinder the Presbytery from accepting hia 
oonfession and restoring him to good standing in the ministry ; 

That in my judgment, his exercising of the functions of the ministry while un- 
der the censure of deposition, although a grievous violation of the order and cus- 
tom of the churches of Grod, nevertheless, if considered as the act of a roan not con- 
scious of having incurred the moral guilt of the outward sins for which he was 
condemned, might justly be looked upon with lenience by your reverend court, and 
that in the event of your removing the censure resting on Dr. Richards, I believe 
there would be no disposition among the brethren of the ministry here to make 
these irregularities a bar to receiving him to our fellowship on the offer of creden- 
tials from you ; 

That since my acquaintance with Dr. Richards, I have had occasion to witness a 
painful proof of his liability to violent attacks of mental aberration, attendant on 
physical disease, which urgently demands for him the sympathy and kind judgment 
of Christian men, and tends to corroborate his explanation of those appearances 
which were the ground of his condemnation before the Presbytery ;♦ 

Finally, that if the Presbytery should see the way clear, in view of all the facts, to 
restore Dr. Richards to the ministry, and to present him to us as a brother in regu- 
lar standing, it will be a subject of great joy to myself and to other pastors in this 
neighborhood, and will give us unfeigned pleasure to welcome him to our fellow- 
ship. Leonard W. Bacon, 

Pastor of the first Church of Christ in Litchfield. 
LiU^fidd, Avg. 22nd, 1859. 

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF INQUIRY, AND AC- 

TION OF THE ASSOCIATION, 

[The Litchfield South Anociatlon met, according to a^io^niment, on the 97th of Septemher, 
1889, and the following Report was nibmlued by Sfttira. Bacon, Lyman and ChorcblU, Com- 
mittee.] 

The Committee of the Litchfield South Association appointed " to make such 
inquiries " in the case of the application of James Richards for lioense to preach 
"as might lead the Association to a wise and just conclusion," respectfully report: 

That they have used all diligence and impartiality in fulfilling their commission, 
and have reached the following result: 

1. That there exist against Dr. Richards evil reports, so aggravated in their 
nature, so extensively believed in the communities where he is best known, and 
advanced on the responsibility of men of such eminent character for sound judg- 
ment and Christian charity as to be in themselves, whether true or false, in some 
measure a disqualification (I. Tim. lii, 2, 7,) for the ministry of the Gospel. 

See Letters of Rev. B. M. Pahner, D.D., Rev. David Magie, D.D., Rev. Laurens 
P. Hickok. D.D., Rev. Henry Mills, D.D., Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, Rev. O. K 
Dsggett, D.D., Rev. M. L. P. Thompson, D.D. 

* AUaaion la here made to the licknesii and deliriam of Dr. Richards which ensned on hie 
*' illneaa *' at Warren. Mr. Bacon was personally attendant on Dr. Richards through that per- 
iod of deliriam, and at that timet ^nd for a long time after, accepted and nrged those appear- 
anees of bodily and mental disease as a safficient explanation of the reports of drunkenness at 
Warren, and as corroborative of Dr. Richards's defense with regard to the matter at New 
Orleans. But developments subsequent to the writing of the above letter to the Presbytery ot 
New Orleans, leave no room to doubt t^at Hr. Bacon was deceived, and that the appearances 
In question were the result of intemperance. It will be noticed that the date of the above letter 
was before the crashing proofs of Dr. Richards's falsehood had come to the writer's knowledge. 



33 

2. That the charges against him of DruBkenness, Falsehood and Fraud are no 
distinctly presented, on the authority of responsible names, as to make it perfectly 
easy for Dr. Richards to bring them to issue, and challenge the proof; and that 
some of them seem, from our information, to be so uniformly belieyed, in the most 
influential and friendly quarters, as to make this course on his part, a matter of 
pressing expediency and obvious duty; so that in the event of his neglecting to 
seek such an issue of these charges, — still more, in case of his evading opportuni- 
ties which present themselves of meeting them, — and most of all, in case he shall 
persist in his resumption of the functions of the ministry In defiance or evasion of 
those safeguards of its purity which are at once the probation and vindication of 
the character of its members, — ^the conclusion of Dr. Richards's guilt of these charges 
will be almost irresistible. 

See Action of the Presbytery of New Orleans, in the case of Common Fame vs. 
James Richards, Letters of Rev. Laurens P. Hickok, D.D., Rev. Theo. L. Guyler, 
Bev. M. L. P. Thompson, D.D. 

3. That the Liquiry which has led to the above results, was undertaken because 
we wished to decide, not on the forvher character of the petitioner, but on the 
question of his present veracity in solemnly asseverating before us his integrity 
and purity from any scandalous sin throughout his whole career in the ministry; 
and that the reports and accusations above mentioned afford, until challenged and 
refuted, strong g^unds for the charge that this solemn asseveration was a false- 
hood ; — a charge which is sustained by the subsequent conduct of the petitioner, 
in withdrawing his petition immediately on the appointment of a Committee of 
Liquiry, and presenting to another body a request to be restored to the ministry on 
the g^und of confession^ repentance, and reformaHon, 

4. That our inquiries present to us the following additional grounds for the 
charge of falsehood against Dr. Richards. 

A. Li his written statement to the Association; that he stated: 

(1.) " That he was fully and honorably acquitted of any moral delinquency or 
obliquity by the Presbytery of Elizabethtown and by the Synod of New Jersey.** 

Contradicted in the Letters of Rev. David Magie, D. D., and Rev. J. T. English,, 
and in Records of the Presbytery of Elizabethtown. 

(2.) That "never to his recollection had he officiated as a minister of religion 
within our bounds, without a special invitation from the resident pastor or Com- 
mittee of Supply." 

Contradicted (except as the saving clause "to my recollection," may protect it) in 
the letter of Isaac D. Patterson, Esq., of New Preston. 

(3.) That "not even then " (had he officiated as a minister) "without an explicit 
avowal of his unfortunate position as a minister under the censure of a Southern 
Presbjrtery." 

Contradicted in the letters of Isaac D. Patterson, New Preston, and Henry Tay- 
lor,* Warren. 

B. In his ord statement to the Association, that he stated: 

(1.) That after his resignation at Morristown, on returning to that place, he found 
drcumstanoes which led him to demand a judicial inquiry. 

Contradicted, as to its intent and import, by the letter of Rev. Dr. Magie. 

(2.) That the charges on this inquiry were "Intemperance/' "Falsehood" ^whioh 
con^sted in declaring that he was not intemperate) and "Profane Swearing" (which 
occurred as he was in the cars, on the way to the Retreat for the Insane.) 

Contradicted, as to its import and intent, by the Records of the Presbytery of 
Elizabethtown. 

(3.) That there was only one instance in New Orleans in which he had the 
appearance of intoxication. 

Contradicted in letter of Rev. Dr. Palmer. 

(4.) That he told Isaac D. Patterson of New Preston, before accepting an invitatkMb 
to preach, that he^waa not in regular standing. 



* Tbte wu a mbteke. The writum statement of Dr. Richardi on this point related te ebnithee 
wHUn the boonda of the Litohfleld AniCA Aaeoclation. Warm la In the nortJum half of the 
eoun^. 

4» 



34 

Contradicted in Mr. Patteraon^s letter. 

(5.) That he told Mr. Henry Taylor of Warren the same. 

Contradicted in Mr. Taylor^B letter. 

0. In a statement to Rev. John Churchill, and to Deacon Charles Adams, that 
most or many of the members of the Presbytery which deposed him were men of 
scandalous Utos. 

Contradicted In letter of Rev. Dr. Palmer. 

6. That the statement last above mentioned affords grounds for laying against 
him the charge of calumny as well as of falsehood. 

6. That in the act of accepting engagements to preach in vacant pulpits, as If in 
regular standing in the ministry, without explicitly avowing his position, Dr. Rich- 
ards appears to have incurred the guilt of obtaining money and the confidence of 
churches under false pretenses. 

7. That we find no evidence of ii^justioe in the action of the Presbytery of 
New Orleans, after the refusal of Dr. Richards to submit to its authority and 
answer its citation, — ^in proceeding to adjudicate the case; and that in his with- 
drawal from the Presbytery when, by his own confession he apprehended that 
charges would be tabled against him, his refusal to submit to Uieir authority, and 
his disregard of their censure by persisting in the Amotions of the ministry, he 
appears to have been guilty of a violation of solemn covenant, and a breach of his 
ordination vows. 

See statements of Dr. Richards to this Association, written and oraL '* Form of 
Qovemment of the Presbyterian Church," Chap. XIV. vii, 4. 

8. That it is alleged against Dr. Richards by Common Fame that on the morning 
of a certain SabbaUi in the Spring of 1857, he entered the pulpit of the church in 
Warren in a state of drunkenness ; and that this charge, although contradicted by 
himself, nevertheless, from its wide notoriety, and the prevalent belief of his guilt 
among the people of Warren, demands impartial investigation. 

See Letter of Geo. Starr, Esq., of Warren. 

9. That the reputed character of Dr. Richards's business transactions, during 
his residence in Litchfield, has been such as to create a Common Fame which 
demands impartial investigation. 

10 That it appears upon inquiry that the general reputation of Dr. Richards 
where he has been best known, before his residence in Litchfield, with respect to 
truth and veracity, is such as to affect the credibility of his statements as a witness 
in his own behalf. 

See letters of Dr. Palmer, Dr. Magie, Mr. Cuyler, Dr. Daggett, Dr. Thompson. 

On the other hand, 

11. That so far as we have learned. Dr. Richards possesses the entire confidence 
of the church in Northfield, to whom he has been ministering on Sundays for 
about six* months past 

See mem(Hial of the church in Northfield to the Association. 

The following Prbaxblb and Rbsolutions were unanimously adopted. 

WherMB Dr. James Richards has expressed a desire to withdraw his memorial 
to this body to be recommended to the churches as a candidate for the ministry, 
and has presented his petition to the Presbytery of New Orleans (under whose 
censure he now lies) for restoration to the ministry ; 

1. Resolved^ That the petitioner have leave to witiidraw; and that the scribe be 
instructed to return to hun, at his request, his memorial, retaining a copy to be placed 
on file. 

II. Reaolved^ That although the residence of the petitioner within our bounds,— 
the fact that his irregularities amongst us had been brought to the notice of tiiis 
body, — and the fact that he pleaded that he was debarred by circumstances from 
a fair hearing before the New Orleans Presbytery, — justified us in entertaining his 
case upon his urgent petition : nevertheless we recognize the Presbytery of New 
Orleans as the proper body to decide on the question of his restoration to the min- 
istry ; and that we are gratified that he has made application directly to that body. 

« This wM * mlatake. Nearly Mi moaths has elapMd liaM Dr. Skkardi luid btffma to 
preaeli al Northfield. 



96 

IIL Seaolved^ ThtA in order that the Presbjtery of New Orleans may be poaaessed 
of any information which we can give, that may assist them in reaching a wise 
and just conclusion, in a matter in the wise disposal of which we are interested, — 
a copy of our action relative to this case, and of the report of the Committee of 
Inquiry be transmitted to said Presbytery, with the salutations of this body. 

rV. Beeohed, That although the matter of Dr. Bicharda^s church-membership is 
nowise under the cognizance of this body, stilL as members of sister churdies, we 
owe a duty to the church which has received nim to her communion, and to him- 
self; and that the facts which appear against the character of Dr. Richards be 
brought, in due time and form, through the prescribed steps of Christian discipline, 
if needful, to the notice of the church in Northfield. 

y. Beaolvedj That the Scribe be Instructed to return to the Northfield church, at 
their request, their memorial to this body, retaining a copy to be placed on file. 

YI. JRt96hfed^ That the Presbytery of New Orleans be respectlVilly requested to 
tkvov us with a copy of their Record in the case of Common Fame versus James 
Richards, and in the matter of the petition of James Richards to be restored to the 
ministry, for the guidance of this Association, in case we shall be called to take 
fiirther action on the matter in hand. 

Yn. Resolved^ That Brethren Bacon, Lyman, Churchill and Averill, be appointed 
a oonunittee to carry the above resolutions into effect 

ACTION OF THE PEESBTTEBT OF NEW OELEANS, 

OCTOBBR, 1859. 

[In the PresbytOTy of Nefw Orleaiu, at Iti Ml mMting in 1859, the Petition of Dr. Bichardt 
to be reftored to the Church and Hlnlstry wm considered, and the action taken which \m con- 
tained tn the following extract fh>m the published minutes of that meeting.] 

The committee to whom were referred and recommitted the papers in the ease of 
Dr. Bidiards, reported a minute in reference to the case, which was read and con- 
sidered, item by item, and amended, after which it was adopted sviaiimi and ttien 
unanimously adopted as a whole. The report is as follows: 

BKPOBT OK DB. UCHABDS'B CASB. 

The committee to whom were referred the papers in the case of Dr. Jamea Rich' 
ards, beg leave to submit the following minute as the action that should be taken in 
the premises. 

These papers, as the Presbytery already knows, from hearing them read in open 
court, consist — 

1. Of Dr. Richards's memorial and petition, praying that the sentence of deposi- 
tion and excommunication, passed by this Presbytery on the 23d of January, 1856, 
and under which he now lies, be revoked : and that he may be restored to Ihe fel- 
lowship of the church and the functions of the gospel ministry. 

2. A large number of testimonials in favor of Dr. Richards, signed by many 
persons certified as being highly respectable and reliable. 

3. A long correspondence between Dr. Richards and the chairman of this com- 
mittee, upon the points involved in the memorial of the former. 

4. A petition from the Congregational church at Northfield, praying for the re- 
moval of Dr. Richards's sentence. 

5. A second petition to the same end, signed by a number of ladies of the Korth- 
field church. 

6. An authenticated copy of the records of the Litchfield South Assodation, 
showing the action of that body upon his application to be recognized and author- 
ized by them as a Gospel minister. 

7. A certified copy of the application made by Dr. Richards to that body, togeth- 
er with — 

8. A certified copy of a report of a Committee of Inquiry, appointed by said As- 
sociation, to investigate the truth of certain rumors affecting tiie Christian charac- 
ter of Dr. Richards. 



36 

The Presbytery might, perhaps, avoid the responsibility of fVaming a judgment 
upon these various documents, upon the ground that, as Dr. Richards, since his 
deposition, has connected himself with another branch of the Christian church, and 
has been by them, in aocordance with their usages, licensed to preach the gospel,* 
his return to this Presbytery is thereby barred. Inasmuch, however, as Dr. Rich- 
ards in his petition desires to place himself under the Jurisdiction of this court; and 
inasmuch as both the particular church of which he is a member, and the Litch- 
field South Association, desire that the case should be issued by us, this Presbytery 
chooses not to stand upon a legal technicality, but to meet fairly the responsibilitiee 
of rendering a decision upon &e merits of the case as presented in the documents 
referred to. 

After a careful examination of the same, Presbyteiy does not see its way clear 
to revoke its former sentence, simply because there is no saiisfactory evidence of the 
sincerity of Dr. Richards^s professed repentance. 

The considerations which lead the minds of Presbytery to this unfavorable opin- 
ion, are as follows : 

1. The confession made by him to this Presbytery was not spontaneous, but 
prompted by the advice of others, and only made when obstacles were presented 
to his reception by the Litchfield South Association. 

. 2. Nowhere in his petition and memorial, nor in any of his letters, does Dr. 
Richards confess the particular ofiense for which he was deposed, as a matter of 
personal consciousness, and involving moral guilt; but contents himself with a 
general acknowledgment of sin, which any other person might as properiy sub- 
scribe. 

3. The fact that while professing repentance before this body, and praying to be 
restored upon the g^und of confession. Dr. Richards maintains a tlieory by which 
to explain the facts and appearances brought out upon the trial, consistently with 
the assertion of his moral innocence throughout, a theory which is destructive of 
his confession, and which does not, in the judgpnent of this Presbytery, at all meet 
the facts in the case. Even, however, admitting this explanation ; while it might 
be a reason for restoring him to the communion of the church, the Presbytery sUU 
adjudges, that the honor of the gospel ministry cannot safely be committed to the 
keeping of one who is subject to the mental aberration therein assumed, and which 
has led to such disastrous results. 

4. His contumacious disregard of the authority of this body in persisting in ex- 
ercising the functions of an office from which he had been deposed, which contu- 
macy, instead of being frankly confessed, is, by strong implication, extenuated and 
justified. 

5. The contradiction in spirit, tone, and language, between his memorial to this 
body and his written application to the Litchfield South Association, with only an 
interval of seven days between the writing of the two papers. 

6. His calumnious misrepresentations and insinuations against the character of 
those, both living and dead, who constituted the court by which he was tried and 
condemned. 

7. The evidence ftimished by the records of the Litchfield South Association, of 
repeated misrepresentation in his statements to them. Though these may not be 
considered as substantiated, having never been submitted to a judicial investigation^ 
they yet leave him under such a cloud of doubt as forbids tills Presbytery, under 
the requirements of the Book of Discipline^ chapter 6, section 16, to grant the prayer 
of the petitioner. Upon all these grounds, be it now 

Besotoed^ That the prayer of James Richards be not granted, but that the Pres- 
bytery sees in the documents submitted to it, additional reason for judging him un- 
worthy to exercise the office of a minister of the QospeL 

Resolved^ That this action be communicated to James Richards, to the Korthfleld 
church, and to the Litchfield South Association. 



* It Is diffloalt to conjeetnra by what means this Impression could have been made on the 
Binds of the Presbytery. See Appendix, No. Y, last paragraph. 



a? 

Oopy of the Cluurge and Bpeoifloatiang under wldidi Br» Biobards 

WBM GOBTioted in 18M. 

[In WMiiieetiOD with th« tangoing^ waa eomnraateated to the LItehfleld Booth AMoeiation a 
eopy of the Charge aod Specifleations In the eaae of Gonmon Fame Tt. Jamea Richardff 
laaned by the Presbyterj of Mew Orleana, January 1856^ aa foliows :] 

The Ooimnittee appointed by Presbytery to inTestigate the mmore ailbctiDg the 
standing and reputation of Dr. Jamee Richards, beg leare respectfuUy to report; 

That they find the rumor accusing Dr. James Richards of intoxication at various 
times, wide-spread and permanent, and they therefore recommend and consider it 
the duty of Presbytery to institute judicial process against him, on the charge of 
drunkenness brought agunst him by Ck>mmon Fame, under the following specS&ca- 
tions, to wit: 

FiBST. That on a certain evening appointed for his second lecture to the young 
men of the Third Presbyterian Churdi, in the month of April or Kay, 1854, being 
shortly previous to his installation, Jh. Richards was evidently so much intoxi- 
cated as to be unable properly to conduct the exercises, and waa obliged to discon- 
tinue them. 

Skoohd. That at a Wednesday evening Lecture to the Third Presbyterian Churchy 
in the early part of July, 1854, he was so much intoxicated as to be unable to con- 
duct the services without difficulty; and on the subsequent day was found at home 
under the influence of ardent spirits. 

Third. That at a Wednesday evening Lecture to the Third Presbyterian Church, 
in the latter part of November, 1854^ he was evidently intoxicated, and one or two 
days subsequently was found in a gross state of intoxication about the Post OfBos^ 
and hi the " Continental" coffee-house, [comer of Custom House Street and Ex- 
change Alley,] hardly able to stand, and was taken home in that condition by J. J« 
LugenbuhJ. 

Fourth. That on Friday, Deo. 22d., 1854, being the day appointed for the Pre- 
paratory Lecture, Dr. Ridiards was quite intoxicated on the streets, in the neigh- 
borhood of the Post Office : drank a glass of liquor at the *' Duty" coffee-house 
[corner of Bienville street and Exchange Alley,] appeared intoxicated in the Onmi- 
Dus, and after his return home was prevented by Ariends from preaching that eve- 
ning, lest he should betray his condition. 

Fifth. That on Wednesday, February 28th, 1865, at his residence at Capt. James 
Whann's house, Dr. Richards was under the influence of liquor during the middle 
and latter part of the day, the effects of which had not all disappeared at the time 
of lecture the same evening, in the Third Presbyterian Church. 

Sixth. That on Thursday, March 1, 1855, he was quite intoxicated, and gave 
evidence of it by violent manners and intemperate and inconsistent language, at 
3f r. Toy*8 office in Exchange Alley. 

Sstbnth. That on Friday, March 2d, 1855, he was found unconscious, apparently 
from liquor, at 5 o'clock in the morning, by the Police, and taken to the watch- 
house ; and bemg afterwards discharged by the Recorder, was seen much intoxi- 
cated at a coffee-house in St. Louis street; and was finally seen coming out of the 
Post Office still under the influence of liquor; and was taken home in a state of 
nervous excitement and physical exhaustion by Capt. James Whann.* 

Report adopted, and charge preferred. 

The result of the trial was, that the general charge was sustained, — specifleations 
1, 2, 3, 5, 6, wholly, specifleations 4 and 7, in part 

Sentence^ deposition from the ministry and excommunication from the church. 

Certifled, H. M. Smith, S. C, Presbytery of New Orleans. 

* Notice the ooniecntlTe dates of the last three speolfleationa, and compare the aeeoeata 
gives of the aflSalr, above, p. 12^ and Appendix, p. S. 



38 

CONFERENCE AND COEEESPONDENCE OP THE COM- 
MITTEE WITH MEMBERS OF THE NORTHFIELD 

CHURCH. 



[Before the result of the petition of Dr. Rleliards to the Preebytery of New Orleane 
known, he had signified his intention of paying no respect to the anticipated adTerse decision 
of that body. And after that decision was ascertained, his eonrse wm snch as to make it 
probable to the memt>ers of the Litchfield South Association that they wonld be compelled to 
give public warning to the churches with regard to what they knew touching his standing and 
character. Bnt they were unwilling to proceed to this painful duty, until they had used every 
other expedient. They felt especially that every effort ought to be made privately to disabuse 
the people at Northfleld of the delusions which Dr. Richards had practised upon them. 

Accordingly, on the 28th of November, 1859, two members of the Committee of the Litchfield 
South Association having the matter in charge, held an interview, by previous appointment, 
with some half-dozen ** who seemed to be pillars '* In the Northfield church. The interview 
was chiefly occupied with reading the correspondence of the Committee of Inquiry, without 
comment or argument. The impression made by these documents seemed to be one of surprise 
and eonstemation. One or two present remarked, **it Is perfectly overwhelming." Indeed 
the expressions of the Northfleld brethren were such that the chairman of th« Committee of the 
Association, then present, felt bound to caution them against Judging Dr. Richards too hastily, 
and to suggest that the flrst question fbr them was not whether Dr. Richards was ^«]7iy. but 
whether the evidenoe to which they had listened afforded sufficient ground of nupSeion to 
justify an investigation; and In answer to a request for advice, he pointed out the prescribed 
steps of Christian discipline One of the church-members present, Deacon John Catlin, declared 
his intention of beginning the process of discipline without delay i and the Committee took 
their leave with strong hopes of a quiet end of the pnblio scandal. 

But, a fsw days alter, one of the members of the Committee received from Deacon Catlin the 
following letter, written subsequently to an Interview between the writer and Dr. Richards.] 

Dea. John Catlin to Bev. L. W, Baoon. 

Korthfidd, Dec 2, 1859. 
RsY. L. W. BACfON, Dear Sir: 

At the close of our interview on Monday, I felt it to be a sad recdity that we 
must part with Dr. Richards ; and knowing as I did the strong hold he had gained 
on the affections of this people, the future looked ominous of evil, and only evil. 
I saw no ray of hope beaming upon our church; and I wished — ^yes, I did wish — 
that the Doctor had neyer entered our pulpit. But when I thought more leisurely 
of what we had heard, it seemed to me that those asserted /acto should be received 
with some grains of allowance. 

Why, here was a brother in our church accused of great moral delinquencies, 
both before and since his reception by us ; the latter consisting principally in his 
denial of the former charges— charges with which, as affecting present character, 
we had nothing to do. I thought of the resolutions adopted unaniirunisly by this 
church — and also by the society— on the 8th of November, (a copy of which I in- 
close herewith ;) I thought of the full confidence of our people in the Doctor as a 
Christian minister; I thought of his apparently heartfelt devotion to the spiritual 
interests of this church and people ; and then I said to myself " Tliese things can- 
not aUhe eo. There must be another side of the picture to be looked at before we 
pass sentence of condemnation. And unless this case be an exception to general 
rules, there must be some palliating circumstances, and many of these asserted 
fads will be found to have no foundation in truth." I admitted /wtty the sincerity of 
your belief, and the honesty of your intentions, yet I did think that you had taJcen 
a onesided view, and I knew that you would utterly fail of convincing this people 
that brother Richards is not a Christian man, and one worthy to be our minister. 
I said " Mr. Bacon is young and inexperienced; Mr. Bacon is ardent and impulsive; 
and he will look back in coming years on the transactions of to-day with sorrow — 
with sorrow that he allowed himself to be made the tool of others in searching 
among the graves of the buried past, for the evidences of a brother^s imperfections." 



39 

And now, my dear Sir, ve know there are many things aaid agamst the Doctor; 
we know that «wi«, and we believe that many of these reports are untrue. We ha^e 
received him as a brother into dommunion and fellowship with us; and till his un- 
worthiness is proved beyond a peradventure, it is, I believe, the unanimous disposi- 
tion of this church and Society to give him their sympathy and support. 

In conclusion, let me express the hope and the heartfelt prayer that the Associa- 
tion will allow us, without furtJier interruption, to labor together for the upbuilding 
of Zion and the salvation of souls. 

In gospel bonds, sincerely yours, 

J. Gl.TLDr. 



RB80LT7TIOM8 OF THX CHURCH IS NORTHFIKLD, INCLOSED IK THI lOBSGOIHO 

LETTER. 

Whereas^ The Rev. Dr. Richards, a brother beloved, and in good and regular 
standing in this church, has been thwarted in his efforts to obtain the removal of a 
previously existing censure ; and 

Whereas^ This failure has been apparently the result of means and influences 
the most ui\ju8t and inimical; and 

Whereas, He was received into this church only after the most searching and 
thorough examination of his grounds for Christian hope ; and 

Whereas, We have seen in his manner of life, in his walk and conversation, ab- 
solutely nothing, to censure or condemn: 

Therefore be it by us, the Congregational Church in Northfleld, and it if by us 
hereby 

Resolved, That brother Richards has our undiminished confidence and esteem; 
and that we hereby pledge to him whatever of sympathy, of encouragement and support 
we, as a church are capable of bestowing. 

And be it furthermore by us 

Resolved, That in view of the course taken by ecclesiastical bodies and members 
thereof, we justly may and do rejoice that we have assumed the position of a F)ree 
and Independent Church. 

Resolved finally, That believing as we do, that the eaS of a church constitutes the 
highest earthly authority for the exercise of ministerial functions, in and over that 
particular church, we do hereby express our desire that Dr. Richards should con- 
tinue with us as our Tgacher, our Counselor and Guide. 

The above Preamble and Resolutions were adopted by the church and the Society 
unanimously in their meetings on the 8th of November, ultimo. 

t 

Answer. 

IMchfldd, Dec, Uh^ 1859. 
l£y dear Sir, 

I was sincerely gratified to receive from a Korthfield man a letter so perfectly 
oourteotts and Christian in its terme, as yours of the 2d inst., although I cannot 
agree with its conclusions, I do not know that it requires an answer, but I will 
remark upon a few points : 

1. I do not take it hardly of you that you are not disposed to be governed in this 
matter by my opinion. I believe you are right in speaking of me as "young, 
ardent and impulsive." But my opinion in this matter is the opinion of every m/em- 
berofihe Association so far as I have heard them express themselves; and not only 
to, but when I stated the case to the New Haven Central Association a few weeks 
nnoe, the answer was unanimous as to the course which our Association ought to 
pursue. The singular and unaccountable mistake of several in your church seems 
to be in supposing that this business is some affair of mine. My brother AveriU, 
or brethren KcKinstry, Lyman, Yaill, Murdock, fta, are neither "young" nor "im- 
polatve." 



40 

2. I think you mistake in saying that the moral delinquendes char^ upon 
Richards aa oommitled sinoe his reoeptioB by you "oonsiat prinoipally in his deniai 
of the former chaims." This is on/t only of some wiiM or ten specifioatiotts under 
the 0Mi^fe dmrge or iyin^. Besides this charge there are chaij^ies of drunkennesa, 
calumny, obtaming money under false pretenses, and breach of solemn covenant ; 
an of which have taken place sinoe hia reaidenoe in litohfleld, and most of which 
ainoe his reception into yonr church. 

3. Is it not a grave mistake to say that with the former charges, "as affecting 
preaeni character you have nothing to do?'* With former sins confB88ed and rtpeiUidd 
of^ you certainly would have no concern. But is it so with wilful and scandalous 
sins denied or Justified? I put the question to your impartial common sense. 
There can be only one answer to it among unprejudiced persons. 

4. After the first impression made upon your mind by the correspondence whidi 
we read to you, you thought Ist, of the resolutions of your church, 2nd, of the 
confidence of the Northfield people, Srd, of Richards's apparent devotion, (three 
things by the way which seem to have no earthly bearing on the merits of the case) 
and '^ said to yourself" " there must be another side to be looked at before we pass 
sentence of condenmation." Just the thing, my dear brother, that / said to you be- 
fore you had thought of all these things at all I You will remember that in answer 
to your question, I said that no man ought to be condemned without a hearing; 
but that the evidence which even to your mind was '* overwhelming/* and vHiidi 
has made the same impression on tiie mind of every person who has exam- 
ined it, was a sufficient ground, not of "passing sentence,'* but of iMtiMing an «B- 
a/nwnaticn. There may be, as you say, palliating drcumstances. It may be, by 
an imaginable possibility, that some of these "asserted facts" shall "be found to 
be without foundation," asserted though they are, some of them, on the testimony 
of several unimpeachable, disinterested, uncoUusive witnesses, against the word of 
one impeached witness, and he the defendant himself^ in a desperate emergency, 
testifying in his own behalf. Be it so. Can there be anything better for the csd- 
umniated man than to invite, persuade, or even constrain him to meet the charges 
and refute them? Would there be 1uiy inhumanity in suggesting to Dr. Richa^s, 
if his own delicacy did not demand it, to retire from public ministry until yon had 
investigated these charges? Do you not believe that this course would bring forth 
his righteousness as the light, and his judgment as the noonday, boQi of which are 
under a cloud of suspicion? 

5. Tou believe that I will one day be sorry "that I allowed myself to be made 
the tool of others in searching among the graves of the buried past for the eviden- 
ces of a brother's imperfections." The word too2, implies generally, in such a use, 
that one has been deceived and beguiled into accomplishing the sinister ends of 
other parties. Now all my action in this matter was in fulfillment of a grave, pub- 
Uc trust. The rest of the Association say that they act fh>m the same considera- 
tions, — do you know that they do not? The vote under which the Committee were 
required to act was drawn by Dr. Richards's counsel, and urged on our adoption by 
him. And the whole inquiry was started by the petition of Dr. Richards. Of 
which of these parties was I Uie " tool?" 

But again, I was not employed in searching, specifically, " for the evidences of a 
brother's in4)erfections." He had come to us requesting an examination of hia 
case. Through his counsel he had requested the appointment of "a Committee to 
make sudi inquiries as will enable this Association to reach a just oondusion.** 
(These are the words of the vote in Dr. Clarke's handwriting,) and the Association 
had done just that, no more. As Chairman of the Committee thus appointed, I 
did exactly what was required, no more, no less. Suppose the result had been (aa 
I at one time most warmly hoped,) a file of letters in complete vindication of Dr. 
Richards; would not my course have been right? And since it turned out differ- 
ently, was it any the less right? 

6. In conclusion, you hope that the Association "will allow you wUkm/t fwrihar 
iiUarrv/ptUm to labor together" with Dr. Ricliards, Ac. Pray tell me what interrup- 
tion the Association has etwr practised on your affairs? No communication has 
ever been presented on the subject from the Association to the church. No opin- 
ion has ever been expressed by the Association as to the course of the diurch. 
Certainly no jurisdiction over the church has ever been claimed either by the 



41 

Aflsoeiationf or b]r any member of it What possible fear can you have then of 
being *^ interrupted f" 

The very hope which you express of not being interrupted, will show you one 
thing, if you will think upon it for a moment And that is, that the church in 
Northfield is just as independent now as it was before their vote to withdraw fh>m the 
Consociation, €md not one jot more. Then, you were liable to an expression of public 
disapprobation fh>m sister churches, and you are liable to that now. Then, if you 
had thought best to employ for your minister a man convicted and deg^ded for 
infamous crimes, that man would have been liable to public exposure and disgrace 
St the hands of the Association, and he cannot escape that now. 

Two or three questions I beg you to ponder: 

1. Is it not somewhat strange that in response to between thirty and forty letters 
Bent out indiscriminately to those who have had opportunity of knowing Dr. Rich- 
ards, including his own references, and those who, we were assured, were his 
fHends, asking impartially for things in amfirmatum or contrtxdiction of his self-de- 
fense, ALL who had anytifiingto say, testified a^nst him? 

2. Is it not strange, if there was aujrthing unjust or inquisitorial in our instituting 
the inquiry into Dr. Richards's character, that all the brethren of the Association 
ahould have conspired to commit the ii^justice? 

3. If Dr. Riduurds had led a holy, temperate life at New Orleans; if he had been 
the victim simply of disease for two years, is it not strange that all the members 
of his Presbytery, including members of his own church, should unite in pronoun- 
cing him worthy not only of deposition but of excommunicationf His defense was 
as good there as here ; is it not strange that there was not one to protest, or even to 
dissent? 

4. In the face of your urgent petitions and of his memorial, is it not strange that 
at the late meeting of the Fresbytery of New Orleans there should have been not 
ome to vote for Dr. R's. restoration? and that (in the language of Dr. Palmer^s 
letter,) there is a prevailing and Tso far as he knows) a univer8€U conviction that Dr. 
R. is wholly devoid of moral principle? Has he no ftiends there? no physician 
that knew his infirmity? no intimate that could protect his character? 

5. Is it not strange that if so monstrous an outrage was committed by the Pres- 
bytery as to try a man without giving him a chance to be heard, Dr. Richards did 
not appeal to the Synod to have the sentence reversed ? Is ofl the world, without 
any exception but the Northfield church and Dr. Cheever, engaged in a conspiracy 
against this innocent man? 

6. If the action of the Association is arbitrary, and mischievous, and meddle- 
some, is it not strange that not one of the intelligent New Haven Association should 
see it and protest against it instead of unaninwualy approving the course that had 
been taken? 

7. Is it not an easier way to account for all these facts, to suppose that Dr. Rich- 
ards is a bad man, successfully assuming the behavior of a Christian? — that he 
did "lose all character for veracity at Aurora;*^ that he w€u guilty of dishonest and 
dishonorable conduct at Canandaigua; tliat he was guilty of intemperance at Mor- 
ristown and New Orleans ; that the Presbytery vmu not wholly corrupt and mali- 
cious ; that here the Association have done their conscientious duty; that the witness- 
es who have spoken to us flrom Warren and New Preston, have told the truth; and 
that the united testimony of such men as Dr. Hickok, Dr. Magie, Mr. Cuyler, Dr. 
Ellsworth Daggett, Dr. Henry Mills, Dr. M. L. P. Thompson, uncontradicted by a 
aingle witness except Richards himself, is not false and malicious, but that Richards 
is, as they say he is, a man of notoriously corrupt character. This one supposition 
sustained by such a mass of evidence, simplifies and explains the whole mass of 
unaccountable facts. 

I think I can promise the Northfield church that the Association will not inter* 
rupt them; and they will of course understand that they will not interrupt the 
Association, But if, with such evidence as we have before us, we proceed to the 
action which has been suggested, I feel sure that you, at least, will allow that we 
may be influenced by other than corrupt and malicious motives. 

Pardon any rough expressions which I may have let fall in the haste and earnest- 
ness of writing, and believe me ever, 

Respectf\illy and sincerely your friend, L. W. Bacx)H. 

5 



48 

FINAL ACTION OP THE LITCHFIELD SOUTH ASSOCI- 
ATION. 

At an a^i^unied meeting of the Litchfield South Aseodatioo, at WaflhiDgtoD, 
Deo. 6th«, 1869, the foUowing Resolutions were passed, nem. ton. 

Whereas^ James Richards, a deposed and excommunicated miiiister of the Fires- 
bjterian church, has assumed the functions of a mmister in regular staodmg; aod 
in repeated instances has entered the pulpits of churches in tlus regioii throng 
their ignorance of his real standing and character, and. 

Whereas, On being warned by £bis Association of the coftsequences of sodi ir- 
regularities, said Richards petitioned this body to examine and inquire into his eaae 
'With the view of recommending him to the churches as a candidate for the gospel 
ministry; which examination and inqunrr having been instituted, re¥ealed eridenoe 
> convincing to us of his moral unfitness for the sacred office ; and 

Whereas, during the progress of the inquiiy which he had requested, said Bidi- 
;ards did, with the assent of this Association, withdraw his petition to this body for 
;the purpose of presenting to the Presbyteiy of New Orleans which had depooed 
ihim, a prayer for restoration to the ministry, which prayer was refused by unani- 
)motts vote of said Presbyteiy, on the ground of the abeence of any sufficient evi- 
«dence of his repentance of tiie crimes for which he had been deposed and exoom- 
tmumcated; and 

Whereas, said Richards refuses to respect the discipline of that body whose ^Da- 
»cipline he had solemnly oovenanted and promised to obey, and continues to ezer- 
^cise the public functions of the ministry as he finds opportunity; therefore 

Reaoboed, That it is the duty of this Association on occasion of the next act of 
public ministration of the said Richards, pubUdy to notify the churches wil^ regard 
^ his standing and character : and that we do onoe more entreat him to desist from 
lus scandalous course. 

Beeoived, That the foregoing preamble and resolution be communicated to Br. 
iRichards by the Scribe of this body. 

Beeoived, That in case of any fVtture act of public ministration by Dr. Richards, 

the following letter be published, orer the signatures of the Moderator and Bcrtbe, 

(in The Litchfield Enqwrer, The Winsted Herald The ReHgioua Herald, The New York 

Obeerver, EvangeUet and Independemt, The CkmgregaHanaHet, and The Boston Be- 

^carder, . . 

The Litchfield Soutii Association of Pastors, to the chuicfaea within the bounds of 
the Association, send greeting. 

Fathers and Bbbthbbn : From the first planting of these churches, the trust 
'has been reposed in the hands of the Associated Pastors, of examining and recom- 
mending suitable candidates for the ministry, and of ascertuning the character and 
-standing of ministers coming among us from abroad. As a good fhiit of the mu- 
tual fidelity of the churches and the Association in this matter, we may reckon the 
succession of many generations of a ministry singularly honored for purity of life 
and doctrine. 

We feel, therefore, that you might Justly charge us with unfaithfulness in an im- 
portant trust, if at any time we, haying knowledge that any person among you was 
wearing without authority the character of a minister duly approved and recom- 
mended to the churches, should n^lect to put you on your guard against impos- 
ture. 

It has come to our knowledge that James lUchards, D. D., now residing in Litch- 
field, has assumed the functions of a minister in regular standing, and in repeated 
instances has availed himself of opportunities of entering the pulpits of churches 
in this region, through their ignorance of his real standing and character. 

We feel bound, therefore, to declare to you, and to all churches that walk with 
vs in the ordinances of the gospel, that the said Richards has been deposed and 
excommunicated by unanimous vote of the Presbytery of New Orleans, for the 
crime of drunkeimess, proved against him in divers specifications; that he has not 
been relieved of this oensure, but that his late petition to be restored has been re- 



43 

fused hv vote, also nnanimouS} of the same body ; thai; he has never been reoeired 
to our fellowship ; but that, on the contrary, there has oome before us, on the oc- 
casion of his application to us to be regularly licensed to preach the Gospel, con- 
vincing proof that he is utterly unworthy of the confidence of the churdies and 
the feUowship of the ministry. 

And inasmuch as the said Richards has endeavored to break the force of the 
censure which rests upon him, by calumnious aspersions against the body which 
deposed him, and by other false assertions, and lest any church should still be be> 
^^uiled by such means into receiving him into their confidence, we add that we have 
conduaive evidence that he has been guilty of deliberate and aggsavated falsehood 
in our presence; and that without exception, so far as our carefid and impartial in- 
quiries have extended, those who have known him best from the outset of his min- 
istry — men of tiie highest standing in the church of Ghris^ and of the weightiest 
character for integrity and wisdom, and, withal, men who have no 'personal feeling 
but a friendly one toward Dr. Bicharda — solemnly declare that his character for 
tmth and veracity Is bad. 

We have long forborne this pul^ action, hoping to eso^ tlie painfid neoessi^ 
of it But the contumacy of Dr. Richards in disobeying that discipline to which ha 
had solemnly vowed and covenanted to submit, his evasion of trial by withdrawing 
successively from the jurisdiction of one body after another, before which the char- 
ges agsunst him were about to be investigated, and his pertinacious attempts to im- 
pose on the confidence of the churches, notwithstanding our repeated remonstrao- 
oes, leave no other course open for us to pursue. 

In conclusion, brethren, we pray you to be vigilant against any penon who, by 
seeking to evade the safeguards of the ministry, gives presumptive evidence of hia 
unfitness for it; and always to remember the wordi of the Lord Jesus, how he said, 
** Beware of fklse prophets who come to you in sheep's dothinft but inwardly 
they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." 
The grace of our Lord Jesns Christ be witii you all.. 

Epsaum Ztuas, Koderator. 
Geo. J. HABsraov, Scriba 
Washington, (X, Deo. eth, 1859. 

CTbe foregoing Letter waapubiUliBd in tU JS srfq wMl ntf of J— aaiy gth, and la Iha IWaHiil 
JEfaraU oi Jamuoy 6th. UGO.] 



APPENDIX. 



•»• 



I. DR. BIOHABDS'S DEFENSE. 
Anonjrmom Article In the Winsted Herald, of Jan. 1§60. 

[Tbe following artiole is inioted hero m a eharaeterittie ipeeinieii of the defe&Mf that hare 
been pat forth in behalf of Dr. Rleharde. Other attempte of the sort hare been more detailed 
and clrenmstaatial in their misstatements ; possiblj some may hare been more intemperate in 
their langnage ; bat this seems to contain, snbstantially, nearly all that has been said fn behalf 
of Dr. Riehards, and in defiunatkm of the Christian ministry, of his fbrmer friends, and of his 
absent and injared wife. 

The aathorship of the artlde was for a time disputed by the firlends of the writer, who de- 
clared that it was adjust to lay it to his charge. Hb name, however, has been disclosed, and 
bis responsibility for tbe article Is no longer denied. I was tempted, at first, to so mach of 
retaliation as simply to expose the writer's hohm, here, in oonnectl3n with his article. Bnt the 
object of this pamphlet is not reUliatlon, bnt defense ; and I am willing, instead, to say all that 
can be said in palliation of this article, and of a long course of similar anproroked and 
nnretallated insnlt and injnstice towards me which has followed it flrom the same sonrce. 

I do not snppoee that the writer of it, when he Tolnnteered the aid of his canstic pen to Tfliiy 
the good name of a rirtnons and inolfensiTe lady, a wife and a mother, in her remote absence, 
•^was distinctly aware of the fiUsehood of his abominable accusations. I presume that he 
really thought that tbe word of a man who had just been advertised by responsible men as a 
common liar, was conclusive evidence against this lady's eharactor ; and that it was impossible 
for inquiry to go behind the pretended '* original documents" which this man privately exhibits 
In his imaiUy effort to blacken the character of the young woman whose affoctions he had won 
in her orphan girlhood, and whose conjugal love he had requited with drunken insult and 
Intolerable cruelty. Neither do I think it Just to the author of the following defense to suppose 
that in helping his friend to make for himself this miserable apology at the expense of his own 
wife's honor; he had any distinct consciousness that he was doing anything unworthy of a 
Christian gentleman. And as to his motwe for meddling with the matter, I am sure that no 
person of charitable ffselings will be disposed to question it Considering the unpleasantness of 
the task which he undertook,— ^at of making an attack in a public newspaper on the charao- 
ter of an absent lady of whom he had no personal knowledge, and who certainly never had 
harmed Am,— a task fh>m which almost any gentleman might have been excused for shrinking 
— ^we can hardly suppose him to have been nerved to it by any lower motive than that of 
warm and disinterested friendship for Dr. Richards. 

As to the remarkable accusation insinuated against me in the last paragraph of this artlole, I 
need hardly be oareltal to answer it It is insinuated that as the nearest kinsman, in this eom- 
munity, and thus the natural protector, of an outraged and calumniated woman, I have vindi* 
eated her by exposing the vile and mendacious character of her slanderer. The charge is one 
to which I should be proud to confess. But it is not true. I was in the midst of the investiga- 
tion which I had begun by the appointment of the Association and at the request of my ool- 
leagues, Rev. Messrs. ChnrehUl and Lyman, when I discovered the distant relationship between 
myself and the late Mrs. Richards. This whole proceeding has been in the execution of publio, 
not private Justice. U W. B.] 

lb the Editor of the Winsied Berald: 

Sib: — I have read with extreme amazement the manifesto published in yoar 
issue of last week, and purporting to oome from a small, though doubtless a very 



teleet) dnstor of Sfiiiia ttOing thentfleWes "The Litdifield Sottth Assoeiation of 
PlMtora." Had not the things thus announced itself as the voice of Shepherds, I 
should have fnevitaUy misderived it ttota a padc of wolves ; hungry ones too. It 
is certainly a most extraordinary document — ^most extraordinary in every aspect of 
it; in the occasion wMdh has called it forth, in the ingredients of which it is made 
up, and in the spirit which assorted and compounded them. It is as Aill of mean- 
Bees as it can be, and it is perfectiiy steeped in malice; — ^thus much, to my sense, 
ia evident on the face of it It goes back into certain matters, which, I am sure, 
nothing but malice would care to remember, and which even any ordinary pitch of 
malice woold not remember, without talcing care to remember, at the same 
time, the extenuations that properly b^ng with theuL Without the proof of 
my own eyes, I could not have believed the thing to be so bad as it is ; had any 
man tcrfd aae the simple truth respecting it, I should have nniled at his statement 
as a piece of distempered exaggeration. In short, I hold it to be, in the eye not 
only of Christian d^ty but of common humanity, a greater offense against both 
Qod and man, than the things it charges upon Dr. Richards, even granting these 
things to be true. N(Nr can I find any sort of excuse for it in the consideration, 
that the author jNrobably disguises from himself, and perhaps thinks he is dii^^ising 
from others, the real motives tiiat prompted it. But surely, the thing is greatly 
overdone; in my judgment this pastoral gun is far more dimgerous at the breech 
than at the muzzle ; I would much rather stand before it than behind it I cannot 
think it will hurt Dr. Rkshards at aO, either in the community where he lives, or 
in the church where he minieters; they can but regard it, at tiie best, as the work 
of one who reverses tiie prec^t ; — " In malice be ye children, but in understanding 
be men." 

However, I will not enlarge any fhrther on the character of the document; as 
your excellent editorial of last week shows that you need no help in understanding 
and expounding it. I write to you mainly for the purpose of stating three or four 
facts, which I will do as briefly as I can. 

First: — ^The Rev. Dr. Richarda has now lived in 'Litchfield nearly four years, 
where his walk and conversation have been such as to win and retain for him, both 
as a Christian and a gentleman, the cordial respect and confidence of his neighbors, 
those who have lived nearest to him, and have known him longest and best. Of 
this fact I have personal knowledge.* 

Second: — ^Dr Richards is nowise subject to the discipline or jurisdiction of 
these "Pastors."! He is a member, "in good and regular standing,'* of the Congra- 
gational church m Northfield, where he labors as a Christian minister, and where, 
in accordance with the fundamental principles of Congregationalism, he has and^ 
holds his rights and powers of ministration from the people to whom he ministers.. 
This &ct, also, is known to me personally. So that these " Pastors," have no more- 
business to censure or arraign himtj than they have to censure or arraign the rector 
of St Michael's church, Litdhfleld. In further proof of the point, I will add a 
report of the public action taken by the body in question, whereby, as they Tuad a 
perfect right to do^ they withdrew from "The Litchfield South Association," and 
became ^^strid^^ Congregationalists. 

^^ Resolved: — ^That we, the Congregational church in N<N'thfield, withdraw our 
connection from The Litchfield South Consociation, and we do hereby declare that 
from the date hereof our connection with said Consociation is dissolved. 

^^ Resolved: — ^That the Clerk of said church, be directed to transmit an attested 
eopy of the foregoing resolution to the Moderator and Scribe of said Consociation. 

"Northfield, June 20, 1859." 

Third:— I have spoken of certain "extenuations" in reference to Dr. Ridiards. 
It is very well known, that at one period of his life he was visited with domeefaa 
affliction in its dreadfulest form. He was put to the alternative of obtaining, and 
he did obtain, a frill and legal divorce fr*om her who was then his wife, Mrs. Sarah 
Wisner Richaids. The evidence whereon the divorce was ordered, involved the 
strongest scriptural grounds of divorce. This frtct is known to me by personal 

* Ob this potnt sm Appendix Ko. IV. "IV. Rkkard^i Pirn qf fimprooA^bU Ckaraeur,^ 
t 8m Appendix, Ho. 7. * JwUiieHon of Ou AModathn.'* 

5» 



inspection of original documents and authoritiea belonging to the case.* Dr. Ricb- 
arda franklj owns,f like a whole-souled man as he is, and as deeplj regrets, that 
under the pressure of this awful calamity he sought relief as many others have 
done, in unsafe and improper remedies. Now, this habit, or rather these acts, (for 
they hardly seem to have ever amounted to a habit,) even if there were no such 
excuse for them, ought not to be remembered, after repentance and amendment: 
with such excuse, even if they were still unamended, human-hearted men would 
remember them with pity, not with reproach. But in this case the fault is not una- 
mended : for the last four years, the man^s life, so far as is known to those who 
have known him best, has been irreproachable in this regard* I say therefore, 
Kr. Editor, as you have suggested, that however certain sanctified clerics may view 
the matter, the world of men, aye, and of women too, will lose the mean temper of 
reproach in emotions of honest pity for what the man has been, and of generous 
respect for what he is. 

The affliction to which I have referred, drove Dr. Richards, on several occasions, 
utterly beside himself: and who can wonder that it did so 7 An instance of this kind 
happened during his residence in New Orleans, and became publicly known there. 

It was in the Spring of 1855. An editorial in the New Orleans OreacerU, dated 
March 13, 1855, has &e following in reference to it.^ 

" We have it from authority in which we place every reliance, that Mr. Richards 
has been subject to mental depression, amounting at times to aberration : and that 
grievances of a domestic nature have had much to do with these aberrations. About 
two years since, he was discharged, cured, from an InsaneAsylum in a Northern State ; 
upon which he came to this city. No documents are necessary to prove that du- 
ring his residence here his conduct has been moral and exemplary, as befitted a 
minister of the Gk)spel ; and that, being a man of more than ordinary education 
and intellect, he has commanded the love and esteem of his own denomination, and 
the respect of all others. In regard to the occurrence of Friday week, we have 
the best authority for saying, that it was the result of a renewal of the domestic 
grievances which unsettled his mind at first ; and that, in this last instance, the 
grievances were of the worst possible nature tliat could befall any man." 

Fourth: — ^The wife of Dr. Richards, divorced as aforesaid, whose mmden name 
was Sarah Wisner, was a niece of the late Rev. B. B. Wisner, D. D., of Boston. 
Mrs. Sarah Wisner, widow of this Rev. Dr. Wisner, is own aunt of the Rev. Leon- 
ard W. Bacon of Litchfield : and is spending some part of this present Winter at 
the Litchfield home of her Rev. Nephew. Pat. 

January dtfij 1860. 

II. DR. RICHARDS AT NEW ORLEANS. 
Articles prom the N. 0* Crescent. 

1. Arrest of Dr. Ricliarils for DmnkennoM. 

(From the New Orleans Creacent, March 3, 1865.) 

Cmuons Affair — A Minister on a Spree. — ^Early yesterday morning a man waa 
found lying insensihle on the sidewalk in Old Levee street, in the Third District. 
He was carried to the guard-house and laid hy the fire, and after lying there an 
hour or two, he got up and looked about him in a wild confused maimer, and waa 

* The MMrtlon Is utterly Uhe. The dlvoroe wm gruted Hmffy on the groimd of Mn. 
Rloluurdi'i refiual to live with hor htubaad. This roftisal wm on the groimd of his dranken- 
ness and oraelty to her ; on the groond of which fscts, proved In a eonrt of Justice, she herself 
obtained a divorce from him. What " original doenments and authorities " were exhibited to 
tbo unfortunate writer of the abore letter, it is difficult to understand. 

t This which Dr. Richards " firankly owned " to his firlend, he dtnitd toUh en oath in the pres- 
ence of the Association^ 

X For the remainder of the article here quoted, and a complete exposve sad retraetion of U 
by the same editor, see below, pp. 4, 5, 6, 7, 



oerteinlj the wildest lookiiig spedmeii of humanity th&t has been seen hi the Old 
Third for aome time. He was over six feet high, well-built and elegantly dressed : 
his long yellow hair was begrimed and so blowsed, that it would have fiUed a half- 
bushel ; his face, which is palUd and pook-markedf was covered with dirt and blood, 
as if from a violent fall, and his shirt-bosom and vest were also very bloody. In reply 
to the inquiries of the offioers, and of Becorder Seuzeneau, before whom he was 
taken, he stated that he was a minister of the Methodist persuasion, and that his 
name was James Richards; that he was subject to fits, and had spent two years in 
the New York Insane Asylum ; that upon being discharged, cured, he came to this 
city, and supposed himself to be entirely well until he found himself in his present 
plight. He denied having been intoxicated, and asserted that he had fallen down 
in a fit, though he could not tell what he had been doing in that part of the city, or 
how he came to be lying in the street at such an hour. Letters in his pockets 
corroborated his account of himself, the superscription being " Rev. James RichaniB, 
D. J>" It was evident that he had not been in bad company, for neither his gold 
watch, nor his pocket-book, containing $64, had been disturbed. His language 
and manner betokened education, if not sanity, and the Recorder politely discharged 
hiuL The gentleman may have had a fit fh>m other causes than drinking ; but 
the officers say that if he was not drunk, and beastly drunk, when he was brought 
in, there was never a drunken man brought to the Third District jail; and this is 
emphatic language, which we are not able to doubt 

9. ««AdditionaK*> 

(From the Ifew Orleans OreacerU^ March 6th, 1855.) 

Additiokal. — In justice to some of our Methodist friends, who feel somewhat 
annoyed that a miziister of another denomination should get drunk, and then say 
he was a Methodist, we wUl add what we did not know on Friday, when we penned 
our account of the disaster to the Rev. Mr. Richards, in the Third District. That 
gentleman has been in this city for some time ; is well known in religious circles 
as a divine of no ordinary ability, and is the regularly installed pastor of the Third 
Presbyterian Church in the Third District We will add, that had we known the 
gentleman was pastor of any church in this city, we would in charity to the feelings 
of his congregation have suppressed his name; but since the fact is public, it may 
as well be properly stated. No one in Recorder Seuzeneau's court had ever seen 
or heard of the gentleman ; our strictly secular occupation prevented our being any 
wiser, and so we published the circumstance without reflection or hesitation. The 
reverend gentleman toaa very drunk and did say he was a Methodist ; though 
there is this much in his favor, that the Recorder thinks that when he was before 
him he had not got sufficiently sober to know the difference between " Methodist" 
and " Presbyterian," and said " Methodist" because it was the shortest Seriously, 
Mr. Richard^s " falling fh)m grace" is a sad, strange piece of business, which we 
are willing to attribute to some slumbering infirmity of which his congregation and 
his sect in this dty were ignorant 

S. Dr. Rlchnrds** Apology* 

(From the New OrUana Orescent, March 13th, 1855.)* 

Thi Rbv. Mr. RiCHABDa— We are pleased in bemgiible to state that there were 
palliating circumstances in connection with the unfortunate adventure of this gen- 



* This artlole, eat fkvm the newipaper, Dr. Richards hM repeatedly exhibited, in a private 
way, to hie friends and aeqnaintances, sinoe he has lived in Litchfield. He laid it on the Uble of 
the Association at his examination, and aif extract from it was published by that devoted friend 
who wrote the anonymous letter to the Editor of the Whuud HertOd. The disgraceftil particu- 
lan which "had been published in the " Crescent " before this article appeared, and the terrible 
•xpoenre and eastigation which followed it, at the hands of the Editor of that Journal (and 
which is copied below) were not known in this region until the publication of the article by 
Dr. Blehards's self-aaeriflcing friend became the occasion of bringing them to light 



tldnuHi, the pnrtlcnlflra of which were published In the Cresoefit on the 3d end 6ili of 
this month. The alBiir, of course, creftted surprise in all classes, and profound regret 
throughout our religious community ; and if it can in any way be explained or 
Justifled, it is due to Mr. Richards' high reputation and the feelings of his friends 
that it should be done. We have been visited by numerous friends of the reverend 
gentleman, including not only members of his own, but ministers and members of 
other denominations, who, while expressing their Just and natural mortifioaticfn, 
have yet displayed a spirit of sympathy and forgiveness for him which we were 
not prepared to expect, and which we have beheld with pleasure. We have it from 
authority in which We place every reliance, that Mr. Richards has been subfsct to 
mental depression, amounting at times to aberration, and that grievances of a 
domestic nature have had much to do with these aberrations. About two years 
since, he was discharged, cured, from an Insane Asylum in a Northern State; upon 
which he came to this city. Ko documents are necessary to prove that during Ids 
residence here his conduct hae been moral and exemplary as befitted a mimster 
of the gospel, and that, being a man of more than ordinary education and intelleci 
he has commanded the love and esteem of his own denomination and the respect of 
bU others. In regard to the occurrence of Friday week, we have the best authority 
for saying that it was the result of a renewal of the domestic grievances which 
unsettled his mind at first, and that, in this last instance* the g^evances were of 
the worst possible nature that could befall any man. In the domestic relation, it 
must be recollected, ministers are the same as other men, with this difference, 
that they are apt to view the conjugal tie in a more exalted light than men in 
general, and that when this tie Is violated, the crush of feeling — ^the sense of out- 
raged honor and humbled pride— is far greater with them than it would be with 
most other men. It is therefore not to be wondered at that Mr. Richards, a gen- 
fieman of refined feeling, and a Doctor of Divinity, standing high in the religious 
world, should prove unequal to the discovery that the wife of his bosom — ^the i^ing 
upon whom he had staked all his earthly happiness — ^was playing him false, acting 
recreant to the holiest of earthly vows. This was the cause of his first aberration. 
Upon his recovery, there was left to him the hope that his wife would reform, and 
thus keep the world in ignorance of her shame and his humiliation ; and it was 
the final dissipation of this hope which unsettled his reason the lajst time — ^his 
unfliithful wife having recently descended to the lowest depths of degradation^* 
spuming his love, trampling upon his honor, and subjecting the name of which he 
was so justly proud, to shame and degradation. The unhappy divine has recovered 
from this last blow, and is now sensible of his position before the community, He 
states that on the evening of this aberration, and for some days previous, his mind 
brooded over his dishonor with a morbidity which he had no power to avert. The 
last of his recollection of that evening is that he was sitting alone in his study 
revolving in his mind his unhappy situation, and becoming more and more depress- 
ed. He has no recollection of leaving his house, nor of anything that happened 
to him until he found himself partially restored to consciousness the next morning, 
in Recorder Seuzeneau's office. His religious friends place the fullest reliance in 
his statement, aud we can therefore have no reason to doubt it ; nor do we suppose 
that any of our readers can doubt it, when they imagine what their own feelings 
would be under similar droumstanoes. 

4. Final Exposure and Disgrace of Dr. Riciiards before 

tlie FnMic of fVew Orleans* 

[f^rom t?ie New Orieana Crescent^ May 17.] 

A Glbrical Impostor in Nbw Orleans. 

When, in ^rch last, we published upon the authority of others an artido in 
extenuation of the misfortune to the Rev. James Richards, pastor of the Third 
Presbyterian Church in the Third District, which misfortune consisted in his being 
fbund lying beastly drunk in Old Levee street, we deemed it no more than simple 
justice that Mrs. Richards should be made acquainted with the charges against her 
which we were induced to publish in that article. We accordingly transmitted to 



lier ftiends in Penn Tan, N. Y., all that we had published in reference to her hns- 
band and herself, with the intimation that if those charges were in the least 
unfoanded, we would make all the reparation in our power. 

This, as we have said, we did fVom a sense of justice, and not fh>m any conviction 
or suspicion that we were publishing a falsehood to the world ; had our knowledge 
of the truth of the charges been personal and irrefragible, we could bftve done no 
less than we did. Ck>uld we liaye entertained anj conviction, however, that those 
charges were not true, not aU the eloquence of the South, or the persuasions of a 
life-time, could have induced us to lend our columns to such a purpose. We have 
now to state that a refutation of the charges against Mrs. Richards has reached us. 
It is a refutation of such weight and authenticity as to satisfy us that the religious 
community of New Orleans, and ourselves through their instrumentality, have been 
imfmsed upon by as arrant a scoundrel as ever went unhung. 

In making this unpleasant confession, we must be permittod to say a few words 
in defence of ourselves. We did not make that publication willingly, or under any 
impression that it was at all proper, though at the time we believ^ we were giving 
nothing but the truth. We made it under the pressure of the most urgent personal 
solicitation, repeated from day to day by gentiemen of the first standing in our city 
—occupying the highest positions in different religious denominations, as well as in 
commercial circles and in the community generally. They told us, vrith every 
seeming of heartfelt sincerity, that they knew Mr. Richards to be a wronged and 
deeply-ii]jured man. They showed themselves to be in earnest, by leaving their 
names with us, at the service of any one who might calL 

We recognised the men as thoroughly in earnest; and feeling satisfied that they 
would be as far from knowingly slandering an innocent woman as they would be 
fhim lending themselves to an untruth of any kind, we 3rielded to their solicitations. 
We were thus instrumental in most foully ii^jhring one that we now believe to be 
an innocent and estimable lady, beyond what it w& ever be in our power properly 
to atone for. We are satisfied that the gentlemen who led us into this predicament 
were entirely deceived by the saintiy-looking sinner, as worthy people without 
number have been d^ieived by him in other communities. Tendering the injured 
wife and her friends our heartfelt apologies for the wrong we have done them, we 
now give the substance of the refutation. 

We have received a letter from Mr. Henry A. Wisner, the brother of Mrs. 
Richards, at Penn Tan, Yates county, N. Y. It is couched in gentiemanly language, 
and gives, with every impress of truth and an abundance of reference, the history 
of Mr. Richards's frailties and of his wife's wtongs. It sets forth that ten or twelve 
years ago Mr. Richards preached in Penn Yan — ^was generally beloved and esteem- 
ed, (notwithstanding rumors which occasionally got out that he was secretiy 
addicted to drinking, which rumors were hushed up as slanders,) and was at that 
time married to an estimable young lady of Oanandaigua county. In a few years 
the wife sickened and died, and the rumors of intemperance, which again went 
forth, extended to the assertion that she died of a broken heart 

After a lapse of nearly two years, Mr. Richards again married : his second and 
p rese nt wife being Miss Wisner, the sister of Mr. Wisner who writes to us. This 
was about seven years ago. Immediately upon his marriage, Mr. Richards was 
called to the charge of the First Presbyteriim Ohurch, Morristown, N. J., where 
he was well-known and highly esteemed. Soon tiiereafter he became so submis- 
sive to the demon of drink, that, he acted the brute to his wife. She, like a true 
woman, kept her sufferings secret, until one day in a drunken fit he threatened to 
take her life. Being now alarmed, she hiformed her friends of her husband's bru- 
tality and of her unJdappy situation. 

Mr. R.'s congregation thereupon investigated the matter — found the wife's char- 
ges to be true — and smoothed the matter over by pronouncing him crazy. Crazy 
he undoubtedly was, to tiie extent of aloohc^c cra^ees, but was none the less a 
brute on that account He was sent to the New Jersey Insane Asylum, where he 
remained but six weeks. Upon being released, he was arraigned before the 
Presbytery of New Jersey, upon charges of ** drunkenness, profane swearing, 
abuse of his wife, and licentiousness." He was defended by the plea of insanity, 
and the result of the investigation was (Mr. W. thinks) his suspension *fitnn the 
ministry for one year. 



Ws wife stood patiently by lum ^imrgh aJI this. As soonfts he was suspended, 
he left her and started for the South ; upon which she went home to Peon Tan, 
fdlowed bj the sympathies and highest esteem of the citizens of Morristown. So 
moch for the stofy of her haying deserted him, or proven false to her honor and 
her marital obligation. She took with her her two chfldren^ and began earning for 
herself and ^em an honorable subsistence by teaching school Recently, one of 
these children died, and still more recently she went to Michigan with her remain- 
ing child, where she now is, teaching sdiod, esteemed and beloved by aU her 
aoqiiaintance, and probably in ignorance np to this time, of her husband's wretched 
conduct in New Orieans, and s^ more wretched and slanderous palliation of Ma 
thame. 

How the people of New Orieans have been deceived by the clerical impostor, is 
a thing they must now know, and in sympathy to the denomination of which he 
was oonsidered so bright an ornament, we withhold the reprobation against him 
which our present feelhigs would warrant 

Below will be found a 'certificate of Mrs. Eichards's character, signed by the 
leading residents of Penn Tan. It is accompanied by the assurance dt Mr. Wisner 
that if it be necessary he can procure similar certificates from every community in 
which his sister has resided. We give this certificate a place with pleasure, as the 
least reparation we can offer for the wrong to which we have been a party, and 
with the announcement that we dismiss Mr. Richards from our columns, as 
our oittzens should dismiss his memory fVom their hearts, forever. 

We published some weeks ago, the fact that the reverend gentleman had 
departed for Europe, "for the benefit of his health.** We have now only to hope 
that he will continue his journey to Africa^ and stay there. 



2b the EdUors of the New Orleans Orescent: 

Gents : Within a few days our attenticm has been called to an artkde wfaidi ap- 
peared in your paper of the 13th of March last^ containing, doubtless^ what you 
believed to be "palliating oircumstanoes in connection with the unfortunate adven- 
ture of the Rev. James Richard%*' noticed by you in your paper of the 3d and &tli 
of Uie same montiL 

In that article you state^ among other things, as facts^ that the mental aberratioii 
of Mr. Richards was occasioned by his wife's "playing him lalse,*' and as having 
" descended to the lowest deptha of degradation." 

Now, gentlemen, we are persuaded it will give you pleasure to learn that tiiia 
foul charge against this lady is tUteriy faise. We have personally known her ftxun 
her ohikUiOod. She is a member of a Christian church in this village, in good 
standing, and wherever known is admired and beloved. 

The lady herself is now in Michigan, teaching — thus earning bread for herself 
and only surviving child; and without her knowledge we make this statement as 
an act of mere duty to a groasly-ii^jured virtuous woman. 

Ohas. 0. Sheppard, N. Thompson, S. H: Welles, 

James D. Morgan, W. M. Oliver, A. Oliver, 

& 0. Dunning. John N. Rose^ C. G. Judd, 

L. Snaderlin, Jas. Taylor, Leander Reddy, 

J. V. Vanalen, H. R. Miller, C. B. Brace, 

John L. Lewis, Jr., David B. Prosser, Henry Rose. 

Pmh Ton^ Tatts eowOy^ New York^ May 3, 1856. 



A laOy^B Comments on Br. McHuadgfu Apology. 

TThd foJlowlac pmffeat edtSctomtm tb« 4«Ciiw» whioh wm set up to babalf of Dr. Bleharti 
ftt New OrlMaa. wm writtea st tbe tlB0, bj tlw BtftrsM of th« Tamo ir&(r, and psbUdMd la 
tbrt papw MMvh aoib, 186a] 

REV. DE. BICHABD8 AND HIS LATB '< ABBHRATIOlf /' 

In one of our letters from Kew Orleans, we mentioiied a faet whioh was of poblic 
notoriety in the city at the time, that the gentleman above mentioned had been 
picked iip intoxicated in a gutter at night and carried to the Beoorder^s office, where 
he was kept till next morning. Below we give an i^ologettc article from the 
Orescent, prefaced by our good friend, Bev. Mr. Mclnnis oi the True Witness, with 
quite a severe commentary on theproneness of some people to carp at the weak- 
nesses of the Ministers of GkKL we copy the art&Gles beoMise we wish to do fuU 
justice to all concerned, as we had menUooed the matter as above stated. 

We have given the Bev. gentleman the fiiU benefit of the Oresoent's miserable 
defense and Mr. Mclunis's endorsement of it, and now we are " called," we belkre 
in our soul, more loudly than Mr. Richards was ever " called " to preach the ((bspal, 
to say a word in defense of the lady so foully traduced by her unfortunate (?) ex- 
husband. In the first place, then, we believe on evidence which it would not be 
proper for us to tell here, nor have we the space, that the charges made against 
that poor broken-hearted woman he once called wife, sire false — false as perdition — 
false in conception as they are cowardly in utterance. We never saw Mr. Richards, 
we never saw Mrs. R., and never expect or desire to see either of them ; but we 
have heard their history fh>m those who know it, and to whom falsehood is a 
greater stranger by fieu* than habitual drunkenness is to the " distinguished *' subject 
of this article. 

We are intimate with a lady who knows Mrs. R. well. She was the only child 
of a widow in the western part of New York, was beautiful and accomplished, and 
perhaps of tastes and habits not compatible with the severe duties and self-denials 
of a clergyman's wife. Mr. Richards knew this, and she knew it too, but it was m 
love match. After a while the lady went back to her mother with two children, 
stating that Mr. Riohards's habits were such she could not live with him. He was 
tried before his Presbytery and cleared on his plea that his wife^s conduct had run 
him crazy. Still, after he had tried to blast her character, he went back to her 
motbnr's, promised amendment, and begged her to come back and live with him. 
If his charges were true, this was manly to say the least of it Up to this time he 
had supported her in view of her retum, but he now cut off supplies, in hopes, as 
it was reported he said, of " starving her into measures." Bat she was inexorable. 
She took a subordinate situation in one of the public schools of her native village, 
and is there teaching, still earning bread for herself and her one child, for the poor 
pittance of three hundred dollars a year. She lost one sweet little girl a year 
ago, and is struggling now with her great bereavement and the hard labor she has 
to perform, to earn a living. We ask our female readers, who are wives and 
mothers, if her lot is not a hard one, without the eloquent voice of her recreant 
husband blasting her character among strangers? 

We are not undmritable to man *or woman. We know the ftttllities of human 
nature, and therefore do not condemn Mr. Richards if his nervous temperament re- 
quired stimulus and he overtasked it; — ^it is a great misfortune to be thus constituted. 
Ko doubt the possessor of such a nature must suflbr more tiian any one else by it 
Bnt we do blame him for his sneaking nnmanliness in trying to screen himself from 
public contempt behind his wife's garments. We wonder the editor of the Orescent 
lent his pen and his usually dignified columns to such a mere subterfuge. Mitfk, 
tfaey don't deny the man got dnmk, but he was led into the indiscretion by the foul 
condact of his wifel If his wife had proved herself guilty of the crimes he im- 
puted to her when she first left him, what reader of human nature believes he 
wouldn't have been glad that her conduct had thus vindicated him? We repeat it 
^hese charges are as false as they are pitifully cowardly, and we eamestiy hope 
for the honor and manliness of human nature, that if Mrs. R., has a male relative 
living, he will whip the *^ aberrated" lodger of the Recorder's office all over New 



9 

Orleans. It is a disgfracd to the ChurdL and the Mmistiy of God to harbor snch 
*' unfortanate great men " within its folds. If a man must get drunk eveiy time 
he getfl in trouble, let him seek some other profession than the miniatiy^-^f he tries 
to serve God in spite of his constitutional weakness, He is merctflil and will no doubt 
accept the will for the deed, where the spirit is willing and the flesh is weak. We 
do not wish to be understood as a champion for Mrs. Richards. We only object to 
the Rev. gentleman and his editorial friends palliating and excusing his faults hy 
traducing her. If all he says is true, it is no excuse for him and should not be 
counted such. But public sentiment is in her favor wherever both parties are 
known. She could not keep a situation in a echool at the- North if her character 
was not good. We shall make no remarks ^bout the antecedents of ^e great 
"aberrated," for it is not our purpose to do anything but condemn, in the most em- 
phatic manner we are capable of, this oowardly attack upon his wife. It is nothing 
but the changes rung on the old tune, (which, with all reverence for the sanctity (? 
the subject, we think if Eve had had a big brother he ought to have kicked Adam 
all over Paradise for) '^ The woman beguiled me and I did eat" 

We dose with the sad reflection that many preach the gospel who have answered 
to somebody else's " call," and there will be a "woe " to them for preaching rather 
than for not preaching. 

[Then foUowi the article from the Nem OrUtuu OenonK, given on pp. 4, 5^ above.] 



III. DR. RICHAEDS'S PLEA OF INSANITY. 

At the late trial of Dr. Richards before a magistrate at Litchfield, on occasion of 
an assault and battery committed by him on the person of Francis Bacon, M. D., 
of New Haven, the defense of Insanity (which has been put forth in his behalf in 
previous difBculties) was set up, and in support of it, it was alleged that he had 
been an inmate of sundry Insane Asylums. The defense, however, failed of con- 
vincing the Court 

The occasions on which Dr. Richards has been confined in Insane Asylums, so 
far as they are known to me, are three. 

1. At Trenton, N. J., in February 1850. 

2. At Bloomingdale, K. T., early m 1856. 

3. At Canandalgua, N. T., October 1860. 

1. At TWntofi) N. J. The circumstances in which Dr. Richards was taken to the 
Asylum at this place, are gathered from testimony taken under oath at his trial 
before the Presbytery of Elizabethtown. From this, it appears that his friends and 
the members of his church at Korristovm were led to hope that he was insane, as 
the only way of saving his character. A certificate was obtained from his family 
physician that Dr. Richards was "no^ himself ihAt day and the day before" [on 
both which days the same physician testified that Richards was intoxicated] and 
when this certificate was objected to by the physidan of the Asylum, as not 
sufficient to justify him in receiving Dr. Richards as a patient, a certificate in the 
usual form was at length procured. 

Dr. Richards was accompanied to the Asylum by Mr. Yoorhees, an Elder in his 
church, and Henry 0. Pitney, Esq., then a student of law in the office of Judge 
Whitehead. From the evidence of these witnesses we learn that on the way to 
the Asylum Dr. Richards said " Voorhees, this is all wrong," and begged not to be 
taken to the Asylum. When told that there was no other way of saving his char- 
acter before the world, than upon the ground of insanity, Dr. Richards replied that 
they might do it as well by taking him to a water-cure ; but at length consented to 
go. Mr. Pitney further testified that although Dr. Richards did not say what was 
the matter with him, yet he said ^^tJiey kneWj** and "the whole gist of his conver- 
sation was that he had been on a spree." When shown a bottle of brandy, he said 
it was " all right ; he would want some by and by." After he had reached the 
cars, on the way to Trenton, Dr. Richards said he " must have brandy to let himself 
down on; that he felt terribly; that he should have a terrible time in getting over 
it" Mr. Pitney proposed opium, two or three times: but Dr. Riphards said 
*^ brandy ufos the thing." It was given to him, as he requested, and "the more 



10 

he drank the more rational he became. His nerves regained their natural equiUb- 
rimn, and when we reached Elizabethtown, no one would hare observed anything 
irrational in him, eren to the time of reaching the Asylum." 

No physician will be at a loss as to the nature and cause of the ^' insanity" 
attended by the symptoms above described. 

Dr. Richards was admitted to the Asylum at Trenton, Feb. 16th, 1850, and dis- 
charged on the 12th of the following March. The following is the account of hia 
symptoms while there, given on the highest authority: " he was at the time, [of his 
admission] and for a short period after, in a highly ' nervous * state, and at times 
low-spirited." 

2. At Bloomingdale. The following account of Dr. Richards's case at the Bloom* 
ingdale Asylum is also given on the highest authority : — ^that Dr. Richards was 
received into that Institution as an fabitualinebriate ; and that during lus stay there 
he showed no symptoms of insanity whatever. 

3. At Ckmandaigua. The following arc the loading facts with regard to the recent 
case at this place, according to the best information that I have been able to obtain. 

Shortly after his arrivid at the village, Dr. Richards was seen to pass up Main 
Street, and not long after was found lying in the street, supposed to be drunk. He 
was taken up by friends, and led into a private house and put to bed, but after a 
little while was transferred to the Insane Asylum, where he remained a day or two, 
when he returned to Litchfield. There has appeared no evidence that he was insane 
otherwise than from the effect of liquor. 

Recent developements of cliaracter in Dr. Richards, make it unnccessaiy to 
present farther proof under this head. 



IV. DE. aiCHABDS'S PLEA OF RECENT lEaEPEOACH- 

ABLE CHAEACTEE. 

The allegation is made against the Litchfield South Association, that whereas Dr. 
Richards luts of late years been living a blameless life, the Association have never- 
theless sought out and published against him accusations for old matters that ought 
in charity to have been forgotten. 

The answer is this : 

1. The Association have made no (hccusation against him for former guilt. They 
published the fact of his present standing as a man deposed and excommunicated 
for drunkenness. They did not pronounce upon the justice or injustice of that 
excommunication, but they conceived that the churches into whose pulpits Dr. 
Richards was gaining admission through their ignorance of it, had a right to be 
informed of the/oc/. 

2. The Association did accuse him of '^ recent deliberate and aggravated falsehood 
in their presence." 

The assertion that the walk and conversation of Dr. Richards in Litchfield, up 
to the time of the public action of the Association, had been such as to win and 
retain for him the cordial confidence and esteem of the community in general, is 
not true. 

Recent manifestations of his real character make it unnecessary to speak further 
on this topic. 



V- THE JUEISDICTION OF THE ASSOCIATION. 

Sensible people who may read the foregoing pages will wonder that any further 
"jurisdiction" should have been thought needful to justify the Association in their 
action, than the common right and duty of honest men to expose a mischeivous 
impostor on the public. The argument that whereas one body, the Northfield 
church, had withdrawn from connection with another body, the Consociation, 
therefore a third party, the Association, had no right to expose the impostures of a 
fourth party, Dr. Richards, will be looked upon as amusing. 

6 



11 

A person acquainted with the principles and usages of the New England Con- 
gregational Churches can hardly have any doubt whatever that the Association 
fulfilled only its proper and appointed duty in the case. But there is this to be said 
in apology for the author of the above Letter to the Witisted Herald, that he is a 
minister of another denomination: and that one who has so widely mistaken 
the proper sphere of his own duty and responsibility, may be cheerftilly 
pardoned for not fully understanding the professional duties and responsibilities of 
other people. 

The subject is one not in controversy among well informed people ; but for the 
benefit of others, the following editorial comments on this identical case, from The 
Independent of Jan. — , 1860, are submitted as an exposition of Congregational 
order, with respect to the duty, not only of the Association, but of the church in 
Nortlifield. 

*'For our own part we have no hesitation in saying (what we might have had no 
occasion to say, if we had not been virtually appealed to by the communication 
which wo this day publish*) that, in our judgment, the Associated Pastors of Litch- 
field Soutli have done in this case that which it was their duty to do. What was 
the case ? 

*• There came among them, three or four years ago, a man whose name, when it 
was borne by his venerable father, was greatly honored in the churches of Connec- 
ticut, and was a synonym of saintly purity. Ilis academic titles testified the esti- 
mation in which his talents and attainments had been held by the dispensers of 
such honors. He liad been a minister of the Gospel, but had been deposed from 
the ministry, and excommimicated from the church for dnmkenness by a unani- 
mous sentence of the Presbytery in which he was a member. After a few months' 
residence in the district of Litchfield South, he began to ' assiune the lunctions of 
a minister in regular standing,' and to avail himself of opportunities of entering 
the pulpits of churches that were ignorant of his real standing and character. It 
was time for the Associated Pastors of that district to interfere. It was their duty 
first to remonstrate with the ofiender, and then, if their remonstrance should be in- 
effectual, it would be their duty to warn the churches against hun in any way which 
might seem Ukely to be effectual. What remonstrance they made to the offender 
we are not informed ; but from the minutes of the New Orleans Presbytery we 
learn that by some means Dr. B. was induced to bring his case before the Associa- 
tion by making an * appHcation to be recognized and authorized by them as a Gk>B- 
pel minister.' What became of that application does not appear; but it does ap- 
pear that after a ' committee of inquiry, appointed by said Association to investi- 
gate the truth of certain rumors affecting the Christian character of Dr. R.,' had 
reported, he himself, by his petition, strengthened with a memorial from the Nortli- 
field church, took the whole question of his restoration to good standing into the 
Presbytery of New Orleans, where it most properly belongs. The minutes of the 
Presbytery in relation to that petition and the accompanying memorial are before 
the reader. After what seems to have been a careful and protracted consideration, 
the Presbytery unanimously refused to remove the censure of deposition from the 
ministry and of excommunication. What next? Did the man thus doubly, and 
more than doubly, convicted of disgraceful immorality, cease to ' a.ssume the func- 
tions of a minister in regular standing?' Not at all. We say plainly, ^at if the 
Associated Pastors of Litchfield South, through any timidity, or any false delicacy, 
or any amiable unwilUngness to perform a painful duty, had failed to do just what 
they have done, they would have betrayed the trust committed to them as an As- 
sociation by the universal usage of American Congregationalism ; they would have 
given a virtual consent to the dishonor put upon their own sacred office and voca- 
tion; and upon them would have rested the responsibility of contributing to break 
down all the safeguards by which the Congregational churches, in all parts of our 
common country, protect themselves against impostors, pretending to be ministers 
of Christ. 

" We are equally free to say that the Northfleld church have acted in this case 
most improperly and unwisely, and have done tliat which they will ultimately re- 
gret and be ashamed of. What have they done ? 

■■ ' ■ ■ ■■ ' II.. II 

* From the chnrch in Northfleld. 



12 

" It is not in our power to go behind the reoord ; but their own preamble and reso- 
lution, taken in connection with what comes to Hght in the minutes of the New 
Orleans Presbytery, tell a sad story. They say that Dr. R., a resident * in the 
village of LitdLfield* (some ten [Jive\ miles from Northfield, if we mistake not) 

* was received to membership ' in their body * by profession, after careful inquiry 
as to his standing and character, and a thorough examination of the g^unds of h^ 
Christian hope.' How carefully they inquired as to his standing and character, and 
how thoroughly they examined the grounds of his Christian hope, before receiving 
him to their communion and making him their minister, does not very distinctly ap- 
pear. Doubtless they think that tliey made the requisite investigation more care- 
fully and more thoroughly than the committee of inquiry appointed by the Associate 
Pastors of that District — ^far more carefully and thoroughly than the Presbyteiy 
of New Orleans, either in the trial which preceded the censure, or in their recent 
reconsideration of the case at his petition for a removal of the censure. But other 
people will hardly think so without more explicit information. They say, that they 

* by a unaniifioua vote employed the said Richards to exercise the functions of the 
Gospel ministry among ' them, ' wliich he has done for the period of fourteen 
months;' and that all this is 4n accordance with the true principles of Congrega- 
tionalism.' Doubtless they think that tliis is as they say. Doubtless they think that 
when they took off the sentence of excommunication from a man who had been 
regularly excommunicated, and when they made that man, by a unanimous vote, 
their minister — a man who not only was not a minister but had been solemnly de- 
posed from the ministry by another Church — ^they committed no irregularity and 
violated no ' true principle of Congregationalism.' But other people are better in- 
formed. One of the ' true principles of Congregationalism' — and one than which 
no other is more essential to the system both as it is portrayed in theory and as it ex- 
ists in fact — ^is the principle of the communion of churches. Every church has the 
power, under Christ, of admitting members and of excluding them. That is a true 
principle of Congregationalism, no doubt. But in so serious a matter as the over- 
rnhng and nullifying of a solemn exoonununication pronounced by another church, 
the * true principle ' of the communion of churches comes in play; and nothing is 
better settled than that the church which assumes to overrule and nullify an ex- 
communication pronounced by another church, ought to act by. the advice of a Ju- 
(JUcious council of churches. Every church has the power, under Christ, of elect- 
ing and ordaining its own mmisters. That is also, beyond all doubt, a true prin- 
ciple of Congregationalism. But the ordination of a minister in any church — ^the 
making that man a minister who before was not a minister-*is a business which 
ooncems other churches and especially the churches of the neighborhood. There- 
fore no truly Congregational church — ^no church which expects to maintain com- 
munion with its neighbor churches, and to walk orderly according to * the tme 
principles of Cong^gationalism ' — proceeds to the solemnity of inducting any man 
into the work of the ministry without the advice of other churches represented in 
a counciL How much more then are the " true principles of Cong^gationalism" 
violated, when a church, without the advice and co-operation of other churches 
represented in a council, takes upon itself the responsibility of introducing into the 
ministry one who not only was not a minister but had been regularly deposed from 
the ministry for disgraceful immorality t The Northfield church, by this proceed- 
ing, has put itself out of the pale of the communion of the neighbor churches. 
All the churches that have any knowledge of its ill-advised proceeding, are bound 
to testify against it by withdrawing from communion with it so long as it continues 
to walk in a course so disorderly and so subversive of all the rules and principles 
which make the intercommunion of churches, or the recognition of each other's 
administrations, safe. 

" We observe a passage in the proceedings of the New Orleans Presbytery which 
Aeems to imply that Dr. Richards had obtained ' license ' to preach from some 
quarter in conformity with Congregational ' usage.' We can make large allow- 
ance for their excusable ignorance of what is * usage ' among Congregationalists, 
but we regret that they have been so grossly imposed upon." 



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