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Full text of "Report of a committee of the church on the reply of the Rev. Moses Thacher ..."

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REPORT 

OF ▲ 

COMMITTEE OF THE CHURCH 

Iir TBB 

NORTH PARISH IN WRENTHAM, 

Oir THX 

REPLY OP THE REV. MOSES THACHER 

TO THEIR REQUEST 

» 

TO ADMINISTER TO THEM THE LORD's SUPPER; 
▲8 PUBLISHED IH THE ^ 

BOSTON TELEGRAPH OF FEB. 9, 1831. 

ALSO AM APPENDIX, 
CONTAINING A STATEMENT OF FACTS 

EXHIBITED TO THE 

ECCLESIASTICAL COUNCIL 

CONTSNED IN THE 

NORTH PARISH IN WRENTHAM, DEC. 14, 1830. 

« 

PUBLISHED AOREEABLT TO A VOTE OF THE CHURCH, 



BOSTON : 

PRINTED BY FEIRCE ^ND PARKER. 



1831. 



}.- 



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HARVAfiO COIUGE WUHAHl 



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REPORT- 



In the Boston Telegraph of February 9th is published 
a correspondence between the Church of Christ in the 
North Parish in Wrentham, and theftev. Moses l?hacher, 
their Pastor. In Mr. Thacher's answer and remarks, the 
members of the church feel themselves injured ; because a 
number of things are so stated as to leave a wrong im- 
pression upon the public mind. They, therefore, feel it 
to be their duty to come forward and correct sotaae of the 
errors which have been circulated abroad. 

The first thing to which we shall attend is the charge 
of hypocrisy, alleged against us by Mr. Thacher, in con- 
sequence of our asking him to administer to us the sacra- 
ment of the Lord's Supper. Here we would observe, 
that we believe that a member of a church who has walk- 
ed disorderly, and thereby broken covenant, is to be ad- 
mitted to communion, until a course of discipline is com- 
menced with him, and that no brother can be justified in 
absenting himself on that account. We also believe, that 
when a minister is ordained Pastor of a church, it is his , 
duty to administer to its members the ordinances of Bap- 
tism and the Lord's Supper until he is dismissed, or 
thrown under censure. We believe that, however desir- 
ous the members of a church may be to efiect the dis- 
mission of their Pastor, and that, whatever ineffectual 



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measures they may have taken for this purpose, they 
ought to receive the ordinances at his hand. We cannot, 
therefore, see that the members of a church, thus situated, 
are chargeable with acting from " sinister designs" or in 
^^ sheer hypocricy" by requesting their Pastor to adminis- 
ter to them the ordinance of the Lord's supper. If we 
mistake on this subject, we hope some one who is able 
will convince us of our error. 

Mr. Thacher, in his answer to the request of the church, 
has numerous interrogations. If we have not time to an- 
swer them aU, we will endeavor to answer the most impor- 
tant. 

We begin with the following. " Now brethren, if you 
consider me as your Pastor, why have you withdrawn 
from my ministrations ?" We suppose that Mr. Thacher, 
by this, means the ministrations of the word only. Indeed 
we know of nothing ejse to which his question can apply. 
For a few SabJ)aths past, we have not attended upon Mr. 
Thachej's preaching. And we are willing to state our 
reasons, not knowing whether they will satisfy the minds of 
others as they do ours. Mr. Thacher and a minor part 
of the male members, with a major part of the female 
members, have formed themselves into what they call a 
new church, without our consent, and without a precedent 
in like circumstances. Though we are called by the 
Pastor, the old church, yet he cannot be persuaded to 
administer to us the Lord's supper, and even ceases to 
pray for us publicly as a church. He has given public 
' notice, that when " he mentions the church, and when he 
prays for the church, he means the new church." He has 
strongly intimated, if not expressed, that the old church is 
too corrupt to*. be fellowshipped, or called a church of 
Christ. He calls himself Pastor of the new church, but 
when repeatedly asked to inform us whether he considers 



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himself as our Pastor, — ^he has uniformly declined giving 
an answer. He refused to administer to us the sacrament 
of thp Lord's supper, at the usual time in December last, 
but upon conditions with which he could not expect us to 
comply. He has so sheltered himself by forming a new 
church, that should we attempt a process of discipline, we 
have no doubt that all our efforts would prove unavailing. 
Under such circumstances, we did^think that we could not 
hear him preach. But that nothing might be wanting on 
our part, we agreed once more to invite him to preach to 
us, and to administer to us the sacrament of the Lord's 
supper. In view of these facts, the public will, we hope, 
form their opinion of our hypocricy. 

The next question to which we would attend is, " Why 
tave you taken from my hands the Records of the church, 
which according to usage are lodged with the Pastor, and 
had according to this usage, been in my hands for more 
than seven years ?" 

Fairly to -answer this question, nothing more is necessa- 
ry than to state the circumstances of the case. At our 
first church meeting, after the formation of what is called 
a new church, after waitjing until a late hour, we sent a 
Committee of three, to ask Mr. Thacher if he considered 
himself Moderator of the church in the North Parish^ 
in Wrentham. If Mr. Thacher did not consider himself 
as a Moderator of that church, the Committee were 
instructed to ask for the Records, which tbey did. Mr. 
Thacher replied, that he did not consider himself as Mod- 
eratorj or a member, of the church in - the North Parish 
in Wrentham, and very readily gave up the Records. 
Though ive considered Mr. Thache> as Pastor and Mod- 
erator of the church, yet, as he did not, we found it nec^ 
essary to choose a Moderator pro ^em ; and we greatly 
needed our book of Records, in which to record the 
1* 

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doings of the church. We ask our sister churches, 
whether ihey would not have done the same in like cir- 
cumstances. 

Mr. Thacher again asks, " Why have you made un^ 
wearied exertions to subvert the /unc2 existing in the North 
Parish in Wrentham, which was raised for the express 
purpose, and designed from the beginning for the support 
of the Pastor ? Why has an individual of your number, 
now entrusted with the church Records, presented a bill 
to that funding society of more th^u forty dollars^ for ser- 
vices as their clerk, (the labor of which could have been 
hired for less than two dollars) for the purpose of turning 
into another channel the avails of that fund, which had 
been pledged to me by solemn, express, and written con- 
tract." 

How Mr, Thacher can intimate to the public, as he 
does by this question, that the church has made <^ unwea- 
ried exertions to subvert the fund," raised for his support, 
we know not. The church has never acted on this sub- 
ject, nor has it ever been a subject before them. The 
fanding society is composed of members both from the 
•hurch and parish. If the Clerk of this society has charg- 
ed too much for his services, (which is five dollars a year) 
we think that the society which allowed his charges are 
answerable, and not the church which had nothing to do 
with it. We believe that only two of the members voted 
tp allow the acjpount. Nothing but the avails of this fund 
were secured by contract to Mr. Thacher, after the nectS" 
sary charges had been paid. If the Clerk of this society, 
who is a member of this church, has been guilty of cov- 
etousness, or fraud, we think it a reason why he should be 
disciplined, rather {han a reason why the whole church 
should be denied the administration of the Lord's supper. 

Mr. Thacher fiirther asks, "Why did individuals of 



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your number ahsent themselves from that ordinance, when 
I did administer it, before the division of the church ?" 

We must here repeat in substance, what we have just 
said, Can the misconduct of individual members be a suf- 
ficient reason why the whole church should be deprived 
of special ordinances ? It is true that three of the breth- 
ren did absent themselves from a number of communions ; 
but they were not justified by their brethren, but faithfully 
and frequently labored with in private, hy some of our 
number^ until they were convinced, came forward of their 
own accord, confessed their fault before the church, and 
were cheerfully forgiven. But we have no evidence that any 
one of the brethren who went away, or even Mr. Thacher 
himself, ever said one word to the three absenting breth- 
ren on the subject of their absence. These facts, we 
believe, are well known to Mfr Thacher, and we leave it 
to our sister churches and to the public to decide the ques- 
tion proposed in the commencement of this paragraph. 

Mr. Thacher further inquires, " why did two individuals 
of your number, one of whom acts as your Committee i^ 
presenting to me your request, go through the Parish last 
winter, endeavoring to excite opposition, and take meas- 
ures for my disfnission, without ever coming to me in 
the regular steps of Gospel discipline ?" 

If any two of our number went through the Parish last 
winter, for the purposes specified in this question, or for 
any other purpose, it was, and still is, wholly unknown to 
us. We will however state a fact from which, we sup- 
pose, this question must have originated. Sometime last 
winter, two of our brethren drew a petition to have an 
article inserted in the Warrant for a Parish Meeting, to 
see if the Parish thought it expedient to dissolve the con- 
nection existing between them and the Rev. Mr. Thacher. 



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8 

But instead of going through the Parish with it, they call- 
ed upon only three men, two of whom were members of 
the church. Neither of these men approved of the ob- 
ject, and the two brethren returned, and never did any 
thing more about it. 

Again we are asked, " Why are five of your names still 
attached to a publication designed and calculated to des- 
troy my ministerial and christian character and influence, 
which publication has been condemned by an Ecclesiasti- 
cal Council of your own selection ?" 

We have no doubt that the publication here intended^ is 
" The Report of St. Alban's Lodge." Five of our breth- 
ren of the church were on the Committee to prepare that 
Report, but whether any one of ihem voted for it, is not 
known to us. Two of them had their names detached 
from the Report, by causing it to be inserted in a public 
paper, that they never saw it until it was in print, and 
therefore were not accountable. 

The spirit and manner of this Report were censured 
by the council to which Mr. Thacher refers. It was 
thought by that Council that it did not become members 
of the church to act on a committee for the purpose of 
censuring their Pastor, when they had not taken the regu- 
lar steps cff discipline. To this the church readily acced- 
ed ; but they by no means accede to Mr. Thacher's 
statement, that the ^^publication has been condemned by 
an Ecclesiastical Council of our own selection," or by 
any other. The Council say, " We can but disapprove 
of much of the spirit and language of said report ; and 
we think that the conduct of those members of the church 
who were concerned in framing and publishing said Report, 
and thus traducing their Pastor before the world, when it 
does not appear that they had taken any steps with him 



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as a Ghristian brother, is to be regarded as highly cen- 
surable." 

Again : " Why were not less than twelve or thirteen 
charges publicly preferred to an Ecclesiastical Council, 
against my moral, ministerial, and Christian character ; 
upon which charges I had never been dealt with, either as 
a Pastor or as a brother in the church , and a copy of 
which has never been furnished me, but is still held be- 
yond my reach, so as to render it altogether impractica- 
ble for me to meet and refute them ?" 

In reply, we say, we have never prepared any charges 
against Mr. Thacher,*as a church, or by our committee. 
Mr. Thacher doubtless has reference to a statement of 
facts, which was presented by a Committee of the church, 
to an Ecclesiastical Council convened in this place in De- 
cember last. They were not designed as charges against 
Mr. Thacher. This the Committee declared to the 
Council. They were stated to the Council as facts, which 
the Committee thought had had influence in producing the 
divisions in the church and parish. We thought that these 
facts were proved before the Council, leaving it to them to 
judge whether they were justifiable or not. * 

We know not why Mr. Thacher should say, that a copy 
of this statement ''^is held beyond hk reach." Before it 
was read to the Council, Mr. Thacher was invited, by a 
Committee, to attend and hear the statement about to be 
made by the church ; this he declined. He has never 
called on the chairman of the Committee for a copy, nor 
said anything to him on the subject. 

Another question is, " Why could you, by your Com- 
mittee^ in letters missive to not less than fourteen churches, 
state, that, though repeatedly requested, I had ' not as- 
signed to you any reasons' for withdrawing from you, in 



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10 

connection with my brethren, vfhen I had repeatedly ap- 
peared before you for the express purpose of assigning 
reasons, and that privilege was twice denied me." 

It appears from the statement of Mr. Thacher, that he 
had not assigned any reasons. Though he had twice ap- 
peared before us for that purpose, yet he was twice deni- 
ed the privilege, because he would have assigned those 
reasons verbally, and we chose to have them in writing. 
When he and others asked to be dismissed from this 
church, for the purpose of being formed into a new 
church, a meeting was appointed to attend to the request. 
At that meeting, the church voted to ask Mr. Thacher the 
reasons why he and others wished to be dismissed. This 
was communicated to him in writing. At a church meet- 
ing, a week later, Mr. Thacher came in and offered to 
give their reasons verbally. But before he came in, a 
motion bad been made- to adjourn for one week. Had 
we been disposed to hear these reasons verbally, there 
was^ not time to hear them then. Mr. Thacher was 
informed that we wished to have his reasons in writing. 
He said he would furnish them, but would not set a time 
when he would do it. 

The next week, Mr. Thacher came into the church 
meeting and offered again to assign reasons verbally. 
The church then voted not to hear them, unless they 
were furnished in writing. Mr. Thacher again declined 
setting a time when we should have them, and we have 
never received them, either from Mr. Thacher, or any of 
his adherents, officially, to this day. We have acted on 
th^ principle, that when a written request is made, a writ- 
ten answer should be given ; especially when the question 
is of so much importance as this was. And it appears 
that Mr. Thacher is ''of the same opinion ; for when we 



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presented him a written request to administer to us the 
Lord's Supper, he said to our committee, that we had 
sent him a written request, and he should give a written 
answer. 

Again, we are asked, " How could you state, in the 
same letters missive, that we had ^ declined to accept' the 
offer of a mutual Council, when such was not the fact ; 
but we returned your communication on the subject, be- 
cause it was not addressed to us as a distinct and separate 
church." 

We thought we had made to Mr. Thacher, and those 
acting with him, the offer of a mutual Council, and that 
they had virtually declined to accept the offer. When 
the Council had convened, we laid before them our propo- 
sal, and Mr. Thacher's reply ; and they, it seems, thought 
as we did, for they said in their Result, " The Coun- 
cil received and attended to the papers presented to them 
by the committee of the church, showing that the offer of 
a mutual Council had been made to Mr. Thacher, and 
those members of the church associated with him, which 
offer they did not accept J^ 

Mr. Thacher has stated the conditions upon which he 
will administer to us the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. 
" These conditions are," 

1. To deal with, and reclaim, or excommunicate those 
members who are known to have walked disorderly, and 
broken covenant." 

With this condition we are willing to comply, and 
think we have always acted according to it. In the late 
instance of discipline in this church, every question was 
decided by the majority. We conceive that, in churches, 
as well as other bodies, and in cases of discipline as well v/ 
as all other cases, the voice of the majority must decide ; 



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12 

or It will be impossible to maintain discipline, or to act ia 
any way as a body. But in the late instance of discipline^ 
which terminated in reclaiming the offending brother, we 
had the assistance and approbation of a very respectable 
ecclesiastical Council, as well as of a majority of the 
Church, in favor of our decisions. 

2. " Publicly to retract the public scandal which you 
have cast upon my ministerial and Christian character, by 
preferring charges against me, without my knowledge or 
consent, to an ecclesiastical Council and in presence of a 
large congregation, and by the circulation of the Report of 
the committee of St. Albans Lodge, to which the names of 
five of your members are still attached." 

By the answers that we have given to two questions, 
which exactly comprehend this condition, it must appear 
to the public, that we have done all that can reasonably 
be required of us to remove all the scandal which Mr. 
Thacher thinks has been cast upon his ministerial and 
Christian character, by the Report of the committee of 
St. Albans Lodge, and the statement of facts before the 
Council, which he mistakes for charges against himself.-— 
Perhaps one thing further ought to be stated : Mr. Thach- 
er introduces these conditions, as if they were the same 
which he had stated to the committee of the church, two 
months before, whereas the statement of facts presented to 
the Council was not in existence until, at least, two weeks 
after Mr. Thacher had stated his conditions to the com- 
mittee of the church. Hence these conditions cannot be 
the same. 

3. " That the members of the Masonic Institution, who , 
now constitute a majority of your church, renounce that 
mystery of iniquity, and throw ojQTthe influence and restraint 



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13 

of those horrid barbarous and blasphemous oaths, by which 
they are bound to that anti-christian institution." 

We do not consider that a majority of this church, is now, 
or ever has been, composed of Free-Masons. The late 
Ecclesiastical Council, convened to advise the church, 
recommended in their result, that the Masonic members 
in the church accede to the following resolution : " Re- 
solved, that our obligations to the church of Christ require 
us to seek, above all things, her purity and peace ; and 
perceiving that our connection with the Masonic in- 
stitution has been, and is, an occasion of unhappy divisions 
in this church, we believe it to be our duty to withdraw, 
and we do hereby withdraw, and give up our connection 
with the Masonic institution." And at a regular church 
meeting, the Masonic members of the church (except one 
who was not present) with their brethren, accepted the 
Result of the Council unanimously, thereby making this 
resolve their own. If Masons not only " withdraw," but 
^^give up their connection with the institution" what more 
can they do, unless they denounce Masonry, which is not 
required in the condition under consideration ? 

We are, therefore, prepared to answer the following 
question in the affirmative, " Have the Masonic brethren, 
in your church renounced Masonry? They have. We 
have no evidence that any of our brethren are now acting 
under the influence or restraint of Masonic obUgations, nor 
that they said, " they withdrew only for the present, and 
that to please the Council." Until we have this evidence, 
we are unwilling to judge of their motives, or deny them 
communion. 

We hope that it now appears, that Mr. Thacher had no 

just ground to state these condition^, as reasons why he 

would not preach to us, and administer to us the Sacrament 
2 



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14 

« 

of the Lord's Supper ; and that we could not be so confident 
that he would not comply with our request, as to be very 
hypocritical) in conditionally engaging a preacher, in case 
he refused. We wished to treat him respectfully, and one 
of our number engaged to travel a very considerable dis- 
tance to prevent our preacher from coming, if Mr. Thacher 
was pleased to comply. But we can hardly forbear calling 
the attention of our brethren to the paragraph in connection 
with Mr. Thacher's answer to our request in which he 
mentions our engaging a preacher. 

*' We cannot here but take notice of the otoss hypocrisji which is 
too .evident in the * remiest,' which wa« forwarded to the editor of 
this paper, that he would admininister to ' the Church in the North 
Parish in Wrentham/ the sacrament of the Lord's supper. It is ev- 
ident as a matter of fact, that such request was forwarded for what 
thev neither expected nor desired. If this be not true, why was 
such request forwarded after they had actually engaged a preacher to 
come and administer to them the Lord's supper ? This simple circum- 
cumstanee proves, beyond a doubt, that their request to him, * whom 
they believe it to be their duty to consider their pastor,' was nothing 
but sheer hypocrisy ! !" 

Who can read this, without asking, Is this the mild and 
gentle spirit of the Gospel ? Is this the language of a min- 
ister of Christ, addressing those to whom he has broken 
the bread of life, and with whom he has lived in fellow- 
ship for seven years past, and whose moral and Christian 
character are the same that they ever have been ? 

Mr. Thacher says, " the parish, notwithstanding the ef- 
forts which have been made, by Masons and their adher- 
ents to produce an ^excitement,' and effect a division, 
have not been more united for seven years past than they 
are at present." / 

It is possible that, in some sense, this may be true. But 
if the parish is as well united as ever, will it be said that 
it is as large as ever ? Without including those who left 
the parish by certificates, and the members of the church 



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16 

who are also parishioners, we shall still find the number 
larger, who are now in the opposition to Mr. Thacher, than 
the number (which was seven) when he was ordained. The 
truth is, that this parish is in a very unhappy and divided 
state. 

Since these statements were made by Mr. Thacher, 
we have ascertained the following facts. At a very 
full meeting of the parish to give Mr. Thacher a call 
to settle with us, there was only seven votes against 
him ; one of these was by a member of the church. For 
three or four years after this, we believe that the union 
was increased. By recourse to the tax bill, two years ago 
last May, we find that there were then seventy-five voters 
in the parish. Since then, sixteen have left by certificates ; 
yet all but one reside here. Besides these, there are eighteen 
or twenty more, who are opposed to Mr. Thacher. 

In this number are included seven members of the church, 
which will leave ten or twelve in the parish (not of the 
church) in opposition to Mr. Thacher, instead of six or 
seven, as was the case seven years ago. From the same 
tax bill, we find, that those parishioners who now approve 
of the doings of Mr. Thacher, paid only nineteen cents 
more at that time, than those who are opposed to him. 

By this statement it appears that, looking back only two 
years and a half, we find nearly an equal division in point 
of numbers and property. And we are willing to apped 
to Mr. Thacher, whether he has more than half as many 
hearers now as he had then. It is just to state here, that 
the sixteen who have signed off, and the eighteen or twenty 
who remain and are opposed to Mr. Thacher, were friendly 
to him until our late difliculty. We believe it to be a truth, 
therefore, that instead of seven who were opposed to Mr. 



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16 

Thacher, when he was ordained, there are now thirty-four 
or thirty-six who belong to the place, and eighteen or twenty 
of them to the parish, exclusive of the church, who are in the 
opposition. In order to give to the public a true idea of our 
division, we must further add, that there are a number of 
men of property, now in the opposition, who have aided in 
the support of Mr. Thacher, and congregated with us, who 
live within the bounds of the parish, but have never belong- 
ed to it. One of these is a member of the church. We 
now ask the public to say, in view of these facts, whether 
they received a correct impression, when they were infor- 
med that " this parish has not been more united for seven 
years past, than it is at present." 

North Wrentham, Feb. 20, 1831, the church in the 
North Parish in Wrentham voted to accept the above re- 
port and have it published. 

Attest : Increase Blake, Chrh* 



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APPENDIX. 



The following statement of facts was prepared for and submitted to 
the Eccl siastical Council convened in the North Parish in Wren- 
tham, D(BC. 14, 1830. Though very imperibct as to language, and not 
designed for publication, it has been deemed advisable to publish it, 
especially as Mr. Thacher has represented it as stadiously concealed. 

Statement^ &c. 

The Committee chosen, Not. 20, 1890, by the Church in 
the North Parish in Wrentham, for the purpose of calling 
a Council, &c. met on the 2d of December, and Toted that 
Brothers Claudius Hayward, Daniel Cook, and Darius 
Ware be a sub-committee to prepare and lay the business 
before the Council. The sub-committee hare agreed to the 
following statement of facts, which, in their opinion, are a 
part of the events which have led to the present unhappy 
and divided state of this church an4 people. 

Article 1st. On the 11th day of May, 1829, Mr^ Thacher 
stated to a brother in the church, that he was fully convinced 
that Masonry was a corrupt iii8titution,and that it led directly 
to infidelity. On the 13th of the same month, he delivered 
an address before St. Alban's Lodge, in which he called the 
Masonic a *' moral and charitahle institution."* The address 
is among the papers laid before the Council ; the notes at- 
tached to the address were written before the address was 
delivered. The preface, which bears date May 14th, was 
written and submitted to a number of clergymen on or be- 

• See p. 8. 

•2 



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18 

fore the 29th of April, and the testimonials of Messrs. Cam- 
mings and Warren were received about that date. 

2d. A number of the brethren of this Church, and oth- 
ers who were present when Mr. Thacher delivered his ad- 
dress, stated, that Mr. Thacher, in a conversation after the 
address, said that he had no idea of renouncing or denoun- 
cing the Institution. Mr. Thacher does not say thej are 
mistaken ; but charges them with wilful misrepresentation, 
both in his conversation and in his writings. See *' Letters 
to a brother in a Church," p. 17, and 18. . 

3d. On the 12th of Feb. 1830, a Committee, consisting 
of Dea. Asa Ware, Daniel Cook, and Benjamin Rock wood, 
was chosen bj the church for the purpose of investigating 
the cause of our present divided state. The committee, 
after consulting with the brethren who were masons, agreed 
to advise the church to request the masons to withdraw; so 
far as not to attend, or have any thing to do with, any Ma- 
sonic meeting. 

A vote was written and given to Mr. Thacher by one of 
the Committee, with a request to have the church stop the 
next Sabbath after public worship, for the purpose of having 
the vote passed. The church tarried the next Sabbath but 
one after, but the business of the committee was not men- 
tioned. 

Mr. Thacher stated to the church that he had it from 
good authority, that there was deposited in the Knight Tem- 
plar's Armory at Boston, arms sufficient to arm two thousand 
men. Mr. Thacher spoke on the subject at some length, 
and with apparent feeling. During the week, three of the 
brethren of the church went to Boston in order to ascer- 
tain the fact, and found the story without foundation ; but 
Mr, Thacher insisted that the story was correct, and charged 
the brethren with going to Boston for the purpose of prov- 
ing him guilty of falsehood ! 

4th. Mr. Thacher has charged a number of the members 



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of the Church, in a public manner, with acting from im- 
proper motives. 

6th. In connection with the above article, we would call 
the attention of the Council to an article in the Bostoii 
Christian Herald, Oct, 6. 1830, headed Freemasonry and 
the Church.* 

6th. At a church-meeting, held Oct. 8, 1830, the Church 
having previously voted to unite with Br. Anson Mann in a 
mutual Council in a case of discipline, a committee was 
mentioned to sign the letters missive. Mr.Thacher said that 
he was the proper organ of the church, and should sign the 
letters in behalf of the church. The next Sabbath the 
church tarried after public worship, and Mr. Thacher then 
informed the church that he should not sign the letters, and 
stated as a reason that the Council was called through ma- 
sonic influence. 

* The following is the article here referred to. It was undoubtedly written 
hjr Mr. Thacher, and relates lo what took place in a meeiiiig of this church. 
Several of the statements contained in it are untrue, and were publicly refuted 
soon after ihey were published. 

"We have recemiy had opportunity to witness h practical demonstration of 
the influence of Masonic oaths f in a case of church discipline. We would give 
D&mes dates and places, but, as the case is not yet endrel v disposed of, we have '' 
DO desire to excite prejudice in the minds of any, by which the final issue of 
the question may be affected. — Suffice it to say, that the offender was a Free- 
Mason, of ihe Royal Arch Degree, and clearly proved guilty of the charges al- 
leged agaiiisi him. It would, however, have been truly surprising, to any one 
unacquainted with the naUire of Masonic oaths, to see the assiduity, with which 
every Free-Ma^on in the church, with one honorable exception, managed to ex- 
cuse and acquit their offending brother. It was observed, by spectators, and by 
members of > he < hurch, that the Masonic members, with the exception above 
alluded to, ne\ e-r broke their ranks in a single instance. It was just as easy to 
tell before hand how every Mason woul4voie, in relation to any question that 
was taken, as it was aAer the vote was cast. In one mstance, a Masonic 
brother, who had not heard a .syllable of the trials, came home from a distance, 
entered the last church meeting, when it was nearly through, and proceeded to 
vote with the ' craft,' with as much promptness and reffubuity, as an old sol- 
dier enters the ranks, and marches to the step and order of hif commanding 
officer. There is no mistake in this; it is what our eves have seen, and we 
pledge ourselves for its correctness. It is, however, no more than what has . ' 
taken place in oth r churches; but only affords additional demonstration, that 
Free-Masons feel themselves bound by oaths and penalties, 'not to speak evil 
of a brother Master Mason, either b«hmd his back or before bis face, but warn 
him of his approaching danger; and so ' aid and assist a companion Royal 
Arch Mason, when engaged in any dijicv/iy, so far as to extricate him from the 

e, if in their power, whether he be right or wrong.' " 



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7th. On the 20th of Oct. the Conncil met, and the next 
morning the Coancil advised Br. Mann to make such an 
acknowledgement as they presented, and advised the church 
to accept it. 

Br. Mann and the church readily accepted of the advice, 
twelve of the church voting in favor and none -against it. 
There were eight present who did not vote. The next Sab- 
bath, Mr. Thacher read to the church a paper signed by a 
number of the members of this church, requesting to be 
dismissed, for the purpose of forming a new church. The 
church appointed a week from the next Saturday to attend 
to their request. Mr. Thacher stated that if they did not 
have an answer then, they should consider it a refusal. Mr. 
Thacher, and a part of those who signed the paper, met the 
next morning at 10 o'clock, and formed themselves into 
what they call a new church.* 

8. On the Friday and Saturday after the Council, Mr. 
Thacher went to members of the church, to get signers to 
his paper, and called on a number of women, without cal- 
ling on their husbands, who were also members of the 
church. 

9. Nov. 6 the church met according to appointment. Mr. 

* In referring to Br. Maiui; we feel it our daty ta give a history of the case 
of discipline in wiiich he was involved. There were three articles of charge 
broueht against him, on the first of which he was acquitted by the churcn; 
md lor the third he made satisfaciiou and was forgiven. The second was 
for charging the Pastor with writing and publishing Atheism. The circom- 
stances as the;;^ appeared on trial befiire the church, and also before the coan- 
cil, to which this charge was referred, were as follows : — More than a year pre- 
vious, in conversation with Mr. Thacher, Brother Mann did say, with regard 
to certain pieces alluded to, that be believed Mr. Thacher to be the author of 
them, and that they contained Atheism or Deism. His meaning was, not that 
Mr. Thacher was a Deist or an Atheist, but that he thought the same arguments 
might be ur^d against the Scriptures, or against the being of a God, whidi 
• were urged m these pieces against Masonry. This declaration produced no 
breach of fellowship or afibction between liim and Mr. Thacher, until more 
than a year aflerwards ; and then the grievance was not made manifest by Mr. 
T., but by one who it was well known to numbers in the church, was not the 
most friendly to Br. Mann. I'he public will see from this stat -ment. the reason 
of the peculiar nature of the result of the council to which this case was refei^ 
red, and a!ho, whether it is a fact that di cipline has not been, or cannot be, 
maintained in the church at North Wrentham. 



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Tfaacher not being present, the church chose Br. Daniel 
Cook, Dea. E. Pond, and Dea. C. D. Hayward, a Commit- 
tee to wait on Mr. Thacher, and ask him if he considered 
himself as Moderator of the church in the North Parish in 
Wrentham. The committee soon returned, and reported 
that Mr. Thacher says that he does not consider himself the 
moderator of said church. 

At a church meeting on the 20th, Mr, Thacher denied 
the above statement. 

10. At a meeting of the church on the 6th of Nov., a vote 
was passed to ask Mr. Thacher the reasons why he and 
others wished to be dismissed. On the 13th, Mr. Thacher 
offered to give them verbally, but the church voted not to 
receive them unless they were in writing. Mr. Thacher 
said that he could furnish them, but could set no time. The 
church has not yet received them. 

11. The church, by their committee, have repeatedly 
asked Mr. Thacher whether he considers himself their pas- 
tor, and he has declined giving them an answer. 

12. Mr. Thacher, and those that adhere to him, hare 
held their Communion every month, thereby depriving the 
church of the privilege of the meeting-house. The stated 
period of the communion was once in two months. 

13. A committee chosen by the Church to provide for the 
communion on the first Sabbath in December, waited on 
Mr. Thacher and asked him if he would administer the 
Sacrament to the church. Mr. Thacher said he would on 
certain conditions. 

N. B. — Explanations and proof to be given as called for 
by the Council. Mr. Thacher has asked a dismission dur- 
ing the past season, which ought to have been mentioned in 
another place, but the committee will explain how that sub- 
ject was disposed of. A true copy from files, 

I Attest : Increase Blake, Church Clerk. 



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