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commend, and with which I do not fully agree. But when the writer comes to make his remarks on the principles and proceedings of the A. E. Society, I am constrained to differ from him, and to cherish views materially diverse from those which he has disclosed.
I take it for granted, that a man of such an able mind and excellent spirit, as is developed in that part of the piece on which I have been remarking, will very readily concede to others the liberty which he has himself taken in the free remarks which he has made on the principles and proceedings of the A. E. Society. He will cheerfully grant me the
. privilege of examining the facts and principles which he has brought forward, by way of supporting his objections to the Society in question ; first, because he himself wishes only to come at a correct view of the whole ground, and to know what can be said in its defence, as well as against it; and, secondly, because the public, who have now had one side of the question placed before them, are entitled to know what answer the friends of the A. E. Society have to make to the allegations there produced against their measures.
I enter with much reluctance on this task. It is always unpleasant to entertain, or to express differences of opinion, when these differences have respect to men for whom we cherish a high and Christian regard. It is an unwelcome task, also, to come before the Christian public in a kind of polemic attitude. Many Christians shrink instinctively from every thing which looks like dispute. The world are very ready to speak with exultation, on what they are pleased to call the quarrels of the church. Distrust, unkind feeling, alienation, coldness, or suspicion, are very apt to creep in, while the professed disciples of Christ are en gaged in discussion, (not to say dispute ;) and especially is this the case, when discussion grows animated, and the cause stands committed before the world.
On all these accounts, I advance to the task before me with undissembled reluctance; fearing lest the declaration of opposing sentiments, or the correction of mistaken facts, may possibly be understood by some as an exhibition of feelings which are unfriendly, or as a manifestation of party spirit, which, reckless of truth, or union, or peace, seeks to defend its own views at all adventures.
I cast myself, therefore, after these remarks, on the generosity of the writer in question, and that of his friends who sympathize with him; trusting, that while I endeavour strictly and faithfully to examine the allegations made respecting the A. E. Society, they will not do me the injustice to believe, that I have any personal motives in view, or am seeking the interests of any supposed party in that quarter of the country to which I belong.
I am indeed, a friend of the A. E. Society; and I have been so from its very rise. But it is not because I have been in any way connected with it, or bave ever received, or expect to receive, any direct benefit from it; nor am I in any way responsible for its measures.
It is true, that having lived near the centre of the Society's operations, and having an intimate acquaintance with all who are actually concerned in the immediate and principal management of its interests, I have been, from the very first, acquainted with its principles, measures, and proceedings. From a sincere approbation of these, I can subscribe most heartily to the noble and generous concession, which the Reviewer of their proceedings makes, page 354, and which I beg permission here to quote.
“ We admit, that there is something very magnanimous and captivating in the idea of a great Society, laying aside sectarian names, collecting and disbursing funds in educating pious indigent young men for the Gospel ministry, regardless of sect or party. We admit the energy and success of the A. E. Society, that it has done more in exploring the wants of our country, in enlightening public sentiment on this subject, in pressing home on the consciences of Christians, the indispensable duty of engaging heart and hand in this mighty work, than has been done by all others. With unqualified pleasure, we admit also, that the concerns of this Society are managed by men in whose intelligence, piety, and energy, we have the highest confidence.”
Agreeing most fully with this writer, in his views of the men to whom the management of the A. E. Society is en. trusted ; and cherishing these views, after having for a score
1 of years been intimately acquainted with almost all of them, and with the remainder ever since they have come upon the stage of action; I acknowledge that it is not without some degree of pain and reluctance, that I perceive the measures
they have taken are virtually called in question, and our country is warned against the dangers to which they are thought to be exposing it.
But it becomes their friends, and therefore myself among them, to examine the charges preferred against their princi. ples and proceedings with impartiality, and to listen to every sober and friendly suggestion which may be made by any, who are disposed to call in question the wisdom or the correctness of their measures.
I have endeavoured to do this. The result I beg leave to communicate in the following order ; viz.
1. I shall examine the facts alleged, in regard to the mea. sures and principles of the A. E. Society.
II. I shall make some remarks on the fears which are expressed with respect to it. And,
III. I shall briefly consider the method which the Reviewer has chosen, in order to accomplish his object.
In examining the facts alleged by the Reviewer, I shall proceed in the order in which he has presented them. It is my design to leave no material circumstance out of view; for on a question of so great importance as the present, the public are entitled to information minute and circumstantial enough to lead them fully to make up their opinions.
The first allegation of the Reviewer is, that “the details of the expenses and receipts of clothing, of books, of donations from other societies and friends, of profits of teaching and labour, of debts contracted and paid, which young men under the patronage of the Society are required to make every quarter, are unnecessarily and painfully minute," p. 856. The chief grounds of this objection are," that the plan holds out a powerful temptation to the beneficiary, to conceal the amount of receipts and expences, so as to form a stronger claim on the aid of the Society;" and that “it places him in the attitude of a common beggar, whose success depends on the dolefulness of his story.” “Young men of delicate and ingenuous feelings," it is averred, “ shrink from this public developement of private and personal circumstances,” p. 356.
On this subject, I would remark, that the detail required of beneficiaries in Academies and Colleges, and which are in some respects more minute than those required of theological Students, may be summed up in general, under the following heads, viz. Stage of study ; number of weeks engaged in study during the quarter; price of board, with its amount ; tuition ; expenses for washing, room, fuel, lights, and also for books and stationary ; incidental expenses ; debts at the beginning of the quarter, exclusive of those due to the A. E. Society ; receipts from the Society during the quarter; receipts from any other source, either of money, or of clothes or books; the number of weeks in which the beneficiary has been engaged in teaching school during the quarter, with the receipts for the saine; receipts for labour in any other way ; together with a general summary, at the close, of the whole debts due, exclusive of those due to the A. E. Society. The applicant subscribes, also, a declaration of his intention to devote his life to the ministry of the Gospel, and he asserts that he solicits patronage for this end.
Printed schedules of all the items are furnished for the use of the beneficiary, who makes his returns under each head. This is handed by him to the Principal of the Academy or College with which he is connected, who examines it as minutely as he pleases; then certifies his belief as to the correctness of it. In addition to this, he certifies that the beneficiary in question sustains, in all respects, such a character as is required by the Constitution and Rules of the A. E. Society, in order to receive their aid. This is forwarded every quarter to the directors of the Society; and on these is predicated their vote in relation to the aid that is sought for. Where the distance of the School or College is very great, however, it is forwarded only once in six months.
Such are the facts, in relation to the details in question. Let me now make some remarks on these facts, and the proper tendency of them.
1. It is obvious, that as the Society is called upon to aid those who stand in need of aid, and as it was instituted solely for this purpose ; so it can, with fidelity to its trust, bestow aid only on such as afford adequate and satisfactory evidence of such need. But how is this evidence to be obtained? The answer is, By a knowledge of the character and entire pecuniary circumstances of the individuals who apply for aid. If they are themselves indigent, but have friends able to assist them, and liberal enough to do it: if they are able to obtain money enough to help themselves, by any personal efforts which they can make at labour or otherwise, consistently with honesty and integrity of character; then they do not need the aid of the Society. On the other hand, if they are in debt; if they have no friends of the character described ; if they fail in the means of aiding themselves in an adequate manner; then it is plain, that they need the assistance of the Society. If moreover, they are prodigal, or excessive in their expenses for clothing, in the purchase of books, in their incidental expenses, or in their room rents, or in any thing of the like nature, it is the proper business of the Society to know this. It is impossible to judge whether they are the deserving subjects of aid, unless all these facts are examined.
I would ask the Reviewer to point out a single article in the Schedule of the student's returns, which is not concerned with an estimate either of his pecuniary condi. tion or of his character. If this cannot be done, (and I venture to say it cannot,) then does it follow, of course, that the Society have only taken means for information, which their duty and fidelity to their trust oblige them to take. There is not a single item here, which any honest and ingenuous youth should ever be ashamed or afraid to disclose. That he is poor, is no ground of reproach. I had almost said, it is the contrary. That the whole extent of his indigence should be known to those who are to aid him, is a matter of as plain equity and propriety, as that a man who borrows money of his friend, should not conceal from him his true pecuniary condition. The most open, honest, and ingenuous proceeding, in all such cases, is to keep nothing back which can throw any light on the real circumstances of the case. The Reviewer thinks that the Committee of examination, or the teachers under whose inspection the youth are, could judge of these matters with sufficient accuracy. But without attempting to show that the same amount of information never could be obtained in this manner, with uniformity and correctness; it may be asked, if it be not incumbent on those whom the community have made responsible for the distribution of funds, to know and judge for themselves, as far as they may, whether those whom they aid are in real need of assistance ? Upon the present plan, both Instructors and Directors are supplied with the