xt751c1tf34x https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt751c1tf34x/data/mets.xml Price, Jacob F. (Jacob Fishback), 1805-1847. 1841  books b92bx8958w35a4818412009 English Wm. M. Todd : Frankfort, Ky. Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Stiles, Joseph C. (Joseph Clay), 1798-1875. Presbyterian Church in the United States --History --Schism, 1837-1870 --Controversial literature. Speech of Jacob F. Price, before the West-Lexington Presbytery, in the trial of Rev. J.C. Stiles, for his agitating, revolutionary and schismatical course : with an appendix containing the entire correspondence between Jacob F. Price and Joseph C. Stiles ... text Speech of Jacob F. Price, before the West-Lexington Presbytery, in the trial of Rev. J.C. Stiles, for his agitating, revolutionary and schismatical course : with an appendix containing the entire correspondence between Jacob F. Price and Joseph C. Stiles ... 1841 2009 true xt751c1tf34x section xt751c1tf34x 




The pamphlet is an outgrowth of the "contest between the new and old schools of 1840" in the Presbyterian Church, and the "alleged insubordination to the Presbytery on the part of Price." Coleman. Price's difficulties developed from his appointment as prosecutor of charges against Reverend Stiles, whose "strange mental aberrations" had resulted in various offenses against the Church.

FIRST EDITION.   Coleman 1688.   AI  41-4287   [6].   OCLC  locates  7 [two accession numbers. $375 (#22030)










" jacob f. price and joseph c. stiles,





The following is the substance of the speech delivered by the author before the West-Lexington Presbytery, pending the trial of the Rev. J. C. Stiles. Impelled by circumstances, which are explained in the speech, to table charges against Mr. Stiles, and required by the Presbytery to prosecute the public charges, when the personal ones were withdrawn, I became the prosecutor of Mr. Stiles. Since his trial and suspension by the Presbytery, I have been grossly misrepresented, both as to the speech and the appended correspondence, and the Presbytery traduced.

I have been repeatedly urged by friends, in whose judgment I have great confidence, to write out and publish the speech, as a vindication of myself, and also of the Presbytery, as it contained the grounds on which its decision was based. As to the correspondence, besides its gross misrepresentation by Mr. Stiles' friends, I have been accused of being the offender in the case. The speech, as written, contains the substance of the same as delivered before the Presbytery. Some parts have been curtailed, others have been a little enlarged. The speech, in its present form, will be easily recognised by every individual who heard it delivered, although slightly changed in some of its parts. I have, in the printed speech, omitted altogether any notice of Mr. Stiles' effort to show that the church required approval of the acts of the Assemblies of '37 and '38. What he has so often said on that subject is known by all his New School friends, of any intelligence, to be an utter mistake. This part was omitted only for the sake of brevity. The cases he has adduced, admit of an easy and satisfactory explanation, but would require considerable space. It is sufficient to say, that the General Assembly, with the Rev. J. L. Wilson, D. D. as its moderator, examined and approved the records and acts of the Synod of Ky. 
   at Paris. It is known that the Paris Synod permitted brethren to remain in the Presbyterian Church, expressly withholding their approbation of those acts of '37 and '38.. It is then clear that the Assembly, and the Synod of Ky. never required approval.

The speech is offered as the grounds of the Presbytery's action in the case of Mr. Stiles, with the more confidence, as the defence made by him was not even an attempt to reply to the arguments it contains. Entertaining the hope, from the solicitude for its publication, by judicious friends, that it may contribute, in some humble degree, to the promotion of the cause of truth, I have offered it to the public.


Mb. Moderator,

I arise to address you, and through you, the Presbytery, under circumstances peculiarly embarrassing. I appear before you, in the unpleasant attitude of a prosecutor, and that too, of a ministerial brother, between whom and myself, there have, since our first acquaintance, until recently, existed the most friendly and fraternal relations. It is due to me, to state, that no act of mine has contributed to the severance of these relations.

The brother under process, is the sole aggressor in this case, and if consequences shall ensue, deeply humiliating to him, he will remember that this trial is the result of his own conduct.

I deeply regret the circumstances which render this prosecution necessary. Nothing but a high sense of duty to the interests of the church, whose "peace and unity" I have solemnly sworn to consult and preserve, and to my own character, could have induced me to have appeared before you, in the unpleasant capacity of prosecutor.

The case before you, is one deeply solemn and affecting,   it is one involving the ministerial character of bro. Stiles; the peace and interests of the church, whose guardians we are, and the interests of souls around us and yet unborn.

That I shall be censured by the partizans of bro. Stiles, I have no doubt. To do justice to the case, and escape the vituperation of his heated and excited friends, would be more than human. To satisfy and please all, where party feeling has been so deeply enlisted, would be impossible.

I stand here, not as a party man or as a party prosecutor, but am here in the defence of the Presbyterian Church   her sworn friend, bound to guard her peace and union, or prove false to my plighted vows.

That my motives, my conduct, and what I shall say on this occasion, will be misrepresented, by some, I have no doubt. It is the misfortune of all men, who pursue an erratic course, and assume to themselves the province of leaders of a party, to have around them 
   those who have no higher merit to recommend them to the favor of their patron saint, than their willingness to perform the low offices of scullions and scavengers for their party. By such I expect to be slandered: by such I expect my motives to be impugned, and what I shall say to be misrepresented. I have no regrets to express on this point. Slander and misrepresentation, from polluted sources, are often the highest encomiums.

I shall endeavor, on this occasion, as on all others, faithfully and fearlessly to discharge my high and painful duty, unawed and unse-duced   alike regardless of the frowns or smiles of any.

To prevent misconception, it may be proper for me to explain how I became the prosecutor in this case. It is known that I had used my influence, whatever it might have been, at two successive Presbyteries, to prevent a prosecution from being entered against bro. Stiles for his agitating and revolutionary course. I had supposed myself better acquainted with Mr. Stiles than the most of my brethren. I knew him to be a man of peculiar temperament; that, when excited, he would magnify molehills into mountains; that he believed himself divinely called, (as was Paul to preach,) to do whatever he desired, however absurd, and that no effort to enlighten his mind on any subject, however uninformed he might be, would have the slightest influence upon him. I endeavored to persuade the brethren just to let him alone, and not oppose him in any way, and he would soon fight himself down. I was well aware that the great mass of the people had become satisfied that Mr. Stiles was laboring under some strange mental aberrations, upon every subject upon which he became excited. I had never approved of his course, but was for bearing with him. He became still more desperate in his efforts to injure the standing and disturb the peace of the church. He had even gone so far as to whisper, "in a rather private   rather confidential or discreet manner," tales against my personal and private character. The knowledge of this fact coming to me, led to a correspondence between myself and Mr. Stiles upon that subject.* In this correspondence, Mr. Stiles acknowledges that he had been whispering suspicions, or fears, or positive opinions against my veracity. This led me to take the steps required by the word of God and our Confession of Faith, to have these difficulties adjusted. In company with two brethren, I waited on Mr. Stiles, at his own house, and made a long and sincere effort to have these difficulties satisfactorily adjusted.   The effort failed   Mr. Stiles refused

'See Appended Correspondence. 

to make any reparation for the injury he had attempted to inflict upon me. I determined to enter process against him before the Presbytery, as the only course left for me to pursue. His own conduct had shut me up to this course,   there was no alternative. In reflecting upon the course I should pursue, my first determination was to table charges against him only for his personal offence against me, but upon a more mature reflection upon the subject, I felt that I should be acting faithlessly to the church, to suffer all his public assaults upon her to pass unnoticed, and only to arraign him for his personal offences against myself. I then tabled charges against him for his public offences against the church, and his private ones against me. By the intervention of mutual friends, during the meeting of Synod, in Danville, these personal matters were adjusted, and the charges based upon them, agreed to be withdrawn.* That agreement was expressed in such general terms, that it might be construed into an arrangement to withdraw all   the public as well as the private charges. I was unwilling, if Mr. Stiles so understood it, to have any further connection with the case. I remarked, at the time, to several brethren, that although I did not understand the settlement to include any thing but the private and personal matters, yet if Mr. Stiles understood it to embrace all, the settlement should stand according to his, and not according to my understanding of it. When spoken to on the subject, by bro. Breckinridge, Mr. Stiles asserted that the public charges had not been withdrawn, in our settlement, and that I was bound to prosecute them, and that I would do so with untarnished honor. Mr. Stiles had, in writing, complained to Synod, that his Presbytery would not try him. He had, in a speech delivered to the Synod, taunted the Presbytery for not trying him, and more than insinuated that the Presbyterv was afraid of him. He thought it was due to himself that he should be tried. He can make no just complaint against me for prosecuting these public charges, for he would not release me from it; nor against the Presbytery for trying the case, for this trial he has long sought at your hands. He not only has no just grounds of complaint against you or myself, but he will not dishonor himself so much as to make any. Any attempt upon his part, or upon the part of his friends, to raise the cry of persecution, after what has occurred, will be deeply disgraceful and childish. He has toiled too hard for a martyr's death to expect a martyr's sympathy.

'See minute of our settlement in Appendix. 

The subjects involved in this trial, lie at the foundation of all government, both of church and state. With the principles and rights, assumed by Mr. Stiles, acted out, no government can exist. They are radical, and utterly at war with, and subversive of all government.

Who is the court of last resort, in all difficulties and controversies in the church? Is each individual member to decide for himself, and is his decision the law in the case? Then we have no law. Every man is a law unto himself, and all claims to government, whether civil or ecclesiastical, is a wild chimera. But our constitution has expressly and wisely provided the regular succession of courts of appeal, until you reach the General Assembly, the court of last resort. When a case has been fairly met and finally settled by these courts in our church, there is noting left, on our part, but submission or separation. Revolution, it is true, under some circumstances, is justifiable.

The next question which arises, as a preliminary to this case, is, has any man a right, under pretence of christian liberty, to remain in a church, while he is doing all in his power to war against its interests    to prejudice its good name and injure its character? And if so, has the church any government or authority over its members; and what is that government and authority? In short, the claims that Mr. Stiles makes as rights, are all usurpations, and absolutely inconsistent with all government. If these claims are now to be discussed, it ushers upon the carpet for investigation, every fundamental principle of Presbyterian government.

There are, Mr. Moderator, two great parties in the world. The one is for the rigid maintenance of law, in both church and state, and the other is a wild, furious, and onward party, sweeping on, like a desolating storm, over all governments, whether ecclesiastical or civil, strewing its pathway with the wrecks of governments and the destruction of law.

It is a difficult, perhaps an impossible task, to determine and define with precise accuracy, the boundary line between the liberty and the licentiousness of speech and the press. There is, however, a point where liberty ends and licentiousness begins. Where is that point, and who is to determine that question? Is each man for himself, or is the church by its appropriate courts? If each man is the judge, and to determine it for himself, why have we a court and why a law? Could any civil government exist with such a principle? If each man is to determine for himself, what the law is, and what relation his conduct 
   sustains to the law, then you have no law, and your courts, civil and religious, are usurpations and have no authority.

In the formation of civil government, all the subjects of it enter into a compact, in which all yield many of their natural rights, in order to have their civil rights the better secured and the more safely guarded. The whole people, in mass, covenant and agree with each individual, to afford their aid to protect each in his civil rights, and each individual binds himself to yield all his rights, except those that the constitution and laws, (which are nothing but the expressed will of the whole people,) secure to him. If a man could be found alone, upon some distant island, with no human being within his reach, whose rights could clash with his own, he would have no law but his own will, and no restraints but his own weakness. But let the wreck of some lost ship throw upon that island another human being   their rights and interests would soon clash   collision would necessarily ensue. They would be compelled to have some understanding, either expressed or implied, between them, and this understanding would be the terms upon which they would agree'to regard each others rights. Man yields many of his natural rights in becoming a member of civil government. When he becomes a member of the church he yields more,   the circle of his rights is narrowed. The church requires more of her ministers and members than the civil government does of its.

What then is liberty? It is not the unrestrained license to do what we please, regardless of the will of others. That would lead to anarchy and the wildest confusion. Liberty is not the licentiousness of Owen or Fanny Wright. Liberty is the secured right to do our own will, so far as that will does not conflict with the public good. What will and what will not conflict with the public good, is to be ascertained by the constitution and laws of any government.

The constitution and laws of any people are their published will. To be a loyal and peaceful subject of any government, our actions and conduct must circulate within the orbit of the constitution and laws of that government. The question might again return, who is to determine what is the constitution and law in any given case? Every government has its constituted and established tribunals, by which to determine this point; and no man has a right, under any pretext, to set up his opinion and authority as superior to, and subversive of the authority of the regularly constituted tribunals of the government under which he lives. This is alike the dictate of enlightened reason, religion, and common sense. Mr. Stiles seems to have entirely mis-2 

understood every feature in the Presbyterian Form of Government that he has ever expressed an opinion about. As an example of his singular misconceptions of his own Form of Government, I refer you to the Form of Government, ch. I, art. 1: " God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrine and commandments of men:" "therefore they consider the rights of private judgment, in all matters that respect religion, as universal and unalienable: they do not even wish to see any religious constitution aided by the civil power," &c. This article in our Form of Government, is simply our declaration to the world that we do not believe that civil government has any right to interfere with a man's religious faith,   that a man may be a Methodist, a Baptist, a Presbyterian, or an infidel, and that civil government has no right to coerce his faith, and require of him this, that, or the other religious belief. That, in matters of religion, civil government ought to leave men free to embrace whatever religious faith they prefer; that it is a matter of conscience and private judgment, with which civil government has no right to meddle. Under this article in our form of government, Mr. Stiles claims the right to do, just what he has been doing, against the peace of the church. He says, in his Manifesto, page 16: " God has given to every man his own mind, and he has ait indestructible right to his own 'private judgment' concerning the conduct of men around him,"   Form of Gov. ch. I, art. 1. Again: Convention Add ress, p. 14: "It is the glory of Pres-byterianism, that the liberties of the mind are so nobly sheltered by her platform. She plants upon the threshold of her government this exalted sentiment:   the Presbyterian Church in the United Stales of America, considers " the rights of private judgment, in all matters that respect religion, .-is universal and unalienable,"   Gov. ch. I, art. 1. By this constitution also, the Presbyterian has an equal right to "publish his opinions," &c. This article only teaches that Mr. Stiles has a perfect right to join any church whose doctrines and practices he likes better than the Presbyterian Church, and civil government has no right to interfere with him. Now it strikes me that the man who can find in the article, just read, a right to disturb the peace of the church, unmolested, can find in the same article Symmes' theory of a concave world within our globe.

No man can be farther from wishing to narrow the circle of human rights, unnecessarily, than myself. But there is a base coin, passing under the title of liberty, which is licentiousness,   it knows none of the restraints of law, and is a curse to any government.   The majestic 


Mississippi, that queen of livers, with its thousand tributaries, draining this immense valley, that stretches 1200 miles, from the Alleghany to the Rocky Mountains, and 2400 miles, from the lakes to the gulf, is a rich blessing to the fertile region through which she flows. She bears upon her bosom, to market, the surplus products of this immense and luxuriant valley, and bears back the wealth and products of other lands, in return. While this wondrous stream keeps within her banks   the channel nature has grooved out for her, she is the greatest physical blessing a kind Providence could have bestowed upon a region so fertile and vast. But no sooner does this stream become swollen in all her tributaries   maddening and swelling, as she rolls on, and bounds over her banks, than she desolates cities, towns, habitations, and fertile fields, and strews ruin along her furious track. She is then a scourge and curse, instead of a blessing, to the lands through which she flows. The liberty of speech and the press is the stream, gliding gently and softly within her banks   the licentiousness of both, is the inundation that desolates and destroys.

There is another great principle, to which I wish to call your attention, for a moment, as I pass along, before we begin to apply the testimony to the case. The principle to which I allude is this, that when any government becomes divided in sentiment, upon any question, and the parties separate and form two independent governments, no man has a right to remain with one party and fight in favor of the other. The very fact that he remains with one party is the highest pledge that he can make, that he will be true and faithful to its interests. When a question is raised in a government, the members of the government have an undisputed- right to take either side of that question: but when a full and protracted discussion results in a division of the parties into two separate and independent governments, it is treason to remain with one, and war against its interests, and to aid and abet the other. To illustrate the principle: when this country were colonies of Great Britain, and the stamp act and the tea tax were passed, the citizens might either remonstrate or justify. But so soon as those acts led to a separation between the colonies and the mother country, and we became independent, to remain with us and fight for old England was high treason against the country and punishable with death. No man has a right, under any pretext, to expect to repose in the bosom of any community, and enjoy its benefits and protection, whilst he is aiding its enemies to pull down its institutions and subvert its authority.   All such must expect to be treated as enemies and 

to share their Tate. This is a principle deeply founded in the very nature and necessity of things, and no man can escape its force but by divesting himself of all reason and common sense.

The case before us, aptly illustrates the principle under consideration. When the great question of difference in doctrine and order was raised in our church, between what were called the Old and New School, brethren took either side in the controversy, as their preferen. ces led them. But when this discussion led to a separation between the Old and New School, and to the formation of a new and independent General Assembly, no man had a moral or ecclesiastical right to remain with the Old and use all his influence in favor of the New School, or their principles. He was bound, as an honest man, to follow his preferences or his principles, as the case might be, and change his ecclesiastical relations.

As the division which began in the General Assembly ran down through the Synods, Presbyteries, and churches, each individul took his stand with the one or the other Assembly, just as he chose. There was no compulsion   every one acted voluntarily and freely. It was ecclesiastic treason for a man to take his stand and vote his allegiance with one side, and then to open his batteries and wage a war of extermination against the very church to which he had pledged his submission and his cordial support. I invite Mr. Stiles' special attention to this point in his reply. I have several times advanced this argument for his consideration, but have never been able to screw him up to even attempt a reply. I hope he will at least show his courage by making an effort to answer it, even though he should fail in the attempt. I have presented this argument to minds abler than my own, and all concur, that it is unanswerable. It is based upon the old and universally admitted axiom, that self preservation is the first law of nature.   This is as true of governments as individuals.

I shall now take up the several specifications, in this bill of indictment, in their regular order, and the testimony under each; and if I have not altogether mistaken what constitutes proof in any case, I shall be able to show clearly, and even beyond the smallest remnant of a doubt, that Mr. Stiles has been guilty of every offence charged against him in this bill. And if Mr. Stiles has not suffered his ambition and his excitement to close every avenue to his sounder judgment, I shall convince even him, that he has violated the laws of his church and outraged the clearest propriety. 

I invite your candid and patient attention while I, in as concise a manner as possible, attempt to apply the testimony to this case.

The general charge is, a "a breach of ministerial vows, in attempting to produce schism." Under this general charge are several specfications, whicli I shall notice in their numerical order.

Specification I.   " By misrepresenting, and holding up the acts of the highest judicatory of the Presbyterian Church, in sermons and various publications, as arbitrary, tyrannical, oppressive, &c. calculated to prejudice the character of the church, when he had twice voted to adhere and submit to the Old School Assembly, with a full knowledge of these acts."

It is unnecessary to read to this Presbytery the resolutions adopted by this body, (the West-Lex. Pres.) at its fall session of '38, at Winchester, for which Mr. Stiles voted. It is sufficient just to remind you that he there voted that the Old School was the true Assembly, and to it he adhered. When the Synod met at Paris, but a few weeks after the meeting of Presbytery, Mr. Stiles again voted that the Old School was the true Assembly, and to it he would adhere and submit. To preserve his consistency, he, with others, desired to record upon the minutes of the Synod that they withheld their approbation of the reform measures of '37 and '38. This request was cheerfully granted, and the Synod itself re-affirmed its cordial approval of those measures. It was then hoped that all collision, in the Presbyterian Church in Ky. was at an end, and that all would cordially unite in endeavoring to build up our churches and extend the conquests of the cross.

These votes were given by Mr. Stiles, both in Presbytery and Synod, with a full knowledge of all the acts of the Assembly, that had any bearing upon the subjects upon which he has since been agitating the Church.

The arrangement at Paris, (called by Mr. Stiles, sometimes, a "covenant," a "compact," a "compromise," &c.) if it mean anything at all, means that the Synod would never require of these brethren to approve of the leading acts of the Assemblies of '37 and '38. And the brethien upon their part, agreed that so long as the Synod would not require of them to approve these acts, they would adhere and submit to the Old School Assembly, and its subordinate judicatories, in good faith. Now I ask, has the Synod violated its part of this agreement, and required of those brethren to approve? No, never! Has Mr. Stiles submitted, and is he now submitting, as he solemnly voted to do at Paris? He shall answer this question himself, and not I. Manifesto, p. 3: "What further submission can he make without sacrifice of principle?   Our brethren must suffer us here to say, our course we 

feel bound to change." Now I ask, has not Mr. Stiles, by his own admission, violated his solemn agreement at Paris, to submit?

The Synod never changed its course, but Mr. Stiles says he has changed his, and felt himself bound so to do. Did the Synod or Mr. Stiles, then, fly from the Paris arrangement? Mr. Stiles, by his own admission. He then, wantonly and in the face of his own vote, twice solemnly given, is in arms against the church of his choice.

So much for the Paris compromise, as it is sometimes called.

Let us now take a rapid survey of some of Mr. Stiles' misrepresentations of the acts of the General Assembly.

1st. The disowning acts. Mr. Stiles says in his Manifesto, p. 3: "It is known to all, that the Assembly of 1837, by one grand stroke, without previous notice, without regular charge or opportunity of defence, severed from the bosom of our church, four Synods, containing more than 500 ministers, and nearly 60,000 communicants. This strange act, to many intelligent and godly minds, is without a parallel in all protestant ecclesiastical history." Again, "But strange to tell! in our day, in the very face of the constitution, this, one of the clearest and dearest of the rights of man, has received a most startling and violent overthrow, and that, by an American Republican General Assembly." "If we ask the ground of this procedure, we apprehend it will be found in an arbitrary assumption of original legislative jurisdiction, by the Assemblies of '37 and :3S." p. 4: "So rapidly indeed, did the remedy follow the discovery of their mistake, that an undissolved committee of prosecution, on the floor of the Assembly, survived the act that legislated all the criminals beyond their reach." "Say! was it not violently unjust and oppressive, that the administrators of such a constitution, after publicly prefering their criminal charges, should by one legislative stroke, banish 509 ministers, 599 churches and 57,774 communicants from membership in the church of Jesus, and interest in the funds of the corporation? Oh! was it right to cut them off without the shadow of atrial, and that, by breaking their death grasp upon their constitutional privileges?" He might have said, with more propriety, by breaking their death grasp upon the funds of the corporation. For they have certainly clung with more tenacity to the funds than to the constitution. These are but specimens, taken from the chaotic mass of confused statements made by Mr. Stiles, against the acts of the Assemblies of '37 and '38, in evidence before you. I presume, since the world began, there never was before, just such a string of confused ideas, tangled absudities, and mis- 
   statements, thrown together, as may be found in these publications. They are more like the ebullitions of confined and nourished wrath bursting out of a confused and heated mind, than any thing I can conceive. The excited mind, that views these acts of the Assembly through the frightful storms and whirldwinds of wrathful words which Mr. Stiles has thrown around them, may expect to be haunted by spectres and nightmare in his slumbers.

Let us look at them through the medium of calm and sober history, and see what they really are. The General Assembly had adopted a plan of union as early as 1801, by which Congregationalists and Presbyterians, under certain restrictions, might enter into church organizations'in the new settlements, and have a certain connection with the Presbyteries. At the time this plan of union was adopted, the Congregational churches and ministers were acting in good faith under the Saybrook and Cambridge platforms of faith, which was the same with our Confession of Faith. The plan allowed Presbyterians and Congregationalists, holding the same faith and only differing in government, to enter into church organizations in connexion with our Presbyteries. The very face of the plan declares it to be a missionary arrangement, and only intended for the new settlements, which shows it to have been at first intended as a temporary affair. This plan, though not intended to be permanent, and designed for good, was a palpable violation of the constitution in all its features.