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come forward as prosecutors with the necessary testimony, they should most carefully avoid mentioning names connected with charges of the most serious kind, in support of which no evidence has been orderly adduced; nor have the individuals thus accused had an opportunity of replying to those charges, or of making any defence of themselves. The Assembly, therefore, cannot witness a procedure of this kind without expressing their disapprobation of it.-1824, p. 113.
C. "Resolved, That the Assembly sustain the appeals of the Session of the Church of Bloomington, and of Dr. Wylie, against a decision of the Synod of Indiana, and the judgment of the Presbytery and Session is hereby confirmed, on the ground that Mr. Harney circulated evil reports. against Dr. Wylie, without showing that he did it in the due performance of some indispensable duty; but it is the judgment of this Assembly that Mr. Harney shall still have the privilege, if he desire it, of commencing a prosecution against Dr. Wylie before the Presbytery of Vincennes, and in such case, said Presbytery are hereby authorized and directed to hear the whole cause and issue the same in a constitutional way."-1834, p. 443.
IX. The course prescribed by the preceding section shall not be required when the prosecution is initiated by a judicatory; but in all such cases, and in every case of prosecution by a private person other than the injured party, effort should be made, by private conference with the accused, to avoid, if possible, the necessity of actual process. [II. 2, 3; III. 2, 4.]
X. When the prosecution is initiated by a judicatory, THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA shall be the prosecutor, and an original party; in all other cases the individual prosecutor shall be an original party. [New.]
[See chap. ix., sec. iv., sub-sec. xciv.]
XI. When the prosecution is initiated by a judicatory, it shall appoint one or more of its own members a committee to conduct the prosecution in all its stages in whatever judicatory, until the final issue be reached: provided, that any appellate judicatory before which the case is pending shall, if desired by the prosecuting committee, appoint one or more of its own members to assist in the prosecution, upon the nomination of the prosecuting committee. [New.]
XII. If one who considers himself slandered requests an investigation which a judicatory finds it proper to institute, one or more of its members shall be appointed to investigate the alleged slander, and make report in writing: and a record thereafter made may conclude the matter. [III. 6.]
Such Investigation is at the Discretion of the Presbytery, subject to review as to Misuse or Abuse.
A complaint of Rev. Arthur Crosby vs. the Synod of Long Island. Mr. Crosby complains against the action of the Synod of Long Island, October 19, 1880, in adopting the following resolution, viz. :
Whereas, The decision of the Presbytery of Brooklyn, referred to in the
complaint of Rev. Arthur Crosby and others, relates to a matter which it belonged to the Presbytery to determine; and,
Whereas, This decision is not for this reason a legitimate ground of complaint, or a proper subject of review by the Synod on complaint; therefore,
Resolved, That the complaint be dismissed.
Your Committee find the papers in order. But recommend that the complaint be dismissed, for the following reasons, viz.:
1. That, upon the facts stated by the Presbytery as the basis of its action, the question, whether the investigation asked for should be entered upon or not, was one to be determined in the exercise of a sound discretion on the part of the Presbytery (B. Disc., chap. iii., sec. vi.).
2. That while the misuse or abuse of discretionary power is reviewable, its use, in this instance, seems to have been in regard to a subject fairly within its range, and unobjectionable in its manner.-Adopted 1881, p. 586.
XIII. Great caution ought to be exercised in receiving accusations from any person who is known to indulge a malignant spirit toward the accused, or who is not of good character, or who is himself under censure or process, or who is personally interested in any respect in the conviction of the accused, or who is known to be litigious, rash or highly imprudent. [IV. 4.]
Admonition to Prosecutors.
And the Assembly judge it more necessary to admonish Mr. Galbraith, and all those who have been and now are connected with him in any controversy with Mr. Balch, not to cherish a spirit of litigation, malevolence and discord equally contrary to the general tenor of the gospel and to the peace and harmony of that branch of the Church with which they are connected; in particular that they withdraw, agreeably to their engage ments to the Synod of the Carolinas, the civil suits which they have commenced, and comply with the whole recommendation of the Synod on that subject. On the whole, the Assembly hope and trust that all the parties in this concern will feel the solemn obligations which lie upon them as professed disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus not to indulge a rancorous spirit, nor to rend and divide his Church by the indulgence of a haughty, uncomplying and unforgiving temper, but to unite mutually and cordially in endeavoring to close the wounds which they have unhap pily opened, over which they have so much reason to mourn, and which we exhort and conjure them not to aggravate, but by every gentle and tender application to endeavor to heal.-1798, p. 159.
XIV. Any person who appears as a prosecutor, without appointment by the judicatory, shall be warned before the charges are presented that, if he fail to show probable cause for the charges, he must himself be censured as a slanderer of the brethren, in proportion to the malignancy or rashness which may appear in the prosecution. [V. 7.]
1. Failure to show Probable Cause for Charges involves Censure for Slander.
a. The unfinished business of Saturday, viz., an appeal by Mr. William L. McCalla from a decision of the Synod of Kentucky, in which decision the Synod declared, that Mr. McCalla had failed to prove certain charges which he had brought against the Rev. James Blythe, was resumed, and the appellant was heard till he declared himself satisfied. On motion,
Resolved, That the judgment of the Synod of Kentucky, with respect to the charges brought by Mr. William L. McCalla against the Rev. James Blythe, be and it hereby is affirmed.-1815, p. 596.
b. The complaint of J. W. Davidson, W. C. Koons and J. McElhinny, against the Synod of Baltimore.
This case originated in the Presbytery of Carlisle, as the result of the trial of a minister, by which the complainants were severely censured for presenting a certain paper containing allegations against the character of the said minister, which allegations, though not tabled as charges, were adjudged to be slanderous.
The parties censured complained to the Synod of Baltimore, and the complaint was "sustained in part," by a vote of 17 to 12.
The Synod, in its final minute, still inflict a modified censure, of which the said Davidson, Koons and McElhinny complained to the last General Assembly. This last complaint was laid over to this Assembly, to enable the complainants to correct an informality; which they have since done. The Committee report the case in order, and recommend that it be taken up according to the directions of the Book of Discipline.
The Committee recommend, that the only part of the record to be read in evidence be the paper originally read to the Presbytery of Carlisle, at Newville; and this may be waived by the parties agreeing; that the paper contains charges, which, if true, would be scandalous. This recommendation is based on the following reasons:
I. That it is found by the Synod, in their judgment, that the paper presented by complainants was so presented by them without their being prepared to table charges, or to appear as prosecutors, and that they refused to appear as accusers after having presented such a paper.
II. In the complaint presented to us, these findings of the Synod are admitted, in that the complainants allege (as the ground of their complaint in this regard) that the Synod decided that the paper presented at Newville by the complainants, was of such a character that it should not have been presented, unless the parties presenting it were prepared to table charges upon it; when, in fact, as they allege, it was but an offer to aid Presbytery in investigating the difficulty in the congregation of Big Spring, to which complainants belonged, and not as the ground of charges. Thus it will be seen that they not only admit such findings of the Synod, but distinctly allege another and different reason in justification of such presentation, viz., that it was but an offer to aid Presbytery, etc.
III. If it be claimed, on the second ground of appeal, that the testimony adduced on the original trial be read before the Assembly, then we say that it should not be read, for the following reasons:
1. The accused minister, after a trial (declared by the Synod to be fair and impartial) was acquitted by the Presbytery, and no appeal was taken from such judgment of acquittal; so that the same thereby long since became final and absolute, and this Assembly has no power to reverse this judgment of the Presbytery, for the purpose of relieving these complainants from the censure of the Synod; to do so would be to pronounce two conflicting and contrary judgments upon the same evidence.
2. Because it has been already adjudicated, in the case of William S. McDowell (Assembly's Digest, Rev. Ed., p. 159), that "no discussion ought to be allowed (involving the character of an absent person) in his absence," much more should this rule be applied to the exclusion of the remaining record, in this case, from its peculiar character, and all the circumstances attending it.
Resolved, That the judgment of the Synod of Baltimore be sustained pro forma, and that the following paper of E. Thompson Baird be admitted to record, viz. :
The undersigned, counsel appointed to manage the case of Davidson, Koons and McElhinny, versus the Synod of Baltimore, begs leave to submit, that through an oversight of the complainants in stating their causes of complaint on the one hand, and on account of the rulings of the Assembly as to technical points on the other hand, it is impossible for the case to come before this body on its merits. The complaint ought to have brought up the whole proceedings in the courts below, in order to a judgment on their regularity as well as justice; but by an omission of the complainants, in stating the grounds of their complaint, this matter cannot be reached. The second cause of complaint is ruled out, because it requires a cross issue, involving the rights of a party not involved in the case. And the first cause of complaint--i. e., as to the rights of the complainants to place on the table of Presbytery the statement alluded to cannot be justly investigated without taking up all the records and ascertaining all the circumstances which led to its presentation. the rulings of this house this cannot be done, since it would involve an absent party. We are thus on technical grounds shut out from a full presentation of the case. All that is left for us is to request the Assembly to admit this paper to record as our reason for waiving a trial, and agreeing that the judgment of the Synod of Baltimore be sustained pro forma. E. T. BAIRD, On behalf of Complainants. -1860, pp. 31 and 35, O. S.
2. The Character of One Absent, and not on Trial, not to be Impeached.
Resolved, That no discussion ought to be allowed which may involve the character of Mr. McDowell in his absence.-1823, p. 74.
3. Censure for Slander may not be Inflicted upon a Private Prosecutor unless the Case be fully Issued.
In the complaint of John Mack et al against a decision of the Synod of Illinois, the Assembly, inter alia, declare: The action of the Presbytery upon a certain resolution was extra-judicial.
Our Book of Discipline (Old), chap. v., sec. vii., pronounces a man a slanderer who, on trial, fails to make good his charges.
S. L. Hobson was censured as a slanderer without the court reaching by trial the point contemplated by our Book.*-1867, p. 355, O. S.
*The Revised Book of Discipline directs censure for slander only when the prosecutor fails to show probable cause. Sec. xiv.-M.
OF CHARGES AND SPECIFICATIONS.
XV. The charge shall set forth the alleged offense; and the specifications shall set forth the facts relied upon to sustain the charge. Each specification shall declare, as far as possible, the time, place and circumstances, and shall be accompanied with the names of the witnesses to be cited for its support. [IV. 8, amended.]
1. The Charge must be Specific.
a. Mr. Ewing complains against the Commission that they received charges against him which were vague and indeterminate. The Synod agrees that these charges are rather deficient in point of specialty, but are of opinion that the Commission acted with prudence and integrity in receiving said charges, inasmuch as they endeavored to reduce them to a specialty, and as Mr. Ewing submitted so far as to plead to them, and as the particular circumstances of the first and third Presbyterian congregations in Philadelphia were viewed by them as so critical as in their judgment required an immediate discussion of the affair.
Yet the Synod orders that all their judicatures shall for the future be particularly careful not to receive or judge of any charges but such as shall be seasonably reduced to a specialty in the complaint laid before them.-1770, p. 406.
Especially in Cases of Heresy.
b. There was a great deficiency in the charges preferred against Mr. Craighead as it relates to precision. All charges for heresy should be as definite as possible. The article or articles of faith impugned should be specified, and the words supposed to be heretical shown to be in repugnance to these articles, whether the reference is made directly to the Scripture as a standard of orthodoxy, or to the Confession of Faith, which our Church holds to be a summary of the doctrines of Scripture. But in none of the charges against Mr. Craighead is this done, and in two of them (third and fourth) it would be very difficult to say what articles of faith are supposed to be contravened in the errors charged on Mr. Craighead. And the last two charges appear to be so vague and indefinite as to be incapable of proof. In the fifth Mr. Craighead is charged with perverting, etc., the sentiments of the preachers and writers in our connection. Now, in our connection there are a multitude of preachers and writers differing by many shades of opinion from each other. How, then, can this be a just ground of accusation? In the sixth he is charged with the false coloring of facts, etc. But no facts are established by evidence, none are specified in the charge; and to make it a just ground of accusation, it ought to have been a designed and malicious discoloring of the facts, etc.-1824, p. 121.
c. The Assembly would further advise that all the charges against Mr. Spillman which may be wanting in definiteness be made, if practicable. more specific, so that they may be conformable to the directions of the Book of Discipline.-1860, p. 46, O. S.
XVI. A charge shall not allege more than one offense; several charges against the same person, however, with the specifications under