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was made to show that Mr. Rusling and Mr. Matthias that Mr. Shermer refused to make any defence, threatmade the appointment of the committee. Their con- ened to appeal to the laws of his country, and withnexions with it fully appears in the evidence of Mr. Thatcher.
The committee met.
It is not enough that the plaintiff shows he made objections-he must prove that he sustained damage by their being overruled;-he must also exhibit something more than a mere error of judgment; the malice and the want of probable cause should be made to appear. Now when the question as to John Gable's having prejudged the cause is examined, it appears from the statement of John Ribble, as in evidence before you, He held the station of Presiding Elder of the district; that Gable had told him that A. Shermer ought to go an office of high rank in the Methodist Episcopal out; and it is somewhere in evidence that Gable alluded church, conferred only on ministers of experience and to this as having been spoken in fun. The true queselevated character, with powers and duties which aption would have been: Has Gable formed and exprespear from the work already quoted to be of a very im-sed an opinion as to the guilt or innocence of A. Sherportant nature. He was produced as a witness by the mer in regard to the particular charges about to be plaintiff himself, and his testimony taken before arbitra- tried? If no proof that he had formed such an opinion, tors has now been read in his absence, under an agrec- could have been offered, the objection should have ment of counsel comprehending this and other evi- been overruled on its merits. You, Gentlemen, will, dence. His statement is clear, consistent, and marked upon all this, determine for yourselves, how far there with intelligence. Why then should it be questioned? was error here at all. If there was any-then how far It was not until it was found that it would not aid the it was Mr. Thatcher's only, or was shared by any or all cause of the plaintiff, who had thus produced him, that of these defendants;-and whether it was honestly coman effort was made in the argument of the plaintiff, to mitted or was wilfully and maliciously perpetrated to the throw doubts upon his motives and his accuracy. In this actual oppression and injury of the plaintiff. state of the matter, I deem it my duty to say, that Mr. Then as to the claim of a trial with Burnett. It seems Thatcher appears to me to be entitled to all respect and from some of the evidence that Burnett had declared confidence at the hands of the court and jury. While that Mr. Shermer had said that Mr. Rusling had made a I do this, however, I repeat what has been stated as to false statement. This is all the explanation we have the other witnesses, that the degree of weight which will upon this subject. This also will be finally passed upon be given to his testimony, is still to be ultimately deter-by you; but I cannot resist remarking that I am at a loss mined by the jury. to perceive how a demand for a trial with Burnett for [The Judge then referred to the record of the pro- merely making such a declaration, could have furnishceedings of the committee, and read an extract from ed the slightest reason for a postponement of the trial it.] before the Committee. No formal accusation appears Taking the whole testimony into view, it would to have been presented against Burnett, and the comseem, that the facts mentioned in the charges were plaint alleged, would seem to have involved one of strictly proved; namely, that Mr. Shermer had propa- the very questions which were about to be investigated. gated, that Mr. Rusling had made a false statement; A decision either that Mr. Burnett had, or that he had that Mr. Shermer had, in class, declared he did not not, made such a declaration, would have determined know why his class was taken from him; and again, nothing as between Mr. Shermer and Mr. Rusling. that he did know why it was taken from him.
Several witnesses, Messrs. Walton, Zeigler, Thatch er, and others, gave an account of what took place before them.
Mr. Thatcher's testimony has been attacked by the plaintiff's counsel, under circumstances which require some notice from the Court.
The offences charged to be the result of the facts, and which the Committee believed to be made out by the proof of the specifications, were slander and false
It would seem also, from the whole evidence, that Mr. Shermer objected, as soon as the charges were stated before the Committee, to going on with the trial,
for three reasons :
It has been contended that the allegation of Mr. Shermer, even if not correct, did not amount to slander; in other words, that the charge of making a false statement meant nothing more than the charge of making an erroneous or mistaken statement. The Committee gave a different construction to the words, and as he did not attempt to substantiate his assertion, they convict
ed him of slander.
1. That one of the Committee, John Gabel, had prejudged his cause.
2. That he was entitled, in the first place, to a trial with Burnett.
3. That two of the Committee had made out or ed the annual report which furnished the ground of the statement alleged to be a false one.
I incline to the opinion, that, without consulting lexicographers, ninety-nine men in every hundred would agree with the Committee in their construction of the words "false statement," would feel that a charge sign-against themselves of making a false statement, was an imputation upon their characters for integrity and honor; would suppose that such an accusation contained an implication that the statement itself, and the thoughts of the party making it were not in harmony. If however a reasonable doubt could be ingeniously raised, courts and juries should require a very strong case indeed be
This third objection has been since ascertained to have been made under a mistake in point of fact, and the other two are the only points relied on here.
The objections were overruled, under the circumstances and in the manner stated by Mr. Thatcher and oth-fore they would undertake to shield an individual from ers; Mr. Shermer withdrew; the committee proceeded the effects of the obvious and usual inferences to be in the case, and gave their decision upon it. drawn from his own language. Even if the phrase had been ambiguous, would it not have furnished probable ground for mistake? and if so, the law would not have awarded damages for any injury that might by possibility have resulted. Every man employing such language, does it at his own risk.
It is contended on the part of the plaintiff that there was error in overruling these objections, and in the whole proceeding; and that this furnished evidence of combination and malice in the defendants, some of whom were members of the Committee.
How stands the matter? Mr. Thatcher states that he told Mr. Shermer that if he had asked the names of the Committee at the time of the notification of trial, and then objected, he (Mr. T.) would have done any thing in his power to have got those to whom he would not have objected, but that the discipline did not admit of Mr. Miller, designated by the witnesses as father Milobjections at that stage of the business. He adds, ler. The facts do not appear to have been investigated
But further, one of the counsel for the plaintiff has contended that Mr. Rusling had actually made erroneous statements, both on the 14th of April, 1829, as to certain temporal affairs of the church, and on the 28th day of December, 1828, relative to the pay of the Rev.
by the Committee, but they have been thoroughly examined here.
It would seem from Mr. Walton's testimony, confirmed on this point by other proof, that the statement in question on the trial of Mr. Shermer before the Committee, was that of the 14th of Apríl, giving an outline of the annual report.
Mr. Walton and Mr. Hulzert substantially agree in their accounts of this statement. Among other things, Mr. Rusling said, "the gallery built cost $900, and all "paid; the blinds $100, and paid; the fixtures, bench"es, lamps, building a front wall cost about $500, and "this was all paid but $150, and that was in a note not yet due and supposed it would be met." These are the very words of Mr. Walton the principal witness for the plaintiff. He adds, "the Church certainly owed "upwards of $3000 at that time; this was the state"ment as to which the dispute arose ;" and again, "there was no general balance for and against the "Church stated at that time by Mr. Rusling."
And here it may be well to notice an argument of the plaintiff's counsel, charging the committee and presiding elder with having holdly undertaken to denounce the plaintiff to eternal punishment. It is due to a respectable religious denomination, to these defendants, to the plaintiff himself, and to the cause of candor and truth, that we should scrupulously avoid suffering our judgments to be influenced by misconception or error on such a point as this. A fair statement of the matter exhibits it thus: The committee having declared Mr. Shermer guilty of slander and falsehood, the presiding elder gives his opinion that these are crimes expressly forbidden by the word of God, and sufficient to exclude a person from the kingdom of grace and glory." The expulsion by the minister consequent thereon, deprives Mr. Shermer of "all privileges of society or of sacraments, in the Church, until after contrition, confession and proper trial." The legal effect is to deprive him of his rights as a corporator.
There was a suggestion on the part of the plaintiff that the conviction was under a wrong clause of the seventh section of the second chapter of the discipline; that the proceeding, if attempted at all, should have been under the provision relative to "indulging sinful tempers or words." This is denied on the other side. It would seem that a similar expulsion might have resulted to an individual obstinately persisting in offending even under this clause. You will determine here also, whether there was error or not; and if there was, how far it attached to the members of the committee, or any other of the defendants; and whether it was committed in good faith, or was wilfully and maliciously perpetrated to the actual damage of the plaintiff.
Now it is, clear, that if, so far, no cause of action exists, nothing that took place after this stage of the transaction could possibly create one. The subsequent proceedings consisted of an unsuccessful effort to have the decision of the committee, and the expulsion growing out of it, reversed; the very expulsion which forms the basis of the plaintiff's suit. If the conduct of the defendants up to this period was right, then there is an end of the case. If that conduct was wrong, and yet was without the ingredient of malice, still the plaintiff has no legal cause of action. If again that conduct was wrong, and there was malice in it, yet if the parties had probable cause for their proceedings, the plaintiff is not entitled to a verdict. Should you adopt either of these views of the case, you need hardly trou ble yourselves with a further examination of the facts relative to the appeal to the quarterly conference. Should you however adopt neither of them, and believe that the plaintiff is entitled to your verdict, then the subsequent occurrences become important as furnishing matter either in mitigation or aggravation of the injury done to the plaintiff, and may seriously affect the question of damages.
Some attention is therefore due from the Court to this part of the case.
The doubt at first expressed as to Mr. Shermer's right of appeal to the conference, was waived on the part of Mr. Thatcher and Mr. Rusling.
As soon as Mr. Thatcher had reduced his opinion to writing, he delivered the document to the minister. This was It is alleged on the part of the defendants that Mr. on the 23d of June, 1829. He adds "I went over imme- Rusling refrained, for several days, from expelling Mr. diately and notified Mr. Shermer, and added that there Shermer, in the hope of an arrangement of the difficulwould be a space allowed him to consider and propose ty; and that it was not until the first of July, after a note terms of peace to the Church, and save his expulsion. had been received from the plaintiff's counsel, proposThere was no imperious necessity to his being expelled ing a full hearing before another tribunal constituted if he had made terms. As he appeared agitated, I ob- according to the laws of the Church, that Mr. Rusling served that he had demanded the trial and must take pronounced the expulsion, which was deemed necessathe consequences. He then said no terms would satis-ry in order to give Mr. Shermer another trial before the fy him but his being restored to his leadership." only proper tribunal, namely, the quarterly conference. Of all this and its effect you will form your own opinion. The expulsion being declared however on the 1st of July, Mr. Shermer on the 3d of July "enters his appeal to the next quarterly conference."
After some intermediate proceedings, which will be noticed in a moment, Mr. Rusling, on the 1st of July, 1829, writes a note to Mr. Shermer, in which he says, "I do hereby according to the discipline of the M. E. Church, pronounce you expelled from the aforesaid
The conference met. How is it constituted?
In the fifth section of the first chapter of the Disci
Now it is very clear that when Mr. Rusling said "this was all paid but $150," he expressly referred to the sum of $500 mentioned immediately before, and to nothing else; and it is in evidence by the books of the Church that he was so far right.
Under these circumstances, Mr. Shermer insisted that Mr. Rusling had made a false statement, because there was a much larger sum than $150 due by the Church on a general balance of its accounts. And it struck me as not a little extraordinary that Mr. Walton appeared to labour under the same error, even while giving his evidence here, and furnishing a history of Mr. Rusling's statement, having the effect (though not so designed) of preventing misconception in any impartial mind.
As to the statement about father Miller, I will refer to it presently.
T'he next step was the decision of the Committee. They unanimously pronounced him guilty of the charges; which were slander and falsehood.
Mr. Thatcher testifies as follows: "Having received their decision, and taking the discipline in my hand, I wrote the language "guilty of crimes expresssly forbidden by the word of God, and sufficient to exclude him from the kingdom of grace and glory;" (Sect. 2. Chap. 2.) Further than this I could not go, these are the terms of the judgment."
The presiding elder having given his opinion in writing that slander and falsehood as proved against Mr. Shermer were crimes, "expressly forbidden," &c.— pursuing the words above quoted, refers any further action to Mr. Rusling the minister in charge, whose duty, by the same section, is declared to be, in the case of a conviction of any such crime, to expel the party.
What does the expulsion amount to? In the same section of the second chapter it is laid down that "After such forms of trial and expulsion, such persons shall have no privileges of society or of sacraments, in our church, without contrition, confession, and proper trial."
pline, it is said, that a quarterly meeting conference to receive and try appeals, shall consist of all the travelling and local preaches, exhorters, stewards, and leaders of the circuit, and none else."
Mr. Thatcher and three of the committee appear to have been members of this conference; several other defendants were also members.
You have heard the testimony of Messrs. Walton, Zeigler, James and others, relative to the proceedings of the conference; and you have before you the record kept by the Secretary. The decision of the committee was approved of and confirmed. You have had the bene fit of a full discussion at the Bar as to the character and duty of this body, and can determine for yourselves upon every question which seems to me to be essential to be decided. Believing that on this part of the case there is no legal point requiring an opinion from me, it is submitted to you to say upon the principles already presented touching mere error of judgment, malice, and probable cause, whether the doings of the conference affect the plaintiff's case at all, and if they do, to
I have thus, gentlemen, noticed the whole case, as is presented by the pleadings. Various other matters, not embraced in the issue formed between the parties, have been given in evidence, and freely discussed, as bearing upon that issue or some branch of it. I will briefly
notice some of these.
1. The topic of Reform has been adverted to. Though I refused to allow a general inquiry into it, yet I feared we should be obliged to hear incidently more of it that has actually reached us through the evidence. I need only remark that we have nothing to do with it. 2. Much has been said relative to a statement made by Mr. Rusling, in December 1828, that his predecessor the Rev. Mr. Miller has not been paid.
Mr. Miller's allowance was to consist partly of salary and partly of board. In truth the salary was all paid, but the board was not all paid.
There was some testimony, though it was denied to be true, as to a complaint by Mr. Shermer, at the conference held within a day or two afterwards, that Mr. Rusling had made an incorrect statement on this point; and as to the matter being taken up and acted upon in
Again it appears that Mr. Walton accused Mr. Rusling of telling a lie on this subject; and that a committee, after trial, convicted Mr. Walton of having falsely accused Mr. Rusling of telling ale.
Mr. Shermer being the present plaintiff and Mr. Walton his leading witness, it is alleged on the part of the defendants that the conduct of the plaintiff in this business of Mr. Miller, evinced a disposition to seize and distort every expression of Mr. Rusling which could by possibility be misconstrued; and that it therefore exhibits the plaintiff as entitled to no favour with this jury; and that as to Mr. Walton, his conduct mani. fested a similar disposition; and that this transaction presents, in the conviction to which he was subjected, a ground of resentment on his part against Mr. Rusling, which tends to disqualify him from speaking impartially as a witness in this case.
These positions have been commented on by the Counsel on both sides, and the effect of the whole is for your decision.
those three witnesses, and thus affects their testimony. Of the weight of all this you will judge.
3. Then as to the sermon of the 8th of August 1830, in which Mr. Rusling used these words "vagabonds on
the face of the earth."
4. One word as to the alleged refusal of the Books. The witnesses do not agree exactly as to what was refused to Mr. Shermer, or at what precise time his demand was made. It seems that he was not allowed to take with him the books of the church, but that copies of any parts he desired were offered to him. A mem. ber of a corporation like this has a legal right to inspect its books, but he cannot of his own authority take them from the custody of the person regularly entrusted with them. Mr. Shermer's object was to prove that Mr. Rusling was in error as to the statement of the 14th of April. The books have been produced here, and they plainly sustain Mr. Rusling when his language is fairly understood.
5. The plaintiff offered in evidence the declarations of George Thumlert one of the defendants. I received them as evidence at least against himself. It seems, however, that he is the brother-in-law, and the avowed friend of the plaintiff, and that he was guilty of the indefensible and undefended act of going with other defendants to the office of their counsel, in the confidence of the relation of a co-defendant, and immediately communicating to the plaintiff what had taken place. It further appears that he made declarations for the expressed purpose of having them given in evidence to affect the other parties, while he avowed he would not come into Court and be a witness. He doubtless was aware that in Court he would be put upon his oath, and be subject to a cross-examination. I need hardly advise you that any thing proceeding from such a source, under such circumstances, should be wholly rejected. The plaintiff's counsel have very properly refrained from relying on his declarations.
6. This dispute with Mr. Burnett at the love feast, growing out of Mr. Shermer's attempt to enter without
a ticket and without permission; the circumstance that on Shermer's own testimony the Grand Jury in the Quarter Sessions refused to find a bill against Burnett for assault and battery; the attempt of Mr. Shermer to vote at the election for trustees; his letter to Mr. Kirk in connection with his order to his child; his language to Mr. Fraley and to Mr. Samuel Miller, have, with other matters, been adverted to,to prove a spirit of bitter. ness and determined hostility on the part of Mr. Shermer towards Mr. Rusling and his friends, and to show that this suit is brought not for the purpose of obtaining Justice, but with a view to harrass and vex the defen
On the other hand, the acts and language of the defendants, on various occasions, particularly those of Mr. Rusling at the leader's meeting, before the committee, and before the conference, have been minutely noticed, as manifesting a settled purpose to remove Mr. Shermer from the station of class leader, and expel him from the Church, whether his conduct would warrant it or
Upon all these suggestions you have heard the able remarks of the counsel on both sides.
In reviewing the whole case, Gentlemen, an important and interesting duty devolves upon you. In relation to the credibility of the witnesses, I repeat that you are the exclusive judges. In the discharge of your obligation on this head, you will consider as to each witness, the degree of intelligence which he exhibited, his opportunities of knowledge, his temper, his manner, his consistency, and every actual or probable
This was after the present suit was brought. Both Mr. Rusling and the plaintiff have agreed that the plain-ground of bias or impartiality in regard to him. When tiff was not alluded to. It is by no means clear, from you have done all this you can safely decide. the evidence, what was the exact language of Mr. Rusling in that sermon, or what was its application. But in connexion with it, a printed circular signed by J. Walton, J. Shermer and J. Biddle, was put in evidence on the part of the defendants, and it is alleged that it shows prejudice and animosity on the part of
The question of damages is entirely for your decision. The plaintiff contends, that by reason of the acts of the defendents, he has suffered pain and distress of mind, has lost the good opinion of his friends and neighbours, has been deprived of his share of the real estate of the corporation, and has been put to great expense in the
prosecution of his claim. All this will be carefully weighed by you.
The plaintiff's counsel have carefully designated the several parts of the evidence which they deem to affect the defendants respectively. If you determine that the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict, you will consider whether it shall be against all or only some of the defendants, and will discriminate accordingly.
There is another point which it is my duty to notice, as it is controlled by the settled rules of law. This being an action for a 1ort, the damages cannot be severed. If you deem the plaintiff entitled to damages, you will ascertain how much the most culpable of the defendants ought to pay, and assess that amount against all whom you may hold to be guilty. If you find that there is no cause for action, your verdict will be generally for the
VERDICT-For the defendants.
heat or cold, are to be removed with much more safety and certainty by the use of cider or malt liquors.
Your memorialists, therefore, pray, that your Honourable House would take the facts herein stated, into their serious consideration, and as the guardians of the health and lives no less than of the liberties and morals of their constituents, that they would enact such a law, for the checking the improper use of distilled spirituous liquors, as to their wisdom and humanity may seem proper.'
On the 6th of November, this committee made a port which was adopted, as follows, the following members being present:
ed a committee consisting of Doctors Jones, Rush, and On the 7th of December, 1790, the college appointParke to draught an address to "be presented to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, praying them to take speedy and effectual means to discourage as much as possible the importation and use of distilled spirituous liquors," On the 27th of the same month the following Address was adopted and ordered to be presented.
They rejoice to find amongst the powers, which be
PHILADELPHIA COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS. Its early opinions respecting Ardent Spirits. As part of the history of Temperance Reform, and serving to show the opinions held even at that time by many estimable and learned physicians, we publish the following extract from the minutes of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, for which we are indebted to its present Secretary, Dr. Bond.-Journal of Health.long to this government, that of restraining, by certain duties, the consumption of distilled spirits in our country. It belongs more peculiarly to men of other professions to enumerate the pernicious effects of these liquors upon morals and manners. Your memorialists will only remark, that a great proportion of the most obstinate, painful, and mortal disorders, which affect the human body, are produced by distilled spirits-that they are not only destructive to health and life, but that they impair the faculties of the mind, and thereby tend re-equally to dishonour our character as a nation, and to degrade our species as intelligent beings.
On the 4th of September, 1787, it was resolved by the College of Physicians that a committee be appointed, consisting of Doctors Jones, Rush and Griffitts, "to draw up a petition to the Assembly of this Commonwealth, [Pennsylvania,] setting forth the pernicious effects of Spirituous Liquors upon the human body, and praying that such a law may be passed as shall tend to diminish their consumption."
Your memorialists have no doubt, that the rumor of a plague, or any other pestilential disorder, which might sweep away thousands of their fellow citizens, would produce the most vigorous and effectual measures in our government to prevent or subdue it.
Your memorialists can see no just cause why the more certain and extensive ravages of distilled spirits upon human life should not be guarded against with corres
"To the Honourable the Legislature of the State of ponding vigilance and exertions by the present rulers of the United States.
Doctors John Redman, President; John Johns, William Shippen, Jr., Adam Kuhn, Benjamin Rush, Tho. mas Parke, George Glentworth, James Hutchinson, Benjamin Duffield, Nathan Dorsey, Samuel P. Griffitts, Benjamin Say, John Carson, William Currie, William W. Smith, John R. B. Rodgers.
"To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States in Congress Assembled,
The Memorial of the College of Physicians of the city of Philadelphia, respectfully sheweth,
The Memorial of the College of Physicians of the city of Philadelphia respectfully sheweth,
That they have seen with great pleasure the operation of a national government, which has established order in the United States.
That your memorialists have seen with great concern the numerous evils which have followed the intemperate use of distilled spirituous liquors in the State of Pennsylvania. They decline taking notice of the baneful effects of these liquors upon property and morals, and beg leave to confine this memorial to their influence upon the health and lives of their fellow citizens, and the population of their country.
That among the numerous diseases which are produced by the use of distilled spirituous liquors, they would only mention, the dropsy, epilepsy, palsy, apoplexy, melancholy, and madness; which too seldom yield to the power of medicine.
That where distilled spirituous liquors do not produce these terrible and obstinate diseases, they generally impair the strength of the body, so as to lessen its ability to undergo that labour, either in degree or duration, which it is capable of without them.
That the prevailing ideas of the necessity and advantages of using distilled spirituous liquors to obviate the injurious effects of extreme heat or cold upon the human body, are altogether without foundation, and that they increase the evils, which they are taken to remove. That the inconvenience arising from excessive labour,
Your memorialists beg leave to add further, that the habitual use of distilled spirits, in any case whatever, is wholly unnecessary-that they neither fortify the body against the morbid effects of heat or cold, nor render labour more easy, nor more productive-and that there are many articles of diet and drink, which are not only safe and perfectly salutary, but preferable to distilled spirits for each of the above purposes.
Your memorialists have beheld with regret the feeble influence of reason and religion in restraining the evils, which they have enumerated. They centre their hopes, therefore, of an effectual remedy for them in the wisdom and power of the United States; and in behalf of the interests of humanity, to which their profession is closely allied, they thus publicly intreat the Congress, by their obligations to protect the lives of their constituents, and by their regard to the character of our nation, and to the rank of our species in the scale of beings, to impose such heavy duties upon all distilled spirits as shall be effectual to restrain their intemperate use in our country."
Members present at the adoption of this address:Doctors John Redman, President, John Jones, Vice President, Robert Harris, Nicholas B. Waters, Thomas Parke, William Currie, Benjamin S. Barton, Nathan Dorsey, Benjamin Rush, Michael Leib, William W. Smith, Adam Kuhn, Samuel P. Griffitts, Secretaries.
From the Philadelphia Gazette. PROCEEDINGS OF COUNCILS. Thursday evening, May 23, 1833. SELECT COUNCIL.-The annexed communication from the Treasurer of the Girard fund, was received, and referred to the committee of accounts to audit.
To the President and Members of the Select and
Gentlemen-The Watering Committee respectfully report, that since submitting their annual statements to Councils, they have received petitions to have Iron pipes laid down in various parts of the city-the petitioners agreeing to take out permits for the water, as soon as Com-pipes shall be furnished, and will pay a rent equal to the interest; and they further remark, the improvements of the petitioners, protection in case of fire, and the general comfort and convenience of the citizens, would seem to require a compliance with their desires. They have also been requested by the Commissioners of the district of Spring Garden, forthwith, to pave and curb Coates street from Fair Mount to the river Schuylkill. The committee submit the annexed resolution, authorizing contracts to be made for pipes, &c. and for the payment of the same.
Treasurer's office of the Girard Trust, }
Gentlemen,-By the 16th section of the Ordinance for the management of the Girard Estates, enacted on the 31st January, 1833, it is ordained "That a Standing Committee of Accounts consisting of three members of each Council, shall be chosen annually by ballot, of each Council, at a stated meeting of Councils in October, who shall examine quarterly or oftener, if they shall deem it necessary, the Treasurer's accounts, comparing the actual receipts and expenditures with the Entries and Exhibits thereof, &c. and report the same to Councils."
This ordinance having been passed in January last, no regular election will take place for the Standing Committee of accounts until October next, I therefore beg leave to request that Councils will appoint a Spe. cial Committee to audit my accounts for the last quarter, ending on the 31st of March, and for the two succeeding quarters.
With much respect, your very ob't. servant.
Mr. McCredy, presented the following petition, which was referred to the Committee on Rittenhouse Square. To the Select and Common Councils of the city of Philadelphia.
To the President and Members of the Select and Common Councils.
For the foregoing reasons and many others which might be advanced, your memorialists request that another place of deposit for the said manure may be procured, and that Rittenhouse Square may be levelled and converted to the uses for which it was originally in
Mr. J. P. Wetherill as Chairman of the Watering Committee, offered the annexed report and resolution, which were adopted.
JOHN P. WETHERILL, Chairman of the Watering Committee.
Resolved, That the Watering Committee be, and they are hereby authorised and requested forthwith, to contract for Iron Pipes, and for the paving and curbing of Coates street, in front of the city property, at Fair Mount, together, not to exceed in amount the sum of Fifteen Thousand dollars, and the Mayor is hereby authorised to draw his warrant on the City Treasurer, for the above amount, and charge the same to appropriation No. 16.
Mr. Massey, presented the following petition of Hazall Thomas, which was referred to the Commisioners of the Girard estate.
The memorial of the subscribers respectfully repre- The memorial of the subscriber, respectfully shewsents, That they are the owners and occupiers of pro. eth, That Richard Sparks, by his will dated 14th Janua perty situated near the south west (or Rittenhouse) ry, 1715-6, devised "100 feet of the back end of (his) Square. The said Square has for many years been a lot on the south side of High street, in Philadelphia, for place of deposit for the manure collected in the streets a burying place for the use of the people or society callof the city. This manure is composed of the garbage ed the Seventh-day Baptists." The lot thus devised is and vegetable offal of the city, which when collected in that which fronts on Fifth street between Market and heaps and exposed to the action of the warm rains and Chesnut, immediately north of a house formerly the the sun's rays in summer, emits a most offensive, and as property of Mr. Girard, and now under his will belongyour memorialists believe,a very noxious effluvium, which ing to the City of Philadelphia. The devise above reoperates on the health of the surrounding inhabitants cited went into effect: and burials took place in that greatly to their prejudice. As evidence of the truth of ground. The Society referred to were incorporated by this remark, we state as a fact that no spot in or around the Legislature of Pennsylvania, in 1787, with power the city has suffered more severely by fall and bilious to take all lands therefore devised to their use. fevers than the neighbourhood of this square: thus con- ejectment was brought by the Society in the Supreme verting what was intended by the philanthropic founder Court in the year 1803, (or thereabouts) against James of our city as the means of health and recreation, into Simmons who then owned the house above referred to, a nursery of disease and death to the surrounding inha- and under whose title has been devised to Mr. Girard. bitants. Moreover, the public school of over one hun- In this ejectment a verdict and judgment passed for the dred children, the improvements now in progress in the plaintiff and Mr. Simmons subsequently occupied the neighbourhood of the square as, well as those in contem- lot permissively and as the agent of the society. Mr. plation so soon as they can be made in safety, and a hope Girard in his lifetime under some claim not understood of their being soon occupied, all call loudly for a change by your memorialist, enclosed great part of this lot with of deposit for the filth which has so long annoyed the a solid brick wall. The north end of it was then occusurrounding poor industrious inhabitants. Your memo- pied, under the society, by a house or engine company rialists believe that a place might be procured at a trifling-who subsequently removed their building. Mr. Giexpense south of the city and quite as convenient, where rard then took in that portion also, and enclosed it in the manure might be disposed of with equal advantage like manner-and the Society are thus excluded, to the city.
To the President and Members of the Select and Common Councils of the City of Philadelphia.
Your memorialist now holds the legal title by a deed from the Society, and for the purpose of the original devise, and conceives the possession taken by Mr. Girard to be illegal. It is his duty to assert the rights of the Society: but, believing that the City of Philadelphia will not persevere in the assertion of a wrong, (if they can be satisfied that it is so) respectfully invites the attention of the Councils to the subject of this memorial: prays them to cause their title to be investigated, and asks of them a surrender of the possession-or their con