« VorigeDoorgaan »
time in making observations upon the particulars of which it is composed. The Meeting is well aware that it consists of a great variety of items; but there is this peculiarity about it, that although the gross sum is composed of an almost infinite number of particulars, all these particulars, as well as the gross balance itself, are given in ample detail in this Report. (Hear, hear.) Now, I am prepared to take this view of the case : that this Report checks itself as far as the credit side of the balance is concerned. There is not a gross sum received from any District, but there is a gross sum of the miscellaneous contributions to the Parent Society. There are various other sums ranged under different heads, all which gross sums are set forth in this small type. It is, in fact, a detailed account of the pence, and shillings, and pounds subscribed. (Hear.) Now, I consider, when our Treasurers put forth a balance-sheet, and state that they have received £111,685 as the income of the Society for the year 1849, and with which, for the time being, they are placed by us in trust, that in the statements which precede the Balance Sheet they give a public declaration to the entire community of Wesleyan Methodists, and to all others the friends of Wesleyan Methodism, and of Wesleyan Missions in particular, whose contributions help to swell the gross amount, that they have received this sum from you. (Hear, hear.) And the smallest contributor to the Wesleyan-Methodist Society has a document before him which addresses him in these words :-“ We hold ourselves answerable as your Trustees in trust of your property to the use of the Wesleyan Missionary Society for such a sum of money, and we give you the opportunity of saying whether you gave more.” (Hear, hear.) The world is silent on the subject. (Applause.) If any man sees that he is wronged on that side of the Balance-Sheet—if any man feels that he is wronged, and does not say so, it is his own fault. (Cheers.) But, in the absence of all such statements, I hold that this side of the Balance Sheet is attested to be correct by Wesleyan and by national assent; (hear, hear;) because it shows the contributions to the common object of the members of the Wesleyan Missionary Society, whether they be Wesleyan Methodists, or menibers of the Church of England, or members of any other section of the Christian church, in this or any other country. (Applause.) It addresses itself equally to the Government. It accounts for the grants we have received for various objects, through the Colonial Governments and Legislatures in different parts of the world; and we have clear evidence that the Treasurers, so far as the receipt of the money is concerned, are correct,—that they stand approved in sight of God and man. Their conduct will bear the searching of a sunbeam ; and there is no doubt that all the money given for the object has been received by them, and is held in trust by them for its right appropriation under the direction of the Committee of the Wesleyan-Methodist Society. (Hear, hear.) Having briefly disposed of one side of the Balance Sheet, I will now come to the other. There is a great peculiarity in our expenditure; as indeed there is in almost everything connected with Wesleyan Methodism. It is a cause of our own. (Hear, hear.) It is a cause not created by ourselves; but as the money on the credit side of the Balance-Sheet is committed in trust, so I conceive that Wesleyan Methodism, with all its peculiarities, while it is not our creation, is a creation committed to us equally in trust. (Hear, hear.) And, therefore, it would be very unwise-- it would not tend to throw light on this case, to compare strictly, technically, the character and particulars of the Balance-Sheet, on the expenditure side, with the case of any other kindred Society. Now, there is one peculiarity which will strike us all in a moment, as it struck the Auditors. Although they spent, in the first instance, three or four hours in deciding upon the best mode of conducting their audit, yet this peculiarity struck us in a moment. I have heard something said, -We all have, it is no secret, and therefore I shall not treat it as such,—(hear, hear,)
that we ought to be excessively jealous lest there be any personal aggrandizement, or personal interest, or personal motives, in the appropriation of this large sum of money. (Hear, hear.) Well, I admit that to the full. I am as jealous of that as any man; and I hesitate not to say so in the presence of my honoured fathers in the ministry, and of my brethren the members of the Wesleyan family. (Loud applause.) I tell you one thing, Mr. President and my Christian friends, that if I am not to find a Christian brotherhood here, I don't know where to look for it. (Continued cheers.) There is, as I have said, one peculiar feature which struck us in a moment,-three-fourths of our gross expenditure is foreign. Now, I am prepared to maintain, and, if this position were controverted, I hope I should succeed in proving, that on three-fourths of our expenditure, without any Auditors whatever, the Committee who sit here are the most judicious and faithful checks upon anything like waste or extravagance that any So. ciety can possess. (Hear, hear.) They have no interest in the matter. They sit here and receive the accounts from foreign Stations and the District returns, and then, with eagle eye, search through the whole, as is apparent from the Minutes which you have heard. Can it be said that the Committee generally allow too much ? (“No, no.") Are the cases of frequent and proved distress and suffering on the part of the labourers, their wives and families, treated with too great liberality? (“No, no.”) I trow not; and I think you agree with me. Why, then, as a general principle, on three-fourths of the money there is no opportunity to embezzle, and no interest in sanctioning the useless expenditure of a single penny. (Hear, hear.) Now, is not that a striking fact? (Hear, hear.) We must not listen to the little whisperings about small matters which are circulating on every side, but take a broad view of a great question like this. (Hear, hear.) I maintain that narrow views of these great matters are not consistent with carrying them on aright. (Hear, hear.) Then we come to what may be properly called our domestic expenditure. That is an expenditure incurred by the Committee at home; and I don't think they will shirk it. (Hear, hear.) I am very much mistaken if they would screen theinselves from the most careful and minute investigation of every portion of their proceedings. We agreed to investigate every item of which the domestic expenditure is composed, that there should be as minute, and full, and faithful an investigation of these accounts as can take place in any society or in any corporation. (Cheers.) I know something of these matters. I have had to deal with large bodies of proprietors, and far larger amounts than this. Where you have dealt with ten thousand, I have dealt with millions, and I have tried to introduce the principle of audit used in banking into this matter of our Missionary expenditure ; (hear, hear;) and I believe that the Auditors are prepared to tell you this
day, that they have examined the vouchers too, (applause,) that they have gone through the entire system of book-keeping, and the result is, that they have found a faithful representation of the state of the Society's funds, both as to the receipts and the expenditure. Having made these few observations, I shall now leave the matter in the hands of the Auditors themselves, who will tell you the impression left on their minds. (Applause.) I will just observe that although this has been a particular examination, I don't think it has been more particular than the examination which ought always to take place ; for we cannot be too careful of our reputation in this respect. I am quite confident that the time spent in such examinations is most beneficially occupied for the interests of the Society. I don't wish it to be said that this is a special examination for this particular year. It is certainly a little in advance of last year; but it is only a step in the direction which I hope to see followed and embraced into our system. (Loud and repeated cheers.)
The PRESIDENT then called on the Auditors to present the Report. MR. KRUSE.—The Auditors have drawn up a very short Report, because they thought it would be most acceptable; but I hope you will find it to the purpose, and, after the details to which you have just listened, I think you will conclude that a long Report is quite unnecessary. The following is the Report:
The Auditors of the accounts of the above Society for the year ending the 31st of December, 1849, entered into the required examination on Thursday, the 6th of June, 1850, and continued it, by successive meetings, through several days.
In prosecuting this duty, each separate entry was inspected, in the order in which it appears on the Balance Sheet, proceeding regularly through: first in reference to the Debit, or Receipt, side of the account, and then to that for Expenditure.
These entries passed under review in the following order :-Contributions received at the Mission-House; the amounts from Auxiliary Societies in Great Britain ; those from Ireland, through the Hibernian Society; from Juvenile Christmas and New Year's Offerings, and from Foreign Districts and stations. The remaining assets were found comprised under the term of Miscellaneous, consisting of Colonial Grants for Schools, and other purposes, dividends, donations, legacies, and gifts for specified and prospective purposes, such as a Mission to China. The whole of these were inspected seriatim ; and, in the opinion of the Auditors, are faithfully recorded and brought to account.
Having thus far proceeded, the Auditors directed their attention to the Credit, or Expenditure, side of the account. This covers a large surface, and includes altogether a statement of minute and amplified outlay.
The account opens, of course, with the balance in advance of the previous year. That is followed by “sundry payments on account of Mission stations, outfits, passage, and return of Missionaries,” beginning with Ireland, and sweeping over the entire field of operation in various parts of the world.
Without entering into minute detail, which would swell the present Report to an immoderate length, the Auditors will simply state, that the whole of these expenses has been looked at, and carefully considered, through every stage, and that it is found to be correctly inserted. Its importance will be seen, when it is recollected, that, taken as a head of Expenditure, it embraces the purchase of articles, and providing necessaries for long Missionary voyages, followed by a residence on foreign soil; and that the total amount is nearly equal to four-fifths of the entire Income or Expenditure of the Society.
Having completed an examination of the expenditure for Foreign objects, that embraced in the management of the Home Department was taken up. The heads of this portion of expenditure, like those already described, were examined singly, and found correct.
The Auditors beg to add, as a remark applying generally to payments made by the Society during the current year, that they have seen the vouchers, consisting
either of cancelled Bills of Exchange, stamped Receipts, or other satisfactory dis. charge, and that the method of account-keeping at the Mission-House is both sound and good.
In conclusion, the Auditors venture to suggest that it would be advisable to introduce the plan of an half-yearly audit. They now can testify, by experience, the amount of time and labour absolutely required to conduct, to a satisfactory conclu. sion, such an audit as they have engaged in and prosecuted this year. They believe that some advantage of importance would result to the financial department of the Missionary Society by such an arrangement, and would be a great convenience to the parties appointed, from year to year, to audit the accounts.
I wish just to make one remark, in justice to all the parties concerned. During the whole of this lengthened examination, we have had the personal assistance of the Secretaries and clerks whenever we required their attendance; and every book and paper and document, of every kind, requisite to give an insight into all that has taken place, was freely produced. (Loud applause.)
Join Corderoy, Esq., having been loudly called for, rose and said, -I am one of the Auditors, and I am a party to the Report which has just been presented to the Meeting; and I am fully prepared to attest the correctness of the accounts, (applause,) as far as I can possibly judge from a careful examination of the books and documents which have been presented to me. (Applause.) I consider that my responsibility has ceased when I have examined every item. I find that there is a perfect agreement in the whole, and the result is as we have stated it. (Applause.) I consider that, as an Auditor, I am not at all responsible for the administration of the funds of this Society. (Hear, hear.) But as a member of the Committee, I am perfectly ready to share in any responsibility which may attach to us. (IIear.) I am a very young member, and am just learning my business; but I will say, that during my connexion with the Committee, I have met with nothing whatever to abate the confidence which I formerly felt-(loud applause)—in the integrity and uprightness of the Executive of the Society. (Loud cheers.) I have my own views as a member of the Committee with respect to some matters of mere detail connected with the management of the Society; and I have ventured to express those views, which have been received with great kindness on the part of those to whom my observations were especially applicable. (Hear, hear.) I believe it is the wish of the Committee to introduce any improvements which may be fully and fairly stated, if they are likely to prove beneficial to the Society-(applause)—and calculated to render its action more efficient, and to give more security, if such a thing be possible, to our Wesleyan contributors. (Applause.)
JOHN VANNER, Esq., in responding to the call of the Meeting, said, -I am exceedingly glad to be able to state to this Meeting, that my satisfaction is as great and as well founded as that of my colleagues in the investigation which has taken place. (Applause.) I have not entered into the business without looking thoroughly into it, without weighing everything in the most careful manner; and I must say that more accurate accounts-accounts more likely to lead to detection, if there were anything wrong-cannot be found in any merchant's house in this city. (Loud applause.) It so happens that my own accounts are kept on the very same system. I do not hesitate to say, that I was for some years in search of a system which should easily detect any error, any mis-entry, any slip that might be made in my books, and I think I have found it. Your books, as I have said, are kept on the same plan ; and I therefore say they are not likely to be indifferently kept, and that they can be easily understood by any accountant or man of business. (Applause.) I must add, that every facility has been shown to us in our investigation, that we have had all the papers and books we could desire ; and, after signing these accounts, I can say with perfect truth that I can lay my head down on my pillow with a good conscience. (Loud applause.)
S. H. Smith, Esq., of Sheffield, said, From the position which he occupied he was intimately acquainted with the Executive of the Society, and he should have been perfectly able to have detected any want of honesty if such a thing had existed. (Hear.) The impression which must have been made by the statements and remarks of Mr. Ileald, and by the Auditors, must be satisfactory in the highest degree. (Applause.) He had never met with a more business-like set of men than the Auditors; and he was sure the knowledge which every one entertained of the character which Mr. Heald had established in the world was a sufficient guarantee that the accounts of the Society had been fully investigated. (Hear, hear.)
MR. HEALD again presented himself for the purpose of moving a Resolution, and placing a distinct proposition before the Meeting. I would ask, (said the Hon. Member,) What is the secret of our power in the country? It is our Connexional principle. (Loud applause.) This great principle, in my humble opinion, is God's construction. It is the great and distinguishing feature of our section of the Christian Church ; it is the pivot on which we turn. It is a mighty principle, fraught with tremendous consequences for good or evil. If we are faithful to it, and rightly apply it, it will for the future, as it has done for the past, tend to our good. If we allow it to be abused by being used as an instrument for agitation, we need nothing else to subvert the temple, and bury it in ruins. (Hear, hear.) I wish to warn myself in all the schemes that are proposed under the designation of reform, that I must test them all by this great principle. (Applause.) If I wish to become a Congregationalist, I can go to a church of that order. But I love Wesleyan Methodism ; and I feel that all the influence which I can exert on a large scale in connexion with our Christian Church comes to me, as a Wesleyan Methodist, on the Connexional principle. (Ilear, hear.) That is the secret of our influence in this country, and all over the globe. (Applause.) Why is it that I, as a Wesleyan Methodist, should be disturbed by any real or imaginary grievances in any distant locality ? IIow comes it that my peace and my quiet, and my happy connexions with the Christian Church, as a Methodist, should feel any shock at any distant part of our wide Connexion ? It is because we are linked together, bound together, in common bonds. (Applause.) The secret is in the Connexional principle, by which you can touch a chord that vibrates through the whole of our people. (Ilear.) There is nothing that I deprecate more than any attempt that threatens to disturb our Connexional union. I would not for the world be the man to disturb this great principle. (Loud applause.) It is this principle which renders our Missionary system so important. (Applause.) I now beg to move, “ That this Meeting has received with great satisfaction the Report of the Auditors, fully approves of the mode in which the audit