The Liberator
H. Mattison
Boston: 19 November 1858


To the Editor of The N. Y. Tribune.

  SIR: In your issue of the 9th inst. 'A Methodist' refers to the case of the Rev. Samuel Green, a colored exhorter of the Methodist Episcopal Church in good standing, and now lying in the Maryland State Prison under a ten years sentence, for having in his possession a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin. The facts alleged are beyond question. Mr. Green is in prison as represented, with nine long years of confinement before him, and for no other crime than the one above named.

  But 'A Methodist,' who evidently sympathises with his brother in bonds, and designed to write correctly, is mistaken in one or two points.

  1. The only attention paid to the matter by the Philadelphia Conference was almost to hiss the Rev. J. M. McCarter for even naming it. No committee was appointed to consider it; no petition to Governor Hicks circulated; no resolution of sympathy with the martyr was even offered. This Conference of 200 Methodist ministers scorned to give so trifling a matter a moment's consideration, and blew it aside as they would have done some vagary of a 'medium.'

  2. It is hardly correct, however, that nothing has been done by the Methodist public. A respectful petition was got up at the last session of the Black River Conference, embracing about 200 Methodist ministers, entreating Gov. Hicks to interpose his Executive clemency, and release Mr. Green from his confinement. It was signed by some 113 ministers, I think, and forwarded by myself to Gov. Hicks, with a respectful private letter, neither of which the Governor has condescended to notice.

  3. As to 'our Bishops and Chief Ministers,' to whom a 'Methodist' seems to blame, it is true that the Black River Conference voted to have the petition of Mr. Green's liberation presented to the Bishops present for their signatures; and that when so presented, they refused to sign it. But they had what seemed to them a valid excuse. They were not satisfied as to the facts alleged. They both declared that when satisfied that Mr. Green was so imprisoned, and for such a cause, they would sign the petition. It is true, also, that the Rev. J. D. Long and the Rev. J. S. Lane, both members of the Philadelphia Conference, and recently from Maryland, were both at the Black River Conference, and ready to make affidavit, if necessary, to the alleged fact; but it is no where laid down in the Discipline among the duties of a Bishop, that he should be prying into such 'political' matters. They had their doubts; and hence, declining to sign the petition, one took the cars for the East, and the other for the West! Of course, the Conference could not wait six months for them to become satisfied of what might have been settled in their minds, had they desired it, in two minutes; and so the petition was sent on without their signatures.

  For myself, I regarded it as a most pitiful dodge, and was mortified and ashamed of such an utter want of concern for a brother in prison, by Methodist Bishops, merely, as it seemed to me, because he had a black skin. But I leave them with God, the righteous judge, who in the last day may say, 'Sick, and IN PRISON, and ye visited me not,' and 'inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these my brethren'—even to a poor colored brother in his dungeon—'ye did it not unto me.'