The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1
In the early part of the last century, the Rev. John Wesley established a religions Society then and since called "Methodists;" and from time to time appointed many persons from among them to be their Preachers.
In the year 1744, Mr. Wesley invited several of the Preachers to meet him in London, to confer upon the doctrines and discipline which they ought to teach and adopt, and upon other measures page 6 relating to the Society. Similar meetings for the same purposes were afterwards held annually, and obtained the name of "The Yearly Conference of the People called Methodists."
In order to define this designation, and to perpetuate the "Conference," Mr. Wesley executed a Deed Poll, (a copy of which is left herewith,) bearing date the 28th day of February, 1784, under his hand and seal, and enrolled in His Majesty's High Court of Chancery, and thereby declared that "the Conference of the People called Methodists" did and should consist of one hundred persons therein named; and he provided, in the said Deed Poll, Rules for their conduct,—for the appointment of Preachers to the various chapels,—and especially for filling up vacancies occasioned by death or otherwise in the said "Conference" for ever.
The Conference continued to hold its sittings annually till Mr. Wesley's death in the year 1791, and ever since to the present year, under the authority and regulations of the above-mentioned Deed Poll.
The vast increase of the Methodist Society has rendered a proportionate addition to the number of their chapels necessary for their accommodation; and for several years past from fifty to eighty have been annually erected.
It has been usual to convey these chapels to the use of Trustees, their heirs and assigns, upon Trust to permit the Preachers appointed by "the Conference" to preach, &c., therein, and no others without the consent of one of the Preachers annually appointed by the "Conference" and called the "Superintendant," with a proviso that no person whosoever shall preach therein any other doctrines than such as are contained in certain publications therein referred to.
In a religious Society so constituted, numerous and perpetuated, it is obviously matter of great moment, to attain uniformity in the Deeds of Settlement and Declarations of Trusts of their chapels; the objects of which are, 1st, Effectually to vest the legal Estate in the Trustees; 2d, To secure the use of the chapels to the Preachers appointed by the "Conference;" 3d, To provide for maintaining and perpetuating the purity of the doctrines preached therein, and to accomplish these objects in a manner most to the mutual security and advantage of the Trustees, the "Conference of Preachers," and the People under their care.
It is therefore proposed to convey (by Lease and Release) a piece of Freehold Ground to the use of Trustees, their heirs and assigns, upon Trust, for the purposes and with the provision page 7 above-mentioned, with all such powers, authorities, clauses, and declarations, as a Deed of that nature ought to contain; and after it has been duly stamped, executed, and acknowledged, to cause it to be enrolled in Chancery, pursuant to Statute 9, Geo. II., cap. 36.
And as well to prevent needless expense, as for the purposes before-mentioned, it is also secondly proposed, in all subsequent deeds for the same purpose, to convey the Estate in the land and chapel to be settled in like manner, to the use of Trustees, their heirs and assigns; but instead of going through and inserting the Trusts, powers, clauses, and declarations at length, to declare by sufficient words, that the Trustees, &c., shall hold the premises upon such and the like Trusts, &c., &c., as are expressed, contained, and declared in the first-mentioned proposed deed; referring to the date, parties, and enrolment, so as to identify it. Every such subsequent deed to be stamped with a stamp or stamps sufficient to cover the matter actually contained therein, but not with additional stamps for the matter only referred to; and after due execution and acknowledgment to be enrolled pursuant to the above-named Statute.