David Holmes papers  1845-1856
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Biography

In 1844, Dr. David Holmes moved his wife and three daughters from Lebanon, Connecticut, to Providence, Rhode Island, to set up his medical practice. Upon settling in Providence, his family decided to join Richmond Street Church and wrote to Pastor John C. Nichols of the First Ecclesiastical Church for a letter of recommendation to the new church. Holmes wrote "[w]e have felt some hesitancy about removing our connection from the church in Lebanon, and not till recently have we thought it best to do so." Nichols replied that Holmes was not eligible for a letter, but his wife was. Nichols assured Holmes that "[n]o charges have been brought against you -- The reasons were not given by the women, so that I am not able to state them."

In March 1845, John Manning of Lebanon, Conn., asked Holmes for satisfaction regarding his behavior toward Manning's son David. Manning accused Holmes of attempting to exhort money from David, slandering David's reputation as a new doctor in Lebanon, and raising the price of his estate after an agreement had been made. Manning brought the case before the First Ecclesiastical Church of Lebanon, the Congregational church that Holmes attended while living in Lebanon. The church repeatedly asked Holmes to return to Lebanon to answer the charges of "double dealing and unchristian conduct" but he refused, not wanting to return in disgrace. "I have endeavored to review my short but eventful life in Lebanon," he wrote, "but fail in finding any crime so heinous to require public censure from the church."

"Whatever ground of complaint exists, comes from what has transpired since the aggrieved members have not had an opportunity of seeing you, and as you have been expected in Lebanon, they said and did nothing in the way of admonition," Nichols told Holmes. Nichols urged Holmes to reply to John Manning's charges, but Holmes preferred to communicate with the church committee directly.

The church committee delayed making a decision on the case in order to wait for Holmes to come to Lebanon, which he refused to do since he felt that he had already fully explained the charges to the committee. In April 1846, the church decided to suspend him temporarily.

In September 1846, Wetmore said to Holmes "the main difficulty is that you do not fully understand the matter -- you seem to think that it is all concerning the bargain of your place -- but there were other things which did not concern that contract brought up of which I believe you have not been informed." Wetmore related two separate charges of malpractice: Administering the wrong medicine to a patient and blaming it on David Manning and giving a patient the wrong dose of medicine. The church committee did not disclose the scope of the case to Holmes for almost a year. Less than two months later, the church sustained the charges, voting "to withdraw you from their watch and care."

Holmes felt that the church committee deliberately misled him regarding the scope and nature of the charges.