The Argument Against the Indiscriminate Incorporation of Churches by William Plumer gives to the reading public a document of great importance. However, the Argument also is a demonstration of the multifaceted abilities of its author. How did a very busy pastor and denominationally active minister and writer have time for the research and presentation of this Argument? Dr. Plumer saw the necessity of someone addressing this issue. The good doctor truly watched over the interests of the church. There seemed to be no one to fill the gap so he volunteered his services to an issue that some would have said was beyond his purview. Although in the end by God's grace he proved a master of the issue.
Just what was the issue? A petition had been presented to the legislature of Virginia in 1846 which asked for the passage of a general law authorizing the incorporation of every congregation and religious society in Virginia. Seeing the danger of this proposal and the necessity of stopping it Dr. Wm. Plumer appeared before a committee of the legislature in Richmond and spoke at length against the issue.
William Swan Plumer (1802-80) was a minister, author, and theological professor. Plumer was a prolific author and active churchman. His published works include commentaries, biblical studies, articles, essays, sermons, and a volume on pastoral theology. His writings, while profoundly theological in nature, are very practical in focus. His books represent a high point in the theological-devotional literature produced of nineteenth century American Presbyterianism.